At 65-plus years old, I’d consider myself to be a level-headed female. I feel I am a well-educated, well-travelled, intelligent, thoughtful, sensible mother and grandmother who always thought her stoic character-filled DNA impenetrable and indestructible. Who knew I needed a late-life lesson that saw me meet narcissism head on and question every value I hold dear.
Six years ago my 34-year marriage broke down and I found myself living alone but happy enough. Two years ago I found myself longing for companionship, some hand-holding and maybe in need of a ‘cuddle’ or two. I might be over 60, but I’m not dead!
Picking someone up at the local RSL didn’t appeal to me so, buoyed by friend’s success stories, I — very bravely, I might add — decided to give online dating a go.
One night stands are not for me (more’s the pity) and I am not easily sexually attracted until there’s a mental and/or spiritual connection. It’s bloody tough being single with ‘needs’ plus having standards and morals; it’s a b***h.
I messaged, phoned and met many a suitor but there was ‘nothing there’. I had absolutely no longing to or intentions of ‘falling in love’; I just recognised a need for male interaction.
Countless offers and date after date saw me dissolve into the abyss of a ‘not for me’ conclusion, even when I dumbed myself down. Nothing. No spark, no connection.
Then, when I was about to give up, he and I connected online and we began talking.
If talking was an Olympic event I swear we’d have been wearing gold. Hour after hour after hour. This man was an interstate truck driver, though as he explained, not your usual truck driver but a ‘forced-by-circumstances’ truck driver. I admired his diligence and resilience. His ‘exes’ gave him such a hard time… Apparently. It wasn’t his fault, so he said.
Our first face-to-face meeting was cosmically epic. I’m talking conversation 10 to the dozen, fireworks, ‘couldn’t keep our hands off each other’. I felt as though we were rewriting all the romance novels ever written. I’m talking breaking every moral code rule I’d ever written for myself. Holy moly! I had to come up for air.
He was tall, over 6-foot, small of waist and ample of buttocks (insert girlish giggles here). However, I didn’t consider him handsome, but more the kind of late-60-year-old face that’s life-worn. He was endearingly wrinkled, had a gap-toothed smile to die for and full lips that I was sure would softly take me to a place hitherto unknown. Promises duly kept…
Without so much as a second thought I willingly succumbed to a first night meeting that morphed into a glorious first morning breakfast. I have no need to lie about this, but it was a first for me. This man knew his way around a woman’s… needs. Without me knowing it, I was apparently very needy.
As I steadfastly refused to use the ‘L’ word, he diligently, but quietly, worked on me. He stayed at mine or I stayed at his. While he was trucking, and after he ceremoniously presented me with a set of his unit keys, I turned all non-characteristically housewife; tidying, cleaning, pre-cooking, on-the-road lunch prep and grocery shopping.
Being a nationalistic close cousin, but not a fully fledged Aussie, he had to visit his birth country a designated number of weeks per year. Christmas approached and so did his legally binding departure. I was heartbroken, but he declared and solemnly promised he’d be back in a few short weeks.
I drove him to the airport. Just before he got out of the car he looked at me with those puppy dog sincere eyes and said, “I love you. I give you my heart for safe keeping in the hope you won’t break it. Please give me yours”. I remember those words verbatim. So, hearts were exchanged and I was left in tears as he made his way through the international gates.
Within 48 hours he was in another woman’s bed and then proceeded to move in with this long-time family friend for the duration. As I distraughtly queried this arrangement he calmly explained “Well, I needed some place to stay”. Further questions revealed his sorrowful dilemma, and I quote “Every night before I get into bed with her, I mentally apologise to you”.
Well, that’s okay then. Oh yeah, he thinks he may have forgotten to tell me monogamy has always been a problem for him; go figure.
It’s taken a long time, a lot of soul searching and counselling for me to forgive me my naivety and stupidity. My only consolation is that he was good, in fact very, very very very good at his deceptions. My still unanswered question is ‘why?’. Why go to so much trouble to bed this not-wealthy, inexperienced old girl? My counsellor nut-shelled it for me; a narcissist is a narcissist is a narcissist. It’s in their DNA.