My now ex-boyfriend was like a hoarder. He liked collecting things and find comfort out of it. He collected women. Lots of women and they all boosted his ego on a daily base. He had women all over the country, and maybe even a few outside the country, and every day he scrolled through his WhatsApp and read all the lovely things they send him.
He wasn’t troubled one bit by the right or wrong, or other people’s feelings. To him, people are objects, a kinda weird human supply chain.
My ex needed an endless flood of attention and admiration
His Whatsapp list was so long I jokingly called it “the harem”. He was like a sheikh, not able to chose which one he liked best and most, so he liked them all. Most of them were exes, others were possibilities for when he moved to another part of the country, some were married with children, it was a colourful parade of humans that he needed for his satisfaction.
He could turn to them for sex, money, a place to sleep, but mostly for ego boosts, and all those women were willing to give it to him.
My boyfriend was like a happy narcissist with an endless supply.
I am not allowed to label anyone with a mental disease but trust me when I say that my ex his behaviour would have kept any psychiater a happy working man for a year.
The concept of The Harem
A couple of years ago I dated, ‘Guy with a Harem’. And like my fresh and new ex, the “Guy with a Harem” explained to me that most of his friends were women.
I did not find that upsetting at first, for a male/female friendship is something that can exist. Until I found out that almost all his friends on social media are women also, and that he flirts with them excessively, and that from those high percentages almost all are exes.
So I recognized my latest ex’s behaviour and was not pleased with it, it threw me right back in time where I dated a diagnosed narcissist that almost broke me beyond repair. Open as I am in my relationships I told him about it and how much it worried me. That I do not function well in relationships like this for I am not a person to compete for attention, I am more the kind of person that slowly disappear when the women start claiming.
For example, I told him: I once went to a party with “The Guy with the Harem”, and when I entered everybody thought I was someone else. ah, and you must be…. the wrong name…., what made me feel very uncomfortable, more so because he left it up to me to correct that. And when the party was ongoing, I was just sitting there watching him being the centre of all that female attention. At some point I just left, nobody missed me. I went home and he called me 2 days later.
He kind of laughed uneasily to that story…….I now doubt he got the feel because for him a Harem is a necessity, he sees them as good friends, which obviously they are not, for the messages I got from some of his exes after the break up told a totally different story. They did not speak ‘friendly’ of him behind his back.
I realised that with this relationship I also was the fresh meat, I was getting most of his attention with him switching off his phone when he was at my place. But I could not ignore the moments that phone was on and all the messages and sexy photos with women’s name attached to it kept coming in, it was an endless stream of buzzing and pinging.
I realized I heard that sound in every voice message he send me over the past two months of us chatting and getting to know each other.
When he got more comfortable around me he kept his phone on and that is when I started to realize I was not even on the top of his priority list. He must have had a hard time dividing his attention to not create unrest in the harem. For jealous and possessive women can be quite a hassle.
Realizing he was busy with them in the evenings when he was not with me, or even when he was with me, I did what comes naturally for me, I let them have him, I withdrew in myself, I do not feel jealousy, but my insecurity was on the rise. Not insecure about myself, but insecure about if I wanted this. After all, I had hands-on experience with Harems, that all had a key to his house and sometimes went to my things and once wrecked my NIKON camera out of jealousy. But I kind of check out of the relationship, since he has one foot out of the door, and they all know he is available.
They became visible after I broke up with him
Since this harem was not really aware of my presence yet, or so I thought, they did not bother me with messages and posting their selfish catty advice on my social media during the time I dated this man. Just a few incidents in the social media I was allowed in. He kept me far away from his multiple Facebook accounts for example.
In my previous experience, the harem was a nasty bunch of women that all felt they had a claim on my then-boyfriend pestering me to the point I doubted everything even myself.
Trust me when I say, a harem is always trouble because it takes a special kind of woman that tolerate a membership of a harem.
I was contacted by a few, in several social media channels, and they were like: I know he is a heart breaker, he broke my heart also, but you should be crying over the fact he doesn’t care and not your broken heart.
I dislike advice like that, for it tells a story.
It tells a story of low self-esteem and poor quality of friendship.
Here are all these exes and so-called female friends that dislike him for breaking their hearts, yet they all boost his ego on a daily base to get some attention from him.
How low can you go as a woman? Have you no self-pride? No self-esteem? Probably not.
By writing this article, which I know some of them will read I probably open the gates to hell since I did not reply to any of the harems messages. I only told him to get them out of my social media. And told him how kind his “friends” spoke of him. And now I kind of address them all at once. You bring it on bitches, I do not fear you, for I know my worth.
But god forbid that one day I will be one of those sad women, crawling up a mans attention for some stupid emojis to boost his ego mostly and get some gratification out of it for myself.
One even told me that if I had a problem with him breaking hearts for his own needs, I probably should leave Mexico…..Really? Not a very coherent message that shows any form of intelligence, for there is no connection between living in a country where a man has broken my heart if I had to leave the Netherlands every time a man broke my heart I would have started my nomad life long before 2015.
A harem is a huge red flag and here is why
When you are dating someone that seems to have a lot of previous relationships that just never seem to end, that’s a red flag. This shows you that he has a massive fear of commitment and that he can’t make up his mind whether to stay or go. And it shows a user mentality.
I know I want to be a winner, but I will never participate in a group where all other women have failed, but keep trying to get his attention. So if he wants me, he has to step out and show me he commits to me and that I am the one he respects enough to trust his heart with for full satisfaction.
When he feels chronically empty and lonely and he wishes to cover that up with an endless female ego boost than he is not my type of man. Especially when he is scouting for new fresh contacts all the time even when he is with me.
I’m not saying men and women can’t be ‘just’ friends, but that distinction happens only when both parties have absolutely no interest in being together and pursue a platonic relationship only. This way they do not have to be secretive and hide their contact moments, chats and you can even meet up the 3 of you for a drink.
How do you recognize this type of men?
This kind of men have a way of moving too fast and love bombing you at the beginning of the relationship. When that happens, and there is this endless female friend list and plenty of women he flirts with, that is a huge red flag.
I was love bombed from day one, I felt swept off my feet, lured in and there was no respect for my boundaries. When I told him no, he sulked claiming he was being respectful but felt disrespected by me, and he kept that mood up until I gave in. He wanted the end goal: Me in his harem, him in my house and bed, for the time he needed me.
And she was content with that, she accepted that. Now, this whole second wife thing might be cultural normality in Mexico to some men and women, but for me, for my standards, it only shows how low self-esteem you have as a woman.
When you accept a man living with you and one foot out of the door, constantly feeding on other women and having affairs with multiple women at the same time, you are not a woman of high value.
Especially when you are not in an open relationship. And they were not. She told me that
She was willing to have him in her life at all cost.
Now that is a bunch of attention seeker packed together in a WhatsApp list. isn’t it? I mean he ignored her phone calls and text messages, to be with me and she was okay with that.
How do you end up in the Harem?
In my experience, the circle of the harem with this kind of man are somewhat like this, he is constantly hunting, looking for prospects……..
he finds a female that seems to fit his needs,
overwhelms her with attention and tells her within a few days she is the love of his life and he wants to be her boyfriend
he keeps the former girlfriend(s) on hold by feeding them hope and little bits of attention and affection
when he gets normal with the new girl and she loses her spark for him, or when he feels she is in, she gets her position in the harem
he either bounced back to his former girl or scouts for new women
and so it goes on and on.
The women he meets have something he finds interesting or needs at that specific moment, that is why he has such a huge variety of women in body types in the Harem. His needs overrule his liking, so he might need a place to stay, he might find her job interesting, or maybe she is extremely beautiful and by conquering her
he gets the ultimate ego boost, or she has money he needs to luxury, but they all serve his momentarily needs.
And he keeps them all, for he needs them all some time or another
As a hoarder he is afraid to throw anything away, I recall a conversation about my intention to maybe break up with him because of all those women, and he said: but please let’s be friends, I do not want to lose you.
But it is never about the woman, and always about him and she ends up in the harem no matter what, ready to boost his ego, whenever he throws her some attention crumbs.
Except for this girl!
I refused the honourable position of being his shallow ego boost. I stood my ground and refused to have anything to do with that group of people that feed on false emotions and dishonest gratification.
For me, groups and people like that are highly dysfunctional.
They cannot connect in real intimacy the way I can. They miss the ability to really connect as you do in valued relationships that are built on trust and respect.
The man is like a drug addict, and so are the women, they need the boost, they need the thrill of the few seconds of attention and flirting, they need the ego boost and even if it is negative attention they thrive on it. They lull themselves into satisfaction with all sorts of excuses why this is a good thing to do, they claim they have valued friendships, yet they never become really connected and trustworthy self-loving people. They say they are, but all of them have this emptiness that needs to be filled, time and time again.
It is pathological and unhealthy. And over the years it gets even harder to break free, for you truly believe you have formed a friendship.
After my first harem experience, I talked many hours with my therapist about this occurrence, throwing crumbs of affection to people and people accepting that. Being told tales an promises of a never to happen future and living in a fantasy world all by free will. Those people mess with their head, and cannot move forward.
A harem membership comes with privileges my therapist told me, but the privilege is entirely his.
So I refused membership and a one-way ticket to Neverland. I decided to live a full life, with a full plate and not on crumbs falling off the table of someone else’s feast.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.