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A 'Feel the Fear' Story

Listen to your Gut

Two years after my divorce, I decided to try my hand at internet dating and joined a famous dating site -- you know, you've seen those commercials with all the smiling faces talking about how they met their soul mate. In June 2007, I had my first date with a man, who would change my world. In the span of eight weeks, I went from dating three men to dating this man exclusively. The relationship moved quickly, and the biggest challenge was the physical distance between the two of us. Our geography had put us 120 miles away, residing in different states. It didn't deter us, and we spent almost every weekend together and, many times, he would drive down to Connecticut mid-week to take me out to dinner and spend the night. In September 2007, he thought it would be romantic for us to travel out of the U.S., and we celebrated our birthdays together in Iceland.

It was magical and I was deeply in love. It was around this time that he began to ask me to move in with him. I thought it was too soon and said we needed to spend more time together. By December, he convinced me that it would make sense to put my house on the market and move to Massachusetts to be with him. So I began the process of fixing up my house for sale, spending $30,000 to do so. The house went on the market in March just after I moved in with him in the middle of February 2008. Within weeks, I learned that this was not the same man who had been charming, encouraging, and loving. I knew in my gut that I had made a mistake but chose to ignore it. This man it turned out suffers from a personality disorder, probably a narcissistic personality disorder, but he could also be borderline psychotic. Coupled with this, he turned out to be a very heavy drinker and I suspect an alcoholic.

Within months, I was miserable and walking on eggshells. By May, he was telling me that he loved me but could not live with me. On July 4th weekend, I felt the fear and moved out of his house while he was away golfing with male friends. Before I left, I decided to call his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend who lived with him for almost ten years, and another woman who was his girlfriend prior to me. They all confirmed my worst fears. This man had used them all in one way or another -- either financially drained them or emotionally destroyed their self-esteem. I left the relationship, refused to speak with him for months, and took my house off the market despite the financial burden I would face.

I was so embarrassed by my lack of insight into this man, and it took me a couple of months before I could tell my truth to anyone. I had to face the real reason why I moved in with him in the first place -- the fear of being alone and standing on my own two feet. I am now doing just that, but I am not going to let this man change my ability to love and trust in my future. I have just started to date again and have reconnected with a man I met over two years ago. I am taking my time to allow this new relationship to develop whilst still keeping my focus on me and what I need to be happy.

I am not going to settle for less than that ever again.

Pam, Connecticut, USA