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Insight wanted into ex'es personality


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Hello all. ENA has previously given me great insight into my relationships, and I wonder if anyone can offer me any insight into my ex. I guess I am trying to understand why I missed all these red flags, and what was wrong. Looking back, I feel like there were many signs my ex was not quite...normal; there was something just...odd about him. I was wondering if anyone has ever met anyone like him, or if there is a name for this sort of personality. I will describe him here.


My ex was 39 and from a small rural town. I "met" him online when I lived elsewhere, but knew I would be moving to his area. He would send long, long, long e-mails telling stories about what was happening in his life; how he had visited here today or gone there, and not ask about me. After three months of e-mail, when I moved to his area he very hesitantly suggested we talk by phone, and then meet. When we talked I was surprised; he seemed shy via e-mail but was smooth and talked like a professional on the phone (he later told me he was super-nervous, but I couldn't tell.)


We had a first date. He was awkward and shy and later told me he was so nervous that he could feel the blood pounding in his temples. He kept telling me I was a stranger even though we had written every night for months. He made a big show of putting an arm around me and taking a picture (so he could show it off to his friends) but apart from that wouldn't touch me. I looked up at him hoping for a kiss at the end of the date and he kind of shoved me away and said "I'm uncomfortable...it's only our first date." Immediately afterwards he wrote me apologizing profusely for his behavior and saying he had just been very nervous; he hadn't kissed a girl in five years. I sympathized (and liked him) so I gave him a second date. On our second date he acted quite normal.


As I got to know him little things came out. He'd shaved a year off his age. He lived with his dad...many years ago his dad had separated from his mom and they had separate houses down the street. His dad was a creative artist, but very unbalanced...I think he was on the borderline between creative and mentally ill. His sister was clinically and so severely depressed that she couldn't hold a job or even bring herself to renew her driver's license because she thought she was ugly and didn't want her picture taken--she basically hadn't come out of her room in six years. So basically, he had a strong family history of mental illness.


Before me, he had never had a serious relationship with a woman, only a series of short ones that he typically ended for no particular reason, then regretted ending. There was one woman he was in love with for ten years, but never told her. He was a virgin, and very nervous about sex (though he had an unusually high drive.)


He was very scared of trusting anyone. He kept telling me not to trust him. Once I offered to loan him my car while his was in the shop, and he said "you shouldn't trust people like that. Maybe someday if we get engaged, but not now." He said being a lawyer had made him wary.


He was very stubborn, very controlling (but called me controlling). He had all kinds of strange hangups...he wouldn't use the Internet much because as a lawyer he said e-mail could put him in legal trouble. He wouldn't get a computer in his office and instead would go to a library for an hour a day and use the Internet there. He kept saying he was waiting for the "new system" to come out, but when I pointed out that Windows Vista had come out in October, he got really angry. Because he had so many hangups, he earned maybe $30,000 a year when a lawyer should be making $100,000+.


He would never pick up his cell phone because he didn't like people to be able to reach him all the time. If I didn't pick up though, he started sulking and calling again and again. Once he yelled at me, and then when I yelled back got very, very, very upset. So in general, he could dish things out, but he couldn't take them. It was very important to him to be the one who ended the conversation; if I ended it I felt like he sulked a little.


He kept telling me he had a long fuse, but he didn't; he had an explosive temper and seemed to always be at the center of conflict. He routinely gave people the silent treatment. His sister hadn't spoken to him in six months after some fight. At some point his dad became close friends with a married woman, who started to spend more and more time at the house. She began cleaning their house and told my ex to clean out his room. My ex threw an absolute fit, threw her out of the house, had a giant family intervention, etc. that resulted in his having to take his mom to the hospital because her blood pressure had spiked. I understood my ex'es upset at having his life perturbed, but I didn't understand the huge explosion he caused and I felt like he bullied his dad. He wrote an angry explosive letter to the editor of his local newspaper and didn't tell me, saying "I don't want you to think your boyfriend is someone who creates conflict."


He kept telling me he had never been lonely. But then he told me how when he was in law school and living in his own apartment, he hurt his back sleeping on the couch instead of his bed. I asked why he slept on the bed and he said he preferred to be near the TV since the apartment was too big and the TV kept him company. That sounds like lonely to me.


He kept telling me he never got depressed, but then he told me every winter the dark really, really got to him, and then the night he dumped me he told me he was suddenly extremely depressed.


He kept telling me he was honest and never lied, but he'd lied about his age when I met him.


So the things he told me about himself were all at odds with how I saw him act. That isn't pathological, I just thought it was interesting. It was almost as though he was painting a picture of the person he *wanted* to be.


He was extremely impulsive. He'd drive fifty miles for a burrito for no reason except that he was "bored." He seemed always to be bored.


He was very moody. After telling me he never canceled dates, he canceled a number of dates because he was "sick," and then the next day I called and he said he'd biked 19 miles. He told me what an honest guy he was, but he seemed always to lie about little things.


He would say things almost on the presumption that we were getting married: "I don't mind if you want to have a wedding in DC, but I don't want one abroad." At the same time, he had an online dating profile that he would not pull down, and got very angry when I asked him why.


He was weirdly obsessive about certain things, like what kind of Halloween candy to give out. He spent a good two hours telling me why one should give out Hershey bars instead of Three Musketeers. On Halloween I took him to an office party for the first time. He was disgusted by my colleagues and told me they were dull, and sneered because they gave out the wrong kind of candy. I felt like he was very insecure that they were all academics and he was an unsuccessful small-town lawyer. He seemed to rank people in life by where they had gone to school.


He was addicted to junk food. By addicted, I mean it really was an addiction for him; if he didn't drink a soda for a couple of hours he would start getting agitated. He would go to buffets and eat and eat and then feel really ashamed and confide to me how much he had eaten, almost as though he wanted me to scold him. Then if I (gently) pointed out that he ought to take care of himself, he would snap at me.


He phoned me up and told me he was depressed, and dumped me abruptly with a list of excuses straight out of the book. "It's not you, it's me," etc. The swiftness in his change of feelings scared me.


And this is just the beginning of the list of his idiosyncracies. I don't know...there was something funny about the guy but I can't quite put my finger on what it was. I feel like I dated someone who was on one hand a wonderful man, but on the other my intuition says he was not quite normal. Moody, impulsive, explosive, mistrustful, insecure, and simultaneously very glib and very nervous.


Does the sort of personality I described ring a bell with anyone? Is this a known type of personality? I think I would be happier if I could understand what sort of person I dated.


My friends keep telling me I dodged a bullet. I do miss him though; he was quirky, but I am sure I am quirky too, and his particular set of quirks didn't really bother me. I rather enjoyed his colorful two-hour stories, and we had fun together, and he was good company. And he was very sincere and very thoughtful, and I know he cared very much about me.

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You dodged a bullet. He sounds like a borderline personality disorder. Maybe even a Narcisstic personality disorder or at least heavy tendencies. He sounded psycho. It's good you got out! Your intuition and alarm bells were probably going into over drive! Thank God you got out!

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I'm new to the forums at ENA, but I just had to post on this thread.


I agree with mikem this sounds very much like Borderline Personality Disorder, possibly Narcissitic Personality Disorder. I would go as far to suggest APD...Antisocial Personality Disorder. Take a look at the three of those disorders and see what you think. Post back and let us know if the symptoms sound familiar to you.


If he sounds more like APD...RUN, do not walk away from this individual. BPD and NPD are terrible to deal with...but an APD can be down right evil and you won't even know until they left your life in ruin...they are very charming.

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My ex was diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, also known as a sociopath. They are all about themselves and will do or say anything to get what they want. They lie about nearly everything. They don't truly care about anyone, and they are very reckless and do things illegal or downright criminal a lot of the time without a thought. They have to be in control, but they won't face the same rules they impose on everyone else. They have no remorse for anything they do, no conscience, and they have no problem royally screwing someone over and walking away leaving you shattered. They feel entitled to anything they want, but rarely want to work for it. I spent 8 years with one. I don't think I'll ever be able to trust anyone again. Your ex sounds like he might have some of these tendencies, with some other neurotic stuff thrown in. Whatever it is, it sounds like you're better off away from him.


This was my experience with a sociopath. I'm sure they're not all the same, but that's how mine was. He liked to destroy anything he couldn't control.

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Enfin libre: I am so sorry that your life was affected by one of these heartless individuals! I dodged a bullet(not sure how I came to my senses)...but I know that I was just lucky...my heart was broken, but I was able to walk away with everything else pretty much intact. I know that my situation could have ended much differently.

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Thank you very much for your comments. I am looking over all the various personality disorders as you suggest. I do want to add that he had many extremely good qualities; that is why I was with him.


He was very smart and had a great sense of humor, and he really did care very much about me. He would uncomplainingly drive 1.5 hours each way to see me; he always thought of me and brought me some small gift into which he had clearly poured hours of thought. He would always cook something nice and bring it for me, and although he had no money he would never let me pay for dinner, open a door, or do anything else that he could do for me. If I was cold he would take off his jacket and put it on me. I felt like when I was with him he wouldn't have let my feet touch the ground if he could help it. He never went more than a night or two without phoning. He was for the most part sensitive and always asked me how I felt, what I thought, etc.


I forgot to mention--he was allergic to just about everything, and also had to pee every half hour or so. The allergies were something he was very ashamed of.


He was a good man. But as I said, there was something just not quite right about him. I had misgivings on the very first date but I ignored them, because he then covered them up for a while.


He dumped me saying he fell out of love...I didn't feel that was the reason; I felt somehow like he was struggling with some deep fear inside himself and was--somehow--able to love me enough to have a real, serious relationship with me and be intimate and talk about marriage. And then I felt like suddenly he lost, and the fear and neuroses won, and he slid back into his world. Under it all he was a genuinely good-hearted person, definitely not a sociopath...just a guy with a lot of fears and a lot of problems.

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Hello all. Not to diagnose, but just to understand...I have looked up borderline etc. I don't feel it's a perfect fit; it doesn't explain all his weird hangups--but it sounds like the same sort of person. The moodiness, the paranoia, the impulsive 50 mile drives for burritos to relieve the boredom, the explosive conflicts in his personal relationships. He wasn't a normal guy. I know often after people get dumped there is a tendency for the dumpee to diagnose all sorts of personality disorders in order to make themselves feel better. I am not saying a thing out of spite. I loved the man, just there was something not quite right and I feel like whatever it was destroyed our relationship.


I tend to be understanding, and I could have dealt with it all--his good qualities outweighed the bad, at least as far as I was concerned, and I had no problem with him at all.


But he abruptly fell out of love and dumped me, so it's a moot point.

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It's a shame that his good points seem to outweigh the bad. Although it's unfair to attempt to diagnose him without being a professional, he definitely seems unstable.


I would say that you did your best, and it's sad that he turned his back on you, and wouldn't let you into his world.


Take care...

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*nod* He was quirky, but he was a loving guy--and the reason I stayed with him was that I was happier with him in my life than without.


He had a whole big package of neuroses, but if anything I just felt compassion for them, because I have some too...we all do. Just as an example, I grew up in a family of immigrants who came to the US late and only learned to drive in their mid-30's. So I grew up in a house where driving was this big scary thing, and it took me till age 28 or 29 to learn to drive. If someone didn't understand where I'd come from, they probably thought I was a nut for taking buses for an hour instead of driving for ten minutes. So I thought maybe he had some similar reason for not wanting to get a computer, and I shouldn't hold it against him.


He was shy about sex and love, and so was I--both of us came from conservative backgrounds; his family was Greek Orthodox and I am Indian American. So I actually found it a big plus that he hadn't had previous partners.


So I guess our quirks fit each other well (or at least I thought they did). And when they didn't--well, I know how hard it makes life to be weird and the odd one out, and I accepted him.

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