8 Fundamental Differences Between Sociopathic 'Love' & The Real Thing

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sweet blonde couple nuzzling

Soon after I met my first husband, he declared that I was the woman he’d been waiting for all his life. Once we married, he proclaimed his love for me every day — while exploiting my talents, running up my credit cards, and conducting affairs with multiple other women.

I divorced my ex-husband, who was later diagnosed as a sociopath, in 2000. A little more than a year later, after consciously focusing on my emotional recovery, I met a new man. We dated for four years, got to know each other, and then married.

We are now celebrating our 18th anniversary. I can honestly say that I am as happy and in love today as I was on our wedding day.

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Here are the differences between real love and sociopathic ‘love':

What's different about real love with a normal, caring person, and "love" with a sociopath? Just about everything. Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. Real love is peaceful.

I don't have the stress, drama, and doubt that I felt while married to the sociopath. Instead, with my new husband, I feel calm and content.

2. Real love is supportive.

My sociopathic ex was demanding and indifferent to how his demands affected me. Now when I need help, compassion, or just someone to talk to, my husband is there.

3. Real love is teamwork.

I'm not the only one working; I'm not the only one carrying the burdens of life. My husband and I are in it together.

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4. Real love is balanced.

Yes, we face our ups and downs. And when either of us is down, the other is there to offer a boost. It's a true give-and-take.

5. Real love is sexy.

Sex with the sociopath was exciting in the beginning and then became rote. With my new husband, along with the physical pleasure, I feel a deep, soulful connection, a much more powerful experience.

6. Real love is companionship.

My ex traveled a lot (seeing other women, I later learned). Quite frankly, I was happy to see him go. When my new husband travels or even go to work for the day, I look forward to his return.

7. Real love is happy.

When I was with my ex, I was miserable. Now, even as my husband and I deal with day-to-day problems, I feel light and joyful.

8. Real love is easy.

I no longer struggle in my marriage. I know I can trust and depend on my husband, and he knows he can count on me. We share, we laugh, and we travel the road of life together, hand-in-hand.

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Experiencing real love after enduring sociopathic love.

Yes, there is love after the sociopath. How do you find it?

First, it is absolutely essential to commit to your emotional recovery. A relationship with a sociopath, narcissist, psychopath, or any other exploiter is brutal. The confusion and betrayal create deep emotional wounds, which must be addressed.

This is not easy or fun. I spent a lot of time curled up in a ball, crying, or pounding pillows to release my anger. But it’s necessary. As I got the emotional pain out of my system, I felt more centered and more willing to try again.

Will you encounter another sociopath? Possibly, because millions of them live among us. But your intuition will warn you if someone is dangerous.

Having done the emotional work, you’ll be able to hear your intuition much more clearly and escape before damage is done.

Finally, when you do meet the right person, allow the relationship to develop naturally. Sociopaths typically rush things along in a whirlwind romance. Real love isn’t like that. Real love takes time to develop.

When you go with the flow and let the relationship unfold, you may find that you’ve received exactly what you’ve always wanted. 

I know I did.

RELATED: 16 Signs You Love Someone With A Serious Personality Disorder

Donna Andersen is an expert in sociopaths and love fraud. She is the author of Senior Sociopaths — How To Recognize And Escape Lifelong Abusers

This article was originally published at Lovefraud.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.