Like many people, I was very hesitant to date after divorcing a narcopath. I’d already divorced two abusers. After the first covert narcissist, I thought I’d learned my lesson…then I ended up with a very smooth talking, charming sociopath. That will scare a person out of dating FOREVER!
But still, we are humans, and we are designed to seek human companionship. Sometimes over the past few years, I have thought about dating, then I got nervous and backed off. I have some very nice male friends who have wanted to date me, but I just couldn’t feel inspired. I wanted to want to date again, but I just couldn’t get into the idea.
I came to the conclusion that I wanted to just date a very nice guy with no drama, no infatuation, no games, no long-term plans. Just plain old getting along, good companionship, and comfort. I wanted to remember what it was like to date without abuse and screaming. I didn’t want to get married or anything. I just wanted to experience normal, compromising, thoughtful, mutual behavior. I thought if I “practiced” being around functional people, I might get back into understanding and appreciating how normal, good men act in a relationship.
I also got to thinking…I didn’t always date abusers. For many years, I was the girl who dated the very nice guys and didn’t have any problems. What changed? I recognize now that I lowered some of my standards as I got older. And when I lowered my standards, I started putting up with bad behavior.
A few months ago, a male friend told me he wanted to take me out and treat me well so I could see that not all men are jerks. I agreed. He wasn’t someone I’d date or anything, but I wanted the companionship and friendship. It was so nice being around someone who wasn’t raging and screaming, that I felt brave enough to get out and try dating. But, I resolved, I needed to hold on to the strong personal standards that used to protect me before I let my guard down!
Recently, I met someone who shares many of my personal and moral standards, that honestly, are very rare in people our age. I don’t know what will happen in the long run with this person, but I am confident that he is truly a good guy. There is no raging, no screaming, no aggression, no name-calling, no demanding, no bullying, no ultimatum, no anything bad. Just respect, empathy, chivalry, compromise…and everything that two healthy adults should be able to offer. It’s really, really nice. And I can recognize and appreciate it more because I’ve seen the worst that people can offer.
Even when my narcopath ex was charming me, there were red flags. He was rude and abusive with servers, cashiers, his co-workers and others. He made me pay for dates. He refused to open a door for me. I know these things might be old-fashioned, but they were early signs of selfishness and a lack of respect, and they only got worse. His words were so wonderful and perfect, but his behavior was not.
With the person I’m dating now, I see good behavior. There aren’t just words insisting he’s great. There are real actions showing that he is an honorable person. The difference is amazing! I have no clue where this will go, and I don’t even want to worry about it. But, I can say that there are good people in the world who aren’t perfect, but also aren’t abusive. It gives me hope. And I hope we can all experience it again with patience and open eyes.