There Is Life After the Narcissist

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For those of you suffering the woes of the post-narcissistic relationship, I’m here to tell you that it does get better.  Yes, I know, right after the devaluing (devouring is more like it) and that final discard, the feeling is so devastating that you don’t think you will be able to survive.  You will.

I will admit, 3 years ago right now, I could barely function.  The woman of my dreams, that just happened to be a narcissist (something I wasn’t aware of at the time), decided to leave for the final time.  Of course, I fell right into her little trap, begging and pleading for her to return, telling her how perfect she was for me (and this is after she had already discarded me on three previous occasions – yes, some of us learn slow).  What I didn’t know is that she was already seeing someone else, although quite honestly, I had questioned the possibility of that over and over for several months before she left.  I knew what she was doing – I just didn’t want to admit it.

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Throughout the divorce, she continued to lie to me, feeding me just enough BS to think there may be a chance for her to return once again.  Unknowingly, she was milking me for everything she could get.  The more I thought she might return, the more I gave her to show her how good I was, how nice I could be.  Being the actress that she is, I had no clue that she had no intention of returning, that she was lying to me, or that there was much more to the story.  There was even a period where she started having yeast infections (no, we had NO physical relationship whatsoever after she moved out – clearly she was having one with someone).  I remember thinking, “hmmm, she never had that occur the entire time we were together”.  I continued to believe her lies.

Once the divorce was final, she continued to act as though she wasn’t seeing anyone AND that she was my best friend. That is when I learned about narcissism and started putting everything together.  It all started to make sense, and that’s when I knew she must have someone in the wings.  Shortly thereafter, once she had a few months of pity from her friends for being the poor single divorced woman with nobody, she “announced” the new guy with great fanfare.  Even though I figured that was the case, I was crushed all the more.  NOTE – A friend of my son saw her with this guy on two separate occasions before our divorce was final.  He didn’t tell me as he knew it would be horrible.  I wish he would have told me earlier…

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The next phase had me numb and crushed for several months.  At the same time, now knowing about narcissism, I absolutely ignored her.  I wouldn’t give her the time of day, wouldn’t look at her, wouldn’t say a word to her, wouldn’t even acknowledge her presence.  This definitely had a negative impact on her as it indicated to her that I no longer “belonged” to her, and once you are with a narcissist, they believe you are their’s until death, no matter how many partners they have, have had, or will have.  The silence has been going on for over two years now.  It is as if we never met.  It has become my new normal regarding her, but I am sure she is still really bothered by it.

She has attempted to call me on a few occasions, but I act nonplussed, answering in one word answers (yes, no, bye).  She has pretty much given up at this point and now treats me like a stranger too.  How dare I stop treating her like the princess that she is?  She just doesn’t get it.

At three years since she left for the last time (and it’s likley the last time only because I haven’t given her the opportunity to engage or come back), things have gotten better for me.  I am finally able to be alone and actually enjoy it.  I have dated a few too many women (sadly because for the longest time I was looking for a duplicate of my ex), but have finally settled down and have been seeing someone for 4+ months now.

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With that said, I still think about the ex-narcissistic fairly frequently.  Given the non-stop and relentless activities that we did (knowing now that she had to be busy ALWAYS so she didn’t have time to think about how empty she really, truly was inside), I have a myriad of memories regarding my ex.  For several years, I absolutely loved my life with her.  In her narcissistic way, she really did make herself into exactly who and what I wanted, and I adored everything about her.  Sadly, the mask did begin to slip once I said “no” to her a few times.  How dare I?  Luckily, I can now balance the good that occurred with the bad, acknowledging that a lot of what I witnessed wasn’t what I thought it was.  She would have been just as content with anybody, as long as they provided her with what she wanted.

Yep, she ruthlessly discarded the poor bastard that came after me, and she has moved on to yet another poor bastard.  This is after her dumping 3 husbands before me (yes, I was the 4th and that should have been a bigger red flag – I just figured I could do better than the others).  At this point, I don’t really care.  I feel sorry for her (and for the new dudes) as she continues to be a mess and they don’t know what they are in for.

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Me, I am fine.  I have learned a whole lot about narcissism (although I wish that hadn’t had to), I have met a lot of attractive and interesting women, and I have one that I am having fun with, something that evaded me for several years.  There are a lot of phases that are necessary after the narcissist leaves,  but I did get through them.  I can even think about my ex without becoming so depressed that I can’t eat.  In fact, she has become more of a lesson than anything else.

What is that lesson you ask?  There is that old adage “If it feels to good to be true, then it probably is”.  Think about that.  I wish that I had.

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Now, It’s the Indifference

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I haven’t posted in several weeks, and I can’t really explain why, other than the “pain” of being dumped by a narcissist is starting to fade.  It’s not that I don’t see her, or that I don’t think about her…

This last week was one of those odd reminders of how things have changed in my life.  Even though my ex-wife and I continue to be employed at the same facility, I can go several weeks without ever catching a glimpse of her.   Believe me, I prefer it to be that way.  This week, there were three separate occasions where I was reminded of what I no longer have.

The first was while driving out of the facility, the timing was such that she was driving by (in the car that I am still paying for mind you) as I was pulling out of the location that I work at.  It was a chance encounter, one that requires really weird yet perfect timing to occur, but there she went.  The first thing I noticed was how black her hair was (she was blonde when she was with me).  It just looked unnatural, although I surmised it fits her current narcissistic circumstances.  In case you were wondering, yes, she does have a new boyfriend AT WORK (the fifth guy from this facility).  I don’t really care about that anymore as nothing that she does is a shock to me anymore.

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The next instance was the following day, I was going to a meeting, and I noticed a woman with very tight pants on, and her rear didn’t really look that good.  As I got closer, I noticed it was my ex-wife.  As usual, I pretended that I didn’t see her and carried on as if she wasn’t there and didn’t exist.  On that note, we haven’t spoken a word to each other in over 2.5 years.  To go from 6 years of the seemingly perfect life that we had, followed by 2 years of devaluing and discard, and now to acting like we don’t know each other!  It is just the strangest feeling ever, but I know that I cannot engage her.  Believe me, I want to, but I will not feed her any supply.  I also understand that she doesn’t talk to me because I have been so effective at shutting her out.  I wish it didn’t have to be this way…

The third instance this week was I received a piece of mail at my address that was actually addressed to her SISTER.  WTH?  Apparently, her sister used my address to get a new phone, and when requesting a package to return her phone in, she forgot.  I immediately threw it away.  I wonder how long it will take her sister to figure out that she gave the phone company a wrong address.

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With all of that, I simply feel numb toward her.  I certainly miss being with her, and I will also admit that when I do see her, even with her less than perfect butt (it used to be perfect), I still get a misplaced giddy feeling.  It is something that I cannot explain, and I wish it wouldn’t happen.  I realize that I cannot go back there, as much as I enjoyed a good portion of our time together.  The perfect relationship that she “created” during the love bombing is hard to get past.

On a little different but related note, I have been dating a woman for about 4 months now.  We do enjoy each other’s company and I love to be around her, but…  Last weekend, her and I visited a number of places that were “special” to me and my ex (and no, I didn’t let on that these places were special or that I might struggle).  Well, at least they were special to me.  It was a really pleasant time, and yes, there were parts of it that were difficult for me (although she didn’t know that).  Sadly, I didn’t feel that giddiness that I long for.  I am starting to believe the giddiness was due to the environment my narcissistic ex created, and that it is possible that I would only feel that with another narcissist.  That is something that I don’t want.  I will admit that going to those places was easier and more enjoyable than I thought, and that as time goes on, things will continue to get better and easier.

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That’s where the indifference comes into play.  At this stage, 3+ years after my ex discarded me for the fourth and final time, I feel indifferent for the most part when I see her.  I definitely do not see her the same as I did before I knew about narcissism, and she just doesn’t hold that magical quality that she did in the past.  That she continues to repeat the same things over and over with all new targets just drives home what she is and that she will never stop.  Sadly, I also feel somewhat indifferent to some of the things and places that I used to enjoy so much.  It’s almost as if they lost some value versus how I used to see them, how I used to experience them.

Indifference.  I will gladly take indifference over devaluing and discarding.  I never want to feel that level of confusion, hurt, and mistrust ever again.  Indifference isn’t so bad.  It is part of the journey from where I was to where I am going, to where I need to be.  Maybe I need to see it as just “different”, as that is what it is.  Different is good.

The Predictability of the Narcissist

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This last year has been a pretty positive period for me.  I have continued to distance myself emotionally from my narcissistic ex-wife and am in a much better place as a result.  It has been 3 years this month since she left for the 4th and final time (final because I successfully implemented No Contact) and, while I do still think about her as well as our time together, it doesn’t overwhelm me like it did for the first year or two.

With that said, I still get a healthy jab in the side every now and then.  One of those happened just this week I’m sad to say.  In case you didn’t know, my ex-wife and I continue to work for the same company at the same facility, and while we don’t work in the same building anymore, she can and does appear out of nowhere occasionally.  Worse yet, we had/have a lot of mutual friends that tend to share information whether I want to hear it or not.

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Before I get to the most recent piece of data regarding my ex, let me preface it with a few facts.  She has been married 4 times (before she was 36 years of age), with me being the 4th husband.  I know, you are thinking that should have been a big enough red flag for me to stay away, and I DID indeed consider it, but there was a justifiable reason for me to go ahead with things.  I was her “go-to” guy in between each and every failed marriage – every single one!  Yes, I know that was stupid too, that I allowed that, but in my mind I justified it by thinking that she must just want to be with me and that is why her marriages keep failing.  Yes, we certainly can make things okay if we really want to.

On top of that, her first marriage not withstanding, the three subsequent husbands were ALL from work, the same place that we continue to work today.  When you think about it, that is both sad and creepy.  Again, I was able to justify it since I convinced myself the others failed simply because they’d weren’t me.  It is important to note that at the time, I knew NOTHING about narcissism or that it even existed.  She was simply my dream woman who appeared to want me as much as I wanted her.

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I have been informed over the last several months by numerous people that she has no companion.  This is after she discarded the guy that lived out here by us that she was secretly with before divorcing me.  This is also the guy that she left and went back to in order to extract the maximum she could prior to the final discard a few months ago.  That is the first part of the predictability.  After that, she laid low in order to look as if she was doing the “right” thing, not being with anybody and accepting the pity and “you poor thing” comments from her friends and minions.  However, as those of us familiar with narcissism are fully aware, they are NEVER alone and there is always someone behind the curtain.

That’s where the next predictable act comes from – she has yet another new boyfriend from our work location.  That makes a total of 5 men that she has dated there including 3 that she married.  You would think by this point that her reputation would precede her, that enough people are aware this would be marriage number 5 for her to the 4th guy from the same facility.  I’m not saying she is going to get married again, but given her predictability, it is indeed time for that to happen as we have been divorced for nearly 29 months, which is definitely a new record for her not being married.

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As I noted above, there have been several instances leading up to this weeks announcement where people told me she has not been dating and has been alone.  My response has always been the same – don’t believe that for a second as there is at least someone if not someone”s” that she has in hiding.  I also highly expected that she would again “select” someone from work as that allows her the maximum capability for control and love bombing since they are so nearby (and her minions can tell her how great they look together).

Heres the thing, I honestly don’t care.  I am not surprised, I expected it, I anticipated it, and the only part that bothers me at this point is that, given her predictability, how did I allow myself to fall into her pit in the first place.  I feel sorry for the new guy as I know what he has in store.  It will be the same result as all the other boyfriends and husbands before him.  Sadly, he won’t even be able to fathom it for a couple of years (that is her normal length of love-bombing time), until the bottom falls out, and it will.  Poor bastard.  No, I am not going to warn him as he wouldn’t believe me and she would just use it to prove to him that I am “crazy” as I am sure she has justified all of her divorces in some way to him, with none of them being her fault.

So yet another piece of the predictability puzzle falls into place.  I am okay with that as I have moved on, have dated a lot of different, normal women, and am seeing one right now that is going on 2+ months that I am hoping continues on the path it is on.  I would rather not know anything about narcissism and not gone through all the BS that I went through, but it is reassuring to know that I wasn’t actually the issue and there was NOTHING I could have done differently to stop what happened from happening.  Sadly, this new guy (which I have been told is a really nice guy with two young daughters which again fits her pattern of predictability exactly) has no idea what he is in for.

And the cycle continues to repeat itself…

The Benefits of Maintaining No-Contact

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It has been 3 years now since my narcissistic ex-wife left for the final time.  It has also been approximately 2.5 years that I have known about narcissism, and 2 years since I implemented No Contact in earnest.

Let me begin by saying that things DO get easier over time.  The first year or so after she left, I was absolutely devastated, didn’t know if I was coming or going, and was convinced that I couldn’t live without her and/or would never find anyone else.  Having no communication with her was NOT what I wanted but I knew that I had to do it.  It was incredibly difficult and, of course, she could not understand why I was doing it, even after lying to me for months and seeing someone else behind my back.

It has gotten to the point that we do not even acknowledge one another.  The fact that we continue to work at the same facility presents many opportunities for us to run into each other, and we do every few weeks.  That I have ignored her every single time has resulted in her applying the same technique (even though she doesn’t know WHY she is doing it).  I cannot actually recall the last time that we spoke face-to-face and it has definitely been over 2 years ago.  It feels really odd to say that let alone do it considering how close and inseparable we were for so many years.  It almost seems inhuman.

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I have also been successful in my responses to her “inquiring” phone calls.  The last one was back in February of this year when she called my work phone to inquire about license plate tabs for her car that I am still paying for following the divorce.  She didn’t need to call as it has never been an issue.  She also didn’t call or text my cell phone because she knew that I wouldn’t respond.  Anyway, the call lasted 30 seconds at the most as every question she asked I simply answered with a yes or a no and added no additional or supporting information.  I could feel the inability to understand in her voice, as if she was saying “Don’t you realize who this is?  You HAVE to want to talk to me!”  I didn’t budge.

Since then, she has not tried to contact me.  In fact, because she doesn’t want to experience the rejection that I have heaped upon her, she calls other people to ask me questions that she might have that no one else can answer.  It happened just this week where she had a legitimate work related question but rather than call me and get an impersonal and abbreviated response underlining my rejection of her, she called an administrative person that sits across from me who then had to come over,ask me the question, and relay the information.  How immature is that???

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Here’s the thing – the fact that I haven’t had to interact with her and that I look the other way when I see her has accelerated my ability to see things realistically and has lessened the sting and pain of the memories.  In the past, when I would see or look at her, all those loving, incredible memories would flood in.  Having no contact and no interaction with her has allowed me to more easily see the “real” her, the person that was with me but was actually using me and the rest of the world for her own needs and selfish desires.  I can more easily see how she did things that I thought we were doing together were nothing of the sort.  Anything and everything we did together was simply another chance for her to look for new or additional opportunity, for something that she could use immediately or later on, including new partners.

I have finally removed pretty much everything associated with her from my house.  If I hadn’t so staunchly implemented no contact, I would like feel like I still had some kind of connection with her and would have been unable to get rid of things.  The fact that she moved on to someone new so quickly didn’t prevent me at the time from thinking one day she would be back.  Not knowing about narcissism at the time, I would’ve welcomed her return (which would have been the 5th time she would have come back).  Oh, she has left that poor bastard too for what appears to be the final time after leaving him and returning to him several times in the way that narcissists do.  I don’t need to imagine what he is thinking right now as I’ve been there.

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My dating life has also changed as a result of no-contact being successful.  I previously dated just to prove to myself that I was worthwhile and also in an attempt to get over my ex.  Now, I date at a slower pace and don’t get freaked out if I don’t have any prospects at a given time.  That has actually resulted in multiple, simultaneous opportunities where I have to actually choose rather than forcing myself into a situation.

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I will admit that some of the improvements in my life are simply due to the amount of time that I have been away from my ex.  I will also admit there are still times where I do have pleasant thoughts about her, things that I miss that we did.  However, if I had broken no-contact, I am certain that I wouldn’t be where I am as she would be taking every opportunity to try to control me in any way that she could.  Remember, once you belong to a narcissist, in their mind you belong to them until the day you die, even if you aren’t with them.  I am pretty certain at this point that my ex DOES NOT see a way back in, that the barriers I have erected are pretty impenetrable.

It’s truly not how I want it to be.  It is how it has to be.

Moving On Post-Narcissist. Time Does Help.

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It has been a few weeks since I have added a new post.  There was a time right after the final discard by my narcissistic ex-wife where it seemed I was writing 2 or 3 posts a week, and sometimes multiple in a day.  The emotions were overwhelming during that period.  Things feel differently now.

I have been trying recently to figure out what “different” really means, and there are a few different facets to it.  First of all, I still seem to picture my ex-wife’s face in my mind several times a day, but it doesn’t have the same sting that it used to have.  In fact, that visual in my mind has become somewhat “foggy” appearing, i.e. her features as well as my recollection of her mannerisms and quirks just aren’t as clear as they used to be.  With that occurring, the impact of picturing her doesn’t have the same crippling effect that it used to have.  The fact that I still have to physically see her at work periodically doesn’t seem to matter as she appears almost as a stranger to me now.

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In addition to not “seeing” her as clearly, I tend to think of her as a bit of a buffoon now, where I would never, ever have done that in the past.  That I have had no choice (given the degree to which I have implemented No Contact and stuck with it) but to stand back and observe her from afar, the more time that passes, the more self-serving, arrogant, and childish she appears to be.  I never wanted to admit that before given how much I cared about her (and still do to a certain extent), but there is no denying the truth.  Throw in that she has been married 4 times (including me – I know that should have been a HUGE red flag) and still continues to display an “I am the center of the universe” mentality and it becomes that much clearer that she never grew up.  She almost seems as if she is Peter Pan, and her minions follow her through the forest and wherever else she goes.

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I still look fondly upon the memories as they were special and still feel special to me, but her part in those times is diminishing, becoming less and less as time goes on.  I can still “feel” those events as if they just happened, but she is more of a parallel piece rather than an actual participant.  Having to say that is really quite sad, but it is also the truth.  The more realistic I am about my 8+ years with her, the more I come to realize that it wouldn’t have mattered to her who she was with.  All that mattered was that she had an audience, and the means to do the things that she was provided with.  I provided her the means, and the audience presented itself.

Finally, time is causing me to reevaluate what it is that I am looking for.  At the beginning, I was absolutely looking for an identical replacement for her, as stupid and scary as that sounds.  Why wouldn’t I as I thought she was the only perfect person in existence, which is exactly the image that she portrayed.  Sadly, she did the same thing to all the men before me and after me too, changing herself in an instant to become exactly what they were looking for.  Anyway, that is not what I am doing anymore.

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Case in point – I have dated too many women after my ex left for the final time.  There have only been a handful that were semi-serious, with one in particular lasting for 3 months.  That “one” resulted in her essentially telling me that we weren’t exclusive even though we had been seeing each other almost everyday for that 3 months.  With that said, I walked away (fairly broken-hearted again) and hadn’t seen or really heard from her for nearly 8 months.  I didn’t see her as perfect in the way that I had envisioned my ex-wife for so long, but I did have a lot of fun with her and looked forward to seeing her, so it was a bit painful when she blew me off.

In the last few weeks, I started getting texts from her that were friendly at first, and got more and more “caring” as time went on.  Essentially, it resulted in her inviting me to her lakefront cabin a couple of hundred miles away for a few days this week.  Since I had no real plans, I thought why not?  It resulted in me recognizing how far I have actually come in the last year or so (my ex has been gone for just shy of 3 years now). While I enjoyed myself, I didn’t feel like I “had” to be there, like I was the luckiest guy in the whole world to be there.  In fact, there were several things that I don’t like about her that I couldn’t ignore and, in the past, I tended to bury those things no matter who I was seeing because I was so needy to just be with someone, anyone, post-narcissist.

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Taking it a step further, I have cut my dating back significantly and am much more choosy about who I go out with.  Yes, I still get extremely lonely, and sometimes I do think about the past with my ex-narcissist too much, but it is refreshing to realize that I am okay by myself and that I don’t have to be in such a hurry all the time.

Time.  I never would have thought I would be without my narcissistic ex given how many times we were apart and back together.  Time has not healed all the wounds, but it has certainly lessened the sting, and the sensations are not what they once were.  I know what I am looking for, and I am going to use time to find it, the real “it”, and not the fake “it” that the narcissist presents to us.  It’s out there, and I’m gonna find it.  It just takes time.

Where Am I?

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Apparently, I have entered yet another phase of the post-narcissist life, although I don’t know that for sure.  What I do know is that the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.

It is very close to 3 years now since my narcissistic ex-wife moved out of the house for the final time.  It has also been a little over 2 years since I spoke to her for the last time.  Throughout the divorce proceedings, I communicated with her as normal hoping there may be some crazy chance of her seeking some kind of therapy (no, I never said anything to her about narcissism) which could result in an improbable reconciliation.  Clearly, that didn’t happen.  In fact, immediately upon our divorce being final, I was informed by a close friend that she had been seeing someone for quite some time.  Once I heard that, my demeanor changed and I implemented No Contact to the absolute best of my ability.

On a few occasions, she has made feeble attempts to communicate with me, but I have been so steadfast in not communicating with her that she senses failure and backs off as a result.  She must be victorious under all circumstances and she can’t possibly see that when she tries to hoover me.  I am certain that she has no idea why I might not want to talk to her.  Honestly, because I am the one that did everything wrong and let her down, I should be elated to talk to her.  Not so much.

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I began dating shortly after the divorce, which was probably a bad idea.  I will admit for the most part, the dating was to get over the rejection and also to combat the loneliness.  In the last two years, I have been on way too many dates with far too many different women.  Sadly, 2+ years later, I am still just as alone.

A few weeks ago,  I closed down my online dating account, essentially leaving me with no real avenue for meeting someone.  It’s not like when I was younger when there were seemingly endless opportunities.  Things are just not like that anymore.  As a result, I have entered into what feels like a no mans land.  Part of me struggles considerably with that.  Time doesn’t stop and I simply feel myself getting older.  I occasionally will see an old guy (and everyone has their definition of what that is) all by himself and clearly without a companion.  I will tell myself that I don’t want that to be me, but there are some things you just can’t control.

Regarding control, there is one thing that I have learned and continue to learn since this whole thing started, and that is patience.  I have never been one to sit back and let things come to me, so it is incredibly difficult to do just that.  The fact that I tried so hard at the dating thing and have nothing to show for it proves that some things are just not meant to be (and I am honestly okay with that).  Yes, I had 3 or 4 women that I dated for some period of time, and one that lasted 3 months, but they didn’t work out.  If nothing else, it proved to me that I am not in the driver’s seat, that I don’t control everything like I once thought that I did.  Sure, I could settle for something less than, but I’m not going to do that.

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So, where does that leave me?  I’m not really sure.  Clearly, my narcissistic ex-wife has been cut out of my life.  Sadly, I still think about her and the good times far too much, but I am a romantic, sentimental person and I guess the memories are what they are.  It’s not lost on me that she isn’t thinking about me, but once again, that isn’t something that I can change.  I clearly don’t have a girlfriend or serious companion.  On top of that, with the dating profile closed down, I have eliminated a lot of options (although after 2 years of trying, I feel confident the online thing isn’t going to work for me).

Patience it is.  I will take my hands off the wheel (again) and see what happens.  It is excruciating to watch yet another summer roll by alone for the most part, but some things can’t and shouldn’t be forced.  Occasionally I get the urge to force things, but for what?  My efforts haven’t produced fruit, so I am going to let nature produce that fruit for me.  I have no other real options.  Yes, I do believe in God/Jesus Christ (or a greater power or whatever YOU like to call it) and I believe He has a plan for my life.  It’s very obvious to me that MANY doors have been purposely closed over the last couple of years, and I believe that has been divinely orchestrated.  I just wish that He was in as big a hurry as I am.  That doesn’t seem to be the case.

It’s funny how all of those things that I used to find so important when I was with my narcissistic wife have lost some of their luster.  The cars, boats, motorcycles, all the materialistic things seem like nothing but bills and payments now.  I look at them and I say “wow”, but there they sit as I ponder what it is that I am supposed to be doing, and maybe what I am supposed to be doing differently.

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I guess that I actually know where I am.  What I don’t know is where I am going, or with whom.  I want to forget about my ex-wife (which I can’t seem to do), and I want to find my next companion (which I can’t seem to do).  Hmmm…  Maybe there is a connection there.  I apparently have more work to do.  Maybe patience is the key to determining where I am, and also where I am going.

The Dilemma.

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I finally closed my online dating account.  After 2 years and dates with 40+ different women, I determined that I am apparently not going to find what I am looking for, at least not right now.  Therein lies the dilemma.

Just a couple of months shy of 3 years since my narcissistic ex-wife discarded me for the 4th and final time, I find myself simply alone.  I’m not really sure how to describe it, but rest assured, it doesn’t feel good (although I have gotten to where I don’t mind being alone at times).  At the beginning, I was really upbeat and confident the online dating thing was going to lead to something good.  I mean, how couldn’t it?  Have you ever seen how many “available” people there are?

Things clearly have turned out a little differently than I had hoped.  Being the over-analyzer that I am, I continue to try to figure out why that is.  There are a lot of different possibilities, but I keep coming back to one answer.  I truly believe that I simply made my ex-wife so perfect that she can never be replaced.  Oh, of course, being the narcissist that she is, she had a hand in creating that perfect being, that illusion of the one that had EVERYTHING in common with me (which I now know was never really the case).  Sadly, she was physically exactly what I desired and continue to desire.  Trying to locate that combination of beauty and adventure that she created is tough to find.  In fact, impossible might be a better way to describe it.

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Now, being completely alone again with no real prospects and no email or text interruptions leaves me with plenty of time to think about things, including the past.  Yep, I am able to clearly and vividly visualize the mean and hurtful things that she did, but I am also able to see the wonderful memories just as clearly.  This is where that real dilemma comes in to play.  There continues to be a part of me that pictures her driving up the driveway (and consider we have had no real interaction in 2+ years other than her infrequent and weak hoover attempts).  I can imagine the elation, the feeling of excitement seeing her approaching the front door of the house that we purchased together (that I now solely own), a sense of giddiness and almost uncontrollable desire building up.

Then reality kicks in.  I know without a doubt that I cannot engage her in any way, that I would simply have to tell her she isn’t welcome here, and that she has to leave. That is the furthest thing from what I “want” to do, but I also know there is no alternative.  Of course, I could engage her yet again, but I am also smart enough now to know the outcome would be the same, that at some point I would be left in an aching, unhappy heap, kicking myself for letting it happen yet again.

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It’s this understanding that makes them seem inhuman.  How can someone turn something that seems so awesome into such a dreadful scenario?  How is it they can do what they do?  I try my best to not think about it, but not having the disorder, it is very confusing trying to make sense of it, trying to make what they do work somehow in my mind.  It seems doubly difficult to envision how overwhelmingly good the reunion of lost love would feel if she were a “normal” person, yet knowing that it simply is not possible with her.

So with all that said, here I sit in the throws of summer, the boat and the lake beckoning.  But how many times can I do that alone?  Yes, during my dating days, I took boat rides with multiple different dates, but it never did feel the same.  I was hopeful, but I guess I am simply not ready yet (still) to be with someone new.  There is something that is apparently still supposed to happen, something that I still have to learn before that real love enters my life.

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The sheer pain and shock of her brutally divorcing me has numbed over time, and as long as I don’t concentrate on the memories, they tend to stay in the background.  Yet somehow, she is still here, she is still a part of me.  I want that thing, that entity, to leave me.  In the meantime, I will continue to learn more about me, how to love myself more and know that I am okay, to be patient and accept there is someone out there that will finally allow me to forget all about my ex-wife.  One thing I do know – I won’t be meeting her through online dating.

It’s all about patience at this point.  Who knows, maybe tomorrow will be the day that I simply bump into that someone new.  You never know, it could happen.

Entering Yet Another Phase of Post-Narcissistic Life

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Just when I start to think that I am getting the hang of things, that life has some level of consistency and normalcy to it, I wake up and find yet another hopefully temporary state of being.

Three years after my narcissistic ex-wife moved on for the final time, I really thought I would have refocused and started to live a new life, including having someone new to share with.  Nope.  I continue to analyze and try to figure out what to be doing differently, but I feel like I keep coming up just a bit short.  I absolutely accept that overall, my life is great and I have so many things and people in it to be thankful for and that I have been blessed with.  Yet there is still a longing…

Recently, I have made some additional changes in my life.  For one, I finally had enough of the on-line dating thing that I pulled the plug and shut it down.  I really did go into it thinking that it just might work, but after dating 41 different women in less than 2 years (yes, I said 41, and I said it in an embarrassed way), I really haven’t come close to finding what I am looking for.  There were a couple of decent possibilities, but they didn’t come to fruition for a number of reasons, and I look at it as I always do – there are no coincidences and things happen for a reason.  As such, I let those closed doors remain closed.

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Something else regarding online dating is that I learned more things that I didn’t really want to know.  Just like I didn’t want to know about narcissism but was given no choice based on figuring out what my ex-wife was and trying to understand her behavior, I have had a bit more of my naivety exposed during the online dating experience.  I have determined that for the most part, people (women in this case, but I’m sure it applies to the men too) aren’t fazed by being untruthful or egotistical.  I can’t keep track of how many women that I met where I had to either guess or actually ask “is that you?”, since they looked nothing like their photos.  There were also so many instances of women “collecting” phone numbers or free dinners.  The whole process was unnerving, unnatural, and really trying for me.

With that said, I have also found that with the dating distraction gone, that leaves me additional time to ponder what my future holds.  I have become incredibly bored, especially since it is near summer again, and I am still doing most things by myself.  The boredom also leaves me time to think how much my life has changed, in both good and bad ways.  Yes, I do still miss my ex-wife considerably, although I also temper that with not missing the constant confusion and lies that accompanied being married to a narcissist.  On top of that, I will admit that I am a bit dismayed at not being overtly hoovered, even though I do know that is for the best and is a testament to the success at which I have implemented No Contact and have rebuffed what attempts she has made over the last couple of years.

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I have accepted that I can NEVER be with her again no matter what, and that is a hard thing to accept given all of the amazing adventures we have had over the years.  That is also a large part of why my life feels so boring now, since I am not in a position to have to keep her busy with one thing after the next, as much as I tended to enjoy that part of my life too.  It actually scares me considerably to think that I may never be in such a position again, that I won’t be with someone that I adore as much as I did her (during the good times anyway), that I won’t be able to do all of those things that I once did as they aren’t really amenable to doing alone.

So with all of that said, I enter into a new phase.  I’ve lived through the initial shock and grieving of the discard and divorce, the acceptance that my ex is a narcissist and learning everything that I could about it, also accepting that I must not provide her with a path back into my life (which would be for the fifth time – not going to happen).  I’ve experienced the moving on phase, where I really tried (probably too hard) to find someone new, with hopeful thoughts of quickly moving on (which my ex most certainly did) and reinventing my life.  Now that the dating thing hasn’t worked out, I am in the newest phase,  the “what do I do now phase”, where I am essentially just sitting back, trying to be patient, and living by my mantra of everything happening for a reason, including the phase or place where I am currently.

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The funny thing is, just yesterday, I felt really strong and very positive about this newest phase, that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  Today, I am fearful that this is as good as it gets, that I am destined to live out my life alone.  I don’t really believe that, but when I look at the fact that I have been essentially alone for nearly 3 years now, it does cast a bit of a shadow over the future.

Everything happens for a reason, and there are no coincidences.  I need to remind myself of that everyday.  I am praying there is at least one more phase after this one that I am in currently.  One where the patience and the positive thoughts pay off.  A phase where I no longer have to look fondly with sentimentality at the memories of my ex-wife but rather will have new and better memories.  It’s going to happen.  It’s going to happen…

Narcissists. Surely an Addiction. Impossible to Overcome?

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The weather is finely turning for the better here and the sun has been shining for a couple of days now.  It has been a welcome change.  In some ways.

I decided this morning that I was going to take a drive, and not just any drive.  I was going to trek north via one of my favorite routes, a route that my narcissistic ex-wife and I used to travel frequently to get to one of our always fun-filled destinations.  I had nothing else to do and I had essentially been craving making this drive for quite some time.  For reference sake, it has been nearly three years since her and I had made this particular drive for the last time.

I have been doing much better at leaving the past in the past, although I do struggle at times.  I am determined to “get on” with my life and to essentially take ownership of my future.  This was another attempt at furthering that effort.  Things started out pleasant and innocently enough.  I was trying to force myself to enjoy the scenery and the weather and, for a while, it was working.  Even with that moderate success, I could feel myself slipping, basically going backward in time, remembering intimate details of past memories along the route.  The further down the road I went, the more the thoughts poured into my conscience.

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I found myself looking over at the empty passenger seat, reminding myself that I am still alone, that she is gone, and that she isn’t coming back.  The more I tried to jerk myself back into the present moment, the more the loss and the hidden desires came rushing to the forefront.  I ended up getting so emotional about it, the thoughts and lost memories becoming so overwhelming and so vivid, that I had to stop at a rest area for a few minutes.  You might think that would help, but of course it only added to the anguish as this just happened to be a rest area that we had frequented on several occasions.  I found myself actually starting to tear-up in the rest room because I knew that when I walked out into the main area, she wouldn’t be there waiting for me this time.  Luckily I had the place to myself and didn’t have to suffer the added embarrassment of being a grown man seen crying in the rest room.

After a few minutes, I was able to get back on the road.  By this time, all I wanted to do was reverse my direction and head back toward home.  As luck would have it, either exits were closed, traffic was too heavy, or there wasn’t an on-ramp to go back the other direction, so I continued on “our” route, driving further and further into the past.  I had forgotten how many things, signs, little reminders there were of things that her and I had talked about, either just matter of fact like or as part of a routine that we typically had, where we had certain sayings at certain times for the same things over and over.  It was brutal.  The further I continued, the more panicked I felt, as if there was nothing I could do to stop the relentless thoughts.

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I was finally able to find an exit, turn around and start heading back.  Although I did feel some level of relief, my mood was completely different from when I had begun my journey, and it was simply bitterly sour at this point.  I battled with myself to stop remembering, reminding myself that she absolutely was NOT thinking about me at that very moment, that she probably hadn’t in days (since our last chance bump into), and then even if or when she did, there was not happiness and longing but rather anger and hatred.  It didn’t help, and I continued to miss the way that I used to feel, the things that I used to do.

It dawned on me that it seemed as if I was addicted to her and I was essentially feeling really strong withdrawal symptoms all of a sudden.  Yes, I admit that I still think about the past far too often, but it is usually in a more tempered manner, where I am able to return to a more centered place, able to consider just how disordered she is and how that has negatively impacted the both of us.  Today, it was as if I was craving her, that I missed her so bad that I simply needed a “hit”, something to curb my desire for the good old days.  I have read before that leaving them behind is the same as kicking an addiction, and I definitely felt that today.  I didn’t like it and it reminded me of how things felt so devastating right after the final discard, as if I was revisiting that undesirable time in my life.

Upon realizing that I was betraying myself with these good old thoughts, I forced myself to stop.  That left me in another place that I have read about (and felt to a certain degree).  That place is in a state of pathological loneliness.  Looking over and seeing that vacated seat reminded me that I have been in this place of singleness for just shy of 3 years.  Yes, I have done a lot of dating, but now I’m thinking that maybe those encounters were like taking some kind of synthetic drug, something that would ease the withdrawal pains from the real drug.  Sadly, it hasn’t left me completely “clean” and free from my addiction.  That’s not to say that it hasn’t helped to dull the sharp pain and loss, but it hasn’t resulted in me finding someone to call mine, a new drug of choice.

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I still have no intention of involving myself with my ex, to temporarily numb the pain with my old drug of choice.  It does frighten me to a certain extent that my feelings can still be this strong and so absolutely crystal clear when I don’t want them to be, but I also remember how confusing and negative things felt prior to getting off loaded that final time.  Just like substance abuse is a choice (at least initially), so is contact with the ex-narcissist.  I’m going to continue to stay on the high road.

Oh, I am also going to stay off the other roads that contain so many memorable moments.  Maybe I should start calling those the low roads.

Living In a Post-Narcissist World. Leaving the Past in the Past.

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I find it really interesting how much one’s mood and outlook on life can change from one day to the next.  I have been in a reasonably good place for the past few weeks, but today for example, I can’t seem to lose the funk.

I think it started earlier this week when I had another of those chance encounters with my narcissistic ex-wife.  I was getting ready to leave the building that I work in and I happened to notice her car in the lot before I even got outside.  I don’t know if I am in tune with identifying her vehicle or if it is a sixth sense or what, but it seems like I can usually tell when she is nearby.  Regardless, the first thought that I had was that all I need to do is get out of the building and I will be free from running into her.  Oh, keep in mind that I haven’t seen her or ran into her for several weeks (which is always better for me).

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So I’m going out the door, thinking that I am free.  As I glance over my left shoulder, I see her exiting from the other end of the building with another employee.  I quickly look away and figure, okay, all I have to do is make it to my car and all will be good.  She is effectively 80 to 100 feet away on a parallel path so I won’t have to see her.  As I scurry along, I hear a work associate calling my name.  I’m really hoping that he isn’t calling me as I continue on as quickly as I can, but there is no mistaking that I am being summoned.  I turn around to respond, and lo and behold my ex and the other employee are now 25 feet right behind me (no parallel path at this point) and I know for sure now that she has seen me (although I suspect she had noticed right from the beginning).  The meeting I was en route to got cancelled so I head back toward the building right toward my ex, getting within 10 feet of each other before she turns to assist with a vehicle.

The normal response occurs.  Ever since I implemented No Contact (and I mean I have been relentless), you would swear that we don’t know each other and have never known each other.  I do it to protect myself.  She does it because she cannot believe that I don’t want anything to do with her.  Complete and absolute strangers we have become.  This is a woman who I was married to for 5 years and in a serious relationship with over a 10 year period.  It is an impossible thing for me to comprehend, understand, and do, yet I continue to pretend I have never known her.  It is the most difficult thing I have ever done and the complete opposite of what I want to do.

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With that little encounter and the as expected result, it typically sends my mind into the past, the “used too” times, remembering how it was versus how it is, and trying to figure out how it got to where it is.  The answer is always the same, i.e. she has many narcissistic traits, but that doesn’t make me not long for all the good times. It continues to feel like a bad dream, something that I am going to wake up from and think OMG, that was a horrible dream, but it’s not a dream.  It’s my life and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it.

So the comparisons begin and I accept once again that my life is really bland compared to “the good old days”.  Yes, I am able to conjure up the really nasty and under handed things that she did (and I have several hundred pages of journal entries if I can’t really remember just how bad it was), but that doesn’t override or undo the good times.

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Worst of all, I have been here over and over again.  The periods in between my getting to this crappy spot have continued to get longer and longer, but they still pop up leaving me feeling a bit paralyzed.  That my dating life continues to turn up no tangible possibilities (I went on two more this week alone and, as has become normal, nothing there) just adds to the confusion and the longing for something that at least “feels” meaningful even if it isn’t.  There are many things about my past life with my ex that I would like to experience with someone else.  That I haven’t been able to do that very much just leaves those old memories right there at the forefront, waiting to pop up at a moments notice.  Seeing her up close just makes them that much more vivid.  For awhile.

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I really don’t know the answer other than to continue to move forward, doing my best to leave the past in the past.  Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like “my” life anymore but rather that I am living some other strange, barren, other worldly life.  That she has so effectively moved on doesn’t help (although I am certain she is just as miserable on the inside as ever).  I was also thinking that when I saw her in the parking lot, my heart melted a little bit more.  Her, I suspect all she felt was hatred, that I was still ignoring her.  How dare I do that?

Being hated by someone who you loved (or at least by an image that you loved).  If that isn’t a valid reason to leave the past in the past, I don’t know what would be.