I was emailing my mother the other day and said something about being excluded from couples invitations from other couples in the church I went to. At the time I wasn't sure if there was something about ex that was offputting, or if it was simply because he didn't attend the church with the kids and I so no one there really knew him. I think it was a little of both. My mom then said:
"He really is bizarre and some of his strangeness is offputting. When he talks he avoids eye contact, he giggles and moves around; he manifests behaviors of the mentally ill and nobody is going to include that in their lives voluntarily. Not your fault, of course but you are judged for your mate's behaviors. We saw people look at [Ex] and move away from him almost like they were afraid of him. It's easy to understand why they would feel that way."
I read that through twice and started thinking, really? Was I that blind? So I, like any normal woman, turned to my best friend who has known me since before I even started dating Ex. I sent her my mom's quote and asked her if she agreed. She said:
"Yeah, I did notice. He always seems very jumpy and nervous, unless he is asleep!
think people steered clear more because he latches on to them and won't stop
talking. When you put it all together it really does spell mental
doubt he will ever get help though because
no one will push him."
I knew that Ex was a hoarder which is considered a mental illness. I also knew that he had zero social skills and no social awareness. Once when I told him after we'd moved that our neighbor was mad at us for years for the mess that he kept in the yard, he accused me of lying. "She accepted help from me, she wasn't mad at us." Of course when her husband was in the hospital and she came home with her two young kids and the front door was wide open she was perfectly willing to let you go in and see if anyone was in there! Didn't stop her from being mad at you for bringing down the home values on our block.
Like my friend mentioned, he'd latch on to someone and talk their leg off. Complete strangers in a store would be walking sideways trying to get away from him and he'd confuse their polite unwillingness to be rude or mean to him as interest in what he was saying.
He got stranger as the years wore on. He stopped wearing clean clothes. After his father died he'd only wear his father's old clothes, even though they didn't fit him. He stopped showering and shaving or even getting his hair cut.
He drank...lots. He never acted drunk, but he'd wake me up in the middle of the night too drunk to walk, falling on the floor and crying. I gave up on ever having alcohol in the house for an occassional drink because it'd disappear. He always said it was to help him sleep.
He slept, all the time. His protestations of insomnia to the contrary, he'd fall asleep in the movies, while watching TV, even when we were talking. He'd be snoring LOUDLY, then suddenly stop get out of bed and be rattling around in the bathroom. I'd ask him what he was looking for and he'd say "A sleeping pill, I can't sleep."
I think I was blind, the behaviors came up so slowly and just one at a time so I'd get used to them before another would appear. I didn't notice how "off" he was because I wasn't used to looking at the sum of his parts.