In reviewing the events and correspondence between us when we first began communicating in early 2008, I am struck by how quickly and completely I believed everything which this man told me.
My daughter tells me not to blame myself- she says that he did a good job of convincing us both, and my father, and my best friend who lives next door, that his intentions were 100% genuine. The first time that my daughter saw her father in eighteen years was Easter Day, 2008. One of the first questions she asked him was, “Are you still in love with my mother?” And he answered that yes, he was and he always had been. I believe that he was telling the truth. But having no experience with real life relationships or being part of a family (although his family lived in town, he apparently spent most of those years drinking with his so called friends), he was unable to sustain his emotional commitment to me for very long.
“He’s very good at words,” my daughter told me the other night. He certainly told us both what we wanted to hear, and we were so eager to have him back in our lives that we threw open our doors of trust and let him walk in.
I am certain that he was committed to our renewed relationship but that he lacked the inner strength to follow through. He did love me, but due to his own personal issues he lacked the strength of character to follow through with the behavior necessary for commitment. This pattern echoes events which happened twenty years ago; he always began with good intentions towards me and our daughter but was unable to follow through with the actions necessary for family life. He always placed his own enjoyment and issues before our safety and well being so that in 1989, I’d finally just left, figure he’d be happy to be released from the responsibilities of fatherhood.
In March 2008, I asked him two questions about personal issues which he’d been struggling with twenty years ago, and which had been the cause of his bad behavior, and he lied to me completely about both of them. In the past, he’d been quite a liar, but I believed everything he told me as truth because I wanted to trust him, and because he presented himself to me as having “gotten his act together.” I didn’t realize that he’d lied to me in our “new life” until December, 2008. When I figured out the extent of his lies, I didn’t know what to do. I saw the huge red flashing danger sign.
“If you lied to me about this, what else will you lie to me about?” He wept and promised never to lie to me again. I believed him. Oh, how soft the heart is. I should have known right then and there I was in for serious trouble.
In the past few months I’ve felt a resistance coming from him. Initially, he had seemed to enjoy bringing me to family celebrations but this past summer he balked like a four year old about attending a christening party for his cousin’s child. He went, but with great reluctance, and I was seeing then his darker side; he didn’t want to be part of family life, he wanted to be left alone.
Also, he was not as happy as I expected him to be a couple months ago when our daughter decided to apply to graduate school. I said that I’d pick up extra work to help pay her tuition and he said nothing. He had so much free time (he gets out of work at 2pm every day) that I was hoping to hear him say that he’d pick up a weekend job to pay his share of her tuition. I coaxed him to say this. I gave him prompts. But he said nothing. I waited for him to say, “That’s amazing! I am so proud of her. I’ll start making extra money right away to pay for it.” But he never said anything remotely resembling this. (Note to reader: this man never paid child support as I never filed for any.)
Now I realize that this other relationship had taken precedence in his life over his family commitments, and that although he wanted to have his daughter in his life, and he wanted his daughter to think well of him, he certainly did not want to sacrifice any of his free time or extra money to send her to graduate school.
His shift of attitude had extended to me as well. Initially he’d been extremely generous, but in 2010, I’d sensed a resistance on his part to doing anything which meant spending money. We never went out to eat anymore. Again and again, I suggested that we spend a night at a local hotel overlooking the ocean, and split the cost, but he never had money. He bought himself many presents in 2010, a scooter, a new camera, an IPhone, but although I’d been very generous with him in terms of money I’d spent on the relationship in 2010, he did not return the generosity. I knew that since he’d bought his house, his expenses had risen, but he always picked up overtime on the weekends, and he always seemed to have money for things that he wanted. My daughter echoes that, other than her birthday present, she didn’t receive any presents from him in 2010 the way she had in 2008 or 2009. It’s not that she wanted presents from him, but that she felt his attention fading as well. Now I guess that all of his free time and extra money were going towards his new relationship.
He had us all fooled, me, his family, my Dad. There he was with me in the recovery room after my Dad’s emergency surgery last March. There we were one year ago, his family, my Dad, our daughter, he and I having Thanksgiving dinner together at his Mom’s house. There I was at Christmas last year, accepting his gorgeous hand strung tiger’s eye necklace, never dreaming that I was not the only woman in his life.
But it’s alright. My eyes are wide open now. I am less naive than three years ago, and that’s a good thing.
- Detect Liars by Forcing Them To Think [Psychology] (lifehacker.com)