That time I fell in love with a psychopath

“Do you think I’m a psychopath?” Aidan tossed those words out into the air and they hung with the strange sentiment that their content represented, his deep hazel eyes staring into mine with a playful excitement and curiosity.

“Yes.” I responded. I stared right back at him as I said this, hoping that if I peered ever so slightly deeper I’d get a glimpse of his soul. He didn’t blink. Staring back, the smile on his face seemed to curve ever so slightly upward as one enjoying karma run its course.

“What makes you say that?” he asked?

“Well what do you want to know?” I asked, staring ever deeper into the abyss of his mind. “I question the way in which you interact with other humans. How your empathy works, how your sense of attachment, love, and affection differs from what I consider normal. How you handle your interpersonal relationships.”

This time his mouth broke into a definitive smile. “That’s very accurate,” he said.

I know what you’re thinking. This is another sob story about a woman who emerged from an emotionally abusive decade-long marriage with a man who manipulated her to his every whim and chiseled at her self esteem until she broke down into the utmost depths of despair; by miracle, though, she finally came to terms with his psychopathy and left with the help of those closest to her capable of providing an external perspective and the tremendous support she needed to regain her self-worth. She didn’t know he was a psychopath until it was far too late.

In truth, we’ve all heard these stories. A quick google search for “I fell in love with a psychopath” will bring up dozens of such. We all know psychopaths exist. But we walk through our lives blissfully unaware that we interact with them daily and never know it.

This is not that story. This is the psychological allegory of the foolhardy but bold bombing mission at a dangerously low altitude to avoid the radar, threat of anti-aircraft weaponry looming. The man who discovered the truth and ignored the advice of every one of his friends and family, returning again and again to truly get to know a psychopath out of sheer curiosity (and maybe also because he was pretty hot). This is the story of how I identified a psychopath and manipulated right the fuck back.

Let me start from the beginning: I first met Aidan on a Sunday morning in Seattle, WA, July 19th, 2015. It was this little cafe known, quite simply, as “The Cafe.” Though we had originally planned to get coffee at 11AM, we had rescheduled to 1PM due to a last minute work request that Aidan had received. It was 1:35PM and he still had yet to make an appearance; I sat there quietly browsing the web on my brand new Surface 3 (though the WiFi didn’t work because the WiFi on Surfaces running clean installs of Windows never works unless you roll back the driver manually…and I’m not bitter or frustrated about that).

At 1:43PM he finally stumbled in and I greeted him in the ever-so-cordial fashion one employs the first time you meet a Tinder match in person. As we ordered our food, he realized that he had lost his debit card and I paid for his coffee.

What followed was a 45 minute-long conversation about a wide array of topics. It was clear that he had had a crazy night prior, involving waking up in the back seat of his car. In fact in recollection I was moderately concerned for his safety upon hearing this.

It wasn’t the most awkward conversation I’ve had, nor was it flawless. We established that we both had ambitions to make a restaurant some day. He reminded me of one of my old fraternity brothers that had come onto me like a train while drunk after the senior pub night. I could tell there was something a little aloof about him. He seemed slightly ditzy, maybe a bit flaky — though he reflected a distinct self confidence. I’d seen all these characteristics before, though, and chalked it off as a character flaw and moved on.

As we left he said “I’ll text you later tonight and we can hang out for real!” Of course he didn’t.

I discovered that he had the very annoying tendency of never responding to some of my text messages. He seemed to be hot and cold with random frequency. I’d seen it all before and remembered my terrible experiences, but I was older and more mature and I felt I could handle it. All the while though I kept an arm’s length; I was determined not to do all the chasing. Eventually we decided to get dinner on Wednesday, July 29th.

Conveniently, he was absolutely terrible at texting me to work out details on the day of until I got a random call around 3:30PM:

“Hey so remember how we had dinner plans? How about if we have party plans instead?” he asked.

Who was I to turn down a proposal as enticing as that? I agreed.

Figuring out logistics was nearly impossible. I told him I was 5 minutes away and he responded “Oh okay.” Like what does that even mean?

Entering his apartment, I felt the aura of Gay wash over me. He was with four men who could go toe to toe with the homosexualest I’d ever seen. The tension was real and the sass was overpowering.

Aidan was flirting with me immediately and it wasn’t long before he’d found an excuse to drag me around the corner away from his friends. By this point he’d been drinking most of the day and popped an adderall so he was in, as they say in my fraternity, “rare form.”

He was quite attractive, but with an air such that you just knew he was keenly aware of that fact and wouldn’t hesitate before flaunting it — that he reveled in the idea that others appreciated him from an aesthetic point of view.

He was very much “all over me.” The other guys couldn’t help but notice and the jealousy was evident. Through the course of the evening we (of course) ended up playing King’s Cup, with Aidan tossing out several statements that I, at the time, found moderately insensitive. “Never have I ever been black,” he said, receiving a hideous glare from his friend, the only black man in the room. Like I get those times when someone is playing “Never have I ever” and specifically says “Never have I ever done X thing that’s really embarrassing that I know my friend did” and then the guilty friend tells some hilarious but somewhat embarrassing story. Aidan missed the boat on that one though. “I feel like my friends don’t like me.”


Having drunk heavily at the beach before I arrived and continuing to pound alcohol, Aidan was quite hammered by the time his friends left for the bars. His roommate, Blake, returned and we had a bit of a conversation before Aidan dragged me off to his room. “Have fun with that.” Blake quipped at me as we left.

We made out and we spent quite a long time talking in his room. To say he was kinky was a bit of an understatement: “I’m not fragile,” he said as I was gauging the appropriate amount of pressure with which to choke him. I was into it.

Through the course of the evening, he told me tales of his upbringing and dreams, how he “liked me” but was afraid to say it because it had gotten him into trouble in the past. He told me how much he wanted me to stay in Seattle. He told me how he dreamed of being a housewife with a dog. To me, it seemed refreshingly genuine and kind. Though by 1:30AM I was tired and told him I was going to fall asleep. He said that was fine and he was going to grab something and be right back. I passed out nearly immediately, waking up after yet another failed iPhone alarm at 9AM the next morning; Aidan was nowhere to be seen and I was now alone in his apartment. I had no recollection of his coming back to bed the night before.

Half way through the day he texted me to apologize and said he was called into work last minute, which I found a bit odd — though I know myself to be a heavy sleeper.

That weekend, my friend was in town from Boston. I did manage to take her to meet Aidan at his job. This time he appeared mostly sober. It was a very different experience. He was charming and flattering. The gay was very obvious (“You seem to like the obvious ones, don’t you?” asked my friend after meeting him.)

It wasn’t until that Monday, August 3rd, that I got a chance to hang out with him again after dropping my friend off at the airport. We had agreed earlier that weekend to hang out that evening, but as mid afternoon rolled around he still hadn’t confirmed that he would be able to hang out and wasn’t being responsive to texts (his ability to ignore messages was almost uncanny).

“Aidannnnnnnnnn” I sent after three missed messages.

“Umm hi” he replied.

“Do you still want to hang out tonight?” I asked.

Three hours passed. As I was drafting a message along the lines of “hey son if you can’t respond to basic logistical text messages this shit ain’t gonna work” he finally responded that he’d be interested.

That evening was especially weird. We ended up, as usual, consuming an unhealthy amount of beer, hookah, cigarettes, and marijuana. Aidan prided himself on his ability to chug beer faster than I and his ability to blow smoke rings with the hookah (though it took him a while to get the demo working flawlessly).

In his kitchen he started to interrogate me: he really, really wanted to know how he came across. “Did you think I was a slut?” he asked, staring into my eyes in the way he always did.

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. He definitely had an aura about him that he got around “occasionally,” but what was driving this? He was so confident and he reflected that, so the self consciousness that would usually drive a question like that was definitively absent. I can’t help but feel that he was genuinely evaluating his perception out of pure curiosity.

We were smoking a cigarette out on the porch. He was showing me those subtle signs of affection: legs against mine, smiling, eye contact — exactly what one would expect in these situations. But I couldn’t help but hear his cackling laughter and feel that it was directed towards me — that he was making fun of me. A few choice comments, including the routine jab at my manhood in front of his roommate, didn’t help the confusion. Blake said “Oh I bet he has a big cock!” Aidan then replied, “Actually it’s tiny. Oops, silly Aidan, that’s not how you make friends.”

I had noticed it towards his other friends as well. The moment his roommate’s back was turned I would get an earful of how hideous and unintelligent of a human being he was.

It’s often difficult in these situations to tease the emotions apart and see what really motivates an individual. The gay complicates it because of some inexplicable stereotype that we ought to fulfill some harsh and insidiously flirtatious persona. I was also high, and paranoia is not unknown in my family if I believe the words of Aunty Zaza, so I couldn’t come to a firm conclusion either way as to what I thought about his actions to me. Certainly making fun of someone you are currently interested in dating can be acceptable, but I didn’t sense any flirtation in his tone.

At times during the intoxication we would make out — I came over to where he was seated at the table and would touch him and kiss him. It was definitely an awkward dynamic, to say the least, and his reaction didn’t help the confusion:

“Whew! You’re very good at what you do,” he said between breaths, that classic smirk moving across his face.

The evening ended with a very erotic half hour on the floor of his living room (I’ll still never understand why he refused to do this on his bed).

Upon wrapping up this segment of the evening he asked, “Have you ever orgasmed like that?”

“Once or twice.” I replied.

“Try new things sometimes.” With that we got dressed and he sat down at the table, staring at me with those fiery eyes with an expression I couldn’t quite place. It was now 3AM and it looked like he was going to follow through on his intentions to not go to bed that night.

“Well I have work tomorrow.”

“Yes…” he responded.

“So I should probably head home.”

“I think that’s a good idea.” I got my things and left.

The following morning I woke to an expected cloud of confusion. What the fuck had happened last night? There were a series of sexy snapchats he had sent me — the kind you knew hadn’t gone to you and you alone.

Mid-day I texted him an apology. “Also sorry if I was weird last night I was like weirdly crossed. But I definitely had fun :*” That was only 50% a lie.

He replied “No I was about to say the same thing so keyed”

I mentioned the giggling and his response did well to quell my suspicions, though not entirely: “First I giggle all the time then on top of the pot I couldn’t even”

With that we resolved to hang out again to make up for the oddities of the evening prior. Lo and behold as I was settling into bed that evening at 9:56PM I got the fateful text, “Hey what’s up” and then “Just got off work Blake wants to have people over” “Want to come over”

So I set off, picking up my tithe (a twelve pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon from the local Safeway) and set in for an adventure.

That evening Aidan had popped an exceptional number of adderall (I had watched as he went over to his backpack, pulled out a prescription bottle, yelled “Uppers!” and downed the pill without water…he later claimed to have had multiple that evening), along with our usual ritual of beer, marijuana, hookah, cigarettes, and this evening’s added special: some green herbal potion they called “jungle juice.”

Aidan became increasingly grandiose with his claims and articulations as the evening progressed and the drugs took their hold. I could sense a bit of oddity in the air, though just as before I couldn’t quite place the union of what I was seeing: excessive narcissistic comments, his prior flakiness, and his hot and cold affection — what did it all mean?

The tales continued: his sexualized obsession with death and pain, even personal affliction of pain and suicide. He divulged his dream was to have sex with his twin. One particular anecdote I remember was his fantasy that a victorious gladiator, blood still fresh on his hands, would fuck him while choking him until he orgasmed as the last oxygen was leaving his brain.

Then in an instant the first layer of his facade evaporated into thin air, wisps of hookah smoke fading into the abyss after his shows of smoke-charming talent. The lens of disparate observations suddenly came into a distressingly crisp focus. Somehow the cocktail of drugs he was on had weakened his filter sufficient to get a first-hand glimpse into his inner psyche, and I was alarmed. My heart started to race as I suddenly found my eyes staring off into the abyss of hookah burns on the carpet in deep contemplation.

I saw suddenly the deception I’d received at his hand — how he had feigned all aspects of our interaction for his gain and how he used me to get exactly what he wanted. I saw his skill with words of affection and attachment, constructed from his best and refined understanding of the interactions of neurotypical individuals, to elicit the reaction he witnessed and enjoyed. Those same words which he had honed on dozens of men like me, watching for weaknesses and subtly prying into them like salt in a wound. I saw how every time he had appeared so drunk and helpless he was entirely in control and manipulating all the while.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck as I slowly swiveled my gaze back around to face him. This time his eyes weren’t looking back; in fact I may as well have been a ghost. His attention was focused so intently upon himself as to exclude the rest of the world from his own maddening self appreciation such that he had entirely lost awareness of the date he invited over to spend the evening.

I didn’t know what a psychopath was. I had only the faintest idea what the term meant and who it might be applied to. But I knew that I’d found one.

Through the haze and euphoria of the concoction of drugs I had partaken, I pushed the collection of images I had in my mind around, attempting to make sense of it all. Was this possible? He seemed so genuine and gregarious, but suddenly the reservations I’d had about him all fit a common explanation.

Aidan had been talking about how much he was going to get done that evening and apparently he wasn’t joking. A minute later Aidan left to the bathroom where he closed the door and proceeded to take uncountable numbers of snapchats and selfies, sending a bulk of them to his roommate and one or two to me (and at one point in time I heard a sound that definitely could be construed as his masturbating to himself). While I was out on the porch having a cigarette with Blake (as you can tell this dumpy apartment was not a healthy place for me to be at, emotionally or physically), I began the first steps of teasing out some of his perspective on this situation. He casually referred back to that fateful first evening, “Remember when I told you to ‘have fun with that?’”

It was clear to me though that Blake was largely oblivious to the significance of Aidan’s conduct and what it could mean. Several times that evening he exonerated Aidan’s behavior by saying he was “just high.”

Regardless, my marijuana-induced paranoia that I was missing something or being foolish about this accusation remained. I decided that I ought to validate these crazy assumptions in the best way I knew how; I sat down with Aidan, who had returned from his expedition in the bathroom. Recalling his comment about “getting his way with people,” I started to pry a bit, receiving the first of many fascinating glimpses into his mind:

“Literally, people will do anything you tell them to do, anything, literally anything…if you just say it right.” Aidan noted.

I asked him: “So how do you say it? What are your techniques? What’s the secret?”

Aidan replied, haltingly and half the time nonsensically but with a distinct common tone to his disparate phrases: “Because it’s a game to me. Every time I meet a new person, I literally create this whole backstory of why they do every action, mannerism, word, annunciation they do. And then I usually peg it correctly based off a slip up, an honesty (as it was gushing out of me two minutes ago), they will say something and then it just…what’s the word…not solidifies, umm, kinda in a sense, but merits my hypothesis — and then I turn that against them and use it as literally like ransom. And you can get whatever you want!” He laughed and I joined in just to fuck with him.

Needless to say I was quickly realizing that the marijuana in my system had little to do with my understanding of Aidan but was probably the only reason I hadn’t left his house. Throughout the evening I caught several other interesting tidbits, more of his narcissism, and a few more of those lovely snapchats (which I saved).

Apparently tonight was the night Aidan was going to bleach his hair, as well, so we had a good gay bonding moment in the bathroom during the application of this hair bleach.

Aidan: Oh no don’t wash my hair out yet!

Blake: No I’m not, I’m wiping your neck and you’re being crazy.

A: I want to do it over the bathtub! I thought you just wanted to see me bend over. Ew it’s all crunchy!

Me: Yes! That’s the fucking bleach solidifying on your neck.

A: I liked it like that. I want my skin to be patchy so people have more reason to feel bad. Duh. People with freckles. You know the one from Les Mes? Duh.

A: Do you think he has problems getting married? No. Because people feel bad for him because he’s so cute with freckles. Didn’t know how to put on sunscreen! That’s what they say to him. Poor thing!

A: Remember how I told you: Foresight, that’s what you lack. I’m too nice.

M: Too compassionate.

A: And that kills me every time. When the say nice guys finish last, it is true.

M: You can’t be too nice. It slows you down.

A: Exactly! I’m trying to be meaner but then I go back on it. And there I am.

M: Why? Just conscience?

The exposé ended abruptly and there was a pause before Aidan answered, his tone suddenly an octave lower: “I think that’s probably a weird thing… You know exactly what I’m talking about. Not like Norman Bates-y, but like it’s weird. Right?

No shit. “Paso lo paso” I shot back.

Then it hit me: he knew, he was self aware.

And now he knew I knew.

A few minutes later he dropped another gem: “I absorb every single personality I watch. And then use them in dialogue.” It occurred to me that he’d probably make a pretty good actor. I also learned that he harbored strong opinions on seafood, specifically that seals were killed in the process of hunting salmon. Such empathy.

“I may be a lot of things, but principled by far is the most of them. That’s why, if you really prove yourself to me as a friend, I would literally throw myself in front of a train for you.” Game on, I suppose. It was clear to me he was enjoying his pulpit.

At this point Aidan took some time to wash round 1 of the hair bleach out of his scalp, the color of his hair suddenly markedly lighter, shifting in tandem with my evolving understanding of his psyche. We subsided to some late night snacking, and the wee hours of the morning were filled the sound of bubbling hookah and the smoke filling the air.

Come about 4AM I decided it was time to leave. The knowledge that I was departing was apparently sufficient to break his unwavering introverted concentration for a few moments and he kissed me before I left, the smell of round two of his hair bleach permeating my nostrils. I drove back in silence.

By the next morning I was running through the events of the night over and over in my head. How crazy was I? Was there some merit to this accusation?

I called a mutual Tinderfriend, Davis, who had met Aidan the previous summer and spent a great while discussing the transpirations of the previous night with him. I began furiously researching on Google: the stories of realization turned up first. I read up on the diagnosis criteria, others’ stories, and went back over the conversation from the night before.

A psychopath is not an official medical definition, rather a colloquial term used to describe some individuals afflicted with Antisocial Personality Disorder. The most accurate description is the lack of a moral compass, insofar as the individual doesn’t perceive right and wrong in the same way a neurotypical individual would. They don’t have fear or guilt in the slightest — that’s not to say though that a psychopath is violent or necessarily evil. Every individual acts towards their own personal gain, and a psychopath is no different. However, a psychopath definitely operates by a different set of rules. With Aidan, perception was exceedingly important; I witnessed him focus on it often. He was clearly adept at reading people and clearly used it to his advantage.

I texted him later that day and again that evening with no response. I had all but decided that I would never hear from him again, and after all I knew that would be the healthiest outcome at this juncture. But curiosity always kills the cat I suppose.

Then Thursday at just after 7PM he texted me “I literally slept from 3PM to 10AM today.” I wondered how he was still alive. “how much of Tuesday evening do you remember?” “More than enough” he said

“When are you free I miss you” I shot back. Did I though?

He replied: “Haha I just got off work” “Awe really?” “Just FYI I don’t want to set myself on fire and people dying in front isn’t that much of turn on”

Well that was an interesting twist.

Continuing, he said, “But I’m pretty sure I’m going through a psychotic breakdown”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Lol well I feel like I was being pretty honest missing home living in that shitbox” “But I’ve also been trying a lot of social experiments” “And honestly you can get anyone to do anything or believe you say. If you try” he sent back. It honestly seemed like he was fucked up all the time — half his comments didn’t make sense. Truth be told I could never really follow him entirely.

The next Monday I was back. I really had no idea how to prepare myself for that place; each night was a new and ridiculous experience. This evening, I sat down to chill with Aidan at his house. We were enjoying a few beers together and he had mentioned that his friend would be joining us.

“Omg I just thought it was 6AM but it’s 6PM,” he said.

“Haha long day?” I asked.

Aidan paused for a few seconds “Did you rufie me?”


He stared back at me, his eyes staring at me through what seemed like a haze “Just say yes.”

What followed was one of the stranger sexual encounters I’ve had, ending on the floor by the door to his room — he had some unexplained aversion to going into his room, potentially because it was in a state of disarray that rivaled even my own. He claims to have absolutely no memory of this.

Aidan jumped up, fumbling his phone out of his pocket and mumbling something about his friend being here. I was concerned that he would not be able to physically make it down and up the stairs of the dingy yellowed apartment complex to let him in, but after all Aidan was not one to ask for assistance. I figured I’d give him a few minutes to work it out before I intervened. By miracle a minute or so later he emerged from the staircase, his friend in tow. It was decided we were going to watch a TV show on Aidan’s desktop computer that was lain ever so gingerly in the middle of the living room. The show turned out to be some ridiculously gay one whose name now escapes me. Aidan plopped himself down on the floor, lying sideways and staring at the screen.

After some amount of time, it became readily apparent that Aidan had passed out and a moderately vigorous attempt to wake him was entirely unsuccessful. His friend was going to have a cigarette on the porch and I joined him for a pleasant discussion about life plans and the bitter social problems of working as a salesman at Nordstroms. This friend likewise appeared to share some level of obliviousness to Aidan’s twisted nature but I didn’t pry terribly hard.

After an hour or so Aidan had not moved and a second attempt to arouse him proved fruitless. His roommate, Blake, had returned and mentioned something about providing Aidan with a Xanax, “Either you pass out or you black out.”

So I headed home.

I took the remainder of the evening to complete some overdue education.

“Watched psycho tonight” I texted him at 11:59 PM that night.

At 1:03 AM Aidan replied “Oh my god Im so sorry I have no ideas why I passed out”

The next morning I responded “Hahahaha” “Xanax + beer = sleepy Aidan?” No reply.

“How long did you sleep?”

11 hours later: “Umm till like 11 but I couldn’t find my phone till right now” “Well I fell hella bad about last night I’ve never passed out so hard”

“awww it’s alright” “what did you take?”

“I don’t know Blake just gave me something granted I’m not mad about it” “But not what I needed for the night”

Then he asked: “Want to re do”

And by 10PM that night I was back, a 12 pack of PBR in hand.

That night we took three excursions. First, an emergency Hookah run was instituted to downtown Seattle at around 9:30 before the last hookah store in the state closed, preserved on a brief snapchat documenting Aidan’s Honda Pilot attaining a frightening velocity on I-5, windows down and swerving between vehicles as if they were stationary, while Major Lazer’s Lean On played at full volume. He must have noticed my hand instinctively grasping the “holy cow bar” on the side of the door.


“Not in the slightest,” I shot back, trying to downplay my rapidly accelerating pulse. As we were pulling into the hookah place Aidan cut off another car on a side street going about 35 mph around a turn. “I’ve been really enjoying thrills recently,” swerving through the intersection and coming to an abrupt stop in a no-parking zone.

Now our return happened to coincide with Blake being dropped off by his friends, who was literally in tears over some disaster with another guy, Matt, who I happened to also have matched with on Tinder who had also happened to have dated Aidan for a hot second a year prior (yes, the gay culture is always fun for these sorts of reasons. At one point I did inquire with Matt whether or not he knew anything about Aidan’s…interesting behaviors. At first he kept quiet but when I used the word psychopath he replied “Haha well you’re not the first to say it.”).

I witnessed the bizarre spectacle of Aidan alternating between telling me that he absolutely 100% had no interest in dealing with his emotional sorry ass, that he couldn’t even understand why anyone would ever behave like that. But then he turned around and without missing a beat began consoling and hugging Blake and telling him that he loved him.

Such was the distress of the situation that Blake had basically no inkling that Aidan was putting up a facade for all their interactions, manipulating and making fun of him all the while. Blake said that evening “I’m so glad you’re here for me and such a good friend.” I later tried to drop a few hints over iMessage but I think Blake was sadly a lost cause.

Several of the friends Blake had been with came in, everyone attempting to console Blake who was alternating between laughter, hysterical crying, drinking whole cans of beer, and smoking cigarettes. Aidan was with me out on the porch with the couple that had brought Blake home. We were all in conversation when they mentioned making fun of each other.

“People make fun of me all the time,” said Aidan. “I believe the word psychopath has been tossed around,” his gaze suddenly locking with mine. The friends standing there entirely missed the implication of Aidan’s nod.

“No silly, I never said psychopath I said Norman Bates.”

Aidan smirked back at me, “We’ll talk.”

Shortly thereafter he cornered me in the kitchen: “Do you think I’m a psychopath?” I let him have it. Straight up, and his reaction could not have been calmer.

“That’s pretty accurate,” he shot back. But he wasn’t done. He pressed me for more, “What do you mean?”

I wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted or what I could give him so I explained it as succinctly as I could: “Look: I know you’re playing games with me. Just know: Two can play.”

Aidan’s smile nearly lept off his face: “First, that is incredibly hot. Second…two can play,” he shot back with his eyes’ focus lasering back to mine. This was going to be an interesting evening, I could tell already.

By around 11PM we were running short of booze and, aware that the local safeway locks up the liquor cabinets tighter than a drum at 2AM we decided to restock. As I was purchasing some ridiculous looking fruity Absolut vodka the clerk made a comment to me about drinking it. “I’m more of a scotch man, myself,” I shot back. Blake thought this was absolutely hilarious and repeated it about 6 times on the way back to the car.

Upon returning home the night continued with a series of sexy photo shoots of Aidan and Blake. “Can you imagine how much better this shot would look if we just sortof,” Aidan reached over and pinched the iPhone screen, “cropped Blake out?” The smirk was ridiculous.

Now I had made the mistake of mentioning on a night prior that I had a small packet of Cocaine in my room courtesy of an ex fraternity brother. Tragically none of my regular friends had been sufficiently intrigued to join in with me, so there the little packet had lain gingerly in my valuables box for the majority of the summer (my friend who visited from back home was shocked to learn that I had it and had tried it before but then surprised at how unassuming the tiny bag looked).

“[Blake] has a more indulgent personally than I do” “Which is saying something” said Aidan. Upon my casually mentioning the packet’s existence Blake, who was in an intermediate state of recovery from “the boy,” refused to have it any other way and at about 2:30AM we decided that tonight was going to be the night that it was used. And off I began driving, as the only one who didn’t drink excessively, at one point breaking 100 mph in my long-term rental car on I-5 southbound, thus proving at least partially to Aidan I could go toe to toe with him in life-risking dangerous behavior. And so in the middle of the night we invaded the dorm room that served as my residence.

So there we were, doing lines of cocaine off the dorm room desk, Aidan and Blake giving me a dancing show in the middle of the room, Aidan’s can of Rainier left casually on my desk. I took a video of the performance; Aidan’s narcissism appeared to approve of the visuals presented. Blake, however, who had already vomited in the dorm bathroom toilet, was sufficiently upset about the video to threaten to drop my phone out of the fifth story window if I didn’t unlock my phone and delete it. With Aidan’s support that it was a becoming angle, however, Blake backed down and the video lives.

We left the room and headed back to Aidan’s glorious apartment, Aidan not missing the opportunity to perform a show of strength in plank-walking down the stairs to the parking garage. The night concluded with one of the stranger three ways I’ve been involved with in Blake’s room, Aidan insisting to me that I ought to “make Blake feel good about himself.” I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that.

By the time Aidan and I crawled into bed it was 5:54AM and the sun was shining brightly through the window — mind you that this was literally the second time we had slept together though we had known each other for weeks. It was at these times I began to notice how, in these states of intoxication, he became almost purely sexual. He had relatively little interest in cuddling at that point. But there were other times when I wasn’t so sure, as he had grabbed me and kissed me walking out of the hookah store when I’d offered to pay with my cash since the credit card terminal was down. I didn’t really know what to think.

Now the fatal mistake of the evening was that I had placed the little drug stash in my wallet, and come the end of the night I absentmindedly left it on the table. Blake, the entire evening, kept asking to do “just another bump” of it well after Aidan and I had decided we were done.

The next morning after a full approximately two hours of sleep I went to grab my things and noticed my wallet wasn’t exactly where I left it. The bag of cocaine was mostly empty and I swore there was a bit left the night before. One of my other habits is semi-obsessive personal accounting, and it was clear to me upon inspection that $80 or four of the five 20 dollar bills had been removed — a reconciliation of which is still noted in Quicken with memo “Stolen.” I did note upon leaving that we had failed to lock the door the night before.

Me: Sooooo I don’t mean to cause trouble but my wallet was $80 lighter this morning than last night

Aidan: What!?!!? That’s shitty I have no idea. Granted if you are insinuating that I took it I I can assure you I didn’t. Minus the drunken rock bowl I took I do not steal that’s what of the morals I’ve yet to compromise

M: Hahaha I assume not but if it wasn’t you it was Blake

M: Or someone who walked in

A: But to be 100% honest but I swear to god if you repeat it…. ( no need for a follow up) Blake has been no to have sticky fingers. We went to a tubberwear party but for underwear we go to leave and he’s like one sec I forgot my wallet comes pack with like 10 pairs of underwear and a half gal

Thus the conundrum: do I believe the psychopath that he didn’t steal from me? I don’t know, but I would be inclined to side with him.

M: It’s implausible at best that someone thought to check the door, entered your apartment, found the wallet, took only as much cash as to try to go undetected, and left without being heard between 6AM and 9:45AM this morning.

We reconciled and then:

A: Low key I am about to start drinking/ cleaning

M: Is that an offer?

A: It’s not, not an offer

A: But no 3 way business

M: I have a meeting at 11AM tomorrow. I’m tempted.

M: Are you going to be before or after the sun rises?

A: Lol I am

M: That was a two choice question

A: Why are you giving me riddles

A: Jesus

A: Lol I don’t know how to read

A: Before

And I arrived at his house at 11:30PM.

While out on the porch I took the opportunity to ask him what he thought the meaning of life was, what he valued. Through my own personal struggles I’ve determined my own opinion: I want personal enjoyment. I firmly believe that an obsession with the grander picture will result in the failure to appreciate the moment. Aidan was interesting though. The ego clearly won this debate. He wanted to be remembered. I pointed out that concern of what happens after you die is irrelevant because you’ll never see it. But he didn’t buy that argument.

I also pointed out that he would frequently insult me. “Oh don’t worry about that. It’s when I stop insulting you; then you know there’s a problem.”

He told me about how economical his bar trips were: “I only ever buy one drink a night. After that, I just get guys to order me drinks. Once he gets one for me, I’ll tell the guy I have to use the bathroom. And then I leave and don’t come back.”

He divulged to me that his current drug use was new; that prior to six months ago he had not smoked a cigarette before, that only recently had he decided to manipulate his psychiatrist into prescribing him Adderall. And oh boy had he taken an affinity to it. I spent some time researching the interaction between Antisocial Personality Disorder and Adderall; it’s clear to me that there’s a correlation but it was not evident whether the chicken or the egg came first, so to speak.

That night, while downing beer, we actually played an entire game of risk. It fascinated me how the game fascinated him, but he had brought it up several times and we finally got to play it. He spent the majority of the evening lecturing me but I will point out that I won 😉

As I was about to leave, I gave Aidan a look: “Don’t try to guilt trip me,” he said.

At 4AM I returned home to my bed:

Me: And you thought I was trying to guilt trip you

M: Goodnight sir

A: Lol you can try but it will never work

A: Just a thought a little concerning how fast we go through twelve packs

A: But night

M: Slightly. As long as we’re functional.

To continue our roll, that evening, Thurday August 14th, Aidan pulled in a favor:

Aidan: Oh well you know how I was a little drunk this morning

A: I definitely forgot my wallet and I can’t get on the bus

I told him my friends and I were planning to smoke and he agreed to come over and join us, so I picked him up in downtown Seattle and brought him back.

The intersection of these two worlds was somewhat fascinating: “Never have I been the cool kid at any party,” snarked Aidan to me upon observing the rest of the (admittedly interesting) bunch. He basically spent the whole evening making fun of everyone to me.

My friend’s bong, being quite the invention, got both of us extraordinarily high — Aidan took the largest hit that I have seen in my short years and proceeded to cough for about five minutes, “I don’t mess around,” he clarified. No he most certainly didn’t.

We eventually made our way back to my dorm room and I pulled him over to the bed and sat down with him. Now, I don’t mean to brag but when I’m high for whatever reason I’m very good at being sensual (“You’re very good at what you do,” as he’d told me earlier). I sat there on the bed barely touching him but he clearly felt the magic touch, moving disproportionately more to the small movements I made.

He sat there all the while making fun of me, just tossing insults at me. He told me that my arms wrapped around him were like the tentacles of a disgusting squid. I was so high that my very fabric of understanding and being had just started to unravel and I was tired but in an instant I recalled what he’d said to me about insults being his way of communicating. I thought about the strange possibility that two entirely different human beings could find some mutual attraction. I thought about the larger meaning of love: I had always tended to view love as some beautiful symmetric force, but in reality it never is — the reasons you feel attracted to another are never identical to the qualities they appreciate about you in return. What did this mean for Aidan and I? Was there some possibility of genuine common ground?

I do remember that Aidan was significantly concerned, and I don’t think I appreciated this at the time, that the others living in the same apartment would think we were having sex. I sort of laughed it off at the time. But it demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding between him and I. It could be said that a psychopath may very well have empathy, it’s just that that empathy is useless on those who think entirely disparately. The psychopath can understand through experimentation and observation how others react and learn to manipulate, but he will never truly appreciate exactly how and why they do what they do and what feelings lie strewn about the bridges between decisions. The art of the psychopath, in a way, is to get by without this understanding.

But in reverse, my empathy was just as useless. I couldn’t understand why he did the things he did. I tried my best to follow, but he’d had 20 years of practice doing what I’d only been attempting for two short weeks.

I drove him home and dropped him off, and I distinctly remember an instant of mutual affection before dropping him off. On the way back I turned up pop music all the way and had a deeply spiritual experience listening to how pop music popular during the summer referenced the beauty of long term relationships. As I got back:

Me: Game, set, match. Two can play <3

No response the next morning. That afternoon.

M: So as I was driving back I may or may not have had a deep emotional experience listening to Lean On at full volume.

Aidan: Yeah I’m sure

M: Lawl. How’s your morning?

A: Fine

M: Good

A: So I need to talk to but I literally can’t yet

M: Hahahaha. Take your time

A: I don’t think it’s funny

M: Oh it’s not

A: Do you even know why I’m upset.

And that was it. The last text message he ever sent me. I sent a few messages to him apologizing but truth be told I had no idea. I was lost. Truth be told I never really understood Aidan, and he knew that.

This was my last day of work before flying out that Sunday. We had plans to hang out the following day and were going to buy me a new pair of shoes before leaving. I made some time midday after running a few errands to stop by Nordstrom’s where he was working and picked up a pair of shoes. Afterwards he had left the store. Snapchatting me, I saw he was outside so I followed.

“Do you have a few minutes?” I asked overlaid on a selfie.

“If you have a cigarette.” I bought my third pack of American Spirits ever at a Rite Aid and sent a Snapchat of them in front of a statue in the square. Aidan managed to sit down without my noticing and then made fun of me for being oblivious.

We spoke for about a half hour. He didn’t want to tell me why he was upset, but hinted that he was “not in the mood” that night.

“Not that I should care at all what your friends think, but…”

We spoke for a while about how his manipulative ability worked in his favor as a salesman and how annoying he found all the customers. Two cigarettes later he tossed in a few more snarky comments about people walking around us and then said he had to return to work as his break was ending.

I told him I had a plane flight at an ungodly hour the next morning but that I was thinking of going out that night. He gave me a hug before stepping inside and said he’d text me that evening. Of course he didn’t.

The phrase coined for Steve Jobs’ manipulation was a “reality distortion field,” that way in which his articulations encouraged you to side with his interpretation of the facts against your own better judgement. I can’t think of a better way to describe my interactions with Aidan over those harrowing two weeks. That was the last time I saw him, walking back into Nordstroms. I continued getting the Snapchats and tindermoments for some weeks.

When I had arrived back home I took the opportunity to bid farewell, a conversation preserved with my running commentary in a conversation with Davis:

Me: You’re a heartless son of a bitch, but I think you know that. Though you fascinate me more than your blithe and arrogance disgust me. You’ve definitely enlightened me, and for that I owe you some measure of gratitude.

So I’ll probably never see you again. I really do wish you the best, though. I hope that if you need help that you’ll find it. And I hope that if you find happiness in this world that it won’t be to the detriment of those who you deceive into liking you. Even if you never truly can understand that magical mutual respect we call love.

If you ever need an ear, though, I’ll be here.

Have a nice life, Aidan.

He replied:

A: Well that’s how I’m perceived and it doesn’t bother me. That to me at this moment is actually good to hear. It’s so fascinating to me how people are so quick to judge. Especially having no idea the things I’m involved in and what I do in my spare time. Which only proves the point perception is reality even further.

A: Again people have this pre conceived idea of love and what it’s supposed to be. I’ve loved I’ve been involve. How it is expressed and received is different for every person

M: It is magical in a way. I get the sense there’s a flawed perception of symmetry within love. While that obviously cannot be the case. Comparison in that context is useless but it comforts using a way. What matters is the ends, not the means.

A: Is that what matters? Some believe it’s the journey that’s important, not the destination. Which is exactly what I’m talking about.

A: Because you don’t understand my methods of doing things doesn’t make them wrong

M: Haha that’s definitely an oversimplification. But there’s a fine line of worrying about too much where the ends meet. I never said you were wrong. But to an extent empathy is necessary, to an extent it’s a waste of time.

A: Not conforming. Might make hard to find that thing “we” call love. But I don’t want that

M: What do you mean? There’s one thing that doesn’t quite line up: in what context do you care about your legacy?

A: What do you mean?

M: Your legacy includes the perception of those you don’t give the time of day

A: No it doesn’t

The most fascinating part to me was his pure arrogance. “I highly doubt that his life philosophy is logically consistent,” helped Davis.

M: How so?

A: It includes building something to leave behind that will last through time. Never once have I said has anything to do with love.

M: I’m talking in the broader context.

A: As?

M: To what extent do you care about my opinion of you?

A: Mmmm that is a good question. Like in this moment or in the grand scheme of things?

M: Do you worry about making an enemy of me

A: No

(For those keeping track I took that as permission to write this article.)

M: Why not?

A: Because I tend to fear no one

M: Do you consider the possibility that will prove a handicap in the grand scheme of things? There’s an evolutionary basis for that emotion, after all

A: No that’s regressive. Why would I put a limit on myself?

M: as part of any decision making process. I’m arguing fear is not solely a handicap. A method of self preservation. An understanding of the reality and its impact. I don’t rule out the possibility that it isn’t a necessity or that there are circumventions of its absence. Which I think is what you’re getting at. And you imply a sense of superiority.

M: And I understand how it can prove beneficial in a wide variety of circumstances. Certainly many of the ones you care most about.

A: No what you’re not understanding is that you have no idea why I do the things I do and the reasoning. And you never will. I get the things I want not through being empathetic (mind you pathetic is the root word) but because I’m determined and strong willed

M: Why do you say I will never understand? Mind you I’m not implying here that I find my way of rationalizing the world to be the only one; I’m asking for the sake of comparison and my education.

A: Well what is your question

M: What is the basis of your statement that I will never understand any of the things you do?

A: Oh I don’t think you don’t have to ability to understand you’re smart enough. I just won’t ever explain myself.

M: And you don’t think I can piece it together from the subtle imperfections of your facade? Does that possibility worry you or do you rely on your divergent thought patterns to insulate yourself from the very discovery you pride yourself on making with others?

“Ooooo snap,” said Davis.

Several hours later, no doubt after some amount of drugs, I received:

A: And my facade is what exactly? See I don’t think getting the core concepts of what I’m doing and why. Which also included isn’t any of your concern. But no I’m not worried. No I isolate myself for certain scenarios but not at all. But they’re is a reasoning. And what again I’m a part of something bigger and complex that you will no about

Oh well.

He had a distressingly crisp grasp on his own intellect and the differences when compared with a neurotypical individual. He was aware, for instance, that he lacked fear. But he failed to see how that could be an impairment, even when I provided the evolutionary basis for the emotion and the possibility that it could provide an understanding of significance. He rejected that entirely.

It’s been a while since this whole disaster transpired, the world’s oddest courtship preserved now entirely on a long stream of iMessages and a smattering of pictures on my iPhone. Truth be told I very much miss those most ridiculous evenings during which I risked life and limb out of stupidity and curiosity. Surely this was a ridiculous end to a ridiculous summer.

The Rainier Can, the last vestige of the infamous cocaine excursion
Aidan’s Rainier Can, a last homage infamous cocaine excursion in the wee morning hour of August 12th, 2015

One thought on “That time I fell in love with a psychopath

  1. The title is attractive. Falling in love with a psychopath is always something interesting.
    Your writing style works. The fluidity is good as well.

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