When they’re interested in you for their own gratification, they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you, most likely after they’ve gotten what they want, or become bored, they will drop you without a second thought.
During the first 10 months of round two, Ben and I didn’t experience a single argument, we failed to even have any sort of disagreement about anything. I used Ben as an example to others in showing how well people can get along, even have sex all the time, and co-exist in harmony without allowing a single drop of drama to rear its ugly head; that’s how smoothly our first ten months passed by. Ben went the extra mile and then some in making me feel loved, special, and beautiful in my own way. I remember (just like in round one) telling my mom how lucky I felt to have Ben in my life.
Life couldn’t have been better, and I also couldn’t have been dumber and more blind to reality than I was back then, but never forget that ignorance is bill up until ignorance is just plain ignorance, which is when you realize the covert narcissist left you in a frying pan for days without you realizing you were being turned into dinner.
I failed to give Ben the credit he deserves for pulling off the impeccable role of loving, concerned, pseudo-boyfriend without a glitch. My friends, neighbors and anyone who interacted with us believed we were the happiest gay couple on the planet, finding our perfect “fit” to be an inspiration to the world. What everyone failed to see — myself included — is that Ben is that impressive of a con artist. That boy deserves an Oscar, maybe a dozen Oscars for his 10-month run as the role of ideal boyfriend, without once requiring assistance from an under-study.
The Covert is an expert at presenting himself as charming, giving, kind, genuine, empathic and psychologically grounded. The charm offensive of the Covert is acted out with perfection: a Broadway level performance. But, the Covert is above all, Secretive. These individuals lead several lives at one time. The covert narcissist is masterfully clever at concealing his malicious, dark, cruel traits.
Ben was so dedicated to me, he showed up like clockwork when he was supposed to, and Jesus, that boy was dependable; I’d never met someone who was such a man of his word like Benjamin was; he was the real deal, he’d truly self-reflected and pulled off the most amazing self-makeover in history, I was so impressed. Every moment I spent with him felt like heaven, there literally wasn’t one dull moment involving the two of us together, and I felt at peace with life, like things couldn’t possibly get any better than this.
Ben and his beau ended up not breaking up after all, but they weren’t having sex or getting along well either, at least according to Ben. Ben still had “feelings” for his beau, however. When I asked him why, his answer was intriguing:
Being with him was the first time in my life when the noise in my head went silent.
I asked Ben what about me, and he responded:
I’ve learned to tune out your noise, Alex.
Regardless, Ben swore his feelings for me were paramount and wouldn’t falter, that nothing could come between us, and my dumb empath ass believed all the bullshit he fed me, leaving me convinced we truly shared a bond that nothing could destroy.
Back in la-la-land where I was too stupid to realize what was happening, I didn’t mind sharing the spotlight with his other man or being the mistress. That’s because Ben treated me like my Prince Charming, so whatever label I had or didn’t have wasn’t of significance to me. He swore nothing would ever come between us no matter what; and like an ignorant fool, I believed his words, which were nothing but Ben’s “my truths.”
When I asked Ben why he was still into his man, who seemed to have no interest in Ben from the tales he told me, his answer was intriguing:
He was the first guy that made the noise in my head go completely silent.
So I asked him about me, and he responded:
You’re the opposite. But I’ve learned to tune out the noise you create.
Regardless of my noise, Ben continued to treat me like royalty. I believed in my heart of hearts that he felt guilty for what he’d done to me in round one; here I’d just been intentionally infected with HIV by my first boyfriend and along came Ben, who could have been my rock, but instead chose to throw rocks at me until I discovered the other “n-word,” leading to round one’s explosive, fiery ending.
So this is my theory behind why Ben, no matter what he claimed, would never stop chasing after his beau like a puppy dog. Unlike me and others, this guy treated Ben like dirt. According to Ben, his beau was the narcissist, and he might be for all I know, I’ve met him repeatedly and he’s a total dick. He’d also been quick to cut off the love and affection, leading Ben to want what he couldn’t have, and Ben — accustomed to getting all he wanted in life — was suddenly getting a taste of his own medicine.
Ben, like all narcissists, is fueled by attention — and he wanted the attention from the one guy he couldn’t have of course. I’m certain that the moment Ben got his attention and affection, it would have only been a little while before he quickly devalued and discarded him like the rest. But since that never happened and despite him vehemently denying it, Ben had to have everything he desired and he wouldn’t give up until he had exactly what he felt he deserved, which was everything from everyone.
Our feelings became so intense that one night Ben professed his love to me: he said he loved me just as much as his boyfriend, he called me his boyfriend without the title, he swore that if forced him to make an ultimatum, he’d never pick one over the other; must be nice for Ben to have the luxury of so many offers at his disposal. He swore nothing would come in between us, and I believed it. I remember the look in his eyes and the smile on his face when he speaking these words: it felt like the room was growing fuzzy, I felt like he was hypnotizing me to be completely honest; it felt slightly fake even, but it still felt beautiful.
I never once considered that word had maybe enraged him to the point where all this song and dance was merely a way of silencing me for calling him out on his secret. With Ben’s never-ending attention, constant sex, incredible compliments, and his offers to help out with everything, what I saw was someone who genuinely wanted to see me succeed and find happiness. He was perfect to me, although he did have a boyfriend, and didn’t seem at all phased about dragging me along, subjugating me in a role that was somewhat demeaning.
When things seemed too good to be true, Ben would always throw in a remark about how he felt bad about hogging up all my time, and how he didn’t want to isolate me from finding a boyfriend. Rrrrgh… what happened to being the other boyfriend without the title? His word led me to believe we had something special only to discover he felt indifferent and not the slightest bit jealous of me being with others. That was Ben’s narcissism and it was something I got used to.
Ironically, Ben’s concern about me isolating myself from the world turned out to be how things ended up for me. I became dependent on Ben, and sex with Ben — still to this day — is the only sex that feels right (we don’t have sex anymore but being with others leaves me always comparing them to Ben). I was clueless that i was becoming addicted to Ben while it was happening
I was in utter disbelief; I was certain from round 1 that Ben falling for me was not possible, yet somehow the impossible managed to occur. I was shell-shocked, I was perplexed, I was ecstatic.
I’ll admit that I eventually began to take Ben’s “love,” attention, and sexually grooming me for granted; he came over so frequently, the thought of things ending didn’t cross my mind. Our relationship wasn’t just physical sex and talking about love. Ben could find no fault with me, he seemed to be enamored with everything about me, and he made me happy.
Ben never stopped stressing that our friendship was so solid, so important to him, that nothing could ever impact it; time and again he reinforced that nothing – not his current boyfriend, not any future boyfriends – would ever impact what we shared. He was a gentleman, he was glowing light, and he was a master con artist and manipulator, he took pathological lying to a level so advanced that when I became aware of his lies, I didn’t bother questioning him. I can’t put into words the power a narcissist can have over his prey… it’s something that’s not even believable until you actually experience it. I even read up on the disorder while he was courting me, and continued throughout the relationship, only I didn’t believe a word I read as being applicable to Ben. I believed it was a “spectrum” disorder like autism, Ben being only a slight big effected. Or maybe I’d gotten it all wrong I thought, there were soooo many times when I was certain he’d done something horrible to me, only to have him come over with a smile on his face, saying he forgave me for going overboard regarding whatever it was that I accused him of doing. Perhaps I was wrong about Ben having narcissistic ways? Or perhaps the textbooks got it all wrong? Or perhaps the textbook got it right: I would be the one always apologizing, he would be the one always acting like the victim, and every time I’d catch him in the act he’d gaslight me into doubting myself.
When I expressed concern that I could be scapegoated as the cause of Ben and his boyfriend’s problems, suggesting that it might be easier than facing their actual inner demons, he was quick to reinforce that I was incorrect:
Out of any guy I’d met in my life, Ben turned out to be the best one, I felt so lucky to have him in my life, I was so proud to claim him as my bestie. He was so kind, so thoughtful and so good to me; Ben was definitely wild and crazy but yet well-behaved, he was “just right.” He was social when he needed to be, yet still reserved and perfect to be with one-on-one, which I loved. Ben was always so damn mellow and peaceful. I never saw him get upset, at least not yet in round 2. He was always so polite, never rude, never boastful, he was so humble yet he was secure, he was attractive, he was vivacious sexually, he was everything I needed, everything I’d ever wanted, I felt so comfortable with him and I’d never, ever felt this way in my life, not even with my ex during his fake honeymoon phase – this was truly a gift, I’d finally met my match. It was like Ben had been made just for me almost, nobody had ever complimented me this well. As pathetic as this may sound, my experience with round 2 and Ben was the absolute highlight of my life; I’d do anything for that boy, and he knew it, too. I adored him, and I could tell he loved the attention. It was amazing, and I felt like finally – at last – I’d met a true, loving friend that was meant to be.
I always felt safe when I was with Ben. He always left me feeling like nothing bad could happen to me as long as I was with him. I’m not sure why.
One day out of nowhere, Ben stopped texting every day like he’d always done; when I continued texting like normal, he became a bit short with me. When I tried talking to him by phone he seemed distant and cold all the sudden, not saying much at all before hanging up abruptly. Despite these changes, I was blown to smithereens when everything suddenly did a complete 180 in the blink of an eye.
Ben said he needed space, only he was rather abrupt and vague with his words, he didn’t explain anything at all honestly: he just kinda blurted out that he needed a break out of nowhere, and it went straight over my head initially. Ben needing “time off” seemed odd since he did all the making plans, initiating our time together, all the sex, everything was on his time already – I just took whatever he gave – so he already controlled our time together and our space apart. I wasn’t texting more frequently than before, and he was the one that started doing it daily to begin with. It seemed like a double standard and I couldn’t understand why Ben was blaming me for his sudden change in character. He was suddenly not the person I’d just spent 10 perfect, blissful months with.
Just like in round 1, everything came crashing down in a whirlwind of drama, everything I thought was real and truthful, showed itself to be the polar opposite. Here Ben had set the pace for everything, and the moment I started going along at the same exact pace – I didn’t do anything he hadn’t been doing the entire time – he then slammed on the breaks and didn’t give 2 shits about doing this to me. Why all the sudden was he saying he needed space, and a break, and time to focus on… his boyfriend? Wait a second, who’s that, I thought it was… kinda me? HUH? His boyfriend… that guy who was only described in positive words by me, and not Ben? What, what, what?
I hadn’t gone after Ben at all; I didn’t have any feelings towards him until he brought up being in love with me 10 months in. I’m not trying to lay the blame all on him, but in all sincerity, this relationship had been his creation.
He was suddenly a different person, he was exactly the opposite of who I thought he was. Here he’d said he had me exactly how he’d wanted me, how he’d envisioned having me all along since round 1. So what the hell was this going on?
Not once did I ask him to give up time with his boyfriend to be with me, that was all his doing. Never once did I ask him to stay when he’d leave my house to go and pick his boyfriend up. I actually gave Ben good advice on his relationship, it was advice that wasn’t aimed at derailing it either, but rather advice on how to keep things on the positive. I was shocked reading his texts, initially I thought he was joking. But then I realized: Ben was flipping the script, he was painting me out to be the aggressor, the one going after a guy that already had a boyfriend, whereas this had been the opposite of what he said. Was he delusional? How could he not be seeing reality? Our entire relationship was Ben’s creation. But I didn’t read Ben’s mind apparently, and failed to realize that despite his harsh words about his boyfriend, that he was still in love, and they were having issues and he needed space apart to deal with them. Yes, he’d asked me to back off but without any other explanation, it was kinda text-shouted among other things, I didn’t get it at first as it was thrown in among other things. He was so hard to read, often what I read him as being I’d later discover was incorrect. Suddenly he wasn’t happy and kind like he was before, suddenly everything changed. And suddenly my perfect Ben wasn’t so perfect after all, he went off on me like a wild animal, he had no mercy, no concern at all for my feelings at all. This was bizarre, this was strange, and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.
Thinking about Ben’s words that summer, and how much they contradicted all he was saying now… it really hurt, I felt betrayed, I felt beyond confused, I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Only I wasn’t; I was at my house, holding my phone in my hand, shaking. And this was actually happening.
I truly believed Ben viewed me as his second boyfriend, I believed in his promises of our friendship lasting forever, but all of this was suddenly meaningless to him, and I was crushed. The boyfriend without the title, me being on the same playing field as his boyfriend, his selflessness, his kindness, his helping me get better, those were all things he said without me ever enticing him to do so.
Could he have done those all to maliciously ensnare me into letting my guard down and letting him take over my mind with lies? He said these remarks all out of his own free will, how could he suddenly flip-flop like this? I assumed he was under stress and displacing his anger on me at the time. Then several days later I got word that he’d broken up with his boyfriend. I tried to be as polite and understanding as possible, and I told Ben that he’d be missed as we’d initially made plans that Friday night, me tellng him to be good despite the breakup. Only his reaction took me by surprise, it wasn’t something I had expected given my words weren’t rude or mean-spirited..
I didn’t know how to respond; I didn’t know why he was so pissed off… how was I guilt-tripping him with anything? But the next text I sent came back saying that it couldn’t be sent, Ben did exactly what he did in round 1: he blocked me. I was beyond pissed off. This was the ONE thing that I hated more than anything, as it triggered me right back into feeling like I was in the past, in the midst of abuse, and I was livid, I was sad, and I felt desperate, I felt like a part of me died that day.
Ben had broken the one promise I made him agree to in order for me to participate in his vision of us being together. I became angry, and one thing was certain: I was not going to let him get away with it again. No way in hell. Ben was going to be held accountable for that one damn promise, after all, I’d stayed true to my word in everything I’d said I’d do for him.
Ben came into my life, he’d brought me the warmest, brightest, most intoxicating love I’d ever experienced; he’d made me all these promises I didn’t ask for – and they all were nothing but words in the end. I was somewhere between having a seizure and a panic attack as I tried reaching him by phone using various numbers, only to have him hang up as soon as he heard my voice. If I thought the feeling his first discard left in my stomach was queezie, this was 10 times worse. I was set on a mission to make him keep his word… after all… he knew about the psychopath in my recent past. For him to do something like this, which resembled that incident quite a bit, went against his entire mission statement: to help me get better. This didn’t help me get anything but worse. Why the hell did I even want him in my life if he’d done this to me… twice? Why couldn’t I clearly see the writing on the walls and leave? All it took was noting his smell on my pillow, or anything that reminded me of Ben, and my mind was right back stuck on him. And it wouldn’t stop being stuck either… at least not for quite a while.