I have spent countless hours in front of a computer or notebook, struggling to write down my feelings about this. Months passed until I somehow forced myself to type out everything I was thinking about last week, but the associated memories that came as I was typing were so powerful that my brain shut off pretty quickly.
I thought that writing about this would be therapeutic. I’m not sure why I chose to write it as a blog post, but if anything, it is a way for me to document my healing process.
The shell of a relationship ended in June 2016. Ironically, the day after I finally realized that I was manipulated for 9 months and truly unhappy (among other emotions), I permanently erased him from my life. The next day, I met my fiance (F).
Initially I was looking for a distraction. Every day I would work out at an empty gym, return to an empty flat, and reluctantly write my dissertation in an empty library. No one was on campus as it was summer; yet as a masters international student I was forced to stay on. I wanted a social outlet; the only form of human interaction I was receiving was from my work colleagues.
I gave myself two weeks to be a mess: to cry, watch endless Netflix (I can’t remember what I watched now), and eat cereal (comfort food). Then I forced myself to go out. I would cry at night, but at least I was getting distracted. It wasn’t until the third date that I told F that I had a 9 month relationship with a sociopath (S). I started to like F so much that I was worried that he would leave…..but at the same time, I was in such a “fuck it” mood that I wanted to lay out everything on the table and have a decision up front.
I’ve repeated the general timeline of how F and I began dating seriously, moved in, traveled, and became engaged. Luckily, I was able to fly to see my friends and family that same summer, I was under pressure to finish my studies, and I started a job, so I did not really have time to think about S. At night I dreamed that I was still in a relationship with S and woke up in a panic. He never left that way.
S started with small lies that escalated into bigger lies. He would suddenly wake me up during the middle of the night to tell me about the nightmares he was having. His nightmares were disturbing and horrific; nothing I could have ever produced even in the most evil side of myself. His big lies turned into elaborate stories once it was clear that I believed him. We were in a relationship and I wanted to believe my partner rather than cast doubt.
We went to Morocco, where he initiated sex during the day on the roof, and in front of another guest’s room at night. The possibility of getting caught turned him on. He never really asked me if I was ready. “I knew you liked being manhandled when I choked you,” he said, and choked me numerous times, suddenly and violently. I worried for my safety, and passed out many times during our relationship. I began having dreams that he raped me.
But these feelings were cast aside because I could rationalize that his disturbing past induced sexual aggression. I listened to him and gently suggested he see a therapist. He asked me to attend the sessions with him. We spent three hours waiting for a session until he told me that the therapist cancelled. I phoned the counselling service the next day. Turns out, sessions were held in a different building and he had never made the appointment.
Three days after we got back from Morocco, he dramatically entered my room with a bottle of wine and told me that his wife found out about his affair with me. Oh, and he told me that he was married.