I Dated A Compulsive Liar & Felt Like I Was Going Crazy

I dated a compulsive liar and it totally messed me up. He was charming as hell, but after a few weeks of dating him, I realized that his charm was a mask for manipulation.

  1. I felt constantly confused. I never knew what was going on because he was never clear about anything. If I asked him where he’d been over the weekend, he’d tell me a long, complicated story that made no sense. By the end of it, I’d be wondering what the hell he’d actually said. Everything was always complicated and there was never anything black or white. He even lied about stupid, small things like whether he’d watched a certain movie or what his middle name was. It was crazy!
  2. I started doubting myself. Since I was feeling confused around him all at the time, I became uncertain about our relationship as a whole. Did he really hint that he was dating someone else, or was I just jumping the gun? Did I really hear him say that he’d stayed home the whole weekend? I called and he ignored me, though, so what gives? I didn’t know if I should trust him or myself.
  3. He guilt-tripped me. When I expressed doubt about what he was telling me, he’d slather on the guilt. He’d tell me I was being unfair, I was judging him, I didn’t trust him… This all made me feel like crap, and coupled with not being certain about anything, it made me think I should be nicer to him. Yeah, I know, go figure!
  4. He preyed on my insecurities. Compulsive liars are really smart. That’s how they get people to believe them. This guy used my insecurities against me. For example, he’d say that I didn’t trust guys because I’d been cheated on in the past, and this was making me doubt him when really he was the good guy. He was right about me having been hurt in the past and being worried about getting hurt, so I’d think, “Hey, maybe he’s also right about being the good guy.” Spoiler alert: he wasn’t.
  5. His victim act made me feel like the bad guy. There’s no way to corner a pathological liar—they always land on their feet. Once, I was so sick of how I’d caught him out on yet another lie that I actually brought it up to him. I expected him to apologize like a normal person, but instead he acted like I was in the wrong, and he was so convincing that I started to believe him. I guess it helped him that I was someone who felt guilt at the drop of a hat. So messed up!
  6. Just when I thought I knew him, he’d flip the script. There were many times in that relationship when I’d think that I knew him but then I’d see him in a different situation and realize he wasn’t the guy I thought he was. I felt like I was in some sort of sick parallel universe or something. For example, one time we were out with one of his friends who told me how much my BF loved to smoke weed. Meanwhile, my BF always said he hated weed and he’d never smoked it around me. Who was this guy? Another example: he was always shy and introverted around me but around his friends, he was so outgoing and fun. It was disconcerting.
  7. He called my memory into question. When my boyfriend’s stories would change from one day to the next, sometimes I’d call him out on it. If he couldn’t blame me, he’d blame my memory. I was apparently so forgetful. Again, he’d make me think I was the problem.
  8. I got caught up. I thought I could rise above someone who lied so much—at least that’s what I’d always hoped. I’d hear stories of guys who’d lied a lot to their GFs and I’d think, “There’s no way I’d get brainwashed into staying with those guys.” Well, I did. My personality changed. I went from being confident to having low self-esteem and not being able to trust my gut. I was confused and always trying to give the benefit of the doubt, even though I knew I was just wasting my time.
  9. I became my own worst nightmare. I became desperate to find the truth. In fact, I was obsessed with it and it brought out the worst in me. I started snooping through his phone and computer, trying to catch him out on his lies. But I was dealing with a pathological liar here. He was probably deleting all his messages regularly so that I couldn’t get my hands on them. Finding nothing incriminating against him made me even more anxious and desperate. I was becoming a nightmare. This wasn’t who I am! I was spinning out of control.
  10. I wanted my old self back. My ex hadn’t just been a liar—he’d been a charming, interesting, and intelligent guy. I’d tried to see those parts of his personality instead, but sooner or later they were all eaten up by his pathological lies. I knew that I had to GTFO of the relationship because it was destroying me. There’s no way that an honest person can survive someone so toxic, and I knew that my sanity wasn’t worth trying to find out if I could.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.