Recognize the signs of controlling behavior in a partner — and bail
By Cheryl Lavin December 19, 2012 3:50PM
Updated: January 11, 2013 10:40AM
When they met, Lynn was 29. She was a single mother, working two or three jobs. She didn’t date much — she was too busy or too tired. Allan was 59, divorced with adult children.
He was kind and had all the characteristics of her ideal partner. He also had money and enjoyed spending it on her.
“When we first met, Allan seemed like a godsend despite a 30-year age difference. He catered to my needs, showered me with gifts and attention. He would wine and dine me. We traveled, explored the city, attended concerts, plays and other cultural events. He was a dream come true.”
Allan was such a “good catch,” that Lynn ignored his controlling behavior and the warning signs which began almost immediately.
“There were incessant questions regarding my phone calls, text messages, whereabouts, friends, co-workers and attire. My character was attacked daily. If I didn’t answer a phone call within two to three minutes, I was accused of sleeping around. He followed, harassed and manipulated me. His lack of trust in me and frequent accusations made our relationship toxic, unhealthy and emotionally draining.”
It turned out, as it so often does, that Allan accused Lynn of the very thing he was doing — cheating. She found sexually explicit text messages on his phone from women and a man. When she asked him about it, he deleted them. She saw him with women. He said they were clients.
“Why did I stay for five years in an emotionally abusive relationship? I tried to leave countless times, but I just couldn’t stay away without missing his company.
After being in such an isolated relationship, I think I was used to spending time with him, and I was lonely.”
That all ended one night when they were out to dinner. Allan didn’t order any wine for himself, which was unusual.
“I jokingly asked him if he was on any new medication. He admitted he had slept with someone else and contracted a STD. He said it was my fault. He didn’t have the decency to say I’m sorry. That’s when I knew I had to leave him. Anytime I miss him or think of calling him, I remember him telling me his sleeping around was my fault.
“I realize the part I played by staying, and I’m thankful I finally had the wherewithal to leave. Throughout this toxic relationship, I was faithful. Working full-time, raising a child and dealing with Allan’s daily antics left me without any energy for much else. I now know his accusations were due to his insecurity and as a way to cover up his wrongdoing.
“Despite what I’ve lived through, I’m smart, strong and deserving of a healthy relationship. I know my worth, and I look forward to the future. As time goes by, I still think of him, but I feel lighter, stronger and happier now that I don’t have to explain where I went, why I didn’t answer the phone, etc.
“I honestly think I would have stayed with him if he hadn’t contracted a STD. It took something major for me to walk away, and I’m thankful I did.”
When Lynn met Allan she said he had all the qualities she wanted in a man. In hindsight she says, “I didn’t think to require a mate who is trustworthy and trusts me.”
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