Newly Single Women Beware

Newly Single Women Beware

Charm is the mask of the Controlling Man

An intentionally charming man is like a hungry wolf. He will stalk his prey and pounce when they are at their weakest.

I think I’m immune to charm. Instead of melting at smooth words, gentle touches on the elbow and prolonged smiles, I think, ‘Aye, aye, what does this smarmy bugger want?’

It could be my northenness or having taught in a boys’ Grammar School for a number of years, but, in my experience, charm is artifice, a mask, a tool of manipulation. I’m not a fan of being manipulated and from what I’ve seen of what’s happened to friends who have fallen for charming men, I’m right to be guarded.

In the last few years, I have seen a few such Charmers move in on my recently divorced friends. These women had left marriages which weren’t working any more. They’d been in stale relationships and, whilst they were the ones who decided to make the break, the guilt and worry about whether they’d done the right thing made them vulnerable.

The strategy The Charmers use is the ‘Love Bomb.’ For the uninitiated, this approach relies on the fact that the woman has left a relationship where she felt underappreciated and taken for granted. She is now on her own, so is unused to a getting a lot of attention.

Acutely aware of his good looks, The Charmer dresses to impress, and he provides attention — in spades. He is immediately besotted. He can’t spend a night away from her, her body obsesses him, every waking moment is spent thinking about her.

Sounds passionate, doesn’t it? Especially for a woman who’s been practically ignored for years. I can see why she gets sucked in, and so can The Charmer. This love bombing comes with frequent, frenzied sex. The kind of sex that leaves you raw, exhausted and feeling like you can’t live without it.

He loves her too, in a way he’s never loved anyone in his entire existence. The women he’s had children with were mere bumps in the road which he travelled, always destined to arrive here, with her.

But then The Charmer starts to show his true colours. The amount of attention he shows her isn’t reciprocated to his liking. He wants to spend every moment with her (in her mortgage-free house), so why would she ever want an evening alone, or with her friends? He’s broken because it’s obvious that she doesn’t love him the way her loves her.

The Charmer loves a fight. Once his feet are firmly under the table (and he’s on the insurance for her car), the drama can really begin. The fact that she wants to go on a girl’s weekend away (meaning he’ll have to go back to his mum’s house after ‘that bitch of an ex’ took his entire property portfolio in the divorce) has nothing to do with it. It’s because he can’t bear to think of other men ogling her. She has no idea how desirable she is. He can’t imagine ever wanting to be away from her.

After the fierce argument, she cancels the trip because he’s in tears, he’s sorry for saying those vicious things. It’s because he loves her so passionately, which is confirmed by the powerful, desperate make-up sex.

And so, the cycle goes. He’s so lovely to all her friends and family at first, many saying how handsome and charming he is. Little by little, he persuades her to stay in with him, or accidentally buys theatre tickets for the night she’d planned to see her friends.

It becomes easier to do things his way. He gets so upset if she suggests spending time away from him that it’s just simpler to not bother. If they argue, the making up is so passionate, because he loves her so much. He even tells her, in honeyed tones, that nobody will ever love her the way he does.

One of my dearest friends was sucked into this cycle and it went on for three years. Now she has seen the light and can’t believe she fell for such age-old tactics. This particular Charmer hasn’t changed his ways though. The penniless manipulator has recently moved in with a wealthy woman, well-known in our circle, who, when she met him, was vulnerable. I overheard a friend of hers saying the fresh prey was so happy, actually using the phrase ‘love bombed.’ I’m watching that space.

So, no, I’m not a fan of charming men. I prefer a man with his motives on his sleeve, not hidden under pretend niceties whilst he sneaks a peak at your bank balance and your mate’s backside. Give me a funny, honest, socially unaware man any day, and if he doesn’t wax his back, but can be trusted to say exactly what he means, then that’s good enough for me.

And, if you’re my friend, don’t expect me to stay quiet when the wolf comes to call.

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