In the beginning…it was nothing short of magical.
Kyle and I met 15 years ago, online. We were three hours apart. While long distance relationships may not seem like the ideal circumstance to cultivate a lasting relationship, given our situations at the time, it was actually ideal. He was a custodial single father with a full time job, and I had a demanding job that required lots of travel. I had just gotten out of a marriage the previous year, so I like the ability to be a ‘part time’ girlfriend without the demands of 24/7 access, so to speak.
Narcissists are known to be better than Don Juan in the initial stages of a relationship. And boy…did Kyle deliver in that department. Prior to us meeting face to face, he showered me with gifts, home made treats overnighted so they were still fresh, flowers, cards…..I was soaked to the bone with his romantic overtures.
Once we met – our first date was truly the stuff of romance fiction: Reservations at a luxurious, expensive restaurant, my favorite song in the CD player, candles in his pocket he whipped out after we sat down to ensure we had a candle-lit dinner on our first date, a string of pearls delivered during dessert by the waiter: Truly…just un-fucking-believable in terms of off-the-charts romance. By the time our first weekend together had commenced….I was hooked. He cooked restaurant-quality dinners, gave me a massage….it was truly just more than I could have dreamt of.
Today, I kick myself for allowing him back into my life. Hindsight is 20/20, and the distance provided him a much-welcomed buffer as to my discovery of his Narcissism – however, getting dumped by him via email on Valentines Day, and then, when he returned and began the Love Bombing they are known for in the initial stages…I had forgotten the searing pain that my new love inflicted when he callously dumped me on a day specifically meant for love.
After we reunited, and spent 9 months together, at least Valentine’s Day went OK that year. He just waited for my Birthday to tell me he had met someone else. Someone who he would eventually marry, then leave after 7 years…and return to me.
Ugh…as I write this, I am SO angry with myself for not being able to understand this pattern that is so typical of the Narcissist: Ping ponging between their Narcissistic suppliers until those suppliers are completely and totally used up. I had no idea what I was up against at the time, but still…what part of the good sense I assumed I possessed was on vacation those times? Why did I accept the excuses of fear of his feelings and uncertainty about how to handle our situation? I had no problem with it. I would have happily tried and worked something else to accommodate – but it was never discussed with me.
But, I have to realize that, until a few weeks ago, I truly had no concept of the maniacal personality type I was up against. I was outmatched in the deception and manipulation department before I ever agreed to meet him. It’s hard to admit that the qualities I am most proud of about myself: Loyalty, sensitivity, and empathy, were nothing more than means to an end in his Narcissistic goal setting. He would exploit those to extract what he wanted, when he wanted….and was so skilled at it, I had no clue what he was doing…even after it was done.
The 8 years between our last breakup and our reunion erased a hellluva lot of the raw pain that ensued after the two breakups during our first two years. I wished to hell I’d remembered that. It would have made slamming the door in his face so much easier…and, as it turns out, a brilliant move on my part.
However….that’s not how it went down.
I had so much more to painfully learn.