Editor’s Note: This Letter to Lovefraud was submitted by a reader who calls himself “Fred.”
I bloomed late. At age 53 I grew tired of a lonely and celibate life, I finally admitted to myself and others I was gay. It didn’t take long to find my first boyfriend who was a super sweet, moral guy, like myself, but after nine months it was apparent we weren’t a match.
Drawn to downtown guy
Many months passed and I again was so lonely. I saw this guy at a downtown club. I’m not sure what the draw was. He was bald, slightly chunky but seemed to be the most beautiful guy I’ve ever seen. Funny now, because others tell me he’s not attractive. I’ll call him Adam.
I tried to work up the courage to speak to him, then he would be gone and I thought I missed my opportunity. Then he would come back. I thought to myself, “how am I going to live the rest of my life without knowing this man?” Finally we spoke and in moments it was like we always knew each other. I was so happy to find this great guy, Adam.
He asked lots of questions. I know now this is how sociopaths size up their prey. He knew my age, my history and that I was newly “out” and had only been with one guy. He knew I was looking for a long-term relationship.
Baiting me with questions
We spent lots of time together. We would take trips. He even took me to his family reunion, I felt honored, his folks liked me. But at times he would say crazy things. I believe now he was feeling me out to see how I would react if I really knew who he was.
Once he said he was thinking of doing porn. I said “no way!” He said, “You would break up with me if I did porn?” I said “yes!” Porn was never brought up again.
He would mention other extreme sexual practices and when he sensed my appall he would back off. I’ve since learned he was into all the topics of these baited questions. I was so blind and thought this was the love of my life, the perfect guy.
One thing I did notice early on is that he didn’t look like himself in pictures, something about his eyes, there was a lonely, sad look.
He told me he had been in two long-term relationships spanning 12 years. He seemed like such a catch in the beginning. He never talked of friends. I knew he was bi-polar and I thought maybe his friends grew tired of his moodiness. I patiently (mostly patiently) dealt with the moodiness, thinking he was such a great guy I could deal with his disorder.
Started to get sick
Six weeks into our relationship we went on an overnight backpacking trip; we had a great time. The next morning I felt bad and barely hiked out. I kept getting sicker over the next few weeks. I went to my doctor and got lots of tests, including HIV which came back negative. I asked Adam to get tested and he fussed about it, saying I made him feel like a slut.
As my health continued to decline I asked him to move in to help. Finally I lost consciousness. Adam took me to the hospital after he said I was unresponsive for two days. I remember just a few details, but lost about a week of memory.
One day in the hospital all five of my doctors came at once and told me they had bad news. I was HIV positive which had caused my spinal meningitis, encephalitis and kidney problems. I still didn’t test positive for the standard HIV antibody test. HIV hit me hard and fast.
From sweet to evil
During my recovery at home Adam was so sweet, caring for me and doing everything I needed. When I did walk, I needed a cane. I was mostly “out of it” and on the couch for a couple months. When I finally started getting better Adam turned evil, picking crazy fights.
As time went on, more and more of his sexual history came to the surface, like the term “all hell broke loose” and mentions of bath houses. It seemed whenever we were out and around town, people he knew came up to him. “Oh him, we had a three-way with another guy from a group camp out.”
I took my car away from him when I found out he was drinking. I suspected he was seeing other guys and I have since found out that I was right, he was hooking up with guys in my own home. Sociopaths take extra pleasure when they do their “deeds” right under your nose! I kept getting a sense he was baiting me to physically assault him but I wouldn’t take that bait. I thought it would be wise to keep a digital voice recorder in my pocket.
He wouldn’t move out
I finally asked him to move out. He told me no, and if I tried to make him leave or call the police he would cut his neck, choke himself and tell the police I did it. He said he would get me thrown out of my house, get a restraining order and stay as long as he wanted rent free. He said when I went to work he would bring in skanky downtown people to trash my house, and I would never see my dogs again. He said he would burn my house if I tried to force him out.
Finally he left, 30 minutes later I got a text that he never wanted to hear from me again.
I lost lots of hair and weight and I believe I could have died from this illness. I think he expected me to die and if I did he would get everything I owned. It was only after I started getting better that his attitude turned against me.
Barely functioning for a year
I could barely function physically and mentally for about a year; my eyesight and hearing and cognitive functions took some time to recover. I lost all my clients in my small construction business, as I could only manage a few hours of light duty work.
I saw many therapists and was treated for PTSD, depression and anxiety for quite a while. They had me on five different anti-depressants.
I actually learned more from Lovefraud than from any of my well-meaning psychologists and psychiatrists. I believe I was targeted by an opportunist who saw me as a meal ticket and someone to kick around.
Once I said “Adam, I’ve lost everything — my business, my wealth, my ability to earn, my health.” His response was “now you’re just like me.” He took delight in knocking down someone who had something he never had.
I was looking for love and found the Devil. I now find myself saying how am I going to live the rest of my life having known this guy?
Still haunted by trauma
I’ve made quite a bit of progress in two and a half years. It took over a year before I could work a full day. I have been with a great guy now for two years but I am still haunted by this sociopath and the trauma I endured.
I live in a small city and I sometimes see Adam lurking around; he avoids me. Now that I’m in the HIV community I find that nearly everyone I know has some connection to him.
I’m still optimistic about people and hope to be able to trust again … but sometimes in the back of my mind I’m waiting for the other boot to drop.