It’s that time of year again. I thought I’d do something a little different… a journey through my ‘old mind’….


Relationships are conceived before we even enter into them because they begin with the relationship that we have with ourselves.

If I can’t love me, then how can I love you?

How do I know that it’s real? How do you know?

Am I really loving you or is it me I’m trying to ‘get loved’?

Is it you that I love or is it the me I think I could be with your love in the future I’ve forecast?

Am I ‘meditating’ on you as a distraction from my self-hate and disillusionment?

Are you my latest project to consume myself with to avoid living my own life?

Are you the the career that the workaholic absorbs themselves in both as self-avoidance and as their source of self-worth?

Do I love you or do I love you because I want you to love me back?

Is it desperation?

Do I love you because you gave me attention so I feel like I owe you?

Am I trying to create a tipping point of reciprocation?

Do I like you or do I like how you pump me up and hide what I think are my flaws?

Maybe I’m pumping you up and declaring love because I want you to do the same for me. Why do I feel like I’m deflating while you take on epic proportions in my life and psyche?

Are you my daddy in romantic packaging? Do I want you to love me like we’re in this relationship together or do I want you to love me in the way that the child I used to be so desperately craved?

Are you my mother? Do I love you because I love you and you me, or do I need you to give me approval? Is love having to do everything ‘right’ and never displeasing? If it is, I hope you know how much I love you by the amount of doormat bristles in my back?

Do I love you or do I worship you, and if I worship you, why are you so special? Why don’t I feel special too? Why does it feel like how loved and ‘amazing’ I declare you to be is directly proportional to my loss of self?

If you don’t love me, does it mean that I’m not loved? A tree that falls without anyone to hear it still makes a sound and an impact doesn’t it?

Why does your love matter so much? Surely all of my hopes and expectations for a relationship and my life weren’t all resting on you?

Why does love itself have to end because you don’t want me or because you’re not around anymore?

Why have I got to start over from scratch as if I had and was nothing before you?

How could it be love if your so-called ‘rejection’ or absence means that I’ve got nothing left of me?

Don’t I matter anyway? Why is everything resting on you?

Why do dates not working out mean that I’m a failure? What am I failure at? Successfully not continuing in something that wasn’t working for me even though it hurt to leave? Successfully dodging a bullet further down the line by accepting the feedback of the person unfolding?

Doesn’t love mean being human? How can I love me or expect to love or be loved, if making mistakes or things not working out means I’ve failed as a human being and am ‘marked down’?

Isn’t love more than a feeling? Isn’t it an action? Why has every unhealthy relationship been about how I feel and about how I want them to feel, but it’s never been about how I or they act?

How come I haven’t always needed the loving action to match the ‘loving’ words?

Why have I cried for crumbs?

Of course I could only ever value what I was familiar with. I’ve subsisted on crumb thoughts with lashings of self-neglect. The crumbs of others no matter how small look freshly baked and bigger and better than anything I’m giving me.

Was it love if it took everything I am and had or I gave it away like it wasn’t worth a damn?

I want to mean something but don’t I need to mean something to me?

Why would I only have meaning when I’m with another? What am I without the love and approval of others? Meaningless? Worthless? Nothing?

How can I suddenly have meaning with a stranger? I didn’t know you before we met but now that we’ve met and I still don’t actually know you but I feel excited and distracted by the attention and the possibilities, I now mean something again? Am I on a ‘worth break’ between relationships and attention?

If I would feel like this and forget who I am for someone I barely know, what the hell would I do for someone I do know? What does it say about me and what I have to give, if I’ll put a closing down sign on me as soon as I see ‘possibilities’?

Am I putting my life on hold and ‘waiting this one out’ until someone deems me worthwhile enough to be in a relationship with? How can they have that power? Why don’t I have it? Isn’t it that we have to mutually choose each other for a loving relationship?

I can be in love on my own but a relationship takes two… doesn’t it?

Does my life only begin when I’m chosen or does my life kick into gear when I choose me?

It’s a question of love. Is it love if you can’t treat you with love, care, trust and respect? Does it feel and look like love, or does it feel and look like sewer love that can’t hack the daylight of reality?

I’ve been worthless (in my mind), I’ve been scared, I’ve been many things that haven’t served me but what I haven’t been while these dominated, is truly available and receptive to love and loving. I’ve known a lot of pain but I used to think it was love, but now that I know love and I don’t harm me, it’s inconceivable to think that love and my worth is the warped, dark, hurtling, harmful ‘love’ of unhealthy relationships or what we do and give when we don’t like ourselves.

Relationships are conceived before we even enter into them because they begin with the relationship that we have with ourselves. Make your relationship with you the type that you’d want to start with others.

Your thoughts?

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168 Responses to Reflections: Knowing Your Own Love

  1. JJ2 says:

    Wow, all these thoughts posted by Natalie definitely go back to where she says you pick men based on your family dynamics. And I see my family dynamics in play with the assclowns I’ve been with.

  2. Alison G. says:

    Wow you really nailed it with this one. So true. The question always remains – for me – how do I go from A to B? Is being on your own the answer? To stop dating for a while? To keep trying to date but to make better decisions? I keep grappling with this as I read your articles and take your courses – what will provide me with the best healing?

    • MSA says:

      @Alison G,

      You listed the questions running through my mind for a few weeks now. I feel the need to be with someone now. My whole marriage, I felt alone, after that, my LDR was yet another illusion from which I am trying to get out. lately, I met someone who showed some interest in me, and here I am already making such a big deal out of it. I do believe I might need some “single me” time, but I feel the need to connect to someone, I need the feelings I’ve been missing in my last 2 relationships that consumed almost 12 years of my life. This is where I’m most lost now, otherwise, I would’ve been more than happy to enjoy the freedom of a single woman, even with kids.

    • McKenzieM says:

      I kept wondering the same thing. Then I was honest with myself and realized that the reason I wanted a relationship was because I wanted someone to love me. That is indicative of a bigger problem (i.e., that I don’t love myself enough). So, I have resolved to stay single until I get to the point where I feel like I actually, truly love myself for me and am happy with who I am. Otherwise, I’m just going to continue getting involved with EUs/ACs.

      I don’t know if that helps you make a decision, but I figured I’d share it on the off chance that it helped you or someone else reading these comments.

      • bittersweetdreams says:

        @MSA I am in a very similar situation. I am beyond tired of feeling lonely, after a loveless marriage of 8 years and THREE unavailable relationships over the past year.

        But I think @McKenzieM is right — it’s indicative of bigger issue and I’ve been told the pattern will keep repeating itself until I face the issues. I AM facing the issues at this point — going to weekly therapy, starting meds this week to lift the depression…but it’s all such hard work. And sometimes I feel resentful that I have to do all this work just to get to my “happily ever after,” when it SEEMS like others have it so easy.

        For me, I know I need to focus on myself for a bit before trying out a relationship again. I was starting down that path for about two months then ended up getting together with my most recent ex over the weekend. It was a great weekend but then I freaked out about a lot of things. I am clearly not able to be on an emotionally level playing field in an RS right now. I still give HIM too much power over my happiness. So, as much as I want a RS at the moment, I know I am not ready to handle the ups and downs that come with it without my world falling apart.

        Once again, I am taking a step back and doing “ME.” It’s gotta pay off in the long run, right?

        • Kit-Kat says:

          And sometimes I feel resentful that I have to do all this work just to get to my “happily ever after,” when it SEEMS like others have it so easy………
          I have to remind myself relationships that appear great may not be so great. We never really know what goes on behind closed doors.
          Currently , I have no desire whatsoever to date. But I am testing out my new radar detection unit (courtesy of Nat) out on men I meet. Its funny how I spot characterisics that immediatly send up a red flag in me. I laugh to myself and thing
          a-ha caught that one..Before I would of shrug it off..Not that woman anymore..With knowledge comes power.. Stay strong & continue what your doing. Your on the right track. In todays world we want things yesterday . Thats not how it works with ingrained ,repeated habits we have. Be good to you first & foremost.. Happy V-Day !!

          • Emerldeyez says:

            This has been a good one. I read it and slept on it and re-read it. I too have been trying out the new radar. It’s really pretty cool to see the red flags, without the emotional entanglement, and to be able to move on. I definitely have seen my type.
            I have seen how I gave myself up, because they must be right, be stronger, have it better together than me, etc, etc, etc, “tell me what I need to be to get you to love me.” WOW!! So no wonder nothing works! I say I don’t know them, but what ends up is I don’t know me anymore. It is going against everything I was taught, consciously and unconsciously as a girl growing up in my family, my society. I have been called a bitch, a woman’s libber ( by my father no less) when I would buck the system, and be assertive. I know after a certain amount of time, being alone, I cave in, when I meet somebody, thinking I have to do that to be loved. And I always walk away feeling empty, a shell of who I was before I got into the relationship.
            Today I do know different, and would rather be alone and at peace then give up my values, my interests, my beliefs to be liked by some guy. If I am to accept them for who they are, they are to accept me for who I am.

  3. Spinster says:

    So many questions, not enough answers.

  4. Getting Better says:

    I.AM.SPEECHLESS. I just had to get up & walk away from reading this before my co-workers caught me crying. There are no words that have better captured my life from birth to no father to teen mom to hopeful romantic to bitter man-hater. I have cried those words, whether drunk from alcohol or high off hatred. On this Valentine’s Day eve, I again feel a dizzying combination of loneliness, bitterness, regret with a touch of good old-fashioned mean on the side. There are exes of course; they always hover around when there is the possibility of panties to slide off. I instead intend to gather some female friends & have some friendship time. I’m also going to make a commitment to that diet, my demanding new job, and myself. Hopefully in 6 months, I can read this again without tears or at least not so many.

    • MyTimeIsNow says:

      Amen! I am 2 months fresh out of a relationship with a narcisstic sociopath that ended in physical violence. Now, I have been no contact since that time and I feel shell shocked. Our relationship was “taboo” in that he is a non-blood cousin so I must see him periodically at family functions. After reading this post, it further reiterated just how much I don’t love or like me to have ever gotten caught up in such a mess in a first place. Dealing with feelings of guilt, embarassment, and hurt, I feel lonely this Valentine’s Day but yet I know that I must work on loving me once and for all before I even CONTEMPLATE getting into another relationship. So like you, I am committed to working on me, my life, and getting back to some semblance of feeling good. It is just so hard and I just feel lonely on so many fronts but this is something that I must do if I am to ever find true happiness.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        MTIN.. I get the feeling lonely & taking some time out B4 thinking of another relationship. For me, I am thinking of finding some kind of volunteer work to fill the empty spaces. I love working w/animals so thinking maybe a shelter. I really enjoy helping people less fortunate so maybe habitat 4 humanity. I am searching thru some agencies so maybe it would be an idea for you too.. I think to do good 4 others is very fullfilling & rewarding.
        Just a thought !!! Happy V-Day and remember its only 24hrs long & we got almost 18 hrs in..

        BTW… My 23yr old son brought me home the most beautiful roses I have ever seen and I know they are from someone who loves me unconditionally forever :)….

        • MyTimeIsNow says:

          Seems that we are kindred spirits! I recently met someone this week and he seemed to be a nice enough guy, even offering to take me out on Valentine’s Day but I REFUSED! I haven’t called him yet but when we make contact, I plan on telling him that I have zero interest in dating and just want to focus on me. I just don’t want to even THINK about the possibility of getting with another narc or involved in rebound love. It wouldn’t be fair to either of us.

          I, too, believe in giving back and once volunteered for an organization that assisted survivors of domestic violence/rape. I was a court advocate and accompanied the survivors to court for such matters as obtaining PPOs. And I was thinking about starting again. So I do believe that is an excellent idea. I wish you well on your quest.

          Regarding Valentine’s Day, that was my approach too! :) Counting down the hours. Admittedly, it was difficult for me and I found myself wondering what he was doing but at no time did I EVER want to contact. I am at least at that point (despite my loneliness and missing him, I have no desire to contact or see him).

          Lastly, what a small world since I, too, have a 23 year old son! Although he didn’t buy me flowers, he gave me this wonderful card and these candles that look like chocolates. Like you, they meant alot to me and reminded me that although I am going through this uphill battle, there are people that do love me unconditionally.

          I wish you well in your healing process and we survived Valentine’s Day!!!! YAY!

  5. Robin says:

    This post has me reflecting on my past relationships and friendships. Some of these naturally flowed apart, which was fine. It’s the ones that ended suddenly and abruptly that have me thinking. I used to think of these people as my closest confidantes. However, now that I’m learning to love myself more, I’m questioning my perception at that time. Is it really a friendship if your friend isn’t respecting your boundaries or if all they do is talk about themselves or give you unwanted advice? Or if there’s a problem but the friend doesn’t want to acknowledge that it exists? Or if the friendship no longer meets either of your needs, but you continue it anyway? So much to think about! I’m working on being more conscious of this and my own boundaries as I create new friendships and/or go back to the dating scene.

  6. Victoria says:

    Thank you for posting these thought-provoking questions! I will be thinking on these for sure now.

  7. Gibby says:

    Natalie, THANK YOU for putting into words what I could not. These are universal truths for both men and women. Kick some booty and love and support each other! Trust me…It will get better and the hole in your heart will begin to heal…one second,one minute, one day at a time. BREATHE

  8. Revolution says:

    Careful, careful, Nat. You start writing stuff like this and you’ll be on every narcissist and AC’s craplist for building up their supply so that their victims end up with some self-esteem (the horror!) and leave these pitiful fools in the dust.

    • beth d says:

      LOL rev The Narcs, Ac’s will have Nat’s picture in a circle with a slanted line across ha ha Happy Valentines Day to Nat and all the wonderful posters on BR Enjoy xo

  9. free2bec says:


    I have supported your work and have purchased ALL your material as I entered NC a few years ago.

    As of about a week ago my relationship has ended and I find myself entering NC again, and so has she as I haven’t heard a word and I am thankful.

    The reasons are ones that have been repeated over and over again in your work…she never got over her past, and eventually it ate away at me and led me down a slippery slope of trying to figure out what was really going on, when I should have just bailed when all the red flags were shooting up.

    Now I am labeled a CREEP, but I get it, but at least I know that my gut was never wrong and in part that has helped me not feel so bad. The betrayl always hurts, no one likes to be rejected or used, especially when I am a self admitted people pleaser, and I’am certain that was the only reason she stuck around.

    I read a blog,or a page from your book just about everday and I guess I am a slow learner to find myself needing NC again. This posting really left me with a lot of homework, but answering every question make me feel immediately better.

    Wish me luck and look forward to buying you 30-60-90 day buttons soon.

    Stay well


  10. Phy says:

    I’m a guy so I know this is not really aimed for me, but it really does ring true for me too. Had a recent final breakup of an on-again-off-again 11 year relationship, and it all applies to me, and probably to my ex too, who is a fine woman. We both have self-esteem issues and struggle with this stuff. Thanks.

    • Freee2bec says:

      @PHY, I am also a man. And I can assure you as many readers and even Natalie will assure you the problems we face in relationships and life are not gender bias, and it more about our own decisions or indecisions that ultimately cause us our grief. The more you read and subscribe to the work of not only Natalie but contributors to this site you will find healing and yourself. Stay positive.


  11. Sandra81 says:

    A must-read for whenever we feel lost, and it covers all types of trouble we can go through in dating and relationhsips. And today something strage happened to me. I’m in a long-distance relationship, and sometimes I get hijacked by negative thougts – till now, thank God, it was prooved I had no serious reason to worry about, and let’s hope it will stay this way. 😉 And, as today negative thoughts were invading my head again, I just took some time to stay alone in silence, trying to “debrief” my own thoughts. Slowly, I figured out their source, my fears, and the possible solutions for each scenario. Consequently, I realized that even if things got bad, it is not the end of the world, and that I can make wise decisions anyway. And suddenly, I felt peaceful inside again. It was a sensation of physical and emotional lightness. :)
    Anyway… it looks like we are stronger than we might think! 😉

  12. Mary says:

    Natalie, you are awesome and I love these- “worth break” and “sewer love”, LOL. Happy Valentine’s Day to All!

  13. Maria says:

    Natalie, this common sense, down to earth, basic relationship stuff, should be TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS AS A MAIN SUBJECT.. its amazing isn’t it? that 90% of our time is spent in relationships yet, none of these basic fundamental things are taught to our children and it is not until we have made many mistakes and are well into our late 30’s, 40’s or in my case 50’s, that we learn this, with much heartache and a trail of destruction, ruined relationships, behind us. This subject in high schools should be taught as a compulsory subject … the kids may snigger and laugh at it, but I am sure that down the track, they will understand much quicker when they are looking at an assclown, mr/mrs unavailable, a future faker etc. Natalie I wish you a happy valentines day – I was just dumped because I wouldn’t give someone a measley $5k dollars and on the condition that I told no-one and I asked for no evidence except for their word that they would pay it back. Apparently our ‘friendship’ meant so much to them, and it was so embarrassing that they had to ask me, to have me refuse, made me a worthless person in their eyes. This person who I have known for many years, has never ever ever, kept their word to me, and lied through their teeth on every occasion..a major future faker… and I got smart and watched for the actions instead of listening to all the words that glittered like diamonds of promise .. Natalie your website I mention to someone at least once per day directing them to read your insights and education …

  14. Lisa D says:

    This is absolutely fantastic and amazing. Dead-on. Thank you!!!

  15. Magnolia says:

    Lovely thoughts for Valentine’s Day. I keep forgetting it’s tomorrow – I’ll have to buy me some flowers! :)

    I had a moment of self-validation recently that I was proud of; I think it speaks to the progress I’ve made since asking myself SO many of the questions you list above.

    I was recently at dinner at a newish friend’s house. He has a roommate I’ve only met a couple of times, when visiting my friend. On this night we ended up talking about Dude At Work who hit on me – I thought I could open up about it to my friend. But it was his female roommate who engaged me, and we spoke a bit about our experiences of older married men hitting on us, until my “friend” jumped in and told us we were too hard on men and didn’t understand the pressures they were under, and were too quick to judge. Things were tense, we eventually changed the subject but when it came up again later, my friend said things like “I think women are becoming too masculine” and “there is something in the idea that it’s a natural thing for women to get pleasure out of being at home and taking care of a home.”

    I was pretty good about sticking to my own position, staying calm, listening to what he had to say. But by the end of the conversation I thought; I don’t like his attitude. And since then, he has spoken to me when he sees me with a sneering tone. His roommate recently asked if I was coming to dinner again this weekend; he (the one supposedly my friend) hasn’t in fact invited me.

    I know this guy doesn’t like me now. It’s hard for me to type it out here, because my usual thing is to try to deny that; and instead to worriedly think, no, people do like you Magnolia (don’t they?). But I think it’s necessary to acknowledge when they really don’t, so that I can also acknowledge when people really do.

    I noticed a few impulses to try to talk to him, to win him over, to show him how nice I actually am. I also have the impulse to have his clear dislike of me now make me question myself, my behaviour, etc and wonder if I’m the problem.

    But instead I’m sort of just … standing still. Yep, I said stuff and yep, he doesn’t like me now. Do I still like me? Actually, yeah, I do. In fact, I like that I’m turning into a person who can let another person think she’s an angry-prude-feminist-dyke-bitch (he’s not using those words, but that’s how I feel I’m getting read) without needing to a) prove that he should like me because of my feminism or outspokenness, or b) prove that I’m not as angry or bitchy as he thinks. I can just stand there … and let them be them.

    Let him feel he’d rather not have me around. I ran into him at an event yesterday and he said “Hi Magnolia” as if addressing a maggot he’d found in his cereal. I felt myself simply move into my own body: here I am, I thought, and I’m quite pleased to be here. Too bad my presence doesn’t please YOU.

    Maybe that was what it means to be comfortable in one’s own skin.

    One of Natalie’s pins says something about the more you are really you, the more the fake friends fall away and the ones who really like you are liking the real you.

    I guess for a long time I haven’t liked my own feminism or anger because I KNEW that it made me unattractive to many men. I’ve tried to change and mute it so that I could be the “still-attractive” feminist. But it’s me: I have had these experiences and they make me who I am. I am not a bitch for having had the experiences, nor for being angry when they happened, or angry at systematic injustice. Or if I am a bitch, who cares?

    I knew I had done nothing wrong by speaking about my experiences, and my opinions, and I am so happy not to have to convince HIM (which would have been about convincing me it was okay to be me). In fact he’s done me a favour, because through his antipathy I see how far I’ve come.

    • Victorious says:

      Magnolia, it sounds like you are still focusing on whether or not he likes you, rather than how his chauvinism makes you feel about him and whether you like him any more.
      I had a similar issue with a man at work recently who would not stop hitting on me, making crude sexual comments, despite my Total Lack Of Encouragement. Eventually I had to tell him, in front of others, to back off. He got nasty and asked “What’s the matter with you, are you afraid of men?” He was one step away from calling me a lesbian. I have to spend all day tomorrow with this idiot, and am just hoping I can get through the day without having to tell him to fuck off. If that makes me a nasty feminist cow I really Do Not Care. Who do these guys think they are?

      • Magnolia says:

        Hey – good point, Victorious! I didn’t even notice that. I have been thinking about “how his not liking me makes me feel about me” and not “Hmm, guess I don’t like him as much as I hoped I would”! You’re so right!

    • Robin says:

      Magnolia-I’m still learning about “standing still” and being ok when someone else doesn’t like you. I still tend to cause drama in a similar way you described, by trying to talk to them and win them over, because I’m trying to persuade them to see my point of view or even to get them to apologize. But actually, sometimes the best way is to just be civil and extricate yourself from the situation as soon as possible. You don’t have to be friends, but you don’t necessarily need to be enemies, either.

      But I’m progressing a lot since I started reading this blog too! I’m learning how to ask the right questions at the right time, about where we stand in a relationship, and even if I’m interested. If a guy’s not as interested, I try not to blow it out of proportion. I’m learning to speak out more without trolling or flaming people at the same time.

    • selkie says:


      This guy no longer likes you because you don’t agree with his assessment of what he thinks should make women happy? Think of how ridiculous that is. He sounds intimidated by you more. Who made him the expert on what women want anyway? If he looks down on women who have a voice about HERSELF then he can go flush himself. Men who think they have women all figured out and how we have messed it up for ourselves by being whatever we want with an opinion are closet misogynists. These kind of men seem nice, fun to be around etc, until you go stepping out of line and have an empowering opinion on women. Who cares if he thinks different about you now….to make him like you you’d have to rescind your own opinion? That is not the kind of friend I’d want anyway. Look at it like he revealed himself, not the other way around. There is nothing wrong with you. For a man to tell you that you are being too hard on a married male colleague who is hitting on you has questionable values anyway. It’s just another boys will be boys attitude. Let this guy go his own way and be proud of who you are. His opinion doesn’t have that much weight.

      • Revolution says:


        I agree with Selkie. His morals are questionable if he thinks that it’s okay for a married person to hit on anyone outside of his or her marriage. And just for the record, I happen to know PLENTY of men in my life who DON’T buy into the “boys will be boys” nonsense and who take their marriage vows very seriously.

      • Magnolia says:

        Selkie and Rev:

        I didn’t totally accept the info that I have been given about this guy from the beginning. (Again. I do this with people. Just guys, I don’t know.)

        This is my former roommate, the guy that I lived with briefly when I was dealing with psycho landlord. If you remember, I felt like he felt he could handle the situation/deal with the landlord more rationally/calmly etc because he’s a guy. I didn’t like how he tried to say, let me handle it because you seem too emotional.

        But once I moved I let that go, put it down to stress and just tried to let our relationship develop from being colleagues. This chauvinism thing actually confirms my first impressions, though I still manage to be surprised.

        This guy is a vegan, theatre-making, yoga and meditation enthusiast. You’d think it would mean more coolness, but (as I’ve learned before) some misogynist dudes can still hang out at buddhist temples and yoga studios and performance studies departments.

        The ex-AC was a sustainable-investment, green-business guru with a special interest in women’s entrepreneurship and minority capacity building. So the eff what: still a big misogynist. But it took me a while to believe it.

        So, lesson RE-learned! But with way less pain.

  16. Amy says:

    Thank you for reassuring me that I am not alone, and not the only “crazy single girl” that thinks these ugly thoughts. One day (ASAP!) I will truly love myself and another person that loves me for me will just be a *bonus*

    Much love, respect, and appreciation.

  17. Lucky_Charms says:

    “Am I putting my life on hold and ‘waiting this one out’ until someone deems me worthwhile enough to be in a relationship with? How can they have that power? Why don’t I have it? Isn’t it that we have to mutually choose each other for a loving relationship?”
    Guilty as charged!
    12 weeks of NC. Still going strong. This was one of your finest posts, Nat.
    We call Valentines Day “Singles Awareness Day” in my home. If it wasn’t for this blog I would have never found myself. Now I love ME! So, Happy Singles Awareness Day to all of the BR singles. I bought strawberries and flowers for my kids and I. We are loving ourselves and baking a big chocolate cake tomorrow! No chaos or complaining from an assclown. No putting anything on hold. EVER!

  18. MsMagnolia says:

    Wow. Just Wow. Never, ever in a million years would I have dreamed I would be in a situation like I am in right now. Almost totally and completely destroyed by a selfish, cheating, lying pitiful excuse for a man. I was SO blind for 11 years. I only saw what I wanted to see. I met him as a new widow, and I was still reeling from the loss of my H. This man recognized that I was vulnerable and began to make himself indispensable to me. What a kick in the stomach to discover how easily he was cheating and lying to me about it. This article is amazing and every line spoke to me.

    • shattered says:

      Ms Magnolia – I’m a widow too and after a happy marriage to a lovely man, I fell for a charming AC, who played hot at first and gradually got colder. Almost without realisning, I’d become a booty call, part of his harem and went on far too long in an effort to justify my involvement. Eventually I went NC – and it was hard but after a while I was contacted by a long distance ex boyfriend from years ago. We spoke on Skype, he sent me romantic songs and emailed every day for weeks. He said he was flying to see me…but he had a long standing GF. The calls and emails stopped. Another AC. What I want to know is WHY do these men do this to vulnerable widows? Don’t they feel any remorse or guilt? The first AC wants to be ‘friends’. I’ve said no. He now has another GF and it seems to be a stable relationship – but still has his harem. I’m learning not to be so gullible, but I do feel lonely sometimes and its hard not to feel ashamed and rejected at my jumping in too quickly and falling for all the BS.

      • Allison says:


        These types know how to target women who are vulnerable, and have low self-esteem. This is what they do well.

        It’s up to us to bail when the first red flag appears. It’s up to us, to protect ourselves!

      • Lucky_Charms says:

        Shattered and Ms. Magnolia, I too, am a widow. That’s how I got involved with an EUM assclown. It took me 9 years to wake up. The “future faking” was what really got me the worst. I kick myself too.I am just thankful I started researching and came to BR. All the puzzle pieces came together. Thankfully we will all be smarter and wiser now.

  19. Dharma says:

    I am trying to hold on to the last bit of sanity I can find… It is not about I want to be loved or what my worth is or why didn’t he love me or whether I was a fool.. It’s about “how do you sit up and play games with women that were minding their own business.” How do men come after us and mess with our minds, hearts and souls and I am somehow supposed to believe that the universe will settle this score later?! NO!!! Yes, I am angry… Please tell me how to calm down and look the other way…. I am holding on to the last piece of reality!!! I need a sign to not let go.

    • MyTimeIsNow says:

      I am going through the same thing right now. That is why it is important to remain single, work on you, and come to an understanding as to how you allowed it to get that far in the first place.

      Truly, if we loved ourselves, the MOMENT that we noticed that someting was wrong, we should have aborted mission insteaded of playing the waiting and tolerating game. This is the painful reality that I have started my journey of self-discovery/love.

      As to what to do? I would most definitely say go no contact immediately. It will be painful and feel like you are withdrawing from a drug but you must do it. You will never heal going back to the source of your pain.

      In terms of calming down, don’t. Feel your feelings and allow that anger to drive your desire to move on with your life. Write down everything that he has done to anger/hurt you and read it daily when you get up. You must start reprogramming your mind to see the reality and not the fantasy of the situation.

      I have been two months of no contact and I am still hurting. I changed my cell, blocked his e-mail/numbers and there is apart of me that still wants to hear from him so believe me, I am not saying that it will be easy. It’s just something that must be done and with each passing day, you will get better. Truly, there are no short-cuts in such situations.

      • Dharma says:

        MyTimeIsNow, thank you for the advice. I know life is a journey and I was trying to experience it and date. At 36, I have never dated until this AC. I have always gone from 0 to instant relationship. Once in college and I dated him for 2 years, left my country, came to the US, met my ex and was married off quickly. Failed marriage, 2 kids and an inability to see this ACs coming. I will continue reading BR but I am certainly not ready to play this dating game.

        • MyTimeIsNow says:

          I understand. We all have our paths in life. I am 40 and really haven’t dated that much. I have never been married but often attach and start relationships very quickly.

          So overall, don’t beat yourself up. There is no better time than the present to start your life anew and coming to BR, you will slowly educate yourself on what to watch out for in the future and to develop the strength that you need to fight this fight.

          But no matter what, don’t waste your time and life on a situation that will further hurt you and the quality of life for your children. No matter what your perceived shortcomings may be, you don’t deserve not to be loved or treated with dignity and respect. . . remember that.

          We are a community of survivors so don’t hesitate to keep in contact. Together, we will all get to where we want to be, with the support of one another.

  20. Monica says:

    So much truth… much revelation!!!!! God/Universe is speaking to me/us through you Natalie!!!!!!

    Thank you so much for this, I just had a AHA moment as Oprah would say!!!!!

  21. Dharma says:

    This AC and EUM has messed with my mind and this is the last straw!! He chased me for months and after trying NC 2 weeks ago, I relapsed like an idiot.. Advice from my BR family on 31 Jan and I relapsed and 2 Fridays and bowling dates later and I feel humiliated. I ASKED HIM IF HE WAS CASUALLY DATING OR DATING ANYONE ELSE AND HE SAID NO!!! I asked if he was sleeping with anyone other than me and he said NO!!! After 4 months of dating and 2 weeks ago he tells me (after we had sex!) that premarital sex is a sin!!!!!!!!!!!!! ok….. Mr. Holy, I didn’t beg for sex.. All the fake future promises and wasting my time and energy and now he is ordering a .71 carat ring and no, it’s not for me and he is going on vacation for 10 days!! No, it ain’t with me!!! Please Lord help me figure this out! I saw him on Saturday and I haven’t heard from him since then and to add more insult to this, it’s v-day tomorrow and I sent all possible suitors packing on account of this AC… The ring is for ANOTHER WOMAN!!!! It’s not that I soooooo want to be loved!!! It’s how do I sit back and watch me being humiliated!!! I do not deserve this and why should I stand for it and wait for his punishment to reach him in the universes time. Again, how do I look the other way?

    • MyTimeIsNow says:

      After much reading on the subject, sounds like you were dealing with a full-fledged narcissist! So the answer is not to look the other way but to RUN the other way. Like me, your relationship wasn’t that long so do yourself a favor. Cut your losses and keep it moving. Although I was with “my” guy for one year, the emotional damage he has left me with via playing with my mind, heart, and soul nearly gave me a nervous breakdown – it was just that unbelievable. I am in therapy and on medication. The treatment won’t get any better and you will be left feeling shell shocked. So my dear BR sister, let it go – for your own sake.

      • Dharma says:

        MyTimeIsNow, THANK YOU! I finally got off the couch today. It’s comforting to know the damage is repairable. Yes, I’ve cut my losses. Your words resonated within and stopped me from acting a fool. Instead, I took your advice and have pocked up the pieces. We have got to love ourselves first. No one should treat another with such disrespect. I do not have to sit and wait to be picked by any guy and especially not another AC. We women are precious and should be treated as such but we need to treat ourselves as such by loving and protecting ourselves. Only when We realize that we are worth something then we will begin to love and protect ourselves. I have so much to live for and will be back to my cheerful self by Monday. I know you will pull through, afterall, you, My BR family and Natalie helped me get back on my horse. Much love~~~

    • Little Star says:

      Oh Dharma, I am so sorry:( These ACs know how to “play” and manipulate us!!! I was in exactly the same situation few years back, just without a “ring to another woman”, it hurts a lot, I can imagine. I was hoping that ex AC will send me an email with Valentine message, but he did not…As Natalie says here: “Am I putting my life on hold and ‘waiting this one out’ until someone deems me worthwhile enough to be in a relationship with? How can they have that power?” WHY SHOULD WE GIVE THIS POWER to our ACs, WHY cant we take this power back and start to love and care about ourselves??? F*** them, they do not deserve us anyway!!!

      • Dharma says:

        Little Star, yea, they sure know how to play and manipulate us! I can understand the feeling of hoping that the ex AC will send you an email with a Valentine message. As harsh as this may aound, I realized that these ACs are not spending a second thinking of us. Yep, as much as I thought of this AC yesterday, I am sure he did not spend 1 second thinking of me so why should I continue torturing myself thinking of him. So yes, how can they have that power? I agree, we need to take this power back and start to love and care about ourselves. We need to hold out for someone who deserves us!

    • Lacy says:

      Its hurtful he wants u as a side woman thats why he lies to u.I know I’m not in a position to give advice and I’m sorry u are going through this,I have a situation also.This Ac is calling text and came by my house when I was on the way in from work.I broke contact I let him in he said he was cold and been at swap all day for his traffic violation he would sit down for a min and leave.I thought I was strong enough to handle that and how stupid it all sounds now,I shouldn’t have let him in.I hadn’t been thinking about sex all the while of Nc I was 7 days in after a relapse of Nc which that one lasted a mth,he touched me in that place I told him to stop he didn’t and we had sex.He stayed the night we talked he said he’s not with anyone and if I wouldn’t have rejected him so much he would be with me.He asked me could he move in I said no,he has several relationships going on from what I hear,he won’t admit.He told me he loves me and I am always going to be in his life and nothing will change that ever its been since 02.Its all lies and bs I have to be more stronger he doesn’t want me I don’t know what he wants and its time to stop trying to figure it out.I’m hurting I also go to therapy I got dropped due to work kids my life is going down 5 yr old having problems in school so I had to miss Ap and the therapist dropped me.I feel all alone I hate that u and other women have to go thru this heart ache like me.I also stopped contact with male friends to focus on me and really I could never hold and date or convo with anyone without my mind shifting to him.I seen him a day before vday we bought each other gifts he bought me earrings for thirty five dollars and a ring which was 100.My gift to him was a watch for 500 what a dodo I am and he layway me earrings that cost 1300 he put 100 down.I had the extra money and I don’t regret buying the gift I hate I invest in someone who i am not in a relationship with so I do feel like a dodo he asked and I didn’t want to say no and I didn’t do it thinking things would change,I am that person that its hard for me to say no and not just him everyone has brought it to my attention recently.Well he dropped me off and said he had a surprise for me for vday I told him if he wasn’t going to spend the day with me not to lie to me he told me here u go with being negative.The next morn he did his daily Gm at 7am,it got to be 5pm so I text him and he said he was working and that was all I heard from him and I got in my car at 10pm driving around crying i did call him 4 times but didn’t text of course he didn’t answer.I knew it was gone happen this way so I don’t know why it hurts so bad this time.These events started happening 2yrs ago and reading br I see it was signs I miss before that but,I just remember a time when like u say happily ever after but I remember being happy,now I don’t know how to be happy I feel ugly boring and angry all the time I don’t feel I hate myself cause I probably wouldn’t function on other levels far as taking care of my kids and myself and I know I’m not perfect.So I know dealing with this ac has to be me trying to feel something I’m not giving myself I just don’t know what is that yet.The psychiatrist told me that it didn’t work out between us because I am depressed,but I just see a point when I was happy at one point and he and I still didn’t have everything it took to be in a relationship.The things thats went on between us I don’t feel loving toward him and he doesn’t feel that for me either.Why am I engaging with him and his tired games,and each time it hurts more and more,and I start the process over and have days when I ffel good not thinking about him then I look at my block calls and texts on my phone and start back thinking and then day or so responding.I will pray that u and i will get stronger and move on cause they have we just have to do the same.

      • MyTimeIsNow says:

        I feel for you! I was involved in something similar. Towards the end, he too, would stand me up and wouldn’t even give me the courtesy of a call.

        All I can say is that you must start no contact and go at it cold turkey. Could you possibly hurt anymore than you already do???? Trust me, it will be horrible, I know that. You will feel like you are withdrawing from a drug. But there is no other way.

        As long as you keep in contact with him, it is like the sore keeps being re-opened and salt is being placed in it. Like you, I have a child to care for and I was barely doing that. If you can’t do this for you, do this for your child since you can’t parent if you are in this state of mind.

        If you must, change your cell number or block him. If he comes over, just don’t answer the door. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. Let how he treated you on Vday be the fuels your fire to start on this journey – and don’t look back.

        • Lacy says:

          I do feel like I’m addicted and Its like I’m looking at myself on a movie screen saying girl stop leave him alone he doesn’t love you but,I sit and don’t do what it takes to get on with my life.Eventually it will sink in you are right about cold turkey,its been since 2002 this man has been around half way a toe a pinky in my life,and all along I was satisfied thinking it was enough to live on til,I see a few women with decent relationships and see that what I have going on is not normal not a relationship most definitely not love. Believe it or not my mom and dad have been together for 40 something yrs I have plenty of brothers and sis,I am the middle child to the last.My dad was always in my life.He would take us places spend time with all of us when he had time cause he worked alot and my mom stayed home.My dad did start to want to party a lil and I can tell my mom didn’t like it,she would be on the phone talking to his sis or mom alot.He gambled and started drinking alot and experimented with drugs I won’t lie.I remember some nights he wouldn’t come home and some days we wouldn’t eat much.By that time my older brothers and sis had moved out already.I got my period and at 10 I didn’t know what it was my mom said just go get a pad under the sink.I had sex at 11 I stayed out alot when my dad was home he would put me on punishment but he would leave my mom would be on the phone and we would go out.I got pregnant at 17 my dad had turned his life around at that point and became very active in church and was on the way to retire,he found out I was pregnant I was already 6 mths he was disappointed but I stayed in school.I had only had a check up once before I got pregnant my mom said if I wasn’t having sex it was no need to go to the doctor,I never told her I was having sex.My older sis and brothers always teased me called me crazy big teeth big booty,I didn’t talk to them much nor my mom.I had my child and the father was still is active but I never had a loving relationship with him or any man now that u think of it just one decent guy that I ran off,My child’s father was 4 yrs older and had plenty of other women.I was pregnant and he was up the street with another woman in the car when I was sitting on my porch waiting for him to bring me food,because he took me to dr Ap and helped alot during and after the pregnancy,he just had about 4 other women he was involved with and it hurt me to my soul.He was the second person I had been with sexually and was until I was 25.I continued to be num 4 or 5 he bought me everything and I was okay with that which was sick looking back,I wasted yrs of my life.Then I met the Ac in 02 we dated til 04 and broke it off I was young and bounced back he had moved out of town.The next man after that would hit me when we argued stomp and throw me on the grown and my bottom was sore for a week.He got into a car accident and died while I was pregnant in 05 and a mth later the ac came back in town and got in touch with me thru a family member.I had my baby and he was there for me and to look back at the situation he was half way invested and I was falling to become full invested.But he’s been around ever since and I know the yrs don’t count for nothing cause he was just a body not fully committed and I too have issues.So I am here today sharing my story as embarrassing as it is its real and I’m working thru it and you all have gave me so much insight thank u all especially u Nat.

      • Dharma says:

        I agree with MyTimeIsNow, go NC and it will pass but you have go to get your standards up and set those boundaries. How dare we allow someone piss all over us???? I know I love myself but then how much I love myself seems to be exhibited when I let an AC piss on me in broad daylight. I have picked up the bag of standards I dropped off and have realized that I and we DO NOT NEED AN AC TO VALIDATE OUR EXISTENCE! I know I am alive and have a lot to offer. We need to realize that we can love ourselves enough and when we do this, we will have love that can flow both ways. We are not perfect and yes we have flaws in form of weaknesses BUT we should never let someone disrespect us nor should we continue to disrespect ourselves. LACY! You can kick that depression! Find the strength from within. I feel sooooo much better today and by Monday, it will be a stronger me. I have forgiven myself for watching this happen and not protecting me. Perhaps you should start there and then rebuild. All will be well :)

  22. Flori says:

    I agree with Maria that this kind of stuff should be taught in schools. If you struggle with self esteem issues, it’s likely that your parents wouldn’t be the best source of guidance.

    It would have saved me so much heartache. The emotional fallout from my crappy relationships has hindered progress in my career far more so than anything else.

    Kudos to you Natalie for doing what you do!

  23. Sheela Nandini says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Em,dearest Nat!!!

    Needed to go through these awesome reflections again.

    Love you so much,sis.Thanks for BEING!And helping us to take good care of our hearts<3


  24. Maria says:

    Excellent post and very timely! I couldnt have read it at a better time. Thank you!

    I have been through so many of the situations above and just recently, that’s why I like the timing, Ive had a revelation of sorts that I need to love ME. In a non narcisistic (Ive seen enough of them) but in a nurturing way.

    In the end, it is simple. We can’t give away what we don’t have. If we don’t have any money (for example) how can we be a philanthropist? It is the same with love. We have to take care of ourselves first.

    A good way to know if we are not on the right path is when things are complicated. When we dont know were we stand with another. We would never dream to do that to someone yet we allow that to be done to us.

    We protect others, but then who protects us?
    I told a friend tonight going through the same issues that we have to “turn the love inside out” meaning all that love and caring we do for others we should “turn it inside out” and do it for ourselves.

    Like Buddha said “you, as much as anyone else in the universe, deserves your love and attention”

    Another good quote is:

    “When the answer is simple, God is anwering” I believe it has been attributed to Einstein.

    Thank you again for your post and I have your book. Mr. Unavailable. Literally, opened my eyes. Thank you!

  25. Cindy says:

    Wow, an amazing list of questions! Such good food for thought, I do believe I’ll write out my answers and gain more insight. Lift this veil from my eyes!

  26. Amy says:

    Ahhh yes. I needed to read this today :)

    I read something else recently that said to write out a list of why (I) think I would be someone good to date. What do I bring to the table? Now look at all the qualities that I want in a man. Is there a disconnect somewhere? I had to really stop and think about all the things I find “good” about myself, and shut my big fat mouth when I find that evil voice inside of me pointing out my wrinkles, my extra weight, all of the superficial crap that means nothing.
    What is it about ME that I love that I could offer someone in a healthy relationship?
    Once again Natalie you hit the nail on the head.
    It is impossible for anyone to “complete” us if we ourselves are incomplete, if we always see ourselves as fatally flawed.
    GOD how many times I’ve gone for the crumbs, the dating dumpster, scraping the gum off my shoe and calling it a “boyfriend” just because it happened to find it’s way to me.
    I don’t even want to think of how many days, weeks, years of my life were wasted focusing on THEM… the interchangable AC collection with the same pathetic core.
    I am really really trying to put into practice what I’ve learned. I’ve made a promise to myself to not enter into a sexual relationship with a man until I’ve gone on enough dates to know what his temper is like, how does he behave on a date AFTER the first few (with courtesy? respect? Is he really there with me or does he sit there fiddling with his phone and looking around the room). What is his communication style, learn how he lives, and who his friends are – or at least how he spends his free time.
    This will weed out anyone who is not willing to wait and give the relationship time to develop and/or the time wasters just looking for a shag and run.
    I also spend more time every day looking at myself in the mirror and smiling back (instead of scowling), buying clothes that I feel comfortable in vs. trying to “impress”, and going out and meeting many new people of both genders in activity “meetups” so that I can get my socializing needs met without that terrible habit of hyper-focusing on one man to provide that.

  27. selkie says:

    “Are you my daddy in romantic packaging? Do I want you to love me like we’re in this relationship together or do I want you to love me in the way that the child I used to be so desperately craved?”

    Have I been craving this kind of love my whole life? One that is unconditional and safe like how a parent is supposed to love his child, a kind of love I never ever learned from my dad. After having a heartless father and a string of harmful men in my life, no man feels safe to me anymore and I hate that. That thought makes me wonder if my scars run deeper than I know how to fix. I am so scared of being jerked around again that I may never let someone in even if I want to. I’m not sure I know how without losing myself. I’ve avoided dating and have kept myself out of drama for a year now which has been good for me. My heart isn’t broken anymore and I haven’t cried in months which has felt like sweet relief but reading this list of Natalie’s brought out some emotion of not feeling ready to love again. I’m afraid I want to be loved for unhealthy reasons. I want to feel like the world is safe for me and to feel like I belong in it. Somebody loving me makes me feel like I belong somewhere, like I have a home. Right now I just feel like I’m drifting.

    • MyTimeIsNow says:

      I feel your pain. I know that I have always just wanted to be loved and fell into some shady situations as a result.

      After my last relationship, I just feel numb and don’t have any desire for a man. Even if someone tries to hug me, I cringe and will start crying. I just feel dirty and used up by the men that I tried to love and thought loved me.

      In time, in the end, I found out what I really was – just a sexual object. Therefore, like you, I definitely plan on being more selective and taking more time before starting a sexual relationship and don’t want no part of sex without actions matching words along with a committed relationship. I am done with casual sex.

      After being raped and beaten by men, I just learned to equate love with sex or just letting men have their way with me without much thought. I never desired to do it – I just felt like that’s all that I was. I know, sad . . . so now, I just want to fall in love with me while I try to deal with yet another bad decision/hearbreak on my quest for love.

  28. runnergirl says:

    Oh my god Natalie…I’m struggling for words. This is beyond the pale as the best ever, ever, ever. I had chills, tears, and laughed when I read this. Every question brought up fear, sadness, reality as well as happiness. These are the underlying questions that swirled around in my subconscious for so long and manifest in some pretty shady behavior on my part, no excuse. How do you put such murkiness into clear concise sentences and thoughts? Every single question applies to me. This is the most beautiful poem to me and therein lies the happiness: “Relationships are conceived before we even enter into them because they begin with the relationship that we have with ourselves.” Dear lord, if that isn’t the best sentence ever written, I’d like to see one better. Maybe this one: “I’ve known a lot of pain but I used to think it was love, but now that I know love and I don’t harm me, it’s inconceivable to think that love and my worth is the warped, dark, hurtling, harmful ‘love’ of unhealthy relationships or what we do and give when we don’t like ourselves.” Here’s where I’m experiencing happiness. Thank you Natalie, I’m starting to have a relationship with myself and I’m starting to avoid behavior/situations that harm me. I’m starting to treat myself with love, care, and respect. Now tell me that a box of chocolates and some flowers from some AC would be better than that! In fact, I can buy my own flowers and the exact chocolates I like (Chile chocolate). I may wait until the day after cos it’ll all be half price or I may just splurge and fill the house with flowers and chocolate, although my daughter will think my cheese has slipped off my cracker.

    • selkie says:


      You’re awesome. Your attitude is so positive its contagious. I was slipping into a tiny funk today over a tiny disappointment over a friend of mine but you made me realize that Vday is a day to celebrate me. I’m going to buy myself some chocolate too. Aren’t Nat’s posts are so thought provoking? They have a way of building you up but also drawing out what still needs to be purged. Happy V day!

      • runnergirl says:

        Selkie, I agree. This post drew so much out, I was really struggling to make sense. When I signed up for Nat’s self-esteem course (which is great), I found that I was in such a transition. I could answer the questions based on the past but the answers were very different based on the present. I felt the same way when I read this post. I think my favorite question is: “Why have I cried for crumbs?” That’s where it gets good. We can buy our own chocolates. We don’t have to settle for a crumb text. Once you are stuffed with chocolate, a text seems like the shit it is. And most importantly, every day is a day to celebrate you! Let’s eat chocolate every day! Happy Every Day to you.

  29. suzie says:

    I am so glad I found baggage reclaim and NML. These posts are so full of common sense. I recently moved to a new town and met someone from work. We really hit it off but ended up messing around way too fast and I probably scared him off by then asking if he was actually looking to date or just “hang out”. He was honest and said he didn’t know, that he just got out of a relationship.
    So I’m trying to just be cool and friendly but he sends me mixed signals. He texted me late friday and recommended that we watch a movie I haven’t yet seen, then I don’t hear from him. I’ve had a shirt of his for two months and so on monday I told him where it was if he wanted to get it from my office. Ugh. It sounds silly but is driving me crazy because he acts like a nice guy. He walked in my office today and said “hi” and when I said “oh hey, how are you doing”, he said “I just stopped by to say hi”, then he left. Is he just messing with my head? Sorry for the disheveled post. :(

    • grace says:

      You’re messing with your own head. He doesn’t want a relationship. Unless these actual words come out of his mouth, to your face, not via lame text, he has not changed his mind:
      “Suzie, I have changed my mind and I would like to take you out”
      And don’t have sex with him. I am sorry if you already have, but chalk that up to experience rather than trying to make good on your “investment”.
      And good men don’t scare that easily. Nor do they mess women about or let them down.

      • selkie says:


        “And good men don’t scare that easily. Nor do they mess women about or let them down.”

        Thats pretty simple sound advice I should memorize or put on a flash card to pull out when I feel I am being messed with. But… on the flip side ‘I’ scare easily. Guess I should think about that double standard in myself. That pesky trust thing, such a tough hurdle for me.

      • suzie says:

        Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I’m sitting here mulling it over too much and appreciate the feedback. I too think he is messing with me, but some friends have been saying he just needs time. Hogwash. Haha.
        I hope that good men don’t scare that easily because I’ve been obsessing about being too needy.
        I am going out of town for work for a week after tomorrow. I think I’m just going to put his shirt on his desk (in a bag) after he’s left (or bring it to him to not seem dramatic?) so I don’t have it hanging over my head anymore.

        I was walking to lunch today and somehow knew he was behind me, but I didn’t turn around. As I was walking away he said “hey, enjoy your lunch!”, and of course I read into it too much.
        I hope the leaving his shirt doesn’t seem “psycho”, but I already told him where it was and he never got it.

        Thank you again ladies. This website is truly a godsend. I’ve been a subscriber for two years and maybe I’m just starting to finally accept these truths and want to care about myself. I love how the info is logical and not just preachy.
        Happy Valentines Day. 😉

    • Allison says:


      He’s messing with your head!

      This guy just got out of a relationship (emotionally unavailable), and said he doesn’t know what he wants (emotionally unavailable.

      I would wait for someone who knows what they want, as this guy is a waste of time – He is simply seeking attention and sex w/o commitment!

    • Natasha says:

      Suzie, I’m going to second Grace on this guy not being relationship material. I mean, would you be taken aback if a man asked you if you were looking for a relationship at this point in your life? Of course not. It’s interesting, because one of my girlfriends and I were recently talking about how a man should treat you with the same respect and consideration that he’d treat a friend. Makes sense, right? Would you be friends with someone that didn’t follow through on plans? Would you put time and energy into developing a friendship with someone that “didn’t know” if they wanted to get to know you or not? Nope. I’d just keep being polite at work and ignore his texts!

      Btw, it’s not silly at all – we’ve all found ourselves asking these very same questions!

      • suzie says:

        Is it selfish that I hope he texts again merely so I can ignore him…maybe. I didn’t think about that, how he shouldn’t have been taken aback by me asking. I didn’t ask him if he wanted to be my boyfriend, I just didn’t want us messing around to go further and further. I think as someone stated, that I will bow out now (fairly early on). Even if my asking made it awkward, I’m glad I at least did that. He hasn’t texted me for a week though, so I bet he’s already found someone else he fancies more. Thanks again.

        • Natasha says:

          Suzie, if he’s texting/messing about/being sketchy about plans with someone else, who cares? (Please note: I say this as someone who spent, like, five years being distressed over one text-happy asshole. REALLY.) In 99.99% of cases, a dude who doesn’t act right with you does not act right elsewhere. It sounds like you know he sucks, which is a good thing! 😉

    • NCC says:

      Hi Suzie,
      I just went through something that is extremely similar to what you just wrote about, almost identical actually. I just moved back to my hometown after my life basically falling apart to pieces due to my choices and being with the AC. I met a guy a few months back, we did get too physical much too quickly and I have been dealing with the self- loathing about that and that I screwed up everything right? And how I of course equated that to him being interested in me and a potential for a relationship. But truly, I knew nothing would come of it, he took what he could get because it was there, the red flags and my gut reaction were there, I was ready to live in reality, but the old haunts and me being the classic Fallback Girl kept me around. He threw out mixed signal after mixed signal. I tried to act like casual would ONCE AGAIN work for me even through it was pure torment. Shortly after we met I did have to question his intentions, asked him what he felt for me. I’d remained in a casual situation before and I thought I’d take my BR knowledge and put this on the table before I let myself get too deep into what I knew was not for me, other than for the attention and something to distract me from myself. He said he just wanted to “keep hanging out, he thought I was awesome” but that he didn’t really know any more than that. Right there, FAMILIAR. I told him the hang out thing wasn’t going to work for me, and that I’d have to opt out of the casual arrangement. But I wasn’t really ready to let go. I also had a shirt of his and he had my jacket at one point….reasons to contact him and hang on!! I then heard from a mutual friend that he was later asking about me, supposedly lamenting on how he didn’t understand why I was gone. This was the validation I always want and so I contacted him. With more mixed signals, him calling me, inviting me to meet his friends, watch movies, grab dinner, I thought hey, maybe I had this wrong, (but again deep down I knew I didn’t.) He was using me to figure out what he wanted. He too at times “blamed” other women that had hurt him for his ambiguous feelings towards me, timing, how we met, all the testaments of the EUM and me hanging on the “good points” despite what I was hearing and how he was unfolding. I could go on, but yes he too would call me and say “I just wanted to say hi.” Great, wonderful, CRUMBS!!! Him throwing them at me because he wanted me around in some capacity. It finally came down to him blowing cold, stopped calling me after I again stated I liked him and his response being, “I don’t want to discuss this.” So once again I left, this time deleting his number, but secretly hoping he would call. I ran into him again and he finally said the words my self-fulfilling prophecy wanted to hear because it is my uncomfortable comfort zone and would reinforce all the negative beliefs I hold about myself and relationships… “I don’t have feelings for you.” That statement is fine, it doesn’t mean I’m not worthy, it’s just that I already KNEW that by his actions but I repeated my pattern and set myself up for more pain. He’s gone now, I don’t contact him, I took myself out of the downward spiral before I was too invested, but yes it still hurt for a while.
      Anyway Suzie, I would say he’s throwing you crumbs and playing on his terms. He likes the attention from you too, but it’s not for healthy reasons and it doesn’t sound like he’s worried about how YOU are affected by his behavior. He’s following his unhealthy pattern, and probably has no intentions of deviating from that. I felt better that I stepped away after only barely a month so the shit storm fall out wouldn’t be as painful for me, so you may want to consider the same? Mine too was a “nice guy” everyone in town knows him and have only good things to say about him. But it’s about how he’s treating you. I soooo feel for you and hope this helps if nothing else to know you aren’t alone. You didn’t push him away, he never wanted to be pulled in.
      In all of this I see some glimmer of hope that I’m starting to listen to myself, but it’s still a set back that I felt I could be out there again. The work on me was once again pushed aside hoping someone else’s attention would fix me.

      • suzie says:

        Wow, that is remarkably similar. I will stop interacting with him now, assuming he’ll try to talk to me again. I wish I knew more people here but hopefully I will in time. Thank you

  30. runnergirl says:

    Sorry for double post. I’d like to add that the “Suck it and See” post has been one of my long time favorites. This one is my new favorite. I’d love to see this on every Hallmark card for every occasion and the opening chapter and concluding chapter of every future book you write.
    Natalie, you have changed my life in so many ways. Swear to god, when I get home, I get my chores done and get my school work done so I can log on to BR. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. Thank you. This was a gem.

    • Magnolia says:

      Oh Runner! I want to follow your example. I log onto BR *instead* of getting my work done or doing chores.

      “Is it you that I love or is it the me I think I could be with your love in the future I’ve forecast?”

      I’ve done this with so many people who manage to balance responsibilities and enthusiasms: with me it’s always one or the other, and I tend to fall for people who have the balance and discipline I crave.

      Thanks Runner, for the reminder: I’m kind of crushing on you over here!

      • runnergirl says:

        Hey Magnolia, it’s my old childhood tapes of getting my homework done before you go out and play. I’m not sure it is actually a balance. However, that one is so far down on my list of childhood baggage, it’ll have to wait a few years.
        I hear your question. The most important part of that question for me is “…the future I’ve forecast”. That’s my imagination. We always connected years ago around that question!
        PS. I really struggled tonight getting stuff done before I logged on to BR. In fact, I logged on for about 15 minutes before stuff was done.
        PPS. BR has been such a tremendous healing experience. Like you say, it’s a balance. Work a bit, heal a bit. Some days you have to heal a bit more. BR is my me time.

    • Little Star says:

      Runner agree with you, I do exactly the same, I read BR in the mornings (before work) and the last thing I do at nights!
      I cant live without Natalie and BR!!!

  31. stacy says:

    OMG….Natalie! I’m a faithful follower of your blog…and runnergirl says it straight up….I love, love, LOVED this post!!! I’m forwarding it to all my gf’s and bookmarking it for future reference!!!
    You ROCK!!!

  32. Natasha says:

    Nat, that was amazing! This is all SO true. Take me, for example: For the first time in…EVER, I don’t feel badly that I don’t have a date for Valentine’s. It’s crazy, because I didn’t even notice that I’m not sad about it – it’s just become a habit to be fine with things as they are, because I’m fine with myself as I am. It’s lovely to be excited about sending my friends and family surprise cookie deliveries, rather than weeping into a platter of nachos (ALL KINDS OF SEXY.) about how all my friends are married and therefore MUST secretly pity me/all of my asshat exes MUST have grand romantic plans (*cough* *aka, they kept it classy and only sent texts to two of their options* *cough*)/I MUST develop a fragrance called Eau De Loser, etc. Thank you, Nat and ladies who helped me through one of the roughest times in my life and gave me the gift of peace :). Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you! Xoxoxo

    • Sandra81 says:

      Hi Natasha! I’m happy you’re feeling better inside, and keep up with your sense of humor, which I always appreciated! 😉

    • grace says:

      I don’t have a date either; he will be at music practice, and I’m recovering from a root canal.
      I’m living the dream!

    • Natasha says:

      @Sandra – Thank you my dear! Hope everything is wonderful in Italy :)

      @Grace – That made me laugh so hard I choked on my tea :) Being that I am also living the dream, I somehow got fondant icing stuck in my hair. Hope you are recovered very soon and he comes home from music class and serenades you!

      So good to hear from you ladies!

  33. geekgirl says:

    Thank you for this post, and this site.

    I’ve never paid much attention to Valentines Day, but this time around, 6 weeks out of a break up , and 2 weeks NC, I was a little apprehensive.

    And yes, I was feeling a little down this morning. But then I thought, hey, for my birthday, he told me he wasn’t sure whether he loved me or not. For xams,he didn’t bother calling, but sent me a lame text. And on NYE, he told me about his date with a prostitute.

    So, chances are, he would have found a way to f*ck today up as well, and I would have been MORE unhappy if we were still together.

    What your posts say, about love, care, trust and respect, really speaks to me. That’s going to be my benchmark, both for how I treat myself, and for how I expect others to treat me. And when I think in these terms, then I can see that this break-up was absolutely for the best.

    Anyway, today I went and got my hair cut instead.

    • Dharma says:

      Geekgirl, after reading your comment, I actually started feeling much better about being alone on v-day. He sounds awful and you are much better without him.

      • geekgirl says:

        Dharma, I’m glad my comment helped! I read your other posts, and he sounds like a total headf*ck.
        We KNOW its bad, and thats why we try NC. But sometimes, we forget just how bad, and get tempted to go back. That’s why reading everyone else’s stories is so helpful, to me.

  34. Lau_ra says:

    I must say I don’t feel upset on Valentines day as I used several years ago – its actually been only 1 Valentines day in my life that I was in a relationship, so in general February 14th is just like any other day for me.
    The thing is that we, women, are taught through our whole lives to be defined by our relationship status and feel inferior if we don’t happen to have someone by our sides.
    A friend of mine (a guy) called today a Forever availables day. So congrats, cause we have things to celebrate, e. g. now that the ACs are gone, and we found BR, we are on our path / available for healthy relationships now!

    • Revolution says:

      Yeah, I’m with you Laura. February 14th is and always has been just February 14th for me, so I’m not worried about any sort of pseudo-“significance” of this day either. What a relief.

  35. Victorious says:

    A brilliant post. So much hit home. However, I have come round to realising that I actually do not want a “serious, full-on” relationship right now. What I actually want is to have a guy who is more than a friend, who gives me attention, affection, fun dates and sex. I only want to see him maybe 3 to 5 times a month, but a call every day would be nice. What I do not want is him sitting at my dinner table with my kids, putting his washing in my machine, actually taking part in my real life. I kind of want someone who is a distraction from all that, who takes me away from the routine. I am not saying I would not love this man, I just don’t think I would want to live with him, or make any major adjustments to my current lifestyle for him. Does this make me an emotionally unavailable woman? I don’t think so because I am certainly capable of love. I loved the recent ex narc ( who gave me the exact set up I wanted as described above.)I think I lost so much of myself during my 13 year marriage that I am too afraid of giving up my independence now. But that doesn’t mean I cannot love or grow within a loving relationship does it? Feeling kind of confused today. Any help/advice/observations welcome.

    • grace says:

      Yes it makes you emotionally unavailable. I’ve found out that I can no longer wall off my life (home, friends, my past, emotions, time) and have a genuine relationship. You shouldn’t introduce your children to every man you date but nor can you hide a relationship from them, or hide them from him.
      It sounds good in theory. In theory it would suit me to have my space, my free time, yet with the reassurance of a relationship. But relationships progress or die. And you cannot manage down someone’s expectations. If you see someone regularly for six months you are in a relationship, and the other person has the right to expect what comes with that. Booty call plus phone calls doesn’t cut it.
      Of course, you may find someone who is up for this arrangement but knowing FBGs like I do, you’ll be the one wanting more while he claims it was all your idea and he doesn’t owe you anything.

    • kookie says:


      i too have struggled with all this,i have been always been in casual relationships and in all iterations of relationships polyamourous , double non dating complicated trists. i thought commitment isn’t for everyone why must we all be forced to be in these societally prescribed is only now that i am realizing that what i really meant by commitment is not for me is that ” i would probably fail at it” or ” commitment never lasts forever anyways ( hello divorce rates) so what’s the diff between that and what i am doing” or ” i don’t really wanna put myself out there cos i am terrified of getting hurt.

      unlike you i haven’t yet tried a full-on relationship. so far i have had no reason to try a relationships, the “set-ups” i’ve had have basically allowed to me camp out of real intimacy my whole life get the fringe benefits of a relationship without really letting someone in. i haven’t had my heart broken in my whole life ( so yay?) but i haven’t had anything other than superficiality and it is this emptiness and not heartbreak that has brought me here to BR.

      the more relaxed you get in these set ups you are basically avoiding real intimacy , there isn’t a magically wonderful person who will change your mind or something. and you think you will just do it for a few months or years or until someone better comes along but the reality is that you can do this forever! years will pass by and you’ll be comfortable, not loved, not happy just comfortable and comfortable is not bad, but it’s not great.

      many wonderful, emotionally available men have asked me out but i was too comfortable in my set ups to risk potential heartbreak. with my non-bfs there was no abuse, they treated me with respect ( there were never any late night booty calls or anything) , we went on dates, but it wasn’t enough. and your idea of the set-up will never match that other person’s idea of the set have in your head what your arrangement means and they have another idea . my set-ups usually ended because i wanted to get a call every day and they didn’t see the necessity of speaking to someone you aernt really dating every day and would often disappear for a week or two. or while i was fine seeing them once in a while etc i wasn’t really fine with them filling up the gap times with someone else and when they expressed a desire to do this , i realized i cannot expect monogamy from someone who is an arrangement and i cannot change myself to be okay with being on rotation so couldn’t really stay in it. also, the sort of men open to emotionally unavailable set ups tend to have a lot of deeper issues that you don’t need to be inviting into your life even at a superficial level.

      my point is , there is no rush to fall in full love, just be by yourself if you are not ready right now. the parts of your life you want distraction from show you what you need to work on so you don’t need to escape your own life. you can embrace your sexuality without having sex but no need to have a series of “meh,so what?” sexual dalliances. i was never really treated bad in any of mine but it somehow still wore at me in ways i am only starting to realize now. you are certainly capable of love but are you capable of loving an emotionally available man while you’re entangled superfically with an unavailable one? being alone doesn’t have to be a ” waiting for prince charming whilst sitting at home life”. give yourself your own love.

      • Mymble says:

        What you are describing describes most of my adult “relationships”. Even my marriage, sadly. (The MM was something else altogether)Passing time candidates, arrangements, people in whom I was not deeply invested and who were not deeply invested with me. Okay guys, mostly, not booty calls (would spend a lot of time with some in common interests and hobbies). It was so convenient and staved off loneliness, but ultimately unsatisfying. It also was a great way of avoiding myself and my own issues.

      • Bob72 says:

        Wow Kookie I was going to write something to reply too, but there’s zero need because you just worded it perfectly – and even better because you’ve actually experienced it yourself and shared!

        I had a feeling this was the case when I thought about how I would feel about it – thanks so much for sharing!!

    • jewells says:

      Hi Victorious, I hope you don’t mind me being blunt, but what I see is that your answer is already in your post. You want a ‘distraction’ from your routine (reality) = you want a fantasy; You ‘gave up so much of yourself during your marriage’ so too afraid to give up your independance = you twisted yourself into a pretzel to please an EUM and lost yourself, so you haven’t come to grips with your boundaries and values and learned to love and trust yourself enough yet to be able to embrace commitment; ‘I am certainly capable of love. I loved the recent ex narc’ = you loved the fantasy and ‘distraction’ he offered, Limerace (or Limerance, I can’t remember exactly), and believe me, I thought I loooooved my exNarc too – nope, just the fantasy he caught me up in, I since learned that I have to love myself before I am capable of bestowing it on another. The fact that you are questioning yourself is a step in the right direction :) And thank you for being open with this, I’ve questioned myself too, but never put it on paper to have a look at it like you just did.

    • natashya says:

      victorious, i am the same. i am not quite ready to date again, but when i am, i want exactly what you describe. i don’t want to fall into somebody else’s life and i don’t want someone else to fall into mine.

      i don’t think that makes you emotionally unavailable. who says you need to live together to have a relationship.

      • EUM Roberto says:

        WOW, this is me now after coming out of long term marriage where i was a doormat. The women who i am being with are in very similar situation you describe. I’m in this same boat for now.

    • Lau_ra says:

      though I totally get your need for space, I don’t think its a healthy thing you’re thinking of – how is that different from all that our EUMs would do? I can’t say my EUMs didn’t like/love me in a certain way-the second one would spend hours every single evening talking to me for several months! He just didn’t want me in his daily life as his gf, which was smth I actually wanted after those months of daily interaction of some kind. And yet he wanted me to only have sex with him, even though didn’t promise to act the same. Expecting a person to act like your significant other, yet keep him/her at arms length is not nice and its what you don’t want in your life, or else you would not be here.

    • SallyJane says:

      Love your posts and your honesty.

      I agree with the others who have said you are aspiring to create an EU/unhealthy relationship. Actually, it sounds like you want to re-create the relationship you are recovering from, except with a “good” guy rather than the ex-narc, but a “good” guy won’t go for this indefinitely.

      It is entirely possible to have a close relationship without the other person taking over your life, making terrible demands, or otherwise sucking all the oxygen out of every room. There is definitely a happy middle ground, and I have never found it that hard to find the balance between my independence and personal emotional “space” and my relationship with a boyfriend. If the balance looked like it was going to be difficult, then the relationship didn’t actually happen. One notable exception: the ex-EUM!!!

      But, yes, an authentic, emotionally available person will want to participate in your real life, and you will want him there, and want to participate in his. Real people prefer reality. Reality is good.

      If you are just not up for it right now, perhaps you should just take a breather and continue to figure out why. As you say, you know you are capable, but maybe just right now…No shame in that! You will get there!

    • Magnolia says:

      Victorious: the thing that jumped out for me was “wanting to talk every day.” My mom is the one who loves me best on this planet and I don’t want to talk to her every day. My best friends are people I don’t live in the same city with and so we don’t talk even every month. For me to talk to anyone every day would make them the most intimately participating person in my life, and I wouldn’t want to let any one into my day-to-day that much if they weren’t serious about me.

      I’m generalizing here, but from what my male friends have said, if men push to get women to give up sex before they are ready, women push to get men to be the “there for you to listen” guy too early. I think many men find the expectation that he engage with a woman (anyone, likely) every day, in an emotionally available way, about her feelings to be one of the biggest expectations he can meet and as one of the roles of providing within a relationship.

      All that to say that that line, in your post, made me think: Victorious is calling casual something that isn’t casual. My two cents.

    • runnergirl says:

      Victorious, I could have written precisely what you did. I checked twice to make sure. Have you read Nat’s chapter in Mr. U and the FBG on Miss Self-Sufficient, Miss Independent? A while back, Nat said she was going to do an entire book on this type of FBG because it elicited a lot of responses. It was the section I most identified with. I hope you’ll read it. Everything you wrote was exactly what I thought and how I ended up in the most unavailable of unavailable situations. If you proceed, I’d suggest first reading Nat’s chapter.
      Boy, I hear you about their laundry though. I’m thinking I’ll cross the threshold into available when I can tolerate his laundry in my washing machine.
      PS. The exMM gave me the exact scenario you described which was precised what I thought I wanted. Then I ended up pondering every single question Natalie posted in this article.

      • runnergirl says:


      • Victorious says:

        I have the book but haven’t got to that chapter yet. I will jump to it! The ex narc said he was so attracted to me because I presented such a challenge, being so independent and so “I don’t need a man” I really do apprecciate all yoru replies and you have given me a lot to think about. I certainly wouldn’t want a relationship that wasn’t monogamous (on both sides) and yes, I think I do want what I had with the ex narc, but with someone less mad/mindfuck/weird. I do think this all relates to my long term “fantasy relationship” inclinations. There is a part of me that still thinks the “relationship” I had with Donny Osmond is unbeatable. If it is all/mostly in your head, it can be anything you want it to be so it is hard for any real relationship to match up. I did however stay with my first husband for seven years and my second for 13 years so I know I AM capable of it. Those marriages/relationships weren’t nearly as much fun though as Donny/Johnny Depp/Sirius Black (yes, really!) Thanks again to all :)

        • Victorious says:

          Ok, read the MIMS chapter and, well, OMG! I just kept thinking, “oh!” “Oh!” “OH!” “OOOHHHHH!!!”
          I have 14 of the attributes of a MIMS. And ex narc had 15 attributes of The Chaser. No wonder I loved it so much (until he started to devalue me, and thanks to BR I bailed before it got too nasty)
          Thanks for referring me to this Runnergirl. Loads more to think about……

  36. Discarded says:

    These reflections are perfect, sum up how I have felt/do feel etc. Spot on
    Just wish I didn’t still feel some of the comments. The Sat nite drunk texts really have played on me mind, even though heard nothing since.
    I’ll get there in the end though :(

    • jewells says:

      Ummmm, Discarded….block him! THEN you will get there….
      If you keep entertaining him on ANY level, you are rubbing salt in the wound. Stop engaging, give yourself a break and some time and distance to internalize your new found perspectives. That’s what EVERYBODY here has had to do, the sooner you completely NC, the sooner you will start feeling better. Don’t dispair, it is a PROCESS to go through. I’ve been NC for 5 months now, it’s taken a lot of relearning, rethinking and action, but i feel better now than I have my entire life. THAT is the reward.

  37. Bob72 says:

    Best post I ever read here, period… These questions and statements are where everything about love starts and ends.

  38. MyTimeIsNow says:

    Not to be judgmental, from what I read, you do want a full-blown relationship. You just don’t want a live-in boyfriend, that’s all. Before you mbark on such a quest for love, you must be true to yourself, analyze your intentions, and understand why you want such an arrangment.

    Women tend to be more emotional and once you start spending time, getting “daily” calls and the like, it has been my experience that our feelings end up changing quite quickly. You may start off thinking that is not what you want but end up wanting that nonetheless. Then you have the man who may very well be seeing someone else too, wanting to stick to the original plan because it is easy like that for them.

    I guess what I am saying is to not set yourself up for heartache. You want what you want but make sure that you are properly labeling what it is that you truly are trying to have. Like Natalie has said before, if it looks like a duck and quacks likes a duck, it is still a duck.

  39. Gillian says:

    Natalie, Thank you for giving me the tools to get out of a relationship with Mr Unavailable. Your posts keep me on track. I had been a “friend” to Mr Narc for months after he told me the romantic part of our relationship was over and going through such emotional turmoil. I started NC a month ago and have had to put up with his verbal abuse but that has made me see who he truly is.

    I’m taking things very s-l-o-w-l-y. By doing the work and seeing who I have been in all of my relationships, right back to my first love at 13 years old, I am able to get a better picture of myself and how unavailable I have been. Well, yes, of course I have been unavailable because the truth is these men are not who I would choose to create a future with. I have been able through your books and blogs to see myself truly as I am and love myself anyway.

    I decided to open myself up to love this Valtentine’s Day and have had lots of hugs from the people I know and have bumped into at the grocery store and exercise class. Love is everywhere..with family and friends..with my pets.

    I’m taking it just one day at a time and I am so thankful that I am finally away from him and his manipulative ways. Had I not found “The No Contact Rule” purely by “chance” a month ago I would still be caught up with this man and would have probably been the other woman by now. Thank you everyone!!

  40. louise says:

    This is timely. This intense need to be noticed and feel loved is how I ended up with my MM 6 months ago. After reading every post of Nat’s and every single comment, over and over again for the last few months, and after doing her Get Out of Stuck workbook (which is fantastic) I finally decided to love me more. Even though I really felt it wouldn’t work for me. Maybe for everyone else, But not for me. But it did work for me! So now I trust Nat even more. and me too. i took another step and decided to trust Nat and everyone else who says NC is the only way, and I did it. I went NC with my MM yesterday. I was too chicken to do it in person at a meeting we were supposed to have because whenever I try to do it in person it never ends well, he ignores what I say, gets cranky, and I back down feeling “I can’t can do this, I am being too emotional, he really loves me, who else will ever touch me like this again” and then I get dropped off with panicked looks in his eyes that someone will see us, walk in my door, lie to my husband, drink too many gin tonics in a row, get moody and angry, fall asleep all night on the couch and spend the next week crying, feeling humiliated, frustrated, analysing every text or non text, and lather rinse repeat.) One night a few days ago I had a dream of hiding naked in a closet from his wife while his children found me, the wife almost did, and he left with his family as I cowed behind children’s clothes. I wrote him this dream. He immediately went awol for 2 days so I did too. Then Monday on his way to work texts me saying how “unpleasant it was not hearing from me all weekend. I said exactly the same back. He replied I shouldn’t do that again. So, as our next date drew nearer (we missed the one on the weekend because he decided to ignore it and me) and the churning pit of anxiety in my stomach got worse, I thought of Nat and realized I owed me a way out that is best for me, not him and I sent a simple email instead. And even though I felt like a Class A ass for being so disprespectful by breaking up via email—I sent him an email.

    “that dream did me in. i can’t get past it.
    I won’t be contacting you anymore.
    i’m so sorry i can’t tell you this in person. when i see you all i want is you. then i leave without you. i can’t do it anymore.”

    well, that didn’t go so well. A few emails between us later I am a she devil, a liar, having another one of my dysfunctional mood swings, doing this just to fuck him up like i always do, i never loved him, breaking my promise never to leave him again, broke his heart after asking him not to break mine, am willfully blind that I can’t see how he has been slowly preparing things for our future, (huh???), if i loved him i would not leave, i’m dead to him, etc etc.

    Ironically, my first crazily angry and abusive husband said the exact same words to me when I left him –“You are dead to me”.

    I busted my boundaries immediately, becuase dammit he was going to validate me! I wrote back a few times explaining loving him is making me leave. humiliation shame being a dirty secret. he never once addressed those comments except to say it was BS. He ignored every other comment I made including the ones I reminded him of here HE asked Me why I take crumbs, and He told ME i deserve more. Then he told me to stop. Sent me my own line about no more contact and I stopped. I see a new email today. I am not opening it. OK, so about love, and loving me. I felt so free and so good about myself finally, definitively doing this. I wasn’t expecting the barrage of hate back.

    Today I feel like shit, want the first few weeks of the man who chased me back, wonder where he went. I am mostly angry that he isn’t giving me any validation about my choice, no tea and sympathy. Luckily I read those validation posts by Nat, and I’m re reading the crap out of the LOVE post today, and doing the mantra of respect, care, trust.

    I can’t even imagine what cyclone of destruction I’d be whirling in now if it wasn’t for all of you and Nat. Thank you. Now, onto Day 2. Ack!

    • McKenzieM says:

      Louise – I’m totally feeling your pain.

      I’m a little over a week into NC and I had to talk to the EU AC today about work stuff. I suddenly got cold feet and started to wonder if I made the right decision, maybe all the BS was really my fault for not being understanding enough, etc. Somehow I managed to hold it together until I got off the phone with him. I think it honestly is because I’ve read all the posts about NC so much that I have practically memorized them. Seriously! I think I read this blog more than anything else except my Bible these days. LOL!

      You and I both have to stay strong. WE ARE BETTER OFF WITHOUT THE EUMs/ACs!!!! Remember that.

      • Lacy says:

        Yes I also can recite most of the post,I read them religiously.I just don’t have the being strong together yet.knowing I am better without him and if I stay Nc he will try his luck for a while but eventually will get tired.I just don’t know how to have will power to stick to my decision.i will be smiling ear to ear once this pain has passed and will have brighter days.

    • MyTimeIsNow says:

      First off,you validate you. They never can. With my narc sociopath, he totally mindfu*%ed me! When he saw that I was really trying to pull away, he actually had the audacity to try to make me believe that it had all been my fantasy – all in my head.

      He said that he thought that I knew that the relationship was for fun. That we were two consenting adults fulfilling our sexual needs. Mind you, we “dated” for a year so I was left to believe that I had made everything up – even the marrying me part.

      Then Mr. Narc told me that we could continue to have sex as long as I understood that it was for fun, that I had to not be emotional, and that it wasn’t leading to anything. He says all that and in the next breath, he asked if he could still call and check on me from time to time. He also said that he would agree to see me at least ONE time per month for sex. I am still feel shock and disbelief when I re-live that conversation in my mind.

      After he left that day, the realization of just what he said to me hit home. I immediately changed my cell number and bloced him from my home phone and e-mail account. Basically, I started no contact, cold turkey.

      Being bi-polar, I went into a deep depression and nearly had a nervous breakdown. I ended up taking three weeks off from work (unpaid mind you), started therapy, and began medication once more (hadn’t taken meds for my condition for nearly 8 years). Truly, it felt like I was withdrawing from a drug. I was in horrible emotional pain.

      Now, I am two months no contact. I still feel a little shame, guilt, embarassment, regret, and yes, I still have moments of longing for him. But what I now have is a peaceful existence. I don’t feel anxious as much. I am slowly coming back to who I once was.

      So you are not alone. We all have mind blowing stories regarding these characters but hopefully, our final story will be one of successfully ejecting them from our lives.

      No contact all the way!

      • beth d says:

        Mytime So glad you went NC from this bigtime Narc. It is the only way to get peace. Congrats :)

      • Dharma says:

        My time is now, you said, “I still feel a little shame, guilt, embarassment, regret, and yes, I still have moments of longing for him”. It’s the shame, embarrassment and regret part that I took me down. Is there a post here on how to deal with these leftovers?

  41. louise says:

    “What am I failure at? Successfully not continuing in something that wasn’t working for me even though it hurt to leave? Successfully dodging a bullet further down the line by accepting the feedback of the person unfolding?”

    RIGHT F’ING ON! I will be saying this to myself all day. Thank you Nat!

    • runnergirl says:

      Louise, block and run. Stay NC. If you are tempted to go back into the “cyclone of destruction”, make yourself answer in writing every single question Nat poses in this post before you respond to him. Answer every question. Then see if you feel like signing up for another whirl with the cyclone. Trust me, I did it too. He was going to hear me, my pain, my humiliation, my anger, my sadness if it was the last thing I ever said. He didn’t. I was hell bent on extracting validation. I could have continued until death did me part. Get out of the closet and stay out.
      Signed: A former OW.

      • louise says:

        Runnergirl, McKenzieM thankyou. My NC lasted all of one day. he wrote saying if he doesn’t hear from me in one month from today he will stop bothering me (meaning i was to wait one mth before contacting him again) i should have listened but i knew that in one month i wouldn’t want to contact him and he probably would be over me y then and ack! i didn’t want to accept that. so i wrote and asked him to to seriously listen and talk to (validate) me. he agreed to talk and listen. i talked. he talked about my mind always changed with the wind and i wasn’t very reliable because i was always trying to go NC, and how much he has done to be with me, like, quit a few volunteer activities, he sorta said maybe he wasn’t listening enough when i said OVER AND OVER AND OVER again how much shame guilt i feel living in shadows, i ignored my gut screaming to get the hell out of there, i was even pacing the room non stop desperate to leave, then he cried and told me how i broke his heart and always break his heart by trying to leave him, then my vagina took over my brain, we did the amazing deed, and today i feel, like, surprise surprise. death. and oh, guess what, we never did get around to discussing the whole pesky feelings about being shamed and humiliated. i like the idea of answering every single question it this post before contacting him again. brilliant idea! ps. he also says i shouldn’t read these posts because they give me ideas and subliminal messages that affect my judgement about my feelings for him. hah! now if only the messages could get stronger….

        • runnergirl says:

          Louise, they don’t listen to your pain, shame, guilt no matter how loudly or often you say it. At least that was my experience with the exMM. That’s what I think this post may be about. You may have to listen to you, tagging onto the next post about listening to your gut. Trying to answer every single question in this post has brought up some huge issues for me. Nat’s messages aren’t subliminal. That is what I found refreshing. She is direct and correct. I was in denial. You will probably need to sort through your feelings of shame and humiliation by yourself and with us on BR. Sorry about that. If is all we had to do was go back to our pain source to get the pain to go away, Nat’s site wouldn’t exist.
          Back on the NC wagon for you?

          • louise says:

            runnergirl, yes, not listening or acknowledging is a huge theme for me. i was so proud of myself for sending that brief email ending it. felt such relief! then the barrage of his anger hit. nasty stuff. said i broke my promise to discuss my feelings about quitting us. so i thought ok. i”ll do the big girl thing and be respectful and face him. i let him talk. he was calm. he apologised for his nastiness.i didn’t engage. we sat far apart. i paced. didn’t hear much the adrenaline was so powerful.but i was doing well. was just about to the end. just about to say, well, i did my part. i talked in person. and then wham, the excuse for ignoring me for 3 days ” i felt like i had a failure in my business and was depressed” he says… and there i suddenly am at his chair stroking his hair. then a double wham — his tears about hurting him. then we are touching and then i’m lost. he’s never future faked, or promised anything, so i can’t even blame that. no matter how i try to make him see the damage he does to me and what he could do to his family (the wife already found out once at the very beginning when his texts got sent to her laptop via The Cloud). But all he has to say is ” i thought my life was perfect until i met you and then suddenly i knew what i had been missing my whole” damn. and here i am at BR again, feeling so weak and such a whiner. i KNOW i am being an idiot. i use the excuse but i am 49, ive never had such good sex, i’ll never find it again, i’ll never find someone to hold me like this. to say these things, to notice me, blah blah. so shallow but also such a primal need to be wanted, have a partner that i feel this with. i live in a teeny tiny town with no where to go. i know my husband knows but ignores it. which is ok because i don’t love my husband although he is a fine man. on the upside i think with mm i can say we never addressed the issue i wanted to discuss and i’m sure i can end it more gracefully now. but do i want to? NO! i don’t. i want that amazing sex, i want that fantasy. even though it’s ruining my family life. it hurts but not enough. i wonder what will be enough?? shame for my family finding out? my husband’s heart broken? my kids in this small place? HIS family being destroyed? me being completely shunned? why am i being so damn selfish? i know my gut is right, and you are right and NAt is right and everyone here is right. I don’t even have him. never did. and now i have even less of what i never had. not even the sweet romantic texts. he says “well you can;t eep that intensity up forever”. really? you cant write i love you, need you, you are beautiful anymore either? and even if he did, i know it’s BS. i can;t even begin to thank you for being here to listen. and the irony. i avoided married men like the plague my whole life because I KNOW BETTER! hen one bad marriage, one super bad 5 yr relationship with a sociopath, a new marriage to a nice safe and much much older guy and now this mm. jesus. when i write it out like that. what am i doing?! i guess its extra hard because my last child is leaving home in a few mths. classic empty nest, mid life crisis, sooooo predictable, so counter productive and anti intuititve and anti life affirming. if i was reading my post objectively i’d be shaking my head at how obvious this all is.and yet, here i am… i’m taking a vacation alone in a week. i’m hoping that physical break will give me perspective. thank you for listening.

  42. Breeze says:

    AND LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN. Lawd have mercy, I’m so glad I started reading this blog 5 years ago. Now i’m 20 and well on my way thanks to your wisdom. Still making mistakes but giving the aftermath a bit of a “twist” and continuing to treat myself with love, trust, and respect afterwards–and no matter what! I look at my parents now and I know they too are human, but dang, they speak and taught me such a different language than what I read here! And yet that fuels my understanding of where I came from and what I started out working with and that’s valuable information in this struggle/journey. Thanks, as always, Natalie for all the hoopin and hollerin’ and grinning that just went down.

    • MyTimeIsNow says:

      Amen! You are fortunate. You have been exposed to such great information early in your dating life so hopefully, you don’t have to experience what many of your “more mature” BR sisters did.

      I wish you well on your journey!

  43. Hopeful says:

    Sewer love… Thinking of this and that is exactly what it is. I accepted it as I was not worth pure genuine love. Sewer love is a waste, flushed away, as it is not needed. I once lived in Okinawa and there was open sewers around our apartment, I would down into them. There were rats crawling around, garbage, human waste, nothing of value for sure. In the heat of summer the stench was horrible. I should keep this in mind, he was a rat, I was trash, stuck there in the sewer. You will never find anything worthwhile in the sewer, it’s for waste and that’s what I believed I was. So, of course I would find a rat…

    • Mymble says:

      He may be a rat but you are not trash. It’s bad enough going through these awful things without calling yourself nasty names. You loved someone, he has not behaved well to you, all the more reason to treat yourself well. Don’t turn that anger on yourself, you deserve better. Some people just do that stuff. They do it to beautiful, smart, successful women, ordinary women, any women. (and some women do it to guys too). There wasn’t anything about you that caused him to do it, so don’t punish yourself. Please.
      That’s what this blog in particular is about, I think. Read it again?

      • Hopeful says:

        Thank you Mymble for your kind words, it touched my heart. Tho’ I don’t know you personally I believe you. I’m good at beating myself, a pro actually. Been doing it all my life actually. Old habits are hard to break. I come back and read these posts again and again, each time something else speaks out to me. You’re a very sweet lady. Thank you for your gentle reminder, healing words and caring enough to post it. :-)

  44. Magnolia says:

    Happy valentine’s day to everyone! Sending love to all of you, my treasured BR friends and to you Natalie!

  45. Mymble says:

    This is a lovely post. So many of the “questions” are ones I need to ask myself! And not just in the context of the epiphany EUM/MM but overall in my attitude to relationships. Waiting, waiting waiting for a man to save me from…ME.

  46. Espresso says:

    Isn’t love more than a feeling? Isn’t it an action?

    I wonder why I never really understood actions as opposed to grand words and theories about how things would change and how my ex was working so hard. I kept looking at “good intentions” rather than what was really going on. I honestly think he did have good intentions but just didn’t have a clue about how he needed to look at himself, his own life, his development as a person, his family etc. He always made it “all about me.”

    I am doing a lot of introspection these days – it just seems important to me to understand what was going on in my very long term relationshipo – what I did and what he did. I don’t want to be stuck but I think I need to come up with some understanding before I can emotionally really “put it away” in my life. Now that I have emotionally ended the relationship I am seeing much much more about myself and about him. Some of it really horrifies me. It is like unraveling a huge ball of wool. I would like someday to wish him well and never be affected by anything he does anymore. Not there yet.

    One thing my counsellor was asking me about was the degree I felt my ex was critical and disapproved of me. I felt this constantly. I felt he overcorrected me and would go back into things and “fix” them but I wondered what part I played in that. Was that ME also…was I too thin-skinned? Was a replaying a family role? But I realized last night that the fact that he always always sees things as positive, can rarely talk about (his own) concerns, fears, worries, insights that may (to him) seem negative completely shut me down emotionally. I had quite a serious eye problem a few years ago requiring several surgeries. Constantly he kept saying things were going to work out so well, and when at each stage there was “another problem” he would just slide past that and say things were going to work out well. I was scared but I was also pretty realistic about the outcome. His words did not feel supportive to me because this is the way he talks about everything- in fact they made me feel more isolated than ever. His favourite words are this person is “nice”, this person is “decent”, this person is “trying hard”. I am more thoughtful, more introspective, more analytical, more careful and have more boundaries. So I could suddenly see why when I brought up doubts or fears about anything his own “see and feel no pain attitude” made me feel like sh.t. It made me feel I never had somebody “with” me in life, or at least standing with me not to take away my pain but to really show empathy and compassion in terms of where I was. Does that make sense? It seemed like a pretty big insight last night.

    In the last few months I have met two amazing people who automatically reach these areas with me emotionally, with ease. This is because THEY have reached these areas in themselves and are not threatened by their own pain or pain in the world. It seems so easy. And in a way this has magnified my loss and I have been really up and down. Anyway, great stuff in this post and lots to think about. Sorry for rambling……

  47. geekgirl says:

    Aaargh. I’m having a bad moment. Weekends are the worst. He used to come over, and it was really magical.
    Half the time, it was SO good. Its just that when it was bad, it was really, really bad. And I hated being hostage to his emotional states.
    I haven’t contacted him for a week, but I want to so badly right now. Last time I did, he didn’t reply. If I text him, and he doesnt reply, I will feel worse than I do now. If he does reply, then I will be right back where I was.
    Right? Right.

    • grace says:

      you won’t be back where you were, it will be worse. Going back tells him that he can push his luck a little further.

      • beth d says:

        Grace I remember your comment you put about the first time they think they are lucky, next time invincible and then lose respect. That helped me so much because it is so true! Other than the first few times I went back the other times it got worse and easier for to pull shit! They truly do feel invincible! Hold strong ladies!

      • geekgirl says:

        Hey Grace,

        Yes, I know! Thanks for the good sense:).
        You know, I’ve been up and down these last few weeks. And the down times have sucked, because I’ve been so sad. But the reason I’m so sad, is because I’m determined.Its really over, this time.

        • Victorious says:

          Seriously Geek if you go back he will lose all respect for you and think he can pull all kinds of new shit and that you will take it. Then he will just dump you. Probably by going NC on you without warning. At least this way you walk away with some self respect. He does not mean you any good. That much is clear.

      • Silverbee says:

        Yes, yes, yes. What Grace Said, AMEN.

        Giving in leads to worse, not same or better.

        Geekgirl, I know just what you mean about the magical stuff. I had it with my EUM, too. When it was good, it was incredible. I would float, I would feel as though the whole world was dazzling with light, like the sun dancing on the ocean on a brilliantly beautiful day.

        But the highs were ALWAYS followed by a crash. It was intoxication, not love. And each crash took me a little lower than the one before. I, too, was hostage to a man with very unstable emotions, and it was infecting me.

        Stay strong. Love is who you ARE, and magic can be experienced in so many different ways – we just have to be open to it.

        Hugs to you and all dear ones here at BR.

        • beth d says:

          Silver Boy can I identify with the incredible highs and the crashes. Natalies creed ?”Love is not pain” hit me like a ton of bricks. As incredible as the good times were, there was no consistency. You feel like you are walking on quicksand and waiting to sink any minute. Peace feels so much better and lighter.

        • McKenzieM says:

          Thanks for the post, MyTimeIsNow. I keep flip-flopping on calling him. I had some family drama today and I almost called him, but didn’t because I realized I was just using him as a crutch/distraction and that’s part of how I ended up in the mess I’m in, in the first place. It kind of angers me that I have to work out all this crap to get back to the real me while he’s just happy being EU and skedaddling on about his merry way with his narcissistic harem.

        • McKenzieM says:

          Last comment should have said “Thanks for the posts, MyTimeIsNow and Silverbee.”

    • Allison says:


      Think about the sex worker when you have these feelings.

    • Dharma says:

      Geekgirl I agree with Gracie. Please please please hold on and do not contact him. You will end up feeling worse afterwards (I did!). Keep NC going and with time, it will get easier…. Much love and hugs to you.

  48. Tinkerbell says:

    Along with so many BR readers, I have to heartily agree that this post is definitely one of the best and really gets you THINKING. It’s content can apply to anyone. No matter where you are in your love life you can understand and question if what you are thinking and doing is serving you in the best manner possible. The questions and statements Natalie presents us with are profound to say the least. Even though I am in a relationship that is progressing nicely, I am not going to sit back and feel “I got this”. I’ll still be asking myself all of these questions, keeping an open mind, and reflecting on how they relate to my current experience. Thank you so much, Natalie.

  49. L says:

    Thank you Natalie for your help in healing me. I only have to look at this each time I feel like falling.

  50. Nina says:

    Brilliant. Hard questions, for sure. Thank you so much for this.

  51. Gina says:


    This was an outstanding post regarding self-reflection and learning to love oneself! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for addressing this topic. Once upon a time it would have hurt too much for me to read it. Later, I would not have been able to read it without feeling an extreme sense of discomfort. Now I can read it, absorb it, and use it to help me along in my journey towards becoming more self-aware.

    Valentine’s Day was not a problem for me. I am no longer pining for an FF/EUM, which is a VERY awesome feeling!! I was greeted and greeted others with a very happy and enthusiastic, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” I overheard some of the married teachers at work lament over the fact that their husbands did not do anything for them on VD, which made me realize that being single on VD wasn’t so bad after all! After I got off work, I went to the board and care facility to vist my aunt who has Alzheimer’s (she still remembers me and loves me very much). I gave her a big box of chocolates, which she loved! I also gave the lady who has been doing such an outstanding job of caring for her ( she treats my aunt like a part of her family) a lovely bouquet of flowers. She was pleasantly surprised (her husband did not give her anything, but he is a good husband though and really loves her) and thanked me.

    Tonight my church is having a VD bash for the singles called, “Love Stinks!” We are supposed to dress up in attire from the 80s; there will be games, prizes, and a nice Italian dinner will be served.

    VD is not the only day to express your love for someone. Nor does that love always have to be romantic. Love comes in many forms: love of friends, family…and MOST importantly love of SELF.

    Sending you all big bear hugs and wet sloppy kisses on the cheek :-)

    • McKenzieM says:

      Every time I see “VD” in your post, I have to remind myself you mean Valentine’s Day and not “venereal disease.” haha

      • rachel h says:

        one of the most powerful things ive read natalie! really moved me it was like hell i get it, thats me i dont love me enough yet to even date, but im working on it! :)

        mckenze thats lovely, it made me think we can waste so much time wanting what we dont have instead of seeing what we do and loving who we have, what we have and how we r, im going to give my nana a bouquet of flowers inspired by u :)

  52. Tinkerbell says:

    Mags. I you can, don’t describe yourself in such a way, even if you are explaining how you think he thinks of you. Keep it to yourself and don’t write it down or voice it. You’re giving those descriptions more power and I know you don’t want to do that. I bring this up because I have a habit of describing myself to others in a very negative manner. My very supportive sister always calls me on it telling me that I do it because that is how I really DEEP DOWN think of myself. I project the remaining residue of self-loathing ascribing to others that that is what they think of me. Often times it’s not true. You have been doing a helluva a lot of work on yourself and so have I. It takes so much effort to get “everything right”, and we never do or we’d be perfect. But, anyway, the next time you think anything negative about yourself, don’t give it voice. You are a marvelous woman. It is not at all surprising that the EUM sprouting into AC’s will try to take you down a peg because they resent your formidable persona. Think about others in whatever way you deem fits them. But, when you think of yourself be as pleasantly optimistic as you can be. I am working hard on this very thing, among a lot more.

  53. Jazzy says:

    Before this last ex, my therapist warned me, “addicts don’t do relationships.” I didn’t listen. She also told me, “You must love yourself before you can have a healthy relationship.” I thought, “This is crap. I hate myself and won’t be happy until I get what I want. I so long for a certain type; so therefore, this type is what will make me happy.” I went out and found that type and was miserable. There were moments of pleasure, but they were just moments in a consecutive line of fear, dissatisfaction and disappointment. It wasn’t love, it was something altogether awful.

  54. Naz says:

    With my message below I just want to say thank you to Nat for allowing me this place of sanctuary that I can come to for advise and support. Where my tears flow with no judgement but that I am understood.

    5 months ago I was dumped for checking my boyfriend’s phone that is a long story and I have hashed it out here before.

    I decided to try up it behind me, I decided last night to open up myself to a new what I thought would be a new start with this guy I had met through a mutual friend. He was funny, good looking and just so full of life.
    I sent him a message telling him I liked him and that I would like us to get to know each other better.
    He came back today in a gentleman way and rejected me saying he honestly didn’t feel for me and didn’t want to get involved.
    I felt a pang of embarrassment and self loathing how could I expect this guy whose younger than me, white and good looking want me.
    I looked in the mirror and saw this woman that seems to never get a proper relationship in her life.
    I can’t explain it, I put myself out there, I try to look good, I am kind and helpful. But all I ever get from guys is that I am only good enough to be a friend.
    I am struggling to understand this. I am also panicking at 37 that I have tried for years to get the attention of men and I seem so invisible.
    I never get asked out, I have had guys that just treat me like the buddy girl and then come one day professing their undying love for a girl they have known 5 mins.

    I feel bad about me, my father never wanted me, neither did most if the men in family. My father thought all I would ever be good for would be a whore.

    I have been seperated for years, still waiting for the papers to be signed. If him falling asleep on our wedding night is any indication then the rest of our marriage was not the best.

    I am hurting, I appreciate this guy who rejected me is entitled to his opinion and that I am not fit
    For his tastes but I feel so low, like I am nothing, unloveable, ugly, not good enough.

    I feel like hiding am I so hideous I can’t get an attractive guy to like me??

    I try to be confident and positive but with no one guy liking me is hard to swallow

    • runnergirl says:

      Naz, the answers to your questions lie within you. You don’t need a guy to validate you. Don’t cry for crumbs. Before getting involved with another guy, try to honestly answer every question Nat posed in this post. Write out your answers. I think if you think about it, you’ll find that there may be more to it than finding a guy. Do you like you?

  55. Tinkerbell says:

    Naz. I really would like to know if dating has changed that much in the last 40 years? I don’t understand why you would approach him especially if he has shown no interest in you at all. What were you thinking? Getting to know someone new is difficult enough without choosing someone who doesn’t know you exist, and from a different race to boot. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating racism, but what do you know about this guy. Has he shown any proclivity to liking women who are non-white? I believe you have revealed a degree of desperation to this guy and that will certainly turn a man off. It may be 2013, but as far as I know men still prefer to do the choosing. Don’t ever, ever do that again. I am sure you can find better things to do than engage in masochism. Please keep reading BR. We’ve all been through the mill with men but your putting yourself out on a limb like that with a total stranger gives me great concern. Have I read anything wrong? Is there something you have not told us?

    • Naz says:

      Thank you the hard knock, I put myself out on a limb because people tell me I don’t. With this guy he was not a complete stranger we had been talking since last October and from the outrageous flirtatious messages at the offset I decided to the dumb thing and take a leap of stupid faith and tell him I liked him and wanted something more than just flirting and talk of hooking up.

      I misread the situation, I thought if he was interested enough to send intimate messages he was interested enough to try getting to know each other.
      I was wrong, I was okay to probably have a one night stand but it good enough to have more…

      I have booked an appointment to see someone professional.

      • Jen says:


        YOU sound lovely and also very BRAVE for asking someone out, well done for that. I have never asked anyone out since I got rejected when I was a teenager. BTW I’m 39 now. I wait until a guy asks me out. I’m still working on loving me, and only recently found out what it meant how to love myself. Having new beliefs about yourself and being more loving can be really hard to learn if you have never done it before. Keep reading these blogs and discovering yourself. YOU are more important than any man who doesn’t treat you with respect and love.

    • Mymble says:

      I have to disagree with what tinkerbell said regarding the race issue. I do not see it as something you should require to worry about when deciding whether or not to become involved with someone. I have dated men of different races and nationalities, most people are open to that. The thing to be thinking about is “Is he good enough for me?”. And this guy isn’t, he is an airhead asshole manboy sending silly texts to women. If that is the way he interacts then frankly my dear he is a twit. If he were a woman doing
      that there would be a very rude name for it.
      There’s nothing wrong with asking someone out although you have to be tough enough to be able to shrug it off if they’re not into it. Personally I’ve never felt comfortable with it.
      My take on this is that at the moment you are too fragile anyway. You need to feel a bit better about yourself first.
      And I’m 48 btw, and I’d love to BR 37 again! I can’t be that though so am working on being happy with who I am.

  56. Tinkerbell says:

    Naz. My heart breaks for you. Please seek professional help. You’ve got some very serious unresolved issues from your childhood. Try not to think of your age as “old”. 37 is not time to buy a rocking chair. You absolutely must get help because going around in what appears to be serious depression is plain out unsafe. I pray for your healing. Big hugs, Tink

  57. jewells says:

    Naz, I feel for you too. You put yourself out there based on flirty texts, that is understandable. You did not read the situation all wrong, and what you did was ‘suck it and see’ – you found out that he was only flirting and like a lot of men, had you fallen into bed with him as a result of these flirts, would have just been another notch on his bedpost. So what you did was to present to him what you wanted, and it wasn’t what he wanted. Now you know for sure, lesson learned. Where you are in the wrong, is deciding that it’s because of some innate flaw within you that makes men only look at you as a ‘buddy’ or a ‘booty’. I have had this one too! It’s because I was raised around EUM ACs that I have been an EUM AC magnet! I didn’t know what a ‘good guy’ looked like if I tripped over him in my bathtub. I also have given too much creedence to what these bozo’s have said and their ultimate rejection. So, the two of us have work to do to learn to see these coming from a mile off and be able to say ‘thanks but no thanks’. All the info we need is in this site, I read voraciously and learning from Nat and all the women here. I am looking forward to the day when my ankle is healed enough for getting out there and practicing what I’ve learned so far, but I’m also preparing to have some slip ups. One thing that I won’t allow myself to do anymore is allow these AC’s to dictate how I feel about myself and tell me who I am. I am going to stretch myself into new arena’s to be able to have more opportunities to meet ‘good’ guys. I’m learning that I have to put more stock in myself and not so much in others. Relearning, reparenting, reassessing, reorganizing, reprioritizing. It is our life journey and I am from now on embracing it, I know you can too.

    • jewells says:

      And Naz, I’m 43 and I don’t see it as a barrier except to AC EUM’s who are looking for naive 20 somethings…so really, it’s a good filter :)

  58. Tinkerbell says:

    Naz. So glad you will see a professional. Also, I think oftentimes guys will flirt, send provocative messages, (especially texts) just to get a reaction, to see how appealing they still are. It’s BS, doesn’t mean a thing to them, is forgotten by them as soon as it’s done. These are potential AC’s. Stay away. Wishing you all the best.

  59. Judy says:

    One question gets me… the daddy one.

    I’m currently trying to make a long-distance relationship with a wonderful man work. He’s nothing like the guys I used to go for – he’s sweet, caring, honest, loving… neither of us expected to fall in love but a summer fling turned into now over 6 months of long distance. I was so happy when he was around, and it really made me feel that I’d managed to work out most of the issues with myself that had previously led to really bad relationships.

    However now that he’s so far away (North America – Europe is basically a different planet if you’re both students without money for flights), I’m starting to feel differently. We’re both still studying, but his program is very rigorous and he’s really stressed. He makes as much time to talk to me as he can but sometimes a day or two will go by without us talking. Then I feel lonely and unhappy and check my messages constantly. I don’t message him as long as I can hold off because I’m scared I’ll start being “too much” and pushing him away. I don’t want to ask for too much because I know he will not be able to give me what I want – constant attention, basically – and if I ask for that, then he’ll have to leave eventually.

    It made me think I should break up with him because he wasn’t giving me what I needed, but then it also made me think about what I am asking of him. I’m basically asking him to check in on me constantly. I’m asking him to give me absolute security, and nobody can do that. Worse, that security should come from me, right? It’s not really this relationship that is not giving me enough security – it’s going to be any relationship, ever, if I don’t get to the bottom of this issue for myself.

    Any pointers on this? I’m mentioning the daddy question because my parents divorced when I was eight and my relationship with my dad has gone from me trying to take care of him (when I was a child!) to constant arguments and eventually to barely any contact. He never gave me security – I am sure that this has to do with what is happening now. What can I do about it?

    • Allison says:


      What are your plans with this guy? Is one going to move to the other’s home country?

      You two, live on different continents, which can make things very difficult.

    • natashya says:

      judy, having been in your position erm… 3 times now, i highly recommend you read ‘the dreamer and the fantasy relationship’.

      i do think LDRs can work, but only if the relationship is solid and the LD is temporary. i fell for it 3 times and every time the person unfolded into something different from what i had dreamed up.

      if you already have doubts now, listen to your gut. it will tell you the truth.

    • grace says:

      No, a relationship doesn’t give you security but that doesn’t mean it should give you nothing.
      This isn’t going to work as you don’t see each other. Therefore it is not a relationship. You don’t know him well enough to be sure of how caring and honest he is. I see no evidence of that, if he can’t even message you. And even if he is that good, there are also men that good who live in the same country.
      I am sceptical of long distance relationships and even more so if either person has a difficult relationship history.
      I have had more than my fair share of long distance relationships. I found them non threatening. Nowadays, I’m in a relationship with someone who lives fifteen minutes up the road. It is unquestionably better.
      We won’t go more than two days without seeing each other. That doesn’t make us needy or insecure. It’s what people do. Even people like me who used to value their independence so much and didn’t want to rely on anyone.
      You are a student. It is not difficult to meet men, but deal with this first.

  60. Breeze says:

    Response to Naz’s post:

    @Tinkerbell; I read your responses to Naz and I can tell you empathize, but if Naz is indeed depressed as you suggested, it’s my experience to treat people suffering from depression far more gently/lovingly…at least as much as that is possible through writing.

    Also, is it really an absolute rule to sit back and let the man choose [you]? I know from personal experience alone, in my young years, that it’s not good to be chasing down/pursuing any man who clearly doesn’t return interest, but who said a woman can’t directly or indirectly let a man know she’s interested in him (and then, only if he returns interest, then let him do the courting)??? I only ask/mention this because through BR I’ve discovered that one of my hooks is a man expressing interest in me–because I don’t know when another man “will choose me” again, I have often accepted any interested man, even if *he* wasn’t my “choice.” The healthy relationships NML urges us to seek out need to be mutual, not directed and controlled by one gender/party.

    But please disregard if I misunderstood your response to Naz. As for you Naz, sweetheart…

  61. Breeze says:


    It sounds like you need to start exploring your subconscious beliefs about yourself (and men and relationships). But first and most importantly, explore your beliefs about *you*, because “you are your only common denominator” (NML) and I’m taking a semi-educated guess by saying that though you certainly aren’t as invisible as you may feel, you probably are emitting an aura/vibe of something negative, something dark…basically, people and more specifically men can probably sense that you have self-esteem, and it’s repelling them. Either men are repelled or, as you can probably see from other women’s stories, they are attracted to women with low SE because they/we are easy prey. Either way, having low SE itself is painful as well as the type of men or situations it unfortunately attracts.

    Thankfully, Natalie has posts on rejection and low self-esteem that I highly recommend taking a peek at. I’m sure you’re a beautiful person as well as woman, just start/continue validating yourself and giving yourself copious amounts of TLC, especially during low times like this (for me it’s a really difficult task the more depressed I am, but a habit well-worth developing anyhoo).

    Thx for sharing and keep BR updated!

  62. Linda says:

    Natalie, after deciding to do do what ever it takes to stop the cycle of failed relationships, I decided to take a step (or several) back and really think about me, there is a lot in those two letters “M” “E”. I found your site, listened to you on Chrissy B and Soundcloud. It changed everything… I placed so much imporance on him, if he likes me, blah blah and once again found myself in that space where I cannot funtion. Now… I can honestly say for the first time ever… I feel different and have turned a corner. My realisations with your help… Love myself first, do the things I love and enjoy. Who’s to say he is the right person for me, but me, I have to take my time get to know him and learn about his values and beliefs and then make a decsion. All this time I have always been of the mindset that it is all about if a man is into me. Life is to short and I have no more time to he debilitated through fear of rejection. It’s no wonder I always had trust issues, I don’t think I have ever taken the timeto get to know someone. For some reason (you) a light has gone on for me. I don’t plan on compimising who I am again, so I will (just keep swimming) :) trust myself and let the rest happen. Thank you Natalie, I will be listening :).

    • runnergirl says:

      Me too Linda. I don’t think I ever took the time to get to know anybody, let alone myself. See you around the corner!

  63. Michelle says:

    Wow. When I got to “Have I cried for crumbs?” I just stopped in my tracks. Yes, I have. And I’m ashamed to admit it. I’m trying to learn how NOT to do that any more but like anything else, it’s a process.

    • runnergirl says:

      Yup Michelle, “Why have I cried for crumbs” stopped me dead in my tracks. That simple question conjured up just about everything for me from daddy issues at a tender young age to relationship issues at an more advanced age. If I would ever feel like signing up for crumbs, which I won’t, it is this post and all the answers that keep me focused. I’m still focusing on answering the questions Nat posed in this article. I don’t really like my original answers. It’s time for a change. I’m not that doormat anymore.
      PS. He can take his crumbs and shove them. That should be a song, if it isn’t already.

  64. Intotouch says:

    Excellent post!

    Brilliant questions to ask. They throw thought processes in new directions and shake us out of the spiral of self hate.

    Personally I think that comparing ourselves to others is also a cause of much misery. Spending time with people in terrible relationships makes me think that being single and out of this is an achievement. Spending time with happy couples makes me think that I’ve failed. Both are nonsense in that there will always be people both happier and unhappier in their lives and it is only myself in the past that I need to compare myself to. I need to stop comparing at all.

    Thanks again.

  65. Marta says:

    I wanted to leave a quote that has really made an impact on me and I believe it’s the beginning of a breakthrough for me out of unhealthy Relatinships:
    “Once we love ourselves, people no longer look good to us, unless they are good FOR us.”

  66. […] Valentine’s Day, I channeled ‘old me’ to share Reflections: Knowing Your Own Love. This time I’m exploring wanting to be […]

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.

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.