The Cyber Stalker

A few years back I dated this guy. Let’s call him Cyber Stalker, or CS for short. CS seemed totally normal at first. He was good looking, charming, well-educated and intelligent. After awhile, though, he started to creep me out. He would make comments about how often I went on the dating site where we met. He wanted to know how many other guys I was seeing. Then he told me he found my profile on another site. CS also knew stuff about me I had never told him. Apparently he had googled me, looked at my resume and found articles I had written in college. I had a blog at the time and the page hits went up exponentially after I met CS. I’d love to attribute this to something other than CS combing through every word I had ever written, but I know the score.

One night I was on the dating site where CS and I had met. I got an email from a man that, based on his profile, seemed perfect — tall, creative, successful, rich, intelligent. I talked to Mr. Perfect for a few days on messenger. We talked for hours. The only weird thing was that Mr. Perfect never wanted to talk on the phone.

I eventually found out why when CS called me up screaming. He called me a lying bitch and a whore. See, there was no Mr. Perfect. CS had created a fake profile and I had been talking to him the whole time. Not that it was any of his business, but a couple of times I had told CS I was going to bed, then stayed up talking to Mr. Perfect. I’d also told CS I was only looking for a casual relationship, but then told Mr. Perfect I was looking for a long term relationship. This is why CS felt justified in calling me a liar. It never occurred to him that his lies far outweighed mine.

I don’t know why I kept seeing CS, but I did. After we broke up, I found out that Mr. Perfect wasn’t the only fake account he created. He also created a fake female account to talk to other men on the dating site that he suspected I was seeing.

Around this time I made the mistake of agreeing to meet a different guy in public without ever hearing his voice on the phone. I went to the coffee shop where we had planned to meet and waited and waited, but the guy never showed. Later I found out that this was another account that CS had fabricated. He sat home laughing his ass off while I got stood up by a phantom of his creation.

We finally broke up. CS left me alone for awhile. But once and awhile I would get these texts from numbers I didn’t recognize saying things like, “sorry babe, my test results came back positive.” This was CS’s sick idea of a joke. I learned to ignore him.

Six months after we stopped seeing each other, I was living in a new apartment. I was in a wild mood one night and put ad on Craigslist looking for a casual hookup. Stupidly I let one guy come over to my house without first meeting him in public. We had talked on the phone, and he sounded cool, but the private number he called from should have been a red flag. I’m sure you can guess where this is going. When my doorbell rang it was CS on my doorstep. The strangest thing about this was that I didn’t even post pictures in my ad. How could he tell it was me just from my words? I was freaked out, but ended up having sex with him anyway.

After that, CS came over a few more times, almost always unannounced. I knew he was crazy, but I was crazy too. So even though I was angry, it never stopped me from sleeping with him.

***

All of the above is true, except for one major detail.

In real life the roles were reversed.

My ego likes to portray a certain image, even in recovery. I am the sweet little girl who was dealt a shitty hand. I was abused, neglected, abandoned all throughout childhood. Then as an adult I was constantly victimized by men — raped, used and abused, lied to, humiliated. All of that is true, but I’m also a perpetrator.

I attempted to control, lied to, and violated men that I was obsessed with. I hate, hate, hate the word stalker, but that’s what I was. At least it’s what I DID. Because at my core, I’m not a stalker. Stalking goes against every moral code I have. I would never ever violate a friend, a family member, a coworker, a neighbor, or anyone else by invading their privacy. But every conviction I have goes out the window when I am hooked on someone. The addiction takes over and my authentic self is lost. It’s an extremely dark place that I could easily revisit.

But every day spent in recovery brings me farther and farther into the light.

My Old Man is a Bad Man…

I heard this song the other day and all I could think about was Anthony. Part of me still wants him to come and save me, rescue me from myself. And part of me knows no one can rescue me but me, particularly not someone who is even crazier and fucked up than I am (a difficult feat, indeed).

I went about three days without talking to him, then he texted me. Instead of just ignoring him I wrote back and told him to stop contacting me then ended up talking to him for 45 minutes. Nothing quite says, “I can’t talk to you anymore,” like talking to someone for 45 minutes. No mixed messages there.

From there it was off to the races. The last two days I have been spinning out of control with him. Today we got in a big fight fueled by our mutual insanities. The grand finale of which was him deleting me from his Facebook contacts and telling me he would file a restraining order if I ever contacted him again, which is bullshit because I haven’t done anything to warrant a restraining order. Also, this was after I told him to never contact me again, so it was a moot point. He was just trying to one-up me in the game of who can say “I never want to talk to you again” the loudest.

Regardless, I understood his message loud and clear. He’s done. At least for now.

Hopefully the next time he comes around, I will be healthy enough to resist. He isn’t my one true love. I know he can’t be. But sometimes, like now, it feels like he is.

One Day at a Time

Yesterday, after work, I went over to Carson’s place. I acted out with him. It was physically, and somewhat emotionally fulfilling. He is a good lover. About ten minutes later, while we are lying in bed naked, he got a phone call and went into the other room. Moments later he came back handing me my purse and my sweater, “Sorry sweetie, you have to go, my friend is here.”

Thirty seconds later, I’m semi-dressed (tights and panties stuffed into my purse, carrying my sweater) and being ushered out the back door, while some other girl is waiting for Carson at the front door. I was thinking, Am I really still doing this shit!?!?

I could care less about the nature of Carson’s friendship with this other chick. He says that they are just friends, but she likes him. He, probably rightly, thinks it would be awkward if we met. He could be lying or he could be telling the truth. Carson isn’t my boyfriend and so it really isn’t any of my business. What’s at issue here is the indignity of having to sneak out the back door carrying the undergarments I didn’t have time to put back on, because one of his more respectable friends dropped by unannounced. This isn’t the way I’m meant to be living my life.

Driving home I decided that this thing with Carson had ran it’s course. I had my fun and was ready to get back on track.

This morning, though, I found myself wondering about Carson’s plans for tonight. Thinking about how much he would like the green dress I was planing on wearing for St. Patrick’s Day. Ugh! I hate this disease so fucking much.

I am taking good care of myself. So far, I have had a healthy Saturday. I went to yoga in the morning and then went to a meeting. Today is day five in my 30-in-30 (one meeting a day, for 30 days). Later today, I’m going to a mediation workshop. I know that I won’t be able to see Carson tonight, even though I want to. He has a friend in town and I’m sure he will be hanging out with him. So I know that for today, I won’t act out. Tomorrow I will worry about tomorrow.

Pity Sex

When I met Nathan, I was hungover. It was a midday hangover from cheap champagne consumed at Sunday brunch with my family. As is the case with many dysfunctional families, I find mine much more tolerable with a few (or several) drinks in me. After brunch, I fell asleep for a few hours, and woke up around 5, disgusted at myself for sleeping away the day. I went online, and found Nathan, a man I had exchanged a handful of emails with over the past week. He hadn’t made much of an impression on me, but he was semi-goodlooking and polite. When I told him about my day, he suggested we meet for beer and pizza. I didn’t have anything better to do, and beer and pizza sounded perfect, so I took a shower and met him.

Nathan had the potential to be a hot guy. He was tall, blond, kind of scruffy, with an okay body. But there was just something blah about him. He wore light-colored baggy jeans, which I found to be very uncool; and a pullover sweatshirt from the college we were both alumni of. This isn’t the look I’m into. I’m usually into hipster-ish/rock n’ roll kind of guys; or, at the other end of the spectrum guys with kind of a button-downed look. I figured this was a last minute date for pizza and beer in a very casual place, so I could forgive his outfit. I wore my standard first date look: heels, tight jeans, semi-low cut top (sexy, but not slutty).

Like his outfit, I found Nathan a little bit boring. He was three years younger than me, but I had lied and shaved four years off my age, so he actually thought he was a year older than me. I’m not sure why, but I used to do shit like that all the time. Even when a guy was 20 years older than me, I almost never told anyone my real age. When I was active in my addiction, meeting guys from online for a drink or dinner was pretty much my only social life. I’d had an okay time with Nathan was grateful that he had saved me from an otherwise dreary Sunday, so I agreed to see him again.

For our second date, Nathan picked me up and we went to an Italian restaurant that I chose. Nathan was one of those dudes who would ask you out a on a date, but then do no prep work. He’d show up and be like, “So… what do you want to do?” I’m sure I’m not alone in finding guys who can’t be bothered to actually plan a date really unattractive. Again, he wore light-colored jeans and a pullover sweatshirt from our Alma Mater. Different, but the same. Every time I saw Nathan he had on a variation of this outfit. Another irritating thing about Nathan is that he would keep his cell-phone on the table and be texting and sending emails during dinner. I remember thinking, What the fuck could this boring-ass square being texting about that is so freaking interesting? I would ask him who and what he was texting about not because I really gave a shit, but because I had nothing else to ask him. His answers were so uncompelling, that I can’t remember them now, and probably wasn’t able to remember them 5 minutes after he told me.

I kept going out with Nathan, because he kept asking me. I kept thinking maybe he would grow on me. After our third date, Nathan still hadn’t put the moves on me. He hadn’t even tried to kiss me. Well… he had given me some long hugs and looked at me like he wanted me to kiss him, but I really didn’t care enough to go take the lead. Everything about poor Nathan shouted “bottom,” and I’m not much of a top.

On our fourth date Nathan finally took some initiative and suggested we rent a movie and order a pizza. While, not the most original plan, I remember thinking, Finally! Maybe I’ll like him better once we fuck. But no fucking happened that night. He did finally kiss me, though, and he was a fairly good kisser. We spent the whole night on my couch cuddling, and kissing. Nathan didn’t get any bolder than sticking his hand up my shirt to rub my back. Again, he kept looking at me like he wanted ME to put the moves on HIM. If after buying me dinner four times, Nathan still didn’t have the balls to put his hand on my tit, I wasn’t going to help him out. At the end of this date, I decided I couldn’t take another night of Nathan looking at me longingly, like a timid high school virgin wanting her boyfriend to finger-bang her, but too afraid to ask. I was done going out with this boy.

But a few nights later, Nathan texted me with some bad news. He’d been laid off from his job, and was, understandably, quite upset. He asked if he could come over and have a few beers with me. I’d already had a few, so I let him come over. After a few more beers, I decided that I owed Nathan sex. I’d let him buy me dinner four times and hadn’t even given him as much as a hand job. Also, the poor boy had just lost his job.

I started taking off my clothes while he was kissing me and he followed suit. I remember thinking that his penis, which was on the smaller side of average, reminded me of a piece of raw chicken breast. As a nearly life-long vegetarian, this visual made me want to throw-up. I didn’t even attempt to go down on Nathan, but he went down on me and did a pretty lack-luster job of it. Let’s just get this over with, I was thinking when I handed him a condom. When he was inside of me, I couldn’t even look at him. I put my head to the side, and then eventually gave up even trying to look like I was into it, and just put my arm over my eyes. Why the fuck am I doing this! I was thinking. That and, What am I going to say to let him down easy? He kept asking me if I was okay. “Yes! Just cum already!” I wanted to shout. But instead I said, “I’m fine.” I felt bad for Nathan that I couldn’t even do a convincing job of pretending I was enjoying myself.

The next day he sent me a text to say he’d had a nice time. I told him I had as well, but I was having a hard time getting over my ex and didn’t feel like I was ready for a relationship yet. Clueless up until the end, Nathan actually asked me if I just wanted to be “friends with benefits.” I didn’t understand how anyone could possibly want a repeat of sex that was that bad. I lied and told him that I didn’t do “friends with benefits,” that I wasn’t that kind of girl.

Looking back on my experience with Nathan, I’m disgusted by what I did. I chose to tell this story with Nathan, but I could have told the same one with three or four different guys. Other times where I just laid back like a limp doll, staring at the celling letting some man I had zero feelings for, attraction to, or chemistry with fuck me because I felt an obligation to give him sex. One of “The Twelve Signs of Recovery in SLAA” is, “We learn to value sex as a by-product of sharing, commitment, trust and cooperation in a partnership.” Going forward, and with the help of my Higher Power, I will never again have sex with someone I feel so dispassionately towards. I will never have  it out of a sense of pity or obligation.

The Downward Spiral

There is no easy way to say it. I’ve been fucking up left and right. The holidays were extremely hard on me and my recovery. While I haven’t quite had a full on relapse, I am headed there. Here’s a list of my bottom lines (the behaviors I am supposed to be abstaining from to be considered sober) and how I’ve been acting out on them.

1. No sex, dating, or romantic involvement with married/attached or otherwise unavailable men
     Last week I was in contact with Paolo, a former lover. He now has a girlfriend. I saw him online and we had an extremely sexually charged conversation. I told him that I was currently in a relationship. This is a lie that usually helps get me out of trouble, but it seemed to only encourage him. “It’s not cheating if I break in and rape you,” he said. This actually isn’t as fucked up as it sounds, because while we were seeing each other we had talked about rape fantasy. In my head, I tried to justify this. If I just happened to give him my new address, and then just happened to leave my door unlocked at a specified date and time, and he just happened to show up and force himself on me, this wouldn’t be acting out, right? Luckily, my window of opportunity has passed on this one, because he is out of the country for the next month, and when he gets back he’ll be living with his girlfriend.
     There is also SN. I haven’t gone on a date with him yet, but I’ve been in heavy contact with this guy, a dominant, who is in an open relationship with his submissive. We have been speaking daily and have had phone sex. I’ve also watched him masturbate on cam. We have tentative plans to meet tonight, but I will probably cancel. The flirtation with these two guys isn’t new. Looking back on past blog entries, I wrote about both of them  back in August. Making plans to meet them is new, though.

2. No sex outside of a committed relationship
     This is the one bottom line I haven’t broken. It’s a big one. Breaking this one would constitute a full relapse.

3. No reading, answering or posting ads on craigslist personals
     Two days ago I answered a casual encounter ad. I’ve been talking to the guy quite a bit since then. He actually seems like a decent guy and we have a lot of non-sexual things in common. I’m thinking of telling him about SLAA and how I can’t have sex outside of a committed relationship and see if he still wants to meet me. My sponsor gave me the go ahead that I could start dating again in January. I am most certain she didn’t have CL casual encounters in mind as a venue for meeting appropriate people, though.

4. No contact with my qualifier (HC)
     Yep, I blew this one too. I emailed him a few days before Christmas and we have been in contact ever since. I hadn’t contacted him in more than seven months. I have no plans to see him or have sex with him ever again. Our emails are friendly and completely non-sexual. I know where things will lead if I keep in contact with him, and I sure as hell don’t want that again.

5. No spying (online or otherwise) on qualifier or anyone associated with him
    I suck. I do this every day now.

I also have four middle lines, which are behaviors I am only supposed to be engaging in with extreme caution. They are: contact with anyone I have had sexual or romantic involvement with in the past; phone conversations with men that last more than 20 minutes; masturbation; and using pornography. I am doing all of these things daily, and with not a lot of caution.

I feel so lost. I have no idea how to find my way back on track. Things aren’t as bad as they could be, I know this, but they are headed there fast. Because I need a reminder myself, here is a link to the blog I wrote three months ago today, reminiscing on what things were like just before I started my recovery. Today, I would have 6 months of sobriety. Some people would argue that I am still sober, because I am sticking to one of my bottom lines. I don’t feel sober, though. I feel like I am spiraling out of control.

Everyone Else’s Problems: Solved

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon trying to convince a recovery friend not to see her qualifier who had called her out of the blue, for sex, after four months. I was shocked, and frankly a little pissed, that she was even contemplating seeing this asshole after all the shit he had put her though. Why couldn’t she see what a horrible, horrible idea it was to see this guy again? At the same time, though, I am so close to the edge of the cliff that is my sobriety. I want to contact my qualifier so bad right now. He’s married. He’s a sex addict. He lied to you about everything. There is no possible future with this man. I need to keep repeating those lines to myself like a mantra.

When it comes to everyone else’s shitty love life, it’s always so clear what to do. Stop sleeping with the guy who is just using you for sex. Problem solved. Stop calling the guy who keeps telling you it’s over. All better, now. Don’t get back together with the man who physically abused you. Done and done. Stop having sex with people you just met. Check. Stop lying to everyone you have sex with. Fixed. See, it’s so easy. But when it comes to my own history of terrible relationships, it’s always been impossible to see the way out. I’m so scared of what my life will be if I go back to HC or find someone else just like him. That’s what’s keeping me from calling him. I know people in program who are 10, 20, even 30 years older than me who have spent their lives going from one unavailable sex partner to another, using people and being used. I can’t take a lifetime, or even one more year of acting out. I can’t jump back into the cycle, and I can’t go through withdrawal again.

I’ve been white knuckling my sobriety lately, but neglecting many other areas of my life. Even the word “sobriety” sounds ridiculous considering the amount of wine, pot, and junk food I’ve been putting away. I could probably qualify for at least half-a-dozen other 12 Step programs. If I was someone else, I would tell myself, “Instead of coming home after work, plopping down in front of the tv with a glass of wine and some starchy food; you should go to a meeting, or the gym, or yoga.” But, since I’m me, I tell myself, “Don’t worry. You can do all that stuff tomorrow. Have another glass of wine and some more mashed potatoes.”

One Thing I Won’t Be Bringing to My New Apartment

Most days, I feel that I am pretty much over HC, my “qualifier.” Today is not one of those days.

This is what I had planned for today: wake up at 7, do a bit of packing, go to a 10am meeting, come back home and spend the rest of the day packing with my friend.

Here’s what I have done so far: woke up at 9, decided I didn’t actually feel like going to a meeting after all, went on craigslist to see if HC had been placing anymore ads, saw that he had, got livid, checked the Facebook profiles of his wife and all of his family members, saw that there was no mention of a divorce, got livid again, fantasized about contacting his wife, fantasized about being his wife, cried over the fact that no one loves me, and then decided to write it all down here.

At this point, I feel like I have a better chance of becoming a supreme court justice than I have of ever becoming someone’s wife. HC’s wife is beautiful, skinny, has a successful career in the music industry, has two cute little boys, lives in a nice house, is married to a gorgeous, talented guy. Sure, her husband cheats on her every chance he gets with both women and men. But honestly, if I could have all that she has and the only downside was a husband who has meaningless sex with strangers, I would take it.

My sponsor told me I should pray for his wife, and my response was, “sure, I’ll pray for her to divorce him.” I don’t know why I care so much. Whether they divorce or not will have no effect on my life. I’m never going back to him. But still, it pisses me off that he gets to have this great life with his family, and gets to have sex with whomever he pleases. And it pisses me off that he lied to me time and time again.

But it’s not about him. Who cares what he did or what he does. That phase of my life is over. I’m moving to a new place, and want to leave all this HC baggage behind.

The rest of the day will be better. My friend will be here soon, boxes will be packed, stuff will be moved, my higher power will take care of and protect me. My life is moving forward. I am growing, blossoming, and getting healthier everyday.

EthanNassour*IsALyingCheater.com

While I had many acting out patterns, the main reason I joined SLAA was because of my obsession over one guy (HC).  I would call the events that precipitated my recovery a “high bottom.” By this, I mean that if you found HC and asked him about me, he probably wouldn’t have anything bad to say. Our break-up was pretty low key. I didn’t lose it and call him a bunch of times. He didn’t have to threaten me with a restraining order. As far as he knows, I was able to keep my dignity in tact. This story is about a time when I was not able to do that.

Ethan was the first person I met on a BDSM site. Ironically enough, I actually checked out the site because my therapist at the time recommended I do so. Ethan was tall, blonde and muscular. He was really into working out. He had some kind of boring office job and lived in the suburbs. Ethan wasn’t really my type, but after a few phone conversations, I decided to meet him anyway. He told me he was 34. At the time, I was in my mid-twenties and he was the oldest guy I had ever considered dating.

Ethan lived kind of far away so we met for a drink at a place that was half way between us. Although we didn’t have much in common, and I hated his choice of outfit, there was something about him. When he suggested… no, told me that we were going to go for a ride, I said “Ok,” even though this went against all the safety protools I knew for meeting a stranger off the internet. We drove to a dark, empty parking lot and made out in the backseat of his car. This was my first experience with a “Dom” and I was putty in his hands. I don’t know if it was his suggestion that I call him “Daddy” or if I just started doing it on my own. It was the first time I’d ever called a man that before (aside from my actual Dad). I don’t really understand why, but it felt right.

We did everything but intercourse that first night in the back of his car. He wanted to have sex, and it was soooo hard to say no to him, but this was back before I turned into a total slut. Back then I had rules about things like not having sex too soon. In one conversation after this first meeting I even told him that I didn’t want wan’t to have sex with someone who wasn’t my boyfriend and he said something like, “ok, I’m your boyfriend now.” Haha, right? But my naive ass thought, “Problem solved!”

Before I met Ethan, I had never really liked sex. I had had maybe three or four sexual partners before him, and they were all ok. I kind of thought maybe I was missing something. Society as a whole was/is so sex-obsessed and every time I was with a guy I would think, “hmm, this is just ok.” I should probably go back and modify that first sentence. It wasn’t that I didn’t like sex, it was that I didn’t like sex with other people, because I loved, loved, loved to masturbate. In my early 20s, I would spend hours masturbating almost every day. I thought I was just some freak who loved masturbation so much that it paled in comparison to actual sex. After I had sex with Ethan on our second “date,” (is it really called a date when the guy comes over, fucks you right away, then falls asleep for an hour and fucks you one more time before leaving?) I realized that I actually loved sex, I just didn’t love boring vanilla sex with an early twenty-something guy who has no idea what he was doing.

There are lots of sexy, kinky stories I could go into right now about the fun times I had with Ethan, but this isn’t really that kind of blog. I’ll just say the sex was amazing and I was hooked right off the bat. Things deteriorated fairly quickly though. Even though he called me his girlfriend (haha), we never actually went out on a date. There were other things too. We could only talk on the phone during the day, because he claimed he didn’t have cell phone reception or a landline at his house. Even though he lived an hour away, he only came over to my place. He never spent the night. He could only make last minute plans.

I grew suspicious. He had told me his name was Ethan Peterson. When I googled Ethan Peterson, about 6 million entries would come up. Of course, I didn’t look at all of them, but I did look at a lot. I googled the name with the city he claimed to live in, the job he claimed to have, etc. I found nothing that seemed to be him. So I paid a few dollars and did a reverse number search on his cell phone. The results? His real name wasn’t Ethan Peterson, it was Ethan Nassour.* When I googled “Ethan Nassour” I found a lot. First, Ethan Nassour was 44, 10 years (!) older than the 34 that Ethan Peterson had claimed to be. I also found out that he had a completely different job and lived in a completely different city.

When I confronted Ethan about lying about his name, his age (10 fucking years!), his job, and his city; his response was comical. He said, “You need to get your anger problem under control!” Moi? An anger problem? Yes, that must be it. I got mad at him for lying about everything because I have an anger problem, not because he lied about everything.

Amazingly, I kept seeing Ethan, because I was that hooked on him. I kept digging, though. One thing that my research hadn’t turned up was his marital status. To lie about everything he had to be married, right? I eventually found out that he had a live-in girlfriend, Brianna. One time I even tried to email her on myspace to tell him about him and me. I got a response back from him. Apparently he was monitoring her myspace account. Eventually he made her close it down.

Why did I stick around digging for shit instead of just leaving this lying liar as soon as I found out he was lying? I don’t really understand the answer to that question myself. I guess it was because he was my drug and I was addicted.

I went a long-stretch of time without seeing him. During this time I learned (via my online spying tactics) that Brianna had moved to another city for work. He confirmed this, and made it sound like they had broken up, although I doubted they had. We started seeing each other again. One time I showed up at his house unannounced (I’d found his address online). He was pissed, but let me in and we had sex. From that time on, he always made me drive to him. His place was an hour away from mine, and he never let me spend the night. In fact, he would never even let me into the bedroom. I was only allowed in the main room and the bathroom. It was a pain driving all the way to his place late at night, and then an even bigger pain driving all the way back home even later at night, but I kept doing it. Sometimes I would get to his place and he wouldn’t even be there. He’d tell me that he’d be there soon and I would have to wait outside his house for sometimes up to two hours. How pathetic was I? Later I learned that he had more than one residence (and more than one live-in girlfriend) and this was why it would take him so long to show up.

One night, I was at his house and he took some very degrading pictures of me while we were having sex. He told me he would delete them when we were done. Why I trusted this guy after all the lies he told me, I have no clue. Afterwards, I asked him to delete the pictures like he had promised. He said, “No, I’m going to save them for insurance purposes.” I refused to leave until he deleted them. He said if I didn’t leave he would call the cops. I again refused to leave until the pictures were deleted.  So he called the police.

The police dispatcher wanted to talk to me. I explained the situation to her. She asked if the sex was consensual and if he had hit me. I said that it was and that he hadn’t. She then asked if he had pushed me, and I said that he had pushed me away a few times when I tried to grab the camera. I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t a big deal and that he hadn’t hurt me, but the situation had turned around on Ethan. It turns out that the crying girl who wanted her naked pictures deleted was a lot more sympathetic than the angry man, twenty years her senior, who refused to delete her pictures. The dispatcher wanted to stay on the phone with me until the officers got there.

I’m a wholesome (seemingly, at least), educated girl that comes from a nice family. This was the first and only time I had any dealings with the police, except for small things like my car getting broken into. I was so freaked out. I have a career that requires a spotless record and was so worried I was going to lose every thing over this shit. I was a crying mess. The police officers were so kind and reassuring, though. Apparently, like the dispatcher, they thought I was the more sympathetic party. While I didn’t want to get in trouble, I didn’t want to get Ethan in trouble either. They wanted to know if I wanted to press charges or if I wanted to file a restraining order. All I wanted was for him to delete the pictures. They said that unfortunately, they couldn’t make him do that, but they would talk to him and strongly suggest that he delete them. I still don’t know if he deleted them or not, because this was the last time I ever saw Ethan.

Looking back, this was the lowest experience of my life — having the police called on me, then having to sobbingly tell the police what I had been stupid enough to let this man do to me, having to listen to all the shit Ethan had to say about me, worrying that my career and good reputation would be over because of my addiction to this horrible man. This should have been my bottom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, and I went on to act out for many more years before I got help for my addictions.

I have a lot of shame about this story and I’m revisiting this feeling as I write and edit this entry. How could I have been so stupid as to let things get to that point with Ethan? Why would I let someone so vile and untrustworthy capture me in such a vulnerable state? Why couldn’t I have been strong enough to end it without police involvement? I’ve only told one or two people this story before and I have some anxiety about sharing it on here. I do believe in the saying, “We’re only as sick as our secrets,” so that’s why I’m sharing it now.

It turns out this story does have a tiny bit of a happy ending. Well, maybe not a happy ending, but a validating ending. One day, a year after I had stopped seeing Ethan, I googled his name and found a website called http://www.EthanNassourIsALyingCheater.com. A woman had started this site to warn other women about Ethan. I swear I didn’t create the site, but based on what was posted there I could have. Aside from the police involvement, it was my story. It turns out I wasn’t the only person he had shaved 10 years off his age, and used the alias “Ethan Peterson,” with. It also turns out that while I was seeing Ethan he had not one, but two live-in girlfriends, in two different houses. One girl knew, but the other one did not. In addition to this website creator’s story, there were comments from about twenty other woman with similar stories about him! It always amazes me how these guys have the time to juggle so many different people. Interspersed with these stories were comments from the man himself threatening to sue everyone that had a hand in creating or commenting on the site. I’m not proud of it, but I got such sick, vindictive glee out of this website’s existence. Sadly, the site was eventually taken down and scrubbed from the internet.

I’m so grateful for my recovery and grateful that I will never get involved with a man like Ethan ever again.

*Ethan Nassour is a made-up name to protect the guilty from suing me. If your name is really Ethan Nassour and you found this site by googling yourself, my apologies. I’m sure you are a really nice person and not a lying cheater at all.

What Things Were Like 90 Days Ago

Today I have 3 months of sobriety from most of my bottom lines. Some of my bottom lines I have more time from, for example I haven’t contacted my “qualifier” (HC) in almost 5 months (before I even started going to meetings), and I haven’t had sex with an unavailable man (or any man) in about 4 months. One of my bottom lines, online spying, I’ve struggled with on and off. Currently, I have one week off of that.

So what exactly do I have 90 days off of? I guess the best way to explain that is to look back on what my life was like right before I started program.

For years, I’d been hooked on online dating sites. I’ve been on various sites at various times, but right before getting into program I had a profile on Chemistry.com (I was too low-rent for eHarmony). On Chemistry I was ostensibly looking for “Mr. Right,” but all I was looking at was the pictures and the stats in the right margin about height, education, and income. I rarely read someone’s profile text. I also had profiles on CollarMe and FetLife. On these sites I was looking for some combination of a dominant/daddy/boyfriend. In addition to these sites I was also checking out craigslist ads and posting some myself. On Craigslist I was looking for sex in the casual encounters section, but I was also browsing the M4W section, looking for dominants and looking for Mr. Right. I was occasionally looking at w4w and mw4w ads too. You really can find anything you’re looking for on CL.

I had so many balls in the air. There were the men I was seeing, men I had met once and  was waiting to see if I would hear from again, men I would meet just because I was bored that day and had no intention of seeing again, men I was talking to online, men I was talking to on the phone, men I was texting with, men I was planning to meet, men I was trying to meet. Going on these sites and corresponding with these people was a daily ritual. It was how I used all my free time. My guess is I probably met at least 60 guys for dinner, drinks, or coffee in the year leading up to me joining program. Most of these guys, I did not sleep with, or even go on a second date with. Most of them I forgot about as soon as I met the next guy.

I started going to meetings around the end of May or maybe beginning of June. The main reason I went was because I couldn’t get over HC, but I told myself I was going to try to stop dating for six months as an experiment. Around that time Ryan texted me. He was someone I’d gone out with a handful of times a couple of years before. He was older than me and had blown me off two years earlier with some line about how we were in two different places. I agreed to go out with him again. I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere, but I figured I’d fuck him and have one last hurrah before starting my six month experiment. He took me to a nice dinner and was very polite, then took me home and we had sex. He was rough with me and called me a whore. He made me call him Daddy. He came fairly quickly, way before I had a chance to get into it. By the way, this was a guy I met an eHarmony-type site, not a bdsm site. Ryan was probably just doing what he had remembered I’d been into the last time we were together — rough sex, humiliation, incest roleplay. This particular night, though, I hated it. All I could think about was how different he was from HC, who was a passionate, gentle, giving  and long-lasting lover. I wanted Ryan to leave as soon as he was done and then cried myself to sleep that night, missing HC. I’d thought sleeping with Ryan was going to be one last fun thing I did before giving up sex, but instead it left me feeling even more depressed than I’d felt before.

Again, I resolved to go six months without dating or sex, but the very next day this guy, let’s call him Josh (cause I can’t remember his real name to save my life), called me up. He was some stoner grad student/artist who had answered an ad I had placed on CL a couple of months earlier. When he’d sent me his picture, I’d thought, “hmm, that’s some interesting facial hair,” but hadn’t been particularly attracted to him. When he called me up he told me he was leaving for Europe in a week, where he had plans to spend the summer. He mentioned that he was going by himself, but it would be nice to have a girl to go with him. I decided that my six months could start in the Fall, after I’d returned from Europe, and agreed to meet him the next morning for brunch. It was a Sunday and we were meeting at a popular spot (popular because of the cheap price of their bottomless champagne brunches, not for the quality of the food). I had trouble finding parking and had to drive around a bit before I found a place. Before I parked I saw him standing out front and almost decided to drive away. I don’t know why I expected him to be more attractive than his not very attractive photo, but he wasn’t. In fact, he was a lot less attractive. With his abundant facial hair, and thick, long coat (it was a chilly, rainy morning), he looked a lot like a homeless man. During brunch he was a grump, complaining about everything. He claimed he had been to this restaurant several times before, but he threw a fit about his food. He sent back one thing, then got agitated that the restaurant didn’t have organic maple syrup and refused to order anything else. When the bill came he got up to go to the bathroom, and I thought, “no fucking way am I paying for this shitty experience.” I didn’t touch the bill and when he came back he was visibly annoyed, but threw down some cash anyway.

So, again, I decided to start my six-month experiment. The very next weekend, I got a call from Greg. I had met him once for a drink several months earlier. He was quite funny in an off-beat kind of way, and occasionally he would call me up and we would shoot the shit and talk about hanging out again. This particular weekend, Greg told me he was housesitting at his friend’s very expensive beach house and asked if I wanted to come over for a beer and to watch a movie. Of course, I did. Although Greg is a nice guy and funny, there is not a lot of chemistry between us. We watched a movie and drank a couple of beers without any filtration or cuddling. Then, around midnight, when I was half asleep, he finally made his move. He started kissing me, and I remember his mouth tasted awful (a combo of steak/beer breath). Then he turned me around, started spanking me (this was another guy I had met him on a “vanilla” or non-bdsm site), and eventually stripped all my clothes off. I was so tired and not at all into what he was doing, but limply went along with it. I turned my head away when he tried to kiss my mouth, but I let him kiss my body. He got out his cock and wanted me to suck it. Part of me wanted to. It almost felt natural. There was a voice in my head that said, “you’re a whore, and whores suck cock.” At the same time I knew that if I did give him head, we’d end up fucking, and I didn’t want a repeat of how I felt after I’d fucked Ryan. So I just laid on his friend’s couch like a rag doll and let him masturbate on my breasts. I almost felt bad. It can’t have been a great sexual experience for him to have a girl lying there like some passive rape victim.

Very soon after that I met my sponsor. I told her I had resolved to go six months without dating or sex. She thought it was a great idea. The next day I reactivated a profile on one dating site, and started talking to a slew of men. A few days later I met a guy named Adam for a drink. Adam was four or five years younger than me. He worked as a professional writer. He had just moved into a new place walking distance from the bar we met at and wanted to show me his place. He seemed harmless enough so I agreed. I assumed that we were walking to an apartment, but he had actually just moved into a huge two story house, in a very nice part of town. “Are you renting this place or did you buy it?” I asked in disbelief. He owned it. I instantly became more attracted to him. Honestly, I think it was more about jealously than being a gold-digging whore. Here was this guy, five fucking years younger than me (!), who could afford to buy a giant house, and had a very successful career as a freelance writer. This was my pie-in-the-sky fantasy for myself. While I have published a few articles, I never got paid very much. Besides, it’s hard to have a career you have to do much more than just show up for when all you can think about is when and where your next fix is coming from. I wanted Adam’s life for myself, but didn’t have the energy to put any effort into achieving it. Right then and there I imagined moving in with him, imagined he would show me the ropes and teach me the discipline to be like him. Then I imagined bringing HC over when Adam was out of town, and how much nicer it would be to have sex with HC in this huge house than in my shitty apartment.

Adam was shy and it took him awhile to make his move. Finally he kissed me. He was a surprisingly good kisser. We didn’t do much more than kiss that night, and when I finally left (close to 3 in the morning) he begged me to stay and hang out some more. The next day I texted him and told him I had a nice time, he wrote back that he had had a nice time as well. I told my sponsor about him and told her I needed to see how things played out before I started my six months. I kept going to meetings. After about two weeks, he hadn’t contacted me.  I realized it was unlikely I was going to hear from him. I deleted his number, his texts, and the numbers and texts of most of the other men in my phone. I deleted all of my dating site profiles, and wrote my bottom lines.

That was three months ago today, and I haven’t been on a date, or a dating site since then. I have finished steps 1 and 2 and will soon be done with step 3. This is the half-way point in my six-month experiment. Although I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, overall I feel like the last three months have been amazing. I’m finally getting to know who I really am.

Conversations in My Head

HC: I really miss you.
Me: Then why did you wait four months to contact me?
HC: I’ve been really busy with work.
Me: You mean you’ve been really busy with work, your wife, your four other girlfriends, and your daily craigslist casual encounters postings?
HC: I’m not married! I don’t have any other girlfriends and I hardly ever post on CL anymore.
Me: Then why is your wife all over the internet talking about how amazing her husband is?
HC: This was a bad idea. I shouldn’t have contacted you.
Me: Why can’t you just answer the question?
HC: I’m hanging up now. Don’t call me back.

HC: I really miss you.
Me: I miss you too, but I can’t see you again.
HC: Why not?
Me: Because when I was seeing you, I was really fucked up. I was acting out these self-destructive patterns and you were a big part of that.
HC: Oh.
Me: Since I stopped seeing you, I realized I was a sex and love addict. I was really obsessed with you, and spent all my free time thinking about you and looking you up online. I was also seeing other guys but you were the only one that really mattered.
HC: Wait. You were looking me up online? And you spent all your free time doing this?
Me: Yes, which is why I know that you are posting ads almost daily on craigslist. You clearly have an addiction too. Do you want me to tell you about the meetings I go to?
HC: Umm, maybe later. Right now I kinda have to go.
Me: Wait, here’s a list of meetings. These are the ones I go to. I think it would be kind of awkward if we went to the same meetings, so you can go to these other ones.
HC: I’m not really sure I’m into the whole meeting thing. I’m glad it’s helping you, though. At least I hope it is. We can talk about it later though, I have to go.
Me: But I haven’t told you the best part yet.
HC: Jesus, there’s more?
Me: Yes. Not right away, but maybe in six months or a year, once we have both been sticking to our bottom lines, we can start dating again, but this time in a healthy way.
HC: I’m not sure contacting you was such a good idea. I don’t want to go to meetings.
Me: Do you still miss me?
HC: I have to go.

HC: I really miss you.
Me: I miss you too, but I think we’re really looking for different things.
HC: What do you mean?
Me: I’m looking for something monogamous, committed and longterm.
HC: That’s what I want now too.
Me: Really? You’re not just saying that because you want to sleep with me again?
HC: Not at all. I miss you. Let’s go out to diner tomorrow and talk?
Me: Ok, that actually sounds nice. Can I pick you up at your place? I just need to see for sure that you aren’t still living with your wife.
HC:  Of course. Come over at 7.
Next day, 1pm
HC: Hi. A pipe burst at my place. There is a plumber here now, but my house is a mess. Do you mind if I come to your place instead.
Me: Sure. See you at 7 still?
HC: Can’t wait.
7pm
HC: I’m so sorry, but I’m still dealing with this pipe situation. It’s going to be at least an hour or two before I can leave. You should probably eat without me. I’ll see you at 9 or 10.

The above is just a sampling of what has been going through my head the last couple of weeks. Since HC contacted me more than two weeks ago, I’ve been completely plauged with self-doubt. Maybe I am wrong? Maybe he’s changed. Maybe the reason I’m still so obsessed with this guy is because we are meant to be together. Maybe I should have been honest with him, instead of telling him I was unavailable.

The difference is that the conversations in my head never got as far. I needed to write them down and play them out to see that there is no way it could work between me and him. Even in my fantasies, I can’t turn what we had into something real.

Technically, I guess I am still “sober,” but I have not been doing well. I’m deep in the obsession. It needs to end, because spending hours a day thinking of him and spying on him online, can’t be what my life in recovery looks like. I haven’t been doing nearly as many as my top line behaviors, because this obsession has stymied my progress.

And the sad thing is that I am choosing to do this. I know that if I take a break from combing through craigslist to find his posts, and  instead, go to yoga, or write, or pray; afterwards I won’t feel like obsessing, at least for awhile. In that moment, though, I am choosing to obsess. Finding his casual sex ads on craigslist scratches my masochistic itch and the agony of it feels fantastic. So right now, for tonight I am making a different choice.