How To Date An Arsehole

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Note: I originally wrote this post to set myself free from a toxic relationship and hopefully help others recognise that they may be involved in an unhealthy situation with a narcissist, male or female. The main problem with narcissists is that despite how charming and considerate they can appear (when they want to), they only ever really think of themselves and they always think they can do whatever they want and get away with it (they are so persuasive that is often the case). Once involved with them, it can be difficult to extract yourself but narcissists are incapable of loving you more than themselves regardless of the sweet-nothings they say. A relationship with a narcissist can be very damaging so watch out for the warning signs and protect yourself. Trust me, life without having to deal with a narcissist is much happier. Take care.

*This post links with ‘Get Lit (Not Gaslighted…)’ https://wp.me/p9u5hw-Gr and ‘Invisible Scars’ https://wp.me/p9u5hw-Sf

I’m sure we all have nightmare stories of dates gone awry and relationship disasters we could share but I feel fully qualified to offer my perspective on how to date an arsehole as it seems to come so easily to me. Some would call it a gift. For someone so smart and perceptive – I like to think so anyway – I have shockingly rubbish taste in men. I’m not ‘anti-men’ but I am a little over the fact that I seem to be a sucker for a certain type of highly intelligent narcissistic controlling manipulative man-child having encountered more than one in my dating lifetime. You would think with my track record, I would be able to spot them a mile away or have developed some sort of immunity (ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the ‘anti-arse’!) but sadly it appears that this is not the case. It can actually take me a couple of years to realise oops I’ve done it again. Once I’ve fallen for someone, I develop blinkers – or rose-tinted glasses if you will – and steadfastly refuse to acknowledge their flaws, continuing to make excuses for the poor way they treat me until I have some irrefutable evidence to the contrary: a Facebook message from another girl telling me she spent the previous weekend with my boyfriend who had told me he was having a lads weekend away, or making a concerned friend take a pregnancy test only to be told when the result was positive that the guy I’d been seeing for a few months was the daddy, or the flatmate who told me he had overheard me and my boyfriend having noisy sex the night before when it hadn’t been me who had stayed over… And each one of these guys I let talk me round and took them back – until there were further misdemeanours and they had to go. What can I say, I always try to see the best in people and no one really wants to acknowledge that they have wasted time on a douchebag. Speaking of douchebags, one ex tried to sleep with me a few weeks before he got married (to the girl he two-timed me with btw), he got knocked back, and then after he was married, he thought it was acceptable to send me a video of him pleasuring himself. It was not acceptable and when will guys learn that most women do not appreciate being sent dirty videos and d*ck pics? He is the sort of idiot the block button was invented for…

Mr Control (you met him in earlier blog posts) was definitely one such delight. Not a cheater that I know of (I have my suspicions…) but certainly a narcissistic man-child. He swept me off my feet, repeatedly told me he was in it for the long haul and then when the honeymoon period was over and we were in a rut after 18 months, he buggered off ‘to find himself’ – with another girl I should add! He had a way of reasoning with me that meant he just always got his own way and for a quiet life I let him. I always had to stand on the right side of him when we walked around holding hands for example. A small thing but illustrates the way everything always had to be on his terms. If he didn’t get what he wanted, if I didn’t do as I was told, he would sulk, be coldly dismissive or highly critical of me. I remember being told one night, out of the blue, during a romantic dinner that my breath had stunk that morning. His deadpan expression and tone of voice revealed he wasn’t joking. I felt like I’d been slapped around the face. It was the ultimate mood-killer but more than that, it was the disdain that wounded. This led to a row and he made me cry. I’ll never forget the image of him standing over me in a busy London street (he was tall, around 6ft 2 and I’m not, a petite 5ft 2) with a sneer on his face saying contemptuously: “Look at you, playing the victim”. 

When we met he had made me feel on top of the world with his admiration and adoration. Friends were envious of the way he looked at me. He couldn’t do enough for me – buying in soya milk for me to have for breakfast, giving me lifts to work and so on. As the relationship progressed, all of that changed. It was so gradual and subtle I didn’t even realise what had happened until it was over and I’d had time to reflect. I had been love-bombed by a narcissist until he no longer required my attention. As he painfully knocked me off my pedestal, he started to make comments on my weight, asked why I didn’t wear low-cut tops or false eyelashes, made little critical asides that slowly dented my self-esteem. He isolated me from my friends, making no effort to get to know them whatsoever as ‘he had enough friends’, preferring us to spend time alone or with his friends. Looking forward to spending our first anniversary together, I had pictured being wined and dined and then presented with a thoughtful gift. Instead I was informed that he was going on a lads holiday that weekend – though he did put a surprise bouquet of flowers in my apartment to soften the blow. He just always did what he wanted and I was expected to accept that. When we were at the mall on my birthday, the last one we spent together, the only treat I had wanted that day was to get my nails done. After being told at the salon that I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment for an hour, he behaved like a sulky teenager, refusing to let me get my nails done, insisting instead that I go with him back to his apartment as he loved me and wanted me all to himself – how manipulative and selfish. And it was him that ended the relationship. Hilarious! Throughout our relationship, I was not allowed to put a picture of the two of us as my profile picture on Facebook because ‘when it’s on the internet it is out there forever’ apparently, though I found it very easy to delete all pictures of him from my page when we broke up.       

The Good Husband was another narcissist I was romantically involved with and funnily enough he has the same birthday as Mr Control. A witty and charismatic man with a penchant for winking, he was a married work colleague, my boss, who prided himself on appearing to be a devoted husband and father. Within weeks of us meeting and exchanging flirty emails, he initiated an affair – telling me he was happily married and wouldn’t ever leave but he felt something he wanted to explore with me. We never fully consummated the relationship, a mutual decision for obvious moral reasons, but we did kiss. Do happily married men initiate affairs? I don’t think so but his marriage is his business, not mine. He told me he could naughtily act on impulse but not do anything premeditated and in daily WhatsApp messages we made it clear how we felt and what we wanted to do with each other. He claimed I was an ‘eye-opener’, that he hadn’t done this before. Hmm. Was I his mid-life crisis? Probably. All I know for sure is that I fell for him hard, blindly followed my feelings and tumbled down a dark and twisty rabbit hole. What ensued was a three-year emotional affair (which are not less damaging than sexual affairs believe me and at least with a sexual affair you get laid!) conducted over work email and WhatsApp, three years of total toxic headf**kery where I was led on and suddenly knocked back several times (one of the most memorable moments was getting dumped on New Year’s Eve when he knew I was out celebrating with my friends – who does that?? He WhatsApped me the next day to apologise and told me I was beautiful). I loved him, which he knew, but unfortunately that meant he thought he could treat me whichever way he wanted and still expected me to remain loyal and discreet. He could be hot and cold on the same day, looking at me with desire one moment and then coldly blanking me the next, leaving me wondering what I’d done. I could be sent an emoji kiss one day but then informed on another day that he did not feel comfortable sending me anything inappropriate. How contradictory is that?! I always tried to be supportive and understanding of his situation but it took its toll and messed with my head. I never knew where I stood from day to day. He was the king of mixed signals. He could be very sweet and loving, telling me in emails what he thought and felt about me, that he missed me, and then belittle me in another instance, or flaunt his relationship with his wife (‘his beautiful wife and best friend’ according to one Facebook birthday post), and be surprised when I got upset – like the time he saw I was watching and then groped his wife’s bottom in front of me at a staff night out. I was devastated and couldn’t believe that he would be that disrespectful. My response: confronted him, told him he was an arsehole and sent him an email telling him we were done; I told him to leave me alone at work and to go through my line managers if there were any work issues. His response: ignored my request to be left alone, summoned me to a meeting on the following work day to tell me that there had been a silly parent complaint about me but ‘he had my back’, with no mention of or apology for his behaviour. I had initially refused to meet with him but he insisted he had ‘a sensitive work matter he wanted to discuss and keep between us’. When I went to his office, he just acted like nothing had happened, it was baffling. I was livid with anger and he seemed surprised by that. What did he expect?! Classic gaslighter behaviour. I might have questioned my sanity had it not been for the fact some friends saw me confront him (discreetly) that night and I have the emails I sent telling him how upset I felt and that I wanted to be left alone. It’s funny how supportive he was though when he needed to get me back ‘on side’. This is the same man who admitted to me that if we had had a fall out and he was upset with me, he would not then support me professionally, and I experienced this multiple times whilst working with him.

Somehow he always talked me round until I’d had enough – he can be very persuasive with his fake sincerity. Early in the relationship he told me that one day he would make me hate him. I thought he was joking and laughed the comment off, not realising that I should have taken that as a warning. You would like him if you met him. He appears charming, honest, kind, and funny but he has a dark side. He tells people what he thinks they want to hear, willing to lie his way out of any potential tricky situation; he can also be a vindictive manipulator. I always made excuses for his behaviour, attributing his inconsistency to him feeling morally conflicted until I realised he just isn’t as nice as he appears, as I discovered to my cost (personally and professionally). I regret getting involved with him but it is what it is – what’s done is done and the past cannot be rewritten. You can only make your peace with it, learn from it, let it make you wiser and stronger, and put it behind you. 

I did report him, and provided evidence, when I left, for initiating an inappropriate relationship and for treating me in an unprofessional manner. I kept my mouth shut for too long, protecting him as I loved him, but should have reported him sooner. Heard recently that he will be leaving the school we worked at for ‘pastures new’ and I think that’s for the best. I hope that he makes the most of the new beginning, doesn’t initiate any other romantic relationships behind his wife’s back again, and doesn’t put anyone else through what he put me through. Men in positions of power should not abuse that power in any way. Writing this blog post was never about revenge; I just wanted him to realise that it was not OK how he treated me in the relationship and the workplace (so he doesn’t do it again to someone else) and for him to take responsibility. The blog posts (this one and ‘Get Lit’) just provide overviews of my three years being involved with him; many things happened in that time that I have not written about, more things that I could say, but feel I’ve said enough, and I will be keeping the posts up as a reminder to him of all that he did. He may not feel as though he did anything wrong and he has perhaps discredited me to other people (gaslighters tend to do that) but the WhatsApp conversations, emails, and my blog posts speak for themselves. I am proud of myself for standing up to him. Feels like closure has finally been achieved and I can now put it all behind me. 

You don’t need a guide on how to date an arsehole. Arseholes are everywhere. Just be a kind genuine person and they will hunt you out. I hope if and when that happens though, you are smarter than me and run for your life. After some of my experiences, I might have gotten quite cynical about the quality of men out there if it wasn’t for the fact that I am surrounded by loved-up married couples who are faithful, perfect for each other, and each of the husbands adores their wives and realises how lucky they are. They give me hope. I am optimistic that there is a good man out there for me who will come along when the time is right. In the meantime, I shall stay happily single and play ‘dodge the d*ckhead’ along with all the other lovely single ladies out there deserving of being treated right.

So back to the title: How To Date An Arsehole. My advice: Don’t!

Postscript: Six months ago I posted the first version of this blog post and my life changed dramatically as a result. A blessing in disguise. I am now happier in mind, body and spirit, and living my dream of travelling the world. There is life after a toxic relationship. Grateful for all of the lovely comments I’ve received about my blog. Life does not always work out as we expect, but it does always work out for the best eventually. Peace and love  💕

*Interesting article on dealing with trauma after a toxic relationship https://www.bustle.com/p/11-signs-you-are-experiencing-trauma-after-a-toxic-relationship-8759486 Reach out for help if you need it.

Take care, Lisa.

📧 uncagedartbird@gmail.com

 

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