How to Spy on People

Locked_in_the_Closet_by_IndigoCharm

“I wish I could tie her up in a closet and only open the closet when I got home,” I said to Brian. “Then I would let her out and we could fool around and then when we were done I’d put her back in the closet.”  I liked Brian because he was a Life Master at bridge. Back when I was in college I liked people with ranks of some sort. Guys, that is. But I had no such prejudice with girls. I liked them all. I had this sense that if I could get access to their naked bodies then I would always be able to learn something new.

It was freshman year of college. Tracey and I had just started dating. When we first started up I was too nervous for anything. She was the first girl I had ever even kissed.

I quickly went from nervousness to power to jealousy to inferiority. She had spent an hour in the dorm room of Fernando and I still couldn’t understand that so I wanted to punish her.

“If you always kept her locked in a closet then she wouldn’t be interesting,” Brian said. “She would have no other experiences. You would have nothing to talk about.”

“She’s had enough experiences,” I said.

A few years later I had a girlfriend who I didn’t trust. I had met her at work. We would send jokes via emails to each other. Then we would send restaurant picks to each other. Then we went to a restaurant. Then we kissed. I remember a train passing on an overhead track directly overhead. The entire world was shaking. She broke up with her boyfriend and started going out with me. Very bad. You can never trust anyone who breaks up with someone to go out with you.

But she still hung out with the ex-boyfriend as “friends”.

One time I said my computer was dead and and asked if I could use her computer. I downloaded a keystroke logger and installed it on her machine. It logged every email, every password, every IM conversation. There’s no way to trace it on the computer. It sends everything to a central server which would then email an anonymous email account I had set up. I would only read the anonymous  account in random internet cafes in different parts of the city. There was no way to trace me.

She always wrote to her ex-boyfriend in French. They were pretentious that way. When two people speak to each other in a dead language it somehow makes them feel more alive.

I had to get a French dictionary (there was no Google translate twenty years ago) and look everything up despite my four years of French in high school and two years of French in college. I’m not very good with languages.

Sometimes I would say things to her that her ex had emailed to her. Like about a random movie or person. I’d test to see if she would get suspicious or react but she never did.

One email to her ex said, “I miss you horribly. You’re the most important thing in my life.” The very next email was to me, “I might not be able to make it later. Feeling very tired.”

Another email to her ex said, “sometimes when I kiss James I’m thinking of you. If he were dead it would make my decisions easier.”

One time she didn’t pick up the phone when I called her at 8am. I went over to her apartment. She didn’t answer the doorbell. I walked around and saw her walking around the streets. She looked like she was stumbling. When I got closer I saw she was crying.

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

“That’s great,” I said, “Let’s get married!”

“Shut up!” she said, “I don’t want to be pregnant.” We went up to her apartment to talk.

A few minutes later she told me she didn’t know who the father was.  I ran out of her apartment, almost falling down the stairs and into all the bicycles stored there. The sky seemed orange. All light was a glare. I put my hands up to shield myself from any color, any stimulation at all. I walked a hundred miles that day, wandering until I was so lost I became another person.

She didn’t pick up the phone for several days. It was hard for me to focus on work.

She aborted my potential child and then called me a few days later. “I’m sorry,” she said, and she was crying. “I kept thinking I would’ve named the child Daisy, after your grandmother. I was thinking that during the abortion.”

What do you say to that?

I want to be a good person. But I feel like with everyone there’s mostly just darkness and we try to turn on the tiny flashlight inside so there’s a little bit of light. I guess one goal is to make that light larger and larger every day. But who knows?  I don’t know anything.

I look over at Claudia, sitting on the couch in the next room, working on her own blog posts, sipping coffee, her long legs stretched out on the coffee table, typing away. She seems very happy. Maybe she’s the one person in the world with no darkness. Sometimes it seems that way to me.  Maybe I’m just fooling myself. I hope to god I have the mental skills and acting ability to never take off my mask. I’m afraid for her to see the real me.

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  • Travis Fields

    Yeesh, you are way too hard on yourself. Anyone with as many Rules as you have is clearly trying harder than the average person is to be a good person and make the right decisions.

    You’re beating yourself up for something you did twenty-something years ago?
    Have you been reading Celine recently? I read Journey to the End of the Night once.
    That book will take you to some pretty dark places…you have to be careful with that one.

    Remember this line “all things that stink are indoors” ?

    Go sit on a bench outside until the sun burns out the stinking darkness. 

    But only when you’re ready…I don’t want to ruin your writing or anything :-)

  • Midianite Manna

    If there’s no trust, there’s no relationship. Well, there’s a pretty effed up relationship, I suppose. I take the position of starting from trust. Makes me much happier.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Agreed

  • http://twitter.com/#!/tarhini_smb Tarhini_smb

    interesting thing is that if you were following your daily rituals and ways to deal with people / issues, you would have broken up with her long before things got so out-of-wack. 

    but I guess we all have to go through dark periods to get to the good ones. 

    that, and people hardly feel rational when they are in a bad relationship. 

    I dont know, just first thoughts after reading it. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Absolutely. I wish I had a sense then of the best ways to handle very bad situations. Like going broke much later, or being in situations like this, etc. Hopefully I have the sense to stick to my disciplines on any future issues if they ever come up.

  • lane bieler

    Please stick to these type of stories. Not only are they much more entertaining than your self-help pieces, but it’s apparent that you’re way too fucked up to help anyone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Ha, well, they are all sort of linked together. One can’t happen without the other.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2G6L6LFHAZOSWWTIDOX2DCOP4 Russell Taylor

        Dont listen to Lane. You help me everyday James… everyone has struggles JUST like you do but they are too chicken to talk about them especially publicly in a blog post like this. I use to think the epitome of a man was someone who never talked about feelings and kept anything inside… what is the driving force behind behavior like that tho? Fear. Real men are not afraid to just crap out raw testimonials about regret involving abortions or the death of their father. I strive to be as open as possible with those I have interpersonal relationships with, it helps perpetuate the journey of self-actualization and that in turn helps me to become more honest with others and most importantly myself.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2G6L6LFHAZOSWWTIDOX2DCOP4 Russell Taylor

        Dont listen to Lane. You help me everyday James… everyone has struggles JUST like you do but they are too chicken to talk about them especially publicly in a blog post like this. I use to think the epitome of a man was someone who never talked about feelings and kept anything inside… what is the driving force behind behavior like that tho? Fear. Real men are not afraid to just crap out raw testimonials about regret involving abortions or the death of their father. I strive to be as open as possible with those I have interpersonal relationships with, it helps perpetuate the journey of self-actualization and that in turn helps me to become more honest with others and most importantly myself.

  • feng

    relax Jimmy, i am 99.9999% sure your Claudia feels the same way you do in that she also has some kind of darkness, whoever says there is no shame or darkness in his/her life is either delusional or a liar, i challenge anybody to name one adult on this planet who is completely transparent, all light, no shame, no darkness.

    you have balls to admit it, that’s what’s important, that’s why we love you.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Feng, I think you are right. These particular events happened many years ago but, no matter, the darkness just shifts and we all have it. We all put on our best faces to be human and not just animals but is a delicate balance. thanks for your comment.

      • feng

        more than anything this story made me laugh, it’s funny, it’s f-ed up, and it’s also uplifting. i know that’s your style :)

  • Alex

    Reality has many layers.  At the innermost layer, you are all light.  That’s the only real you.  Everything else can be peeled off. 

  • http://twitter.com/demianfarnworth Demian Farnworth

    Wow, talk about emotionally raw. Hey James, I’m sure it’s not lost on you but you’re not really hiding your secrets. You’re pretty much laying it out there. Keep it up, buddy. It’s entertaining. In a good way. 

  • Stythys

    LOLOL I know. It’s probably the second most influential language in the world. C’mon James, really?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yeah, really. China is probably #2. Spanish is probably #3 (or #2). German is probably #4. Japan #5. And then you should start brushing up on your Portuguese (brazil is dominating all of SA economy) and your Arabic and Hindi before you learn French.

      two notes on this:
      – i was foolish enough to spend 6 years studying French instead of Spanish
      – my eldest daughters is choosing to study French for reasons I still can’t figure out.

      • Guest

        french is my first language and i agree it’s dead and useless in america at least.

      • Sfdsd

        Actually Chinese (Mandarin) is #1.  Spanish #2, English comes in at #3.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

        • Anonymous

          # of native speakers is interesting, but what you really want is GDP by Language: http://unicode.org/notes/tn13/

      • Yves Saint Laurent

        France is a good country to holiday in.
        She’ll probably want to spend a year studuying in Paris somewhere in the future.
        I spend a year in Spain, just before leaving was a good time to re evaluate my life. 

      • Kadfast

        You’re Jewish so how come you didn’t choose to study Hebrew? Thats kinda sad.

      • T-Dizzle

        there are more reasons than money to learn a language. Financial gain shouldn’t be anyone’s sole goal in life.

      • joe B

        Spend much time in Africa, James? French is hardly dead. For an English speaker, learning languages that improve your English might make sense (much of our vocabulary comes from French), but learning difficult languages like Arabic and Chinese is a fools errand – we are not far off from software and wearables commoditizing that skill for us.

  • http://codemac.net/ jeff m

    *deleted*

    the “Post as …” link to log in doesn’t tell you it’ll post the second you log in

  • http://codemac.net/ jeff m

    This sounds like you are telling and extremely similar story to one of mine.

    However, what I really wanted to say in response to this is that your real self is as nonsensical of a notion as your masks being distinct is. You are all your masks, they are all part of your true self. If you act nicer around your coworkers, you are nicer around coworkers. You aren’t wearing some mask that makes you nicer.

    You are an awful person, you are a great person. You are nice and mean, you are many many things. However you act towards Claudia is the real you, it just might not be all of you. Which is ok.

    I dunno. I feel like I’m trying to tell you to not worry, and you’ll be fine. But you wont, life is scary, and you may have totally fucked everything in your personal life. I don’t know you, I don’t know where you are. But I have at least learned this, your articles generate enough empathy that I thought I did? Which is a good thing?

    I think?

    Reality is weird.

  • http://codemac.net/ jeff m

    This sounds like you are telling and extremely similar story to one of mine.

    However, what I really wanted to say in response to this is that your real self is as nonsensical of a notion as your masks being distinct is. You are all your masks, they are all part of your true self. If you act nicer around your coworkers, you are nicer around coworkers. You aren’t wearing some mask that makes you nicer.

    You are an awful person, you are a great person. You are nice and mean, you are many many things. However you act towards Claudia is the real you, it just might not be all of you. Which is ok.

    I dunno. I feel like I’m trying to tell you to not worry, and you’ll be fine. But you wont, life is scary, and you may have totally fucked everything in your personal life. I don’t know you, I don’t know where you are. But I have at least learned this, your articles generate enough empathy that I thought I did? Which is a good thing?

    I think?

    Reality is weird.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm….I’m pretty sure there’s a Federal Law with prison time awaiting you on this one if the old girlfriend ever reads your blog.  Of course, I’m sure….this was just a fictional piece right? And any similarity to actual events is purely coincidental? :-)

    From a Judeo/Christian point of view, all men are evil (“men” being the grammatically correct term to use here) and every part of their heart is infested by sin.

    Hiding who you are is a good thing – it’s called “courtesy.”

    The moral to this story should be “Don’t try and be God – you aren’t qualified for the job.”

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm….I’m pretty sure there’s a Federal Law with prison time awaiting you on this one if the old girlfriend ever reads your blog.  Of course, I’m sure….this was just a fictional piece right? And any similarity to actual events is purely coincidental? :-)

    From a Judeo/Christian point of view, all men are evil (“men” being the grammatically correct term to use here) and every part of their heart is infested by sin.

    Hiding who you are is a good thing – it’s called “courtesy.”

    The moral to this story should be “Don’t try and be God – you aren’t qualified for the job.”

  • A friend (literally)

    Hey James, I love your blog. Its brutally honest. But this was just brutal. For your own sake, you should know where to draw the line. If you want to break up with Claudia have the guts to do so. Don’t go off writing bullshit stories like this anymore.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I never BS in this blog. But also, these were events (mostly) from almost 20 years ago.

    • Steven L goff

      if you’re breaking up w/ Claudia….can I get her number?…….lol        seriously….I want to find out if this Yogi stretching/flexibility thingy…..is all its cracked up to be!

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    Now would be perfect timing for you to use the line from “As Good as It Gets”
    (restaurant scene)

  • Steven L goff

    I like it when people watch   ;)   he he  (yes I meant while having sex….but more so because of this below)

    If you live as much of your life in the public domain (lets just use facebook as example) it helps you be a more honest and sincere person. It’s hard to be a bullshitter or a straight up  asshole or a perv if everyone knows your bussiness. I call it “living your life of front street” so to speak. Blog you daily life and goals. This way you are committed to doing the things you say you are going to do. Because if ya dont. People (your friends who see yu in person on daily basis will know you are bullshitter or asshole or pedophile and will post such facts if you are). I wrote many social thesis (think tank pieces) how technology ultimately leads to a social utopia. We are see signs of fruition of that now in DNA crime solving technology and other law enforcement techniques. I say embrace the technology and let this happen. That is a short version(clip…I have more) of why I live my life in the public eye as much as possible. I believe it helps me be a better person in life. And lets not forget that technolg is advancing at an exponential rate. …..may The Force be with you….lol For these reason I am also a proponent of doing away with online/Internet anonymity.

    • Steven L goff

      ‎”living your life on front street”….should read

  • JaneyB

     Don’t worry about her seeing the real you. People – well, some people, see more than you think you show.  If she hasn’t seen it, she’s already inferred it – and she’s still with you. No worries.

    That was one messed up girl you were with. Aw-ful. That reminds me that when someone makes you feel anxious and insecure, there’s usually something subtle they’re doing that really isn’t loving. Hard to see it though through the lust and the need in the moment but it’s too clear later. There just seem to be a lot of ambiguous destructive people out there and it’s too bad so many people have first experiences like you had. You are not alone.

  • Anonymous

    Great post, I can relate.

  • C. Martin

    I’ll always appreciate these kinds of blog posts, James. It’s great to know that you are human and have normal worries, much like the rest of us. Obviously it’s easier for an average guy to relate to these kinds of stories versus the stories about multi-million dollar bank accounts and hedge fund titans (those are enjoyable as well!).

    I was first drawn to your blog because I enjoy learning about finance, technology and entrepreneurship but I honestly enjoy these types of posts a bit more. I guess even wildly successful people have insecurities too huh?

  • http://www.toddandelin.com Todd_Andelin

    One day, psychologists and students will study *this* blog on a daily basis.
    They will monitor it just as you monitored your old gf’s computer.

  • Scott Thomas

    holy shit dude.

    you can write.

  • Anonymous

    First: riveting writing. Honest as ever. I congratulate your unwillingness to flinch from the darkest human moments that we all have (whether or not we admit it).

    Second: nuts to the haters that say this was too dark, blah, blah, blah. And nuts to the haters that ignored the bit about this describing events of twenty years ago. Who out there is the same person now that they were twenty years ago?

    Third: feng is utterly correct. We all have horrors great or small from our past. But some are old and dead and in the past where they belong – they are no longer alive to us.

    Fourth: Sharing old dark secrets is risky. It may help her understand you better, but will it change the man she sees when she looks at you? Or are dark dead things from the past best left there?

    Last: Don’t think of your unwillingness to share all your past darkness with Claudia as a “mask”. That suggests you are trying to be someone you are not in order to deceive. You are just trying to be a good person. Big difference.

  • Anonymous

    On Bastille Day, no less…:-)

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/derekdodds Derek Dodds

    Hey J, don’t you think your writing is a de-masking in itself?

  • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

    Claudia does read this blog sometimes, right?

    You ain’t hiding shit, James.  And I’m sure she loves you as much as ever.

    • http://twitter.com/zburt Zachary Burt

      James I so want to know who the real you is.
      Or rather what the real you even means

      I wonder who the real me is

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        The trick is, I think its impossible to know.

        • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

          Or, it is simply the wrong question.  There is no real you or not real you – it is all you.  When we feel “fake”, it isn’t that we are not our real selves, it is that we are allowing ourselves to be something other than what we want or hope to be.  And, that allowance, as well as the role that we then play, is just as much a part of us as the way we feel when we are lying in bed next to the person we love the most.  There is no single real you for any of us, in my opinion.  And, if you find someone who is themselves all the time, I’d bet they are either a complete asshole or an unbelievable bore.

          • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

            Great point. Maybe feeling “fake” is trying to put any label at all on ourselves. We are all too complicated for labels or understanding.

          • Ubernaut

            yes but trying is fun fun isn’t it?

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        The trick is, I think its impossible to know.

      • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

        I imagine that we are “real”ly just living
        beings….making choice after choice, moment after moment, some
        conscientiously and others sub-conscientiously based on an endless
        number of factors and life experiences perceived as reality or not, and
        executed to a level in line with our own mental capabilities.

    • Claudia

      I do read, James is the ‘James Altucher” of my generation and I admire him, heck I envy the guy for writing so much better than anyone I know!  That is my dark secret, I hate that he is so much better at writting than me. And I love him too.

      • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

        Claudia, let’s start a fan club then.  The James Altucher Admiration Society, for those who wish they could write like he does.  I’d definitely wear a t-shirt with his face on it.

  • David O.

    hmm, how I can say this, James, it’s not her, “it really your fault”.  I’m not being facetious, you were having relations with a woman you didn’t trust. I think a part of you knew there was a good chance it’s not going to work…all of us do this.

  • Anonymous

    Ouch! James, step back off the ledge and come back inside!

    I wish I could say that I cannot relate. I am glad to say that I mostly can’t.

    We all exist in cages of our own devising. We present the world with faces we think others will find pleasing, thus debasing the currency that is ‘us’. We feel that our repressed selves would only revolt those we ‘fool’ with our charade. In the dark, our selves become twisted and monstrous in our imaginations. Occasionally, Mr Hyde is loosed.

    With most people, it is expressed by the occasional inappropriate word or deed. With a few, horror. Although your experiences seem a bit extreme, they fall into the upper middle of the bell curve I think.

    That said, I am glad you found Claudia. I suspect she knows you far better than you know and you should be grateful and flattered. You should also apologize for insulting her perceptiveness by assuming that she doesn’t have a pretty good idea of who you are.

    Go forth, young man, and use your powers for good from now on!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Maybe they are being used for good. 

      • Anonymous

        Actually, I tend to agree that they are. You seem to be a good soul, although you can be pretty hard on yourself. Your writings are a net benefit in a world full of negatives. I greatly enjoy your prose and I find it mostly uplifting and almost always entertaining.

  • http://tomakefast.com PJ Brunet

    I’m sure you regret falling down the stairs.  At the time you did your best, but I really think you should work on some kind of apology if you haven’t already.  But who to apologize to?  Ask yourself that.  

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      There’s a lot of apologies in this world better left unsaid. 

  • Steven L goff

    “She had spent an hour in the dorm room of Fernando and I still couldn’t understand that so I wanted to punish her.”

    ….Fernando was tapping that ass….LMAO    you know it James  lol lol

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, I was 18 then. Everyone was messing with my head every day.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, I was 18 then. Everyone was messing with my head every day.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, I was 18 then. Everyone was messing with my head every day.

  • Xiao Chu

    Even your wife has darkness, even children (at least some children) have darkness ..

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. Everyone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. Everyone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. Everyone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. Everyone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. Everyone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. Everyone.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. Everyone.

  • http://berislav.lopac.net Berislav Lopac

    I used to feel like you do in that penultimate paragraph. Then I stopped caring.

  • Rolf Norfolk

    Introspection isn’t useful. Even Einstein said that he saw so much about the universe yet when he looked inside himself could see only darkness. Like depression (to which it is related) it feeds on its own nothingness, pointlessly and forever. Bergson said something like thought makes a circle and action breaks it.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Its interesting to read about Einstein’s love affairs when he was younger. There’s a reason he probably didn’t like to introspection. 

  • Ashish Hablani

    How can you be so honest and still get away with it ?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Get away with what?

  • Flamedamour

    Wow! OMG Help! My boyfriend has done the same thing to me – puting spyware on the computer. I recently found out he even downloaded a spyware to tap into my iphone but he swears he never used it.
    What should a woman do?
    I’m bitter about this. I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend. I feel as though people who snoop around, do it because they themselves are not trust worthy. Am I right?

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like there is a lack of trust and communication.  He doesn’t trust you, so he installs spyware.  You can’t trust him, because he is sneaking around and installing spyware.  Is a relationship lacking in trust and communication a good foundation for happiness?

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like there is a lack of trust and communication.  He doesn’t trust you, so he installs spyware.  You can’t trust him, because he is sneaking around and installing spyware.  Is a relationship lacking in trust and communication a good foundation for happiness?

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yes, once you have to “install’ something. Or once you even get the feeling you need to do that then it means one of two things:
        A) the relationship is already over
        B) you need psychological help

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yes, once you have to “install’ something. Or once you even get the feeling you need to do that then it means one of two things:
        A) the relationship is already over
        B) you need psychological help

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yes, once you have to “install’ something. Or once you even get the feeling you need to do that then it means one of two things:
        A) the relationship is already over
        B) you need psychological help

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yes, once you have to “install’ something. Or once you even get the feeling you need to do that then it means one of two things:
        A) the relationship is already over
        B) you need psychological help

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yes, once you have to “install’ something. Or once you even get the feeling you need to do that then it means one of two things:
        A) the relationship is already over
        B) you need psychological help

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yes, once you have to “install’ something. Or once you even get the feeling you need to do that then it means one of two things:
        A) the relationship is already over
        B) you need psychological help

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Yes, once you have to “install’ something. Or once you even get the feeling you need to do that then it means one of two things:
        A) the relationship is already over
        B) you need psychological help

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like there is a lack of trust and communication.  He doesn’t trust you, so he installs spyware.  You can’t trust him, because he is sneaking around and installing spyware.  Is a relationship lacking in trust and communication a good foundation for happiness?

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like there is a lack of trust and communication.  He doesn’t trust you, so he installs spyware.  You can’t trust him, because he is sneaking around and installing spyware.  Is a relationship lacking in trust and communication a good foundation for happiness?

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like there is a lack of trust and communication.  He doesn’t trust you, so he installs spyware.  You can’t trust him, because he is sneaking around and installing spyware.  Is a relationship lacking in trust and communication a good foundation for happiness?

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like there is a lack of trust and communication.  He doesn’t trust you, so he installs spyware.  You can’t trust him, because he is sneaking around and installing spyware.  Is a relationship lacking in trust and communication a good foundation for happiness?

  • John

    Did Claudia ever asked you what the “real you” is?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Good question. The answer is “no” but I havent asked her either.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Good question. The answer is “no” but I havent asked her either.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Good question. The answer is “no” but I havent asked her either.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Good question. The answer is “no” but I havent asked her either.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Good question. The answer is “no” but I havent asked her either.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Good question. The answer is “no” but I havent asked her either.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Good question. The answer is “no” but I havent asked her either.

  • Mahesh

    James, you are one of a kind. You are very scary honest. Amazing  guts to be able to share something like this. You have reached Nirvana  point.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mahesh. I definitely agree with the “scary” honest part. I always get nervous I say too much.

  • Tim Leon

    James, when she told you she didn’t know who the father was you should have jumped for joy that it might not be you! Claudia sure seems like a real sweetheart. Congratulations!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I should’ve. But we don’t always realize these thigns at the time. Are brains turn into a milkshake straight out of a blender.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I should’ve. But we don’t always realize these thigns at the time. Are brains turn into a milkshake straight out of a blender.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I should’ve. But we don’t always realize these thigns at the time. Are brains turn into a milkshake straight out of a blender.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I should’ve. But we don’t always realize these thigns at the time. Are brains turn into a milkshake straight out of a blender.

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      People use the term “Train wreck” quite a bit in the comments here. I don’t feel like a train wreck. I feel like the train has finally arrived at the destination.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      People use the term “Train wreck” quite a bit in the comments here. I don’t feel like a train wreck. I feel like the train has finally arrived at the destination.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      People use the term “Train wreck” quite a bit in the comments here. I don’t feel like a train wreck. I feel like the train has finally arrived at the destination.

      • http://www.feed.us RacerRick

        It’s not a train wreck.  It’s riveting.  Every time I visit your site… an hour of my day suddenly vanishes. 

      • http://www.brookefarmer.com Brooke Farmer

        I sometimes feel like my life is a train wreck. 

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          When there’s a train wreck there’s usually no hope for people on the train. But you have friends who love you, a child, a talent, gifts that other people would love to have.

          Children, as painful as they can be (and I dont mean to give pendantic advice) run in cycles. No situation ever stays the same with a child. Their worlds are too volatile. And they spread that volatility like a disease. but that’s often a good thing.

          • http://www.brookefarmer.com Brooke Farmer

            Fair enough. Perhaps more of bus wreck. I survived one of those. (Yet another thing I will someday get around to writing a post about.)

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          When there’s a train wreck there’s usually no hope for people on the train. But you have friends who love you, a child, a talent, gifts that other people would love to have.

          Children, as painful as they can be (and I dont mean to give pendantic advice) run in cycles. No situation ever stays the same with a child. Their worlds are too volatile. And they spread that volatility like a disease. but that’s often a good thing.

      • Crackcorn

        If you feel like you’ve reached the destination… you probably don’t understand the track yet. Illusions. Jimmie. ;-)

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          i thnk the metaphor has gone off-rail here.

          • Dspidero

            HAHAHAHAHA

      • John H.

        This blog is not a ‘train wreck’. If anything, it has helped put the wheels of my own personal train back on the track. Thank you James.

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

  • 123

    Man, every time I read your blog, I get a little creeped out. I keep telling myself I’ll stop reading it. But I just can’t. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I. Just. Can’t. Turn. Away…

  • Me

    This post made me want to hug away the hurt in a very grand friend way. I’m so sorry. I can feel the pain from that time. She did wrong by you. But I bet your sweetie now is nothing like that. I’m sorry for those losses. ::hug::

  • Yflitwin

    It’s impossible for someone to see the real you. It would take years of conversations and by the time you finished you would already by someone else.

    • Yflitwin

      Argh, already BE someone else.

  • Steven Adair

    So I wasn’t quite sure what to think as I read your blog today James, but as I was reflecting on some of my own relationships past and present I had a moment of understanding of why. I think we all have demons, darksides, defects of character or whatever we choice to call them that haunt us or create chaos in our lives, and the only way to get past them is to acknowledge what they are and expose them to the light so they can be dispelled or released and we may learn to be free from them. It’s a really scary thing to do, hence most of us are unable to do it. Keep up the good work James and may the force be with you!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      And with you

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for having the cojones to tell real stories in a real way. Always compelling. Keep it up James!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BMFL2RPI7VTR3GQLZJC5YNJN4M Leo Goose

    Not sure what is more disturbing, the fact that you surreptitiously monitored your girlfriend’s private comments, or the fact that she ended up validating your decision.  In this situation, you both suck.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      No argument there. You reap what you sow.

      • jack

        You (or some other schmuck) sowed a baby. How’d that work out? The fact she was so self centered she had to flush it down the toilet is the most fucked up part of the story.

  • Michael

    Always use birth control with these women. Always.

    • Duderkins

      oops….too late.

  • Guest

    I appreciate the honesty, im going through a similar circumstance, and being a techie, i tell women that i will find out what you being dishonest about eventually. I was with a women that was in a relationship with a guy for 10 years she is very attached to the guy I knew that. So i found out she was talking to him about our affairs and was logically aware anyways but i found out she actually was.

    People shouldn’t lead people on yet, I thank god, Im a hacker for good i will found out even if you don’t use technology.

  • Anonymous

    James, your mask came off a long time ago and there is a large flashlight over head. You are nothing but a “PIMP”..

  • Owen Bernard

    I really liked this article because I feel very similar to James in this respect. I had searched to understand these very feelings he is showing here and it seems he has helped me in a really great way just now.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks Owen and GY

  • http://economicdisconnect.blogspot.com/ GYSC

    James, you can never know what;s in a man’s heart or a woman’s mind.  Those are dark places at times, true.  Still, it’s always a choice to let the darker side win out, gotta fight the good fight.  Brutal honesty, rare these days thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/kamalravikant Kamal Ravikant

    Don’t agree with “there’s mostly darkness.”  I think each moment is potential, waiting for the choice to be made to express itself.  Dark or light.  If it’s our ego – which, really, comes from a place of fear – then the choice can lead to darkness.  If it’s a conscious choice, like your useful vs. not-useful place, then it leads to light.  

    • http://twitter.com/kamalravikant Kamal Ravikant

      Also, an interesting thing a friend told me once: Darkness is just the absence of light.  He used the metaphor of a dark room with a dirty window.  Our job, he said, was not to force the darkness away – that’s impossible – but to just work on cleaning the window (ourselves, our mind), and the light would naturally flow in and the room would no longer be dark.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Thats a good metaphor. I guess sometimes it takes discipline to keep cleaning the window.

        • http://twitter.com/kamalravikant Kamal Ravikant

          Yup.  Your Daily Practice post, for example, is a great way to clean the window.

  • chouaib mallem

    hahaha!! i can’t figure out why do you hate French that much?? 

    • http://www.buttonsf.wordpress.com Buttons

      6yrs would have done it to me :-P

  • Victoria MacAoda

    The pregnancy bit must have been harrowing for you and I’m sorry she took that choice away from you.

    But putting that tracker on her machine???!! I could hardly read past that. It made me feel physically sick. It’s tantamount to abuse. I’d feel violated if someone did that to me.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I wasn’t good. In any way.

  • http://twitter.com/ColinKlinkert Colin Klinkert

    Legend! Thanks James that was an awesome read… Everything happens for a reason it seems, even if it is not at all clear at the time

  • Guest

    If you hold on to something too tightly, you can end up crushing it and it slips between your fingers. I have a friend whose bf put spyware on her computer and looks at all her accounts, cell phone records, etc. The truth is, this won’t stop a person from cheating but it will push away a good woman. Be glad & grateful to have a good woman in your life. It’s hard to trust people especially when you’ve been burned but being in a relationship with someone you can trust makes life much less stressful and the relationship stronger. 
    As always, great article!

  • Marios greece

    Haha unbelievable! I had a Dutch gf in my 20s, she told me she wish she had a small box she could put me in and carry me everywhere she went(after a year together we ended up in a long term relationship). She became very jealous, she kept asking for my email password(we trust each other, we have nothing to hide blabla) and when I visited her in Netherlands for the first time and I started her computer there were many error messages one or two applications that didn’t manage to autorun..I remember googling it and realizing they were keylogging apps! Could be on purpose, could be random I don’t know..
    There s a female Altucher somewhere in the Netherlands :D

    • http://www.buttonsf.wordpress.com Buttons

      LOL or your “dutch gf” had an Altucher of her own, keylogging her computer :-)  you said you were visiting her for first time; perhaps she had to tell a bf there “sorry hon, i will be busy for the next 2 weeks visiting my auntie out of town” and he didnt trust her ;-)

      Usually if we don’t trust someone it’s because our gut is telling us something our head and hearts don’t want to see (ever heard of the husband/wife being the last to know?). Our subconscious takes in the subtle things that we don’t want to outright acknowledge: they don’t answer the door or phone when you’re there, they quickly close their windows when you enter a room (anyone who has been cheated can complete this list).

      If you can’t rid yourself of that gut feeling, best to let them go to screw someone else’s life rather than clinging to something that’s dead or dying.as a sidenote, i really hate that some people are afraid to be alone and have to grab someone else before leaving their mate. should be on the ‘potential mates’ list: has lived alone and enjoys their own company. I know people in their 50s who still have not conquered this one.

  • Guest

    “I had to get a French dictionary (there was no Google translate twenty years ago)”
    There also were no(t that many) Internet cafés, certainly none with acces to email.

    “I downloaded a keystroke logger”
    You must have been world’s #1 hacker in 1991…

    Very bogus stuff…

  • Anonymous

    This is the creepiest thing I have read in weeks. And I’m on Tumblr.

  • Amira

    I’ve been reading several of your posts and like them but this one I *really really* don’t like at all. First of all, it’s super creepy that you would spy on her, why not just discuss it like address the issue directly and then if she’s cheating on you, just dump her? Second of all, there is nothing funny about stalking someone, it’s horrible!!! And wake up and take off your mask, you are fooling yourself, everybody has both light and darkness at the same time, mostly darkness.

  • http://www.stealthgenie.com StealthGenie

    You can spy with
    the help of 3 methods. 1) Hire a personal detector. 2) Monitor Computer
    Activities with some type of Key Logger. 3) Monitor mobile phone activities
    with the help of StealthGenie. 

  • bill ingram

    James, Thank you for sharing these unpleasant items from your life. This is very courageous of you. I believe that there is ugliness within all of us. We must choose to restrain the ugliness. I fear that some people may believe the ugliness is unique to themselves or to evil people and conclude that they are evil when they are just people. When the ugliness takes action, that is the problem.

  • Max Anderson

    Hey James, just wanted to leave a comment of encouragement. Really enjoy your stuff. Please keep it up :)