I’ll be the first to admit that I’m incredibly cynical when it comes to love and dating. Can you blame me? I’ve been through that many bad experiences that it’s a miracle I haven’t retired from dating altogether. However, I do want to find someone to potentially spend my life with, so I continue to cautiously put myself out there. When I met my most recent ex, he promised me he was different from all the other guys I’d been with and like an idiot, I actually started to believe him. Of course, the only thing different about him was the way in which he ended up disappointing me.
- He cheated on me… several times. He swore he was loyal, that while other guys were only interested in sex and had no sense of commitment, he wasn’t like that. When he was in a relationship, he never strayed. Of course, that was total bullsh-t. He cheated on me at least three times that I know about, and I’m sure there are more affairs he had that I’m not aware of.
- He stole from me. This one was truly a first, I’ll give him that. It started with random bits of cash I had laying around the house. If I had $20 sitting on the kitchen counter and it was missing the next time I came home, I thought I must have used it at the gas station or something after all. However, it wasn’t until I let him take my debit card to the bodega to grab some milk and realized a few days later that he’d withdrawn an extra $100 without telling me that I woke up to the truth.
- He lied about cheating on me and stealing from me. When I confronted him about the cheating and the stealing (on separate occasions, of course), he totally lied. Even worse, he didn’t skip a beat or look remorseful or anything. He acted as if my bringing it up was an inconvenience and he couldn’t believe I had the nerve to call him on it. He swore he didn’t do anything and never would. Other guys might, but not him.
- He constantly gaslit me. As he was lying about not doing anything wrong, he also turned it around to try and make me feel like I was the crazy one. That missing $100? I must have stopped after work to get cash out and forgot. The cheating? I was obviously so paranoid and insecure from what other guys had done to me in the past that I was making things up in my head to self-sabotage. Unfortunately for him, I have a bit more strength of character than to fall for it, but he sure did try.
- He blamed me for everything that went wrong. When we got into an argument, it was always my fault, no matter what the fight was about or who started it. While other guys I’d been with in the past had trouble staying they were sorry and were frustratingly stubborn, this guy took lack of accountability to a whole new level. He legitimately seemed to think he was an angel on earth and would become furious if anyone insinuated otherwise.
- He went missing for weeks on end. We didn’t live together, though there were periods of time in which he spent nearly every night at my house. When he’d leave, I would go weeks without hearing from him again. He wouldn’t call or text and seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth. I’d never dealt with something like this with any of the other guys I’d ever dated. Doing your own thing for a day or two is fine, but this guy would literally go AWOL for two or three weeks at a time and refuse to offer an explanation when he came back. If I asked him for one, again, I was being crazy, smothering him, etc.
- He tried to manipulate me. Ah, the old classic of “If you cared about me, you’d…” He tried to get me to bend to his will by using my feelings for him against me. It didn’t matter that sometimes the things he asked me to do made me uncomfortable or unhappy. If I refused to indulge his every whim, I obviously didn’t care about him and if that’s how I behaved in relationships, it’s no wonder things went wrong with other guys. Yes, seriously.
- He isolated me from my friends. Whenever I’d want to go out with my girls, he’d try to get me to stay in by saying how much he missed me and was hoping we could have a quiet night together. If I had something planned like a brunch or event that he wasn’t involved in, he would suddenly be really ill or have some kind of mini-breakdown that required my full attention and made me feel terrible for leaving him. It was horrific.
- It took me too long to get away. He was right in saying that he wasn’t like other guys. I’d literally never dealt with someone so narcissistic, inconsiderate, and apathetic in my life. While I could see through him from a mile away, I still tried to give him the benefit of the doubt for far too long. Thankfully, I eventually found the strength to walk away.