Women who fall in love with a psychopath…should they have known?

English: FBI Mugshot of serial killer Cary Sta...

English: FBI Mugshot of serial killer Cary Stayner taken by the FBI following his arrest by Agent Jeff Rinek at a nudist resort in Wilton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)  Good looking on the outside but lurking inside is a monster. 

I write about serial killers but the truth is that many psychopaths living in our world have never murdered any one physically. They get off on murdering people emotionally, a sucker of souls. They are users of people. And they are excellent profilers. They look for easy prey they can pounce on and take advantage of.

In fact, my daughter just severed a three-year relationship with a psychopath.

He abused her physically and emotionally. Her physical bruises have healed, but emotionally, she is scarred. I doubt she will ever see another man without worrying about who he really is inside. This man met all the criteria on Dr. Hare’s list. Grandiose (exaggeration of self), he once told me after they broke up that he was “the best thing that ever happened to your daughter.” Mind you, this man weighed close to 300 pounds and was a high school dropout whom my daughter supported (parasitic lifestyle). He is a pathological liar who accused her of cheating, when in fact he fathered another child with another woman, a child five days younger than their son.

These people have a way of twisting the truth to suit their needs or to hide their bad behaviors.

Serial killers are what most people think of when they hear the word psychopath. The only difference between the two is that serial killers need more simulation than the other and want the ultimate high by killing another human being. They can’t stop killing because it makes them feel as good as drugs do to an addict.  They must feed the constant need for stimulation.

I’ve often heard the comment about women who married or lived with a serial killer, “How could she not have known?” Well, you have to recall, serial killers are psychopaths and are skilled at concealing their “dark side.”

English: Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, 1978 o...

English: Ted Bundy in custody, Florida, 1978 or 1979. Florida Memory Project, Florida Photographic Collection, #DND0671 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember Dr. Hare’s checklist? The first symptom is glib and superficial charm. Even Ann Rule, who writes true crime stories, couldn’t see the psychopathic behavior in her friend, Ted Bundy. These people enter every relationship hidden in a mask of normalcy. They are experts at concealing their true nature. All psychopaths have this in common.

Judith Mawson/Ridgway was married for 16 years to Gary Ridgeway (The Green River Serial Killer) who was responsible for murdering 48 women. Judith said in an interview on Investigative Discovery channel, “Gary was the perfect husband.”  When Judith met Gary Ridgway at a bar in Seattle in 1985, she recalled he seemed like the perfect suitor. He was handsome, polite, had a good job, and treated her like a lady.

She thought she’d found a man she adored and wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Two years later they moved in together. A year after that they were married.

Judith said of him, “He made me smile every day. I had the perfect husband, perfect life. I absolutely adored him.” But Ridgway was also a prolific serial killer.  He was convicted for killing 48 women in the Seattle area over a period of 20 years, but officials believe he is responsible for over 70 murders.

She trusted him when he said he was late because of a union meeting. She had no reason to disbelieve him when he told her his ex-girlfriend came and took her bed back or that he replaced the carpet because the kids had ruined it.

Linda Yates slept for two years in her bedroom of her new home and had no idea that her husband had a body buried outside the window. Linda had a 26-year union with her husband, Robert Yates (aka The Spokane Serial Killer), who killed 13 women. This man appeared to be as normal as anyone. He obtained a job as a guard at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, enlisted in the Army where he served his country for 19 years as a helicopter pilot, served in Germany, participated in Desert Storm, served in relief efforts for Hurricane Andrew, and flew on a UN peacekeeping mission to Somalia. Mr. Normal to everyone who knew him. Everyone except the 13 prostitutes he murdered.

When he came home early one morning with blood in their van and told Linda he’d hit a dog and loaded the poor thing in his van to take to the vet, why wouldn’t she believe him?

Psychopaths look like everyone else. Only they are not like everyone else. Their brains are not wired the same as yours and mine. Serial killers are normal looking and act like Joe Blow, but underneath that mask lies a monster, and that’s why I think people (including myself) are fascinated with them.

You don’t have to be a serial killer to be a psychopath. There are many, many functional (I’m using the term “functional” loosely) psychopaths living among us. They leave behind internal scars that wreak havoc on the people they meet. They can devastate person financially, emotionally, sexually, and physically. Many people in therapy are there because they crossed paths with a functioning psychopath.

We are all vulnerable to becoming one of their victims. There are a few resources out there to help victims.



2. Victims of Psychopaths Sociopaths—An on-line support group


3. Your local mental health office

The intent of this blog was to tell my readers you don’t have to be a serial killer to be a psychopath. They live among us in all societies and nationalities. They can be your boss, friend, neighbor, minister, teacher, or your love interest. They don’t look like monsters, they look like you and I.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Diane Kratz

Writers Note

Writers find characters in all sorts of places. The most vivid comes from a personal experience. Having a character that seems normal throughout the book and suddenly takes off his mask and is revealed as a villain makes for a thrilling ride.  I hope this blog article inspires you to be both watchful and creative.

Resources used in this blog article were:

Hare’s Psychopathy Check List


Mail Online News by Rachel Quigley


TRUTV Crime Library Criminal Minds and Methods by Gary C. King



The Stranger Beside Me – Ted Bundy: The Classic Story of Seduction & Murder by Ann Rule http://www.mysterycrimescene.com

Blog edited by Sally Berneathy



54 thoughts on “Women who fall in love with a psychopath…should they have known?

  1. Heidi Senesac says:

    Excellent blog, Diane, Scary topic. Makes me what to look a bit more closely at the odd neighbor down the street.

    • dianekratz says:

      LOL! Seriously there are some sick individuals out there. Thanks Heidi for stopping by and leaving a comment!

    • Hope says:

      Very informative site. I am currently in the middle of divorcing one (according to my research). It is nice to know I am not alone, although I would not wish it on anyone. When I tell my story I think it is really hard for people to believe. Then again, there is no sense to this personality’s distorted sense of reality. My question: How do you get someone like this out of your life if you have a small child together. Our daughter is the one and only way he can hurt me and he knows it. Unfortunately, it is damaging her too. She is only 3.

      • dianekratz says:


        So sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, I’ve heard it many times. My daughter has two kids with one. They will use anything they can to get to you, even their own children. To answer your question, you can’t get them out of your life. He is your child’s father and always will be. He has rights because he is their father. All you can do as a parent, is to acknowledge he is playing games and try your best to protect your child. Example, try supervised visit’s at a facility that specializes in domestic violence/ or one where the parents can get along. Every state has them. There you two will never see each other, and your child will be there protected by a social worker and police guard. The social worker will observe the visit and report to the courts/ lawyers about the visits. He will not be allowed to talk about you or your relationship with your child. He gets his rights for visitation and your child is protected too.

        What I have found is most loose interest when someone new comes along. The verbal attacks stop… for a while. But they always come back. You are in for a long fight. Prepare your self. You stick with the program because eventually he will show his true colors to the courts. The can’t help themselves. Educate yourself on this personality. And remember, he is not smarter than you.

        Diane Kratz

  2. Chilling but true. My aunt was married to such a personality. He sexually abused both their daughters. Thankfully when she had a stroke and the girls revealed their abuse, my mother’s family acted swiftly. When my mother pointed him out to me, her first words were “You wouldn’t believe it to look at him.” But her tone most definitely said “That’s what a psychopath looks like.” I’ve never forgotten it. Thanks for the post.

  3. Rebecca York says:

    Okay, Happy Thanksgiving! This is so chilling. I can’t imagine the poor women who were married to these guys.

  4. Kathryn Jane says:

    Whoa, serious stuff… but so very, very real. Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

  5. Diana Layne says:

    Reading about this Hare checklist-it seems to me that even the professionals can be fooled; and if the professional is making an assessment by interviewing the alleged psychopath, that the psychopath is so skilled at lying that they can fool a professional. I would think the people around the psychopath need to be interviewed?

    • dianekratz says:

      Thanks for stopping by Diana. Any person who goes to a reputable mental health center will get a through assessment. The assessment itself is made to dig out the symptoms and help the clinician give the right diagnosis. Ours was almost two hours long. If they are referred to mental health by the court we also get background information of any criminal history. And every case is put up on the peer review meetings and our supervisor for comments and discussion. Is it possible to fool them? Yes. A skilled psychopath who has been in therapy for a while knows what we look for. Debate has been going on for years whether or not therapy actually helps or hinders. I won’t comment on this for professional reasons, but I will say we need more studies and better therapies on the personality types. we are learning more everyday!

      • Diana Layne says:

        Other than a court order, what would prompt a psychopath to go for an assessment? They most likely think there’s nothing wrong with them.

      • dianekratz says:

        You’d be surprised. They want to prove there is nothing wrong with them or they believe they can “get around” them. They will go in to try to gain custody of their children and keep control of their spouses or try to prove the spouse is crazy, not them. Remember Ted Bundy? He thought he was smarter than his own attorney and represented himself. These guys think they are smarter than the average person but most are not. They may get away with things for awhile, but their confidence in themselves usually gets them caught.

  6. Very good blog, Diane. And something we all need to be aware of. I was married to one of them for 17 years. He charmed everyone, including me BEFORE the marriage. After he owned me, I got to see his other side. They are very tough to escape from. Your daughter has my best wishes.

    • dianekratz says:

      I couldn’t agree more! You are a very strong women for escaping! Thank you for your kind words about my daughter. She is strong like me and we will survive him. I also appreciate all you do for my blog! Sally Berneathy ROCKS!

  7. lorettawheeler says:

    Amazing. I knew most of this information, but still, reading it and re-thinking the condition is alarming. There’s such a fine line between abusive behavior, and something that is a symptom of much more.
    Thanks for the reminder, Diane.

  8. W says:

    Great post! So well-researched, as usual. I use your blogs as I would a textbook, and thanks for the references. That serial killer novel is still rattling around my brain. One day it’s going to escape. Hope I’ll do it justice, so to speak! Have a Great Thanksgiving!

  9. bellwriter says:

    Interesting blog, Diane, Another great book is The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout. We may be talking about to different personality types, but I found this book illuminating. I hope your daughter is in therapy and that time will heal her deep wounds.

  10. Misty Dietz says:

    Fabulous and scary as hell, Diane! Thanks for all the info!

  11. marsharwest says:

    Good grief, Diane. You always write such gut churning posts. Sorry to hear about your daughter. I can imagine how much you hurt for her. It’s so much worse when the bad happens to our kids, even more than to us. We’re supposed to protect them. Doesn’t matter the age. God bless you all. I believe this will make you stronger.
    The scariest part of the post is they look like us. God help us all.

    • dianekratz says:

      It sure does! Especially when you have worked in DV shelters and counseled others (non-family members), but you can’t for your own child. Everyday she gets stronger! I’m so proud of her. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. DeAnn Sicard says:

    Life is all about learning the good and the bad. Your blog has given us many avenues for learning what we need to watch out for and where we need to be looking. I for one can’t wait to come back and see what you’ll have for us next.
    Thank you for doing the initial research so that many of us can learn without experiencing it first hand. Wish I’d know about all this before I married. LOL
    Let your daughter know she is not alone and that today is the start of a new and remarkable life (without a psychopath to interfere in her growth as a beautiful young woman and mother). AND if she’s lucky to have anyone in her life -it’s you- and not that jerk. 🙂

  13. Love your post, Diane. I, too, find psychopathic behavior and serial killers so interesting. Granted I minored in psychology, but there is so much new information out there now because people have studied these individuals. Thank you.

    • dianekratz says:

      Thanks for stopping by Patricia. We know a lot more than we did, but more research and better therapies are needed for clinicians to successfully treat these personality types.

  14. lifebegins45 says:

    Diane, my heart goes out to your daughter. I’m soo very glad she’s away from him, though I know the battle and struggles that come in the aftermath. Not fun.

    I couldn’t help when reading your entry, to get a flash of one of the greatest lies ever told…”It won’t happen to me”. I think it’s a natural assumption for humans to have. Going about our day to day lives, we don’t even consider meeting someone like that. We just assume that we are safe in our little bubbles of naivety, without a care in the world. We just “know” and “believe” we are impenetrable. When the wool is ripped from our eyes, the confusion that is left (plus shock, awe, and sometimes physical healing) it feels as though the whole world were ripped out from under us. “That won’t happen to me”…

    • dianekratz says:

      Thanks lifebegins45. ANYONE can be a victim. We become victims because we are taught to “look for the good in people”. If we grow up in functional families we believe everyone is like us. They know this, and that’s how they worm their way into our life. I read your blog every time you post. I posted a few resource for victims I hope you and other victims will take advantage of.

      Today we won a small victory in court, she was granted a protection order, something we have been trying to get since September (He avoided being served and still wasn’t served when he magically appeared in court). But we both know its only a piece of paper. I’ve also taken measures to secure our property (we were robbed 2 weeks after she moved in) and ourselves. He demanded to be there when my daughter gives birth (Dec 10) and a few other things which he may or may not get. I know we are in for a long battle.

      My daughter is seeing a therapist and is in a support group for domestic violence. I believe the best revenge is to move on with life and be successful, that really pisses them off. Because people like them get off on knowing thinking they’ve destroyed you. Makes them feel even more powerful. Keep that power for yourself, don’t hand it to him.

      You take care,
      Diane Kratz

  15. G. Aliceson says:

    Interesting points. It is always surprising how psychopaths seem so normal at first. Good point that many exist who aren’t serial killers, but leave so much damage in their wake. My sister works with juveniles and we both ended up knowing a pedophile who had been living in our neighborhood. I remember being so surprised at how “nice” he seemed. She reminded me that is how they lure people in.

  16. dianekratz says:

    That’s what they do Kate. I’m thrilled for your daughter. Time has a way of working out the wrinkles in our life. I know it will be a long time before she will even think about dating again. I’m thrilled you stopped by! 🙂

  17. Sherry Isaac says:

    Abusers and psychopaths have a shared understanding that their behaviour is not socially acceptable, and therefore become masters at cloaking their dark side. A future spouse-beater is far more likely to greet you on the first date with roses that with a left hook.

  18. Another great post Diane! Im wondering if Robert Yates had a moral vendetta against prostitutes or if they were just a convenient target because no one would miss them.

  19. Annie Adams says:

    Here in Davis County Utah, we suffered at the hands of Ted Bundy. He was indeed handsome and charming, according to my Aunt who worked at the county courthouse when he came through. Thanks for this great article, especially the helpful resources you provided.

  20. Mary Roya says:

    What a really interesting article.  You are so correct.  My sister was married to A-hole that emotional and financially crippled her.  She is finally recoving and moving on with her life without him.  Thanks for writing that. Mary Roya


    • dianekratz says:

      This happens to MANY good people. It’s our trust in decency of mankind that they part upon. So sorry to hear about your sister. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
      Happy Thanksgiving,
      Diane Kratz

  21. Feel free to read our book Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationship of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists. Lots of research on womens temperament traits in these relationships.

  22. Our book may be applicable for your readers–Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists. Chapters on women’s temperament traits who have been in these relationships.

  23. Arlee Bird says:

    I used to get so frustrated with some of the girls I was interested in when I was young. They never seemed to share an interest in me. They seemed to go for the bad guys that treated them lousy. I was too nice. What is it about the “bad guy” image that many women find so attractive?

    Wrote By Rote

    • dianekratz says:

      Sorry it took me so long to respond to your post. It seems your posts ended up in my spam box. To answer your question, I don’t know Arlee. Nice guys to some women (not all) I guess appear weak. You have to consider their childhoods and upbringing. If dad was a jerk, then they think all men are jerks, and act accordingly.

      My daughter father was a bad guy. Actually he was an alcoholic. He have drunken rages that what she grew up with. I divorced and later find a nice guy to marry. We’ve been married now 27 years. I also think nice guys are appreciated more by women who more mature and have had a experience with a bad guy. At least the smart ones are.

      A psychopath is a different creature altogether than the typical “bad guy”. These guys appear nice and turn into monsters. Stalkers, embezzlers, abusers and even murderers… They are charmers and experts at find other people venerability’s. They are prey for them. Someone they can use to their advantage. It’s the way their brian functions.

      Hope it helps,

  24. catherine says:

    Hi Everyone…It is now 4 months since my romantic psychopath boyfriend discarded me abruptly..might I add I expected that and actually wanted to break up with him..he has been lining up his next victim with frindly contact since a year before. I also found that he had casual flings with other women on dating sites,dinner clubs and actually 2 women that has more or less the same status as I had..that of “girlfriend” whatever that means. I was the more public official one introduced to the family. He used to refer to me as his wife. We had a long distance relationship but he used to “surprize”visit me..something I suspected fit in well with his visits to women in other towns on the way. The list of all the things which were wrong in this relationship is so long I will be stuck on this site for weeks. He is a real charmer but I disliked him very much when I first met him. He was loud,talked mostly about himself,had a huge idea of his intellect and sent me smss that I found very chocolate box and not from the heart. He changed his style to innocent schoolboy who loves to talk love poetry and I was hooked. At the start of the romance he was very attentive and into me. We were SO THE SAME..he even sent me an email to list our similiarities stating how scared he was that I would think he pretends to be like me to impress me. I was the most beautiful women he has ever met..when he saw me he knew that was the woman he was waiting for all his life. He sent me old fashioned loving messages,opened the car door for me,called me non-stop. The minute I got used to the attention that irritated me in the beginning,he switched the tables. I realised I was waiting for the routine,loving all little sleep due to his late nite calls. He started being irritated with me sometimes. Calling me insecure needy negative when he didn’t answer his phone because he was BUSY. Slowly I discovered very weird things about him. He had about 30 pictures of himself stuck against his wall. He moved every six months or so. He forged legal documents. He had others peoples IDs in his room. He sent smss to numbers that I googled and found to be escorts. He changed our lovemaking to a process in which I had to serve him the way a prostitute would. He lied so many times about so many things I lost count. I heard that he impregnated two women in his late twenties and the carried his children in the same time span. He comes from a very well to do family. He pretends to be very hardworking but I know his family funds him and the rest he makes by cheating and steeling from people. He is bi-polar,something the family never told me. He has had so many relationships I have lost count of the number. He has lied to me about his STD.. I found his medication and confronted him. He doesn’t think its a big deal. He went with the “new”women to his parents beach house 3 weeks after we broke up and shared a room with her there to the families shock and horror. They do not know that he has contacts with the underworld. He is very educated so it is not expected of him to do these things..he just loves criminal stuff. He gets a kick out of it. He has told me on many occasions that he would love to be a serial killer. I have also seen him pretending to buy merchandise in a shop and then go to the back and persuade the staff to steal it given cash. Promicuity,criminal behaviour,glib charm..he has told me on many occasions that I over analize everything but I could see that he has no grasp of what sadness truelly is though he states to be depressed..I don’t thin he ever was. According to what I experienced he has bi-polar rapid cycling..he switches mood as fast as lightning..he is highly irritated and caan easily switch to verbal abuse and back in a matter of seconds as if nothing happened. It was truelly the WTF moments. Sheer madness. He is very proud of all the criminal stuff he gets into. He has also promised me to come and live with me so all these month I carried the burden on my own of high rent because his plans changes every week. He just can’t stay in one place and stick to one plan. He lies constantly about everything and was very secretive when I was with him . I would ask him a simple question and he would reply that I am way to nosey. I found so much evidence of his cheating but he blames it on me being jealous and that just makes him WANT to cheat on me. I can only say that it will take me a very long time to be whole again. I have been called all the ugliest and most beautiful words in the book. I have seen this man in his finest hour and I have seen him in the darkest moments..I watched him one day when he was all alone and he was just staring into the abyss..it was the most empty face and eyes I have ever seen in my life. Gone was the animation..the emotion he mimicks…he was as hollow as hollow can be. I have never seen the list of dr Robert Hare before this relationship. I can just say that this man fits the description to the T..dr Hare could do a single case study on him and would declare him a perfect example. I was mesmerized by the resemblance and the score of 19 out of the 20 checkpoints. I am so exhausted…I still ask myself what have I done wrong and what does the other woman have that I do not…I know its not relevant but my whole being wants to remember him as the romantic love of the honeymoon phase..and I am jealous thinking she is experiencing it now. And although I KNOW he cannot change a little voice still asks And what if he changes for her?

    • catherine says:

      I have to add to this. I am just desperate to warn women. Please do not have sex with men you haven’t gotten to know for a few months at least. I waited three months but that wasn’t enough. Be alert. Get a PI to run a criminal record check. I many times felt he could just push me off a cliff or kill me in dense bush. Get the guy tested with you accompanying him. My psychopath faked the AIDS test and the STD test was just never done..the one that would have been positive. Don’t be impressed by the family. Many psychopaths come from a good family background with wealth and education. This man is highly eduacated but he lives the life of a bum. Don’t be fooled by the family being so nice to you…remember they will be so glad if he becomes somebody elses problem..YOURS! They are also nice to him because they are scared of him. I am petrified that he will recognise the story and come after me. Please don’t be fooled by smooth talk and romantic poetry. Don’t ignore the red flags that sceam there’s something OFF here. Leave at the first signs of aggression,selfishness in capitals,mean behaviour towards children. He used to have highly embarrassing mood swings in the supermarket and vent his anger towards the cashiers. I just wanted to die!!! If he wants to stay indoors with you 24/7 its NOT because you are so magnetic…he is hiding something or hiding you from someone..mostly another few women that he also has “a relationship” with. Don’t believe the lies. He wanted to even pay for my childrens education…I later found out that he never gave a penny towards his childrens school fees ever. Remember..at School and at Univercity rumours go around about the bad guys and we know to avoid them…today…out there in the big old world,there is no way to check via the grapevine what somebody is all about. Give half of your heart after six months and keep the other half shelved in your skull…Think before you venture..and investigate before you go romancing. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. People don’t go around saying bad things about good people. If more than two sources tell you to stay clear of a man…..do just that. Remember they dread getting involved and will only say this if they are hundred percent sure. Listen to friends and family as well..they are not stuck in the honey and the love talk. Please be alert. There’s a lot of rubbish out there. And an even spread of sociopaths. Catherine.

  25. rustyring says:

    Just a head’s up: they’re not all men. Unfortunately the current diagnostics are heavily skewed toward behaviours that are mostly male in any population (physical violence, criminality), but I’m convinced there are just as many female as male psychopaths out there. Learned it the hard way, unfortunately. Even though I didn’t get physically assaulted and nobody got killed (unless you count suicides), the female of the species can ruin lives and crush dreams with the best of the men.

    Thanks for the post! Important topic.

    • dianekratz says:


      I’m so sorry you had to go through a relationship with a psychopath. I hope you have healed from that experience, and it hasn’t tainted your view of all women.

      You are correct about a women being just a lethal and psychopathic. Women get away their crimes much longer than men do because no one suspects a woman. Women are portrayed as the nurturing, weaker sex in our society. Psychopaths use people. They know how to prey on your belief systems to their advantage to get what they want. It’s all about them. And the emotional damage they leave behind can be devastating. I agree with you whole heartily about there being just as many women psychopath’s as men.

      In fact, I’m working on a book about a female psychopath who appears normal, but is anything but. They make the perfect villain because they hid behind the mask of social expectations of gender roles. No one sees them coming. Hang in there!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Diane Kratz

      • rustyring says:

        Thanks for your reply, Diane. I’m glad to say that my experience has not determined my perspective on women. In fact, it’s made me more sympathetic to women in general, as many have been similarly played.

        I think your comments are precisely accurate. Until you have a run-in with one, it’s hard to understand that psychopaths are very good at playing on assumptions and claiming loopholes. Female ones play on myths of kindness, insight, and vulnerability. Men hide behind culturally-tolerated expectations of ambition and wanderlust.

        But bad people are bad people. And their victims are not.

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