Thursday, August 15, 2013

I dated a Sociopath

I haven't gone into a lot of detail before in my blog about how it happened, just that I was in a relationship with a man who was married and had a child, and lied about it.  I'm sure a lot of you might wonder how that can happen to a seemingly intelligent female with a psychology degree.  I should see the signs of a sociopath, right?  
Today is 2 years since my life fell apart.  I thought it might be therapeutic to put it all out there.
I met Max in person for the first time on April 16, 2010. He responded to my personal ad looking for a  companion, but not a boyfriend. He described himself as single, no kids, with a good head on his shoulders. A relationship was the last thing I wanted because I had just ended an engagement and was somewhere in- between friends and a relationship with one of my closest guy friends. But Max pushed the issue of a relationship with me and I eventually started to reciprocate what he wanted. I was cautious because I had been hurt by my past relationship and Max knew everything.

In July 2010 he asked for a relationship again and I reiterated my fears. He stood in the kitchen of my  apartment and told me he would rather walk away at that moment than ever hurt me intentionally. Over the next few weeks we got much closer. Max had a motorcycle accident on July 27, 2010 and I began to question his honesty with me because I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want me to come by and bring him soup or come take care of him. Finally I saw him on August 14 for the first time since the accident and things were good, but it was odd to me that the next day he said he had to leave town because his dad was in the hospital for 3 weeks.

During that time he was supposedly in NY with his dad but we talked every day. He finally came back from ‘NY’ on September 4 and picked me up from a party. I had been drinking in downtown Raleigh and didn’t want to drive. When he picked me up, I couldn’t understand why he drove me all the way to my house in
Hillsborough, NC instead of letting me stay the night with him at his place in Raleigh. That night I drunkenly asked if he was married and he assured me that he was not and never had been married. From that point forward, our relationship got more heavy. I finally agreed to be his girlfriend on September 30. On his 30th bday a week later I thought it was odd that we had made plans and he canceled last minute, telling me that his parents came to visit him. I was upset but couldn’t stay mad for long when he surprised ME that afternoon by stopping by my house and I got to spend the next evening with him. The next night we celebrated his birthday and I caught him in a lie and I began to realize things weren’t adding up. But I already cared for him so much that I began to let things slide.

He told me he loved me for the first time at a concert at Cat’s Cradle on October 17.  I still remember his words perfectly "I love you Hollee, and I'm going to love you more and better than any other man ever has or ever will".  The months that followed were perfect. I was happier than I’d ever been in my life, although he did go to ‘NY’ about once a month for extended periods of time. I felt uncomfortable about it but I decided that if I lived far from my parents I would visit as often as possible also. I became convinced he couldn’t have another girlfriend after he met my parents in February and then we spent Valentine’s day (2011) together. Afterall, what woman would be okay with not seeing her boyfriend on VDay, so I HAD to be the only one. That’s what I convinced myself anyway.

Unfortunately, there was always something that caused a weird feeling. In the end of February  a good friend of mine announced that she was pregnant with a son and since her husband was a Jr. the son would be the III and they would call him Trey. This got me thinking about Max (who was also a Junior) so one night I told him about my friend’s son-to-be and said I liked the idea Trey, and asked Max if he wanted that. He casually said he didn’t know, which struck me as odd. Most men either know whether they want a son named after them or not, how was it he had never considered it and I had? There were always little clues
coming up about children that made me suspect he was lying about not having any children, but he always said he knew a lot about raising kids because of his best friend's family. He and I even got into an argument over car seats on the way to the beach once, which I thought was ridiculous for someone who’d never been a care-giver to a child to think he knew more about car seats than I did-an experienced Nanny.

March came around and we went to Franklin Street in Chapel Hill to watch my alma mater (UNC) beat Duke in a basketball game. Afterward, as fans rushed the street to celebrate, I saw Max making some phone calls. First I saw him call his friends Pete and then Jay, and then ‘Dawn’. I was confused because I knew it was a North Carolina area code and he’d told me he didn’t really have any friends in NC. I tried to put it out of my mind because he had at one point told me he had an aunt that lived near the coast. After the excitement of the game we walked to a place I had told Max about many times-lover’s bench. The story goes that if you sit there and kiss your love, you will be fated to be together forever. He sat there with
me and kissed me, and asked if I would marry him. He had been drinking so I said someday, and he made me promise. Although it was the sweetest thing anyone had ever said to me, I couldn’t get it out of my mind that I’d just seen him calling a woman with a NC phone number. That night as we lay in my bed and he was almost asleep, I asked Max what his aunt in NC’s name was, his response was Kettly. I asked him who “Dawn” was and he burst out laughing. After about 45 minutes, he finally told me it was his best friend Jay’s wife. I let it slide and we went to sleep, but the next day when he had to leave for a few hours, I put my investigation skills to work. A little digging into the internet told me Jay’s wife was Kelly and that Max Brutus + Dawn returned search information for Dawn Brutus. I was so confused how this was possible. When he returned to my house a few hours later, I presented him with what I’d found and gave him a chance to explain, but instead he walked out of my house and wouldn’t give me any answers. 3 days went by and he was finally willing to “explain”. When I went to his apartment, he let me look around to prove there was no woman living there and then told me that Dawn was his illegitimate sister. Max explained that his father had 2 children outside of marriage that his mother never knew about. I loved this man so much that even though I saw the red flags, I chose to believe him.

He had made me happier than I’d ever been before so I decided to take him for his word and move forward. In the following months Max and I got closer, until the end of May came and he said he was going
home to ‘NY’ for memorial day weekend. When he returned things were different.  He kept saying he was homesick for NY and was taking more and more frequent trips. The last time he left my home was July 16, 2011. He said he was going for his grandmother’s birthday and he’d be back in a week and a half. I remember that morning so clearly.  He hadn't gotten to my house until very late the night before, but we still had to wake up early so he could start his journey.  We made love and showered together and it was time for him to go.  As he walked out the door, he took a few steps, and then turned back to kiss me goodbye a second time.  The last thing he said to me that day was "No matter what happens, remember I love you".  I think he had an idea it might be the last time he'd see me.

On July 21 he called me while I was at work and he was crying, saying that his mother had Stage 3 breast cancer and he was going to be staying in NY for some time to be with her. I was devastated. I didn’t want our relationship to end and even offered to move to NY to be with him. A few weeks went by and we talked on the phone but I could tell he was letting go of our relationship.

Then on August 15 I received an odd email from a woman, let’s call her JR telling me she had had a relationship with Max the previous year before his mother DIED and she just wondered how he was doing. Imagine my shock upon reading this email. I thought she was crazy. I thought someone was playing games with me, until I looked her up on facebook and saw a picture of them together, dated July 11, 2010. I was so hurt, I called Max and told him what the email had said over voicemail. The next morning he returned my call and admitted he had dated JR while he and I were not official and apologized. He promised me that he would make things right between he and I and that there would be no more surprises. He denied telling JR that his mother died and said he was not lying about his mother’s cancer. We got off the phone and as the day went on something just wasn’t sitting right with me. It nagged at me all day, until I finally decided to drive to his apartment. I saw his car sitting there as I pulled in and I was so shocked. I didn’t see Dawn until I pulled around and my car was beside of her. I wished I had gotten out of the car and told her everything then and there, but I was in a state of shock.  I had thought of things I would say to him if I he was there, and not in NY as stated, but everything left my mind.  She stood beside my car and he stood a bit farther away.

I will never forget the look on his face.

His eyes were full of fear by the time I spoke.  I asked him how any person could tell a lie so big (referring to his mom) and he didn't answer.  I said "Really Max?" because I didn't know what else to say and his response was "Really Hollee."  He mocked me.  Finally I looked at her and said "Are you Dawn?"  She said yes.  So I said "So I guess that makes you his wife?"  They said Yes in unison.  I couldn't speak anymore, my heart had been ripped from me.  Then I looked into the back seat of his car and saw it.... a child's seat.  I now know they have a son and do you know the best part?  They call him Trey.  That morning, he sat in my bed and denied his own child.  I drove off and distinctly remember the sound of my tires squealing as I left that apartment complex.

The sad part is that it took me a year to tell Dawn everything.  I sent her a letter last year around this time, because Max was still contacting me.  Still telling me he loved me.  Still asking to come visit me.  I was falling for it until one day I did a quick google search and found that he and his wife had just bought a nice home on a golf course at the beach.  No one does that and plans to get divorced.

So I've spent the last 2 years grieving the loss of someone I am not sure ever really existed.

[{ On the Up Side, I am no longer the girl in that picture... }]
I am stronger.
I am more confident.
I have survived this.


  1. I am sorry for your hurt girl. But so proud of you for moving on and being the person you are now :)

  2. Wow, Hollee, that is horrible. I'm sorry you went through all of that, what an awful drama. Sometimes writing things down can give you perspective like no other. You are very strong and I'm glad you are no longer the girl in that picture.

  3. I am so sorry that you went through all of that.
    Our experiences are so similar in some ways. I was engaged to a "Boy" when I was very young and found out later he had another girlfriend and a baby while we were together. It devastated me and took me YEARS, literally, to get over him. Nothing healed me except for time and God. I was 24 before I could see him or hear his name and feel nothing. That is at least 6 years after we broke up. He would contact me and I would contact him and back and forth (off and on) until one day I realized I deserved better, and so do you Hollee. Please hold out for "The Guy," I am telling you, I never thought it would happen, but it has so been worth it. :) ((HUGS)) Please continue to heal.

  4. Ugh! What a pig! Don't think of it as your life falling apart... Think of it as your life coming together! Can you imagine eventually being like this sad dawn character? Knowing that he runs around behind your back while you stay at home with his child? You're probably not the first person who has written her a letter about his behavior!! You are too beautiful and young to be a prisoner to scum like that!!!