30 signs that someone isn't interested in you

In the past, I made a lot of excuses for the behaviours of people that I was involved with, the anxiety that I felt with them, and my continued investment. Over the years of writing this blog, I’ve read thousands of comments and emails where we make excuses, rationalise shady stuff, ignore red flags and our own needs, and basically linger or even stay rammed stuck in relationships long beyond their ‘use by date’, all on the basis of a couple of things – they’re still ‘there’ in some capacity and we assume they have ‘some’ interest that can be made into ‘more’. Cue trying to prove ourselves, seeking validation and attempting to avoid rejection. One of the things that we must do, and by we, I mean both men and women because these issues do affect both sexes, is recognise when someone is not interested or is ‘vanilla’ in their interest.

The key really isn’t to get into splitting hairs about what level of interest they have, because it all boils down to that they’re either in or they’re out, and they’re either treating you decently, or they’re not. If any of the following signs of disinterest are in your relationship, I’d take a parachute and jump because all 30 of these either on their own or joined up with others, make for an unhealthy partnering. You deserve better. Don’t sell yourself short.

Recognise signs of disinterest so that you don’t allow someone to ‘pass time’ with you.

1. They’re not contacting you or are sporadically contacting you.

2. They may not even bother speaking with you and rely predominantly on emails, text messages, and instant messenger.

3. They treat you like an option.

4. They don’t want to put both of their feet in and commit. They’d like you to ‘go with the flow’ even if there is nothing flowing, and to expect nothing beyond this.

5. The relationship doesn’t progress – it goes in fits and starts, stalls, or goes into reverse.

6. They’re keeping you a secret.

7. They tend to be around/call you up when they want something. It might be money, attention, an ego stroke, sex, an armchair psychologist, but if you think back to all the times when you’ve heard from them, you may notice that it was a preamble to something.

8. They leave it to the last minute/short notice to make plans. They may not even bother to make last minute plans – they might just show up late at night expecting you to be around. Don’t be.

9. They create drama in the hope that you’ll take the hint that they’re not interested and end it, so that they can be let off the hook

10. When you’re broken up with them, they get in touch, often in a lazy manner just to ensure that you still jump to their beat. In fact, take the fact that you’re not in a relationship with them as a major sign of disinterest. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they got in touch because they want to get back together.

11. They’ll make a lot of noise when you attempt to move on with someone else and then when you ‘reciprocate’, they’re nowhere to be seen.

12. They send text messages, emails, or leave voicemails, and when you no doubt eagerly respond, they either take ages to or don’t bother at all.

13. They don’t break up with their wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend. But they still expect to be with you. Hell, they seem to think you have all the time in the frickin’ world to be waiting around for them.

14. They don’t get that divorce finalised. In fact, they may even pretend they’ve started proceedings!

15. They keep blaming timing, the no 5 bus, work, their ex, their commitment issues, or whatever the excuse du jour is, for why they can’t be or do something. In fact, they keep making excuses.

16. They’re sporadic in their efforts, and you can often pin bursts of efforts to when you either told them to beat it or they felt in danger of losing you.

17. They keep changing their mind about their interest in you. Flip-flapper alert!

18. They talk incessantly about themselves while not really taking an interest in you. OR… they deflect conversations away from details about themselves and try to focus on you.

19. They tell you that they love you but they’re not in love with you, that they’re not ready for a relationship, they’re not the right person for you, that they’re a ‘bad person’, ‘out of your league’, that you’re ‘too good for them’ and other such things that basically say I have limited interest in you.

20. They sleep with other people while sleeping with you.

21. They only have a sexual interest in you.

22. It takes them weeks or even months to call you up after a date or taking your number.

23. You’re hanging out like friends. You may even be friends with benefits.

24. They disappear for periods of time.

25. They’re more interested in having things their way, on their terms, being right, and having the power.

26. They treat you without love, care, trust, and respect. Even if you don’t love one another yet, it shouldn’t stop them from being a respectful person with integrity that cares about their actions and those around them.

27. They treat everyone from the old lady down the street, to the postman, the dog and whoever else has no romantic expectations of them with decency, but when it comes to you, they’re an assclown.

28. They’re either Future Avoiders, afraid to talk about the future or make plans, or they’re Future Fakers, faking a future so they can get what they want in the present, because they know they won’t be around in the future, because they’re not genuinely interested.

29. They are controlling, manipulative, jealous and possessive. These are not signs that they’re actually interested in you – these are signs that they want to control you. This is not the same as love or as a result of love. A person who behaves in this way isn’t the type to have a balanced, respectful relationship, and may not even really want you but won’t want anyone else to have you either.

30. They’re so ‘busy’, they have no time for the relationship. Nobody is that busy and when someone is genuinely interested they find the time.

When someone’s genuinely interested in you, they consistently demonstrate their interest and leave you in no doubt about it. They and the relationship are not ambiguous, they’re not afraid to make plans and follow through on them, and more importantly, they treat you with care, trust, respect, and eventually love consistently. They don’t burn up their energies resisting you and you don’t burn up your time and energy making excuses for them and seeing meaning where there is no meaning.

When someone is not interested, it doesn’t mean that they won’t stick around for the fringe benefits, especially if it becomes apparent that regardless of how poorly they behave, that you will still be there.

There are others who are a half-hearted, a bit ‘meh’, and actually vanilla in their interest, in that they think you’re ‘nice’ or whatever but you’re not ‘The One’ or even in danger of becoming ‘The One’. Sometimes they flat out know this, but maybe because they’re not genuinely looking for a ‘The One relationship’ – possibly because they’re avoiding commitment – you will do to pass time with. Some people overestimate their interest, then realise that they’re not as interested as they thought, and either think they might rediscover that interest again (probably not), or that again, you’re good to pass time with. Of course if something better comes along, they’ll be out of there.

Don’t sell you short and if the relationship and your interest isn’t mutual, flush before you lose your dignity and self-esteem. You cannot be available for an available relationship if you’re making yourself available to someone who is unavailable.

Your thoughts?

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182 Responses to 30 Signs That Someone Isn’t Interested Or Is Half-Heartedly Interested In You: How To Avoid Being a Passing Time Candidate

  1. JJ2 says:

    29. They are controlling, manipulative, jealous and possessive.

    My recent A/C was controlling and manipulative, but not jealous and possessive. The “controlling” part was he would get angry at the least little thing even when it was NOT about him! Apparently, it was ok for him to bite my head off, but I wasn’t “allowed” to get mad at him for anything. And like I said in an earlier post, if I told him I “Liked” something, he would stop doing it. That was the “manipulative” part.

    9. They create drama in the hope that you’ll take the hint that they’re not interested and end it so that they can be let off the hook

    A guy I dated when I was in my 20’s told me that he did that to get his ex wife to divorce him. So knowing that, when I thought he was doing that to me, I waited it out, just to see if HE would break down and break if off. He finally did, and even though I “won,” it’s a hollow victory. If you think you are in that situation, it’s best to break it off, even if means he “wins.” Don’t even try to get into this pi**ing contest.

    • Niki says:

      Definitely feel you on the double standards bit. I remember him trying to press the reset button like I’d had enough time to get over whatever wrongdoing he’d done. If, however, he was the one who had an issue with me, he got upset if I seemed to be eager to move past it. Control was a big part, trying to keep me unsure of what was going on. One time he actually stated that I was so easy to manipulate; when I questioned him about it a day later, he denied it. Good Lord, they live among us. If not for this blog I’d swear that I was alone and going bloody mad. But I’m not, and that’s great – life is so good without him in it, it’s frightening.

  2. Janine says:

    I’ve experienced these signs..with the exception of a few, but majority of them. In short, is it all about control? So to speak the men who do this see you as their ” Territory” and although they don’t want you necessarily, they just want the option to know they can have you?

  3. namaste says:

    “Excuse de jour” Good one Natalie 😀

  4. FeistyWoman says:

    This list is a reminder as to why people need a healthy dose of self-respect. I’ve been down this road a couple of times and as soon as it starts to feel too bad to feel good, we ought to know that it isn’t going to work out.

    The sexual aspect is the biggest uncomfortable line that we cross. Once you give yourself to a man who treats you like everything on this list, you’ve pretty much effed yourself. People need to wait on sex, especially women, before they decide to make an emotional investment. If the guy truly likes you, he’ll gladly wait without any pressure. And he’ll wait without doing all the other things on this list.

    People should inherently know these things but they don’t and it’s very sad.

    • Nikki says:

      Sadly, plenty of guys will wait it out and marry before abusing/cheating and even dumping. Whether you have sex earlier or later an abuser is still gonna turn on a dime because saying yes too early isn’t the bat signal. The bat signal is in their twisted heads. You have to be vigilant about their behavior as well as not rushing physical intimacy. Evaluate the emotional intimacy as well and it will tip you off to his plans.

  5. learningtomoveon says:

    Been through many of these except a few. But 30 was the most prominent experience. I work in the same industry as ex but a different vertical and so I made silly excuses like I don’t know how tedious it is to work in that vertical. I now know what someone who has both feet in looks like. And I don’t know if I am allowed to say this but good going with the rules NML :)

  6. RozB says:

    I love this list, esp. # 27 !!!!! SO TRUE!!! Thanks for this, you rock!

  7. snowboard says:

    What a lovely list!! My ex-AC checked a whopping 27. (He got off the hook on #14 and #15 since he didn’t have another relationship. Only with #16 did he legitimately not raise a red flag.)

    Prior to the AC, I was involved for about 7 years with another extreme EUM/AC, but he was completely different to my latest one. This man only checked 3, 4, 5, and 26, but he was actually far more toxic than my most recent arrogant, lady-playin’, high energy AC.

    This guy was very brilliant, very stoic, very quiet. He never pulled any of the classic AC moves like showering you with attention, “I love yous,” etc and then changing his tune. Instead, he was never emotional AT ALL; in fact, I think he is completely devoid of emotion. Yet, he did constantly want to be with me, constantly called me, constantly showered me with gifts, constantly tried to hook up with me. Yet, somehow, he always continued to view me as just an option, not someone he could really be crazy about, and he would always have bigger crushes on other girls. (We were a couple for a year near the beginning, but he ended it, and I can say I felt horribly dissatisfated through the duration of the relationship, as I longed for the absent displays of romance.) After breaking up, when I would try to put distance between us, he would always reel me back in, wanting to keep me near.

    The most recent AC was a bigger a**hole but certain standards (27 flags!!!!!) but being with the first guy, a Functional EUM/AC was actually worse for me, like Chinese water torture…

  8. Sue says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this list! I’m going to cancel a coffee date with someone new tonight because when he called me Saturday night, he had his two daughters with him – his turn with them for the weekend – and all he talked about was his ex, who she’s dating, how he (that person) will influence his kids, etc. As my nephew would say, it was a “yukky poo” conversation. Goodbye to him!

    • Wastedlove says:

      @Sue. Monday I went on a first date with someone and as we sat down to lunch 5 minutes into the date he answered his phone and instead of saying he’d call the person back had a long chat with him! When the waiter came I said,” would you mind sitting down and chatting to me, as I’m on a first date and he’s chatting to his mate on the phone.” This attempt to shame my date failed to work, so I took the phone off him and told the caller “Phil’s on his first date with me, what do you think about him chatting to you?” His friend agreed it was wrong, and hung up. The only reason I didn’t walk out was, lunch was coming and I was hungry! I’ll never meet him again. these men are showing us what the relationship with them would be like. be thankful they showed us early.

      • Happy Soul says:

        @Wastedlove, well done you, GIRL!!! WOW! I admire you:-)
        I arranged myself for few dates next week (trying to forget my AC), lets see what going to happen! I am so aware of Red Flags now!!!
        @Natalie, thank you for a great post, it is an eye-opener, but was so painful to read, especially when you mentioned about “passing time candidate”…GOD, I was his passing time candidate, I don’t know what I done wrong, but it was so beautiful in the beginning. Maybe I scared him of by my emotional unavailability, or something else? I have to say I was mean too sometimes, but I was provoked by him and his unacceptable behaviour:-( Oh, Natalie, I still miss him after all this!!!

  9. The Holy Digit says:

    “He’ll tell you he’s a bad guy.”
    Oh the bad guy syndrome. The guy I was with did this weird manipulation maneuver where he would tell me he was a “bad guy” whenever we got into arguments. He would look me in the eye and say this and when he said it, it was if he had never meant anything more in his entire life. He did this because he did the odd trick of calling out his faults but not doing anything to change them. I guess he thought if he called himself out on it then I couldn’t have room to do the same and/or complain?

    I see now that this guy was not only emotionally unavailable but also had some really deep-rooted issues with self-love (or lack of) and guilt issues on things that I could never place and/or prove. It’s half-sad but it’s also 100% not my problem anymore. He was one TOXIC individual.

  10. Barry Soetoro says:

    Caveat/Disclaimer: I am a man. I have shared many relationships with many women (serially and in parallel) from the full range of financial, social, and racial spectrum. I take full responsibility for my thoughts, my feelings and every result I get.

    My reaction to the list above is very acute, quite emotional, and uproariously amusing as well.

    the fact that any female of any persuasion, seeking opportunity for meaningful connectedness with a man, would put up with any of the above; which in my view is nothing more than a list of pitiful victimization excuses to make you feel better about your own self deception; then why would a man, or a string of men treat you as nothing more than a ‘booty call’?

    You girls, via your lack of self-esteem, your low standards, and your superficial desires (along with the vanity and drama you ladies drag into our lives if we dare to let you come close) in a “mate”, makes manipulating the on-going soap opera called ‘our relationship’ with you so… well… so inevitable.

    yet – and this is only relevant to those women who have woken up or are aware of the truth – yet, you know, if you were ever to be upfront with ground rules; if ever you ‘dumped’ us guys at the first sign of not respecting you, treating you like a PTC, and doing any of the above, that you would lose your chance with us, as we can easily replace you with someone willing to play our game. You know this innately.

    When is the last time you saw, heard or knew of a mother/father disciplining their teenage/young adult son for being disrespectful to girls (related or otherwise)? Where do you ladies think we men learn how to treat you?
    I was pinned to the wall and/or beaten senseless each and every time I mistreated my sister. And those early adjustments to my behavior stay with me to this very day.

    Truthfully ladies, as if you can handle the truth, you make it way to easy for guys to get what they want from you, when they want it, and how they want it. And there is no one to blame but yourselves.
    For you alone teach others how you desire to be treated; you alone determine the result of any relationship interplay, by what you accept, what you go along with, and the indecisiveness of your intentions.

    God forbid if you ever stopped making lists of excuses and actually sat down with a paper and pen (with i-crap turned off) and listed out truly what is that you WANTED, and not focus on what you do not want, and not re-hashing all the putrid rubbish from the past infinitum.

    The very fact you DONT know what it is that you WANT, makes is oh so easy for us to get money/favors/arrangements/short notice meetings/sex from you.

    • grace says:

      Nat specifically said that these things apply to men and women. Both men and women will put up with varying levels of crap. It’s not exclusive to women despite your comments.
      Nevertheless, it was useful to read a man’s views. If not hair-raising actually.

      • Elle says:

        Barry raised an interesting, if not slightly confusing, issue about from whom and how men learn to treat women. He suggested this is internalised from lessons (formal and informal) in the household, ideally from the father (I am inferring that it was his father who beat him senseless). But then, later, he says that we, adult women, have to teach men how to treat us. As an armchair sociologist, I think we do, but this is only as an unfortunate result of fathers avoiding this instruction of their young sons (and probably many other variables in the family set-up). The ACs I know often have absent fathers (either not there or present in the house, but weak disciplinarians) and mothers who infantalise and indulge. Basically, I am more and more of the view that you should (as much as possible) meet someone already well-socialized because training someone is tiring and usually thankless.

        Anyway, there’s a lot to think about and take from these comments – manipulation is easy, and drama and vanity contaminates and creates distance and space for all sorts of dysfunctional behaviour. Some of this is gendered – women – on the whole – are at least ostensibly more interested in a serious relationship and tend to be more sensitive to outward judgment (and therefore more likely to approval-seek, engage in fantasy and be more easily malleable), but, once you know how to do it, it’s not that hard to use people, and, quite frankly, I have found the men I have dated in recent weeks to be ridiculously dramatic and worried about the future (and what things mean and what I think about them). In any case, I am with Grace, it’s essentially a human issue. Humans can be real sh*ts if they want to be.

        • Elle says:

          [Just to make clear – I am not suggesting that hitting kids is the best way of imparting these messages about respect. The emphasis of my point was on the instruction and whether or not this was taking place – and obviously, no instruction is instruction.]

          • Elle says:

            Actually – I don’t even know I can make these connections about upbringing and AC-behaviour. It’s too complex. I am almost certainly though of the view that it’s better just to say ‘no’ to every guy until you find one who has the same relationship values. I think you can work on the small stuff, but not on the big stuff. They have to work that stuff out themselves, especially if they’re beyond adolescence.

    • Leigh says:


      If you take full responsibility of your thoughts, feelings and outcomes of involvements in your life then by the comment you have made you instantly contradict yourself by blaming women who, in your disrespectful tone, have no one else to blame but themselves.

      It takes two to be involved. It takes a manipulator (a skilled one at that) to gain control of his/her victim for his/her selfish needs.

      You say you were beaten when you were disrespectful to your sisters? Maybe you need help with those early adjustments in your life because the people on this site certainly don’t need to be reminded that they are the only ones at fault.

      In fact, if men/women who are AC/EUMs/Narcs got help and grew a pair and admitted to their inability to show any empathy/honesty or integrity at any level then the world would be a better place.

      A person deserves respect, not to be ridiculed by the opposite sex, especially in a forum like this.

      But thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

    • Nicole says:


      I have to agree with you. We DO make it easy for men to mistreat us. I have seen very few women post here who do not recognize that.

      And there are plenty of men out there who make it easy for women to mistreat them. I personally know a man such as this. He showed an interest in me, but I was not interested in dating him. We hang out in groups only as friends. He asks me to do things with him alone all the time, and I never do. Because I know to do so would only encourage his interest and lead him on. Even though I told him point-blank and quite bluntly that I was not interested in dating him, he still makes every effort to take me places, and he would gladly pay. I have seen other women take advantage of this.

      Is he responsible for being a doormat? Hell, yes. He is also responsible for whether or not he ALLOWS women to take advantage of him.

      BUT…these women who use him are accountable for their actions as well. That is why I don’t encourage his interest or take advantage of him in any way. Because that is not the type of person I would like to be.

      That is the difference between an assclown and a decent human being.

      • grace says:

        Good point. We’re not obliged to take advantage of other people’s low self esteem or lack of boundaries. Also, when looking at our relationships, we shouldn’t be throwing blame around but recognising our part in it. To make ourselves better people and to reach our full potential.
        It’s not about insulting the opposite sex. When we find ourselves doing that (and yes I’ve done it), it’s time to rein in our anger/scorn and have a quiet time of honest self-reflection.
        Rider: if you find yourself with someone who assaults you, verbally, physically or sexually – run. I recommend Dr Joe Carver’s website for an escape plan: http://www.drjoecarver.com/

      • MH says:


        That is the difference between an assclown and a decent human being

        Thanks Nicole for this comment, I have been advocating this to my ex’s, and certain friends that it applies to.

        I have always followed this and it is hard to fathom that people do treat people like this.


        yet – and this is only relevant to those women who have woken up or are aware of the truth – yet, you know, if you were ever to be upfront with ground rules; if ever you ‘dumped’ us guys at the first sign of not respecting you, treating you like a PTC, and doing any of the above, that you would lose your chance with us, as we can easily replace you with someone willing to play our game. You
        know this innately.

        Thank you for this comment, it is exactly what happened to me. I am glad to be replaced after I walked away because I am not the one my ex is bragging about that he does not love like he does his current victim, his girlfriend. I also appreciate this reminder because I get caught up thinking that the two don’t connect and this reminds me that I do have self respect.

        For me it took awhile because I wasn’t sure if my ex was displaying bad behaviours because they were hard to detect. They were not obvious abusive things that most would find bad.

    • ramona says:

      Barry –

      You are rude and arrogant. Your post made me ill. No one here wants to be called “you girls” and claim that we drive relationships to the “inevitable” on our own. You suck.

      • Movedup says:


      • Nikki says:

        +1 Arrogant verbal diarrhea is so unattractive.

      • Allison says:


        Unfortunately, I think a lot of what Barry said is true.

        The majority of us should have bailed much sooner, as there were many red flags that were present, that we choose to ignore. When I admitted my complicity to this situation, it helped me move on from the ex, and also make powerful changes in my life.

        I’m not saying that many of these men lack character and decency, b/c if they had had any, they wouldn’t have continued to use. Lesson learned!

        Sometimes the truth sucks :(

        • Niki says:

          What he typed may be true, yeah, but it’s typical of blaming the ‘victim’. You take advantage of people because they’re weaker? If that makes him a man, then he’s clearly sub-human. In fact he sounds like a predator and his comments only serve to emphasize why we have a forum such as this. Get wise ladies, they live among us.

          • Allison says:


            I never want to consider myself a victim. I knew something was off and choose to ignore, as he would be different with me.

            Yes, the ex is a complete douche bag and user, but I choose to stick around and ask for more. Never again.

            Boundaries and self-esteem are a good thing!

    • Fearless says:

      Interesting comment from Barry. Thanks. I don’t disagree with what he says – though I am bit confused as to what side of the fence he is on (good guy/bad guy, or does he propose there is no such thing, juts women who leave themselves open to abusive behaviour?). Whichever it is, Barry, you seem proud enough of it. This part:

      “… if ever you ‘dumped’ us guys at the first sign of not respecting you, treating you like a PTC, and doing any of the above, that you would *lose your chance with us*…

      What chance is that, exactly, that you are talking about? Chance for what? More of the same lies, passive agressive tactics and devious manipulation? Fact is, there is never any chance of anything worth getting with these people, and if all that people (male or female) are interested in is getting what they can from another individual by any means, fair or foul (usually foul) then, yes, there is always another mug round the corner. But these users and abuseres – and yes, Barry,regardless of who allowed what and to whom, that is what they are, and they cannot excuse or condone their using, abusing behaviour on the grounds that “no one tried to stop me”.

      However, I am the first to say that we are not “victims” in these poor ‘non-relationships’, we are participants and I think Baggage Reclaim does not draw any veils over this or attempt to shield us from our own poor choices, blindsight and bad decision making.

      I agree with this:
      “The very fact you DONT know what it is that you WANT, makes is oh so easy for us to get money/favors/arrangements/short notice meetings/sex from you.”

      By the time we do know what we really want we realise we have been barking up the wrong tree for it, and yes, I think it is important for us to address what it is we actually want before we go shopping for it. We may then be more discerning and not end up wasting our money on a very a bad buy!

      However, men (or women) with true integrity do not require to have it thrust upon them. Regardless of how many of us are daft enough to leave our doors wide open to the world, the thief will take advantage – the decent guy won’t. Whatever is, whatever is…A rat is still a rat.

      (ps what the hell is PTC?)

      (sorry, am I veering into forum style comment? I am trying to be conscious of it…that’s me done now!!)

      • MH says:

        The very fact you DONT know what it is that you WANT, makes is oh so easy for us to get money/favors/arrangements/short notice meetings/sex from you.”

        This comment gets on my nerves in general.

        My recent ex use to say this to me about women in general while each day he displayed this very behaviour and was spouting it about himself.

        Why does everyone need to know what they want the minute they enter something.


        When I started with my ex I wanted nothing and then it taught me that I do want a committed relationship with a decent guy. Well I learned I wasn’t with a guy like that so it was time to move on. But you know what, truth be told after a strenuous attempt to leave him clawing and pulling at me I got away. You know what else I probably got away eventually because of his newest victim. I should thank her.

        For the record I have been stalked by two ex’s previously that wouldn’t let me go and I had to disappear in order to get away. People don’t realize it is not always that easy to set all the above rules to get away from guys. I lived in a women’s shelter to get away from one of them as well.

        So part of this is insulting to women in general saying we put up with everything. I could tell you all stories that would have you balling your eyes out what I have had to endure. I am here now and I am glad my last guy didn’t turn into what I have had to deal with in the past but emotionally him hanging onto me was tough at times.

        Some women have to stay in bad situations for their lives, so this guy can spout all he wants that it is our faults but I am not buying it.

        My last ex told me when I tried to get away at first that he was going to stalk me, little did he know that although he was joking and I wasn’t scared of him, his comment struck up a serious issue from my past.

        It is true to try and get away from these guys earlier on. The ones that don’t show interest like this post says can be the very ones that are so possessive and jealous that they do stalk you when you try to leave.

    • Hopeful says:

      Barry-Blame imo is obligue and obtuse. I believe you speak from a limited standpoint and I agree with Grace and Elle. This is a blog for those who are learning, a safe place to vent, express, heal and mourn and to move on. There are those that know what they want, but there is evil lurking everywhere, no one is above it. We all want to believe there is good in everyone, not so. In reference to your comment, “You girls, via your lack of self-esteem, your low standards, and your superficial desires (along with the vanity and drama you ladies drag into our lives if we dare to let you come close) in a “mate”, makes manipulating the on-going soap opera called ‘our relationship’ with you so… well… so inevitable”. No one is exempt from the machinations of undesireables. I have personally seen someone with high intellect, values, morals, and standards taken to their knees via the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are human, nothing more, we learn, and this is a place where that can be done. The is a list, just as there are lists for evrything else under the sun. If you truly feel the way you do I pity you, and you are no exception.

    • jennynic says:

      Dear Barry, your point of view is very interesting and educational. On some points I agree, some I don’t, but that is expected since I am thinking from experiences as a woman, you from your experience as a man. We were raised different from birth. Not being in a woman’s shoes, it may be hard for you understand how a little girl’s confidence can be stunted just by being raised in a perfectly socially acceptable way. Just as you say you were raised to respect women, do you participate in any of the things on the list, just because you can? If a man can expand his mind past his own life experience, he might see that many, many women are insecure as a result of being programmed to be. How would you feel if you were told since you could talk that certain things would be out of your reach, for no other reason than your sex. This is not an excuse but a reality. . Women are victims in ways that a man can’t understand. The list above helps many women figure out what is right and wrong, what is not normal and what is disrespectful when we were taught to be good and don’t make waves. You are right, it IS our responsibility to not accept bad and disrespectful behaviour. The list above is for those women who learned since birth, thru parenting, social media and school that we are less. In china, infant girls are murdered because a male child was desired. Women are trafficked and raped. By who? Men. I believe that women hold the keys to stop this, but as long as we are programmed to be less, you will run into women like us who have to relearn or unlearn. We are striving to not be victims again, for some of us, it means relearning what it means to be respected and not what I was taught since a was a tiny kid. If you can handle the truth, like you said “you girls” should, then realize that if you are getting what you want from a woman that is insecure or not sure what she wants by manipulating or without having integrity, then you don’t respect women. That is parasitic. I am not trying to insult you, but your argument is from a very narrow point of view. Try to see it from both sides and become an advocate.

      • WastedLove says:

        I agree with jennynic 100%.

        • Aimee says:

          Sounds like we are doing the “women who talk too much”. No offense intended. My thought is that Barry might be an AC that found his “girl” on a thread that he is upset about. I am not a victim, I am a participant and hope from all the work I have done and will continue to do that I do not ever have to encounter a “man” who cannot be kind, respectful, honest, and have integrity (if he is not interested just say so and move on down the line). Barry’s comment makes me feel like I am dealing with my exAC and to be quite honest I am tired of having to voice my perception to these kinds of men.

    • JJ2 says:

      I was going to completely ignore Barry and not get into this, but after reading a few replies, ok, I have to chime in.

      Barry, you cannot criticize us for “allowing” men to treat us bad when you have not walked in our shoes. Many of us don’t know better because we had dysfunctional relationships within our family unit. Maybe you can’t imagine any of this, but it happens.

      Your words:

      “the fact that any female of any persuasion, seeking opportunity for meaningful connectedness with a man, would put up with any of the above; which in my view is nothing more than a list of pitiful victimization excuses to make you feel better about your own self deception; then why would a man, or a string of men treat you as nothing more than a ‘booty call’?”

      Just because a woman doesn’t appear to have boundaries doesn’t give any man the right to take advantage of it. Yes, we should have boundaries, but on the other side, only A/C’s take advantage of the situation. Neither of us is “righter” than the other in this case.

      We are all trying to work through our issues. Natalie helps us. Please don’t put us down or call us “victims.”

      • Learning says:

        agree…barry’s post makes me sad. i put up with bad behavior from men for so long because i did, on some level, think i deserved it. but i didn’t deserve it. i don’t.

        no woman (person) deserves to be treated badly, used, lied to, manipulated, etc. some of the people who want to be loved the most are the least equipped for being able to find it. they go through pain and hurt again and again until (hopefully) they get wise to some of the reasons why they are in pain and hurting. just because a person lets you cross their boundaries doesn’t mean you should because they let you.

      • JJ2 says:

        Ok, my last comment to Barry.

        I agree with some that you did have some truths in your statements. But the one that turned me off the most was your comment to the effect of “women don’t know what they want.”

        I am so tired of hearing that. Yes, it’s true. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE WANT! You can’t “want” something unless you have exposure to it. If you have never seen a Play Station, you don’t know that you do or don’t want one. Likewise, if all you know is A/C behavior, then it’s all you will cope with, but it doesn’t mean you want it…… If you haven’t experienced good treatment from guys, you don’t know that you want it.

        When I was a child, my mom told me to “go out with everyone, don’t just date the football quarterback. Everyone has something to offer.” Well, I took her words LITERALLY! I would date anyone who asked me out. “Try everything once.” And yes, I had a lot of jerks, but there were some nice guys, too. It was only through this “Weeding out” of “Try everything once” that I learned what I do and don’t like in a guy.


        If you have never dated a guy who likes to go to strip bars, you don’t know that you would or would not tolerate the behavior. Especially if you didn’t know those things existed until you dated a guy who did that! (me in my 20’s…..)

        If you have never dated a guy who smokes, you don’t know that you would or would not tolerate the behavior.

        So, you are right, WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE WANT. But don’t condemn us for it. Just accept it as a reality.

    • NML says:

      Dear Barry

      What is a shame in this instance is that here is a comment that has some strong elements of truth to it but the effect is lost/diluted because of your 1) your tone and 2) the fact that you mixed the truth with some big delusions, which is funny really as you spent most of the comment regarding women as deluded. I should also add that this post is aimed at women *and* men, so it may be time for you to come out of your gilded castle of manliness and recognise that the issue of boundaries, self-respect, self-esteem and also emotional schooling in childhood is something that affects both sexes.

      In spite of the fact that you may have got a hiding for being disrespectful to women, I see that the lesson hasn’t fully translated into your actions and certainly not into this comment. Why is that? Because it seems that you don’t think that being respectful is something that you need to be or do if you think that the person has no boundaries or that they don’t deserve your respect for some reason.

      People with integrity are respectful beings so even when faced with someone who has little or no boundaries, they don’t hit them up for a shag, an ego stroke, money or a shoulder to lean on. They back away.

      We are indeed 100% responsible for ourselves and if we engage in situations where we have little or no boundaries, we must be accountable for our contribution into that situation and recognise that we must have boundaries because we do indeed teach people how to treat us. However, and it is a big however, that still does not absolve the other person of their responsibility because they too are 100% responsible for themselves. This means you can’t say stuff like ‘the fortune cookie made me’ or ‘she/he made it so easy for me to treat them badly’ – if you were a person with a foundation of values that says that you teach people with love, care, trust, and respect and you be a person of integrity, you wouldn’t be taking advantage of, and in some cases abusing the fact that the other person has little or no boundaries. Just like the person with little or no boundaries ultimately has a choice – YOU have a choice.

      So I remind you that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and look a tad closer to home at your own actions.

      Experience is why situations can feel familiar whichever end of this behaviour that you’re on. When I hear people make statements about what their sex can do in such intimate details, it’s not because they are observing their counterparts – it’s because they are that person. You can talk about guys like this, who incidentally you call ‘us’ because you’re all too familiar with reaping the rewards in these situations. You don’t KNOW guys like this – you ARE guys like this.

      And to anyone else reading this, let’s not forget that Barry’s comment did have some key truths to it particularly about how we can end up deceiving ourselves in our interactions, not knowing what we want, the lack of boundaries etc, but there is an even greater lesson to be learned here:

      Read Barry’s comment & remember it because hether it is on a conscious or subconscious level, after all some are so distanced from themselves that they won’t see the truth in themselves even if it bites off their privates, THIS is the type of thing that people who you get involved with while having little or no boundaries think of you. The next time you make an excuse for someone’s behaviour, the next time you let your libido take charge for you, the next time you blame it on a host of stuff that misses the point, let Barry’s comment ring loud in your ears. Would you want anyone to regard you like this? I think not.

      • grace says:

        Well said.
        I did wonder why you published Barry’s comment given its tone. Then I saw it answers a fundamental question that comes up here all the time. What motivates the other party in our dubious relationships? Especially those who have “parallel relationships” (which I take to understand having more than one “relationship” at a time).
        The brutal truth is they aren’t secretly in love with you, afraid of commitment,intimidated, waiting for the right time, feeling vulnerable, unaware of their actions, shy, busy or whatever justification we come up with. They DO understand what they are doing, ie taking advantage. Don’t let them. Move along to something better (and sitting at home on a Sat night watching dvds is better than what they have to offer).

        • Elle says:

          Well said, NML! I completely agree. Good (ie healthy, happy, well-socialized) people simply don’t take from people in bad faith, and, in fact, are less likely to enter situations where there is a dramatic imbalance of power. I certainly don’t want men to be put off participating in this site – or see it as a women’s only site – but that tone he used – us being ‘girls’ and explicitly laughing AT us – is exactly the sort of subtle (and not so subtle) power imbalance (a gender theorist would call it symbolic violence) that goes on for females our whole lives. I found it interesting that it was physical reminders (in the form of beating) that stuck with Barry, when, as his tone suggested, I am not convinced that these fear-based lessons translated to substantial, ongoing respect for himself (in the kind of calm, centred way, not the brash, postmodern way that is conveyed by his message), let alone for women. It’s a shame because I believe that part (maybe even most) of his motivation was to be helpful.

          • Fearless says:

            Not that it’s important… but I can’t figure out what is “PTC” – a la Barry? What does treating “us girls” like a PTC mean??? (sorry for ignorance)

          • Aimee says:

            I have to be quite honest – I have met many people (men and women) who had no or faulty boundaries, and in my honest moments believe that I would NOT take advantage of them because of their lack of boundries – that’s BS! An excuse to have and display very bad behavior that would leave me, quite honestly, feeling bad about myself. Please!! If a blind and deaf person asked me if it was safe to walk across the street, would I or you, for that matter, go ahead and tell them it was safe to cross that street when hundreds of cars are coming just to get my kicks or see what their reaction would be (or because they trusted me?), That is sadistic!! And cruel.

        • Audrey says:

          Hey Grace, well said.

        • MH says:


          When I saw the title of Nat’s post, it took me a day to get to reading because I have fell under the beliefs you have mentioned and I wasn’t sure I wanted to face these 30 signs. Although I only relate to a few of them, it says it only takes one for it to be true that they are not interested.

          I can look at this post easily for looking for signs in the next guy because he hasn’t arrived yet and so there is no rejection feelings to deal with at the present. This makes for a excellent list to go by for the next guy so I am not sitting in this pain again.

          As for accepting that my last guy was just there for the ride, I really want it to sink in what you were saying in the following statement you made.

          The brutal truth is they aren’t secretly in love with you, afraid of commitment,intimidated, waiting for the right time, feeling vulnerable, unaware of their actions, shy, busy or whatever justification we come up with. They DO understand what they are doing, ie taking advantage. Don’t let them. Move along to something better (and sitting at home on a Sat night watching dvds is better than what they have to offer).

          That is what I am doing most Saturdays and I have to say my social life is picking up and I was glad I went out at the same time I was missing my usual Saturdays of me time watching movies or reading.

          I am doing it less and less now where I buy into my friends explanations that he secretly was in love with me or whatever I wanted to believe at the time so I didn’t face the rejection. I just want to face it now and get over it, as hard as it is to face.

          Anymore insight you have on the matter to help it sink in to go along with this list already would be appreciated. Or better yet how did you sooth the feelings of rejection afterwards without trying to resort to telling yourself he is secretly in love or whatever we try to tell ourselves. Actually it has been my friends that told me all this stuff. For the whole time I believed he never cared about me and I was surviving on this theory for the whole time but others would keep mentioning things trying to convince me of their truth which would make me think of their theories.

          thanks I needed to see this

          • grace says:

            Glad to be of help. Of course hindsight is 20-20 and I’ve been just as confused as anyone else here.. I say eat well, exercise, spend time with friends (friends that make you feel good about yourself), and do things you enjoy. Maintain NC (though we do all have the odd blip). Gradually, gradually, you will start to feel better about yourself and you’ll think less about him.
            Telling yourself that he loves you isn’t soothing the pain of rejection, it’s dragging it out. You have to face up to the truth that he doesn’t. And the truth does set you free . It does take a while but in that “while” do positive little things for yourself. It may seem insignificant against the great weight of grief but it DOES add up and the balance shifts.

      • Fearless says:

        Well said NML.
        What you say here is (also) what struck home with me most when reading Barry’s comment:

        “THIS is the type of thing that people who you get involved with while having little or no boundaries think of you.”


      • Leigh says:

        Natalie, I’m so glad you posted Barry Soetoro (aka as the President of the USA – a man with power) comment!

        When I first read his comment it reminded me of the ex assclown idiot that occupied my life. He was arrogant too!

        What strikes me is that some women and men still classify themselves as victims. Whilst in the situation we were victims. Those out of the situation are no longer victims they have been set free from major AC’s (like Barry).

        It sickens me to think how manipulative and abusive AC’s can be – without dignity, without morals, without personal integrity.

        Once bitten twice shy and it’s empowering to have gone through a situation of being classified as the victim (and not the prize) to come out the other side of it and be able to say to the next assclown that comes along:

        “Go take a bloody long walk off of a very short pier – preferably with very deep water at the end of it!”

      • RuthT says:

        so to sum up.
        I was that woman, I am not her now.
        I would recognise you now in any of your incarnations, Steve, Dave, Frank, Sam, bla bla bla


    • Audrey says:

      @Barry: wow, when you said “we would lose our chance with you” i nearly fell off my seat with disbelief. how arrogant you sound! and that you would find someone else to “play your game”. that really says so much about guys who behave as per natalie;s list. The “game” you play is a very dangerous game , because you mess with women’s minds and emotions . And its not a game: it is acts of cruelty. And we are not making excuses for putting up with bad behaviour, all of us here, thanks to natalie are learning how to recognise men who are NO GOOD FOR US and to walk away. What exactly do you have to offer a woman? ask yourself that and take a good long look at yourself. and we take responsibility for our part in these dysfunctional relationships. it is only by staying that we actually facilitate bad behaviour and treatment from men.

      Really, you got quite emotional? i doubt that very much. Did it hit a bit close to the bone for you? did you recognise yourself?

      • Fearless says:

        Audrey, I agree with what you say.. the behaviour of many of these men is just old fashioned cruelty. The fact that “no-one stopped me” from trampling all over another human being for my own frivolous wants doesn’t get them off the hook – they too own their own behaviour.

        Yes, it is a “dangerous game” – for us it it, but not for the Barrys of the world… they are enjoying all the freebies… and think that ‘dangerous is your problem’. And while these people exist, I’m afraid ‘dangerous’ is our problem.

        • Audrey says:

          @Fearless: yes, that is true., we are the ones that feel the cruelty, not them! they are really on their own planet – me me me all the way.

        • Aimee says:

          I think this is very sad, that as human beings, there is such a lack of compassion for another’s feelings, emotions, self-esteem, and self-love. My last AC almost killed me – not because of him, but my reaction to him – his lack of honesty, love, care, respect, compassion, kindness, integrity. I was at a low point in my life with my mother dying, etc, etc. that I was willing to take my own life. Thank God that I did not accomplish this – it was actually quite a wake up call! I TAKE FULL AND COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS! But please do not forget the part others play – it takes two to tango, and to think we are all islands is not realistic – we are a race that was meant to interact and our actions DO AFFECT OTHERS, whether we care to acknowledge AND take responsibility for that is another point all and in itself!!!!

    • Lynn says:

      Very happy that Nat posted Barry’s soporific soliloquy. The fact that he includes himself in the males who take advantage of “obtuse” women (implied, not actually uttered) is scary.

      I would guess Barry has had some issues with the women he’s been with, and I’m beginning to wonder what led him to this blog.

      I find this comment disturbing and hopefully any women that Barry is involved with in the present or future won’t ever read it, “The very fact you DONT know what it is that you WANT, makes is oh so easy for us to get money/favors/arrangements/short notice meetings/sex from you.” Sounds like you consider women obtuse and easily taken advantage of…and it also sounds like you’ve done your share of it. What I find amazing that most decent men, even if they took time to comment here, would not lump themselves in that category of being a cad. They might point out how many OTHER men act, leaving themselves out of the category altogether.

      Barry, a woman shouldn’t have to list what she wants…most human beings WANT love, respect, trust. A man shouldn’t have to list it either. I love the cry from men that women are too infuriating because they just don’t know WHAT a woman WANTS. Relationships aren’t rocket science and women aren’t puzzleboxes. They’re human beings, just like men. We all go into relationships with the same basic wants and needs. That’s not a difficult list to adhere to. Anything else is personal preference, and most of us LISTEN to our significant others enough to glean what they want/need within the relationship.

      Sounds like sour grapes in any case towards women in general.

      • MH says:


        The minute I read Barry’s post I could tell he was physically abused. People who are abused don’t learn respect. People learn respect by it being modelled by their parents not beaten into them. Thus Barry’s tone in his message

        His post was from a guy who comes across as a verbally, emotionally abusive person and I would not be suprised if he is physically abusive. He sounds like the spokes person for these EUM’s and AC’s we deal with.

        I ran into my ex that I disappeared from who was violent, and stalked me 10 years later and he was a different person. It turned out he was bipolar and now was on the proper meds. He has never been that guy again. Barry reminded me of him back in his no med bipolar days. Only mean spirited people want to deliver the truth in brutal terms or people not on their meds.

        I use to explain this to my last guy that just because the girl your leading on is crazy about you and allows to be lead on doesn’t mean you should because a decent person wouldn’t. He said nobody has morals anymore. That was his justification for treating her that way, why he treats me that way too and anyone else. So again this falls exactly in this category of how warped these EUM’s and AC’s view things.

        Nat’s message to Barry is very compelling, and she is right that we need to see how these guys see us. However, is it just me though because a part of me is thinking that if these guys are abusive, delusional, warped in their thinking, why then should we take to heart how they look at us?

        When I was reading Barry’s post you know what I was thinking about him. Who damaged you in life. I was also thinking he and all our ex’s make us look like we have it together now. We may have been the “victims” at one point but we are at this site to either help us move on or get out of bad relationships. Which means we are doing something about our problems. It sounds like the “victims” are the ones rising above and most have overcome their victim stances so who is winning here.

        WE ARE

        HOW SO

        It is like we are all alcoholics in recovery and Barry is coming to our online group and saying you wouldn’t be drunks to begin with if you were not so stupid to start off with. While he is still an active drunk. We are the ones that no longer continue in the dysfunctional drinking. He is pointing out what we already know, that these guys couldn’t victimize us without our permission.

        Part of being victimize is because we don’t know that these guys are trying to hurt us because they lie and trick. Some of us are bullied into staying and can’t leave until it is safe to do so or a good action plan. Which also reminds me of the movie “Sleeping with the enemy.” That detection takes time to figure out. Some people do figure things out quicker due to previous experiences. I was able to detect and put my Eum in his place, along with walk away from him because I dated the biggest AC I have encountered for six years, eight years ago.

        I know women all over the place and they are still being victimize and I think wow us ladies on BR are light years ahead of these women. When I suggest that they try this sight out I hear many different reasons why not and so I think their loss.

        All I know is I ripped off the bandaid and I only have the sting to deal with, they have the multiple cuts and sores to keep bandaging up along with never getting to final healing of the wound.

        Even those that aren’t ready to leave their spouses but are atleast here have less bandaging to work with.


        • Leigh says:


          Very well said!

          We are victims, but we are also survivors. Survivors turn their life around by the experiences they have.

          But the AC’s are victims too – by their own choice! They stay stuck unable to experience true love, the meaning of a deep bond or a valuable and sustainable worthwhile relationship. (This goes even for the guys that have been in relationships for 20 years.)

          AC’s/EUM’s/Narcs, condition their prey. It’s very much linked to abusive behaviour and these are learnt behaviours. It’s a well known fact that those that have been abused and conditioned go on to do it themselves.

          They pick their prey and go to work on them. We get reeled in under the fog and next thing we know BANG we are deep in it and needy, feeding their need for attention, their need for power and their need to control and destroy another human beings spirit in order to empower themselves.

          And underneath all that – these AC’s/EUM’s/Narc are just scared. Scared of FEELING, which is directed connected to the conditioning they endured in early life.

          Yes, these AC’s/EUM’s/Narcs like to play bad, yeah they like to even say sometimes that they are vulnerable in your presence. Only to turn cold like ice.

          Stuck they are totally and utterly stuck in the pathetic nothingness of their lack-lusture emotionless soul. I see them all as what they are – pathetic!

          They don’t matter – we do. We should be proud we are capable of feeling, of showing empathy to OURSELVES and having the ability to move on instead of being paralysed by fear.

          Bottom line and the truth is:

          We are responsible for our actions.
          We are victims
          We are survivors
          We are FREE!

    • GTash says:

      I have to agree here. We women have to take responsibility for how we allow the men in our lives to treat us. If we show through our own actions that we are willing to allow a man to treat us like sh*t, or as a booty call or with disrespect in any way then frankly he will because he knows he can – it is human nature to take the easiest route and these assclowns will soon leave a woman alone once they know she will be too much hard work for them.

      I’m guilty of it as much as the next person so I know how hard it can be to tell a man I know is not going to treat me as I would like to eff off especially once you’ve had sex with them (damn hormones) but that’s where my future efforts will be – not in focussing on being what they want, or what I think they want, but instead focussing on are they what I want which is much more important. And if not then bye bye honey, close the door on your way out.

  11. ValleyForgeLady says:

    This is timely because bad pennies or bad apples or ass clowns always make an appearance around the Holidays. I am not certain if it is because they are vulnerable or think you are….but they always seem to try. I heard from one in particular this weekend who is long distance and wishing to connect when his complicated schedule permits. (This has been going on for 6 years!) What is seductive is the hope that this boy finally has worked through his emotional issues. Last year I visited him on Christmas and I left totally frustrated. I have to keep telling myself that nothing has changed. The coolest thing I can do is just to say I am unavailable when the time comes for him to inform me of his schedule to be in my town. We are each other’s fall back position. We are both playing this game……I need to quit.

  12. tina says:

    Why was it so hard to accept that he was really not that interested in me? Because it started so well? Because he seemed so interested to start? Because I was interested in him and desperately wanted him to want me in return? Had he never shown any interest in me, it would have been different. It was that he started so keen, so attentive. I knew I had his attention. What I didn’t have was someone who legitimately wanted to be there for the long haul. He liked that I liked him. He liked the ego stroke, that I was always available, always so willing to listen to him and his problems, that I cared so much about him. It just took me far too long to notice that the interest was not reciprocal. Then, it just became an exercise in trying to avoid the rejection. In trying to pretend it wasn’t happening. In keeping the dream and the hope alive a little while longer. The real kick came when I was demoted to the harem. I was welcome to join the other rejects in the “just hanging out and spending time” crowd. Never special, never important. Just there, for when he was bored and lonely and needed someone to pay attention to him. There to be used.

    Screw him. I deserve better. I deserve to be special, to be treated with respect and care. I deserve to be loved and not just used as filler. He is free to continue his hunt for the elusive, mythical “one”. She doesn’t exist, because his problems will still be there. Besides, I now know my “one” would never treat me like that.

    • Pirouette says:

      This describes my situation exactly. When I met my AC, he was sweet, funny, cute, popular, and full of life. He also had scores of friend-girls, just hanging around the fringes. I liked him, told him so, he told me he didn’t want a relationship with me, I said fine–moving on, he pursued me, backed away, pursued me, and backed away again. He flirts with anything in a skirt, has a harem as large as King Solomon, and I’m getting out. I’m better than this!

    • WastedLove says:

      @ tina.

      How on earth did you get access to my diary and post it on here???? No, seriously, as happens so often on this blog, every word you wrote here could have been written by me.

    • MH says:


      Everything you wrote is what I get bitter and angry about.

      I asked Grace above to help me ingrain this message of their disinterest so I could just face it and be done with it.

      I keep going around in circles with the same issue because I can’t wrapped my head around it or deal with him rejecting me. I didn’t expect a friend to reject me.

      He rejected me by making our friendship always feel like an option. In the beginning he was always making plans with me, then it bacame like an ordeal to say yes, the hot and cold, the push pulley game. It all made me angry and frustrated.

      I told him that since he doesn’t want to make plans or it is such a big deal lets end the friendship. I tried several times but he convinced me that he was a friend and I was being too sensitive. A thing my dad ingrained in my head while growing up. Finally, I got my way but I had to grieve all this loss and it has been so painful.

      Even when he started to make plans with me when I wasn’t talking to him anymore. He was leaving messages as though him and I were having a conversation on the plans. It was actually a very interesting experience as far as observing their AC behaviours. He made plans with my voice mail, made his usual big deal out of the plans, (that I have told him drove me nuts in the past), then no follow up. Like he would do with some plans, no follow up. Other’s he would harrassed and call me a commitment phobe. I ignored many more of his plans, and many seemed like he would have followed through on them because they were all worked out with him and my voice mail.

      One day I yelled at him and said I never plan to get together so don’t make any more plans. He stopped and he never has since.

      Before it started I warned myself to stay away from him because he is just one of those guys that is looking for fun and I know I don’t do casual well.
      When it began I wasn’t looking for red flags because I wasn’t interested in him, I was looking for fun.

      I was not expecting him to want to hang out all the time, have deep conversations, and be really funny. I started to get to know a whole new him and I liked it and wanted it around all the time. I got hooked and I thought this casual thing is not that bad.

      Well when they stop pursuing that is the part I forgot that is when I don’t do casual very well. I fogot about that part because he gave the impression that he was never going to stop pursuing.

      When I had finally had enough, I wanted to leave and when I tried he kept inviting me out to things. Several months later he told me he turned his booty call girl into his girlfriend and moved her in and now he wants me to meet her.

      I said I don’t hang out with you anymore so why would I want to meet her. He said that is going to change, we will hang out again.

      Anyways, he learned that it isn’t going to change.

      It all left me angry even though this is awhile ago. I felt that I didn’t like how he was treating me as a friend with benefits, why now does he think I would want to be demoted back to friend, and go meet his girlfriend.

  13. Movedup says:

    “Of course if something better comes along, they’ll be out of there.” Or maybe not. The ExEUM/AC got 24 out of 30. #19 was right on! Love it Nat!

    On the bright side – my current relationship has none! Always good to do a “relationship check” while you are in it to make sure you aren’t ignoring any red signs. Systems check -systems go! All feet in.
    Always like to check back and make sure I stay on the right track. If there is anything worth working on – it is me.

    • MH says:


      I was hoping that you would post and that this would be your answer.

      Awesome for you I hope I follow.

      I should be a good candidate because I walked away saying I don’t like how you treat me or women in general, so I don’t consider you a friend even.

  14. Rachel2 says:

    These signs are important to go over, I used to think that text messaging a lot was normal, but I see the propensity to cheat, lie and for deception if a guy relies on this as a primary communication method. It’s apparent that in order to attract a guy who will respect and treat you with the love, care and respect you deserve, you have to first accept and know that you are worthy of accepting no less than this.
    I’m amazed at how many men exhibit these behaviors when I think about my past dating history and that of my friends, is it the loose morals of western culture and an acceptance of the “boys will be boys attitude”?
    I believe in what you reap you sow, and noone is exempt from that. These guys in whatever form they take; celebrities,executives, losers etc. all end up paying a high price for this behavior e.g. never getting married or having a family, dying alone in old age, etc.; staying with them will only cause you to reap part of their bad luck and bad choices I think.

    • Oldenoughtoknowbetter says:

      Yes, karma! What goes around, comes around! Here is a perfect example, even though it took a lifetime….my dad is the ultimate EUM, married 3 times, cheated on first two wives and only did not cheat on last one because she was 25 years younger than him and he had lost his edge by then. He abandoned all his children except for sporadic contact.

      So, now he is in his early 70’s. He had 5 daughters and one son from three families. 4 of his 5 daughters no longer communicate with him. (The son still talks to him, but then he was treated quite differently). The other daughter is still a teenager living in his house, so the jury is still out on whether he will die before she runs from him.

      His younger wife is in her early 50’s and bored with this old man. So she is never home and he no longer has the control over her that he once had. He is very wealthy and has used his money as his weapon. But as he has disowned all of his children, he no longer can hold that over our heads.

      When he dies, his funeral will be very small. No close friends, most of his children will not be there, and very few people will shed tears for him. Once when I was visiting him, we were in a local bar. He went to the bathroom and a man came up to me and introduced himself as a neighbor of my father’s. He then proceeded to say “are you aware that your father is a total asshole?” He never knew his grandchildren. So yes, in the end, he has reaped what he has sown. The only catch: he still has no idea it was him all along, in his mind, he is still right! So it is really all very pitiful and sad, but ultimately, exactly what he deserves.

  15. Keiko says:

    How about the guy who is separated, tells you you are the love of his life, but doesn’t introduce you to his step son and is close friends with his wife?

    • Fearless says:


      I think that means he is saying you are the love of his life, but apparently not. Words are cheap. Actions speak for themselves. It’s up to us to listen.

      • MH says:


        I say this all the time words are cheap along with action speaks louder than words.

        However, it is words that have brainwashed many of us into believing their stories.

        Verbal abuse has a huge power on all that have been verbally abused go figure.

    • Pengal says:

      Keiko –
      Strikingly similar situation here – separated from his ex almost a year. Been with me a mere month – but doesn’t do “rebounds”. Already told me I am the love of his life. I want to believe him – and mostly I do. Only difference is he is making an effort for me to get to meet his kids soon. Not really close friends with his soon to be ex wife – but keeps in close contact for the kids. I have a hard time discerning between being jaded and not letting go of my past, and moving on officially.

      • Keiko says:

        Dear Pengal,
        I find it nice that he wants you to meet his kids, but I find it hard to believe what he tells you. If I were you, I would wait and see. I learned from my mistake. In my case, it was a serious relationship between the two of us – we stayed together for almost a year – and it had serious negative emotional consequences on me. The fact that his wife calls him almost everyday and I didn’t know, the fact that he lied about several things including why he was paying for health insurance for them. Be very observant while you are not emotionally, physically and financially invested in the relationship. I was and now it hurts so bad I feel like dying sometimes.

  16. sistahmar says:

    Hoo boy…I’m smacking myself upside my head with a bag of milk. I fit so many of those statements. I can only say “What was I thinking all those times?”

    Thanks for the heads up. I feel empowered to definitely pay attention and change my way of seeing things.

  17. Nancy says:

    Just wanted to say I found this website at the right time. I am trying to set my boundaries with a guy and these articles are so very helpful. He is interested in me…yet has a long time girlfriend. We did a few things but I am done. The problem we work together so I am trying really hard to be nice and yet keep walls and boundaries in place. Love this website.

  18. Elle says:

    Hey – I have a question related to these signs. What is my best response to a guy I went on a date with almost two weeks ago – had a great time (good chat, good rapport etc), and some very light ‘romance’ after – but then at the end of the night some weird comments about his fears of relationships and a very bland text from him the next day about his hangover. Then nothing until yesterday when he wished me luck for something I had on today, then a text today asking if we could talk tomorrow about said event. I am no fool – I understand that he could have called and that if he wanted another date, he’d have shown clearer interest, but I am not sure how to literally respond now (I am not especially emotionally invested in this person – it’s not a turn on, this jumpy biz): Do I ignore him and seem dramatic (I will definitely see him again and I don’t want to seem stroppy)? Do I write a simple text reply somehow conveying ‘don’t worry’? Or what? (He may well want to ask me out again). I just don’t want to be pitied with his attempt at being pals when I have loads of real pals, and this seems like a bit of a meaty-bite (ie ‘please don’t think I am a bad guy’). And, while he is attractive, smart and almost certainly not an AC (more likely an EUM), I do think he should have been warmer after our first date. Ideas?

    • JJ2 says:

      Elle, “Thanks but no thanks.”

    • Minky says:

      I had a similar experience. The fact that he doesn’t seem interested *enough* to you should be the main thing. Trust your instincts and don’t second guess yourself. Don’t YOU worry about coming across as the ‘bad guy’ either.

      Say you can’t get into anything at the moment, but that you enjoyed his company. It’s true, it’s civil and it maintains the boundaries and is true to your initial assessment of him.

      He’s already sent up a few red flags for you – don’t start overanalysing the situation uneccesarily.

      Hope this helps.

    • grace says:

      I think I would ignore it. If texting was so great, we would be conducting business meetings and diplomatic negotiations with them (picture it!). It’s basically a low risk casual way to contact someone and I would treat it as such – casually.
      If you see him again, just smile and ask how he is. I doubt he will want an indepth analysis of why you didn’t reply to his text.

    • Audrey says:

      i like saying “i dont wish to take things further” . I think it says it straight without hurting feelings. what do you think?

    • Allison says:

      “weird comments about his fears of relationships ”

      I think this should be all you should focus on. He’s told you exactly what he’s not capable of. A relationship.

      Maybe you can be friends, otherwise I would move on if romantically interested.

      Good luck!

    • jennynic says:

      Elle, I wonder about the right thing to say too, when you have seen red flags and are opting out. Learning boundaries, being assertive about them, and recognizing the signs Natalie just wrote about are starting to sink in, but I struggle how to say “I am not interested” or that I think they are being disrespectful without being rude or being accused of being difficult. I had a person insult me recently, saying I had issues, after I was assertive about my boundaries. Although, that kind of says more about them.

      • Fearless says:

        Jennynic, what you say is interesting. I think you are absolutely right that it can be hard to assert yourself against the ‘bad manners’ of a man because they have so many female “traits” they can fling back at you (subtly, or not so subtly, to pinch a phrase of Elle’s) to negate and dismiss our attempts to correct them on their rudeness: nagging; touchy; over-emotional; over-sensitive; hysteria; ‘time-of-the-month… the list of ‘get out clauses’ and table-turning they have at their instant disposal to make us feel knee high to a grasshopper in the face of their bad manners is endless, and the anticipation of this makes us more inclined to ‘back down’ and say nothing. Not good. They are relying on your good manners so that they can get away with bad manners. Once he has been disrespectful to you, you do not owe him any manners in return. Don’t fall for it. Speak up.

        • outergirl says:

          I totally agree w/Fearless on this. Believe me, this is all new to me, this putting myself first. But I’m an apt student! Ask yourself how many people, male or female really put your feeling first over their own? No one is saying be rude of course and good manners are never out of fashion.

    • GTash says:

      Knowing what I know now I wouldn’t even bother replying. If he was interested in you he would have called and set up another date already. Anything less doesn’t warrant any further attention or analysis from you.

      • riotgirl says:

        If he called and set up another date with you, saying that he can’t make Friday and Saturday due to his free time suddenly being evaporated up — should you, would you set up another date? Or alternatively, just forget about the whole thing?

        • Allison says:


          Forget it. I think he is already showing the importance he attaches to you. Sorry.
          Better to find someone that makes you a priority and not so busy.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’ve experienced most of the above signs of disinterest. Yet I still long for this person. I don’t know why? He flits in and out of my life at will. Knows how to make me feel bad and seems secretive. I guess I’m lonely. My options for meeting anyone new are zero. I work by myself and I seem to be in an age bracket where men want either younger or older women. I’m so angry at myself that I allowed this man to use me and waste my time. Now I don’t have time on my side.

    • Audrey says:

      Annonymous: it’s time to forgive yourself and move on from this man. it’s never to late to find love, i really believe that. have you considered taking up a hobby? have you looked to see what is on in your area.? how about taking up a dance class. Dance groups usually have a great social scene around them and people of all ages dance. i think perhaps because you work alone, you feel isolated and therefore dwell on this man too much. if you begin to make changes to your life and take up hobbies, make new friends, have a social scene, i can guarante, you won’t be thinking about this man as much. hope this helps. xoxo

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess I’m just frustrated and venting. I wasted years on this person and now I’m too old to have kids or a family of my own. I turned down men because of my loyalty to this ass. I’m so angry I could spit flames. I’m the type of person that isn’t really a social butterfly. It takes me a long time to even want to socialize with someone I don’t know well. I guess I’m shy. And ultimately I guess I’m doomed because of my shyness. I won’t go on blind dates and my social life is dead because of work and life circumstances. It takes me a terribly long time to get interested in someone new. I find many guys like me immediately but by the time I’m into them, they’re bored with me and move on. Your advice makes sense and thank you for it. I wish I was able to do some of the things you suggested.

  20. debbie says:

    Wow I can’t believe how on point this list actually was.
    Just about everything on this list is exactly what the man afriend of mine is involved with.
    I don’t have all the much experience with these types of men BUT I definitly know their type.
    There is only one concept that women who involve themselves with these kinds of men have to understand: CONTROL=POWER.

    They usually prey on unsuspecting women that on some level are needy and use this neediness as their ticket to control, manipulate and the like so that these women are in a position that they are actually “worshoping this man.

    These are the kinds of women that these men marry and live with. The ones that they know they control and manipulate and know because they are needy that they will stay in the relationship with them,won’t put up a stink about the dirt they do on the outside(sleep with other women is the biggy here)will believe all the lies and excuses that they tell etc…

    The sad part about my friends situation and many other women like her they actually believe that they can “win” this man. There is no way to “win” him because he doesn’t want to be won.

    He’s the kind of man that wants the “wifelike” woman at home that he manipulates and controls and doesn’t love in the least little bit, more than likely is unhappy and miserable BUT at the same time has a woman that he knows he wants to be with, that in his heart he knows he loves/cares deeply about BUT because she’s a independent women and not a needy woman she no longer becomes good enough for a relationship because men like this can’t control a women who is independent.

    They will however continue to see this woman to get whatever needs aren’t being met at home(mentally,emotionallyand most important sexually).

    • CC says:

      Agree 100% Debbie. Several men I’ve known as an EUM that were actually in a relationship I saw as this type. Disrespecting the wife/girlfriend and always getting away with it after being in the doghouse for a bit. And then pain themselves over other women they can continue their fantasy with and torture over whether the grass is greener. But in reality isn’t it true that for every EUM is a co-dependent that will actually make this type of dance last?

      Part of me was very sad that my EUM didn’t chase me harder or show up at my door after I went NC. But then I realized that he knew the jig was up… that he could no longer take me off and on the shelf at will and control all of our interaction. Once he knew he couldn’t control me anymore and was not going to step up to any sort of relationship with me he gave up. So now almost a year later I can be thankful because we all know there’s no prize to be won in these guys unless they do some real work on themselves. The easy road is to just move on to the next woman who will think he’s great. And I actually believe that these guys know it, they know the score. Maybe that’s why they automatically start to devalue the girl that puts up with it. Such a weird catch 22 really! Never ending drama.

      • outergirl says:

        I think my man[boy] was similar to CC’s. He knew I was done waiting around and certainly not accepting being on and off the shelf and I don’t think he’s all that anymore. I saw him for who he is. Also having admitted to me, he ‘does not like letting people get too close’. [Yipes! psycho!] it makes all the more sense to move on to the next someone who will think he is great..and she will..until she doesn’t and then he will move on to the next. It’s really pre-meditated for some of them.

  21. riotgirl says:

    Hmm… this list is interesting but I find it difficult to apply this especially when there are conflicting signs. What about a guy who tells you that he likes you, gives you short replies through emails but then says weird things like, ‘if we ever go out…’ and tells you that he doesn’t want this to turn into a ‘sexy romp relationship’ but when you ask him if you’re in a relationship, he says ‘it is what it is’?

    Does this demonstrate a fear of commitment or general caution when the ‘relationship’ is young? Or am I thinking too much about it and it’s time to say goodbye?

    • Nikki says:

      I find that it takes a couple of months to really see someone in a realistic light and be able to evaluate how the relationship feels … if you have gone past that amount of time and you’re still wondering, that is not a conflicted signal, it’s a big red flag. If you haven’t crossed the 2-3 month period yet, see how you feel when you get there, keeping the list above handy.

      • riotgirl says:

        Yeah, we’ve only been on 3 dates… and it’s been a period of a few weeks. So I guess I could wait it out and see what happens. But I feel that the whole second-guessing thing is not a good sign. Thanks so much for your advice. :)

    • Audrey says:

      I see red flags all over the place here. Saying “it is what it is” is not giving you a yes or a no to your question and he is telling you that it not going to change i.e it is what it is. That is what he means plain and simple. You are feeling uneasy for reason. “if we ever go out” what is he? a frigging hermit??? lol.

      my ex eum only went out on two dates publicly with me at the start but i made an exception for him as he’s a full time dad so i always called to him: what a great arrangement for him! But now i realise that he had no intention of EVER GOING OUT with me. Believe me, that gets fairly boring after a while. i have no doubt that he does like you but he has his feet set in concrete blocks. i’d bail if i were you while you still have your self esteem. he sounds eum to me.

      • snowboard says:

        At the beginning of the relationship (first 2-3 months as Nikki says), both partners are still learning about each other, and shouldn’t promise commitment (although monogamy is still requisite). For me, the girl’s role during this time is to make the guy show her he is willing to work hard for her, trying to impress her, trying to express that he thinks she is really wonderful. He should keep in regular contact, and go out with her 1-2 times a week. No disappearing acts, no habits of canceling plans at last minute or keep pushing things back, no seeing each other just at night. If a guy is doing all this during that time, a girl doesn’t need (nor should she) ask if they are in a committed relationship, because HE will bring it up soon enough.

        However, if you’re getting into the fourth or fifth month with a guy who has otherwise done all the right things, and the topic of a long-term committed relationship still hasn’t been discussed, I’d assume it means “he’s just not that into you.” At that point, maybe talk to him about it one time, but be prepared to end it.

        • riotgirl says:


          Well, he’s been pushing stuff back — because he has other plans. Plus, he’s never asked me out on a Friday or Saturday. I suppose because we’re not even in a relationship should be a red flag to me?

          • Minky says:

            Same with a guy i was just seeing casually – never met me on a weekend, kept rearranging dates because of his work (freelancer), never invited me to stuff with his friends, but yet would invite random people along to stuff we had arranged with just me and him. I was happy with it being a casual arrangement, but even a casual arrangement sounld be straight forward, easy, fun, respectful – not irritating and disappoingting like this one. So i have opted out before i waste any more of my time.

            I’ve had enough wishy-washy, ‘ooooh i’m soooo busy’ blah blah, to last me a lifetime! Next!

          • snowboard says:

            @ riotgirl:

            In September, I went out on a Monday date with a guy I didn’t know at all. We had fun and said we would do it again. We arranged for Wednesday. Wednesday came and he kept pushing back our plans until it was too late and he apologized and asked if we could reschedule, or I could just come to his house. I accepted his apology but definitely said “reschedule.” Wasn’t about to go to his house. We rescheduled for Saturday and all week he was sending me texts about how excited he was for Saturday, and how he really wanted to make it up to me for cancelling on Wednesday. Then, Saturday came and I never heard from him. I wasn’t going to call him myself, because that’s not the way it goes. On Sunday he texted me and asked what happened, why I hadn’t called him Saturday to make plans, was I mad at him. I told him I wasn’t interested in taking things any further, and he tried to fight me on that, but I held firm. I’m very proud of myself for how I handled that, and it’s how I hope to handle all my dating in the future: sticking to certain standards, and not being manipulated into backing down.

          • riotgirl says:

            @Minky: Hmm, my dad always told me that if a guy was interested in you, he’d want to see you — especially on the weekends. And I feel, that if someone likes you then they’d rather see you than his friends. You become the priority, not the option. I wish I could do the casual thing, and be happy about it. I admire people who can just do that ‘coz I can’t. :) But like you said, if it’s going to be irritating and disappointing… NEXT! Good luck hun. xox.

            I’m proud of you too for handling that like a pro! 😀 The guy sounds like a classic case of no-follow-through. At least you were smart enough not to go to his house… unlike me lol. How did you tell him that you weren’t interested in taking things further? I can’t believe he had the nerve of doing that… it’s really so disrespectful. Is he still bugging you now?

      • riotgirl says:

        That’s true. He did say that he doesn’t like to lie but doesn’t want to answer certain questions for reasons unknown to me. Haha… apparently, he’s not a friggin hermit because when I passed his house yesterday (he lives near my work) — I saw another car there! 😛 And he doesn’t ever call, or text — just one liner emails.

        Only 2 dates publicly? Did he ever hold your hand or kiss you in public? Totally great arrangement for him. You’re just super understanding and accomodating and I think maybe some people take that and use it to their advantage. Don’t worry, I have the same problem hehe.

        I’ve been asking one of my male friends about him and he reckons that this guy is “exploring options” — with me being an option. I think you’re totally right in what you say and I’m going to ‘fade out’ (because we’re not in a relationship anyway…) and retain my self-esteem. 😀

        • Audrey says:

          Good:-) there are better guys out there. he is quite dubious. no calls or texts – that a red flag.

          No he didnt do any public displays of affection. i’m doing fine now and i’ve learnt so much from natalie.


          • riotgirl says:

            Yeah… not just a red-flag but a huge blaring, neon-bright, flashing red flag. I’ve learnt so much from Natalie too and I’m glad to hear that you’re doing so much better. You deserve better. Thanks for sharing with me. xox.

        • Lesley Binnie says:

          @Lesley Binnie
          Hi Riot Girl,
          Think there are serious red flags here. He has the right to explore options,we all do but the second guessing he has you doing seems like he’s into having control of the gear stick. I think that you say about fading is wise…he will either make more of an effort or fade away himself and you’ve lost nothing. Better it happens earlier that you get stuck with a flip/flapper extremis! Good Luck but you seem clued in xxx

          • riotgirl says:

            Hi Leslie. :) The fact is, I’ve never liked guessing games and I think some guys enjoy thinking that they have the control/power in whatever ‘relationship’ they are in. This is what my ex told his friends… that I was insecure and he had the power the whole time.

            This new guy finally replied and asked me when I’m free next but I’m thinking about not replying at all. Can I ask, would you give an EUM a chance even when he puts in more effort? I think it’s just a sick cycle… so I’m going to cut my losses! Maybe we can be friends… but I’m not sure how to approach this. Thanks so much for the post. Really appreciate it! xox.

      • riotgirl says:

        Sorry, I typed reply in the wrong section! Please see below. :)

  22. Caitypants says:

    Thanks, Natalie. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, since my ex-EUM/assclown broke up with me via text in June. Your words have helped me so much, and although I am far from being perfect, I take comfort in the fact that I’m finally beginning to learn from my mistakes as well as your posts, and reading other women’s stories. Like many other women who read this blog, I have never put myself, my own feelings and wellbeing first – I always came second to making sure that the guy I was “with” was satisfied. The sad thing is, I was never really with them. They never truly cared about me, and I could feel it – so why did I care about them so much? The men who keep my attention, who make me “want” them, are the men who treat me like an option. Easily disposable. For a long time now, many of these signs of disinterest have been blatantly obvious in my relationships but I refused to acknowledge them…or I would acknowledge them, confront the guy, and he would basically admit that it was all true and leave me like I didn’t matter to him at all, ever. Guys seem to give up on me very easily, as though they never really placed much value on me to begin with – but I’m now starting to see that it’s because I didn’t value myself. I need to stop looking for someone else to save me, or help me, and I need to stop pretending that I’m stronger than I really am. I’m NOT ok with being in a FWB type relationship (where does the word “Friend” come into play,anyway? It never does in my experiences), and I’m NOT ok with being with a man who hides me from his friends and family, or who thinks that ignoring my texts for days on end is acceptable. I can’t keep expending so much energy on these guys and not getting anything in return – I don’t think my heart can handle it anymore. Sorry for rambling on, it’s not exactly related to this post – but it feels so much better to get it out of my head and onto the screen.

    • Audrey says:

      it seems like you have made good progress, Caitypants. that is good. You are on the right track. You now have an insight into what was going on and that is good. ignoring texts for days is terrible – it could drive you crazy. the ignoring is horrible isn’t it? yes, we must put ourselves first. Always; especially when it comes to men.

      • Minky says:

        I agree with you both: no more wasting time on men who treat us like options. They only do it because we’re still THERE! We’re doing it to ourselves! I have been in this situation with a guy lately and i suddenly sat up and though ‘what the hell am i waiting for?!’, if a guy wants to be with you, he will be with you, simple as that. If he acts like he’s got ‘too much going on’, it’s because he’s not that interested.

        Then again a guy who is interested freaks the hell out of me too! I think it’s because disinterest is so familiar to me and attention is now overwhelming. With guys who are not interested, they don’t deliver, but they don’t expect me to deliver either – i just do it anyway (and for what??!!). Expectation freaks me out as much as it freaks EUMs out.

        Sorry, i’m rambling as well. Got a lot swishing around my head right now as i transition to more healthy relationship habits. I know now how to deal with EUMs and ACs, what i don’t understand is decent guys!

  23. TeaTime says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Most speak to how he treated me, and #30 hit the nail on the head. I wish I read this post months ago. I now realize what a fool I was. I have learned.

  24. Ange Fonce says:

    Hmmmmmm as always Natalie a very interesting article with plenty of comments.

    Barry got to give you your due you hit some nails right on the mark. Just one thing though……………..Many men do this too, not just women. One of the first questions I ask of the men and women I work with is “What is it they really want in Life?
    You will be amazed at how many men and women “DON’T know what they really DESIRE and want in life. So if they don’t know this. How many men and women really know what they want and desire in a partner? For so many people both men and women are on automatic pilot when it comes to selecting a partner. They may know what they don’t want, as many do. But few know what they really want and Desire. And how to go about achieving that!

    And I want to comment on points 18 & 19

    First “They talk incessantly about themselves while not really taking an interest in you.”
    There is a Truth in this, however some people talk lots to cover their insecurities. And if you are talking you don’t have to answer questions. It’s a form of defence and to a careful observer used as a means to cover nerves. It can be a very effective defence to stop you knowing anything deeper about them because they feel vulnerable . The skill in dealing with such a person is to listen and wait for the moment to ask an open question. And if they avoid your question. Stay with it, bring them back to what you want to know. Don’t be drawn into their game. Because they will skip and try to avoid giving you a direct answer. Just focus on one key point and keep to it. This is where knowing how to use “open” questions and being calm and centred in your own energy can lead you in past the defences.
    I have often been out with women for the first time and they are nervous talking about everything. I listen and wait patiently and then open with an open question on something they have talked about. And lets be honest here most people love to talk about themselves.

    “They deflect conversations away from details about themselves and try to focus on you.”

    Well this one I am going to answer “from the art of pick up.” Well unless you are living on a another world in the past few years there has been an explosion on the inter-net and books about “Pick up” and this is a tactic pick up artists employ to keep the focus totally on the women. Why?
    It’s a great way to get to know everything about you while revealing little about themselves. There is a lot of psychology employed in this and it has it’s origins in Marketing and therapeutic techniques. Scammers use the same principles too. Because You are using two things………..People love to talk about themselves and curiosity. Female “pick up ” artists use the same methods and so do any marketing organisation. And so do psychologists.

    “19.They tell you that they love you but they’re not in love with you, that they’re not ready for a relationship, they’re not the right person for you, that they’re a ‘bad person’, ‘out of your league’, that you’re ‘too good for them’ and other such things that basically say I have limited interest in you.”

    Well the first part of this statement I go with. If someone was saying that to Me I would say fine. Go sort yourself out and find out what You really want. But the second part………”bad person, out of your league and too good for them” can very much linked to how they are feeling about themselves. They could very much like you and actually have deep feelings for you. But because of self-esteem issues not feel “WORTHY” of You. And sometimes people who have self-esteem issues put testers out to see actually how safe it will be and if they are going to be rejected. And if they do they will withdraw to protect themselves. However if not they will start to open up. This is about TRUST!
    But there are also those who have found by using such means they can use it as a form of emotional blackmail. This is again about really listening and using open questions. you can find out quiet fast if someone is trying to use you and manipulate you or it’s about their own feelings of self worth.

    And finally No 29

    29. They are controlling, manipulative, jealous and possessive. These are not signs that they’re actually interested in you – they are signs that they want to control you. This is not the same as love or as a result of love. People who are like this are the type that won’t want to have a balanced, respectful relationship and may not even really want you but they won’t want anyone else to have you either.

    This is not a good one to experience. I know as from My younger days when I was so un-aware. I experienced such a relationship.

    Jealousy is actually natural and hard wired into us both as men and women. But when it becomes pathological…………..No! It becomes very unhealthy to experience. It was not a pleasant experience to live through and the worst relationship I ever had. But I was young and had My head full of fluffy stuff.

    But I look back now with positive reflection as a learning experience and know now that when a woman starts displaying these signs they are big red flags not to go there.
    Professional I will work with people who have such issues. Personal life an Absolute NO NO!

    Be Cool

    Ange Fonce

  25. Minky says:

    I have to say that I am guilty of a few of these too! I have recently become involved with a male friend of mine (early days, taking it verrrrry slowly), who is a genuinely nice guy who has been mucked about in the past by an EU woman, which he has now ended things with. He has been very open about his feelings for me (which are mutual), but not in a future faking way, not rushing things forward, no alarm bells in that respect. I am absolutely freaking out though – I want to keep him at a distance, I have visions of him turning into a raging EUM/AC and me just not seeing it! Totally irrational!

    He doesn’t tick ANY of the boxes. He has been in touch (not lazily), he has left me in no doubt of his interest, he has made plans and followed through on them. There is no ambiguity, no drama, no confusion, just someone I am really comfortable with.

    I am worried I am going to mess this up because I tick some of the boxes and he doesn’t.

    I want to be with someone like him. I want a healthy relationship where i can be myself and not have someone act like they own me. I am terrified because of my recent experiences with EUMs and ACs.

    Do I walk away? Do I discuss my fears? Help!!

    • Audrey says:

      hi minky! oh, he sounds like a good one! you are bound to find it difficult to trust after bad experience. i would say take it one day at a time, just little baby steps and you can go at your own pace. if he’s a good guy, he will be patient. he probably won’t want to rush it either after his experience. enjoy!xoxo

    • Allison says:


      I would discuss my fears and also seek some counseling. The majority of men are not EUM and AC’s, it would be a shame to sabotage this relationship due to your trust issues.

      Good luck.

    • Minky says:

      Thanks Audrey & Allison! I will take it slow and be honest about my fears. You’re right – he probably doesn’t want to rush into anything after his EU experience either!

      Wise words, gratefully received! :)

      • riotgirl says:


        This guy friend you have sounds really reliable. :) And there is mututal respect and appreciation — always a good thing. Try not to worry about messing it up and just focus on enjoying each other’s company while being yourself. I’m sure that if he is really into you, he’ll love you and stick around. Good luck! 😀

        • Minky says:

          He is a good guy, but i’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop :). I guess i’ll just have to keep a cool head and not freak out.

          He’s invited me out with a group of his friends tomorrow that i’ve never met before and made plans to come to a house party with me soon. Plans! Plans that actually happen! Heavens above!

          It’s so weird being with someone who isn’t a flip flapping, wishy washy, self absorbed shithead! His behaviour is NORMAL – but to me it feels so alien, which is weird because i have been in healthy relationships in the past, i’d just forgotten what they felt like! I guess this is what Nat meant by ‘normalising bad behaviour’. When did being on edge all the time, being constantly disappointed and expecting to be let down all the time become the norm? How on earth did i let it get to this point?!

  26. angela says:

    I am so happy that I finally woke up to the exact person that you described in this post.

  27. debbie says:

    Yesterday I left a comment about a very close GF of mine that is very involved with one of these AC men.

    IDK what exactly it is she doesn’t understand about why this man does what he does BUT I keep telling her that it’s because he’s an idiot(just to put in the nicest way I can)>

    She constantly complains about Why is he with her and not with me? type of stuff and I keep telling her he’s NOT with the live in GF either. That she’s there to serve him a purpose(what that is I haven’t a clue)and is only there with him in name only.

    That if he actually gave a hoot about her he would not be sleeping with her or spending nights at her house when he can.

    This is a man that has no regard for my friend or the GF he lives with. It’s all about him and him getting whatever his needs are met.

    These men are very sick and twisted individuals and IMO have no conscience at all.

    My heart goes out to any woman that is or has been involved with a man such as tihs. They NEVER change, will NEVER leave the wife/gf and will take anything they can get and all the while suck the life out of you.

    The best thing any woman can go for herself when it comes to dealing with these men is RUN as far away as possible and NEVER look back.

  28. Jasmine says:

    Oh wow. Nice post. #27..assclown. Those are the ones I keep running into. Maybe I’m like a magnet for them? lol Totally everyone’s favorite guy, until you’re behind closed doors..then he is an assclown. Completely oblivious of how he should really act towards the one who loves him. Move on.

  29. WastedLove says:

    Reading this blog has transformed (no exaggeration) how I see m/f relationships.

    I am currently dating again (via internet dating sites) and I am experimenting with putting boundaries in place that I have NEVER had in my life before (and I am in my 50s).

    Before meeting, during the messaging/emailing phase I am setting out exactly what I want, in a way that I would previously have been afraid too, worried I was appearing too “stern” or “demanding”, and that might put them off. Now, the funny and unexpected thing is, that with some men, the reverse has happened. Far from running away, the more obstacles I put in their path, the more they chase me and beg for a chance to “prove” themselves worthy. Even when I bat them away dismissively many come back again and again asking for a date. Suddenly, I understand what “treat them mean and keep them keen” means. I’ve never done that with men, I’ve always thought if you show them unbounded love, tolerance, affection and understanding that would be what draws them to you. I’m having to rethink everything I thought I knew about “how to find a boyfriend”.

    There is a flipside to this, though. Every man that I have dated has shown me a “Red Flag” and I am now of the opinion that I will never find someone without any Red Flags. It’s all very well placing the bar really high, but you may never meet anyone who can jump it.

    • Allison says:

      Perhaps, you’re still selecting the AC’s, not the decent ones.

      Old habits are hard to break.

  30. Lilly says:

    Well this blog was the most amazing one for me so far that really had the barometer dipping in a spiral as I read it. My relationship or what ever it is at the moment is with a man for over 2 yrs now is just about every single sign here!!! constantly not just sometimes. I think the only one he didn’t hit is him having a wife he didn’t divorce.
    I cant believe I have been living in this limbo…Okay, yes I can, that’s why I visit this site all the time. I just don’t know to stop and get off with out him “winning”. Its come down to that. I will not give him the satisfaction of me saying I cant or wont do this anymore. I want him to feel something…anything, guilt, sadness, awareness of hurting someone else. At times I think I love him, but other times its not love, I really don’t know what it is.
    Even now, his mother in the hospital over an emergency, I am there, I’m the one bring the coffee the flowers..all he says is “your so nice” in one sentence, then tells me he wants to be alone..that its not me it him, in the next. It makes me sick and mad at myself that I tolerate this. I do keep hoping that he is going to change and fall passionately in love with me. I am only kidding myself right?
    Why cant I just end it? How can I end it without giving him the satisfaction of “me” cutting him loose and he gets to feel free of every painful moment he put toward me?
    I know I deserve more and want more, when hes on he on, when hes off he is really off….like on a date.. off! Why am I so afraid of letting this one go? Is it the control he has over me too. That somehow I think that I couldn’t do better? I know without a shadow of a doubt I can, its just being able to go and move on. Were both in our 50’s. does that make a difference too?
    Any words from all the wiser and survivors?

    • Keiko says:

      Dump him while you still can.

    • JJ2 says:


      I was where you were, and in some ways I still am. My A/C did not cheat on me (thank goodness) or play the “disappearing” game, but he exhibited most of the other A/C behaviors that Natalie talks about on here.

      I walked out on him, but I feel that emotionally he walked out on me. I tried to wait it out and see if he would ask ME to leave, but he never did. So, I left. But then I tried for eight months to get him to talk to me, he refused. Basically, I got “punished” for having the audacity to leave him, he was SUCH A GOOD MAN.

      I’ve finally been NC for about 25 days, although he went NC with me first after I walked out on him.

      I know, I know, you want HIM to suffer all the pain he put you through. He won’t suffer. Not one bit. Logically I know this. But I’m like you, I WANT HIM TO FEEL PAIN AND I WANT HIM TO REALIZE HE MESSED UP AND I WAS THE BEST THING HE COULD HAVE HAD! It’s not going to happen. Even if it means “he wins,” you must walk out.

      I’ve been gone from him for nine months, but I still think about him, good and bad. I wish it would have worked out. I’m having trouble purging him from my heart and soul. My friends all tell me to I should date, but I know from experience that I cannot do this until the A/C is purged from my soul.

      I wish that you get over it quicker than I did, I’m still hurting, but not as bad.

    • wish_I_found_this_sooner says:

      I too spent 2+ years with an EUM. It is my learning that they will not change. Also in my opinion the words “you are so nice” are a really bad sign when said in absence of truly loving words and actions. The first time my ex EUM told me he loved me I felt on top of the world but then about a month later told me I was “so nice” and that he “cared about me very much” but that he couldn’t commit. This continued to happen many times. I think maybe they feel guilty and anxious that they can’t feel love for you back when you are so wholeheartedly showing it to them by being loving, nice and supportive. That is why I think he pulls away after telling you that you are so nice.

      I know how hard it is to leave this type of relationship…but you should look at you staying in a relationship that is filled with unhappiness and anxiety as a losing situation for you. You are not letting him “win” by breaking it off. If you leave a bad relationship, then you are opening yourself up for something better…to me that is a huge win for you. Plus in my case I hung in there and waited until eventually circumstances were such that he broke up with me and then I felt worse – that I had stayed so long when all the signs were there. I think back and wish I had walked away that first time he told me I was “so nice”.

    • Oldenoughtoknowbetter says:

      Lilly, I just had to reply to you as I am 49 1/2, so very close to 50! I am recently divorced and got involved with an old flame from college. He is married and I fell for him hard (ok, I fell for the sex and the attention hard, if I am totally honest). The first two months were amazing and the next three were not good. I am a fairly confident career woman, even I could not believe what I was putting up with! So I basically gave him an ultimatum (not even to leave his wife, just to see me more, how pathetic is that?!). Anyway, I was hoping he would come chasing after me and then I found this site. I realized I really needed NC, and if he didn’t contact me he was giving me a gift as I was too weak in the first few weeks and would have gone back. He did not contact me and still has not (although he did cc me on a business email that really had nothing to do with me…he was fishing, I did not respond).

      So yes, even in your 50’s, get rid of this guy! We may be old, but we are not dead yet! The key is really, 100% as Natalie says, NO CONTACT! What a gift to give ourselves! You can do this! The first two weeks I was a mess, the third week started coming out of it, I am now in the 4th week and feeling like my old optomistic positive self. You might take a bit longer as your relationship was longer, but I am so happy to be me again! And I read this blog, am going to therapy, I will get myself into a positive place so I never fall for this again. And maybe I will meet some great guy some day, but in the meantime I am going to learn to love and enjoy me. You don’t need this man, you have just convinced yourself he is better than being alone. And you know what, being alone with someone you love (you!) is better than being with someone who doesn’t love you, and makes you not love yourself. There is a great line in one of the Sex in The City episodes where Samantha finds out her lover cheated on her and even though he came back and was 100% faithful she couldn’t trust him. So she was driving herself crazy checking up on him all the time. Finally she says to him “I love you, but I love me more” and walks out the door. Love yourself more, walk out the door! And commit to NC! Good luck Lilly, and our 50’s are still amazing! :-)

      • Wastedlove says:

        Thanks for this post and good advice contained therein. WL xxx

      • Andrea says:

        Thank u, OldEnoughtoKnowBetter. I am 47 1/2, and just waking up to this stuff, too. My married A/C, with whom I’ve been involved for 5 1/2 years (off and on–long story, with me doing the breaking up and then once going for 9 months without seeing him and then falling back off the wagon…anyway…). I’ve had enough, finally. Last straw was a week ago. He had to go pick up a freaking PIE from someone at work, rather than come see me. I kept thinking of Natalie’s comments about crumbs, and trying to make a loaf out of them — I haven’t had enough to make half a pie crust, let alone a pie! I’m so done, and this posting and all of your comments help immensely. This Married A/C has nearly ALL of the traits above in terms of “passing time” (I am too embarrassed to say how many–how could I be so stupid?? and overly trusting???) — but my head (and other parts) got turned by the amazing sex, so I can relate to your posting. But while the sex may be amazing for my body, it has come to deaden my soul. (sounds dramatic, perhaps, but true). I’ve been reading all these postings and Natalie’s books and feel right now in the stage of effed up failure, but your posting helps me keep the faith. It does get better. And I’ll be damned if I am going to spend any more time with A/C’s or EUMs. My forties have been a decade of amazing learning, some of which has come at a high price. But you are right, OldEnoughToKnowBetter, our fifties can be a good time, too. We are never too old. It is up to us. And I thank Goddess for the Internet which has made available this blog and everyone’s shared wisdom/experience. It has so HELPED me to read everyone’s postings. I am going N/C now … he can go get his effin’ PIE somewhere else. :) Thanks everyone, for reading this.

        • JJ2 says:

          Yes, yes, amazing chemistry. Only to have HIM take it away. Like I mentioned in NML’s last post on “Walking through the Memories and seeing the things you missed” (or whatever the title was….), if I told him I LIKED something, he would stop doing it! (And that included SEX!) Have you ever heard of anything so sadistic?

  31. MaryC says:

    Barry Barry Barry, you’re too funny. I needed a laugh today, Thanks.

  32. debra says:

    “You’re out of my league”. I got this comment. I have also seen many different interpretations of it in this and prior blogs. What does it really mean? Is it a sign of insecurity and feeling unworthy or is it just a convenient “out” for a narcissist/EUM/commitment phobe? Does it really mean anything?

    The issues of jealousy and control are far more relevant. These are unquestionably bad signs, signs of emotional immaturity and should always be interpretted as “run”. If he is jealous, it doesn’t mean he’s crazy about you, it means he’s crazy. Control is not a way of keeping you close because he cares or he’s scared of losing you. It’s a way of making sure his needs are met without having to worry about yours. It’s how he makes sure you don’t find out anything about him he doesn’t want you to know. It’s how he keeps you from getting too close.

    If you feel like an option, you are. I was, and I fought the feeling with everything I had, instead of just accepting the fact and moving on. I don’t ever intend to do that again. If he is passing time with you, be honest with yourself and make sure that’s all you are doing with him. If you think its more, if you hope and dream its more, you will end up hurt. Hanging around in the hope he recognizes how wonderful you really are is just wasting your time and energy. I love myself enough now to know that I am “special”. That he never saw it is his loss, not mine.

  33. I think its also important for women to listen to their intuition when it comes to a particular man that they are not sure about. Most of the time when confusion arises its not because I do not know the truth. Its because I know what the truth is, but I don’t want to accept it … yet.

    If you find yourself, thinking obsessively about whether to trust this guy, or trying to convince yourself that “he really is into you and he really does have your best interests at heart” – just make sure to listen to your intuition. As for women this is usually very strong and it will pick up on all the small subtleties which usually fly under the conscious radar.

    Hot Alpha Female

  34. WastedLove says:

    This site is genuinely revolutionising the way I behave with men and the way I think about relationships. I cannot believe that just reading a website could change me in middle age, but it has. Away from the site I hear the echoes of Natalie’s blogposts in my ears, I’m repeating her words to myself!

    I cannot believe how stupid I’ve been when dating — for decades! The things I’ve put up with and never should have, but was more concerned with giving the man the benefit of the doubt or making excuses to myself for his AC behaviour, ignoring the Red Flags he showed me on a first or second date, saying I mustn’t be so hard on people, must give everyone a second chance (and third, and fourth).

    Maybe because deep down I felt I “ought” to be grateful to even BE on a date with a nice looking man; maybe because my mother taught me that “it’s nice to be nice”; maybe because I needed to be liked more than I needed to be respected – who knows?

    All I know is, it ends now!

    Many times when on a date I’ve had a man criticise me, yet not only did I not just walk out, I spent the rest of the date striving to prove that I’m NOT the label he gave me.

    For example, I’ve had men accuse me of being “talkative”; “over-confident”, “too full of myself”, “opinionated”. My reaction has been to instantly become the opposite, to “prove” I’m not. Only lately can I see that I was a willing participant in a manipulative game, letting them undermine me, break my exuberant spirit and try to become the “nice, quiet girl” they WISHED they were on a date with.

    I feel SO many regrets now! I feel ashamed of the way I’ve let them control me in this way. My correct response should have been to stand up, put on my coat and say, “Well, that’s ME, buster, and if you don’t like who I am then there’s no point either of us wasting our time, is there?”

    But look how much I have changed already, as a result of Natalie! I had a date yesterday with a confident, talkative policeman. I sat quietly and listened and nodded while he held forth at length and with authority on a subject that I happen to be interested in and reasonably knowledgeable about. I then contributed my point of view on the issue, in a normal tone of voice, and he rolled his eyes, signed heavily and said “Are you always this argumentative?”

    Well, previously I would have been stung by such a criticism and felt embarrassed about myself, then spent some minutes being sycophantic in order to “prove” that his label was wrong. But this time I felt really quite affronted. I glared at him and hissed, “Look, I’ve got an IQ tested at 147, a fairly recent BSc honours degree, and 52 years experience of the world! What’s the point of having all that if I’m just supposed to sit here wearing a plastic smile and even if I disagree with something, just nodding like a fucking dog ornament on the back shelf of a car?” He was rather taken aback, but didn’t get narked (nor did he arrest me for swearing LOL).

    Maybe he even respected me a bit more afterwards.

    But I respected him less. It made me see a Red Flag — a man who wants his woman in the role of sitting quietly, listening, nodding in the right places, and with no thoughts of her own. To quote Natalie — “I’m not that woman!” or “I used to be that woman but then I read Baggage Reclaim!”

    I used to walk away from first dates pondering “What did he think of me? Did I pass?” Thanks to B.R. I now walk away from first dates pondering “What did I think of him? Did he pass?”

    Thank you Natalie.

    • Andrea says:

      Thank you, WastedLove, for sharing this. Good for you! It’s postings like these that are so helping me right now. Cheers!

    • Audrey says:

      Hi, wow! “are you always that argumentative”?? he had some nerve. i would suggest to him that perhaps he takes a manequin out with him on his next date and he could attach a few strings to her that he can pull when he wants a yes or a no answer..!!!

      • MH says:


        That was awesome!

      • WastedLove says:

        @Audrey … thank you for making me literally laugh out loud – at your mannequin suggestion. Pull string A for “yes” and string B for “no”.


        With hindsight, perhaps I should have gathered my things and stormed out as soon as he said that. Or maybe we should operate a “Three Strikes and You’re Dumped” policy with first dates?

    • riotgirl says:

      That was wonderfully encouraging, thank you. :)

    • Happy Soul says:

      WastedLove, I love reading your posts!!! GOD, you are amazing woman…Good for you, that you shut this policeman, I bet he learnt his lesson – not to mess with assertive and confident women!!!

  35. Claudia says:

    I suggest, PTC means Passing Time Candidate (see title of your post).

  36. Lesley Binnie says:

    I think the list is significant because,as Natalie states the numbers do join up…. The points on this list appear in sticky clumps for me. When one is happening,look closer you will be experiencing several…at the same time.
    In my experience if a guy seems to favour texting ad nauseum then he will have difficulty acknowledging the same feelings face to face…. just too out there for a EUM who is passing time. I enjoy the sparky,flirty text as much as anyone but not as the main method of communication.
    I’ve no desire to be convenient and no hassle for someone who can’t be bothered to pick up a phone. Used to accept it. Not now.
    The biggy for me has to be no.6.though…’secrecy’ particularly as the relationship progresses is a big red flag that future intentions may be shady. Fair enough in the dating phase over the first few weeks /months when you are both checking potential but when someone is saying the love word to you and speaking of future contexts and they still appear to all and sundry a a ‘single guy’ to friends/family/workmates then I think you have to acknowledge that they see you as a temporary part of their life and move on or it’s time for you to clarify what’s really going on…and get answers you expect and deserve.
    Passing time for them may be wasting time for us.
    Natalie, List so well thought out and clear that,as always, it’s a real resource for me in my life with men,friends,family…these blogs help me in manyl areas of my relationships with others. Thanks Lesx

  37. sule says:

    I used to put too much faith and importance on the “not being a secret” idea, oddly enough. I thought because he was trotting me out to all his friends and family, it meant something. That I was being shown off or run past a selection committee or something. Now, I see it differently. He was using me to look less odd. He was 40, never married, never any relationship longer than 3 months. In my presence alone, 10 people asked him why he wasn’t married or with someone. So, I was his “beard” or cover. He always gave the impression we were together to others but was careful not to give me that impression.

    I am still shocked and amazed at what I put up with. How low I let him drag me in the hopes that the promise of the golden beginning would pay off. That the great guy from the first few months would reappear and we would live happily ever after.

    In hindsight, I am just embarrassed by it all. Someone today jokingly said that, based on the AC, I must have really appalling taste in men. I had to agree. I can no longer see what I once saw in him. He doesn’t even look the same. The amount of projection and picturing I was doing is incredible. I made him into the relationship mirage I had waited so long for. The fact that he had little interest in being there after the early days seemed lost on me. I clung to the fact that he was interested once, at least for a few weeks, so he would be interested again. That he was still around was good enough, I guess. How sad.

    • riotgirl says:

      Well, the important thing is that you now realize what was happening. And from that, you can learn from your lesson. :) And you know what? You’re not the only one who hopes and dreams for a happy ending. I think a lot of us do too and because of the things we hope for, we take risks on people whom appear to be doing the right thing. Unfortunately, there are some people who just lack integrity as a human being.

      I had something similar happen to me and wonder where did it all go wrong. I think Natalie has put it very clearly in the way she describes how we miss these red-flags because we hope for the best. Don’t blame yourself, just try and take all of this as a learning experience for when you meet someone who is right for you. :)

  38. Open my eyes says:

    Hi everyone!

    I’m dealing with a guy that calls me everyday, see him on weekends(not during the week cause I work a lot) but he won’t establish how serious he is????!!

    Should I just tell him if I don’t get an answer I’m gonna go my own way?

    Thanks, any advise would be great!

  39. Tulipa says:

    I am so very thankful for this post at this time. I feel that I am intelligent but not emotionally intelligent it is like my head understands registers things then my emotions get in the way and boom Im a mess. See I understand the above message he cannot be interested in me I relate to so many of the above numbers all signalling he is clearly NOT interested in me. Now I understand this I really do on an intellectual level it seems easy move along leave him be. Now I had a good November I felt I had moved along I made no contact etc etc but from an email I looked at it mentioned he would contact me at the beginning of December (of course he hasn’t) but this has set me back and I have been crying and moping and really really having to fight the urge to make contact to remind him what he said
    I did rough drafts of texts to fire off to him fortunately I dont have his contact details in my phone PHEW this has been going on over a few days now and it is only now Im starting to mash home the truth he is not interested in me any more and I DO NOT NEED him in my life he serves no purpose. So here is hoping that I make it.
    I went back and read all the above comments because I need encouragement. I don’t balme him for how I’m feeling I have to look at me because I’m allowing myself to feel the way I do. I have come to recognise I need boundaries and to give myself a whole lot more respect, which is why Im fighting so hard to change my past behaviour not be a victim to his whims and move on. I have rejected several offers of dates because I know exactly what kind of relationship it will turn out to be so Im on the road and that is all that matters.
    I have to agree with Barry in some parts because I often think a women who had good self esteem wouldn’t have even looked his way and etc etc down the list till you get to me who put with far more bs than I should have because I accepted his behaviour said nothing and therefore he continued the pattern and who could balme him for doing so?

  40. fluffernutter says:

    With age and experience, I am definitely getting better at recognizing the signs of disinterest or the “meh” men (the ones who aren’t totally disinterested, but are also not very interested either). Lately, I have been able to get rid of these right away.

    The trouble comes when you are with a man who for all intents and purposes seems to be interested. He defines the relationship as being serious, calls you every day, sees you several times a week, does nice things for you, introduces you to his friends, makes plans with you, says all the right things, etc. …but he turns out to be a future-faker who isn’t 100% invested in the relationship. By the time you find this out, it’s too late and you’re already in love while he’s heading out the door.

    How do you know that what is reflected on the surface of the relationship truly runs deep? Just by setting boundaries and asking questions? What if he just tells you what you want to hear instead? I know that we’re supposed to believe a man’s actions over his words, but when someone starts talking about making plans for the future, how long are you supposed to wait until he takes action? Weeks, months? For example, if a guy mentions possibly moving in together at some point, do you give him a month to start looking at real estate or else he doesn’t mean it? When a guy talks about the two of you as a married couple, how long do you give him to propose before he’s deemed a future-faker?

    Or do you just call him on it and tell him that if he starts talking like that, he’d better be prepared to step up to the plate; otherwise, don’t even mention those things?

    • Fearless says:


      I hae thought of that too. I re-ran the first weeks/months of my thing with my ex EU and I know there were other signs that should ahve had me backing off (I think you gve them the benefit of te doubt on the ‘other’ signs because they seem to be outweighed by everything else.

      I think you are right – you tell them to slow down. We also have to consider the wisdom of a person who is talking about long-term, marrige type deals after only a month or two – I would tend to think they were either a bit daft, faking it or a fantasist… none is good!

      So, big flag to look out for is that they are talking about too much too fast, too soon. If they are doing that I wouldn’t be too quick to rush out and buy ‘Brides’ magazine – if they are easy come, they are easy go, or conversely: marry in haste, repent at leisure…

      So I think the point is that you absolutley do not invest anything, don’t get carried away, until they come up with the goods, howver long that takes, because until they put the ring on the table, so to speak, they are just talking about a ring.

  41. ninotchka1939 says:

    Thank you for this wonderful site. I discovered it months ago when I started going out with the prototypical Mr. Unavailable. From the above list alone I checked off 21 signs. 21 out of 30!

    And you know what? I knew. I always knew that this would never lead anywhere good. I knew it would only end in pain. Red flag after red flag, and yet I forged on with impunity – the impunity of idiocy.

    I do not know how I became this girl as 1. I am not an idiot. and 2. I have always had high regard for myself. I neglected all reason, all logic, and fixated on the improbability of his changing. I don’t know how I came to care for this person, and actually still do. Until now I keep asking myself how this happened. But I’m done. I’m done with this B.S.

    I’ve really been coming back down the road to reality (of late) and reading this article was the tipping point. Thank you for helping me.

  42. Tulipa says:

    And you know what? I knew. I always knew that this would never lead anywhere good. I knew it would only end in pain. Red flag after red flag, and yet I forged on with impunity – the impunity of idiocy.

    I do not know how I became this girl as 1. I am not an idiot. and 2. I have always had high regard for myself. I neglected all reason, all logic, and fixated on the improbability of his changing. I don’t know how I came to care for this person, and actually still do. Until now I keep asking myself how this happened. But I’m done. I’m done with this B.S.

    I can relate to all what you said above you worded it so much better than me… I hope you don’t find yourself back in that situation here’s to reality as much as it suxs it has to be better than the pain they cause..

    • ninotchka1939 says:


      Thank you, Tulipa! I suppose if you sit around moping a lot, you will come up with the right words to express how you’re feeling. Hehe. You know, I had no idea that there were so many other women out there with similar experiences. Who knew there were so many EUMs in the world.

      I am 25 and relatively low on experience. But I’m glad this experience (and not to mention this blog) taught me to read the signs – not only READ them, but ACKNOWLEDGE them. I am wiser now, and hope to never make this mistake again. I hope you’re well, too. Here’s to finding a fulfilling, reciprocal love. =)

  43. Mitsy says:

    Barry’s post is a poster board for men’s bad behavior. He justifies bad behavior because some women will tolerate it longer than others. It kind of goes without saying that Barry is apparently ALSO a user of women, a manipulator who will take what he can get because he can (at times) get what he wants. Then, he’s ignorant enough to blame his victims (or women in general). I suspect his childhood lacked quite a lot when it came to teaching him lessons about people and about women in particular. Otherwise, he would not have such anger issues. He likely has hurt/abused more than a few women over the years. I pity whoever winds up with him next.

  44. JillyBean says:

    Gosh, so much of this is accurate.
    What it comes down to is that if someone doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, your time, your respect, and offer up an even playing field, get the heck out of dodge.
    Life is too short to be spent pining over someone who won’t give the same amount back.

    • TJ says:

      This is so true, so much time is wasted staying in a failing relationship either waiting or wondering. Life is too short for that.

      Just by the mere fact that you are “waiting and wondering” is proof enough that the relationship is not worth your time and effort. It really is dead in the water. Let us stop living on illusions and just move on with our lives. Don’t give the time of day to anyone that doesn’t treat you with the utmost love, kindness and respect.

  45. Nick says:

    You know, I’ve read quite a few posts on here and I think a lot of these coined words such as “EUM” can simply be traced back to the MBTI. Some of the “red flags” I read on here are simply just misunderstandings of different personality types and not so much “assclowns” or “EUMs” that you are so quick to pigeonhole some men in (real mature and astute titles by the way). Granted, there are some seriously f**ked up people in the world. Well, maybe more than just some. I’m an INTJ and showing affection or flirting is just something that is hard for me to do because my personality is extremely reserved/rational rather than emotional/flamboyant. I hate small talk, impulsiveness, recklessness, and the general “games” that are played in trying to attract a mate and keeping a mate. Usually it’s my aura of mystery that attracts women. I’m reserved, very artistic, intelligent, and assertive. Women tend to be attracted to those things for a certain amount of time. Certainly seems like it, after reading “oh my god! i don’t know why i keep going after emotionally unavailable men” And I have been labeled an EUM due to my introversion and rational approach to problems rather than “hugging it out”. Truth is, it’s probably just as much of your fault as it is theirs. A simple lesson in evolutionary biology would render this whole site useless as far as I’m concerned. Life is simply about spreading your genes and most personality types are unfaithful because the unfaithful personality genes get passed on due to being more apt to procreate thus leaving the committed type personalities in the minority. INTJ’s make up 1% of the population and approach relationships as rational job and are very committed partners, even if they don’t shower you with affection. I have a huge heart and am very loyal and respectful in relationships but I think it’s the fact that majority of the MBTI personalities aren’t able to commit after the giddy love feeling obtained through the chemicals in your brain subside is the problem with most people.

    I’ve read the post on this site that stated “stay away from the scientist” Meh, maybe if you’re one of the emotional personalities, probably true. You put two INTJ people together, I don’t think the “scientist” is such a “red flag”. INTJ’s though not as emotional, are one of the most reliable, loyal, trustworthy personalities of the 16 personality types, just not as openly romantic. Some of the most common types of personalities, such as the ESFP are the people that are never satisfied and go from relationship to relationship (perhaps your example of John Mayer comes to play here). Maybe most of you need to take the Myers-Briggs and read up on your personality traits. Some of you are just innately impossible to satisfy. Hence your confusion on what you want. I think there are so many traits black listed on this site that you’re starting to create a jaded group of people that will constantly seek out some fantasy relationship that doesn’t exist. I do think many of the readers on this site should have a little bit of introspection before putting all the blame on their failed relationships. The ESFP is also a personality that never accepts fault for their own irrational actions. Just some food for thought.

    • NML says:

      Nick, I love when I get comments like yours, especially when you get the exaggeration or outright lie that you read a lot of posts on the site – The only reason why this ever gets said in the context of a comment like yours is to ‘legitimise’ the fact that you’re being rude. If you had read anywhere near as much as you say you have, you’d know that the central theme is empowering yourself by being accountable for the part in things you can control – you – and also recognising that if someone has behaved in a certain way and you’ve participated, you have to look to what boundaries etc have enabled the other person’s behaviour. I also don’t ask people to hide behind ‘labels’ and so maybe you should take some of your own advice and be responsible for your own actions instead of palming it off on Myers Briggs. It’s more than personality – it’s emotional schooling and actually, commitment issues for some are a lifestyle choice. Basically, get over yourself.

      • Movedup says:

        WHOOT WHOOT Nat! Could not agree more – thank you so much for your response to that. In my opinion, he was very condensing which is a trait I consider to be a RED FLAG.

      • TJ says:

        AMEN Natalie….

        Nick said “I think there are so many traits black listed on this site that you’re starting to create a jaded group of people that will constantly seek out some fantasy relationship that doesn’t exist. ”

        Truth is, the site is creating self reliant and informed individuals – arming them with the truth! I look at this site as a no-nonsense eye-opening lifesaver. That is exactly what it is too! Without this site I surely would have went nuts over the past few months dealing with the ex AC.

        Thank you so much for creating this site Nat and continuing this amazing and insightful education of the masses!!


    • tina says:

      Nick –

      I swear to God, my first reaction in reading your post was that you are my ex-AC. Your narcissistic, superior tone, pseudo-scientific approach to relationships and your desire to blame others all feels so familiar. Your use of jargon suggests you have spent more time finding a psychological excuse for your emotional unavailability than a legitimate quest for self-awareness or understanding. Your dismissal of the people on this site, and the site as a whole, shows that you aren’t interested in introspection yourself, just the wholesale devaluing of those capable of emotion. Isn’t a lack of empathy and haughy attitude two of the diagnostic criteria for NPD? (since you love acronyms so much). Like my ex-AC, you have devoted a disturbing amount of time to studying others emotional behaviours, as a means of mimicing them to better fool your victims. That you focus on your supposed great qualities that women find so irresistable is another sign of your personality disorder.

      I have long suspected that among the readers of this site is more than a few AC/EUM/ and most definitely narcissists, who find any attempts to shine sunlight on their behaviour patterns terrifying. Heaven forbid that your future potential victims should learn to protect themselves from you – how will you continue to secure supply sources if we are able to recognize you from a mile away?

      It is a testiment to Natalie that your comment is posted. That she is willing to allow all voices to be heard is exactly what is so great about this site. That all are welcome here is a reflection of the positive attitudes and desire for real growth and discovery that characterize this site. Perhaps if you read further, you might learn something other than to belittle others.

    • Used says:

      My guy is pretty hot, well-educated (graduate school, great schools), nice, likeable, and could cheat in a heartbeat. Why he doesn’t? Because he is a normal human being, not EU, not AC, not Narcissist, who believes in commitment. His brother, too, who is even better looking and taller, is faithful to all his partners. Guess what? They were raised in eth same family, one that is traditional and believes in love, marriage, faith, and commitment.

      Old fashioned? Label it what you want.

      All I know is, now that he is with an equally well-educated, cute, thin, successful, nice, etc. woman, his stock value has gone even higher. And he doesn’t have to cheat for this to happen, either!

      Oh, yes, you are sooooo right: women–ALL women–want that “bad boy” who they can “turn around.” Yep.

      We just don’t want emotional abuse or to be taken for granted (or for a ride) (or used, e.g., by a guy to get his GROSS ex back).

      You “players” are just sooooo secure and manly. Wow!

    • grace says:


      I was interested to read your post, it reminded me of a chapter in Bryn Collin’s “Emotional Unavailablity”. The chapter is “Head Over Heart, The Emotional Ivory Tower”. Her checklist for the Intellectualizer is:

      Distant, unable to be emotionally intimate
      Overanalyzes situations, ignores emotional content
      Unconnected with his or her emotions
      Proud of intellectual achievements, dismisses emotional connections
      Unable to identify emotions in self or others
      Highly defended

      Sounds like you (from your post). It’s also like me, or how I used to be. I won’t bore you with the details but it was the result of a traumatic upbringing and a love of school, esp. science. Growing up, working in customer care, working with children and being around children has made me much more emotionally “intelligent”. I’m much happier for it.

      If you had read as much of this site as you claim, you would see that Natalie has posted time and time again that us women in these unsatisfactory relationships are emotionally unavailable as well. It’s not an insult, it’s a gateway to understanding ourselves and making our lives better.

      Natalie must get a lot of posts like yours and Barry’s. We can’t win can we? You believe you’re genetically programmed to be unfaithful . Barry thinks we’re ripe for exploitation and should expect nothing more.

      Run, girls, run!

  46. C says:

    I am 43 and I have lived though a life of AC and I was telling a friend that we can know in our head the guy is treating us terrible and we should leave but we just cant go. I have given up trying in these cases, for me, it just helps to treat it as a disease like co-dependency. It’s not about intelligence, the problem is emotional. The last relationship of this sort I got into I spent two years in and spent almost that whole time trying to get out!! I think the very best part of this list is the control part. My current obsession is very possessive but obviously doesn’t want me.

  47. Naomi says:

    Thank you for this great article. I tried NC and failed but I will try again from tomorrow. You gave me strenght to start again tomorrow.

    Lots of Love, N.

  48. single mom dating says:

    I just stumbled upon this blog when I was searching for
    advice on whether or not I should be worried if the guy I am with
    isn’t missing me like I miss him. I’ve been with this guy for 3
    weeks and he did ask me to be his girlfriend already but now there
    are some signs I am not so sure about. We got into a really heavy
    discussion on new year’s day (we were not together on new year’s
    eve because he went to a party but did not invite me to attend) and
    he started saying things like “I am worried when I go back to
    school next week that I won’t have any time for you. I’ll be
    working late after school and its not fair to you that I won’t have
    much free time. I am just afraid we make have jumped into this too
    quickly and its bad timing.” And yet, the following day he went o a
    road trip with me to pick up my son from his dad’s and was all
    lovey-dovey with me, touching me constantly whether we stood in
    line at a convenience store or window shopped at the mall to kill
    time before my son’s drop off. At dinner he snuggled up to me the
    entire time and couldn’t keep his eyes off me. He was even feeding
    me from his plate of food with his fork being all cute etc. Then,
    today he started off the day sending me his usually “good morning
    sweetheart” text messages and chatting throughout the day via text
    but when I ask when I will see him next, he has no answer even
    though he admitted that his tuesday plans had fallen through and
    would be around. He has me so incredibly confused right

    • charla says:

      That sounds familiar s.m.d. (I went through almost a year of this cr*p.) It sounds like he’s unsure and if he’s drip-feeding you and keeping you in the dark now, I’m afraid it won’t get any better. It’s a tough balance to not be needy and pry into their lives and demand respect at the same time. Ask him straight out what he’s looking for :)

    • grace says:

      single mom
      dump him, it’s not going to get better. he can’t even be consistent over a three week period! he likes you when it’s convenient for him. otherwise he would rather party/ogle other women. and he’s already told you that he won’t have time for you.
      Texting, as we have reiterated countless times on this site, means nothing. Physical affection unless it is backed up with some care and consistency means less than nothing!
      You’re only three weeks in, time to drop it before you become more emotionally invested.

      • Minky says:

        Agreed! When a guy likes you and isn’t an emotional cripple, they will not mess you about. If they want to see you, they will see you, and you won’t have to chase them for a definite answer. They will not change their minds every two seconds, they will not leave you feeling anxious. They will be straight forward, consistent and transparent. When you’re with someone worthy of your time, they will not play games, they will not leave you in doubt, there will be no drama and they will be very down to earth about the whole thing.

        Arranging a meeting with a decent guy should be a lot like arranging to meet up with a good friend, in terms of communication (i.e – them: ‘want to meet up?’, you: ‘Yeah, that would be lovely’, them: ‘great, when?’, you: ‘how about…?’, them: ‘Great see you then’ – done!). If you meet up with a friend that’s how it usually is, you don’t sit there wondering what the hell’s going on – meeting up for a date or whatever should be similar. Why do we tolerate it when men give us the run around about meeting up? If a friend did that to me i’d get annoyed and just leave it – their problem if they’re going to faff about!

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          Single Mom,

          I’m new to this site and too new to NC to make any useful comments but I want you to know your post made me sad. I was there. It also gave me the boost I needed to maintain NC.

        • Allison says:


          This is going nowhere fast! I also think it’s weird he would ask you to be his girlfriend in such a short period of time!

          You’re getting little after three weeks, can’t imagine how bad it will get! He’s already stated he will not have time for you. Believe him!

          Time to dump this one!

          • Allison says:

            Also, why would he not ask his girlfriend to attend a NYE party???
            The writing is on the wall!!!!!

    • single mom dating says:

      Maybe I am gonna regret my decision but I am gonna see how things pan out the rest of this week as far as him making an effort to see me. I do think its possible he is just unsure about us and that’s fine because its only been 3 weeks. We usually don’t communicate via phone and rely mainly on text messages because during the day right now he works in his dad’s furniture building workshop so there is a lot of noise and makes it too hard to talk. He has said some things that still imply a future for us but yet he has made no additional mention as to planning on when we will see each other next. I definitely don’t wanna come off as needy so I am letting him be the man and plan things. He is an aquarius and from what I know about Aquarius men, the are extremely independent, they don’t like to be tied down, they don’t like jealousy, stubborn and they are unemotional. But they are also faithful. I don’t believe he would cheat on me just because we both came from marriages in which our exs cheated on us. Mine had a 6 month affair and his ex wife carried hers on for 3 years. He has been divorced only 6 months so I think if anything he is just really unsure as to whether relationships can actually work. I also believe he is not over the love he felt for his ex. They were married 15 years while I was only married 8. I have been single for 5 years so I have had time to heal and I think he is still in the healing process. Which would explain why he was so hot and heavy with me in the beginning; it was nice to feel desired once again and now he is scared because of how quickly he fell for me. He has told me that he wants to slow down because he rushed with his ex and got engaged just 4 months after meeting her.

      • Allison says:

        So many red flags: recently divorced, doesn’t trust, moves quickly, establishing walls, text communication, no time, STILL IN LOVE WITH EX!

        I see neon with this guy! I think you should ask yourself why you are willing to settle, as things are already looking bad. Don’t let your lonliness allow to be with an EUM! Also, think of the impact this type of relationship could have on your child?

    • grace says:

      single mom
      I just read your latest blog entry – every word confirms that you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man, right down to the great sex I’m afraid. You had great sex after he told you he doesn’t want a relationship. HE was full of relief at having got that off his chest. YOU thought great sex = bonding. HE thought great sex = she is happy to keep it casual.

      Even though this situation seems so unique and confusing to you, to us coming out of the other side, it is totally typical.

      Be strong, register the red flags and take action ie cut this man off. Do NOT turn yourself into a pretzel trying to wrestle a relationship out of him. It will never happen.

      If you feel you need more time, continue to read natalie’s posts and pay full attention to what this man is doing/saying. There’s no need to ask him a lot of questions or have a lot of talks. He is already telling you what you need to know. You just need to put your hopes/dreams to one side and pay attention.

      All the best.

      • single mom dating says:

        I just had a rather painful phone conversation with a good
        male friend of mine and he knocked some sense into me and told me
        that I deserved better. I deserve a man that knows he wants to be
        with me and one that is ready to make the effort to see me. So I
        called up my bf and talked him about it. He ultimately said “I
        don’t know what I want. I know I enjoy being with you and having
        you around but I don’t know if I am ready for another
        relationship.” He then asked me to give him a few days to think and
        so I agreed. I will give him 3 days and if he is still uncertain
        what he wants then I will walk away from this….as painful as it
        may be already.

  49. outergirl says:

    Hi C
    Hope you are still checking in. Is it possible that this settling for crumbs may have something to do w/your backround or upbringing? The message that your feelings don’t count? Or worse? The way I see it, when a car or a house or some other valuable item isn’t selling, no one marks it ‘Free! We can’t get the asking price so just come take it.’ I’ll be damned if I’m giving myself away for free either.

  50. msblue says:

    PTC means Passing Time Candidate. It is in the title of the article. I think people forgot this b/c of Barry’s tone and his arrogance. His post certainly hit a nerve. I like the term b/c a PTC could be used for a variety of reasons, casual sex being just one of them. I am a woman who used to be EU and my two common-law husbands asked me to marry them. I never did b/c I didn’t love them. But I strung them along, never intending to commit to them. Karma is a bitch! Now that I’m single, I am ready to lose the EU men. PTCs and EUs can be male or female, straight or gay. When I was EU and used men as PTC’s I was fearful, confused, and unhappy. I’ve done a lot of clearing (emotional, spiritual) and am now ready for a healthy, committed, loving relationship. This is a journey and we need to respect that we are all at different points. Raise your own vibration and you will attract a higher vibration mate.

  51. kat says:

    I just wanted to thank all of you women who post comments here. You never fail to inspire, motivate, and empower me by sharing your wisdom and experiences. I keep the best comments in a little file that I read before going out on a date or when I am feeling down about being a woman in today’s world. It never fails to revive my spirit and make me proud to be a woman. And thanks to NML for thinking up such an intellingent, necessary, and no BS website to keep us on the right path. Kudos to you all!

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30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.