How do I deal with getting over dating a pathological liar? I just found out that my loving, caring, earnest boyfriend of five months is the kind of manipulative, predatory liar that one normally reads about in True Story! magazine.
posted by timoni to Human Relations (28 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I just found out that my loving, caring, earnest boyfriend of five months had been lying to me throughout our entire relationship. As it turns out, he'd started dating me a month before he and his long-distance girlfriend of five years broke up, making me the unknowing other woman, and spent the bulk of our relationship trying to convince her to go back out with him again.
When I initially found out, I was crushed, but assumed it was a case of the classic rebound. Five years is, after all, a long time. When I asked him why he hadn't ended things sooner, he told me that he'd realized his "true feelings" for his ex in late August and started communicating with her then [as you'll see below, this is a lie], but had been reluctant to break up with me because I was "so nice". This was an ego blow, but something I could accept--he had lied to me a lot, but actually had planned on ending things with me.
Since it was clear that he'd never told his ex about me, I contacted her to let her know I existed. (I know some commenters are critical of this, but I've dated a cheater before and I've resolved never to stay silent if I have the opportunity to tell someone know the truth.) She was shocked, but grateful to know about me--she had, of course, been assuming he was single, and while she wasn't really interested in dating him again, she had been trying to let him down gently, and was at the point of considering opening up regular contact with him.
But as his ex and I compared notes, we not only realized that he had cheated on her with me, but I realized that he had no intention of breaking up with me, and that he had in fact been trying to maintain two relationships at once. For example, I broke up with him briefly in mid-August when I felt things weren't right, and he sent me a long email apologizing, wanting to talk, and asking how he could make things work. It turns out he'd also been sending his ex flowers and long, loving emails at exactly the same time.
This is awful, but it's also sort of ordinary cheating. What makes it truly insane is is the details. Previously he'd talked to his ex without telling me, and when it came out later in a very awkward way, he apologized and promised to let me know in the future. So in his long let's-stay-together email, he actually said, "I think [my behavior lately] is in a different category than what I did to you before--that was CLEARLY wrong, and I went through a lot of self-reflection thinking about why I'd planned on communicating with my ex without immediately telling you about it. That was really wrong, and I resolved not to do it again."
Yes, folks, that's what he wrote to me, trying to get back together with me, while writing love letters and sending flowers to his ex-girlfriend.
There's a million crazy examples like this. The cheater I dated before seems almost ordinary in comparison--it was just drunken find-a-girl-at-a-club cheating. (I don't mean to belittle that behavior; I was extremely hurt at the time, but there was no elaborate web of lies.) I've found out that the relationship I was in for the last five months was a sham, and that the guy who said he loved me can't be trusted to tell the truth for more than a minute in a conversation.
I'm not prepared for this kind of deception. I'm so angry I want to tell everyone what he's done, but I know that will just reflect poorly on me. Does anyone have advice as to how to get over this kind of breakup? On the one hand, I'm appalled and almost fascinated by the levels of manipulation and deception, but on the other hand, I still miss the person I'm now referring to as the "fake boyfriend"--the one who loved me, who cuddled with me, the one I spent most of my free time with, and the one I had hoped to eventually marry.
I'm going to go to the gym, hang out with friends, travel, and do all of those things you're supposed to do to get over a breakup. But this level of deception is practically beyond my comprehension. I actually feel like I'm exaggerating when I try to explain it to people. What else does one do in this situation?