Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is

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NeverAgain217

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I am new here and could really use some feedback. I am still reeling and can't figure out what exactly I've experienced. I apologize in advance for how lengthy this is, I just need to get the whole story out there. I should write a book about this guy...

A little about myself prior to meeting stbx:
- 38 years old when we met
- was divorced after having been married for 8 years
- I have 2 amazing daughters, currently 9 and 10
- own my own home which I struggle to afford (My ex-husband and I bought the house together and separated months later, so I chose to keep the house as I thought at least that stability would be good for the girls)
- my ex-husband and I have a great co-parenting relationship. We had differences of opinions here and there but bottom line was that we are both totally in love with our kiddos. When he would come to pick up the girls, he would come right into the house and pet the dog or whatever. He even had a key because sometimes I would ask him to stop and let the dog out if I was stuck at work, etc.

A little about what my stbx TOLD ME about himself when we met:
- he was 39 years old
- He had a grown son in the military. Stbx and his son's mother (they were never married) hated each other and did not speak at all, but stbx had his son every summer while he was growing up
- Also had a 4yo son who he had 50% custody of, was married and divorced from his mother but they had a good co-parenting relationship
- His younger son's mother lost BOTH of her parents within months of each other WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT and that that changed her and ultimately ruined their relationship which until then had been really good
- He owned his own home. His parents lived most of the year in the south but stayed with him for a few months out of each year. They were staying with him currently.

We hit it off immediately, spent as much time together as we could but waited a while before introducing his young son and my daughters... everything was perfect. I had never felt so connected to someone in every way. So much in common in terms of interests, similar values, similar parenting styles... everything just fit perfectly and I really felt like I had found the man I would spend the rest of my life with. He was always super quiet around everyone but me which I just chalked up to him being very shy. He also didn't seem to have any friends at all (yes, I know, red flag), but he was a techy guy, super into all technology and I know a lot of them can be a little socially awkward, so I wrote that off too. He said his friends were all in different states with families etc., but still, never a text or anything?? Yes, big red flag. But, I was happy that he always wanted to be with me, whether we were alone or with my girls or all 3 kids... he always wanted to be together.

He hated my ex-husband, said we had boundary issues and insisted that I stop letting him in the house unless it was for something special like a birthday party. I complied with that. He also got very upset one night when my girls wanted to watch baby videos of themselves and my ex-husband was in one for all of three seconds. Not sure what the issue there was, but he got upset and said that it was his issue, not mine.

It wasn't long before we began talking marriage. I had made it clear that I would never have a man living in my house with my daughters unless we were married, so we started planning. He claimed to have put his house on the market and we completely rearranged the bedrooms in my house to make room for him and his son. The plan was to move my girls into a room together, which I was nervous about but it was the only way to have a room for his son. The girls each had a full size bed and we couldn't fit them both into a room together, so stbx ordered smaller beds for them. We made a plan to surprise the girls when they came home from a weekend at their dad's by having their new room painted and all set up. The beds were supposed to arrive at stbx's house on that Friday, but there was a mix-up/delay. Then they arrived but he needed his "friend" who had a trailer help him bring the beds to my house. The girls ended up having to share one of the bigger beds. This went on for weeks, every day a new excuse for why the beds hadn't arrived (usually blaming the "friend" for flaking out again and again). We booked an officiant to come to the house and marry us. A few days before the wedding date, I was having serious trust concerns and he knew that. He said maybe we should wait, but I insisted that I was okay. (I think at that point I just needed to see him follow through). The sale of his house was set the day before the wedding. The day before that, he texted me asking me to call him and when I did, he said that due to my trust issues, he had forced a stop to the sale of his house. I flipped. I told him that he should've had a discussion with me and that he had better do whatever he needed to do in order to get those beds that he'd promised my daughters to my house that day, leave his key, and we were done.  He left the key but surprise, surprise, no beds ever materialized.

Hang in. It gets better and better.

We went a few days without speaking, then I caved and said that I wanted answers WITH PROOF. I wanted something from his realtor to prove the house had been for sale and I wanted a receipt for the beds. He told me he'd get them to me by the end of that weekend. I waited up until midnight that Sunday night and gave up. I sent him and angry text the next morning, how dare he let me wait for something that he had no intention of sending. I said I needed the truth NOW. He confessed that he hadn't been married to his young son's mother and that he had been dishonest about that because he thought I wouldn't like him if I knew that he had such a young son at his age outside of wedlock. He also confessed that the house was his parents' and that although they had talked about selling it, they hadn't actually put it on the market. He said he was dishonest about this because NOT owning a house made him feel unaccomplished. (Let me backtrack a little bit... at one point when I was questioning things, he said something along the lines of "You don't trust me. So I guess I will just get an apartment and we'll date and hopefully in time you'll decide you can trust me." - He actually made it out like if I didn't let him move in with me, he'd have to get a place which was obviously not the case. Grrr)

No judgments here please - I took him back. I figured I could understand his insecurities about the two things he'd confessed, so I forgave him. And he still insisted that everything about my daughters' beds was true. He even showed me a screenshot of a receipt as well as a text string between him and the "friend" who was supposed to help him move them.

Fast forward a month-and-a-half. He said he wanted to help me with some bills because he knew I was struggling. He said he'd pay a credit card bill at the grocery store using Western Union for me. I was so appreciative. I kept asking if it was taken care of as the due date was coming up and I never pay anything late. He kept saying it would be done in time. Then he said he'd paid it, followed by days of excuses as to why he couldn't give me the receipt. Of course, the credit card company didn't get it. I went to the store where he claimed to have paid it, they had no record. I called Western Union, they had no record. I called stbx out on it but he insisted over and over that he paid it but couldn't find the receipt. Luckily the credit card company did not penalize me since I had perfect payment history. I kept trying to believe him. Then he broke plans with me and my family, plan my parents had paid for, stating that his son was sick. My gut told me he was lying. I went to his house, bringing "get well" cards my girls had made for his son and lo and behold, his son wasn't even there. Stbx looked like crap, said that his ex had picked up their son to take him to the dr. I said I needed to head out due to those family plans. His parents were home so before I left, I said that I hoped the dr, could figure out what was wrong with the little guy because he had been sick a lot lately. His parents just stared at me like deer in the headlights. He walked me to my car and I acted like we were fine, then when I got home I texted him to say that he needed help and that we were done.

Still with me? I'm telling you, it gets better...

I knew his older son's mother's name because I had done sort of a background check on him early in the relationship (online county clerk records) and she had taken him to court over child support. I resisted the urge to contact her for a week (with no contact with stbx) and then finally broke down. I felt like I had been conned but I couldn't figure out what he was after. I was worried that he might be dangerous. So, I found her on Facebook and wrote to her. Ready for this? She told me that:
- he lied the entire time she knew him, she used the word "sociopath" but I don't know if that's accurate
- he abandoned her and their son when he was two years old and only had limited contact with his son now because his son sought him out when he was 16
- he also married a woman and had two daughters and abandoned them when they were 2yo and an infant
- said he wasn't dangerous, that he always just ran away
- he didn't pay support for years and was currently paying extra to make up for that
- he has a brother who is severely autistic that he never talks about, doesn't have a relationship with


And then she put me in touch with his ex-wife, who told me:
- he never told her about his older son - she found a support statement he'd hidden in the house after he left
- he stole money from people online, selling items on eBay but never shipping them
- he had been arrested for forgery (using a co-worker's credit card) and was in jail when his youngest daughter was born
- she had begged him to go to therapy, he lied and said he would but never did
- at the end of their relationship, he got involved with someone he'd met online and when he abandoned his family, he left the area for a while but returned and lived with that woman - essentially living in the same town as his daughters but never making any attempt to see them nor help support them
- the woman that he lived with claimed that he opened a credit card in her name and ran up $5K before taking off on her, she couldn't prove that he had opened the card so she had to pay it off
- he didn't pay support for his daughters for years and was currently paying extra to make up for that
- one daughter has Occupational Defiant Disorder
- one daughter is on the Aspergers Spectrum

I can't even tell you what hearing all of this was like for me. I confronted stbx and he said that I needed to hear his side of things, so we got together. He told me that he was an awful person when he was younger but that he was different now. When I asked why he hadn't made attempts to find a place in his kids' lives, he said he'd felt like it was a lost cause, that he had damaged things too badly. He admitted to everything I had already found out and after asking him maybe 5 times in one sitting, he FINALLY admitted that he never got the beds for my girls (claiming he didn't have the money and then when he did they were discontinued, that he had created the receipt he sent me in Photoshop). He cried and said that he didn't want to be this way. i cried. (I feel so stupid for all of this now). He agreed to therapy but asked that I go with him. I told him I couldn't.

I really didn't know what to think. I had reached out to his younger son's mother and when she got back to me, she said:
- He hadn't told her about any of his children, that she had been contacted by his ex-wife and older son's mother via Facebook and that was the reason they were no longer together
- Her parents had died within months of each other, but that was years before she even met stbx, had nothing to do with anything
- He had always been incredible to her
- He had only hidden his past in order to keep what they had
- The person that the other two women had described to her sounded like a completely different person than the one that she knew
- He is and always has been a wonderful father to their son. He would do anything for him.

This completely threw me. I almost wished that she had told me to run because he was a jerk. I wasn't expecting this response from her at all. So, of course, me being me, I go into "I'll save him from himself" mode. I figured if he really had changed his ways and was just struggling with insecurities and lying about small things, I could help him and we could be together. We went to therapy together (wasn't as helpful as I had hoped because it was more like couples therapy which isn't what I think he needs. He needs to stop lying). He started a dialogue with his ex and his daughters who we went to visit twice in the past 4 months (they live 12 hours away). Things were really good. He talked about how wonderful it felt to no longer be buried in lies, how he was now totally open and honest with me and how wonderful that was, that we were true partners and would be together forever. He told me that I completely changed his life. He still says this.

We planned to get married in May. A few days before the wedding, I was holding his phone using an app to help choose paint colors for our bedroom. A text came in from a woman I didn't know asking him if they could get together the following morning and he could just give her half. It ended with "I can't do this anymore". I flipped. Was this another mom? He said that it was someone he used to be friends with before he met me, not a romantic relationship, and that a bunch of them had been out drinking and there was a fight and her car was damaged, so he and a few of the others said they'd pay her back when she had it repaired but that my stbx never did and did not intend to. He said that she had contacted him recently out of the blue saying that she was having financial trouble and that it would be great if he would give her that money he'd said he would. I demanded to look at his phone which he ALWAYS has on him, locked at all times, and he let me. There was nothing concerning. So I bought it and told him to either pay her or block her. He said he blocked her. (I should mention that his parents and I had a conversation recently about how quiet and private he is. They said that he has always been that way and it always seems like he is hiding something even when he isn't because of that).

Married in May. Added him to my bank account. He supposedly set up direct deposit with his employer but of course his pay never makes it in. Excuse after excuse for days that turned into weeks. Then, on his last payday while we were together, which was also my 40th birthday, I confronted him knowing he was lying about his pay and he confessed that he makes around $25K less than what he'd told me all along. He had even set up a budget for us which included his fictional numbers. The kicker is that he had acted weird about combining money a few times and I had asked him, telling him I wouldn't be angry, if maybe he hadn't been honest about what he makes. He insisted that he had been honest and only admitted to his deceit when he ran out of time. And I think I am more angry about the stress and emotional abuse of his constant excuses and making me wait day after day for things that he knew would never materialize. And he knew that I would find out on my birthday too.

So, I kicked him out of the house that day. He is supposedly moving into an apartment next week as his parents put their house on the market immediately after we got married. In retrospect, I imagine they were thrilled to get him out of the house so they could move down south, enjoy their retirement and not have to take care of him anymore. We are in the process of getting legally separated.

My biggest struggle right now is all of the unanswered questions. Who was that woman who texted him? Was he cheating? Does he have more children out there? It's infuriating to know that I will never have these answers. I haven't seen stbx in over three weeks and while we were texting here and there, I told him this past Monday that we can't do that anymore either. It's just to too hard on me. I end up asking questions that he won't answer and there's no point because even if he does, I won't trust the answers. And I am so angry. My girls are fine, they never trusted him and are glad he's out of the house, but his son... I am brokenhearted about him. I adore him and I worry for him because of all of this. I worry he'll never have normal in his life (on his dad's side anyway). I told my stbx that if he can't find someone he can be 100% honest with, he shouldn't involve his son. His response, of course, was that he can only be 100% with me. He says he knows he can do it. Yeah, right.

If you've stayed with me to read all of this, I sincerely THANK YOU!! No one in my personal life gets any of this.

I would love to get opinions on how to get past the unanswered questions as well as what you think is wrong with him. Nothing I have researched seems to fit. I've wondered about Sociopathy but he doesn't go into what I would consider rages, he always wanted to talk things through (no silent treatment), he was always warm and affectionate and supportive, never cold or mean. We had a few fights where he said nasty things in the moment and then immediately apologized, but that's it. And when I tell him to leave me alone, he does, nor does he like a lot of attention (except from me) so I don't think it's Narcissism either.

He claims that he just has a problem with financial things, but that doesn't explain the abandonment. He says that I think of the worst care scenario about everything in my head and accept it as truth until he proves otherwise, but what else an I do given our history?

I just don't get it.

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kazzak

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 02:35:47 PM »
Hi NeverAgain, I'm glad you decided to join in with us. It can be tough to understand any mental illness, but a personality disorder is a breed of it's own. No one here can really tell you what the problem is or diagnose. But there is a large group of people here who share there experiences to understand better. I think you'll be surprised how many others here have similar experiences and do get it.

The best place to start is here in the forums, and then get as much information as you can from the Toolbox & Resources links above.

Reading through the link above on Personality Disorders will introduce you to the various types and common behaviors

http://www.outofthefog.website/overview/

Welcome to the group. I'm happy to hear you have separated yourself from the situation and your kids are ok. It is tough watching another child live with someone who has a personality disorder, and I'm sure you care for him very much. But, many of us learn about the 3cs. Didn't cause it, can't cure it, can't change it. Best of luck on your journey here, there is a ton of support here with people who can help you understand better.

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Latchkey

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 09:22:14 PM »
HI NeverAgain217,

Welcome to OOTF. I'm glad you found the site. It doesn't really matter what his deal is in the moment. That will all reveal itself eventually. It sounds like he is leading double, triple, quadruple lives and is quite good at charming people. It's very important that you protect yourself and your daughters and carefully detach from him.
Read up here in the Toolbox as well as the Top 100 traits for more insight into what you are dealing with.

I've been married twice to men with PDs. My second H is N/ASPD a Cluster B cocktail and he is still quite charming but is an admitted sociopath. He told me as much. When someone tells you that your H is a sociopath and you sense it could be true-- or he does himself  _tells you he is bad news or was bad news or is just a messed up person that needs help---- it's a good reason to listen and be very cautious and not keep looking for proof otherwise. We have a S6 together and I see him 3-4 times a week at kid exchanges. I was stepmom to his 3 sons and had 2 daughters from my previous marriage all living with us for 7 years. Even with 6 kids and 2 full time jobs between us he managed to have affairs, hookups, and drain me pretty well financially and I did not realize the extent of all this until we were already separated. I'm still finding out things that went on.
As you settle in here please feel free to read and post anywhere. Are you working with a therapist or counselor now? How are your daughters doing?

Some resources that have helped me are:
How to Spot a Dangerous Man before you get involved by Sandra L. Brown, M.A.
and her the web articles on her site http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com/article-library

Also like this article:
THE MALE BORDERLINE Surviving the Crash after your Crush By Shari Schreiber, M.A.

Also, since he has had fraud charges be careful financially and do take a look here to make sure all your bases are convered:

Leaving Checklist

And finally for detaching safely:
https://lovefraud.com/the-gray-rock-method-of-dealing-with-psychopaths/

We are here for you!

 :bighug:
Latchkey

« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 09:27:03 PM by Latchkey »
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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SeaGlass

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 10:30:24 PM »
 NeverAgain217, I am so sorry to hear about your experience. Please protect yourself and your girls. This site is a wonderful site full of caring people, it has helped me immensely with trying to understand my ubpd husband. Please keep posting and reading. I am sure that you will find this to be a helpful and supportive community.

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Notcrazyafterall

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 11:00:36 PM »
Hi NeverAgain,

My heart breaks for you when I read your story because this sounds very much like my h, who I believe is a covert narcissist.  I too had a lot of red flags early on that I just didn't see and made all sorts of excuses for his behavior.  When I finally started to wake up and question things, he just shut me out and refused to discuss anything.

I finally had an epiphany one day and realized that things were never going to change despite my best efforts to fix everything.  My eyes are now wide open to how badly he has treated me all these years and I realize that he has never had the respect and compassion that would be expected in a healthy relationship.

In fact, it was reading through this site that made me realize what was going on, as I had struggled for 15 years to make sense of it all.  It is here that I first learned about covert narcissists and it may help you to read about this as well.  This may (or may not?!) apply in your case, but whatever the case, you will find a lot of valuable information here. 
I'm sorry for what you have been through but please know that many of us here have experienced very similar things!

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atticusfinch

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 11:24:45 PM »
I'm so sorry you're going through this.  It is DEFINITELY NOT NORMAL if that helps. The skill with which he continued to draw you back in with false promises, colorful excuses and blame shifting sound very similar to my abusive ex-husband's. Toxic people use these techniques to avoid responsibility for their choices. When we give them millions of chances, or accept their blame shifting, or feel responsible to stay with them to help them (or their child), it helps them continue these behaviors without ever really taking responsibility. Often they promise change but if you pay attention they really don't change over the long term. They usually are using domestic partners for various reasons: social acceptance (because our culture values families and couples), financial gain/stability, or someone to take care of them or their messes. I don't think it is intentional, but it is highly toxic to the non-toxic spouse. The longer you stay with someone like that, the harder it is to leave.

I spent years trying to puzzle out what was "wrong" with my ex spouse. I do think mine was NPD/ASPD/OCPD, but in the end, it doesn't really matter. You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what is wrong. In the end, if their behavior is hurting you, it doesn't matter what is wrong. Those of us who are caretakers, or have some financial need, or are lonely/codependent (I need external validation, due to my own childhood wounding), tend to be vulnerable to these types of relationships. You were so right to leave him.  Remember that you deserve better. While it hurts in the short term to end a relationship, you are better off alone than in a dysfunctional relationship.

Big hugs. You can do this.

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NeverAgain217

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 09:33:16 AM »
Thank you for your kind responses! Today marks one week of No Contact and while it's hard to resist the urge to reach out and demand answers, I am staying strong. I remind myself that no answers will give me closure as nothing he says can be trusted.

One thing that I forgot to mention in my original post was the guilt that he tried to press upon me (over text) after I kicked him out. He said that I "evaporated our family" and that he could have never done something like that. I told him that he HAD to know that things would end as I'd expressed after taking him back the second time that I would not put up with deceit of any kind. I pointed out that he took vows with me knowing we had these lies hanging over us and that (particularly with the salary issue), he HAD to know that eventually I would find out. He said he just thought we would talk it through. So somehow he'd justified in his head that it was okay to lie to me day after day, telling me money would come tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow while I stressed about the bills. He figured when he ran out of time we'd just have a talk and I'd forgive him. Again. I feel like he tricked me into marrying him and then figured I'd put up with anything he might dish out because, hey, we're married.

I told him, bottom line, I absolutely refuse to raise my daughters with a liar. Not happening.

It is a struggle wondering what was real. The more research I do about PD's, nothing seems to fit. He didn't act self centered at all. He was always so kind and supportive. He did so much for me and my girls, always very thoughtful things. Any time I couldn't sleep for any reason, he insisted on staying up with me, took care of me if I wasn't feeling well. He never got violent or shut down. If he sensed something was on my mind, even if I said I was fine, he would encourage me to talk to him and wouldn't drop it until I did. There were times when we would argue and I would walk away and he would follow me and try to talk things through. I'm not condoning his actions by any means because no matter what, his behavior was horribly damaging and no one should put up with that, just wondering what the root of everything is. Wondering if maybe he is just a totally insecure compulsive liar... I don't know.

The other thing is that my friends and family just keep telling me that I should be glad to have him out of my life, it would've been worse if it went on longer etc. etc... which I know are valid points... but what no one seems to get is that while maybe everything on his end was fake, everything on my end was REAL. The love I FELT was real. Everyone seems to overlook the fact that I lost my best friend, the person I was so certain I was meant to grow old with. I get what they're saying and I know they're trying to be supportive, but they don't seem to see the loss.

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Latchkey

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2017, 06:54:09 PM »
Hi NeverAgain217,

I would also say you should look more into Trauma Bonds as you try to go NC. I'm not the best at explaining it but there is a lot of good information out there. Also, NC does not always work and can cause anxiety in tense situations especially early on and when there are kids or finances involved. Look at the grey rock method link above and also medium chill in the toolbox- for ways to detach with as minimal contact as possible.

As far as him being kind and loving, that is all part of the same package... both sides of the same coin... that has the lying, deceit about multiple children and their mothers, and financial danger he put you in other side. My exN/ASPDH always took care of me when I was sick. He kept the kids away when I was under the weather-- and he always cooked most dinners. This is why we fall in love with them. If they were mean all the time then none of us would be here. My exN/APSD resented my daughters and it came out in the end days when he accused them of stealing money from his son. When he put dirty dishes in their room and refused to speak to them. He did not rage or destroy property, he acted passive aggressively quite often though and gaslighted and did many other things that are just as damaging.

Looking forward to hearing more of your story!

Latchkey
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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Siren

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2017, 04:59:49 PM »
Hi NeverAgain,

I'm so, so sorry to hear what you've been through. Latchkey's reference to Safe Relationships magazine is great. I tried their low cost recovery program, and that helped me in the initial trauma. I shuddered when I read your post. Your story sounds so similar to mine that I want to message you later to make sure we weren't with the same person! You can read my earlier posts on this site, but it was eerily similar to your post. I also found out lots and lots of lies over the last few years. I never thought I'd last with the no contact because I was so upset, trauma bonded, sad and had such horrible cognitive dissonance, but here I am, over six months later, and things have become clearer. You know who "he" really is, I think, and it will become clearer. The lies made me doubt my own reality, and I didn't want to believe them, but in my experience, exes don't lie, unless they're Cluster B-disordered. The thing is, when we start learning some of the truths, we're already so deep in, married, etc., and we want to believe the illusion/mask. I have since begun to understand the truth -- he is disordered, is an ASPD/covert narc, and I am on my way to divorcing. I suffered emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, and financial abuse. For the first time in my life, I have gone from owning my own business and a luxury home to barely being able to afford a rental with all of the financial implications from someone with no moral conscience and no empathy. He stole so much of me, including over $500K in assets, my physical health, and much of my reality for a decade. However, with much prayer, therapy, support groups like this one, and lots of soul-searching, I am slowly digging my way out.

Much love to you on your spiritual journey. Hold on, it will be a bumpy ride, but you'll make sense of much of it once the FOG dissipates.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 01:35:10 PM by Latchkey »
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
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Siren

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Re: Need Opinions PLEASE - Separated but Still Unsure What His Deal Is
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2017, 08:03:26 PM »
I am new here and could really use some feedback. I am still reeling and can't figure out what exactly I've experienced. I apologize in advance for how lengthy this is, I just need to get the whole story out there. I should write a book about this guy...

A little about myself prior to meeting stbx:
- 38 years old when we met
- was divorced after having been married for 8 years
- I have 2 amazing daughters, currently 9 and 10
- own my own home which I struggle to afford (My ex-husband and I bought the house together and separated months later, so I chose to keep the house as I thought at least that stability would be good for the girls)
- my ex-husband and I have a great co-parenting relationship. We had differences of opinions here and there but bottom line was that we are both totally in love with our kiddos. When he would come to pick up the girls, he would come right into the house and pet the dog or whatever. He even had a key because sometimes I would ask him to stop and let the dog out if I was stuck at work, etc.

A little about what my stbx TOLD ME about himself when we met:
- he was 39 years old
- He had a grown son in the military. Stbx and his son's mother (they were never married) hated each other and did not speak at all, but stbx had his son every summer while he was growing up
- Also had a 4yo son who he had 50% custody of, was married and divorced from his mother but they had a good co-parenting relationship
- His younger son's mother lost BOTH of her parents within months of each other WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT and that that changed her and ultimately ruined their relationship which until then had been really good
- He owned his own home. His parents lived most of the year in the south but stayed with him for a few months out of each year. They were staying with him currently.

We hit it off immediately, spent as much time together as we could but waited a while before introducing his young son and my daughters... everything was perfect. I had never felt so connected to someone in every way. So much in common in terms of interests, similar values, similar parenting styles... everything just fit perfectly and I really felt like I had found the man I would spend the rest of my life with. He was always super quiet around everyone but me which I just chalked up to him being very shy. He also didn't seem to have any friends at all (yes, I know, red flag), but he was a techy guy, super into all technology and I know a lot of them can be a little socially awkward, so I wrote that off too. He said his friends were all in different states with families etc., but still, never a text or anything?? Yes, big red flag. But, I was happy that he always wanted to be with me, whether we were alone or with my girls or all 3 kids... he always wanted to be together.

Almost all of your above statements apply to me, except for the children. To the best of my knowledge, my stbx doesn't have kids. We met when I was 34,
 and I was a single mother. I hope that you will do some reading about how many of these types target women like us.


He hated my ex-husband, said we had boundary issues and insisted that I stop letting him in the house unless it was for something special like a birthday party. I complied with that. He also got very upset one night when my girls wanted to watch baby videos of themselves and my ex-husband was in one for all of three seconds. Not sure what the issue there was, but he got upset and said that it was his issue, not mine.

Check, check on the boundary issue statement regarding my ex-husband, my children's father.

It wasn't long before we began talking marriage. I had made it clear that I would never have a man living in my house with my daughters unless we were married, so we started planning. He claimed to have put his house on the market and we completely rearranged the bedrooms in my house to make room for him and his son. The plan was to move my girls into a room together, which I was nervous about but it was the only way to have a room for his son. The girls each had a full size bed and we couldn't fit them both into a room together, so stbx ordered smaller beds for them. We made a plan to surprise the girls when they came home from a weekend at their dad's by having their new room painted and all set up. The beds were supposed to arrive at stbx's house on that Friday, but there was a mix-up/delay. Then they arrived but he needed his "friend" who had a trailer help him bring the beds to my house. The girls ended up having to share one of the bigger beds. This went on for weeks, every day a new excuse for why the beds hadn't arrived (usually blaming the "friend" for flaking out again and again). We booked an officiant to come to the house and marry us. A few days before the wedding date, I was having serious trust concerns and he knew that. He said maybe we should wait, but I insisted that I was okay. (I think at that point I just needed to see him follow through). The sale of his house was set the day before the wedding. The day before that, he texted me asking me to call him and when I did, he said that due to my trust issues, he had forced a stop to the sale of his house. I flipped. I told him that he should've had a discussion with me and that he had better do whatever he needed to do in order to get those beds that he'd promised my daughters to my house that day, leave his key, and we were done.  He left the key but surprise, surprise, no beds ever materialized.

Hang in. It gets better and better.

We went a few days without speaking, then I caved and said that I wanted answers WITH PROOF. I wanted something from his realtor to prove the house had been for sale and I wanted a receipt for the beds. He told me he'd get them to me by the end of that weekend. I waited up until midnight that Sunday night and gave up. I sent him and angry text the next morning, how dare he let me wait for something that he had no intention of sending. I said I needed the truth NOW. He confessed that he hadn't been married to his young son's mother and that he had been dishonest about that because he thought I wouldn't like him if I knew that he had such a young son at his age outside of wedlock. He also confessed that the house was his parents' and that although they had talked about selling it, they hadn't actually put it on the market. He said he was dishonest about this because NOT owning a house made him feel unaccomplished. (Let me backtrack a little bit... at one point when I was questioning things, he said something along the lines of "You don't trust me. So I guess I will just get an apartment and we'll date and hopefully in time you'll decide you can trust me." - He actually made it out like if I didn't let him move in with me, he'd have to get a place which was obviously not the case. Grrr)

No judgments here please - I took him back. I figured I could understand his insecurities about the two things he'd confessed, so I forgave him. And he still insisted that everything about my daughters' beds was true. He even showed me a screenshot of a receipt as well as a text string between him and the "friend" who was supposed to help him move them.

Fast forward a month-and-a-half. He said he wanted to help me with some bills because he knew I was struggling. He said he'd pay a credit card bill at the grocery store using Western Union for me. I was so appreciative. I kept asking if it was taken care of as the due date was coming up and I never pay anything late. He kept saying it would be done in time. Then he said he'd paid it, followed by days of excuses as to why he couldn't give me the receipt. Of course, the credit card company didn't get it. I went to the store where he claimed to have paid it, they had no record. I called Western Union, they had no record. I called stbx out on it but he insisted over and over that he paid it but couldn't find the receipt. Luckily the credit card company did not penalize me since I had perfect payment history. I kept trying to believe him. Then he broke plans with me and my family, plan my parents had paid for, stating that his son was sick. My gut told me he was lying. I went to his house, bringing "get well" cards my girls had made for his son and lo and behold, his son wasn't even there. Stbx looked like crap, said that his ex had picked up their son to take him to the dr. I said I needed to head out due to those family plans. His parents were home so before I left, I said that I hoped the dr, could figure out what was wrong with the little guy because he had been sick a lot lately. His parents just stared at me like deer in the headlights. He walked me to my car and I acted like we were fine, then when I got home I texted him to say that he needed help and that we were done.

Still with me? I'm telling you, it gets better...

I knew his older son's mother's name because I had done sort of a background check on him early in the relationship (online county clerk records) and she had taken him to court over child support. I resisted the urge to contact her for a week (with no contact with stbx) and then finally broke down. I felt like I had been conned but I couldn't figure out what he was after. I was worried that he might be dangerous. So, I found her on Facebook and wrote to her. Ready for this? She told me that:
- he lied the entire time she knew him, she used the word "sociopath" but I don't know if that's accurate
- he abandoned her and their son when he was two years old and only had limited contact with his son now because his son sought him out when he was 16
- he also married a woman and had two daughters and abandoned them when they were 2yo and an infant
- said he wasn't dangerous, that he always just ran away
- he didn't pay support for years and was currently paying extra to make up for that
- he has a brother who is severely autistic that he never talks about, doesn't have a relationship with


And then she put me in touch with his ex-wife, who told me:
- he never told her about his older son - she found a support statement he'd hidden in the house after he left
- he stole money from people online, selling items on eBay but never shipping them
- he had been arrested for forgery (using a co-worker's credit card) and was in jail when his youngest daughter was born
- she had begged him to go to therapy, he lied and said he would but never did
- at the end of their relationship, he got involved with someone he'd met online and when he abandoned his family, he left the area for a while but returned and lived with that woman - essentially living in the same town as his daughters but never making any attempt to see them nor help support them
- the woman that he lived with claimed that he opened a credit card in her name and ran up $5K before taking off on her, she couldn't prove that he had opened the card so she had to pay it off
- he didn't pay support for his daughters for years and was currently paying extra to make up for that
- one daughter has Occupational Defiant Disorder
- one daughter is on the Aspergers Spectrum

I can't even tell you what hearing all of this was like for me. I confronted stbx and he said that I needed to hear his side of things, so we got together. He told me that he was an awful person when he was younger but that he was different now. When I asked why he hadn't made attempts to find a place in his kids' lives, he said he'd felt like it was a lost cause, that he had damaged things too badly. He admitted to everything I had already found out and after asking him maybe 5 times in one sitting, he FINALLY admitted that he never got the beds for my girls (claiming he didn't have the money and then when he did they were discontinued, that he had created the receipt he sent me in Photoshop). He cried and said that he didn't want to be this way. i cried. (I feel so stupid for all of this now). He agreed to therapy but asked that I go with him. I told him I couldn't.

I really didn't know what to think. I had reached out to his younger son's mother and when she got back to me, she said:
- He hadn't told her about any of his children, that she had been contacted by his ex-wife and older son's mother via Facebook and that was the reason they were no longer together
- Her parents had died within months of each other, but that was years before she even met stbx, had nothing to do with anything
- He had always been incredible to her
- He had only hidden his past in order to keep what they had
- The person that the other two women had described to her sounded like a completely different person than the one that she knew
- He is and always has been a wonderful father to their son. He would do anything for him.

This completely threw me. I almost wished that she had told me to run because he was a jerk. I wasn't expecting this response from her at all. So, of course, me being me, I go into "I'll save him from himself" mode. I figured if he really had changed his ways and was just struggling with insecurities and lying about small things, I could help him and we could be together. We went to therapy together (wasn't as helpful as I had hoped because it was more like couples therapy which isn't what I think he needs. He needs to stop lying). He started a dialogue with his ex and his daughters who we went to visit twice in the past 4 months (they live 12 hours away). Things were really good. He talked about how wonderful it felt to no longer be buried in lies, how he was now totally open and honest with me and how wonderful that was, that we were true partners and would be together forever. He told me that I completely changed his life. He still says this.

We planned to get married in May. A few days before the wedding, I was holding his phone using an app to help choose paint colors for our bedroom. A text came in from a woman I didn't know asking him if they could get together the following morning and he could just give her half. It ended with "I can't do this anymore". I flipped. Was this another mom? He said that it was someone he used to be friends with before he met me, not a romantic relationship, and that a bunch of them had been out drinking and there was a fight and her car was damaged, so he and a few of the others said they'd pay her back when she had it repaired but that my stbx never did and did not intend to. He said that she had contacted him recently out of the blue saying that she was having financial trouble and that it would be great if he would give her that money he'd said he would. I demanded to look at his phone which he ALWAYS has on him, locked at all times, and he let me. There was nothing concerning. So I bought it and told him to either pay her or block her. He said he blocked her. (I should mention that his parents and I had a conversation recently about how quiet and private he is. They said that he has always been that way and it always seems like he is hiding something even when he isn't because of that).

Married in May. Added him to my bank account. He supposedly set up direct deposit with his employer but of course his pay never makes it in. Excuse after excuse for days that turned into weeks. Then, on his last payday while we were together, which was also my 40th birthday, I confronted him knowing he was lying about his pay and he confessed that he makes around $25K less than what he'd told me all along. He had even set up a budget for us which included his fictional numbers. The kicker is that he had acted weird about combining money a few times and I had asked him, telling him I wouldn't be angry, if maybe he hadn't been honest about what he makes. He insisted that he had been honest and only admitted to his deceit when he ran out of time. And I think I am more angry about the stress and emotional abuse of his constant excuses and making me wait day after day for things that he knew would never materialize. And he knew that I would find out on my birthday too.

So, I kicked him out of the house that day. He is supposedly moving into an apartment next week as his parents put their house on the market immediately after we got married. In retrospect, I imagine they were thrilled to get him out of the house so they could move down south, enjoy their retirement and not have to take care of him anymore. We are in the process of getting legally separated.

My biggest struggle right now is all of the unanswered questions. Who was that woman who texted him? Was he cheating? Does he have more children out there? It's infuriating to know that I will never have these answers. I haven't seen stbx in over three weeks and while we were texting here and there, I told him this past Monday that we can't do that anymore either. It's just to too hard on me. I end up asking questions that he won't answer and there's no point because even if he does, I won't trust the answers. And I am so angry. My girls are fine, they never trusted him and are glad he's out of the house, but his son... I am brokenhearted about him. I adore him and I worry for him because of all of this. I worry he'll never have normal in his life (on his dad's side anyway). I told my stbx that if he can't find someone he can be 100% honest with, he shouldn't involve his son. His response, of course, was that he can only be 100% with me. He says he knows he can do it. Yeah, right.

If you've stayed with me to read all of this, I sincerely THANK YOU!! No one in my personal life gets any of this.

I would love to get opinions on how to get past the unanswered questions as well as what you think is wrong with him. Nothing I have researched seems to fit. I've wondered about Sociopathy but he doesn't go into what I would consider rages, he always wanted to talk things through (no silent treatment), he was always warm and affectionate and supportive, never cold or mean. We had a few fights where he said nasty things in the moment and then immediately apologized, but that's it. And when I tell him to leave me alone, he does, nor does he like a lot of attention (except from me) so I don't think it's Narcissism either.

He claims that he just has a problem with financial things, but that doesn't explain the abandonment. He says that I think of the worst care scenario about everything in my head and accept it as truth until he proves otherwise, but what else an I do given our history?

I just don't get it.

My $.02 worth: covert narc with anti-social tendencies, just like the one I married. Had no friends, always so shy, lied about his past, inflated his income,
 didn't understand finances but claimed he had a CPA (he didn't), claimed to have graduated from a top econ school (he didn't and purchased a diploma), and he lied about how many times he was married - even on his marriage license. So, things never pan out, they say, and we believe they had to lie because they're so scared of telling the truth because we might judge them and leave them, boo hoo, blah, blah blah. Yeah, disappearing acts, lies, manipulation, guilt, obligation, and you have a toxic marriage.  Hope things get better...
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
― Anaïs Nin