I have been with my boyfriend for close to 3 years. We met online. It turns out he lied about his age, the number of children he has, and other things. Over the years I have also found calls, names, numbers, and texts from various other women. Confronting him on these kinds of things always leads to arguments and excuses. He claims he has not had sex with anyone else since we met and therefore all the other disturbing things I’ve found out don’t really matter. I have asked him to stop doing the things online that bother me. Still, a few months ago I found that he had created yet another online profile and was talking with women and giving them his phone number, etc. He gave the excuse that at the time he had wanted to get out of our relationship because I never trusted him and along with all his other troubles (money mainly), he did not need this hassle, and swore he would delete the profile. Well, he never did, and the other day I caught him being up to his old tricks. I have now told him I’m done with him, and he blames me, saying that I’m a masochist who is always digging stuff up.
I guess I just wanted to tell someone this, and see what you have to say, because I do not have any friends and no other source of social life other than this guy, unfortunately. I know I should and want to, but I just don’t know where to meet people to become friends in this day and age. I’m 30, he is 49 now. He says that every time he feels like I am the one for him, I mess it up by mistrusting him.
Thank you for any time you have for my question.
From guilt-tripping to shaming, to blaming, and all the many artful ways of lying, your boyfriend uses every manipulative trick I outline in my book In Sheep’s Clothing [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. You appear to have two characteristics I also discuss in the book that make you vulnerable to his ploys. First, you seem to have some conscientiousness (whereas he seems to lack a well-developed conscience) that makes you wonder if there’s some truth to his bogus claims, and second, you seem to be emotionally dependent on him because you haven’t developed sufficient support resources or sufficient capacity to be on your own.
“Abusive” is the only appropriate word to define the kind of relationship you describe. And abusers do tend to inwardly detest and see as “masochistic” people whom they can successfully manipulate into staying in an abusive relationship. But you can stop the abuse any time. It won’t be easy because you’ve allowed yourself to be too dependent and too unassertive for too long. But all that can change, too. And, as with all journeys of personal development and empowerment, it begins with the first step.
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