My entire relationship was a lie.
It’s Friday now; I found out Monday night. Since then, I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions: shock, numbness, anger, sadness, despair, determination, hope, regret, incredulity, wistfulness, pure unadulterated pain… You name it, I probably felt it this week.
On Monday he posted a ridiculous and sexist video on his Facebook page, on which I commented. One of his friends (about whose relationship with him I had several questions) replied that she agreed with me, and we had a short conversation. She suggested that we should be friends…and then we found out. He had been carrying on full relationships with both of us, purposely leading us to believe that he was fully committed and faithful, and then ended both in February (and of course, contacting us many times since the breakups, and not always platonically).
Seyi and I dated for almost nine months, and during that time, it is quite certain I was never the only woman. He was seeing other women at the time he initiated contact, courtship, and dating with me, and he then continued that same cycle with other women during the course of our relationship. He aggressively pursued and began seeing her in early August.
Unfortunately, this also wasn’t run-of-the-mill cheating: this was the calculated act of a sociopath. This man enjoys causing women pain. The more we put all the pieces together, the more we began to understand that we had been involved with a sadist. He is easily the best liar, manipulator, gaslighter with whom I have ever come in contact.
We met and talked for several hours the evening after we found out. We shared some tears as we exchanged stories, answering many questions the other had had during her relationship with him. I was the reason he was 1.5 hours late for their first date, why he’d backed out of having dinner to celebrate her birthday, why she didn’t see him for Halloween and New Year’s… And she was the reason he was absent and silent for days at a time, why he had to rush away several times, why he was constantly late, we he wouldn’t let me come meet him at Starbucks to work with him.
He fed me the food she made him. Cookies, apple pie, lasagna, cupcakes. He hid my toothbrush and cheer shoes every time she (or any of the other women) came by, and he always had them back in their places by the time I came back. He did not slip up until once in November when my toothbrush was in a case instead. This is a man who has practiced this for years.
The underwear was hers. The tank top and athletic shorts were mine. He kept my lingerie hidden away where she never saw it. He explained my coffee away by saying it was for the friends who had come to visit him from the UK, and told me her shampoo belonged to those same friends. He let them speak on the phone to her…and then called me and told me he missed me. He sent her family wine and a card for Christmas, and spoke on the phone to her mother. He came to my family’s house very late New Year’s Eve, came out to celebrate my sister’s birthday with us (though quite late, and I suspect he was having sex with another woman because I was completely unable to get in contact with him), met my brother and his soon-to-be-fiancee, came back home to play cards with us…and then contacted her as soon as he’d pulled out of my parents’ driveway. Now we finally understood why he was so diligent about having freshly laundered sheets on his bed when we arrived.
Her stories hurt. They were much like mine, though different too. He criticized us for many of the same things, none of which carry weight and which spoke more to his need to feel superior than to anything about our personalities or character. He made each of us feel so special, safe, protected, at peace. He danced with her in a parking lot and talked about wedding songs, asked how she’d feel about marrying him. He showed vulnerability and asked me if he were perfect for me, if I thought he could make me happy forever. We thought he hung the moon. But good God, we were sleeping with the devil.
She said another woman was waiting on his doorstep once in September. Walked right up to her and introduced herself, then argued with him–yelled at him–for an hour (he brought her outside so they could not be heard). She said she thought the woman was a bit crazy at the time. When he returned, he told her that he had dated the woman in June and July (yes, also while he was dating me) and that he was trying to be friends with her and she “just couldn’t handle it, couldn’t let go.” He told me (when I confronted him Tuesday) that they had stopped dating the previous January…
She asked him directly if he were dating me after she saw a picture of us out for Halloween (he had told her he could not spend it with her). He said he was not interested in me at all, that he was just being a good friend because Halloween was a bad night for me, and told her she was welcome to speak to me and I would assure her that there was nothing going on between the two of us. He also told her that her body type–quite different from mine–was his preference, and that made it much easier to believe him when he said he wasn’t interested.
In truth, I had wondered some about his body type preference. We argued once when he said he had no preference, and then again in the future whenever we returned to that discussion. When I pointed out that all the women he had dated since moving to the U.S. had been women who were much larger than I, he scoffed at me and then reminded me that his ex-girlfriend had also been a cheerleader and that “obviously, bigger isn’t [his] preference.” It was always back and forth…but I still wonder if maybe he did prefer women who were overweight. He always asked me for photos in athletic clothes and such, but he seemed to be all over photos (on social media) of big women. She’s larger than I, and it seemed that he fawned over her body in a way that he had not with mine since the first four-ish months of our relationship. I told him once in December that I sometimes felt like he didn’t think I was attractive the way he used to, and he got quite irritated with me about that. Once he was no longer angry, he did plenty of reassuring and convincing, and reminded me of paid compliments that “should have” quelled my worries. I guess I just knew deep down that I wasn’t the only one he had eyes for, even if I didn’t know what was causing the unease.
There were a number of times I felt that he either wasn’t interested anymore (early on) or that he wasn’t as committed, and each time I had a discussion with him about it and/or asked if we should call it quits. Each time, he reassured me, chided me for worrying about things, continually reaffirmed his interest. He did this on purpose, and he never came clean or took responsibility, even when we spoke this Tuesday after (part of) the truth came out. He would never fess up to how many other women they were, though he did slip when he admitted to keeping “everyone,” and then had to backtrack and say he didn’t mean “literally everyone.”
When I confronted him about the other women, there was always some sort of alibi or explanation. She experienced the same thing. He had the kindest eyes, and they completely skewed our normally sharp intuition. He tried to make us think we were crazy and paranoid; we were neither.
He created an entire persona around honesty, faithfulness, selflessness, love, commitment, diligence, patience…and every single moment of it was a lie. He told so many stories–fed us so many lines–about his belief in fidelity, love, and commitment. He showed anger when discussing men and women who were unfaithful; once, he told me he wouldn’t leave me unless I cheated on him or something of a similarly grave nature occurred. All the hours of watching Disney movies and musicals, watching sitcoms centered around love and relationships, time discussing communication and compromise…it was all a lie.
He never existed.