Archive for May, 2011

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Fourteen: Stick with Honey

May 18, 2011

A pathological liar is like a four year old kid, who tells you what happened to him down by the lake. Meanwhile, there’s no lake.

The important question here is this: does the pathological liar know he is lying?  Or does he believe his stories?  Is he lying, or is he delusional?

The answer is: both. Sort of.

He is not delusional, but he hovers in that half-world of the narcissist…where the lies are believed until he gets caught, but then– and this is the move that only a few can pull off– he acknowledges that the “facts” are lies, but not the essence, the spirit. 

— The Last Psychiatrist: Pathological Liars

This is Chapter Fourteen, the last Chapter of a true story. All of the names (except the author’s) and some of the locations have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011, Full Moon in Scorpio.

Six weeks have gone by since I started writing this story in April. I thought I had made a clean break. Except for those last phone calls a few hours after we broke up at the Garden Terrace Restaurant on March 10th, there was no more communication between Adam and I. No phone calls, no e-mails, no Facebook messages or comments, not even a “Like.”

OK, I confess I did a peek at Adam’s Facebook page and saw that a few days after our break up he was back fishing in full swing: “I’m going to a potluck tomorrow. Anybody have an easy casserole recipe?” Seven sirens took the bait and posted easy cheesy dishes complete with shopping and baking hints, no doubt imagining Adam in his bachelor kitchen, all alone, just as I did.

It’s a good thing none of them asked if they could come along. Because there was no potluck “tomorrow.”

How do I know there was no potluck?

Because, toward the end of the time that I was dating Adam, I gradually came to realize that he was describing events on Facebook that did not actually take place in real time, similar to the emails he sent me at Christmas and New Years where he described his out of town trips. Because of my friendship with Diane, I could now do a reality check. If he posted he was going to a potluck, for example, she would observe him and report whether or not he even left the house at the time of the event in question.

Women were still falling hook line and sinker, just as I did.

Think you’d never fall for a guy like Adam? Think again. How about this one:

Spent the morning in meditation in the gardens at Krotona Hill, in Ojai. It was so quiet and peaceful. I let the beauty of the natural surroundings soak in and let my spirit wander.

Sounds sweet, doesn’t it ? Only problem is, again, he wasn’t there. Yes, he was there another time, so the spirit of the Comment is true. But on this particular day Adam never left the house. Diane confirmed that he was home the morning of the date in question.

If you think you would not be fooled, think again. Men like Adam are charming and have the gift of gab. We not only fall for them, we vote them into office. Adam was elected by the people, four times, so far. I have no doubt that if he runs again, he will schmooze his way to victory. Diane tells me that a few months ago he told her he pulled papers to run for office. When she asked him, “What if the voters find out about your past with women, “ he just shrugged and said, “The American people are forgiving. They don’t really care about personal stuff like that. “

When I told her that it was way too early to file papers for the seat in question (I called County Elections to verify this) she said, “Even after all this time, he fools me.”

Adam’s transgressions are small potatoes next to the Arnold’s and Edward’s of the world.

The patriarchy gives them all a pass.

As for me, if it wasn’t for my journals and journalistic habit of saving letters, and my new friendship with Diane, I might have dropped Adam into the cellar of my unconscious and locked the door. I deliberately avoided certain meetings and green type events, and hoped I wouldn’t bump into him anywhere, not even on the astral plane.

His letters were so beautifully written that two weeks after I broke up with him I was still asking Diane if such and such incident was really something he just pulled out of thin air such as leaving town for Christmas and New Years.

I just could not accept that a man who opened his Love Letters with “My Dearest Suza,” could be lying through his teeth.

It did not help when my women friends tried to console me by saying, “Anyone would have been fooled by him, Suza.”

Only one friend was totally unsympathetic. She said, “Stick with Honey.”

And through it all, my friendship with Diane flourished:

On Saturday, March 26, I emailed:

Thank you, Diane, I really appreciate all your messages. I realize that I’m not completely recovered yet. I still get mad when I think about all the lies. I do not speak to Adam because he has created a situation where I no longer know  what to believe. Now even if he is telling the truth I am apt to think he is lying.  I no longer give him the benefit of a doubt.

Diane replied:

Of course you are not completely recovered from this situation.  It will haunt you for months and months.  You were lied to, taken advantage, and fell in love.  You can’t expect to recover overnight.  The worst part is that you need to get rid of these feelings before you can move on.  I am so sorry this is happening to you, you are such a sweet lovely person. 

And I replied that same day:

The worst lie Adam told was that he does not lie. He swore the story about you and your house  was an isolated incident. And that he would not lie in the future!


I think I also feel humiliated that I was not more suspicious of him and introduced him to many friends. It strikes me as so mean on his part because so much of my trust in him was based on us having this long Ojai history.  We know so many of the same people.


The next day, Sunday, March 27, Diane wrote:

You cannot let your experience with him keep you from doing what you love the most.  It was not your fault, you were a very trusting person, .  Let people know the truth. Believe me, so many of us have been duped by men.  We all have had bad experiences.

Women understand these things — that some men are just creeps.  You have nothing to be ashamed of Suza, you are a very trusting, loving, and kind person.  I hope that one of these days you will find someone that deserves you. 

Believe me, before Adam finds someone and is happy with her, he has a lot of changing to do.  Will he do that? I don’t know but it is not our problem.  He has been doing this for a long time, decades.  He has to face his own problems and want to change.  You can only lead a horse to water you cannot make him drink. 

It is really sad because Adam loves plants, animals, the earth, and all the things that nature brings to this world, but he doesn’t like himself.  There is nothing we can do to help him unless he wants to help himself.  He has had a lot of time to do that and still he continues down the same old path. 

When will he stop using women and start liking himself?

  I wish you would share your experience with your women friends.

* * * *

Then, wham, three days after this email exchange with Diane, out of the blue, I saw Adam’s cell number on my land line call-waiting screen. I did not take the call. A few minutes later it popped up again. Still did not take it. Just kept right on yakking with one of my honest women friends.

A few minutes later, I heard my cell phone ring. When I played it later, there was a message from Adam. True to form, it had a hook.

Hi Suza, this is Adam. I just finished giving a talk on the environment at Moorpark College…“

He was all ready to make nice.

I could not risk returning his call. But I was curious if he’d followed up on our last conversation three weeks ago about getting some therapy for his lying.

I emailed Diane:

Adam just called out of the blue and left a message saying he just gave a talk…

She wrote back:

He did? Look out! Why do you think he is using that environmental talk as an opening?

On Thursday, March 30, at 6 am, I wrote:


I was on the phone when you called my land line. Got your message on my cell .

I am still grieving and it is too painful to talk to you. It will take me some time to process the fact that by lying to me you also stole from me. You think you are honest because you don’t steal money but by pretending to be someone you are not you stole my trust, my time and my affection.


Please let me know if you’ve gotten counseling or therapy about your lying. Pathological lying is like alcoholism and drug addiction. You are in denial as to the seriousness of your illness, just like an alcoholic is in denial. 


The last time we spoke you said you would get help.

Half hour later Adam sent the following reply:


Hi Suza:

My first therapy session is scheduled for next week.

I hope that you will take some time to enjoy the season of spring.  There is so much beauty out there right now.  Do you know I counted over thirty wildflower species over in the Casitas Watershed area?

If you can get away from Ojai for a day trip, you must see the hundreds of acres of wildflower meadows up at Fogueroa Mountain (north of Solvang), or the upper desert carpeted with orange California poppies at the Antelope Valley poppy Preserve.




Well that made me mad. Forget about the wildflowers. I did not believe for one minute that he had scheduled a first therapy session next week.

Two can play this game. I fired back:

Adam, please  tell me more about where you are having your first therapy session. The date, time, place, etc.


You must realize that without this information  I cannot believe you.


When I wrote this email I also mentioned that I questioned some of the “facts,” he had noted in one of his recent editorials.

That evening Adam sent the following reply:

Hi Suza:

My therapy will be done through the Santa Barbara County Mental Health Department. (That’s where I have my medical insurance). The staff said they will call me this coming Monday to schedule my first session on either Tuesday or Thursday, after my work hours.

People may have gotten the wrong impression from that comment in my editorial. I need to be more careful in how I speak and write, giving wrong impressions. I am trying to learn.

And ever the master at distracting me, he added:

How did your event at WordFest go for you?



OK. I’ll play along. I ignored his WordFest question and wrote back:

I look forward to hearing about your first therapy session next Tuesday  or Thursday.

Let me know the name of your therapist and how it goes.

In addition to all the emotional pain that your lies have caused,  the other tragedy is that even when you are telling the truth, people will think you are lying.

It took a few hours for Adam to dream up an answer but when he did, it was a killer.

Hi Suza:

I hope that all is well with you up in the Ojai Valley. 

When I called you the other night, I was only calling to see how you were doing.  It was not a call to try and get you to believe or not believe anything I am doing. We both know that is hopeless. 

If we had talked I would have kept the conversation on lights things, like how you did at WordFest,, the weather, spring flowers in the valley, etc.

I do not feel comfortable  sharing with you any information about my therapy meeting location, therapists name,etc.

One night after your meeting with Diane, she shared a few things with me about your meeting. ( It was interesting how you both had totally different versions of your meetings, oh how us humans have a different perspective on exactly the same thing). 

Diane said she thought that you might be a vindictive woman over all of this and she seemed upset that I had told you where my new job was. 

She thought you might try to do something to wreck the job for me.  She also said you know where she lives.

Since we both trust Diane I have to believe her, So in the back of my mind I am thinking, why does Suza want this information and how will she use it (or perhaps use it against me). 

I do believe that mental health information is private.  But I will be happy to give you a general overview of my therapy.

 And since I understand that you will not believe that I will attend sessions, I thought you or I, or both of us, could ask Diane (again we both trust her, and you did tell me you were becoming good friends) that once I get started, to meet me at one of my sessions and watch me walk into the therapist’s office. 

This way Diane could report to you that I did go in. 

But she would not reveal to you the location or name of the therapist.

Again I am not doing any of this to get you to believe or not believe me.  We both know that is hopeless. 

The therapy is for myself.

There is something that you did tell me once about all this.  You said if I just told the truth, that it would be no big thing to people.  Instead of something I thought was shameful and negative. 

So while meeting several new women over the past couple of weeks, when it was appropriate, in the conversation, I mentioned that I have been married before. I also explained that I live with Diane. 

And you are right. Nobody thinks it’s a big deal. 

How refreshing!

Thank you for that.

Enjoy this lovely spring,


Now the blinders were really off!

I saw Adam as a cold, cruel, calculating predator.

I told Diane:

Now I am seeing  a really cruel  streak in him. He is like a person that stabs you in the heart and then smiles and says, “Enjoy spring … enjoy the beautiful wildflowers…” 


His killer Letter just about did me in! 

I was livid!  

All my yoga and Krishnamurti peace & love good Christian philosophy flew out the window. Every button in my psyche was pushed to the max.

Adam’s lying about getting therapy for his lying, accusing me of “fatal attraction,” stalking him at his home and job, and telling me all these other women didn’t think it was any big deal that he lived with Diane (“how refreshing”) so infuriated and enraged me it took every bit of restraint I could muster not to blast him on his lying Facebook page.

I wanted to throttle the daylight out of him.

I wanted to wring his sun-kissed neck, the same neck that I nuzzled up to at Beatrice Wood’s garden when I thought he was some kind of groovy outdoorsy woodsy nature loving eligible enlightened bachelor only a few months ago.

My John Muir man was worse than a total impostor! A man my friend Macy dubs as a “Pretend Man.”

It makes me sick to think I kissed his lying lips right in Beatrice Wood’s front yard.

How could I forget Beto’s hard-won wisdom, “All men are bastards*.”

I should have branded that quote on my quadriceps.

What could I do at the end of this absurd exchange but laugh!

It was the only weapon I could use without getting arrested.

It took every ounce of will-power to keep from doing something crazy and vindictive.

I had to lie down in the Goddess Pose.

I managed to respond to his email. I planned to then send his emails to Diane. I would not have done this had he not lied about what she said.

On Saturday, April 2, the day before I started writing this story, I wrote:

In your own words at Meditation Mount, you have “taken my heart and squashed it.” 

 To now accuse me of doing something to wreck your job when I shared in your happiness and expressed my support, even after we broke up,  is beyond cruel.

I spent hours working on your resume and wrote letters recommending you to my friends for work. Have you forgotten this?


I will ask Diane to verify that you are getting therapy.

Adam was incorrigible. A few hours later he wrote back:

Subject line: This is getting interesting



  I, (me-Adam) did not say you would do something bad about my new job. It was just a concern Diane expressed to me about you. 

I trust her, don’t you? She mentioned the term “fatal attraction,” so she might have been thinking along those lines.


  I mentioned to Diane that you would call her to get things straightened out.


I am curious, since you and I no longer have any relationship or ever will in the future (you could not or should not  ever trust me again) why do you care what I do in life, therapy, job,etc.?


Don’t you believe in moving on?


Enjoy spring,



As you can imagine, I flew even further over the edge. Adam was like some demon stabbing me in the heart, all the while smiling and saying, “Enjoy spring.”

What a jerk!

I should have disconnected my phone and internet service right then and there.

Instead, I wrote back:

May I remind you that I did not call you. You called me.

 Your definition of “moving on” is “move on to the next woman and play the same game over and over again.”


It takes time to heal when someone you trust and bare your soul to betrays you.


I asked if you were getting therapy to help determine whether or not I might speak to you in person. And to see if you kept your word.

Adam, unruffled, wrote back:

Subject line: A simple phone call



  Yes, you are right. I did call you.  But, as I said in an earlier email, my phone call was just to see how you were doing, not to try to get you to meet me or believe me in any way. 

As I said, had we actually talked I would have kept the conversation light.


  I had no idea that a simple call would have generated all of these emails between us.


Again that is not what I wanted. Out of respect,  I will not contact you again.




  I could not leave this world without writing back one more time:

I’m sad to say that the fact that you think that you can make a “simple” phone call only tells me that you have not really reflected on the consequences of your actions.

 I don’t want to make light conversation with a man who has lied to me until he has demonstrated that he understands the emotional havoc his duplicity caused.

 It saddens me deeply that after all we have been through you would actually lie to me about getting therapy for lying.

 In spite of it all, I am a human being with deep compassion for other people. I hope you get the help you need. Your lies are tainting your work for the environment and wildlife.

 I would like to know how your work is going and miss our meaningful talks But it is just too painful to talk to you under the present circumstances.

A little later I forwarded Diane our insane exchange:.
Subject: Adam’s reply. Tell me if you actually said any of this!

She wrote back:

I did not say that.  As you may or may not have noticed he did not cite any examples.  Good try Adam!!!  This therapy cannot begin soon enough.  You need to stop e-mailing him, the animals can take care of themselves.

Later Diane and I discussed all this. She reminded me how laughable his accusations were. Her home address is listed in the phone book and on the internet. Adam seems to have forgotten that when we first met he told me that he had a problem with women stalking him.  I’ve never even driven past their house.

  On Sunday April 3, the day I began writing this story, Diane wrote:

I was watching TV with my mother and I kept thinking about his e-mail to you. 

I never said that you could be vindictive and call about his job.  

Adam told me that you were the one that wanted me to follow him to his therapy session and watch him go in. 

I told him ‘No” I would do no such thing!

He has no appointment for therapy. And if he did, how could it work? He would lie to the therapist.

Suza, we did not have different stories about our conversation over breakfast at Coffee Emporium  He is making this all up. I don’t know why. 


And now, at last, we come to the end of the story. Now you know what pushed me over the edge, why I wrote in Chapter One, on April 3, 2011:

Yesterday I got so mad that I ran into Rainbow Bridge and bought two slices of Raw Vegan Cheesecake, the only real treat on the Planet with no calories. And a bottle of Pacific Redwood Organic Red Mendocino Wine, the least expensive bottle on the shelf. While unlocking my E-bike, I overheard two women talking about how men in their age range (50 to 100) are now looking for women to support them. One said that the last man who left her hooked up with a woman who owns a lot of property and she got him to marry her by putting his name on the deed.

I zoomed home on my E bike, sat under a tree and slowly devoured the first piece, labeled “Find your thrill on blueberry hill.” Right away I felt better. I decided to save the wine for a future emergency and fortified myself with a few more bites of the second piece, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Then I went back inside my little apartment, laid down on my yoga bolster with the soles of my feet together in the Goddess Pose, and waited for my emotions to calm down.

And then I reached for my journal and began this story:

About five months ago, on November 19, 2010, I wrote:

Today I dipped my toe into the muddy waters of relationships. I hardly know this man and already he is causing trouble and disturbing my tranquility. The only way I’m going survive seeing him and not drown in a pool of unconsciousness and all my primal sexual longing, hopes and projections, is to write about it everyday…

May we live like the lotus, at home in muddy water. — Buddha

Still to come: Afterword

Three things cannot be hidden; the sun, the moon and the truth. — Buddha

*Note: Beato’s infamous observation, expressed in the heat of the moment, is not mean to be taken literally!

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace Restaurant

May 14, 2011

We feel the pain most severely when we uselessly fight against a necessary ending. Holding on is the painful element of letting go. What do we let go of? What we thought the relationship was and found out it was not, what we tried to make it into and could not, what we hoped it would become and saw that it did not, what we believed was there and was not there at all.

David Richo, Jungian/Buddhist author of How to Be an Adult in Relationships

This is Chapter Thirteen, the next to last chapter of a true story.All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective.

On Thursday, March 10, I met Adam at the Garden Terrace Restaurant at 1:00 pm, as noted on my week at-a-glance day timer. When I arrived he was waiting in the parking lot.

When Diane first contacted me only five days ago, I was recovering from the flu. This made it easy to not let the cat out of the bag that we were doing a reality check behind Adam’s back. I’m a terrible liar but under the circumstances I could cough up the half-truth that I was too sick to see him. But now the day of reckoning had arrived.

For a moment it was like old-times. I was happy to see him. We walked into the restaurant together just like on a previous lunch date, looking for all the world like a happy couple. The weather was warm and the sun was shining. He told me how much he liked the lacy blouse I was wearing and that he could see that my hair had grown longer since the last time we met.

We sat down at a table near the window. I ordered my favorite Baby Greens salad, the one with sliced pippin apples and walnuts, and the vegetarian squash soup. He ordered a Tuna Melt. After the waitress took our order, we chatted about light things.

The atmosphere was so lovely and pleasant, the waitress was so friendly, it was a shame to have to bring up anything unpleasant and ruin a nice lunch date.

I decided to wait until after the food arrived to tell him I was conspiring with the enemy. Once I got started I did not want to be interrupted.

Adam asked how my parents were, how my daughter was doing and if Honey missed him. He brought me up to date on various environmental causes. The usual familiar prattle that I so enjoyed.

The difference was that I no longer wore rose-colored glasses. I saw him as a predator. I also saw him as the innocent child of God he was.

As he sat across the table from me, sipping iced tea, I remembered the things about his childhood that he told me on our first date at Farmer and the Cook.

Adam knew that the man who raised him was not his biological father.  But, what he didn’t know was that a man who often visited his family’s ranch and watched Adam grow up, was his true birth father. 

How strange it must have been to find this out at the age of forty-five, and how unsettling to realize that everyone knew but him – his mother, his mother’s husband (the man who raised him and who Adam considers his real father) his grandparents, even his aunts and uncles. 

His biological father had watched him grow up  but never revealed his true identity.

He also found out that his birth father and birth mother had one other child,  a daughter, born two years before Adam.  He had a full-blooded biological sister. That had been kept from him, too.

Adam’s sister didn’t know that the woman who raised her (the wife of her birth father) was not her birth mother, until after she died.  A  relative told her at the funeral that her mother was not her real biological mother.

It was during her search for her birth mother that she learned that she had a brother — Adam — with the same biological mother and father.

It’s not an excuse for lying, but I can’t help but wonder how all this affected Adam’s state of mind. There is ample evidence that children sense the truth of a situation and if it is denied by the adults around them it does influence their perception of Life.

All this was in my head as I looked at Adam and wondered how a person with so many good qualities could look me in the eye and say he and Diane led completely separate lives while they shared a bed together.

When I caught his eye he winked at me but it seemed so phony.

About half way through the soup and salad I could not postpone fate any longer.

We have some serious things to talk about,” I said, very calmly.

He did not look surprised. Or worried.

I reached deep inside and spoke to him from my heart. I never raised my voice or got mad.

I tried not to sound like a schoolmarm lecturing a delinquent boy when I asked if he remembered what I told him that first date at Farmer & the Cook. I’d said, “I demand complete honesty…”

He said, “Yes.”

We’d already been through this twice before. He knew the routine. Acknowledge what was said. Apologize profusely and sincerely. Promise to do better.

I was wasting my breath but habit has a death grip on me as well.

I revisited our conversation at Meditation Mount where I asked him if his lying to me was a one time thing. How he swore he just told those tall tales about his house so that I would go out with him. But other than that he was honest as the day is long.

He acknowledged this interchange too.

I told him that I think his main task in life is to stop lying.

He agreed with that!

Then I cut to the chase and told him that I had made contact with Diane.

I did not reveal that we just had breakfast together. Or that we talked over two hours on the phone and exchanged twenty emails in five days. I made it sound casual.

He said he suspected that we had been talking.

Dang! I should know that a predator stays ahead of his prey.

I felt compelled to justify my sneakiness by reminding him that I’d said all along that if everything was above board he should have no problem with Diane and I talking.

He agreed.

He even acted like he seemed to think it was good that Diane and I talked!


I told him that in the course of my communicating with Diane the subject of Christmas and New Years came up. I said, “Diane tells me you were home for Christmas eating a steak dinner.”

Adam shook his head. “Nope,” he said, “I was out of town both weekends.”

I sat taller in my chair and glanced around to be sure no one was eavesdropping.

Diane said that her son will come to my house and personally testify that he sat next to you at Christmas eve dinner.”

Adam adamantly denied all charges.

And then he pulled out the “She’s Just Trying to Get Me Back” card.

She’s just saying all that stuff to try to push you away, ” he said, mockingly.

He basically spun everything I said into a scenario where we girls were fighting over him!


When I tried backing him into a corner, he cleverly tried to turn the tables on me.

He said, and I paraphrase here, “You and Diane are just playing games. He said. She said. He said. She said…” insinuating that all this talk behind his back was some kind of a joke where no one really knows the truth.

Then he took the high road and rose above the two females fighting over him and said, “I’m not going to play this game. If you and Diane want to talk and do this ‘he said—she said stuff’–fine. But leave me out of it.”

When I came back with, “Look, either you were at home for Christmas and New Year’s or you were out of town, “ he stuck to his story.

In the midst of this inane exchange Adam struck another low blow.

He tried to lump all three of us into the same lying pot.

He allude that Diane and I were lying to each other about him.

I said, my voice indignant with great dignity, “Adam, you know very well that I have not told Diane any lies about you!”

He must have felt desperate to save face because then he had the  unmitigated gal to say to my face, “But I don’t know that. How can I be sure the two of you aren’t telling lies about me?”

Still flattering himself that we were fighting over him!

Yeah, right. As in “You take him –no –you take him!”

He said that Diane and I were just acting like we were some sort of saints.

I’m surprised he didn’t think to quote the bible: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I have to say that man is fast on his feet – but now that the rose-colored glasses were off everything sounded so ludicrous .

It hit me that I wasn’t going to pull a confession out of him anytime soon .

Maybe I should have taken the coward’s way out and broken up by email. Or better yet, left him a vengeful message on Facebook.

I still had one more thing to get off my chest.

I said, “I searched your name on People Finder. And the names Priscilla Johnson and Janet Johnson came up with yours, with your same address.”

He looked at me as if to say, “So what?” and neither denied nor confirmed any significance to this.

When I asked why he lied about being married he said he felt ashamed about these marriages.

OK. The shame part I understand.

I said, “ All you have to do when someone asks if you’ve been married before is say, ‘Yes.” You don’t have to give details if you don’t want to. Just tell the truth.

It’s not a problem for me that you’ve been married before but it’s a huge problem that you told me all these stories about why you’ve never been married..”


He just shook his head and said something like, “Diane is my spokesperson in the marriage department. She can tell you anything you want to know.”

Wow! Suddenly this woman he never spoke with was his spokesperson!

We finished our lunch.

Adam said,  “What’s done is done. The past is the past. I can’t change the past. Time to move on.”

He showed no emotion or remorse.  

This time, unlike the other two times at the Basin and Meditation Mount where I was merciful and gave him another chance, I was clear that the time for making promises was over.

Adam did not say, “Look, I am truly sorry for all the grief I’ve caused you. I know it was wrong for me to start dating you while I am still living with Diane. I am moving out tomorrow and getting counseling …”

He said. “I’m not going to say anything to Diane about this.”

Why not?” I naturally asked.

“What’s the point of talking to her about this?” Diane does not like to discuss things.”

I did not tell him that the person he refers to as “Diane Does Not Like To Discuss Things,” was quite the talker.

At the very end, as we were preparing to leave, he asked, “So does this mean we are no longer boyfriend and girlfriend?”

I couldn’t just simple say, “Yes, that is what it means.”

I honestly didn’t know which answer he would have liked better, seeing as I was so much trouble.

So I said, softly, ” I told you from the very beginning that I cannot date a man who is involved with another woman. The way you portrayed your relationship with Diane is not really how it is.”

He politely thanked me for meeting with him.

When he got up I walked out to the parking lot to say goodbye.


He thanked me for having lunch with him. And for seeing him in person. 

I reached out to give him a goodbye hug…but he stepped away.

After he drove off I sat stone still on the curb of the parking lot, hugging myself and staring at the distant mountains. The warm sunlight felt good.

It was only 2pm. Still early in the day.

I went home to Honey, my cats and my yoga bolsters.

I was exhausted.

I fell asleep on a big green yoga bolster in the Goddess Pose.

Then I got up and opened a bottle of organic red Casa Barranca Syrah wine.

A vivid wine manifesting eminent purity…”

I sat at a table under tree with my journal and glass of wine. The phone rang. It was yours truly. I sipped wine while he talked.

When we hung up I opened my notebook and wrote at the top of the page in big bold Letters: Suza to the Universe

The Adam I love just called. He was so sorry for the pain he caused me. Said I looked so sad and so hurt when he left, sitting there on the curb. He said, “That’s understandable.” – understandable that I am in pain. He told me again how beautiful I looked at lunch with my hair growing longer and that he hoped we could stay in touch.

He thanked me for all I taught him. He said I was miles ahead of him.

He said he was going to talk to some counselor at a church or a Rabbi at a Jewish Center near where he lives.

And he invited me to an event in May. He said he would make sure I got an invitation. That’s eight weeks from now.

I left the door ajar and said I might go.

After we hung up I slowly sipped a second glass of wine. My writing projects could wait.

Under the circumstances I deserved a break.

The wine was a sacrament that quieted my mind and uplifted me into the present moment.

I took a few more sips and looked up at the vast blue sky. I saw the tops of the tall Eucalyptus trees, not far away, gently swaying in the breeze. All the leaves  sparkled in the sunlight.

After a while, maybe it was the wine,  the conversation with Adam hit me.  

Man that man is smooth!

I recorded this insight in my journal.

 How ironic that Adam was so proud of the fact that he never drank. His parents taught him not to smoke or drink or do drugs. But what happened to telling the truth?

Then I called my loyal friend Michael and asked him to meet me at the basin with his dogs. I said, “I’ve had two glasses of wine. I need someone to keep an eye on me because I am in an altered state.”

And then I went on the most magical walk with Honey.

I cut through a field of weeds and wildflowers to get to the trail that leads to the basin. Honey ran ahead, overjoyed that her mistress cut loose in the middle of the afternoon.

I clambered up a hill of rocks and giant boulders to get to the top of the basin, Honey leaping from rock to rock like a mountain goat.

Michael and his dogs were waiting at the top of the basin.

I was in high spirits! I didn’t even want to talk about my talk with Diane and Adam. In my altered state that seemed like a million years ago.

I was aware this chemically altered consciousness wouldn’t last long but for now I was happy to enjoy the eternal present.

I took off my shoes. Just for fun, I wanted to test my balance. First I stood stone still on both feet, anchoring myself to the earth and stretching my arms up towards the sky. Then I focused my gaze on a spot in the distance and lifted one leg straight up, holding my big toe.

I stood steady on one leg, like a crane, and felt my inner balance returning, albeit in an altered state.

Our little pack of humans and canines slowly circled the basin and walked a ways up Pratt Trail. The earth, the dirt, felt so soft under my bare feet and everything smelled so good.

I had my own sweet life still. Nature all around, my dogs, my yoga practice and my loyal, lifelong friends.

* * * * * * * *

Early the next morning I called Adam to wish him well at his new job.

That afternoon he called me to report how happy he was at work. We kept the conversation light. He again mentioned about going to a counselor or speaking with a Rabbi about his problem with lying. He said he realized he needed help.

A month later, when my real anger surfaced, I would remember this.

That evening Adam called again. This time I did not answer.

My old relationship with Adam ended.

My new friendship with Diane began.

Three days after I broke up with Adam, Diane wrote:

Suza, he really does not like the fact that we are communicating.  He brings it up often. Today I again asked him if he had lied about anything he feels that we discussed in the past few days.  He resounded, “No. “

But we know he lied to me about you about a lot of things.

Again he reiterated that you didn’t seem to mind at all that he was in a relationship with me. 

I told him going to a therapist isn’t going to work if he lies  It is a waste of money. 

His attitude about relationships is that it is water under the bridge. Just move on to the next one. Plenty of fish in the sea.

I asked him to lend me the book you had purchased for him (How to Be an Adult in Relationships).  I read the chapter on ending relationships.  

Suza, you don’t know how lucky you are that it ended before you became more involved.  He thinks he has an answer for everything.  He tells me, “You and Suza are just wasting your time talking about me”. 

“Oh, really?”  I told him, “That is what women do and we don’t feel we are wasting our time at all.” 

When I told him we were going to share a bottle of wine he wanted to know if you were coming here.  I told him I was going to Ojai. 

My reply

Hi Diane,


From my viewpoint, Adam owes us both a huge apology for his disrespectful, dishonest and hurtful behavior. 


This whole episode with Adam has shaken me to the core. I am questioning how I could be so duped and fooled by someone.


While I find his behavior toward women completely unacceptable, I do not want to say things I may regret.  I was kind to him when I said goodbye the other day, because I honestly hope he will stop lying and do something positive with his life.


I hope that after all is said and done that by some miracle something positive comes out of all this.

 I sincerely hope for the best for both of you. I hope Adam makes amends  for the pain and trouble he has caused you and starts being a truly kind, helpful and supportive friend!

She wrote back:

 When I asked him what he wanted out of life, he never said a life long partner. 

 He will be like all the other old goats, wanting a woman to take care of them when they are old and need help.  Who wants a man then?

Basically Adam does not like women.  I am telling you, the next time I date a man the first question I am going to ask is, “Did you like your mother?”

To be continued, Chapter Fourteen, the last chapter.


All relationships end—some with separation, some with divorce, some with death. This means that in entering a relationship we implicitly accept that the other will leave us or we will leave him. Grieving is therefore included in what we sign on for. But grief is built into all of life because of life’s painful events, changes, transitions, and losses.

David Richo,Jungian/Buddhist author ofHow to Be an Adult in Relationships

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Twelve: Ojai Cafe Emporium

May 11, 2011

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

–Sir Walter Scott

Don’t confuse intelligence with honesty. Just because someone has an articulate, respectable appearance doesn’t mean they are trustworthy.

From the website, Out of the Fog

Just because you meet someone at a Full Moon Meditation at Meditation Mount or a talk at Krotona, a yoga class, a Green Coalition meeting, a booth on Earth Day or any one of dozens of other “spiritual” “conscious” “green” scenarios, does not mean you should not scrutinize that person the same as if you met them at a party, a bar, or any other setting. We tend to give people a pass when we meet them in settings that we assume attract people who are honest.

–Excerpt from a conversation I had with a reader who called me after reading this story.

 This is Chapter Twelve of a true story.  All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective.[Please note that in a few places bold and italic formatting are unintentional. The blog  program put them there and I can’t remove.]

Now we come to the part of the story where I finally meet Diane, the woman Adam lives with.

The fact that Diane had sent me an email the night before, made it a thousand times easier to call her.

 I waited till mid morning to be sure Adam was out of the vicinity. I got her answering machine but decided not to risk leaving a message. He might be home when she played it back.

 I felt a teeny twinge of guilt. Like I was being disloyal to Adam (which I was) and doing something behind his back (which I was) and like I was breaking some sort of taboo (which I was) .

 I called again an hour later. This time Diane answered.

 In my calmest, clearest voice I said, “Hello, this is Suza. Is this Diane?”

 Hi,” she said.


 To get past the initial awkwardness and establish friendship, I said, “Thanks for contacting me.”

 I’m sorry to ruin your day,” Diane replied, in a half-joking voice.

 You did not ruin my day. I’m grateful that you reached out to me. “

 It’s too bad we have to meet under these circumstances.  I understand that you are a very nice person, but I think you are lucky that I finally decided to  contact you.”  

 I silently agreed. 

 Soon Diane and I were talking like old friends – about our mutual old friend, you might say.

 Even though Diane had already communicated that she harbored no ill feelings toward me, I wanted to be sure to set the record straight.

 I hope you know that I would never knowingly date a man in a relationship with another woman, “ I told her.

 I moved from my kitchen into the yoga room and sat down on the floor. I could tell this was going to be a long conversation.

When I first realized he was seeing someone I could not bear to tell my son.  He has not liked Adam from the get-go, but tolerated him for my sake.  

” Adam and I dated in 2000 for about a year, she continued. Then we dated again four years ago and Adam moved in with me.  

“He can be very charming when he wants to be, and very cold and cutting when he doesn’t care. 

“I would hope that our four years together has had a positive impact on him.  Our four years together has had a very negative impact on me. 

“I try to take the good out of a relationship and dump the bad. But, to quote Adam, “He has gotten everything out of this relationship and I have gotten nothing.”

“I hate to say this because it makes me look like an idiot, but he is right!

“I am 100% happier knowing we are no longer a couple.  I have not been happy for a long time, but I felt responsible for him and didn’t know what to do.  I knew he was having a relationship with someone, but didn’t care enough to find out.  I figured it would surface eventually. 

“On Thanksgiving Day my son told me he thought Adam was having an affair with someone.  I suspected as much.

It was pretty obvious. When a man starts taking more showers, washing his hair, caring about his appearance, you know something’s going on.

“After Liz told me that she saw Adam waiting outside after your yoga class,   I was very pissed at him because he made me look like such a fool in front of all of my friends.”

I interrupted her and said, “Diane, I cannot tell you how angry it makes me that he started a relationship with me while still in a relationship with  you.


After I found out he was living with you, Adam assured me when I questioned him that the two of you led completely separate lives. That you hardly ever saw each other. He said that he might see you in passing in the hallway.

And,” I made sure to add, “He said he had his own room.”

Own room?

When she explained that Adam did not move into the guest room till well after Liz’s outburst in the yoga room I felt sick to my stomach.

Hadn’t I told him at our first lunch date back in November at Farmer & the Cook that I don’t date married men (any idiot understands that includes “living together”) and that the one thing I demand is complete honesty?

Diane went on, “The first morning we slept in separate rooms he asked me if I missed having him in bed. 

I said, “Do I miss having the covers pulled off of me all night and having to fight for covers? Do I miss someone hanging over on my side of the bed with his pillow, breathing in my face? Do I miss someone snoring all night? Hell  no!”

Then she added, “You should not let the fact that Adam is living here bother you.  Even though we shared the same bed we have not had any type of romance in our life for way over a year

The day we decided to no longer be a couple I asked him if there was someone else in his life.  I knew there was.   He said “No.” Then a couple of days later this whole thing blew up.  After he spilled his guts he came over to give me a hug.  I told him, ‘Don’t even think of touching me,’ and he left the room.” 

Suddenly I felt very content sleeping with Honey and my three cozy cats.

I am a serial monogamist. I didn’t care how celibate their bed was. After Adam told me those tall tales about how he and Diane hardly ever see each other, the idea of them in the same bed fighting over the covers felt like a kick in the gut.


Then Diane said, “He told me that when you found out about me that it bothered you for half day and then you were back to usual.”

That made my blood boil.

I told her, “Adam conveniently forgot to mention that when I first found out about you he fabricated an elaborate story about how you were an ex girlfriend that was having a hard time and he was helping you get back on your feet. He described to me how he hardly ever even saw you. It sounded like he had a huge house and you lived in one end and he occasionally saw you in the hallway.


 He also told me how your mother had Alzheimer’s and that’s why you  needed a temporary place to stay. So you could take care of your mom. And not put her in a nursing home


 Well that got her dander up. “He told you he was letting me stay in my house!? I own this house –not Adam,” she reminded me.


But the biggest bomb was when Diane started talking about Adam’s ex wife.

When I heard her say “ex wife” I actually thought, “she must be making this part up.”

I flashed back to our romantic date at Casitas Lake. How we sat close together on the hill overlooking the lake, talking about nature and the nature of love. I had asked him again why it was that he’d never been married. Adam adamantly stated that marriage was always something “just out of reach,” extending his arm as he said this, and that he had “never walked through that door,” (the matrimonial door).

 But that wasn’t what totally blew my circuits.

While sorting out how Adam was talking out of both sides of his mouth, I started telling Diane about his trips at Christmas and New Years.

Trips?”she said, “What trips? He was home for Christmas. He was home for New Years. I swear he was here. I’ll have my son come over and tell you himself that he sat right next to Adam during Christmas dinner.”

“We broke up just before Christmas. I even asked him, “Why aren’t you with Suza for Christmas? He said you were out of town with your family.”

I told Diane, “That’s a lie. I was home. He said he was spending Christmas with his niece and her live-in boyfriend.

Suza,” she said, lest I doubted her word, “I swear that Adam did not go away at Christmas.  He had Christmas dinner with us.  I had made a prime rib and my son Bob, Adam and I sat at the table.  He would never go out and spend time at Jean and Sam’s house during the holidays. They both work.  Christmas is one of their busiest times of the year. 

I swore to Diane that I would keep our communication confidential. But in my heart I knew from the get-go that the best thing for all concerned was to let Adam in on the fact that the two of us were talking – and confront him.

Diane and I made plans to meet on Thursday, 9 am, at Ojai Cafe Emporium.


After I hung up and absorbed it all, the first thing I began obsessing over was how Adam had lied to me about going on trips at Christmas and New Years. I reread his emails.

My Dearest Suza: Had a very enriching and rewarding stay at a cabin along the mighty Kern River north of Bakersfield. The Kern was really roaring. The conifer forest trees were covered with snow on their branches. Brrrrrrrrr was it cold. Saw several robins and six young weasels out and about in places where there was no snow. I have always thought that the Kern River Canyon was one of the most beautiful spots in all of the Southern Sierras…

It sounded so sincere and real. I re-read the parts about nature and felt so duped, betrayed and manipulated. He knew those images of him alone in a mountain cabin would get to me.

And when I saw him after the trip he continued to describe his fictitious saga.

In my heart of hearts I still hoped Diane had it wrong. In fact, I wrote four emails asking if she was sure.

I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

I googled “liars,“ and found a website, Out of the Fog, that described exactly how I felt.

When you discover that you have been lied to, it can make you feel as though you have been taken advantage of, made to look foolish, had something stolen from you. You may feel anger, disappointment and fear all at the same time. You may feel the urge to get even, get justice, settle the score, clear your name.

I emailed Ann:

Ann, Adam is in LA and Diane and I were on phone for two hours. Found out so many things. Alas, he is a pathological liar. He has been married before, possibly twice. She told me everything. I will do a background check these next few days and sort things out.


Am exhausted — both sad and  relieved to find all this out.


He has no spell over me any more. At this point I want to gather facts –sort out fact from fiction. It is hard because the whole thing is mixed up with nature and politics.


Saturday night, March 5, Ann wrote:

Wow, Suza. I’ve just read all of today’s emails. Wow.

What the hell do you do now? Can you really break the spell Adam has cast?

 I wrote back the next day:

Ann, there is still a part of me that wants to give Adam the benefit of a doubt. Am gonna try to type up everything Diane told me.


 I wrote in my journal:

Nothing is as it seems.

Of all the things Diane told me the thing that struck me the most is that he went home to her bed.

That just gives me the creeps.

I mean the creeps!

The bizarreness of the whole situation is just beyond the pale.

All the loving words (as I type this I think of the cliché, “all the loving lies.”)

It sounded so sweet and sincere when he said, “Please be patient with me. I am really trying with the tools I have.”

On Monday, March 7, I emailed Diane:


Diane, are you sure that Adam did not go away for Christmas? 


Below is a copy of the note he sent me on 12/26, when he came home from his trip to visit Jean and Sam.


Sunday, December 26,  writes:

My Dear Suza,

I am home. Wonderful to visit the high desert. A real adventure to visit Jean and Sam (my cousin and her lifelong boyfriend). No rain up there. Got to see all the snow though in the high country above the Antelope Valley. Took a hike in Saddleback Butte State Park. Played with Jean’s  two cats and they took me out to dinner at Wendy’s (big event for them).

Good to be home. Had one inch of rain in my rain gauge. Saw the snow on top of Topa Topa… beautiful.

Will call you in the AM…plan to come up to Ojai midday on Monday or Tuesday.

Give Honey a hug for me.



Diane’s reply:

I can’t believe he would lie to you like that.   Why did he have to tell you he had to go away.  He broke our relationship two days before Christmas.  We were invited to an open house Christmas eve and I went alone.  My friend asked me where Adam was and I remember telling her we were no longer a couple. He could of seen you at that time. I don’t know why he lied. 


After that I sprung into action.

I went to People Finder and did a record search.

A search for Adam Francis Johnson along with his date of birth and current city brought up a list of addresses from 1980 through 2008. He uses a PO Box so perhaps that was the reason his current address at Diane’s house was not listed. This same list included two women who lived at different points in time at the same address with him.

I know these searches are not always accurate so I asked Diane for more background details.

She said, I asked Adam about Janet Johnson three years ago and he said she was just an older woman with the same last name. 


  It is so odd why Adam has repeatedly told me that he has never been married. He went out of his way to explain to me that he and his last relationship a were never legally married. And that they did not live together

I decided I had to find out if this other woman was his first wife.

I googled, “How to find out if someone has been married before,” and wasted $19.95 on a phony website that claimed to deliver marriage and divorce records within minutes. They charged my credit card but no records showed up.

While I was searching the Ventura County Courthouse marriage records I got another email from Diane.

I’m telling you, truth is stranger than fiction.

Diane wrote:

Suza, you won’t believe this! I just came back from the gym and the gardener next door leaned over the fence and yelled, “Hey Diane, did Adam tell you I dated his ex wife?” 

I said, “You mean Priscilla? (The one I already knew about.)

  He said ,“No, Janet Johnson.”

  I said, “Oh my God so he has been married twice! “

Three years ago when my son looked Adam up on People Finder her name popped up with his. I asked Adam about her and he said she was just someone with the same last name .”

Suza, I’m not making this up! The gardener told me all about Adam’s marriage to Janet. So now we know for sure that Adam has been married twice.

Don’t you dare mention this to him!  He is sleeping now, but when he wakes up I am going to tell him what I found out.  I can’t wait to hear the lie about this one. 

Suza, I hope your eyes are wide open and you are taking all this in.  You cannot make excuses for this man and think that things will be different with you.  

I know that you are very much in love with him. Take off the rosy glasses. Discuss this with one of your closest friends.  I know it is difficult for you to believe me 100% as I am the ex-girl friend. 

Maybe tomorrow at breakfast when we meet you will see that I am a completely honest person.  I have never lied to Adam. As a matter of fact, I am beginning to feel like a creep going behind his back like this  I wonder how many more lies he has he told that we don’t even know about. 


I immediately wrote back:


Dear Diane,


Tomorrow we will have a heart to heart talk!  Coming from the gardener next door this latest revelation about Adam’s first wife is just to much! Am looking forward to meeting you in person. I have as long as we need to visit–I do not teach tomorrow. 


Please let me know what Adam says about his first marriage!



Diane wrote back a little later:

Of course I am not one to mince words or beat around the bush.  When I got off the computer Adam was in the kitchen eating some grapes.  I started in with the gardener story and asked if it was true that there was another ex wife.  He said “Yes.”, Then I reminded him that I had asked him who this woman was and he said an older woman with the same last name. 

 This time he said the marriage was such a long time ago it didn’t count!

Supposedly he was forty when they married and it only lasted two .years.  I asked why it lasted such a short period of time and he said he got bored. 

Then I asked him about the second marriage since that was also only for about two years. He said they had some kind of agreement.

So there you have it in a nutshell.  The first one was a long time ago and the second one was an agreement marriage, so neither one counts. 

So I was married in 1968, that was a long time ago, so basically I was never married either.  Not to mention I divorced in 1982 and that was a long time ago also. 

I am telling you, Suza, who would have thought I would have heard this news from the next door gardener. ! You never know.  The whole time I am hearing this news I couldn’t believe it myself. 

Adam acted very unconcerned about the whole thing. No big deal. It’s not a big deal to me either because I am no longer involved with the man, but I am stunned at how he lies and at the things he has told you. 

Did you get your running shoes out of the closet yet?

Wednesday evening, March 9, 2011:

Diane, this is unbelievable! I was married in 1968 at age eighteen for about nine months. I guess that doesn’t count either. And in the mid 1970’s through 1986. I guess that does not count either. Then I got married a third time. And to think I believed Adam when he assured me he had never ever been married. I must have asked him at least four times when the subject came up. And he teased me about my three failed marriages. Of all the nerve!

It shows a total lack of conscience that he is unconcerned about lying about this!


Amazing you heard this from gardener next door. Reminds me of that Sunday when Liz stepped out of the yoga room and I heard her say, “That’s Adam. Diane’s boyfriend!”


Half hour later another email from Diane:

Suza, I cannot believe the timing of this whole thing.  First Liz in the yoga room and now the gardener next door.  How quirky is that?  Kinda gives you the chills when you think of it.


Have you thought how you are going to handle this whole thing when you meet up with him?

I emailed back:

Diane, it is an amazing coincidence how the gardener next door told you about the first wife right at this point in time!

I think after we meet tomorrow I will have a better sense how to handle this. See you in the morning.

I had already decided that we needed to tell Adam we were talking but I wanted to negotiate this with Diane in person.

I shared all this with Ann, who was out of town visiting her grandchildren.

She wrote:

Wow, Suza. I’ve just read all of today’s emails. Wow.

What the hell do you do now? Can you really break the spell Adam has cast?

On Thursday March 9, 2011, I wrote Ann:

Adam called just now and left a sweet message. His voice tugs at my heart.


But when I feel sad and sorry for him I think about his lies. And all the times I missed him so much.


Ann, I have a clear conscience sharing all this with you since Diane suggested that I talk about this with a friend. It’s a dilemma for me because Adam does so many good things. I don’t like saying anything negative about him.

He’s coming to Ojai today. He said he was having lunch at the Garden Terrace and  wished I could join him. So I called back and said I would meet him there at 1pm.


I am going to have to tell him what I know. I had planned to have this conversation Sunday but looks like it’s today.


Ann wrote back:

And you’re meeting Diane this morning, yes? What a day!


Thursday, March 9, 2011,

Diane was waiting for me when I arrived at Ojai Cafe Emporium. . We sat outside. The waitress was a friend I went to Nordhoff High School with back in the 1960’s. When she took our order I clued her in.

I joked, “You’ll want to hear this conversation. About a man.”

The three of us laughed – just like teenagers. Because on one level it’s all so funny!

Diane was much more attractive than Adam had described her. She had a smiling, friendly, pretty face and nice figure.

We had already talked so much on the phone and emailed back and forth that we could enjoy meeting each other face-to-face and having breakfast together.

I ordered my favorite tofu scramble. She had a vegetable omelet.

I right away told her that I was meeting Adam for lunch at Garden Terrace. And that I planned to break up with him. But I waited till later for a good time broach the subject of telling Adam up front that we (Diane and I) were talking.

Diane revealed more about her life with Adam.

I couldn’t help but laugh as she described how much he eats. Sounded like she has this big kid eating her out of house and home.


Two hours into the conversation I said, “Diane, let’s talk about what I’m going to tell Adam.

“We’re going to have to tell him sooner or later that you and I are talking. I can’t just tell him I found out all this stuff on People Finder.

“I know I agreed to keep all this confidential but now I’d like your permission to tell him that I met with you this morning. It’s much cleaner that way.”

I was relieved when Diane saw the wisdom of this course of action.

However, she was still a bit worried Adam would sway me in the wrong direction.

She said,   “Something tells me that even with all this information you have, you still love him and would still want to have a relationship.  You think you are different from other women and things would be different with you.   All he has to do is confess his lies and promise not to lie again.  Yes or no?”



Then she hit hard to be sure I got the message:

I worried about you falling into his trap.  Remember he told me he gets into trouble with his mouth and gets out of trouble with his mouth.  This has been going on for a long time now, he will never change.  It is an ego booster to think he can get women back after they found him out.


I am so glad you found out now and not three or four years later what kind of guy this is.   No woman deserves to be hurt by him in this fashion. 

It just doesn’t phase him. He just moves on to the next woman. Lord help us all.  You just wonder when he is going to get his due.”

As we prepared to leave, Ann said something that really struck a chord

You know what is so sickening about this whole thing is that Adam is really a soft and gentle person.  I don’t know why he has to lie.  And not just to build himself up but about stuff that makes no sense, like going out of town on that Christmas trip.  I just don’t get it.

I said, “Has he ever seen a psychiatrist about this lying? It makes no sense to me either. It’s very sad! “

By the time I got home it was almost noon. Time to rest in the Goddess Pose and get ready for lunch with Adam.

To be continued, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace

Chapter Fourteen

Afterword on Writing Yoga

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Eleven: Ojai Valley Inn

May 5, 2011

The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal. –C.S. Lewis

Go about your own sweet life and recover your serenity. The only remedy for recovering your equilibrium is to get some distance. 

–Advice from a friend when I told him how much emotional pain I was in.

Dating when you’re sixty is absolutely identical to dating when you’re fifteen.

Comment made by same friend.

This is Chapter Eleven of a true story.  All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective.

Now we come to the most pathetic part of my all too common experience. My journal entries for the weeks following our soul baring at Meditation Mount are so pitiful that I’m tempted to sum them up in a few paragraphs and leap right into the next chapter.

What I write here is the condensed version, believe it or not.

Liars leave you in an impossible dilemma.

As I read Adam’s love letters and the notes in my journal describing what he said and did, even in retrospect I can’t say for sure what was sincere and what was a lie.

The two copies I ordered of How to Be an Adult in Relationships, by David Richo, arrived soon after the revelations on the Mount.

Adam kept his copy in his car and read it when he came to visit. He read it while he waited for me at the doctor’s office during my thermography appointment. He said he was reading it at home and while waiting at meetings.

Ann called my attention to page 85, “Qualified Candidates.”

 “A person is a qualified candidate for a relationship if he is able and willing to give and receive love, to handle feelings, to make a commitment and to keep agreements.”

I hoped Adam grasped the second item in the list of suitable candidate criteria: “Has no distracting ties that make true commitment impossible such as another relationship in progress, an old relationship unfinished…”

A few days later I wrote in my journal:

It confuses me why he won’t take the baby step of moving out of Diane’s house and rent a room.

Part of me wants to believe he is really trying but part of me doesn’t quite trust how he portrays the situation. 

 I know it’s irrational but those sweet letters he wrote make it harder to let go of the dream.

It is so painful and sad. I am still hoping. Looking for glimmers of hope.

Am trying hard to be quiet. Just go about my own life and let him work it out.

* * * * * * *

 I told my friend Macy the whole story on the phone.

She advised me in no uncertain terms to get out!

I told her that I wanted to give it more time, that I was not ready to give up, and that I wanted her to meet Adam. She invited us to her house Saturday afternoon.

Macy tells me now that she tried telling me that Adam was a pathological liar but I was too infatuated to listen. “You just were not ready to hear it. It was like talking to a wall. You were gazing at him with such adoration…you had gone off the deep end…”

From my journal, Saturday, January 15 :

He looked so sweet and relaxed lying on the yoga room floor today with Honey.

I also forgot to mention how on our walk with Honey as I sat on a rock he got on his knees, like a man proposing marriage, and asked me to be his girl friend. “I know I asked you on the phone….but I want to ask in real-life,”  he said.

 I want so much to think only good things about him.

But need to write all this down to help my eyes be wide open. I cannot afford to sink deeper into illusion.

It was over powering and irrational how in love with him I felt while visiting Macy. At Macy’s house he was in his element, identifying all the plants, advising her about her garden…

Sunday, January 16,  in an email to Ann, I wrote:

Hi Ann,

 Last night when Adam left at 9 pm I felt at peace. But this morning I feel so sad thinking back on how the range of feelings I experienced was based on him assuring me he lived alone in his own house.

 We decided to have lunch at the Ojai Valley Inn before visiting Macy.

Walking toward the restaurant we shared memories of Ojai. There is a strong bond because we have all these same memories of old Ojai. We are the new old-timers now.

 At the Ojai Valley Inn the hostess was a friend from school that I had not seen in decades. When we recognized each other we hugged and she introduced me to the other hostess as the former mayor. Interesting how that ceremonial hat seems to carry the most clout.

 At first it was very romantic sitting with Adam at an elegant table, outside, on this beautiful warm sunny day with the sweeping views of the green golf course, the Oak trees, the mountains…

 Reality settled in as the conversation turned to our relationship.

 I must have been optimistic to start with because I heard myself say,”We are on the other side of hell. We can now move forward.”

David Richo in his book talks about how hard it is for people to live with uncertainty. I see how I want to push things in the direction of my feminine fantasies but then I do back off.

Sitting there at the table I questioned Adam more closely about the situation with Diane.

What he told me is disturbing enough but also I don’t know what to think when he says things like, “If I called her and told her I was spending the night in Ojai she’d probably kick me out…” And then he proceeded to explain why he needed to report in to her and why he needed the safety and security of living there.

 I felt kind of sick to my stomach even though the seared tofu dish was delicious.

Knowing what I know now, I swear there is no way I will have sex with him while he goes home to the security of his big king size bed in his beautiful room that he loves.

 He describes Diane as “someone totally not wanting to talk about personal stuff .” As “someone who does not want to know.”

 I pointed out how absurd this going home at night thing is. We could be in bed all day–him coming home like a child by 10 pm means nothing, really.

I could choke the lying out of him when I look back on the ways he aroused me. Especially his letters. The dates in Nature. And all along he was going home to Diane.

Look, I know his Life is difficult, especially with his health issues. I just wish it wasn’t me that fell for him hook, line and sinker when he was fishing on Facebook.

I know I have to reach high and see the part I played in wanting to believe he was a free, available man.

 It is all so incredibly ironic. I just shake my head at the irony and absurdity of it all!

He says he has lived with Diane about three years. At one point he even said, “I am the light of her life.” It made me wonder about the true nature of their relationship.

He loves the beautiful garden they created together. He appears very attached.

I think back on how hopeful I felt when he came over the Friday before New Years with the garden plan for my house. Putting that in my hands made me feel he cared.

 Ann, when we were at the Ojai Valley Inn, I told him I no longer know what to believe.

Even as I write this I see the craziness of it. That is why I need  to spell it out so the craziness does not get pushed aside. So I do not latch onto the hopeful signs and ignore the rest.

 I heard him say he does not want to go from one codependent situation to another.

And I heard myself say, “Do you know the difference between codependence and co operation–working together?”

I pointed at the houses we were walking past, “Are all these couples living together codependent or are they working together to create a life?”

  I heard myself say several times that “If you had your head on straight you would take do-able steps to extricate yourself out of Diane’s house.”

 My fear is not just that he is living at Diane’s house. My fear is that even though he wants to be my boyfriend and even talks about our future that he will do something  worse to make me dump him.

That is how the shadow side works.

I think he still expects me to dump him even as he says, “ I hope you will be patient and not dump me.”

He knows very well that if I dump him he can retreat to his comfort zone and blame me. He can then tell the next fish, “She dumped me.” Or he’ll say it was a “mutual decision,” which sounds so civil and agreeable.

I hear myself telling him, “These are not insurmountable problems.  We are not talking about a long distance relationship where you live in another country. You do not have a wife and three young children that need you.”

I tell him that we need to keep these complications and challenges of the present moment in perspective.

On January 20 I emailed Ann again:

 Woke up at 1 am with the full moon beaming through my window… My unconscious pulls me by the hair, kicks me out of bed and makes me write, write, write in my journal…now I will do yoga work..get some distance…then I will type it up like any other writing project…and send to you to be sure I remain accountable …

 Ann, when I write down the things he says I still do not know what to believe so my mission is not to believe anything…just watch and see.

That night I also wrote in my journal:

January 20, 2 am

By the light of the moon the landscape looks so stark –I feel the utter loneliness and impermanence of it all.

The moonlight shines straight through the window. No wonder I cannot sleep—full moon right over my head.

For a second I find myself thinking, why, if he felt what he wrote, why did he not act?

 I wrote Ann another letter:

 The David Richo book and the pain I feel when Adam goes back to Diane’s house is forcing me to look at how the past and present are converging. I am reading and rereading many parts of Richo’s book. In truth, this is more important to my spiritual growth and yoga teaching than anything else.

My unconscious will not let me sleep (both literally and figuratively). I must keep writing down what he says vs what he actually does.

Ann, I am truly afraid Adam will break my heart, even more than he already has. He is a charming,  seductive man but (and I hope I’m wrong) I just do not feel any urgency on his part to move out of Diane’s house.

Last Sunday morning he surprised me by saying he was looking at ads for apartments for rent.

But then he hurt his back working in their garden and couldn’t go looking.

I have to remember that he did not have the urge to move out when he began dating and “falling in love,” with me. And that I only know about the situation because of Liz’s outburst after the yoga class.

 And now my foolish tender heart said “yes,” when he asked me last week to be his girlfriend.  Even as I write that I shake my head because I should have said ” I can’t be your girlfriend untill you move out…”

 Ann, I cut him a lot of slack and accept him as a flawed, vulnerable human being,  but I fear that he uses women.

 I don’t know if he ever thinks what he can do to make their life (my life) better. I think if I had a big comfortable house he might already be living with me. He does little things that make me think he wants to be a real boyfriend. He even says he wants to be the best boyfriend I ever had. I want so much to believe but have to keep doing reality checks.

 I think he really is trying… but old habit have a death grip on him!  Plus if he is unconsciously sabotaging our relationship he needs back up “friendships” to catch him when I give him the boot (that’s what my mind thinks).

 He read me the beginning of David Richo’s book while I cleaned the house. I have to say I liked his company while I washed the dishes.

 * * * * *

I lit a few tea candles and we relaxed together. I felt strangely at peace and not at all interested in sex (just felt right to hold hands, be close and a few affectionate kisses because knowing he has to go home to Diane is like  throwing a bucket of ice on my sexual fire.

Adam left at 9pm as usual.

The bottom line is that Adam’s actions and words reveal that he is a conflicted, ambivalent man.

 Definition of Ambivalent

  • Simultaneously feeling opposing or contradictory feelings.

  • Having two opposite or conflicting feelings simultaneously

 Yes, I think that sums it up!

 In an email to Ann, January 29:

 Adam arrived Saturday afternoon with the curtain rods I had asked him to pick up at one of those big stores (Lowe’s, the receipt says) near his house in Ventura.

He did not have to pick me up to go to a friend’s birthday party till 5 pm. Says he likes to come over early.

 He willingly runs errands like a dutiful husband. He is totally comfortable and fine with that. And he insisted on hanging the curtain rods on all three windows.

 I notice that when he does domestic husbandly things like fixing light switches how I warm up to him, just like when I was a single mom at eighteen and all men had to do was bounce my baby boy on their lap and I’d fall into bed with them.

 Last Saturday, for some inexplicable reason, we had agreed that he would spend the night this Saturday. As I recall, it came about after a discussion whether he was just a lodger at Diane’s house (since he rents a room there) or is there something more going on emotionally with Diane?

 I had a feeling he would dream up some way to wiggle out of it as I think he feels insecure about bringing our three months of sexual fantasies into reality. 

I can understand that. 

 Saturday morning, on the phone, he came up with a good one. I felt so angry I had to hang up for a minute.

He said he noticed he is having trouble breathing in my apartment. He asked if there might be mold. Then he said maybe he is allergic to the cats. He went on and on about his allergies. Said he had never had a girlfriend before with cats.

Ann, it is no coincidence that he brought this up when faced with actually spending the night with me. He said that if he goes outside every hour for a few minutes in the fresh air that he would be all right.

Other than that he was a good date at the birthday party.

He told me that his father’s bible was Dale Carnegie’s book,”How to Win Friends and Influence People.” He’s read it many times. I think that is the key to his modus operandus.

I see him using the same techniques on other people, like asking them questions about themselves, that he used on me that first date.

Ann, when we got back to my house he suddenly looked like this strange old man sitting in my room. I lit candles and told him to relax while I took Honey on a walk around the block. The candles were a clue no man could miss. You would think.

 When I came back the place was lit up. The bright overhead lights were on ruining the ambiance. He said he had to find a cup for water.

 Now you would think my wild mountain man would be lying on my “child futon bed,” as he calls it, with his shoes off, but instead he sat stiff and distant on a chair, poised to bolt out of the room.

 I think he was scared.

 I had to sweet talk him into lying on the bed. I did not feel sexual at all with his bizarre vibe in the room. Hard to believe this was the same man who wrote me those love letters and has been stirring me up and making me feel crazy with desire for three full moons.

 Part of me wanted to push him out the door but the Love Goddess inside me was not ready to throw in the towel. Yet.

 So he finally took off his shoes.

 I changed clothes. I had to feel like my yoga self. I wore a long, loose fitting, very soft top with buttons and a little black top underneath that I could pull down over my tummy and expose whatever I like–or not– and no underwear.

 In spite of all his distancing and sudden allergies, I felt relaxed and happy and very sexy and sensual. He finally picked up on it. And then it was like another entity entered his body and he felt more like the man who has been kissing me out in nature all these weeks.

I was happy when he went home a little later to his cozy bachelor bed because I am not ready to make love with him. Yet.

His ambivalence is making me a bit ambivalent.

 But the way he touched me felt amazing. It was a very special, sacred time together. When he called me the next morning at 6 am, and the sweet, sensitive things he said, told me that he understands.

On some level he does understand.

But at some point his ambivalence may wear me out.

 And the Gemini in me can see that his need to stay at Diane’s house allows me my independence. If he was snoring in my bed I might not be writing this.

 * * * * *

Hello Dear Ann,

I would describe this as a perfect day –except for reality.

All seemed well until I went to his Facebook page.

 When I see the photos of Diane and Adam’s garden I feel as if I’m kicked in the gut.

 He loves that garden. I feel completely shut out of this part of his life.

 He still tells me it would be disrespectful to Diane to take me her house.

Ann, I  know he is giving me contradictory conflicting messages –but what if I am not hearing him right. I am making a huge effort to listen carefully and not brush aside the things I don’t want to hear, and writing down what he said is a huge part of this effort.

  I don’t get it!

 I don’t want to dwell on this. It’s not my problem. I’m putting it on paper and out of my head, for now.  But it strikes me as very strange that Diane has not asked him to move.  Surely she can hire someone else to maintain the garden!

 And then, when I express concern about his living with Diane  I notice now he overreacts. He says things in a loud somewhat emotional, irritated voice, like “What do you expect me to do. Pack up my clothes in ten minutes and just leave?”

Well, yes!

 But instead I say, “No, you do not need to do anything extreme. But you need to be clear that you need to find a way to move out. It can be a stepping stone like renting a room.

I told him that even though living with Diane is convenient, the first step is for him to see that it is not psychologically  healthy for him to keep living in her house.


 * * * *

From my journal, February 8, 2011:

 As life whirls around me I am shocked by how much I want the story of Adam and Suza to turn out well.

 I write myself messages like:

 You are hanging in there because you want the story to have an unexpected twist and turn out good.

Another month of meetings, dates, dog walks and soul baring went by. Adam was no closer to moving out of Diane’s house then the day I met him for lunch at Farmer and the Cook. Ann suggested that I have Adam set a move-out date and see what he comes up with.

And all this time not a day went by that I did not debate the pros and cons of calling Diane.

On February 20, I wrote to Ann:

Ann, I think the moment will come when I call Diane to find out what is really going on.

Ann replied  And that would be like his two mothers getting together to talk about him. No, no, no!

 I wrote Ann, It feels strange that he went to the movies with someone else after we started dating. That he still does stuff with her.  Goes places with her.

Ann wrote back, Suza, she is his friend. Or mother. Or both. Not a romantic rival!

 * * * * * * *

I saw Ann’s point but finally the day came that I could not contain the urge to call Diane any longer. Adam had an out of town meeting that would take up most of the day. So I knew for sure that the coast was clear..

 Apparently the Lords of Karma had already decided I had learned my lesson.

They were waiting in the wings, ready to help me get off the hook.

When I looked in my email box that morning, lo and behold, there was a message from Diane Jackson. It had arrived the previous night.

The message said:

My friend, I guess I should say our friend, made the comment to me a couple of weeks ago that you would like to talk to me. My phone number is 648-xx xx

This is a land line. I don’t have a cell. I would feel very uneasy speaking on the phone with Adam in the house.  I probably know Adam better than anyone in this world.  I would insist though that he not know we are communicating.  I am a very honest person, and I don’t lie.  Sometimes that is very painful.  Believe me I have no ill feelings towards you. You did me a favor.  Diane

Saturday, March 5

Dear Diane,

Thank you for this communication. I will call you after Adam leaves your house. He said he would be in LA all day today, Saturday. I promise that our communication is confidential.  I have been wanting to talk to you ever since I found out through your friend Liz (my yoga student) that Adam lives in your house. I knew Adam back in the 1970’s (from a distance) and we have many common friends from our years living in Ojai.

These past several months I’ve come to realize I don’t really know Adam and at this point I’m having trouble sorting out fact from fiction.

 I very much look forward to speaking with you.


Suza Francina   646-2613

To be continued, Chapter Twelve, breakfast with Diane at Ojai Coffee Emporium

Historically men’s greatest fear has been that women would unite.

 * * * * * * *

There is yet another problem with relationship addiction: Both rejection and acceptance fire up our adrenalin, so both are equally exciting to the addict. Thus, adrenaline hooks us both coming and going;we are still hooked when we are breaking up. We can get a fix from our partner even as we leave him. Addictions of this kind often follow the pattern of “seduce and withhold.” First I attract you to me and then I withdraw from you.

David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships

Both psychological work for individuation and spiritual practice for egolessness will always be required as dual requisites for the enlightenment of beings as beautifully and mysteriously designed as we. —David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships

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