Editor’s note: The following story was written by a Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Alyce.”
When is it possible to forgive myself?
I met a very charismatic man who was lecturing at a local dog boarding kennel. Over the course of a year I attended training, and I watched him help many people. He quoted science books and talked about papers he had written at university. We became friends, me asking for advice and he was always obliging beyond anyone else I met. I was quite attracted to him, but happy to keep that attraction to myself.
Then he declared one day he was attracted to me. I suppose I was flattered. A romance began and we moved far too quickly. Before I knew it we were living together. I brought with me to the relationship my three pet dogs and quite a bit of money. He owned very little — an old car and a breeding program of shepherd dogs — for detection dog contracts I was told. He appeared kind to all the dog owners at training. Very sexually forward with me, a bit different to anyone I had ever knew. But he spoke to me in a way that was palatable to me. He promised fidelity and honesty. The love of animals, like me. Playful. I thought everything was good.
Deals with myself
Then I started making deals with myself. Discounting his behaviour — drinking binges to ‘cope with his commitment to dogs,’ his mood swings. Cruelty to dogs. Slowly I started loosing friends. They slipped away and I didn’t even notice it. He dominated my life in every aspect. Every person that was lost was more space for him. I kept hearing little ‘bends on the truth.’ They were repeated so much — it was like a chant I began to believe.
I had previously been in the jewelry industry. He told me he had trained as a jeweler, so I funded a jeweler business we could both work out. We moved to a new country town as he had made so many enemies where we lived. Everyone else’s fault of course. I accepted very explanation.
Dogs would go missing. Heart attacks. Snake bites. He beat chickens and turkeys to death for ‘misbehaving’. He would choke a dog for misbehaving. He said to me to ‘mind my own fucking business’ if I ever challenged his ways. His temper got worse over the course of our relationship. He would be nice one minute, turn around and be pure evil the next. Staring straight at me, egging me on to challenge him. He would ‘set me up.’ Make me say something insignificant, or do something totally innocent, then days later play it against me. Hours of lecturing me until I was exhausted. This was my life. Trying to not make him angry. Trying not to get ‘set up’ and suffer the consequences. He killed many family pets — too many to recall.
I turned a blind eye
I took no phone calls myself. He monitored every call that came into the house. Work became my sanctuary to some degree as I actually had contact with customers he couldn’t interfere with.
We were slowly going broke keeping him in all his business ideas. Leap frogging from one brainstorm to another. Instead of just working hard at the shop, he was always chasing something bigger. He spent so much time on the Internet, we lost customers due to his arrogance. We were slowly sinking and he was oblivious — too busy flirting with women in the dog world, but I turned a blind eye to it all.
I always knew deep down inside he was seducing women. But I lived in denial. One day one a mutual friend started to pursue him. I discovered correspondence between them of a sexual nature. That proof left me stunned. I was at the point where I was exhausted by him and our relationship. I confronted him. He went wild. My life went into slow motion and I froze. I ask myself a million times, why didn’t I run? Call police?
But I took everything he did to me. I have been raped and so emotionally tortured. He threatened to kill me if I told anyone. He smirked and stared the whole time. Through every torment, as right throughout our relationship, his eyes would twinkle with delight when I showed any emotional pain.
He left me
He eventually left me for that mutual friend. I uncovered emails that unfortunately showed me that he, along with this female friend, had been plotting for him to leave me, and how much money and property he would get.
The day he left was the day I was freed. I had lived a life so controlled in every way. I was distraught. I knew I was free, but I didn’t know what to do with that freedom. After he left he bombarded me with text messages asking me to write down how I felt. I was so distraught about being left to run a home (lived on a property with over 500 birds that needed feeding every day, and 11 dogs) and a business, I didn’t have the time to write my feelings to anyone. So made up my mind never to communicate with him again. He went wild. Bombarding my email and phone with filthy hateful messages. I changed phone numbers, changed email addresses, and blocked him everywhere.
I spent the first 14 months post relationship under the weight of all his lies, and I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why. I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress. I lost a huge amount of weight, I couldn’t eat, the nightmares where shocking.
Discovering the truth
I discovered this man I was once in a relationship with had been to jail on at least one occasion, and had been in mental insitiutes at least twice. Only education he ever had was up to high school. All lies …
Today he owns more dogs than ever. He has access to guns. He is still contacting himself with the academic world. He apparently has a website with all his ‘credentials’ — I have never looked at any of it.
I am two and a half years away from that relationship. I have been through court proceedings as he made claim against the business and me financially. I am free of him now. I have attended loads of counseling. I never wanted the past to own my future. I have worked hard at freeing myself from the past. I struggle with the guilt and shame of losing most of my assets to this con man. I am riddled with guilt why I never stood up to him in regards to what he did to pets.
I am now rebuilding my life bit by bit. I am not close to anyone, but I still have my pet dogs and they have shown loyalty and trust which has been a comfort. I have a new career in a great work place. Many friends have come back into my life post relationship. I can’t say I am back in one piece emotionally, but every day, bit by bit, I am putting my life back together.