My Boyfriend Refuses To Take Down His Online Dating Profile

My boyfriend – who is over 60 – has had more dates than anyone I know and still receives notifications of women who have emailed him constantly. He has told me about some of them and still hears from many of them. Since we have dated for almost two years, I asked him to cancel his online dating account. I cancelled mine.

We live together. Whenever I have to go to a social function, it shows that he has been on Match.com reviewing matches sent to him. I told him it was upsetting and we had a little verbal disagreement. After another social event that I attended with girlfriends, I found that he had done the same thing again. This time I am not saying anything, but feel he is always looking for something better.

How do I know this? My girlfriend who is on Match.com looked at his site for me (which is still posted) and said he had been on that day, just a few hours ago, which was while I was gone. Is he addicted? Is this normal human behavior? –Barb

An existential question:

If a man cheats openly on his live-in girlfriend, is he actually a cheater?

I don’t know, Barb, but the picture you’re painting is of a really unfortunate arrangement.

Imagine a company that lets its CEO cook the books and embezzle from them because he’s a smart, charismatic guy. The shareholders would have every right to demand an ouster.

A man who is openly defying his two-year girlfriend to stay active on Match.

A woman who has so little self-esteem that she puts up with such defiant behavior.

Forgive me for the self-esteem line. I don’t know you. I’m not a psychologist. But your relationship does suggest a level of patience and tolerance that far exceeds the norm. And I’m not saying that in a good way.

Imagine a company that lets its CEO cook the books and embezzle from them because he’s a smart, charismatic guy.

The shareholders would have every right to demand an ouster.

But if the company knows and doesn’t fire him, whose fault is it that the behavior continues? You got it: the company!

And if I’m the CEO, I’m gonna keep on openly embezzling.

Why not? There are no consequences to my behavior.

I do hate to be the one to burst your bubble, Barb.

But really, what do you think he’s DOING on Match each day? Do you think he’s just browsing, like people browse through the mall?

Or would you guess that a man who has a membership on a dating site is actually, you know… USING that site for its intended purposes – to meet new women?

Put it this way:

I don’t go to Amazon to browse books. I go there to buy.

I don’t go to the gym to not work out. I go there to swim.

There is simply no viable, reasonable, acceptable response he can make – even if, somehow, he has not met ANY new women since “committing” to you.

I’ll be the first to admit – online dating can be addicting – especially when you’re getting a lot of attention. There IS a temptation, for both men and women, to try to continually “trade up”. But the whole point of dating – for most of us, anyway – is to find one person that makes you want to quit altogether.

If your live-in boyfriend doesn’t want to quit, he shouldn’t be your boyfriend.

Oh, and by the way, don’t ask him to take his profile down. That’s not your solution. He’s already proven to be the worst kind of selfish, insensitive prick who can’t be trusted with slippery concepts such as “monogamy”.

The only way to fix this is to dump this him when you’re done reading this.

You probably won’t do it, Barb, but I’m really hoping that you do.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    DinaStrange

    He is looking for the “grass is greener”. If he doesn’t think you are good enough, why would you think he is? I know you are living together and it’s hard to leave, but  better do it now, than later. Behavior will not change and Evan is right. That’s not bursting a bubble, that’s being honest.

  2. 2
    Rosa

    Barb – see it clearly: he does not want you.

  3. 3
    david

    Wow — great advice. Spot on. And yeah, I doubt she’ll do it either.

  4. 4
    Paul Mawdsley

    Sorry Evan, while I agree with your assessment of the boyfriend and the ultimate outcome of Barb’s situation, I disagree with your assessment of Barb and her self-esteem. My sense of things suggests Barb is seeking answers. She is trying to raise awareness and make sense of things. This is not an act of low self-esteem. In fact, it is just the opposite. She sounds like she is struggling with a conflict between what her gut is telling her and what her head is telling her and is seeking synthesis between competing views without disowning the information from either. I would say this is very healthy.

    I’m guessing Barb is getting mixed messages from her boyfriend and is finding it very hard to make sense of him. Her questions are an attempt to seek help understand his behaviour so she can make a decision. The first step in determining what to do in an emergency situation is determining if it really is an emergency situation. While I agree that this is an emergency situation, and my gut is telling me Barb should get the hell out, I understand that Barb can’t see this for herself yet, at least with her head. She needs help seeing it for herself and making sense of what her gut is reacting to so her self-esteem can show its true colours and give the bf the boot.

    From Barb’s letter I suspect her boyfriend is an all too typical narcissistic type personality. This would make him behave in predictable ways that are very charming, very charismatic, very exciting and very attentive but always there is the sense that he can’t commit his feelings all the way down. It will feel like he can lavish attention and gifts but can’t really connect from the heart. The most telling sign, if this is the case, is the feeling that he is only giving to get something in return. It is not about a sense of sharing and caring and acting from a place of core connection. Everything he gives is designed to gain power in the relationship. Openly displaying his online activity is openly displaying his power in the relationship, showing pride in being able to manipulate another’s perception to the point where he can get away with continued online dating activity.

    If my sense is true, he is doing his best to keep Barb confused and baffled. It will feel like, when challenged, he will twist the truth to spin any perception of him to a positive light. He will have a way of turning any attempt to pin a negative on him into a finger pointing at someone else. Anyone captured by his spell will find themselves in a spin, doubting themselves and wondering where their sense of reality went. It will feel like it’s hard to find solid ground, hard to know where the truth lies, hard to trust your judgement. 

    Barb, this is just my sense of things, my theory, based on a small amount of information and a lifetime of experience that helps me recognize the meaning of patterns in the subtleties of behaviour very quickly. If any of this sounds familiar, you need to take a serious and objective look at who you boyfriend is. You need to reach out to friends to get their input on his behaviour and his character. After you make sense of him, you will know what you need to do. My guess is that you will find Evan is right and dump him.

    Good luck. 

    1. 4.1
      Ann

      You are very intuitive and spot on.

      I put it to my 5yr on again off again bf that unless he wanted to marry me and build me a house, get off dating sites (which I’d recently found out about through a mutual friend) and consistently treat me with consideration he could forget it.

      He replied “What do I get?”
      I replied “love and devotion.”, but it confirmed that all he thinks about is how things affect him. He had all the excuses for why he was still on a dating site- just that I didn’t buy them. I said to him why don’t you open your mouth a bit wider and put the other foot in.

      He left it a few days and tried to get back together again. My heart is finally caught up with my head and I just know that nothing will ever change and no good will ever come of it. In fact I said to him that I would now need a brain transplant to ever trust him and that much of the time we were together I have felt like I was on the spin cycle in a washing machine- no-one wants to feel this way.

      I decided that whatever his problem was, that I would no longer make it my problem- and yes, I genuinely loved him, but enough is enough! It took me many years to finally pull the pin and absolutely know that no matter how good the good times are- there is no real commitment or consistency. It is likely that he will never change.

  5. 5
    david

    (part 2) In fact, I will suggest another thing the OP will not do as well, while he gone one day, pack up your s**t (at least some of it) and stay at a friends for couple to a few days and leave a note that says, “Now you have all the time you need to be on Match.com” — that kind of wake up call, the kind of GAME CHANGER is what he needs.

    If you just (TRY) and break up with him, he’ll give you a million reasons not to and you’ll stay.

    A couple nights away — and denied the REAL THING — will sober him right up.

    But, if he’s been two years and she’s tolerated this crap — it’s unlikely she’ll make a stand / move like that. 

    But I really hope she does, because that is what is needed (for her, him and the relationship) 

  6. 6
    Ruby

    Shouldn’t the cancellation of Match.com accounts precede living together? Also, you can browse Match without keeping a profile up. This guy is still paying the monthly fee so that he can continue to read, and no doubt respond, to emails. What a narcissistic jerk! It’s time for an ultimatum: Me or Match.com. Since he’ll probably choose the latter, be sure to have your bags already packed.

  7. 7
    Katherine Wakefield

    It’s a no brainer.  He’s keeping his hand in to keep his options open.  It’s that simple.  He’s not shopping at a clothes store, hes shopping at an online dating site.  She’s being kept as the not quite good enough but good enough for now girl.  I would dump his sorry behind, work on myself and why i’m prepared to sacrifice myself by putting up with this kind of behaviour!

  8. 8
    Nicole

    This is nuts, but I guess not surprising.  

    I mean, some people will go to their graves believing that they need to find someone hotter, younger, richer, etc. than what they currently have.

    So this guy sounds like a real or wannabe silver fox who is still playing the odds.

    And it’s not far fetched to wonder about the self-esteem of a lady who tolerates this from a live-in boyfriend who is also a senior citizen.  Nuts.

    So funny, I read the title thinking it was going to be someone much younger who was trying to rush things.

    But I wonder if her tolerance of it is fear of being alone, esp. if she is the same age demographic as her BF. She could be tolerating it b/c finding men that age who aren’t too deluded to date someone their own age is hard . 

    We already know that Match.com creates a harmful illusion of choice that makes people think that the thousands of available singles means that they can always trade up or hold out for a perfect mate.  And I’m sure this guy is messaging (and creeping out) women half his age.

  9. 9
    JD

     As I told one guy who was interested enough to keep dating me occasionally but not contact me regularly, I am not a back-burner girl.  Don’t keep me on while looking for something ‘better.’ I give someone my full attention and deserve the same. 
      I always see dating profiles that say ‘In a Relationship Now’ and one that said “Married now’. So why is their profile even there?! Does this happen more with men? (I don’t look at women’s profiles.) If you think the grass is greener somewhere else you can jolly well get out of my pasture and go see. But the gate will be locked behind you.  

  10. 10
    Donna

    I too don’t think that Barb suffers from low self-esteem, but just wants to make sure she is doing the right thing before she does it, both in her head and in her heart – to know that she has done her best and is not over-reacting.  Do what David #5 suggested above, and as Evan has said in the past, if he lets you leave, you have your answer.  If he doesn’t let you leave, then you have a real committed relationship.  “Men don’t understand your words, but they do understand your absence.”

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Donna – it’s not “if he lets you leave”. He WON’T let her leave. He’ll say he’s taking down his profile and that he’s a changed man. He will do what’s necessary to keep the status quo. And then he’ll go back to online dating, which is what he’s been doing for 2 years. The answer isn’t to negotiate with him. The answer is to cut him off.

  11. 11
    Paul Mawdsley

    I disagree with David #5. The answer isn’t to escalate the game. The answer is to step out of the game and pull the covers off…step out of the Matrix and see what is real. A relationship can be so much more than the push and pull in a power game. Step out of the game, see the truth, then choose to stay or leave. No game.

    Evan #11 is right. I would expect the bf will do what he has to do to keep the game going until he can turn it in his favour and continue milking as much as he can from the relationship. Engaging in the game, in any way whatsoever, will give him what he wants: access to your eyes so he can see himself, access to your heart so he can feel his value and access to your body so he can pleasure himself. This is what you are dealing with IF he truly is narcissistic. The attention from online dating is just more food for the narcissist. This is why he won’t stop. The narcissist needs to fill his empty soul.

  12. 12
    Heather

    @Paul Mawdsley – I agree with your assessment of the situation.
    As far as Barb is concerned – just walk and never never look back.  
    I was in a similar situation up until 6 months ago.  I was in a relationship with someone for over a year – we lived together for a year.  
    It’s normal to still be online dating or dating in general for the first month you’re getting to know someone.  You’re still getting to know a person – and you don’t know if he/she will interest you or you will interest them past a date or two.  You don’t know if he/she is looking for a relationship or is just interested in the one-two date experience.  So it is perfectly normal to not be commited in the first month you date someone.  But dating is a way to find someone who you want to try to build something with.  Once you’ve identified that there is someone you want to spend more time with – and live with – this is when you put your efforts into seeing if you can make the relationship work and see if you can build something together.
    I went through something very similar – and first he will tell you that he’s not looking for women to date – he’s just looking for friends.  He will tell you that all of these dating websites is how people make new friends.  He will tell you that you make new male friends all the time and so he’s making new friends – and you might really be making new friends but the key of course is the difference between making a friend or new acquaintance and dating someone.  He’ll tell you that he’s not cheating on you.  He’ll tell you that people like to gossip and make drama.  He’ll tell you that he wakes up with you every morning – shouldn’t that prove he wants to be with you.  He’ll tell you that he has health problems and financial problems and problems with his family – and his grandfather might even pass away.  He’ll tell you that you should be more emotionally supportive of him while he goes through these difficulties and that you’re causing himself and yourself stress by worrying about all of this.  He’ll tell you that you’re the only woman he wants to be with and the only woman he cares about and the only woman in his life for over a year.  He’ll tell you that he’s deeply hurt that the woman he built a life with for over a year is participating in baseless witch-hunts.  He’ll tell you that you come from a religious background so you are not familiar with social norms in the secular society.  He’ll tell you that all of these women think that just because he paid a little attention to them that he wants to date them.  And the list goes on for all of the things he’ll tell you.  When they know they’re caught they tend to babble left and right.
    The moment that you walk Barb – the moment that I walked is when I realized that he was unable to do anything with his time other than be on websites to find ‘friends’, go out with guys cruising for girls, call up girls, etc.  Ironically, I told all of my new male friends that I was already in a relationship so that there would be no misunderstanding.  90% of his new female ‘friends’ never got the memo that he was already involved – not just involved but living with someone.  I was too trusting – I had a very busy life and had no desire to do investigations into anything.  I wasn’t suspicious at all.  I had friends, and hobbies, and meetings and was very fulfilled in my life so that I unfortunately was not suspicious enough.  I never checked his phone or went through his emails – so it took some time for the behavior to have gotten so bad before I really noticed how bad it was.  The moment that I walked away – kicked him out - is when a lightbulb went off in my head that all of this was a front – it all was lies and there was a world I didn’t know about that existed.  The moment I walked was when another lightbulb went off and I concluded that he was the one causing all of us the stress – that if he was really torn up about his grandfather dying and everythign else happening in his life and if he really needed me not to rock the boat then he should be running around with other women – I separated my sympathy for him from the fact that I didn’t deserve to have to deal with s— like that.  The moment I walked is when a couple of the women had contacted me (over the same 48 hour period) and it became clear that some of his physical attentions to them were more than ‘friendly’.  The moment I walked was when he’s making fake phone calls to cover up for his activities – he tells me he’s going to watch a movie at his cousin and then right in front of me makes arrangements to watch a movie at a girl’s house – and then covers up by pretending to call the cousin and tell the cousin that he’ll meet him ‘there’ (he won’t say the address of course b/c then i would know but he’s operating under the assumption that I think the cousin knows where ‘there’ is).  The phone rings in the middle of the fake phone call to the cousin as he’s pretending to actually converse.  He’ll say whoops the call was dropped.  And then another lightbulb goes off in my head about all the times calls he was ‘in the middle of’ were mysteriously dropped and it all hits like a rollercoaster.  I was too stunned to say anything about him going out that night.  Naturally, he did not return home that night and in the morning walks in, asks for his favorite omlette and says he stayed at his cousin.  The moment that i walked is when I stood there in shock – somehow making the omlette – and realizing that I would have nobody to blame but myself if there was a repeat of the faux-phone-call-to-cousin/girl-movie tomorrow – or every single day for the rest of our time together. 
    When all of this hits you, Barb, you will ask him to leave – I asked him to leave – I asked him to leave several times.  But he failed to leave.  I had to be persistent for the sake of those ‘hard of hearing’ over the course of a couple weeks till I reminded him every conversation about him leaving and that it finally would be today – that he would leave today - that I was not dragging out the breakup any more.  For your safety, if the guy in question has a slightly violent rage – which I unfortunately found out when things went down south – you might need to wait a little to pick the best moment.  You might need to have friends on call.  Even better if you can somehow convince him that it was his idea to leave (it was my apartment so he would be the one to leave – if it’s his apartment then you can leave at once).  He might leave and might send you threatening emails.  You might eventually have to get a restraining order or get someone else involved to get it to stop.  Your boyfriend is 60 – mine was 27 – it doesn’t matter what the age is - it takes immense work to actually change – and most people don’t have what it takes to do it.
    Barb – your sanity is worth it.  Leave now. 

  13. 13
    Valleyforgelady

    Barb…………… I used to be a drama addict…..it filled a void that was not healthy!  With Evan for a long enough time that I feel I have been rehabilitated.  Reading your story makes me sick.   This guy is a major jerk.  Get yourself to a doctor for a STD test.  If he is living with you…kick him out!  If you are living with him….make other arrangements NOW.  This guy is hopeless and has been at this crap for years.  I know…I had a guy like this in my life…and I am so embarassed that I took this emotional abuse.

    I have heard of guys like this who were elderly and playing these games at the nursing home!  

    Place some value on your dignity, your health, and say NEXT.  You will never be sorry you did!     

  14. 14
    Angie

    Barb,
     
    Quick question – Does his profile say he is single and looking for love? 
     
    I never used match.com, but on okcupid, several people wrote that they were in a relationship, but had met some good friends that hadn’t clicked romantically on the site and were still open to meeting new people as friends-only.  At first, I thought it was strange, but I do know people personally who have made friends with online dating, but people exclusively looking for friendship should have that spelled out (Does he?).
     
    For the most part, this does raise eyebrows for a few reasons.  He is not 25, in a new city looking for love OR friendship.  He is 60, living with his girlfriend, and showing a lack of respect.  I suggest you stop having your girlfriend online-stalk him and ask him directly what the appeal of browsing profiles and emailing these women is.
     
    It seems you are focusing on the WHAT: Cheating vs. Non-Cheating; Your Feelings of Hurt and Betrayal, instead of the WHY: Why is he motivated to go online and do this?
     
    Just say your friend, Susie (or whoever) saw his profile come up, and ask him what he gets out of it.  If he can’t give a non-defensive, straight answer, then use some sense and make a sound judgement.  Maybe he is just bored, and he is treating match.com as if it is a facebook page… Tell him to sign up for facebook!
     

  15. 15
    helene

     I have been involved with two men who still had their profile up and conversed with other women rather beyond the time I thought they should have taken it down. The first one was a stunning looking guy, womaniser, who said he wanted me to be his girlfriend after about 3 months but actually just wanted to keep me “in his stables” whilst he was constantly on the look out for new conquests. I realised quickly he would never be a one woman man and left him. Weirdly, I kind of wish him the best – he’s being true to himself. He will be a woman chaser till the day he dies – good luck to him.

    The second one was completely different – clearly keen on me, rather in awe of me in fact, but a widower recently out of a long marriage who was rather insecure and had a bit of a “kid in a sweet shop” attraction to the dating site. I cut him a bit of slack as I was the first person he’d dated since losing his wife, and although I thought it was rather immature of him to be voraciously logging on to dating sites once we’d started sleeping together, I let him get on with it and didn’t really worry about it too much. No doubt I would have drawn the line at about the 6 month mark but we didn’t get that far – he sent me a 3 page e-mail full of the most luridly disgusting sexual fantasies one day and it put me right off him so we broke up!

    Jusr saying, this second guy wasn’t a player at all but just an insecure man hooked on the attention…. so that possibility exists for barbara too.  

  16. 16
    nathan

    Unlike OKCupid, which has appeal to people beyond simply dating, Match.com is not a place where a man in a two year relationship should be active – period. It’s not normal behavior, nor is it respectful. I kind of doubt this is the only problem in your relationship, Barb.
     
    But instead of up and leaving today, take a good look at the rest of the relationship, and see if Match.com is the only major problem. Because odds are it isn’t. And with that awareness, you can leave him tomorrow, knowing that it wasn’t just some odd behavior that was the problem. But that the whole relationship was off, perhaps from the beginning.

  17. 17
    Jules

    Online dating is for just that… DATING.  It is not for finding friends.  Finding friends can be a side benefit to pursuing people to date, but it is not why people are there, if they are being honest.  Anyone who says they are there to find friends is trying to justify remaining on the site.  I don’t care if two people in a relationship agree to it, but most people don’t, and I’ve heard that “I’m just trying to meet friends” excuse more than once and it’s hogwash.

    I’ve also had the experience of having someone I was supposedly in an exclusive relationship with try to “spin” it back on me as a character flaw when I discovered through a friend he was still online.  He was upset because he felt I didn’t trust him, had snooped on him, was “monitoring” him, etc… without ever acknowledging that what he was doing was a betrayal (we had agreed to take profiles down months earlier).  Yup, total narcissist.  The most I ever got from him, before we broke up, was that there is nothing wrong with “just looking” and I was just way overreacting.

    Barb — leave him.  He’s completely untrustworthy. 

  18. 18
    Some other Steve

    Do we know how old the OP is relative to her fella?
    Anyway, the goal of the OP is not to have the guy pull down his profile, it’s to have the guy want to pull down his profile (which means that asking him to do it probably doesn’t get what she really wants). Seems to me like the guy is sending a message so clear that only the OP could miss it.
    Good luck, Barb.

  19. 19
    elisabeth

    Do yourself a favour and leave. I agree with @Paul Mawdsley, he is probably spinning you an intricate web of lies and deceptions which makes you feel unsure and doubt yourself. 
    I had a similar thing happen with a man I was involved with for 4 years. From the very beginning he was sleeping over at his ex, vowing they were just best friends now. I felt uncomfortable with that but only became seriously concerned when I was told I could not meet the woman because she didn’t want to meet any of his girlfriends. He also stayed with other exes and chatted up new women along the way, all the way declaring his love for me. Long story short, we ended up in a triangle with a woman in France who was totally oblivious of his game. Not surprisingly really.
    So Barb, spare yourself the hurt down the line and don’t be a doormat like I was for too long and get out.

  20. 20
    Amy

    Don’t ask for him to take down the profile. Just walk run. If he were the man you want him to be, you wouldn’t have had to even ask. You deserve to be with someone who doesn’t have to be convinced to focus all his attention on your relationship.

    (And if he did take it down…would you find yourself wondering what other ways he is trying to meet other women?) 

  21. 21
    henriette

    This is bigger than where your relationship is right now.  I think you need to look at this as an issue of character.  What kind of person lives with a partner for 2 years but stays, looking around on a dating website even if he’s not actually “cheating”?  What kind of person remains on that dating website after his live-in partner tells him that it upsets her?  What we should all be looking for in our SO, above almost all else, is sterling character.  Your lover doesn’t have it so give him the heave-ho.  It’s better to be alone than with someone like that.

  22. 22
    Saint Stephen

    My boyfriend – who is over 60 – has had more dates than anyone I know and still receives notifications of women who have emailed him constantly. He has told me about some of them and still hears from many of them.
     
    By reading barb’s post i get the sense that her boyfriend is a reasonably attractive guy who does pretty well with the ladies. Such men rarely stay with one women for long and as such constantly looking to trade-up for the next best thing that goes about in skirts. And sadly, sometimes they do this right until the day they kick the bucket. I admit this to be a gross generalization but one that is also true.
    Attractive women harness their looks as a leverage to hook the best man, while attractive men use their looks as a leverage to bed many women as possible. 
     
    Here’s my candid advice for barb:
     
    Quit having sex with him and put your profile back up. When he see’s you online actively searching, he’ll be the one to broach up the subject and only then you both can reach a reasonable compromise about the issue. I think is high-time you let him know that if he wants to play the game; two can play the game. 
     
    I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact barb tolerated his sleazy behavior for two straight years – that certainly tells me that she’s got a high threshold for psychological pains.

  23. 23
    Jewel

    Paul Mawdsley @4 and 12. What you describe is spot on and so well written. You have described the narcissist perfectly. I was dating one for some 9 months, and it was his charm and positive behaviour that drew me in until I started to receive  confusing messages that had me doubting myself. When I discovered betrayal, it was as Evan described in his @11 post, he changed his behaviour to keep the status quo. It is as you say Evan, do not negotiate with a man like this, just cut him off.

  24. 24
    Leesa

    isn’t that type of person that Paul Mawdsley and heather (13) describing a sociopath?  i personally think they are describing the tendencies of a sociopath.  i really like how paul has articulated his comments. i think they are very insightful and helpful in my understanding of why sociopaths do what they do

  25. 25
    mia

    How is staying active on a dating site after you’re supposed to be in monogamous relationship ‘sending mixed messages’?
    I’ve learned that actions are far louder than words. He might say nice things, flatter you etc, but if his actions aren’t consistent with his words, he’s sending a message, loud and clear. It’s just up to us whether or not we want to read it. 
    Barb can do better. Anyone in a situation like that can do better. Don’t we all deserve to be with someone who is caring and genuine when it comes to how they treat us?  

  26. 26
    Heather

    I agree with the poster who advised the OP to pack her stuff and leave a note about being on Match.com.

    I was in a very similar situation.  I dated a total narcissist, two years ago.  He was in frequent contact with exes, making me feel unwanted and disrespected and though he knew how I felt, continued to see them anyways.  He became very controlling, and got very nasty one day when I objected to his behavior and condescending attitude.  He told me “DO NOT contact me about this issue again today.”

    So, I decided to follow his instructions.  But I followed them too well.  That day, was my wakeup call that he would only get more demanding and verbally abusive.  So, I just stopped talking to him completely.  I was open to discussion of things if he should choose to contact me, but he never did.  I gave myself a one-week deadline and that if he chose not to contact me by then, I would consider the relationship ended.  The deadline passed.  He made one half-assed attempt at reaching out, but by Facebook and it was not a personal message, it was directed at “a very dear friend who has influenced me more than she will ever know.”

    Three months later, I wrote him a letter detailing why I was done dealing with his narcissistic, rude, abusive behaviors. 

    The OP really needs to leave this guy, he sounds like a total jackass and totally selfish to boot.  Yuck.

  27. 27
    Ruby

    You know, we can call the boyfriend a sociopath, but who moves in with a guy who still has his online dating profile up? I disagree with the person who said this isn’t about Barb’s lower self-esteem. His treatment of Barb is abusive, but she is putting up with it. She writes, “(he)…has had more dates than anyone I know and still receives notifications of women who have emailed him constantly. He has told me about some of them and still hears from many of them.” Of course, the other women are not aware of his living situation. I’ll bet this isn’t the only problem in this relationship.

    Why does he feel the need not only to continue to contact other women, but to tell Barb about these other women? Why is she tolerating this? In the immortal words of Dan Savage, “DTMFA.”

  28. 28
    Paul Mawdsley

    Hi Leesa. There is a definite difference between a sociopath (called Antisocial Personality Disorder in the DSM IV) and a narcissist (or Narcissistic Personality Disorder). You can see Wiki for the different assessment criteria. And there is also narcissism as a personality trait that exists quite normally in all of us from time to time. Unfortunately, the DSM IV is a product of the movement over the last 30 years or so for psychology, as a science, to become more “objective” and less intuitive, so the criteria describe the outwards signs of these disorders without providing any insight into what’s really going on inside the box. I like to approach things a little differently, using empathy and intuition to see inside things, more in the spirit of Freud and Jung and other early explorers.
    The way I see it, the difference between the narcissist and the sociopath hinges around the function of empathy in the person. The sociopath functions without empathy but has a strong core self. Empathy is completely shut down. A sociopath has no sense of another person’s emotional or intuitive perspective other than what is communicated overtly. A sociopath operates from a sense of boredom and a need for entertainment without real care for another individual or for any sense of social norms, societal rules or connection to community.
    I see the narcissist has having empathy but lacking a core self. He has a void and emptiness at his centre and operates from an overwhelming need to fill that void. Without a core self he has no genuine self-esteem so his primary drive is to fill the void and compensate for the self-esteem he lacks. He can never get enough of using empathy in a twisted form to feel and see himself through someone else’s eyes. He feeds himself through manipulating other’s views and feelings of him.
    According to Nathaniel Branden, self-esteem is made up of 2 components: self-value and self-confidence. Without a core self, there is no core self-value so the narcissist consumes the value of himself that he feels empathically through other people’s eyes.  Since self-confidence comes from our confidence in our ability to feed our needs, the narcissist’s confidence is based on his ability to manipulate the perceptions of those around him to fill his inner void. The narcissist has all kinds of defense mechanisms designed to allow in only positive empathic information about himself and all kinds of control systems designed to generate this positive feedback.
    The narcissist looks a lot like the sociopath because his primary defense mechanism is to not care about the person he is feeding on when that person’s needs are seen as conflicting with his. Early in a relationship the narcissist thrives on the positive feedback of young love so there is no conflict with caring for the other person. As his lover’s perspective starts to become less euphoric and more reality based, the narcissist resists, stops caring and implements the control systems created to maintain positive feedback. The narcissist is a paradox of using empathy without caring. He is only able to exist through empathy of another’s perspective while not caring about the person whose perspective he is consuming.
    Back to the main thread…Barb’s bf sounds more like a narcissist than a sociopath. He strikes me as someone who has a void and emptiness at his core, who needs to experience his value through another’s eyes and will not let caring about someone else get in his way when he’s filling his void.

  29. 29
    Mary Anne

    I’m currently in the same situation but we have only been dating a couple of months.  Needless to say, there are better men out there and you shouldn’t need to “ask” him to remove his profile if he really was in a committed relationship with you.  He would have already done it.  Run….just run.  This man is nothing but trouble for you!

  30. 30
    susan

    Seriously? He TELLS her about it?  How kind of her to listen. NOT!
    YES he’s a narcissist. YES she’s a mug for putting up with it.  He’s 60 for goodness sake, nothings going to change here.

    As per Evans continuing advice: ”sorry this is not working for me.  goodbye”
    thats the only way.  Ultimatums don’t work and neither does game playing.
    Being honest and having good boundaries does. 

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