Thank you Dr. Elliot. I have rated your response as excellent.
Here's the thing... I see things in my new guy that remind me of my ex. I even had a dream that I was back with my ex husband when I had a fight with him. I love strong personalities, be they in friends or partners, and he definitely has one, but I don't know how to talk to him sometimes, and that scares me. He has a very high opinion of me but doesn't know, nor does he want to know anything about my past. I fell in love with my ex-husband because he was not frivolous, he was serious and seriously in love with me. But as my shine faded, and he was mean. He was not particularly physically abusive, but he was very hard on me, and I felt abandoned and alone throughout the whole marriage. He was never a provider to me, and I went all of my assets trying to patch up our marriage. I had two kids for the same reason, I know-that was not wise.
We were living in Guatemala. I can home, even though I loved Guatemala, because my husband and I were very well known, and the scene became very "small town" during our separation... I didn't need the drama. My family said that they would help me, and in their own way, I guess they have, but I am essentially alone. I am usually very comfortable being alone. I have an impossibly difficult time asking for help, or receiving help, and at the same time I am resentful that the help is not there.
Enter new guy-- the first thing that he says to me is that he wants to take care of me. He is looking for an incredible woman like me to spend the rest of his days with. He wants a family and to build a life. BUT, he doesn't exactly have anything to offer me right now. First, I would need to make the initial investment of getting him here (he went back to his home country of Venezuela), then, if things go well, marrying him, then he would be able to take care of me. He talks a good game, and I love his straight-forward, no-nonsense personality, but in the time that I've known him (almost a year) he has not had a job, and in theory has been living off of his savings. (I work in finance, and find that very hard to believe).
He is also interested in taking things slow, but I see things already that concern me. He doesn't like me being social, which was one of the first ways that my ex really started to isolate me, by alienating my friends. I can see myself happy with him when I am alone, but wouldn't want to be with him and others. Sometime I think, what the hell? My family doesn't particularly care about being around me anyway, if I have a guy that loves me, lets go off and start a life just the two of us.
Also, he is the first guy that I have ever dated that doesn't find me beautiful, or at least pretend to. He is constantly telling me that he doesn't like my hair, that my face is red, that I should loose weight. He says that my daughters are more beautiful (seriously creepy).
Another thing that concerns me is that I'm not proud of him. He is sexy to me because he is very masculine, but he doesn't speak English. I would constantly be having to translate and mitigate situations for him (been there and done that). There would be situations in which the cultural complications would be very difficult. (Whereas I move relatively freely between all cultures because I have made a conscious effort to learn how to do so, he has not, and is not particularly interested in trying. He can't even come to terms with all Hispanic cultures) He wants to keep everything a secret and that's okay with me, but I would never want my girls or nieces or friends to be in a relationship that they aren't proud of.
Lastly, although we talk all the time, sometimes I feel like I couldn't really have a heart to heart. I wont tell him I'm attracted to him sexually because I'm afraid he'll make an unpleasant comment about my appearance. When there is something that we disagree on, I feel like he essentially just shuts me down, because I don't say what I think, because I don't want him to get mad (my ex would have paid money for that kind of treatment)
Because with all of that, comes the promise of him taking care of me. Being there for me. Providing for me. He calls religiously, says he loves me. He makes me happy. And because that scares me, I start flirting with other guys, and I even had someone over one night. None of these guys are guys that could/are offering me anything really, but just to feel like I'm not trapped.
God, as I write this out I feel really stupid. I am setting myself up for failure big time, aren't I?
If you are convinced that you want to break with him then this book is he best guide.
You seem very strong, but you are at the same time vulnerable and perhaps a bit naive.
I advise you to take things VERY slowly and learn about NPD and how to defend yourself against it.
I agree that you may be walking into a bad situation.
My prayers are with you. You could do better than this. There are too many red flags in my estimation.
I really appreciate your feedback. I will definitely take a look at the books you have recommended to me.
I'm not sure what part of what you read made you think that I am "quite a woman", but I appreciate the comment. My loneliness appears to be my Achilles' heel. That will be something to work on next.