I confess. I am one of those people who was swept up in the excitement, sex and love bombing by the sociopath and committed to the relationship far too quickly.
James Montgomery proposed to me four days after we met in person. I said yes.
I sometimes excuse myself by explaining that we’d been corresponding via e-mail for about a month after meeting online, so it wasn’t like I only knew him for four days. But then, of course, a month isn’t very long either.
I take some comfort in the fact that I am certainly not alone. Many, many people describe the beginning of their relationship with a sociopath as a “whirlwind romance.” In fact, one of the warning signs that I identify in my book, Red Flags of Love Fraud — 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath, is “moves fast to hook up.”
As research for the book, I conducted the online Lovefraud Romantic Partner Survey, which was completed by more than 1,300 respondents. When asked to identify behaviors that they saw in their relationships, 77% agreed with “moved fast — quickly proclaimed love, quickly wanted to be exclusive.”
But would I have escaped the bogus marriage if I’d gone slower? I don’t know.
Ten days after I left James Montgomery, he married another woman. Yes, that was bigamy.
But this woman — whom I call “Kim Goodson” in my book, Love Fraud — had been involved with Montgomery for seven years. Montgomery had gotten married twice during this time — to me and a woman before me, Gale Lewis — and continued to see Kim all along. At one point Kim actually learned about Gale and broke up with Montgomery, but still he was able to reel her back in.
So here’s the point: Although sociopaths may move fast to hook up, they may also engage in the long con.
Married to a stranger
Many sociopaths can maintain the loving charade as long as it takes to hook you. Then, once you’ve signed the dotted line, everything changes.
I’ve heard from many people who reported that they dated the sociopath for several years before agreeing to marry, and the person was a perfect romantic partner the entire time. Once they committed to the relationship, the charade ended.
In some cases, the about-face was sudden and shocking. Here are some anecdotes that I collected in another Lovefraud survey:
From very loving to cold indifference … started right after we were married … The change was startling … cold, distant, indifferent, condescending, mean spirited, accusatory … self righteous, irresponsible.
Initially there were dates, flowers, gifts and little thoughtfullness’s. After I married him, he said, on the Honeymoon, ‘I can stop acting now.’ I thought that he was joking. I later learned he did not do jokes.
Affection, sex, expressions of love, gifts, everything seemed almost perfect. Once I moved in with her everything changed. I almost left the first week but hung in for 6 months of hell.
It changed the minute we got married. Then he owned me you see, I was nothing to him after he lured me in! All he wanted was MONEY!
At first, he’d call me a dozen times an hour to tell me he loved me, couldn’t live without me, needed to hear my voice; then when me got married, that stopped … and he didn’t tell me he loved me ever again. He “won his prize.”
In the beginning of the relationship (before marriage) he was loving, caring, could not do enough for me. Called me his soul mate, his true companion in life. This continued until the day I married him, within hours after the wedding ceremony his personality shifted. It was as if I had dated and fell in love with one person, but married someone I was completely unfamiliar with, he was a stranger to me in all ways.
The long con
I’ve also heard from people who were married to a sociopath for years, even decades, and never knew that the sociopath was living a completely double life.
While the sociopath was gainfully employed, acting as an attentive husband or wife, and a pillar of the community, he or she was also engaging in fraud, drugs, and/or extramarital sex with women, men or both.
In these cases, the targets were often cover. They provided the sociopath with a veneer of respectability so that the predator could pursue his or her hidden agenda.
So here’s what you need to know: If someone is pushing you into a relationship at warp speed, this is definitely a warning sign that should not be ignored.
But someone who is not pushy can still be a predator.
Some sociopaths, when motivated, can keep their masks firmly in place as long as necessary to accomplish their objective.
Listening to your intuition
That’s why it’s so important to listen to your intuition.
Your partner may be doing or saying all the right things. But if you feel nagging concerns, if there is a problem with your partner or relationship that you can’t put your finger on, this may be all the warning you ever get. Be sure to pay attention.