Have you ever met someone and everything just clicked right away? But then a few months down the road you ask yourself, “Who is this person”?
In the beginning of a relationship most people put their best foot forward. They make sacrifices they wouldn’t normally make because they are so excited to be in this new relationship. This is normal. At first you may watch that basketball game even though you don’t like it. Or you may go to church with that person even though you haven’t been to church in years. Most people want to make that other person happy and it is easy in the beginning because the relationship is exciting and new.
As time goes by people usually settle into the relationship and you may share that you don’t prefer to eat seafood or like to go backpacking in the wilderness. Those changes aren’t so dramatic. The longer you are in a relationship the more you find out about each other and realize both of you will have to make sacrifices at some point. No two people are exactly alike.
But there are people out there who will pretend to be just like you in the beginning of the relationship. The person I am describing is capable of mimicking anyone they approach. They often convince others that they are just like them. They are very persuasive and can read people really easily. They are adept at sizing people up by watching nonverbal cues and reading people’s faces. They use that information to get close to you and you may feel like this is the first person who really “gets” you. They seem to understand you so well that you feel like they have been able to see inside your heart and soul. When in fact this is not the case. They are just very good actors and should try their luck out in Hollywood. However, before you know it, you’ve fallen in love.
The blissful part of the relationship may last a couple of months. By this time you have become very attached and may even feel ready to be with this person forever. Then all of a sudden they seem to change. They may become mean at times, impatient, or refuse to do things they used to do. They may stop calling you back, be late for a date, or not even show up. This is when the roller coaster begins. You feel mad, betrayed, upset, hurt. You text them constantly to find out what is going on, but they don’t respond. Then out of the blue they text you back or call. They may try to convince you that you’re overreacting. At first, just hearing from them is enough to forget how mad you were, so you may agree that you overreacted and blow it off. Those feelings of love coming pouring back into your heart and you forget about your hurt feelings. A week later, it may happen again that they don’t text you for a day and then tell you they left their phone at their friend’s house. You believe them and all is well again.
Over time this happens more often. Instead of being nice for a week, its only for a day. You start to hold onto the anger longer. When they realize it isn’t going to so easy to smooth things over, they’ll start to apologize and promise to make it up to you. They then usually become so attentive that you end up forgiving them. It is so great when you’re together it convinces you that you’ve turned a corner in your relationship. However, it never lasts. When they are not with you, you wonder what they are doing because they ignore you. When you finally see them again, they are so loving and kind you feel like an idiot for ever doubting them. The fighting may increase, but the intermittent reinforcement of their attentiveness and promises of love keep you hooked.
It takes a very long time to break off a relationship like this. Even though all your friends and family will start to hate this person, you feel like you know another side to him or her. In time though, you will wonder if anything they’ve ever told you was true. It is hard to say. Were they being real when they were telling you how much they love you and giving you a lot of attention? Or were they being more real when they were ignoring you and putting you down when they were mad? There may have been times when they were genuine, but it was so inconsistent that you may never know the true answers to those questions.
They may have loved you in their own way. They may have been sincere in that moment when they apologized, but when that moment passed, that sincerity was gone. It is hard to trust someone like this. They have a hard time following through with anything, not just relationships. They usually pick the loyal, kind, giving types of people to hook up with. You are not stupid for being a loyal, kind, giving person. Just be aware that not everyone is as genuine and as unselfish as you are.
In most cases, these relationships eventually implode. They will end up hurting you so much over time that you eventually do end up leaving for good. It can be hard not to blame yourself. Remember, most of the time they KNEW what they were doing and preyed on your vulnerable emotions. Eventually your heart will heal and then you can use what you learned to be more aware of these patterns in the future.
One thing I see as a red flag is someone who is too complimentary. If someone barely knows me and continues to tell me how great I am or constantly tells me how great I look, that is a red flag to me. You have to really know me to be able to compliment me genuinely. However, this works because it is very hard to resist someone who seems so into you. The other thing is they love the chase. Resisting them sometimes eggs them on. It is a red flag if a person doesn’t eventually give up if you tell them you aren’t ready for a relationship. Or at least listen to you and give you some space. This person seems to become more aggressive in their pursuit to get you to date them. These two things are very common in manipulative people. Please be aware that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
The one last thing you can do to safe guard yourself from a person like this is to become more confident. If you feel good about yourself, you won’t be so vulnerable to someone who compliments you all the time. If you are confident being single, then they won’t have that edge when they pursue you so aggressively. You’ll be able to resist and they will go find someone easier to manipulate.