Throughout the entire relationship I was plagued by anxiety and self-doubt. There were moments when I could have paused and noticed he was not who I so passionately wanted him to be.
I never believed I was pretty enough to deserve love. Part of the problem was my own obvious innocence, which he exploited. Whether it’s a romantic relationship, a familial relationship, a friendly relationship, or even a business relationship, empathy allows us to recognize the inherent value in the other person’s feelings, so that we can negotiate a mutually favorable experience.
And for about four years, I was really, really in love with him.
Before I get to the “what it was like” part of this article, let’s do a general overview of the disorder, for those of you who may not know much about it beyond the everyday lexicon. Often, he would profess his love for me, then disappear for days. I was obsessed-I’ll admit that, but I had been groomed into the obsession.
On average, men find women with some psychological vulnerability more attractive, according to a 2012 University of Texas at Austin study which looked at the connection between sexual exploitability and sexual attraction.
This is not necessarily problematic, explained clinical psychologist and relationship expert Barbara Greenberg, but it can become a substantial cause for concern for those experiencing severe suffering who may be less likely to protect themselves. I later found out this can be a typical occurrence for people who are depressed.
So this assertion, that The Ex is a sociopath, is based solely on my knowledge of the disorder and my extensive observations of his symptomatic behavior.
That being said, I am fairly damn certain he genuinely has antisocial personality disorder.
But for me, a bisexual and queer woman who at the time was primarily dating cis-gendered straight men, it meant a stream of partners being attracted to, and enjoying, my inability to stand up for myself: an excuse to sleep with a “beautifully fragile” woman who would not ask for much in return.
The fact that an aura of sadness can attract partners is not uncommon.