Why Do I Hope He Will Change?

Reader’s Question

I had a relationship with a man who lied and stole from me for 3 years. He has put me in so much debt that I keep in contact with him in hope that I receive money that he has agreed to pay back. It has been several months and I’ve received one payment only. I hoped that he would have learned from our relationship to stop lying and because we are not in a relationship he would not need to lie. I found out recently he is still lying. For example, he says his new girlfriend is 3 ½ months pregnant, but this is not true. He has lied so much that his family doesn’t want contact with him anymore. What makes a person lie so much? How do I stop worrying about his new girlfriend? Why do I hope he can change? How do I simply move on?

Psychologist’s Reply

Your ex hasn’t just lied to you — he’s a professional liar. He lies to everyone. You’ve had an experience with a con-artist and antisocial personality (psychiatric diagnosis). He’s also keeping you on “back burner” while he works with his next target by promising he’ll pay you back. In hopes of recovering your financial losses, you hang on. I’d bet money he obtained that first (and probably only) payment from victim #2.

Your situation is very common and you’re in good company. I’ve written an article about him called Identifying Losers and about your situation in Love and Stockholm Syndrome. Both are available on this website. Additionally, this website has two discussion groups on these articles that contain hundreds of comments from normal people who have used, abused, and manipulated by people like your ex (for example, see here and here). As I warn in the beginning of my Loser article, a relationship with this type of personality disorder will damage and cost you. Financial losses are probably most common and can be repaired. Others lose their self-esteem, family, career, and mental health.

To move on, you must realize that you’ll never get your money back. If his thefts involved a criminal act, you may want to discuss the matter with an attorney. He’s trying to stay on “good terms” with you to avoid prosecution. At the same time, he’s trying to make you feel guilty and sorry for him…just in case you realize that you’re the victim of a crime…and again to avoid any legal action on your part. Again, these folks are con-artists. Notice that after all he has done to you…you feel guilty? You feel somehow unworthy? You’ll see in the Loser article how he has made his criminal/lying/stealing behavior somehow your fault over the past three years.

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Please read the article and the discussion groups. I’d also seek counseling to repair your self-esteem. As you will see in the discussion groups, most folks realize that it’s better to recover from their losses rather than try to maintain a relationship with someone who will only use that connection to victimize you again.

His family has recognized what he is and how he behaves. You must do the same and get away from him.

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