There were many subtle red flags in the beginning and then, as time went on, there were some pretty blatant red flags that there was something very wrong with this person and this “relationship”. I found a bank statement laying on the table among some other mail and picked it up to read it. I didn’t really think twice about picking it up and reading it because by this time he and I were supposedly sharing some expenses and the statement was left out in the open. I think on some level I had some suspicions by then as well and wanted to reassure myself that, either I was wrong, or I was right.
One thing I noticed right away about this bank statement was the number of over drafts. There wasn’t just one, which happens occasionally to the best of us. There were at least five. There were also some debit charges that made my heart drop. The charges were to places listed that left no doubt as to what type of businesses they were. I won’t write the names of the businesses but it was Very apparent they were adult-only places. I was shocked and disgusted.
I was reeling for a few different reasons. One major reason was because Mr. Toxic was a self-professed alcoholic with six years sobriety (something I admired). Another reason is because these places that were listed on the bank statement were not merely strip clubs, they were icky, nasty places where I’m sure more than stripping occurs. My own personal feeling about strip clubs are varied. I think they are degrading to women in general but I also don’t think a man going to one every once in a very great while (for instance a bachelor party) is a deal breaker.
I did confront Mr. Toxic because I wanted the truth. I wanted the truth about the financial situation as this is something that would affect me directly at some point. I wanted the truth about the charges to the “icky places”. Red flag – he started off by getting defensive right away. I explained my need for honesty and the importance of financial integrity (particularly given he was on probation and had a criminal history of crimes related to money).
SIDE NOTE – As I write this I am feeling so stupid. In retrospect everything was so obvious and yet I didn’t see what was in front of my face. I wanted so much to believe in the ideal, in second chances, in the capability of change, etc.
He was and is VERY good at talking his way around and through confrontation about his behavior. He convinced me that the bank charges were an error on the banks’ part and they were already rectified, which would show on the next statement. He even went so far as to ask if I wanted to go to the bank with him so I could talk to them myself. The “icky place” charges? Well, that was part of the banks error. They had mixed up his account with another person by the same name. “Going to those places is part of my past,” he said.
He had acted like a virtuous gentleman when we first started seeing each other, stating he didn’t want to just jump into bed with me. Wow, no pressure to have sex? I thought (at that time) he was being respectful. So, surely he was telling the truth about having no desire to go to strip clubs.
To sum it up, lies regarding finances and meaningless sex with women who exploit their bodies, are HUGE red flags that you are dealing with a sociopath. It’s the lying, which comes so easy. It’s the complete lack of financial responsibility, which is sometimes hard to figure out for a while. It’s the complete disregard and respect for women (or even other men) and the continuous use of sex with prostitutes/exotic dancers/strippers to gratify their own needs while dehumanizing those they use.