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Woman's BF is diagnosed as a psychopath; 'I'm so torn because I love him.' AITA? UPDATED 3X

Woman's BF is diagnosed as a psychopath; 'I'm so torn because I love him.' AITA? UPDATED 3X


When this woman is afraid of her boyfriend, she asks the internet:

"My (24F) boyfriend (31M) has always been extremely cold. Today I found out he was diagnosed as a psychopath. I'm worried. AITA?"

Title says it all, basically my bf has never really been the most loving. He doesn't seem to care about anyone or anything except me, or at least I thought.

But when I was looking through some of his old stuff, I found out that he had been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) which is the medical term for a psychopath.

Apparently it's genetic because his father also was diagnosed with it and is currently in jail for killing his wife/my bf's mother. I've read his testimony before and his only reason was 'because I felt like it'.

It was chilling, but I didn't think my boyfriend was like that AT ALL. I knew he didn't really care about most people, but he is extremely charming (how he seduced me, I guess).

However, now that I know of my boyfriend's diagnosis, I've been going through our entire 4 year relationship and reconsidering it. In our 4 years of dating, he doesn't really say "I love you" out of the blue, he will only say it if I say it first.

I never really noticed this but now that I know about his diagnosis, well... that changes things. The way he says I love you is, frankly, devoid of emotions as well. He says it matter-of-factly, not like he actually means it.

There's a lot of other things he does that I guess wouldn't be considered normal? He has never hit me or been physically violent, nor has he verbally abused me, but he treats me like a child. He likes to order me around to do things for him.

Everything has to be his way. He respects my opinion and will even change his plans to work around mine, but ultimately he is the decision maker.

I've pointed this out to him in the past and he says that he values my opinion immensely and that I am the smartest person he has met. I used to believe him, but what if this is just another tactic to manipulate me?

He also has a high-paying executive job and I've heard from his employees that he can be very cruel to them. I would always dismiss their concerns because I thought they were just jealous, but now I realize that isn't the case.

I don't know what to do anymore. Can psychopaths love? Is he just manipulating me? I feel like my entire relationship is a lie, but am I being ableist by stereotyping him based on this diagnosis?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

anthro&&7 writes:

I was married to a man who has NPD and factor 1 psychopathy (I did not know and don’t know if he does either - diagnosis was suggested by two therapists).

He was charming and seemed mostly wonderful for most of the almost 15 years we were together. I thought he loved me completely and that we would grow old together. Then I found out he had a secret life.

Slowly over the time we were together he had eroded my confidence with his lack of empathy and inability or unwillingness to respond to my needs. So much so I didn’t recognize myself anymore.

When I found out about his secret life and lies that had cost me so much I asked him to get therapy (because he begged me to forgive him and said he loved me and wanted to make our marriage work).

He went to therapy twice and then went and got a girlfriend instead and plastered all over social media how in love he was while still living with me and our son.

He turned on me with a cruelty and hatred that was incomprehensible (I wasn’t the one that undermined our relationship). My purpose in telling you this is so you understand the risk.

Psychopathy and aspd are serious personality disorders that are characterized by very real difficulties in interpersonal functioning. Do I think my husband loved me? Maybe in his way. Was that a healthy love? No and it damaged my life immensely. My son feels it too at times and has asked if his father loves him.

All I can answer is ‘as best he can’. Read and learn about psychopathy. Learn about the red flags of unhealthy relationships.

Cognitive dissonance is real and if you are not careful you could be making excuses for all of his cruel or unempathetic behaviour at the expense of your own happiness and mental health.

knownsense writes:

A diagnosis of ASPD is not the same as psychopathy. Psychopaths are thought to have a very severe form of ASPD. It also isn't entirely genetic (there are genetic and environmental factors) and it doesn't mean he is predestined to follow is his father's footsteps and harm you.

Having said that, people with ASPD typically find it difficult to maintain long term relationships because they lack empathy. They typically don't care about other people's feelings and are deceitful and manipulative.

Depending on the severity of the diagnosis, people with ASPD may not think of other people as being fully human, but instead view them as stupid, more like chess pieces that are deserving of manipulation.

People with ASPD often do well in high flying exec jobs because they are ruthless. It is probable that his employees' reports of cruelty are truthful, and that your boyfriend doesn't see a problem with this. He likely doesn't actually understand why other people aren't more ruthless and may see them as weak.

Similarly, you saying I love you may simply act as a reminder that this is something he is meant to say.

This doesn't mean he doesn't value you in his own way - his diagnosis means that he would be unlikely to continue the relationship unless he saw value in it - but it may mean he actually isn't able to love you in the same way you love him.

Only you can decide what's important to you in a relationship and whether he fits that. But it's important not to downplay the negative character traits that are typical of someone with his diagnosis.

punhere writes:

Please think hard and pay attention to your gut before confronting him or otherwise risking making him feel exposed. I'm not reading these comments exhaustively but I do see some references to safety...

they kind of seem lost in a lot of other good info. I just want to emphasize, safety is THE big deal at the moment. People who live using a carefully crafted facade of empathy aren't likely to take it well if they get exposed.

And you don't really know how he'll react, but you do have some reason to believe that he might react very very badly.

Physical violence can start so fast, from little or can't believe it just happened, it's actually less scary at first than totally confusing. I see you've put off confronting him a couple times, and to me that sounds like that inner voice that always seems to be smarter than the rest of our minds.

I know it seems like baseline respect. But if he's not capable of giving the same back, you need to ignore your need to play fair and stay physically safe.

pacody writes:

Girl, psychopaths learn throughout their whole life how to mimic emotion and use it to manipulate mother's to get what they want. If he offered you a compliment it was probably to manipulate you. Psychopaths differ from sociopaths in some pretty damning ways. Sociopaths are more prone to reactive outbursts.

They are disorganized and might actually feel bad for the stuff they do, it's just never enough to get them not to do it. Psychopaths will plan ahead, sometimes years in advance.

They aren't spontaneous, and they mimic emotion very well. That is why psychopath serial killers are so hard to catch. They could literally be anyone, and blend in perfectly with their surroundings.

It's usually only someone getting away that gets them caught up, or just becoming addicted to the thrill of killing so they begin to not plan as well or start hunting closer to their home.

But no matter what, they don't know what love is. They don't know how to care how you feel about anything. And everything they do that suggests the opposite is just manipulation.

And now, OP's update:

I made a post two days ago about how I found my boyfriend’s ASPD/psychopathy diagnosis.

A day after I posted that, I finally decided to go and talk to him about it. Since it was a conversation, I don’t know word for word what he or I said, but I was taking notes on what he was saying for my own benefit and for the purposes of this post. He noticed that I was taking notes but didn't seem to care/didn't comment on them.

Without further ado, here is a summary of what transpired in script form since idk how else to write it. I tried my best to make it the most accurate I could to reality but obviously I cant remember every little thing that happened.

Thus, it may sound overly dramatic/unrealistic at times which is why I attached the notes just in case you wanted the raw facts.

Me: Yesterday when you were at work I found some boxes. I was looking through them and found this form I showed the form with his diagnosis I was wondering why you didn’t tell me about this at all? And I want you to be completely honest, no more lying.

Him: I don’t see why it was necessary to tell you. Besides, I made no attempt to hide it. Me: You do realize that this makes me question our entire relationship? Him: Why? Me: Well, how am I supposed to know you haven’t just been manipulating me?Him: I was under the impression you were also manipulating me. Were you not?

Me: is silent because I am shocked Him: You have tried to make me a better person. You constantly want me to make friends. You chastise me when I act a certain way toward my employees. I have become your pet project. You believe that your kind presence will make me kind.

Me: You aren’t a project, you’re my boyfriend! Him: There isn’t a difference. Isn’t a relationship supposed to be mutually beneficial? I improve you, you improve me. Me: is close to tears So you don’t love me, you just want benefits? Him: I never said that. I do love you.

Me: How do I know you aren’t lying?! When you’ve lied this entire time?! (I was getting angry at this point, he was still not reacting) Him: If you truly believe I am a liar, then nothing I do will prove that assumption wrong.

Me: Well prove that you love me then. Him: I love the conversations we have. I love that you accept me for who I am. I love your intelligence and wit. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, you are the smartest person I have ever met.

Me: But that doesn’t sound very psychopathic. Him: Not everything I do has to be psychopathic. Me: Well then have you ever killed anyone or anything? Him: I have killed rodents. That’s it. Me: disgusted.

Him: It was a long time ago, I was much younger then and my mother had recently been murdered. Me: That’s no excuse! Did you kill them brutally? Him: I suppose. (he described how he killed them with almost glee and I’m not going to say it here because it is not good)

Me: Do you feel guilty about that AT ALL!? I was inching away from him at this point because I was very disturbed Him: No. Though, if you are concerned, I have no desire to do that again.

Me: Well, that’s good at least. Do you think you would kill a human? Him: Like my father did? Me: I guess? Him: I will never be my father. I don’t like that implication. Me: Sorry. Him: Why are you asking me all these questions?

Me: I’m a bit scared of you. Him: I have never done anything to harm you. Me: I know, I just need answers. When did you get your diagnosis? Him: Eleven years ago. Me: Okay, but why? Him: [name redacted] told me I should. Me: You don’t normally listen to people’s advice.

Him: Admittedly, after she mentioned it, I wondered if I had inherited any of my father’s characteristics. So, I went. Me: Do you think the diagnosis is correct? Him: I do. Though it has been quite a while, and I never got a second opinion, so perhaps it has changed.

[after this we started talking about personal things I will not share on the internet] Me: Would you be upset if I broke up with you? Him: Yes. (he didn’t look upset at all)

Me: I think we need to take a break for a month, I need to sort my feelings out. (this seems to come out of nowhere, but I was considering this throughout the conversation, and his lack of emotion was the deciding factor)

Him: actually looks angry/upset for a second, but then is calm again, so maybe I’m just imagining things After four years together you’re going to leave just because of a piece of paper?

Me: I’m not saying it’s forever. I just need to take some time away from you. Him: Fine. Where will you stay? Me: Here. Him: This is my house, and since you are the one breaking up with me, I don’t think it’s fair that I leave.

Me: Whatever. Him: For what it’s worth, it would be very unfortunate to lose you. Me: I don’t want to lose you either. But I need a break.

I went upstairs to pack essentials, then I left. Right before, I gave him a peck on the lips. That was a lapse of judgement on my part.

I will say that he didn’t look happy that I was leaving, and as I was walking to leave he asked me to stay. I said no, he said ‘fine’, and left it at that.

So yeah, there you have it. I still love him, and I do think he was genuine when he said he loved me, but I’m not sure I can get over all of the things he’s done.

I went into this conversation hopeful, but as soon as he said he didn’t feel it was necessary to tell me, my emotions took over and I started asking way more accusatory questions. To be honest, I wish I had been more logical in my approach, maybe then we would’ve arrived at a different conclusion.

If you’re wondering, I am staying with a friend at the moment, he doesn’t know where/which friend. I just need this month to regroup and decide what my next steps are.

He was one of the best parts of my life, I had never connected to anyone the way I did with him. I have no clue what I will do, and frankly, I need advice. With all that has happened, what do you think I should do?

Also, I have no way to prove if he’s telling the truth or not, so before you yell at me in the comments saying these are all lies, just know that all I know about his diagnosis is what he’s told me.

I may try and track down the psychologist he went to, but I think that would be a breach of confidentiality if she told me anything about him. Anyways, please feel free to give me advice.

Update 2:

A lot of you are bashing me for this, and that is completely fine as you are entitled to your own opinion.

I forgot to mention that the reason for his psychopathy diagnosis (not an official term but something that the psychologist wrote on his form) was because of his violence toward animals and the careless/almost gleeful way he talked about it.

(Stop reading here if you are triggered by animal ab*se) The rodents in question weren’t random rats, they were squirrels, often babies, that fell out of trees. My boyfriend would see them, take a cloth, and suffocate them.

Right before they died, he would take the cloth off, take a sharp knife, and carve through their chest. He would then take out their eyeballs and finally stab them repeatedly until they died.

When he told me this story he said it with such nonchalance that I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing. He was 8 when his mother died, and this started when he was 7 (ended at age 11).

I recommend reading comment if you want an analysis on the things he said during the conversation. But still, I do appreciate all the advice and comments.

Update 3:

I wasn’t planning on making an update but a few people have asked me for it so here we are. Before I start, I ask that you do not directly insult me. You can say whatever you want about my actions, but I would appreciate it if you don’t DM me with insults/attacks.

Quite frankly you know nothing about me other than what I’ve chosen to share and thus can’t make an accurate judgement about my character as a whole, so there is no need to attack me.

I’m also not directly looking for advice at the moment, this is simply an update post. However, if you want to give your two cents, it will be appreciated! Thank you.

Anyways, a few days after I made my first update post, I was still staying with my friend. I must admit, those first few days were hell to go through. Every five minutes I would think about my boyfriend and want to contact him.

I kept trying to distract myself but of course my thoughts kept wandering back. He followed through on his word and didn’t contact me, which I appreciate as it made me feel less tempted. However, it was still extremely hard to distance myself when he was literally a text message away.

On the fourth day of our separation, the friend I’m staying with apparently bumped into him at the grocery store. I don’t know if she actually came upon him by accident or if she purposefully sought him out, but either way, they had a conversation.

She asked him where I was (even though she knew where I was) and he said it was none of her business. She then lied to him and said that she hadn’t seen me in a while (apparently in an attempt to worry him).

He, again, was not phased and did not contact me, which either means he could care less about my location, suspects I’m with my friend, or simply doesn’t want to bother me.

In the next few weeks, I continued to try and distract myself by working, studying, or talking with my friends. I also decided to research more about ASPD during this time and I talked to a therapist about the struggles I have faced in my relationship.

She gave me a lot of clarity and convinced me that, should I choose to make this work, he needs to come with me to couples therapy in order to work through our problems. Finally, I discussed ASPD and psychopathy with a psychologist who specializes in it.

She told me what a few of you said in the comments, that in order to be diagnosed with psychopathy you HAVE to have violent tendencies and show no remorse whatsoever. She warned me against continuing the relationship, because while he loves me in his own way, as soon as I stop benefitting him, he will most likely drop me.

Still, in my naivety, I decided to talk to him as a last ditch effort to save our relationship. I broke my almost month long silence and texted him asking to meet at a park should he want to see me.

He said yes and we met up yesterday. I told him that I believed him when he said that he loved me, and that I wanted to make this work, but there would have to be conditions such as couples therapy and counseling for his childhood trauma.

I also requested that he act nicer to his employees as I didn’t want to be with someone who treated people below him that badly. He immediately shut that down and said therapy was for idiots who don’t know how to control themselves.

He also didn’t understand why he should treat his employees nicely as they were incompetent. He didn’t raise his voice (probably because we were in public if I’m being quite honest), but his demeanor was very aggressive.

He said that I was only calling him out on his behavior because of his diagnosis and that I was fine with him before. However, he is wrong. In this month apart I have realized that I wasn’t fine with him before, I was just excusing his actions. I told him as such and he got even more annoyed.

He asked me why I wasted his time making him come when I could’ve just told him on text and been done with it. I told him I was trying to save our relationship and he just rolled his eyes and said he couldn’t believe he spent so many years with me. He then left.

So yeah. Could I have handled it differently? Sure. Do I regret what happened? Kind of. But what’s done is done and I guess all I have to do is move forward. I’m going to have to pick up my stuff from our house later and get my name off the lease.

The friend I’m staying with has been nothing but accommodating toward me and is letting me continue to stay for a while until I find myself a new place. With the pandemic it’s going to be hard but I’m sure I will manage. Thank you to everyone who gave me genuine advice throughout this journey.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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