At the beginning of a relationship with a man with a Cluster B personality disorder you feel like you have finally found what you've always been looking for. You feel your search is finally over and what you dreamed of your entire life exists. For me it was like that but just a slight be different. I'm not a jump in and trust what you're saying kind of girl. I'm more of a stand back and take a minute to see what's really going girl. It was what, I think to him, made a relationship with me even more exciting. I pulled away a little because he was pushing towards me hard. It felt too good to be true. It was my first red flag and I discarded it because I knew I'd been known to run. If someone was coming on too strong, or was too nice, or was too into me it made me nervous so I normally ended it. I thought it was my fear of commitment and now since I was really ready for it I made myself start putting my guard down. Another mistake. It had been two years since my last long relationship and even though I had dated a few guys, nothing had been too serious. When my Cluster came in like a knight in shining armor, I was ready to swept off my feet which is why I began to push away my fears and let my guard down. Cluster would leave me flowers on my doorstep 3 times a week to find when I got home from work. He would call me every day and email me at work (this was before everyone texted all the time). He wanted to see me every weekend at first and then during the week too. It was suffocating but again I pushed through because he was a nice guy, he was handsome, he had a good job, a nice house, and he was really, really into me. He hung on my every word. He listened and if I said I needed something he would surprise me and get it for me. He took me out to nice dinners, out to have drinks at fun places, fun sporting events and concerts. He was making a huge effort. He showed me off to his friends like he was proud of me. He wanted to meet my parents when they were coming to visit me. I told him no but he showed up anyway and wowed them, treating them to dinner and doting on me. It was surprising and I adjusted to it quickly. I started falling for him fast. I was on the phone with my mom after work one day and I heard a car pull up. I said to my mother, "Oh no, I think he's here." I wasn't expecting him. Then I told her, "He won't leave me alone!" Giggling as I said it. That's when she said, "He will be the one you marry." I told her she was crazy but she had never said anything about anyone I'd ever dated before. He won her over quickly and she was not easy to win. She had only ever liked one other boyfriend of mine but she never mentioned me marrying him. This one she did. I thought, of course, she knew best.
After he started to think he had me, things very slowly started to change. He would start complaining about what I was wearing or what I was eating. He would comment on what I would drink and how much or how little. During this time the I was looking for a new job. We had gone to a concert one night then downtown to a bar to watch another band. I was excited about going but I realized during the concert I was having a hard time being myself. I was uncomfortable hanging out with my friends that were there and my new boyfriend. I internally blamed myself and for some reason I decided a few more drinks would help me deal with it. So I did and it did but he kept pulling me back to him every time I'd inch away a little. His brother went with us and other than hanging out with him he really didn't talk to anyone else but me. This was during his watch and study stage. To learn all he could about me to break me down later. I knew a lot of people there. There was a group of people who I was a part of, that were always at these shows. It was normally my happy place but I wasn't feeling like my normal happy self. Again I thought it was me adjusting to an adult relationship. I thought I needed to bend and not be so stubborn in my way of being…so I did. I pulled back and just really hung out with him and his brother. It was fine but I missed my friends. After the concert ended and we headed downtown, I saw a lot more people as the venue was a lot smaller. I couldn't step back and avoid people that were coming up talking to me like they normally did, so I didn't. Then I bumped into someone from my hometown and he talked to me for a while. He asked where I was working and I told him where and that I was looking for a new job. He told me about a position at the company he worked for. I was interested. He grabbed a pen and started jotting down my number to call me about it the upcoming week. Before he could write it all down, my new cluster b boyfriend jerked the pen out of his hand and started hitting him on the head with it. He said, "What's your name, dude?" "You think you can just have her number?" I came back to senses at that moment. It should have been the moment I walked away for good but it wasn't. I took the pen out of his hand and said, "What are you doing?!?" "This is my friend and he was getting my number for a job." I was fuming inside that I actually had to justify having a conversation with an old friend. He then made fun of the guys name to his face. I told him off. Told him he didn't own me that no one did and no one ever would. I walked to the bar and told him to leave me alone. He walked toward the band with his brother and as soon as he wasn't looking, I slipped out the back door and hailed a cab to my car that was parked at his house. That's where I got trapped. I couldn't drive. I had way too much to drink so I decided I would sleep in my car. He was calling my cell like crazy and I was ignoring him. He came home not long after that and walked to check out my car I guess to see if I was in it. He then proceeded to feel bad about what he had done and tell me he was sorry. That he had never done anything like that before and he just got so jealous when he saw me talking to that guy and when he reached for a pen to write down my number he lost it. Would I please forgive him. He said he'd never do it again and he knew he didn't own me. Would I please come in his house and stay and I did. I fell for it. For the month he was perfect. Sweet. He told me he loved me. We went on a romantic vacation. He spent every free moment with me. He never did act that crazy jealous ever again but I think I also pulled back from people to not upset him. I started to change for him but all along thinking it was me. I flirted too much is what I told myself. A guy who really loved me wouldn't like that. I had too many guy friends and that would be hard for anyone. I was too friendly and I needed to change for this relationship. He would love me bigger than I'd ever experienced and then insult me out of no where. Then it was all love and romance again. Then he'd do it again and the cycle would repeat. I started thinking this was just the way it was. That we had a normal relationship and the relationships I'd have before weren't headed toward marriage like this one. They were just fun young love and that this was how it was when adults with jobs and responsibilities had relationships. I didn't even notice he was changing me and that I was losing myself.
On our 2nd date and when I was 100% myself, I told him what I was looking for and if that was not the direction he saw his life going, I didn't want to waste any time casually dating him. I had my head on straight and I wouldn't settle for any college boy bullshit. I was passed that stage in my life. I was looking for someone to fall in love with, marry, and start a family with. I didn't know if we would even like each other but there was no point in going out on any more dates if marriage and kids weren't the direction he thought his life was going. BAM. I put it out there and I meant it. He smiled, looked at me, and said, "Damn….you don't mess around do you?" I laughed and told him I didn't want to talk about it anymore I just wanted him to know. If he called me for another date I'd know what his answer was. We continued on with the date and had a good time. We laughed, had good conversation, and eventually went to the patio of a local bar near the restaurant where we had eaten to continue our conversation. It was fun. He was open and we talked about our families and growing up. It was easy and nice. Then our date ended and I didn't stress about whether he would call me again. He never gave me a chance. He asked me out on another date when he dropped me off at my house. I couldn't stop smiling but I was still afraid (then we go back to the beginning when I started pull away). We dated for 3 years. Engaged at the 2-1/2 mark. As much as I wanted to get married before, I rarely ever mentioned it during our relationship. My insides were afraid of marrying him because of the cycle of mistreatment he was already beginning. In fact during that 2nd date when I was so bold I also said I wouldn't date anyone longer than a year without getting engaged. I had changed my mind and kept my mouth shut. I felt a shift around year 2. He would be stressed about work and take it out on me. Followed by being over the top nice. I just focused on the sweet part. I tried to ignore the bad. I thought he was just stressed at work and it wasn't personal. We had a beach trip coming up that I was excited and nervous about because something felt different. I was right. He took me to a remote part of the beach on our second day there. We went for a walk and talked when he stopped pulled me by the hand to follow him where he stopped and asked me to marry him. As emotional and sweet and open as he'd been before he wasn't like that when he asked me to marry him. I was a little disappointed that his words were lacking but blew it off to him being nervous and not being able to say what he was feeling. Now I'm not sure he was feeling anything. He was just trying to start owning me and this felt more like a business deal than him never wanting to let me go because he loved me and couldn't imagine his life without me. He was smiling and seemed happy but there was something empty and hollow about it. I thought I had built the moment up too big in my head and let it go with that. This was a normal engagement and I wasn't going to complain about anything. My ring was stunning, of course, he never did anything small. I couldn't wait to tell my parents. That's when I found out he had never asked my dad for my hand in marriage. He knew this was important to me and my dad. He minimized its importance and explained to my dad how it was really his fault because he had tried once to ask him to golf but my dad just happened to be busy that day. He tried once. I live in the south. Its tradition and the right of the father of one little girl. I let it go again. I thought maybe he was right and it really wasn't a big deal in the big picture…a life together forever. It really was but like a lot of things that were important to me they were fading and I wasn't paying attention. We were engaged and getting married. There was so much to do and it distracted me from the truth.
Right before the beach trip, we got engaged on, he drove me to a neighborhood I really liked. He said, "Let's go look at houses." Of course I said yes. I thought this was fun to do. To look at the things we liked, what we didn't etc. I worked in design so I loved looking around. He had scoped out three beautiful houses to look at. Two were on the golf course and one wasn't. I grew up with golf being a normal thing, with two brothers and a dad playing all the time. All of the houses were too big for the two of us but they were exciting to look at and dream. After we were done and on the way back to his house we talked about each of them. We picked our favorites. I had a clear favorite and he couldn't decide between two of them. It was a fun conversation and I thought nothing of it. When we returned from the beach, after becoming engaged, he told me he had a surprise for me. He bought a new house for us to start a family in. I couldn't believe it. It was so romantic and it was crazy and the house was the one that was my favorite. This made me think I was wrong about him being mean to me. I must just be sensitive. He obviously is head over heels and loves me to death. No one I'd ever been with had ever loved me this much. I was blinded by the huge, expensive gestures that I didn't even realize this was his way to own the house without my name being on the deed. He bought it without me and acted like it was this huge romantic gift for us. I wouldn't realize this until years later when every year that past, he would tell me he'd put my name on the deed later….he never did. Every year he'd get madder about me asking and every year he gained more time as it being just his, even though for the first few years we were both working and paying the mortgage and bills equally. Every year he'd tell me it didn't matter, that we were married, and we'd both moved in it together and lived in it together the entire time. It was ours. I still fought him to change it without his doing so every year. He was protecting himself and his assets because one day he knew I might figure out who he really was and be granted half.
When I became pregnant the first time I was really, really tired during the first trimester. Crazy tired. I didn't want to do anything after work but pass out. I'd never been like this. This angered him so he'd do what he wanted to without me and act like it was no big deal since I was sleeping anyway. I thought maybe he was right. When that went away and I felt ok again my belly started to grow. I did stuff with him like normal but I didn't want to stay up late because I would get tired later at night. He'd always find a reason to go back out when we got home. I didn't fight him. I'd ask him to go on walks with me and he wouldn't because he'd say he wasn't the one pregnant. I was the one pregnant and I could go by myself to exercise. He preferred the gym. I was hurt but I was pregnant now, what was I going to do about it. He would be great at times and that always made him recover from bad behavior. He never missed a doctor's appointment with me and when we found out it was a girl he seemed freaked out a little but excited. I was thrilled but nervous that he was upset it wasn't a boy. I was afraid he wouldn't bond with our daughter but I was please when he did. She looks so much like him and he noticed it right away and told everyone he knew. She was his daughter. Look at her. There was no denying it.
Part 2 of Children
TBC…..this is going to make it too long for one post. There's a lot more to say.