The blood in my veins felt like it had frozen; it must have, cause my whole body shivered and felt cold, stiff. Unable to move, I kept staring incredulously at the screen, as if by staring long enough, I could erase the words in front of me.
I’d had a strange sensation in my gut for a long time, before this moment. Something was off, but I could not put it into words. I just knew. I had been seeing Hero for six months. I had caught him in “white lies” and there were several other odd behaviors that had made me suspicious. When I asked him, he said that everything was fine and shook his head at me being silly.
So I took matter into my own hands. I could have just ended things, instead of snooping, but I was in love and didn’t want to lose him over this, if it in fact turned out that it was just me “being silly”.
Inside one lie, is another lie
And boy, did I get to feel silly. Not because I’d been wrong, quite the opposite; I was right, only I’d been way too naive! I had feared that worst case, I’d find traces of maybe one innocent flirtation with another, perhaps from when we first started dating, and things were unclear between us.
Naturally, what I hoped for was that there’d be no flirtation going on at all, and that it had only been in my head. What I did find was something else entirely. Hero’s Facebook page lay open on the screen. Starting two months prior and up until just days before this day, there were long and ongoing conversations, with no less than four different women.
The conversations ranged from flirtatious in their tone, to pretty straightforward and into the erotic. With one of the women, he had been complimenting her on her body in an intimate way, reminiscing about their old “adventures”. He made it clear that he missed that and wanted to experience similar things with her again. To another woman he had also made very flirtatious remarks, saying that she should’ve come and visited him at home when she was in the area 10 days prior.
In all of these conversations there was no hint about me, his girlfriend. It was like I didn’t existed. To the woman who apparently had a great physique, Hero had lamented the fact that she had a boyfriend now, and added that he should be her boyfriend instead!
I felt sick to my stomach but still couldn’t move. So: I was living in a dream world, where I had a boyfriend, whereas he apparently considered himself single and free to play the field. How could my world and this shadow world exist simultaneously?
How could he make love to me, and the next day sit down at his computer and think up all of these sleazy comments? He was really laying it on thick too. Me, I was glad if he even managed to reply to a text from me, after 8 – 24 hours. No wonder he was “too busy” to reply to my texts, now I knew what took up his time! And it wasn’t his heroic work, that’s for sure! (The unimaginable bastard: he, who had made such lengthy explanations, about the stress of his work and blah blah)!
When he came home later, I confronted him. Then I got the first taste of what it was like going down the rabbit hole. Nothing played out the way it was supposed to! You would expect a remorseful man, begging for forgiveness. No such luck.
Hero did the opposite of what is considered normal in an abnormal situation like this. He started claiming that “all of that was such a long time ago”, and we had “barely even become exclusive back then”. He said this calmly and with a straight face. I almost had to pinch myself. I stared at him, eyes wide open. I made him look at the screen at the dates of the conversations, many were as recent as from the last 1 – 4 weeks. (What he did here, friends, is a tool of manipulators that is called gaslighting. It means that they’re trying to change your perception of reality).
I was in shock: how could someone try to alter reality in this way, when the truth was so obvious, staring us both in the face, dates and smileys and all, included?! Obviously I was a virgin when it came to being gaslighted.
When this tactic wasn’t working, Hero looked in his toolbox of Manipulation again. He found what he was looking for: Blame-shifting. I was informed that the real problem wasn’t that he had gone behind my back to pick up other women, no, the real issue here was that his integrity had been violated by me when I’d looked at his messages! If I hadn’t looked, we wouldn’t have had this problem! (If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it..?) Besides, he didn’t mean anything by those conversations, it was just a pastime. He was a bit of a flirt, so what, no harm done, he claimed. His words were almost impossible to defy: they overpowered me uttered in that calm voice; they brought me to my knees, in all their logic.
It was incredible to hear him speak. Everything he said sounded so rational. I was almost convinced for a moment. But my soul was roaring at me, not to let this slide, as a misdemeanour; this act was to be viewed as a felony committed against my soul, was its adamant claim.
I had given my heart and my trust to this person. My fidelity. He was my boyfriend and I loved him completely. And he went and did this? I suddenly saw him in another light. Something was broken and would never become whole again. It was my trust in him, that lay there, shattered on the floor. He didn’t seek to repair it.
He didn’t apologize.
This is the moment it dawned on me that something was very wrong with him. Unfortunately, I knew virtually nothing about narcissism at the time.
This is the moment I should have left. But I stayed.