Often it starts without warning, the bad guy is charming, he’s attractive, there’s something about him that is unlike the other guys. He’s smart, capable, appears to be the full package. We get sucked in with his smile and those big blue eyes. Our rose-colored glasses go on and we only want to see the good.
His stories are riddled with conning people and lying about even the most mundane things. Yet we believe it wouldn’t happen to us, he’d never treat us like that. He’s dominant and everything we look for in a strong man, he takes the lead, he makes the decisions. Sure, he may also never say thank you, I’m sorry, or ask our opinion. Though we’re caught up in our delusions about what a great man he is.
He tells us his friends cheat on their wives, lie to each other, and even worst, left him to descend a 14’ner on his own with a pulmonary issue. His ex-girlfriends are all drug addicts with daddy issues, bulimics, liars, and cheats. Yet somehow we convince ourselves even though his entire world is surrounded with low-quality people, that he is different. He has a sadness to him, a brokenness, it keeps drawing us in as we love him for his potential.
As time moves on, the cracks begin to show. Perhaps it’s something little, the stories don’t reconcile. It seems harmless, he said he watched Wind River last week, but then again this week, really twice in a row, who does that. Our rose-colored glasses start to dim and our guard starts to come up. Why would he lie about that, what was he hiding? The more we start to open our eyes the more we see.
Though he’s not as smooth as we once thought, if we listen to his stories closely he tells us of other women through his subtleties. As we’re paying more attention, we begin to realize our dates aren’t real dates. He wants to go hiking but his car tires are shot, so he asks us, but oh, can we drive. He wants to go to an event but can’t find anyone else to go with so last minute asks us. In the beginning, we couldn’t help but get excited for any scrap he threw our way. We thought it meant he liked us.
Now that we’re wiser, now that we see the truth, it’s time for us to run. Run like the wind. However, depending on how long we’ve been with this guy, how long he’s been conning us, charming us, leaving may seem near impossible. Maybe we even got to the point we married the guy, we had kids with him, now what? Garner all your friend support and setup your system for departure.
When we’re finally out, finally free of the bad guy, it’s time to ask the hard questions. How on earth did I get fooled (again)? Why did I ignore the early signs, my gut saw them, why didn’t I? It’s easy to get angry at the bad guy, for what he did, for how poorly he treated us. Though it’s just as easy to start feeling sorry for him, clearly something broke him, clearly he’s not all bad or we’d never had been with him to begin with.
As the questions pour in, it’s important for us to remember, whether we feel sorry for him or not, he’s not ours to save. He needs to save himself. The longer we surround ourselves with a con man, a player, a cheat, the longer we bring other low-quality people into our lives. A cycle not worth repeating. It’s time to buckle down, understand how we got to this point, and start listening to the signs, no matter how attractive or charming he is. We got this.
PS – I’m a firm believer when it doesn’t feel right, when there’s resistance in the process, it’s not right. It’s time to walk away.