Happy After-Thanxgiving! I had a wonderful and peaceful 4 days, local and loving. How about you? Now that we’re all back to business, how many of you are facing MONKEY business in your personal lives? Don’t you have enough stress to contend with already?
The following woman is overly suspicious after divorcing a husband who deceived her about his past. I offer advice on putting the ordeal behind her so she can open her heart to new possibilities.
Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am divorced now after what seemed like an endless struggle. I had to file all the paperwork after my husband took off and abandoned me. He was a pathological liar and a drug addict. We were only married for a year, but it was the worst year of my life. I had dated him for three years, and he turned out to have a secret past as a heroin abuser. The reason his friends and family treated me as a savior is because everyone believed I “rescued him” from his past of lying, stealing, suicide attempts, psychotic behavior, even a mental institution stint… the whole nine yards. He hid or minimized most of this to me, making it seem like it happened years ago, not in the four months before we started dating.
Now that the divorce is final, how can I trust anyone else? When I think about dating someone, I imagine hiring investigators to follow him, checking his phone in the middle of the night, even installing spyware. Should I give up on dating for a while? How can I suppress this feeling of suspicion towards everyone and everything?
– Distrusting Partner
Dear Distrusting Partner,
You are not the first person to be duped by a partner who professed to love you. Remember that woman who married the guy parading as a Rockefeller? She stayed with him for 13 years and had a child with him. And this 41-year-old woman was no slouch. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. She was a senior partner in a prestigious consulting firm and earned over $1 million per year. Still, she was taken in. For sure, there is a difference between IQ, innate intelligence, and EQ, emotional acuity for trouble.
Sure, your ex was no prince. But part of the responsibility was yours for not asking questions and noting inconsistencies. In addition, you fell prey to a common affliction among women: the need to save someone. A savior mentality stems from wanting to feel needed and loved. The unconscious reasoning is that if your partner becomes dependent on you, he’ll stay. That’s BAD reasoning! As you have discovered, that ploy doesn’t work!
What you must do now is dump the abandonment mentality that haunts you. This is how:
1. Analyze who you were when you met this guy. Were you needy for love? My Gilda-Gram says, “To know your partner is wise. To know yourself is enlightened.”
2. Which signs did you pick up — and ignore — during your three years of dating? It’s unlikely he didn’t leave cues. Why did you choose to brush aside the evidence?
3. How do you feel when you’re on a rescue mission? Where did you develop the notion that rescuing would guarantee loving?
4. Find a trusted therapist to unearth these answers together, so you’ll understand what you must do to protect yourself in the future.
Just as you suspect, I agree that you should refrain from dating for a while—until you feel you are on more solid ground. Trust takes time. But it begins with trusting yourself to make good choices. With help and in time, you’ll come out much better than the person who entered that superficial marriage. Let me know if you need my guidance.
Dr. Gilda, with love
For the rest of you out there, how many folks have been taken in by a liar?? I can certainly raise my own hand to that one. Let's swap stories so maybe, just maybe, we can prevent others from being taken in in the future!
Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.), has a private practice and is an associate professor at Mercy College in New York. Her best-selling books include Don't Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Visit her website at DrGilda@DrGilda.com