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Author Topic: Report of an intense relationship an it's end, NC and hope  (Read 280 times)
cloned2bewild

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« on: December 02, 2019, 01:20:54 PM »

Dear board members!

I want to share with you what has just happened and can need some encouragement. I also want to encourage others, by saying that I am a mental health professional and want to show, that also us professionals can get into relationships with a uBPD.

I broke up with my exGF two weeks ago. Ever since then I went full-blown NC despite her attempts to contact me. There were moments like last night, where the feeling of guilt that was left from breaking up was devastating me and that also got triggered by her very last message towards me, that signaled it's now my fault that "things basically ended that way".

We were only together for four months in total. I struggled with co-dependency my whole life but got a lot better over the years. I am 35 yo now and I hope my healing journey will continue. Before I dated her, I was 1,5 years single, went to 25 dates and didn't date anyone longer than 3 dates, didn't engage in sex and was proud of having spotted all the red flags right in the beginning, beside dates that simply didn't match, had no chemistry etc.

With her I had no clue! I kept it easy and slow, maximum of 1-2 dates a week. But I should have done it even slower. Took time to reflect on the dates. But after the 3rd date latest I was already hooked. She appeared as the sweetest, funniest, easiest woman I have had dated for a while. Over 30+ the dates can be very exhausting and stiff. That feeling of instantly falling in love came back to me, that I haven't had for almost 10 years. This limerence, this strong infatuation. I ignored the red flags that I can clearly see now: Her initiating sex early, she telling me that I am so special, that she never trusted no one so quickly, that I have such a good heart (which I think I really do), presents that she made early on, pet names after one month (!) and many more idealization and love-bombing. I semi-consciously chose to oversee those red flags and my gut feeling that said a few time: "Be careful, dude!" One date-night I had this fleeting thought in my mind: "Get the f*** out of here"! I totally ignored that one as a random thought. My subconscious mind knew way before me.  Paragraph header (click to insert in post) The fact that she has been in a marriage with probably a narcissist for almost a decade before, a man who treated her with indifference, without sex and affection should have been another huge red flag. Probably that is the only constellation it can be untreatedly stable. To act as if you don't care, but I am too sensitive and empathic for that.

I am a very affectionate person, I like sex of all variations and the sex was just great and I haven't felt this kind of intense chemistry for ages. It almost felt, as if she "sucked me all into herself". She had no boundaries sexually and I felt as manly as a man could only feel. The sex was "energetic" and "ecstatic" and "tantric". I felt for this spiritual label of hers somehow. I got consumed by the idea that she is a "healed bird that knows her stuff these days". That was the trap, I felt hard and bad for her. I know from the past, when I felt that way, it never turned out positive. But there I was. She told me one day how there is  a darkess inside of herself like a balck hole. How could I oversee that?

From month two onwards, things got really difficult. Before that had been glimpses of her "second face" that I dimissed as coincidences or "bad days". But then it started, that she had those moments when the atomosphere flipped from positive and very loving to cold and distant without any good external reason. She had sometimes an answer for me about what happened, but it never really made sense for me. As the reflected person, that I am, I started to think about my behaviour more intensely. This progressed over weeks. I started to feel like tip-toeing around her. My co-dependent fear of abandonment got much better over the years and I feel stable in myself, but those abrupt cold-shoulder treatments of hers that ended in aggression, when I didn't accept them, got under my skin. I felt shut-out immediately. I tried to self-sooth, but often I got triggered badly. The weeks after I started to feel less and less like myself. I think this escalated also so quickly, because I do not keep my mouth shut anymore. The adult resolutions that I waited for didn't come. There were a few moments when I felt we achieved something, but those were ardouous discussions with extreme boundary setting and a total investment of energy. It didn't last long. Two times the arguments escalated to the point I said to myself that this is it. But then the sweet, loving and seemingly compassionate side of hers reappeared and I let myself getting sucked in again of this loop. It's sooooo addictive. It was making me crazy and I started to doubt my perceptions and awareness.

The cycle of wanting to break up went on weekly, but there were smaller cycles within days, sometimes hours, sometimes interactions that were double-binded push/pull maneuvers. Alongside I think she used a lot of gaslighting, deflection, projection, blame shift, etc. Her abusive comments were subtle and smart usually. I was not really sure which "part" of herself I would encounter, if I saw her or called/messaged with her.

After a failed weekend in the countryside, that was supposed to be rejuvenating, that ended in a lot of drama, I decided that I love myself enough by now to let go of this. The breakup was everything but easy and quite dramatic. I feel brutal and harsh for ending it and going into no contact right away. I actually never did that before. She tried every maneuver of confusion, begging, just calling, sweetness/charm and blaming/guilt-tripping. I stood strong and I hope I will continue. I haven't heard back from her and I hope I won't. In a lonely and sad moment I fantasize about her coming back to me with revelations and apologies. I have to remind myself that those fantasies come from my own trauma.

I see it as a success that I ended this fairly quickly. But still I got my bruises and I feel hurt. I had to do with BPD professionally and I know how it feels inside when the "flip" comes in the splitting. But so far except one brief affair many years ago, I never had a commited relationship with an uBPD and I can only guess how it must feel to come out of a marriage or a LTR of 10 years with a Cluster-B personality. I hope you guys can all stay strong in your determination.

What I find remarkable that I feel really "tricked" as she presented herself in the beginning but also later as a spirtual person with 3 years of therapy. I assume she learned many manipulative tricks in therapy and how to better play other people. I'm afraid it was abuse of therapy too and I guess she knew exactly how to play her therapist. But all of those therapy/spiritual tendencies of hers seem like a facade to me now. If I think about it more deeply, she knew the lingo, but didn't really come up with her own insights or thoughts. I think her psychological understanding and the awareness was quite shallow. So take care and be careful with people who pretend to be very knowledgable of that in the dating arena. I studied 5 years and did a 5 years post-grad training and have ongoing therapy and I do learn everyday so much new stuff. We never fully arrive I think.

The hardest part is to reframe the idealization of the beginning as not having anything to do with real love. I'm happy over any comments and am grateful to be able to share with you all. I feel a lot of guilt, shame, sadness, anger, fear and disgust after this short relationship. I know this ripped of the band-aid of my childhood with a BPD mother, that I quit all contact with. Loads of hugs!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 01:36:07 PM by cloned2bewild » Logged
gizmocasci
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 09:59:20 PM »

Clone,

Sorry to hear about this, I know how you feel. Are you sure we didn't date the same girl, haha, I feel like you wrote my story.

All kidding aside, I'm four months into no contact, and believe me when I say it does get easier. Having read others stories, I think having done the work before, makes getting over something like this just a bit easier. The question that falls on us is, why did we let our guard down even though we knew better? When the fog begins to lift though and you look back on it, you'll realize just how crazy and dysfunctional it was really was. I never knew people like that existed out there, but now I do.

Hang in there, stick to NC and fight through the urges to reach out to her and you'll be well on your way. There are plenty of normal and healthy women out there worth fighting for.

Cheers

R
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gizmocasci
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 10:03:00 PM »


I had been going to therapy for a few years prior to meeting her. When I asked her about going to see someone with me, she told me that I'D be in for a rude awakening if we went together. WTF?


I was trying to modify my last comment, but accidenly quoted it.
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SinisterComplex

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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 10:22:32 PM »

Cloned, it doesn't make any difference your background. It can happen to anyone. No one is perfect and no one is impervious. I mean I've studied human behavior for 2 decades. Anthropology, Criminology, Psychology, Sociology. I have degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I'm trained in counter terrorism interrogation, etc. I was married to a bpd woman. All of that education, knowledge, wisdom, experience still didn't mean jack sh*t and doesn't mean jack sh*t. I still got hurt again. We are human and have emotions and we still make mistakes and go through things that get FUBAR'ed. However, this time around it has been much easier to get over, because I didn't make the mistake of having sex with her (my instincts made me feel it wasn't safe). In my situation, my ex wife was your normal external/standard bpd. The one I just dealt with was more the quiet acting in bpd waif.

I really cared for this woman and I just like you feel a deep sense of betrayal and that I was tricked (the male pride is a real b*tch sometimes). Its ok though. Seriously, sh*t happens. Honestly, with how things went down you have to look at it as though she did you a favor. That is how I look at my situation. I was saved from a potentially horrible situation. I got lucky and dodged not a bullet, but a nuclear bomb. At least for me I have had a horrible roller coaster of a year. Far too many things going on and she kinda preyed on my vulnerability more or less. The good news it was the catalyst I needed. Call it coincidence, but my life essentially got fast tracked being put back on the right path. I hope you will be able to feel and heal the same way in your own time and on your own terms. Sometimes the pain that strikes us down is a blessing in disguise.

When you get a chance to step back and analyze everything it will become comical as in the sense...man WTF was I thinking? Get back to what makes you happy and focus on positive alacrity and the positive healthy relationships in your life.

Cheers , good luck, and all the best to you my friend!
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 10:26:49 PM »

 Hi Cloned2bewild,

I am so sorry that you had to go through this, but it sounds like you are handling it like a champ. Good for you for recognizing that the progression of the r/s was not a ride you wanted to take and stepping off when you knew it was right for you. Many of us have held on long after the world started spinning.

I can totally relate to what you said about learning the lingo of therapy and using it to present the image of a person who is truly working on issues. My ex was really good at that, in fact, we met in AA and I believed he was honestly trying to get better, as I was. Looking back, I realized that he knew all the right things to say but really had no interest in taking an honest look at his core issues or how to go about treating them. He would rather put off the image of someone who was earnestly trying while truly making no sincere effort whatsoever. He wanted all the benefits of close relationships and used the "I'm working on myself and changing" while still mired in old behaviors.
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SinisterComplex

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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2019, 10:37:55 PM »

Gizmo, I agree there are plenty of other normal healthy women out there. However, one mindset I would alter...the whole worth fighting for ideal. Honestly, healthy relationships you don't have to fight for. They just fit. There won't be chaos and drama. With a good woman you don't have to fight for anything. No, she will respect you and appreciate you and things will come naturally and effortlessly. I've had those good relationships too and my parents had that relationship. I've had the chaotic and drama filled ones too and once you go through the chaotic and drama filled ones you learn real quick what BS you will not put up with again and that you won't have to fight for it because it will come to you. Usually if you fight for it and force things the end result usually is combustible and an end is essentially pre-determined. If you can learn to let things happen naturally and have the patience necessary you will get what you ultimately want because it came to you on its own.

The only thing to fight for is bettering your life for YOU.

Regardless, I appreciate your views, opinions and support and I wish you all the best moving forward.

Cheers!
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cloned2bewild

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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2019, 06:48:23 AM »

Good afternoon from Berlin-Germany!

Thanks for all the positive and encouraging feedback! I can only give that back. Hold on to your course of self-love, setting boundaries and feeling okay with healthy entitlement.

I also believe that a relationship between two healthy, assertive adults who are able to allow intimacy and autonomy don't need to fight. There will be open, honest communication and a sense of interdependence, discussing and negotiation and finding solutions. If it doesn't work out then, there will be pain and heartbreak maybe but combined with a "I'm sorry it didn't work out but I hold the very best for you in my heart, we were simply not matched, didn't have the same goals, etc. and let you go".

When you are coming out of a toxic relationship (not my first one) it feels - to the co-dependent part at least - like you have to prove yourself, get better, provide more, etc. It's the hook of the trauma bond that makes you believe that you "haven't done enough yet" or that it was "your fault all over". That's because many of people with co-dependency issues felt exactly the same way with their disordered parent(s). As if they were selfish for having needs and feelings. It's thick heavy guilt and shame. I try to understand better that this is not caused by my ex-partner, but triggered very old wounds.

For most people with empathy it's easy to get hooked by someone, when you feel, they are also wounded children. You can relate to their pain in a way, even if you made different decisions as a child. I guess it's important to see your partner as the adult that they are and their responsibility for their actions and not compartementalize it. From a very personal POV I know how hard this is. Sometimes the most empathic response is to have rock solid boundaries.

About the spiritual and psychological aspect that you mentioned before. In my experience I will be more careful in the future with my boundaries, especially with people from the "spiritual scene". Actions matter foremost, not empty words.
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gizmocasci
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2019, 07:09:31 AM »

Gizmo, I agree there are plenty of other normal healthy women out there. However, one mindset I would alter...the whole worth fighting for ideal. Honestly, healthy relationships you don't have to fight for. They just fit. There won't be chaos and drama. With a good woman you don't have to fight for anything. No, she will respect you and appreciate you and things will come naturally and effortlessly. I've had those good relationships too and my parents had that relationship. I've had the chaotic and drama filled ones too and once you go through the chaotic and drama filled ones you learn real quick what BS you will not put up with again and that you won't have to fight for it because it will come to you. Usually if you fight for it and force things the end result usually is combustible and an end is essentially pre-determined. If you can learn to let things happen naturally and have the patience necessary you will get what you ultimately want because it came to you on its own.

The only thing to fight for is bettering your life for YOU.

Regardless, I appreciate your views, opinions and support and I wish you all the best moving forward.

Cheers!

Sin thanks for responding.

When I used the term fight, I was using it very loosely. I guess a better term would've been "worth the effort" in regards to seeing things eye to eye, and allowing a reciprocal space for having each others feelings and words be heard. You're right the only individual worth fighting for is yourself.

All the best,

R
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SinisterComplex

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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2019, 11:33:46 AM »

Gizmo, it isn't necessarily about being right. As long as we all learn, prosper, and grow who cares who is right. The reason I responded the way I did is that when dealing with a bpd woman you will commonly run into the fight for me manipulative tactic. In essence, just trying to steer people away from that thought process and mindset. So yes worth the effort is a better way of putting it and I agree with you there.

Cheers!
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2019, 03:27:53 PM »

Afternoon and welcome cloned2bewild

I found this really helpful to focus on

The hardest part is to reframe the idealization of the beginning as not having anything to do with real love.

I just wonder and what you have to suggest about this honeymoon era. Despite the drama and trauma that results afterwards, is it this period in time you suggest that gets focused on each time and hard to reframe? Perhaps it is, the 3 months were idyllic, to the point that despite all that went wrong after, I went back and stayed in the relationship thinking that it would somehow revert back to that.

My own suspicions here are that it also appeared on the surface idllyic to me, but I believe now that the devaluation against me happened earlier, she just did not overtly show me the signs, or at least, I was not able to pick up on them that there was an underlying hatred. Thanks for sharing.
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gizmocasci
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2019, 08:56:57 PM »

The reason I responded the way I did is that when dealing with a bpd woman you will commonly run into the fight for me manipulative tactic.

Cheers!

A tactic she used on me! As if I was the one destroying the relationship, because I wasn't fighting for it. Yet I offered for us to go to therapy (which she negged on.) In my opinion that's the biggest way to fight for something.

Cheers bud.
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cloned2bewild

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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2019, 02:52:27 AM »


I just wonder and what you have to suggest about this honeymoon era. Despite the drama and trauma that results afterwards, is it this period in time you suggest that gets focused on each time and hard to reframe?

That is exactly what I mean. That there is this belief, that everything will go back to square one if we stick to it long enough. It is maybe the dream of a child to make an (partially on/off) unavailable parent/partner available.

For someone like me who is more  drawn in the direction of co-dependency, after I broke up I have to struggle with this feeling: "It's your fault that it went wrong". If you just had done more ___________ the relationship would have succeeded.

It's so tempting to be idealized by someone. I started to believe that we can be grateful for our ex-partners for them pointing to the things in us, that make us wonderful, even if it was just a subconcious strategy to get someone emotionally involved. After all, we felt seen and now it is maybe our work to integrate more self-love, that in the future we can appreciate adoration but don't jeopardize our own needs, feelings and sanity anymore and can step out of a relationship if this gets hostile or draining.

What do you think?
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cloned2bewild

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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2019, 12:55:26 PM »

Right now I do not feel like a champ at all.

I went into the dating app that we met over, to delete the chat protocol there, also to have no digital connection anymore that could get me triggered later on and realized she has new pictures in there from the time we were together. I hope she just started that after we broke up but also knowing that she is dating again feels crushing right now. I'm far away from moving on to date someone new.

How can you move on so quickly? It breaks my heart to believe that there might have been ZERO real feelings from her side...

Am I now just like the dates before? That she dismissed. Am I lined up?

Who had a similar experience and how did you cope with that?
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2019, 04:49:36 PM »

That is exactly what I mean. That there is this belief, that everything will go back to square one if we stick to it long enough. It is maybe the dream of a child to make an (partially on/off) unavailable parent/partner available.

For someone like me who is more  drawn in the direction of co-dependency, after I broke up I have to struggle with this feeling: "It's your fault that it went wrong". If you just had done more ___________ the relationship would have succeeded.

It's so tempting to be idealized by someone. I started to believe that we can be grateful for our ex-partners for them pointing to the things in us, that make us wonderful, even if it was just a subconcious strategy to get someone emotionally involved. After all, we felt seen and now it is maybe our work to integrate more self-love, that in the future we can appreciate adoration but don't jeopardize our own needs, feelings and sanity anymore and can step out of a relationship if this gets hostile or draining.

What do you think?

Totally agree with the above, not sure how much of it applies personally but there will be elements of codependency and enabling, I feel in my case there was other strong factors involved that kept it going, some of which also change during the 3 years in total from start to finish, it has more features of codependency towards the later stages than the start and middle. I find these relationships inherently complex and it is hard to find something that can fit the whole situation. I found a multitude of factors at play, and like I said, the importance of each dynamic changes also at any given moment. It can feel after the end of that "what a waste of time"! etc, and that nothing much happened, but in hindsight the mere fact I did eventually go no contact was a culmination of change and experience - it did not happen by mere chance and I did not just change overnight and make such a choice. Evolution.

But in terms of trying to continue the r/s and repress all these negative emotions - anger, betrayal etc, involved a lot of repression. I believe this is where I did keep replaying that 'magical' idealisation phase - with the absence of problems, drama, trauma and what was yet to happen. A bit of self-brainwashing, (you can see my lack of a more suitable psychological jargon buzzword here) but I hope it is sufficient to relay the point - staying in a somewhat dream like state was my own way of managing the distress caused until I could either solve it via her (did not happen), or buy time for it to deal with one day. It happened in post-relationship ending therapy and it took so long because by the time I got to it, I layered even more PTSD moments to have to deal with.

The only two times she made me feel "mr wonderful" was linked to (I) she went into a moment of acute emotional dysregulation and I was there to comfort her out of it - it felt entirely genuine in those moments "loved, she has finally seen sense" I believed it. or (II) I triggered moves towards abandonment, when I told her it was over. I never understoond this abandonment issue at all I rationalised it as she wanted me to be more assertive perhaps in the relationship and when I started to behave this way she finally started to 'respect' me and make her realise she had went too far. That was the only way I could make sense of it from my own world understanding, ofc it had to end up something far more convoluted aka "BPD"
that in the future we can appreciate adoration but don't jeopardize our own needs, feelings and sanity anymore and can step out of a relationship if this gets hostile or draining.

Sound advice cloned2bewild, I apply it as much to friendships and anyone else in close proximity. I think after going through something like this I feel not weary in an energy depleted sense but more in tune with the ability to say early on "look, this is not going to work - I can tell you this right now based on experience, goodbye and all the best, no hard feelings, dont forget your coat on the way out".
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SinisterComplex

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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2019, 07:38:45 PM »

Cromwell, such an eloquent way of putting it ""look, this is not going to work - I can tell you this right now based on experience, goodbye and all the best, no hard feelings, don't forget your coat on the way out."

Everyone has to find their own way to that conclusion and learn that lesson, but it perhaps is one of life's most important lessons to learn especially after having dealt with a disordered individual.

Cheers my friend!
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2019, 11:36:22 PM »

Cloned or BAMF CHAMP I will say (yeah smile and take it in),

I understand. Take your time for sure. It sucks, but if there is any consolation...she will have hell to pay at some point because she may be disordered, but she is still a human. You can only run for so long before running from your emotional debt comes due and when that bill comes due you can be rest assured the pain and anguish she caused she will have to deal with. You reap what you sow and she made her bed and she has to lay in it. You can walk away and your debts are paid. You are the victor in this even if it doesn't feel like it right now. You are a champ...let no one else to you differently. Wait a minute...you are a BAMF CHAMP!!!!

Don't for one second believe that when they move on that they have actually moved on...that couldn't be further from the truth. They act happy and put on a huge front. Its fake. Not your responsibility to give a F to the U to the C to the K either! Kill em with kindness and live well because that is not an act. Its like this...when you heal and you start kicking a$$ and taking names again its like the mystical karma out in the universe signals that to them and then all of a sudden they want back in when times are good. You win no matter what in that scenario because you will be able to turn them down and go about your business because you have moved on and even if they don't come back who cares? Your life is back on track and you are doing better for YOU anyway. Put yourself into position to have better opportunities and create win-win scenarios.

Cheers!
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2019, 12:23:13 AM »

Not only am I scarred from the relationship, I am fearful to date again. I never even knew women like this existed. The fact that a trained professional can be duped makes it all the more frightening.
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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2019, 04:03:32 AM »

Not only am I scarred from the relationship, I am fearful to date again. I never even knew women like this existed. The fact that a trained professional can be duped makes it all the more frightening.

Hey crushed. Let me tell you, us therapists we are also only humans. A big part of why what we are doing works is because we as a person stay more detached in that process by not disclosing (much) personal information. When working with someone with BPD you can always tell yourself, that you only see them for one hour a week. When things get to intense you can always retreat into a more clinical position and hide behind your clipboard or draw very clear boundaries.

When we engage in something personal, yes let our guard down entirely, we also get hurt, like anybody else. Keep strong and move on. There are healthier options out there.
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2019, 04:12:26 AM »

Cloned or BAMF CHAMP I will say (yeah smile and take it in),

Hey Sinister! Thanks for your uplifting words. I can tell you, the front is perfect. I think I got a good intuition, I am able to read people well, but with her I just had no clue or got intrigued so quickly that I couldn't see through anything. I was also in a vulnerable place, spent a lot of money on moving office etc. and was in general a bit stressed when I met her.

You know the scary part about seeing her profile was NOT that it brought back also the immensely positive feelings from the beginning (that too of course), but the REALLY challenging part is, when I saw those updated pictures and the text, that if I had no idea who she was, I would most definitely want to date her again. The cute, harmless, sensual pictures, the well chosen words, her claim that she wants honesty, good communication and authenticity in a relationship seem perverted NOW, but were so alluring THEN. It makes me feel sick in the stomach, that another man soon might have a similar experience. Who would turn "such an evolved being down"? I want to throw the  Paragraph header (click to insert in post) OUT THERE. But I guess that is my helper complex here. 
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SinisterComplex

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Broken Up
Posts: 41


« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2019, 11:09:03 AM »

Cloned, I have been trained in interrogation and reading people is something I would say I am particularly skilled at. I'm a human lie detector when I am on my game, I cut through the BS and get straight to the point. However, I get fooled sometimes too even when I know I smell some BS because I let my heart get involved and then I want to believe in people even when I know better. It happens. We are human and imperfect. You are not infallible, I am not infallible, no mental health expert or human behavior expert is infallible. We are all susceptible to getting played by disordered individuals.

You win some, you lose some. All you really can do is tip your cap and go well played! Realize that while she may have won her little game you are actually the true victor. Think of it from the perspective of ancient warfare....sometimes you lose the battles to ultimately win the war. Short-term sucks, but long-term will be so much better and brighter. Move on and live well.

Cheers to you BAMF Champ!
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cloned2bewild

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What is your relationship status with them: No Contact
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« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2019, 08:58:00 AM »

Cheers to you BAMF Champ!

It's a rocky road. Thanks for believing in me being a BAMF!  Being cool (click to insert in post) Being cool (click to insert in post)  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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SinisterComplex

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: Broken Up
Posts: 41


« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2019, 11:59:19 AM »

Not only am I scarred from the relationship, I am fearful to date again. I never even knew women like this existed. The fact that a trained professional can be duped makes it all the more frightening.

Crushed, do not be fearful to date again. For what its worth hey I got hurt, but the difference this time around is that I actually learned from my past mistakes and went into it with my eyes wide open. The experience of my ex wife prepped me for this last experience. Honestly, I am probably more open to dating again then I was before. I understand how you feel though. After divorce I was in a similar place as you. Don't let this experience color your lens and make you too gun shy though. There are awesome women out there.

Never under any circumstances let anyone have that kind of dominion over you...Period! Casually date. Be upfront. Ask penetrating questions. Don't be afraid to pull the plug and say hey its been real, but I don't see this working out if you start noticing red flags. Rise above and become a more evolved person. When you evolve you just naturally attract better people...romantic and friends alike.

Cheers to you and I wish you the best moving forward on your journey.
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