It was interesting to see the responses to my last post about when we suck it and see, which is effectively fallingoff the wagon because you may be stuck and obsessing, but at the same time being clear enough to go in with both eyes open and recognise what the results mean. For some, knowing that you can’t deny what is happening is actually enough to bolster the resolve without having to get their fingers burned, and for others, experiencing a temporary brush with pain is the final nail in the coffin of the relationship so that they can move on.

It’s important for me to say that I share my experiences and mistakes, not because I’m saying ‘Please run out into the relationship equivalent of oncoming traffic and get run down’ but because I recognise that we are human, we make mistakes, we have overactive imaginations, and that during the grieving process, we may seek validation or assume that we are in a much better place than we originally were and resume contact and try to make a friendship.

If you’re looking for any ‘ole opportunity to break no contact, trust me when I say you will find a reason in a grain of sand to legitimise the opportunity.

But I do want to share another story about my experiences with NC and this time it’s about when you feel that you don’t give a monkey’s about them anymore so you’re OK to be friends and assume that the level of maturity that you have is what they possess.

Long time readers will know that I dated a guy, Dot Dot Dot Man (he used to finish his text messages with annoying dots…) for about five months in what was basically a ‘non relationship’. I had no idea what the hell was going on, he blew hot and cold, lived with his ex girlfriend and was so ambiguous, it was like trying to see meaning in a blank wall. He served to be my epiphany relationship where it dawned on me that I was the only common denominator to my dodgy track record of relationships and that I had a penchant for emotionally unavailable men.

I’ll be honest – In retrospect, I recognise that I really was not that into this guy which is why the ‘relationship’ worked for me. I got to burn up brain energy wondering what was going on between us while at the same time contradicting myself by saying that I didn’t want to ask him what the story was between us in case I was asking for more than I actually wanted.

It was going back over what the hell I’d been thinking that revealed my contradictory, commitment-resistant self that effectively backed herself into a corner and then focused on the other person’s behaviour.

He kept in touch occasionally and rebuffed his contact until I realised that I actually had no interest in him in that way. I think he thought we had an ‘understanding’ and that we were ‘friends’ and because I recognised my own ambivalence, I thought that we could be friends too.

A few months roll on, I’d fallen off the wagon and had my whole suck it and see episode with the other guy, and one Friday night after I’d had a horrendous day at work and had planned to do nothing, Dot Dot Dot Man asked if I’d like to join him and his friends for a drink and check out a club. Foolishly I accepted.

Now I want to clarify, I accepted because I knew that I had no interest in him and we actually shared mutual friends. That, and the bar was close to my house and the evening seemed like an escape from the madness of the day.

Unfortunately, when I got to the bar, within an hour, another woman turned up and she proceeded to treat me in a very aggressive manner, closing me out of conversations with the group, draping herself all over Dot Dot Dot Man, and basically trying to make me as uncomfortable as possible. At one point she cornered me and proceeded to tell me that they talked all the time and hung out which was basically some sort of ‘back off’ warning. I was uncomfortable but not for the reasons she wanted me to be.

All I kept wondering was: Why the eff has this guy invited me out to have me treated in this hideous manner by this repulsive person? What exactly does he think he’s playing at? That, plus also wondering how the hell he was managing to call his new woman and hang out with her all the time!

Her level of assclownary went into overdrive and I started to feel very vulnerable over the course of the evening as I wondered if this was all some pathetic joke. I kept asking myself what on earth I had done to warrant being treated in this manner. His friends were equally uncomfortable and embarrassed by her behaviour and one of them actually left!

For some reason, I stayed and sucked it up because flouncing out was not an option but when Dot Dot Dot Man cornered me to ask if I was OK, he got it from me with both barrels. I made it clear that I had no interest in him but I didn’t appreciate being setup and being involved in his dumb games. I even repeated what she’d said to me and he denied it down to the ground and said he was embarrassed by her drunken behaviour, but of course did nothing to quell the situation.

I finally left but not before letting him know exactly how I felt and telling him to stay the hell away from me. I felt humiliated and when I got home, I cried. I cried for being embarrassed. I cried for assuming that he was decent and actually a friend. I cried because Yet Another Dipstick had upset me. I cried because I felt so fricking low.

I remember speaking to my friend and her fury at him and the situation and at 2.30 am in the morning, I stopped the crying and started looking at things differently:

He and I were not friends and I made a misplaced assumption, albeit using common decency as a basis. But let’s be real, he’d been more than happy to use me for a shag, an ego stroke, a shoulder to moan on – why on earth was I giving this guy more credit than he deserved?

Do not expect someone who has previously regarded you as little more than a casual relationship to treat your so called ‘friendship’ anything other than casually.

The woman was very insecure and staking her territory by peeing a line around him in a very embarrassing way. If she really was as secure about him, she wouldn’t feel the need to behave in this manner. She would have done this to any female that crossed her path.

Be careful of getting territorial about guys who you ‘hang out’ with or claim to be ‘buddies’ with – they ‘hang out’ with other women and often have a narcissistic harem, their own posse of women made up of friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances who will keep their ego stroking permanently topped up.

None of this was a reflection on who I was as a person so why was I doing the whole ‘Poor Poor Me Whine’? Yeah I had a right to be p*ssed off, but berating myself and thinking I must be a bad person to be treated in that way was quite extreme.

Don’t internalise other people’s bullsh*t behaviour. You can be accountable for your part where you have facilitated what they’ve done, but do not blame yourself for their behaviour or allow it to distort your perception of you.

If anything, what happened was a reflection on him, not me.

Don’t get things twisted. It’s all too easy to slip into blame or wonder what is wrong with you. You should be asking what the hell is wrong with them!

He totally could not see why I was annoyed. He refused to take any responsibility for what had happened.

When someone is hellbent on maintaining a deception with themselves where they get to believe that they’re A Great Guy, you can tell them till you’re blue in the face what an assclown they are, but you’re Wasting Your Time. When you know someone has done wrong, you don’t need them to validate it – you knowing is more than enough! Move on! Don’t try and raise grown adults!

I needed to remember that when you put your hands in the fire, even under the guise of friendship, your hands will still get burned. He had always been thoughtless so expecting more from him was setting myself up for pain.

Don’t allow yourself to be a sufferer of Relationship Amnesia or even Relationship Stockholm Syndrome, where you either forget the pain of times gone by or feel affection for your persecutor. Don’t set the reset button on yourself! The fire still burns!

He took a chance and assumed that he could get away with the situation. He had no idea she’d come out behaving like a lairy, jealous drunk. Yet again, he didn’t think and thought he could use his usual bumbling friendly ways to get an ego stroke and on this occasion, it backfired as he ended up inviting out a Glenn Close wannabe.

Mr Unavailables and assclowns are short-term thinkers and they consider things from the context of what suits them – shag how you feel! As a result, they often over-estimate their abilities and under-estimate their potential for creating conflict and confusion. This is what happens when you don’t think and are Me, Me, Me, It’s All About Me.

You can be assured, I never made these mistakes again!

Your thoughts?


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87 Responses to A Tale of Making The Mistake of Being Friends With An Ex Mr Unavailable (Yes the Fire Still Burns)

  1. feeldumb says:

    wow, its like you’ve been watching my life. My EUM was totally like dot dot dot, except no shagging. The games though, definitely! When I went NC I should have told him what a jerk he was for talking crap about me. I still want to, but I think I would just sound pathetic if I did now. Thanks Natalie, when you get a new forum, I want to sign up!

  2. Judy says:

    Natalie, I read this post several times, as it, like most of your posts these days, seems to apply to the situation I’m dealing with regarding Mr. Politician. Our work situation is a casual one, one in which I’m volunteering my time, but we both stand to benefit greatly if he wins his campaign.

    I’m struggling to keeping my boundaries in place with him, but it’s very hard. We both have admitted that we are attracted to each other, which is making working together hard. Mr. Politician seems to fit very nicely into what you describe as a “are short-term thinkers and they consider things from the context of what suits them – shag how you feel! As a result, they often over-estimate their abilities and under-estimate their potential for creating conflict and confusion. This is what happens when you don’t think and are Me, Me, Me, It’s All About Me.”

    As we’ve talked more and described our relationship histories, he understands why I can’t do the casual thing. I understand why he’s not ready for anything more than casual since his recent divorce. But we are both attracted to each other. So it seems like I either give up the professional benefits of working for him or do my best to ignore the attraction, which is hard, because the attraction is part of what makes the work so fun.

    Rock, meet hard place.

  3. Movedup says:

    Exactly why I am NOT friends with the ExEUM. Thou I am a continuous work in progress – I cannot tolerate his behavior towards women/people in general. The closer I get to my primary core values and beliefs, the farther away he gets. Polar opposites in values and beliefs. I cannot respect him as a person let alone anything else. I certainly would not consider his “type” as a personal friend in any way. I guess that’s a good sign. No more Florence Nightengale for me! I want an equal not a liability.

  4. Niecey says:

    Natalie this post hit home. Your self reflection of your own experience is almost uncanny. I understand, I can relate on many levels, and see that my “X”once again fits the description of a Mr. Unavailable/Assclown! It’s the nagging hanging on that I’ve caused my own greatest pain. I wish I had found your blogs sooner. Validation once again and knowing I’m not crazy -maybe just a little insane at times for doing the same things over again and expecting different results. ;P At the moment I am a work in progress, but I have hope. Thanks for the help.

  5. Ivy says:

    Yes, I also realize there’s no way in hell I’d ever want to be friends with the ex. I went complete NC with him in Feb. and there’s been nothing between us since, which is a huge relief.

    The bottom line is, you can’t EVER have a genuine friendship with someone who has a habit of avoiding responsibility for their mistakes in life. That’s him all over. There can be no balance. No trust. No mending of fences or working through misunderstandings. So then, what’s the point?

    But I do wish I could stop feeling anger with him, because that anger is in ME and has no impact on him whatsoever!

    • Nicole says:

      Good for you, Ivy. I know that must have taken a lot of strength to stay NC.

      I relate to what you say about them not working through misunderstandings, etc. My ex-AC would do the same thing. Hell, sometimes I would not even know I had offended until days later, he would become Mr. Freeze. And the frost-bite was emotionally painful, and I would try to tell him that, but he had no empathy whatsoever. Then he just thought he could press the “reset button”, as NML says. I guess he had basis for thinking that, because I used to let him. But I got tired of the roller coaster friendship. It wasn’t any different than the roller coaster dating. So, I told him I could not be friends with someone who could be so cold like that.

      But the anger is still there for me, too. It’s almost like watching a criminal go free. It just doesn’t seem fair that people can get away with bad behavior, just because it’s not illegal.

      I am trying to get to a better place. I read somewhere that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. I think that is true, and so I have to ask myself, why would I want to keep holding onto it? I’m almost afraid to know the answer to that question.

      • tina says:

        I love that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. A brilliant analogy. I resonate with these two comments. I am currently embroiled in more nonsense with my AC, with whom I work very closely. When he dumped me, he throw out the “let’s be friends” line and talked about how we would always be in each others lives and how much he cared for me. That was two months ago and there has been not one single action that matches those words. Unfortunately, the people we work with are now complaining about the tension and hostility in the workplace – I have maintained complete NC, not even looking at him or acknowledging his presence in a room. I have to admit, while I have no interest in the relationship whatsoever, a small part of me had really wanted what he said about our friendship to be true and I was sad, hurt and disappointed again when he made no real effort to maintain that. I know its like trying to get blood from a stone but I had wanted some fragment of any of the things he said to be true. Anything. I now know that the only way the friendship would have survived is if I had given him a complete free pass for his behaviour, as he asked for – “never mention it again and chalk it up to a misunderstanding” and also if I continued to be the one who chased him. I very much got the sense that he wanted me to stay stuck in loving him while he would be free to investigate other options. I know he’s an assclown and a jerk and all that. I had just held out the slightest hope that there was anything of worth or substance to him. I had wanted even just one thing he had said to be true. A final,bitter pill to swallow, from someone I need to see and work with every day. I know he doesn’t care, doesn’t miss me, doesn’t waste time trying to figure out what happened. He just chalks my silence up to “another psycho” girl he was better off not committing too. It does feel like he is getting away with it and that I am getting all the pain. I can’t imagine what it is like to go through life without a conscience. I know its not my job to teach him his lessons and I have to trust karma will get him in the end. I also guess that “hurt people hurt people” and that he really must be in a tremendous amount of pain to be so indifferent to the suffering he has caused in others.

        • Cat says:

          Dear Tina –

          I can see how much pain you are in over this and it must be very hard to be working with him. However, you are doing the absolute right thing by being in no contact.

          I have a somewhat similar situation and have come to believe very strongly that I was involved with a narcissist/emotional abuser. It seems you have some glaring realizations yourself, which you would do well to use in your encouraging self-talks as yet more of a reason you are so glad not to have that dysfunction in your life anymore.

          I probably have a lot of the same challenges with self that you have. It is scary to be left with just you and your challenges and so much easier to focus on the challenge of a relationship that is over.

          The real challenge is with moving on and getting yourself back. Who cares if he has no conscience and doesn’t hurt the same way you do? How does that help you? I finally realized after going through many of the situations like this, that it doesn’t help me to harbor resentment and envy of sorts of a person who I am working on getting over.

          You have to totally keep bringing the focus back to yourself, because in time he won’t matter at all while you certainly will.
          Don’t let him have so much free rent in your head. He took enough from you already.

          I have learned a good DBT skill about not clinging to thoughts – or having a teflon mind. When a thought of my ex comes up, I try and imagine the thought going by on a passing train instead of feeding it. It seems to help but must be done several times a day.

          I just wanted you to know you are not alone. After many years of mourning trash, I think I have come to the conclusion that there is no point in doing anymore than I will by default. It is a challenge, but it’s my challenge that has nothing to do with him.

          Good luck! I am there with you but working on ways to not waste as much time as I have in the past. I wasted enough n him, whether he gets his karma or wins the lottery. Who cares?


  6. Cindy says:

    I am tempted to stay friends with my ExEUM. However, I know I benefit him more than he does me. I was having issues with this for the longest time because I just couldn’t let him go. No matter the BS he gave me, he did improve my life *somewhat* but the negatives outweighed the positives. Suddenly the thought crossed my mind today: He is missing out, not me. He hasn’t appreciated me thus far and never will. It is not my job to make *his* life better while neglecting my own wants and needs. My goal now is to find better friends who don’t use me and take me for granted and more importantly who don’t leave me to feel to empty and drained.

  7. Donna says:

    I’ve been reading these post for a few months now and it has helped greatly. I have applied the NC rule.. but I’ve always done that, I can’t look at someone that breaks my heart. Your heart rememberd, always. I leave my past in the past. but this time, the pain is greater and moving forward is slow.

    When I think of all the game playing that goes on, it depresses me. too much deception. They want to take the good from you and stomp on it. Makes me wonder if a decent man exist.
    I hope he does.

    • feeldumb says:

      Your comment reminds me of something. I think these guys love to try to take our positive energy. I think of myself as a positive fun person. It seems like these guys want our positivity and fun. But, instead of wanting to be apart of our lives, they just want to be vampires and suck the good energy out of us. Maybe when they realize that they can’t get happiness that way, they just get bored and move on. I don’t know, but I’m definitely trying to stay positive about the future and not let EUM make me bum around. Like you, I think the games are what tired me out the most. At least we all have each other now. I’m so glad I found this site. I think its making me open my eyes. Hopefully, its working for you too :-)

  8. Brenda says:

    Wow! this could not have come at a better time. My ex and I occasionally run into each other and we have had ups and downs where he made attempts at talking to me (far more than I cared to) to behaving as if we’d never met. I had felt I wanted to be civil and be able to occasionally share a bit of conversation without it being awkward for us or the people around us.

    I had felt like I wanted to be able to interact with him in a civil manner. So I had gone out last night, and sat with a group of mutual friends. He arrived about the same time and sat at the other end of the table. He made remarks that were intended to make me feel bad, and now I can truly say, I have no interest in trying to maintain a friendship with an assclown. Thanks for the advise to put your hand back in the fire. It was really what I needed to not delude myself into thinking he could be ok as a friend.

  9. Grace says:

    I remained friends with an EUM ex for TWENTY YEARS. In that time his crimes against me:

    1. pinning me to the sofa in an attempt to seduce me
    2. accusing me of trying to make his girlfriend jealous
    3. asking me to marry him and then getting angry when I said no
    4. dumping me as a friend at least twice because I had done/said something he disapproved of

    and crimes in general:

    5. complaining about his daughter, even after her mother had just died
    6. living permanently on benefits

    The tipping point was when we arranged to go meet up, not having seen each other for some years as I had been living abroad. I got a garbled text the same night cancelling. It said something about his girlfriend and hospital. I had no idea what he meant. He then wanted me to meet him the next day, a Sunday morning. This involved me having to get my friend to drive around trying to find said meeting place as public transport is so bad on a Sunday. As we talked I suddenly realised that I wanted nothing more to do with this person. I said goodbye to him and have had nothing to do with him since.

    He was a bad boyfriend (dumped me over another woman and then wanted me back), and an even worse friend. They are who they are and don’t change.

  10. tallgirl10 says:

    This was the math I did in my head when the man I dated briefly had treated me badly one morning, and I decided to finally ask the questions I should have before. I had just told him I did not want to be in anything without a trajectory, and therefore ending it, even though he was really on his way out anyhow.
    Him – “We can be friends right?”
    Me in my head – “He does not really want to be friends, he wants me to absolve him of him thinking I think he is an ass. Oh, and he never was an actual friend”
    Me – “Nehhhhh” and a nod saying not really.

    Self esteem – 1, him 0.

  11. fluffernutter says:

    Once again, spot on.

    A few months ago, my ex-EUM contacted me 4 years after we broke up. Because I no longer had any romantic feelings for him, I thought it would be safe and fun to be friends again. Of course, he tried to play on my emotions by telling me he hasn’t met anyone like me since we broke up, that he’d consider getting back together if our situations were different, there are still feelings, etc.. I was wary.

    This turned out to be the right frame of mind. I quickly discovered that once an EUM, always an EUM. Once he determined that I wasn’t going to fall for his manipulations to get me to stroke his ego, he quickly reverted back to the assclown ways that broke us up in in the first place. I re-established NC. Homey don’t play that game.

    So, girls, it can happen at any time. Luckily I didn’t fall for that crap again.

  12. AML says:

    I agree 200% with you. This post was so timely for me. After 5 months of half-ass NC with a married AC co-worker who used and abused me for 4 years, I found out 10 days ago that he was fired. I cried tears of joy, I felt so free. He said he ‘didn’t like the thought of never speaking to me again’ now that he didn’t have a venue to ‘see’ me anymore, but I told him no and put a filter on my email. I am so grateful that he got fired and I don’t have the torture of having to see him anymore. I still have memories of the ‘good times’ and feel sad but I guess I have to go though the pain to get to indifference, every time we tried to be ‘friends’ it was really painful for me, it’s not worth it. I’m finding it hard to get past it and date new men, even though there is no freaking way I want him back in my life. I’m treating his firing as ‘closure’ and a new beginning for me.

    • Cindy says:

      Wow. Good for you! I can’t believe the type of men we allow into our lives. I bet one day you will look back on this and be astonished at how low you allowed yourself to become to accommodate his needs.

      “I’m finding it hard to get past it and date new men”

      I am in the same spot. That is when I realized maybe I am not ready to date anyone at all. Maybe you need a little time to yourself to reinvent and to move past what happened? I tried to go on a couple of dates but I was in such anxiety about moving on that I knew I was forcing something I wasn’t ready for. This time period is about YOU. I had to tell one date interest that I simply wasn’t ready. He understood and did not pressure me.

  13. CCMe says:

    I thought some of the readers here might appreciate reading a male pysychiatrist’s view of a particular dysfunctional man’s bad romantic relationship habits.

    This is the blog author’s “bio”.

    (I’m not associated with that website or the author. It just seems like what he wrote might be “on topic” here. There’s some interesting relations stuff over on the psychology today’s blogs. I also love Natalie’s blog. It has helped me tremendously.)

    • Columbia says:

      that’s freakin’ HILARIOUS…know who i had a crush on from age 14 until…shoot, i guess even still?
      KELSEY GRAMMER lmfao ahhh…crap.

  14. dlite says:

    Its one thing to have suffered the slings and arrows of Assclowns and quite another to recognize, feel and affirm your way out of it like NML has . ( yes this post is a little ass-kissy ) but Lady, Seriously you are a beacon of hope to us all ,I doubt at my age I would have been able to do it on my own I simply just did not know better.. I had a similar (almost identical experience as this minus the Psychoness of the O. W. Whats funny is, she and I ended up palling around and commiserating over how lame he really was) ! and if it werent for your words that I have now commited to memory in my head (complete with accent) I would still have my bat shite crazy ones saying the exact opposite .. KUDOS. And @ Judy, I say stay strong. dont bend or you could break he however would probably NOT stay around to clean up the mess.. (However if you had a commitment from him then you would know he would) And if he wont . Please dont doubt that you could easily find someone worthy of giving you one (if thats truly what you want) And it would drive him NUTS! ha (but who really cares, right?) Anyway, my two cents
    And @ TallGirl10 .. Good one!
    @Kim Starve the Vampires! Im gonna use that, I also like the term I coined over my recent loser; emotional rapist.

    Lastly, Relationship Stockholm Syndrome ROFLMAO!

    Be Well All!

  15. dlite says:

    ps.. just wanted to add the I resisted the charms of one fine hunk of Apparant Assclown meat before even meeting him in person today because I recognize the signs without giving myself any BS about it. I in the meantime have recently been flooded w/ interest from what seem although not as much my “type” (read snap crackle pop) but more genuine and appreciative men and Im thrilled yet extremely aware .. So It does get better , I posted year just one year ago about having gone off the deep end over thinking I was some AC’s girlfriend ( who now I look back and think never in a Million years ) And I came here and pulled myself together ( or at least am further down the [ath , so thanks again and stay strong chicas!

  16. Cindy says:

    “Seriously you are a beacon of hope to us all”

    Yes! Natalie is. With my last No Contact attempt, I did read (other random sites) for hours and hours but I was using No Contact to get him back. This time, I came across and it was like whooooooaaaa….I am with an EUM!

    Now, every time I miss him I run like hell to this website and read until the feeling passes. hehe. :) Every day gets better and better and I feel like myself again more and more. I feel like giving Natalie such a big hug for putting this site up and already feel such a connection with all of you. I can’t believe how blind I was. But coming here I found the strength and urgency to move on that I so desperately needed. Thank you so much everyone!!

  17. no_more says:

    Natalie thanks for this post and the ‘suck it’ one was great! Once upon a time, I tried to be friends with my EUM. All that it got me was a sh!t load of heartache. No matter what we were talking about, I got reminded out of the blue that “we weren’t a couple anymore”. I finally got tired of it and asked him why he kept saying that to me–his reply: because I FEEL that you still want us to be in a relationship. He did every thing to try and make me jealous, from planning trips—-telling me about what him and his friends did and even going so far as to tell me he was thinking about relocating. One day he finally told me that since I was the best woman he’d ever had, I would be his yardstick to measure all future relationships by. It really hurt—What a jerk!!. These guys don’t respect a friendship, it’s all about them and how they can manipulate or get a reaction out of you…like they haven’t hurt you enough already. Save yourself and Just say no!

    Dumb stupid me took him back after 18 months of NC, believing all of his promises and thought this time it would be different. After he got every thing he wanted from me, overestimated his abilities and interest in the relationship & realized that I was a different person that suddenly had boundaries….he bailed on me after 3 months. I realized what he truly was and stopped living in illusions. My suck it and see episode was an eye opening epiphany and after all those years [10] I finally was able to get over him completely. When I think of all the pain I put up with, it still hurts sometimes…but for the first time since I met him I have absolutely no desire to communicate with him anymore.

  18. Nikki says:

    NML, This last part really hit home for me:
    “they often over-estimate their abilities and under-estimate their potential for creating conflict and confusion. This is what happens when you don’t think and are Me, Me, Me, It’s All About Me”

    I tend to be a long-term thinker and somehow it never occurred to me that others could not be thinking that way, especially someone who professes to be in love with me. The part about over estimating abilities is verbatim the discussion I had with my latest EUM when he said he couldn’t leave his gf. He admitted himself that he had over-estimated his ability to leave her. And when I replied “Yeah, by a long shot” he gave me a sideways glance that I didn’t understand until reading this. In his me,me,me, poor me world he was probably expecting me to make excuses for his AC-ness and when I didn’t he didn’t know where to go next. Great post, as always.

  19. Eve says:

    ah yes. Told him we’re not friends – course we are.
    When I said I knew I was going to get hurt because of how things were going. In his eyes it was fine to cool things off but he’d still like to be friends though.
    Really? What the hell does that mean, except it’s fine for you to stay on the backburner but I’m not making any effort for you.

    No thanks.

  20. sha says:

    Thank you so much, I’ve been hitting myself for telling him that we couldn’t be friends – a little voice keeps nagging in my head: “he was fun (at times), you can’t just delete people like that” – but it’s true. Friends shouldn’t be the source of agony and heartbreak and disappointment and mind games.

    And Natalie, thanks for putting into words what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately but couldn’t get my finger on: “Be careful of getting territorial about guys who you ‘hang out’ with or claim to be ‘buddies’ with – they ‘hang out’ with other women and often have a narcissistic harem, their own posse of women made up of friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances who will keep their ego stroking permanently topped up.”
    This is exactly what made me uncomfortable! If I had stayed being friends with him, I would’ve always felt like part of the harem, so low, someone he meets whenever he needs an ego boost.

  21. ME says:

    “Don’t get things twisted. It’s all too easy to slip into blame or wonder what is wrong with you. You should be asking what the hell is wrong with them!”

    Well I dont know if you have wrote a post about this but I had a question for you Nataly because I think this is one of my biggest issues. How do you deal with blame when you decided not to “suck it and see” for a second time and they move on to another woman apparelty having the relationship you wanted from them in the first place?
    Of course, one can only assume the genuinity of that relationships since the woman could very well have less boundaries that I had. But I can’t help it, I feel blame at times for not “sucking and see” and truly find out what was he all about this time.

    You can imagine how obssesive it was for me when I got the question: “can I have another chance” however, I felt so much power when I said “NO” at that time. And now that he seems in a fairly decent relationship with someone new its annoying to be obssesing over something that is not even being offered anymore.

    Where does blame come from and how to deal with it when you haven’t given a second chance?


    • Eve says:

      Not sure I follow, are you saying you are blaming yourself for not giving things a second chance now it seems he is in a good relationship?

      How long did he appear a good guy to you? Key thing is appear, you assume it’s good but know one knows what goes on between them. And what if they really do get along? You two didn’t there are like 6 billion people in the world and you can only be with this one guy who caused you pain?

  22. Eve says:

    Nat – I don’t know how you didn’t ball them both out!

  23. judy says:

    In time one learns to walk away completely. I mentioned I would like to be friends with a recent break up, this was a booty call not a relationship. I didn’t explain to him what I meant by friends, I used this term to define, if we see one another by chance it will be comfortable to say hello. I have no intention of calling this man, ever. It was a very good feeling to end the relationship and it was also amusing to have him text me to check to see if i was still mad at him a month later, hoping i would return to the routine. I did not and will not.

    It is a discipline for me to learn to live alone. To really be alone and not in some fantasy relationship, in love with a dysfunctional and or behaving dysfunctionaly myself. This time I am alone and have learned the lesson as well, do not pursue men. This was a problem for me as I have masculine energy and was rather aggressive.

    The right man will come and so will the proper friends, I think as long as I know what I want, who I am and live in a manner that is not dualistic, I will leave peacefully no matter what the conditions.

    • Brand New Day says:

      You’ve struck a chord with me: “do not pursue men”. I too felt I had more masculine energy; felt more comfortable around men (I grew up with a bunch of boys & my dad said he wanted a son not a daughter) and therefore always seemed to seek/want their attention/approval. I’m pretty, but tough. Not a girly girl. I hated frills and pink. As I became more confident I realised I loved to flirt and joke with the boys too. But I was never easy. Then I met a guy, a charmer, became emotionally invested and involved with him and slowly over 10 years witnessed a change in him I couldn’t understand until NML helped me realise that I fell victim to an EUM Assclown.
      I also now look forward to stop being dysfunctional, stop seeking approval and being content living without a male ego around. I too am disciplined but when feeling down, am prone to nostalgia (albeit misty rose-coloured). But I want to live peacefully and contently and so your reply, Judy, is as timely as NMLs posting.
      NML, I had to laugh. This AC of mine LOVED the DOT DOT DOT and used it indiscriminately. Often like it was meant to mean something deep and meaningful, finishing texts with it poignantly hanging in the air… Hysterical how unoriginal these ACs are!
      On a serious note though, this topic is a saviour (as all the others previous). Its been over 3 months since my NC initiation and I was beginning to think that if the AC were to contact me again, I would have the tools to stay vigilant and be strong enough to engage in “friendly” communication. Scary thought really. Who the HELL am I fooling? Thanks for pouring water on the flames of fantasy and pointing out the obvious NML: “when you put your hands in the fire, even under the guise of friendship, your hands will still get burned”. I resolve to stick it out until the fire turns to coals, the coals turn to ash and the ash turns cold. Then I will be truly free from the past.

      • feeldumb says:

        Judy and Brand New Day,
        I never thought of the fact that I don’t mind being the pursuer as being a problem, but you guys are right. I was always a tomboy and hang out mostly with guys (I work in IT), but thats part of the problem with me I guess. I still don’t think that gives them the right to be AC vampires, but maybe it makes us more vulnerable to them? I don’t know. I’m on day 6 of NC and I’m mad at myself because I’m sad and miss the good times. Ugg, I’m annoyed with myself that I’m even admitting it. I think Natalie’s right, though, its good to feel the pain. Maybe it’ll help us not to repeat the mistakes. I had a dot dot dot guy too. I didn’t know so many used that trick, lol. Anyway, I just hope I can get through this day with NC, I need to. You guys are awesome!

  24. annied says:

    I think I’d been off and on with my Ex for two years when I started reading your posts. You helped me through some really horrible periods in my life, NML and I’d like to thank you. I’ve continue to struggle with this guy – now its been almost 4 years. He has not pulled the Friend-Card out yet, but he will. However this time it will be more difficult to even contact me. I always left the door cracked before – hoping, you know. He has done enough mean things to me, I could write a book …

    • NML says:

      I’ve been meaning to reply to your previous comment when I had a moment free from the madness. Welcome back! I had been curious as to what happened to you. You’re a long time reader now! So tell me, what is it that’s kept you still there and what are you waiting to happen/hear for you to feel like it can end? Or have you finally ended it?!

  25. Thank God It is Over says:

    I`d like to share my experience with NC as it actually happened to me the other way round. After years with my EUM/Future Faker in his mid forties living home with mommy and older married sister and after a very hot initial phase including strong statementes about getting married and having kids etc etc. changing after the first year to lukewarm/cold, lack of interest to spend any time together or even answer my calls or care what was going on and avoiding any sort of conversation I was at the brink of nervous breakdown and texted my EUM in a calm way that I felt there was something very wrong about his attitude and the way he treated me and the “relationship” and asked him how he felt about the situation and what he wanted.

    It happened just before the weekend when I was meant to move from west coast to east coast where I got a job, only that we could finally be together. This itself wasn`t taken well as he suddenly turned round and came up with every possible excuse and reason WHY we couldn`t actually live together, obviously all the reasons were on my side identified by HIM like I didn`t like that country anyway, I wouldn`t be happy there if I lost the job, I would be moving all the time, I didn`t like commuting and it would be sooo much better for me if I stayed in the City (that he has been professing to hate), I just couldn`t believe my ears. Just to mention,he had his own house but he was renting it so he could live cheaply at home…and we both had very well paid jobs & no debts. He never bothered to even offer a hand with moving and instead he was unbelieavably patronising and we had a fallout over that that night. I don`t have to say I was gutted.

    He never responded to my text mentioned above the next day and because we never did “silent treatment” I knew it was over. I waited two weeks and sent him an email trying to explain in greater detail how I felt and what I was confused about etc. No response again. I stopped contacting him after that as I realised I would only be making fool out of myself and stroking his ego by begging for some contact. Every day of silence was killing me though.

    I was left feeling like the least piece of mud on the pavement. Like I was such a waste and bitch that the guy who always professed to respect women discarded me instantly as if I cheated on him. Oh no wait – his ex cheated on him and he actually bothered to call her to discuss that and he even drove to see her and have a shout at her in person ! But I didn`t do anything wrong that he could possibly throw in my face.

    I had to move the house – quite painful being a foreigner with no help on hand. I ended up in a rural area where I didn`t know anyone and where I would have never moved to should we split earlier, starting a new job that proved to be quite stressful. It was very hard but I managed to pull together and saw that my ex wasn`t worth it, I pampered myself and focused on doing things I wanted or liked but I still couldn`t get over the fact that after 4 years it ended in this way like it never meant anything. Like I never mattered. Not even saying aff off.

    Some 8-9 months on by an eerie coincidence I saw him in the town and he saw me. We didn`t speak as he was in his van and I was only walking by but at least he raised his hand to say “hi” and I did the same. I had a complete panic attack as I was so scared of seeing him in case he did something nasty as I believed he still hated me (which was ridiculous as he had no reason). He then texted me in the evening saying “hope the job goes well”. It was such a liberation to me ! Not because I would want to get together but because HE broke NC and I could set the record straight and regain a bit of my power back so I would be able to close this chapter and move on. I responded politely that I was doing fantastic and hoped he was ok too. We exchanged a couple of very polite texts along this lines when he texted how he was somewhere far down in England for further training, how bad it was and how he`s glad to be back up. I thought to myself – so WHAT ? I had to move HOUSE all myself plus it was my 30th birthday that year and where were you??? So I stayed silent. He then sent one nonsense text very late at night mentioning something about chocolates he liked. I replied politely, briefly and wished him good night and he wished me good night too.

    Then two weeks nothing and then he texted “it`s tropical”. Well, I was more than pleased that he still had me in his head (usually he forgot me the second he put his phone down) so we exchanged again a couple of polite yet clinical texts about weather and having been on holidays in Spain. He also threw in a couple of “funny” and playful texts though nothing personal. I never responded to them. When he saw I wasn`t playing the ball, he moaned that he was supposed to go to Spain too as his sister`s 16 yr old daughter wanted to go abroad with her schoolfriend and his sister wouldn`t let them go alone !

    Would you believe it ? A single guy in his mid forties going on holiday with two 16 yr olds ??? And he never bothered to go anywhere with ME nor alone never mind spending a weekend together! That was also one of the things I told him in that last text after which he cut contact. And now he expects my sympathy ? Needless to say he must be paying for all that as his sis is skinnt. Anyway, the texting stopped again late night and then nothing… until four days later I got “wakey wakey, it`s the longest day today” text in the morning! I actually lost some money on that as I bet with my friend he wouldn`t text again. At that time it was already some 3 weeks since we bumped into each other, no attempt to give me a call or suggest meeting or anything. Just trying to slowly tap back in to what it was and trying to get more confidence as he was getting some responses from me. I had to laugh ! So I just ignored the text.

    Then the whole week nothing until I got a text asking a question whether my friend he knew was working with me. He must have got that information from a web. So I again engaged in a very polite, formal and pragmatic texting. I was at that time visiting my family and friends back home, which I told him. He wished me a nice week and I thanked saying that I would, as the weather was fantastic. But when he texted again saying I was a “Babe”, I gave no response. He learnt from the past so he texted later in the afternoon again just to inform me it was raining back in the UK… As if I cared ! So I ignored that one as well. And ever since… no more texts from him. It`s been now 3 weeks since the last text and I believe he`s not gonna be in touch again as he`s a narcissist feeling safe and secure home with his mommy and sis, and he is not going to try hard never mind display his emotions by suggesting he missed me or would like to meet or anything like that. That would expose him far too much and he`s far too scared of that.

    I am so far over that guy but I needed the contact to see that he didn`t hate me and to show him that I had no problems talking to him in a polite way and I wished him all the best (well not really) but at the same time I didn`t care about his blether about weather or jokes never mind calling me babe or anything like that and I didn`t want him back. I`m happy he tasted a bit of his own medicine in the end and I can finally move on.

    I actually realised before that nothing is more confusing for the guy who dumped you as when you can actually smile nicely at him and say “hi” and keep confidently going past him or even have a bit of (very) small talk as it gives them “hope” but then you turn your back and don`t care.

    It may sound odd but it was the greatest therapy for me and probably I got my own ego stroke from him texting me after all that time and even having me in his head for the whole month ! I could finally see how young, beautiful, free and successful I was while he was old, had nothing to offer and was scared to move out of his mommy`s and live his own life although he would love to have his own kids and family. In fact, it`s almost a sad situation for him.

    I feel quite safe and happy now and I don`t think I will get contacted or burnt again by this guy despite the few texts we exchanged. Oh and if he doesn`t text for the next month, I won a fiver back from my friend !!!!

    • Pirouette says:

      Wow! Some of these men are complete douchebags. Your ex sounds similar to mine, also using the silent treatment to break up with me. I’m sure it was pretty gratifying to have him fall all over himself contacting you and you being as cool as a cucumber. Mid-forties and still living at home? Girl, aren’t you glad you’re done with that fool? At least you got your come-uppance. I’m still waiting on mine.

    • Cindy says:

      Thank God It is Over,

      Your situation sounds eerily similar to mine (with a few differences but hardly). I cannot WAIT to feel like you do!

      • Used says:

        Thank God–

        How awesome! He sees a blast from the past and tries to re-ignite the flame–without any risk to his own ego (of course, as you say, it would have been O.K. with him if YOU called and/or chased HIM in response to his lame attempts at contact)–and you basically act professional. Love how you didn’t respond to
        the “babe” b.s.!

        Mine did pretty much the same thing, though his friend HAD been in contact with me for 4 months (on business, and on his friend’s initiative) beforehand. Ran into the EUM at a party. Within a week thereafter, his friend (our only mutual male friend) made plans to meet me (we had done business by phone 100% of the time before, in that 4-month period), and did meet me, and made sure to include an “offhand” comment: “I tried to introduce you to x, but…” (Yes, he did the PHYSICAL equivalent of “dot dot dot”: he he shrugged his head a bit!). He PRETENDED he didn’t know that I dated his friend for 3 months! AND HE INTRODUCED ME TO HIM! And, later during the same conversation (where I said, “it ended b/c it had to: x didn’t know what he wanted”–to which he nodded, knowingly), he told me that my ex-EUM was back to dating “y” again (y is the woman he dated “seriously” for 3-4 months several months before he dated me–it was more “serious” b/c sex was involved there, mind you–she was treated the same as I was, like crap, with dates only every few weeks–he had a narcissistic harem, of which he bragged about, even to women who KNEW women he had dated!). Now, how would the mutual “friend” KNOW that I knew about ex-EUM’s ex unless the mutual “friend” KNEW I DATED THE EX-EUM?!

        These people are too too funny! (And, obviously, they hang together, too! This guy used to brag to his relatives, one teenaged nephew in particular, about his harem and how he “kept them women all hanging”; he proceeded to marry the harem-woman who got pregnant to secure this catch, and now has 2 daughters to marry off of his own!).

        Anyways, I got my comeuppance, too, b/c, just after that meeting, the ex-EUM dumped y–without giving her any reason–and this was the first of at least 3 break-ups they had after getting back together.

        The comeuppance doesn’t always come, but it is sweet when it does!

  26. Sonja says:

    I have been reading off and on since February. I am trying to figure out if I am an EUW, I must be as I keep attracting those EUM. I feel like I am on a seesaw Somedays I just want to be that woman that can do the physical stuff and nothing else– but others I want more of a real relationship. If I can’t figure myself out–I am sure they can’t either.
    Not sure if this post makes sense to anyone else

    • AmyV says:

      I completely understand. I waffle constantly between wanting a relationship and not wanting one. My ex-husband (of 16 years) frequently told me I was emotionally unavailable, but the counselors I saw after the separation told me I wasn’t. My ex-husband cheated on me, wouldn’t go to a marriage counselor, lied to me constantly, but told me I lacked the ability to have emotionally intimacy, which was his reasoning for cheating and lying. I am frequently trying to evaluate my emotional availability, especially in light of the fact that I’m 3 out of 3 in unhealthy relationships in the 2-1/2 years I’ve been single. I completely understand how you feel.

  27. CC says:

    Friendship is just another tool they use to keep you hooked in and strung along. And because we need the validation it works. Now that the truth is to light thank god I can see it for what it is now… not friendship. Thanks again Natalie. You state everything that my gut was telling me was wrong with my so called friendship/relationship right on the money and everytime I read one of your posts it reminds me that my gut was right. Too bad I didn’t leave sooner but hindsight is 20/20. Onwards and upwards to a better life without assclowns!!

  28. annied says:

    NML, I am glad to be back. I had to take a break from your very helpful website because it went against everything I was doing – making a complete fool of myself for the AC. What kept me with him? Still trying to figure that one out. A lot was my loneliness, my care-taker ways, feeling sorry for him and fear that nothing else was out there.

    As you know, there have been many things that should have made me stop, but it really is like an addiction. Even now, I feel like I’m going through withdrawal from a drug. I cant sleep, lost my appetite and ache all over. I want to say that this is FINALLY the end, but I’m afraid to because I have said it so many times before and have just gone back. Maybe it will be different this time because this time, I WANT it to end. I’m not holding out secret hope that he’ll finally see the light and want me forever.

    Actually, I was just thinking the other day that my heart is not broken this time. He isnt going to change his ways. You know, it doesnt upset me as much now that he doesnt want a future with me … I think the thing that finally opened my eyes that I need to stop, is his behavior with me. Actions DO speak louder than words. He is not a nice person and wanting me would not make him a nice person. If you would like I’ll post what my Epiphany moment was. It is quite a sad story but this post is getting long. You really do help. Thanks.

    • Elena says:

      Annied, I recall your posts and if it isn’t too painful, I would like your epiphany moment. Our situations mirrored each other’s in many ways. I’m still trying to break free.

    • Cindy says:

      annied, I want your epiphany moment, too.

  29. AliB says:

    I am new here – and this has made fascinating reading. Since my husband left me for another woman several years ago, I have dated two EUMs .. left things alone for a while, then tried internet dating. I met a guy three months ago who pushed all the buttons, and I truly believed he was for me. He rang every day, texted quite a bit and we had some lovely days out (we live three hours apart). Then … the night before I was due to travel down to his for my birthday, he was grumpy on the phone – then on the morning of my birthday said he wished he was dead!! Anyway, long story short – I have seen him a few more times, but he said he wanted just to be friends! (We had already slept together) … just wanted some opinion on this. When I went to his house – he was almost naked in the shower (cleaning it!) and was parading around … then said I would be in the spare room. He did kiss and cuddle me … that was it. He also has angry outbursts that come from nowhere – saying that I don’t understand the situation and he doesn’t want me to get to comfortable. I am very confused, although this article was a godsend. He has rung me three times over the past few days, so I sent him a text tonight and he didn’t reply. I know he is playing mind games … I know what I have to do, but am so low I can’t do it! Help!

    • Astelle says:

      Alib, has he told you what you don’t understand about the situation? What is his situation? He has some “issues”, maybe also COD?
      Cleaning the shower half naked – who cares, clean it while wearing boots – but not when you are expecting company!!
      His angry outburts are a big red flag even when they are not directed at you.(yet) Seems to me he has a lot wrong with him and you just “know” him for 3 months. Run, run or you have a lot of heartache coming your way. Don’t waste anymore time on him, throw him back in the pond and find somebody else.
      I stopped Internet dating a while ago, you have to invest a lot of time and energy to weed out the weirdo’s and that is precious time that you can spend doing something else.
      What is he doing on a dating site in the first place? To find friends? Maybe he is to chicken to tell you he is not interested, so “help” the man out and cut contact, delete his number, don’t respond and mark it off as a bad dating experience and he is no catch! Deep down you know he is a tool, right?

    • aphrogirl says:

      What I found out from knowing an EUM is that a man who has never gotten to know his emotional side is prone to bewildering and often cruel behaviors when his strong emotions come up and he feels out of control. Sadly, and i know from a very similar experience, a man who acts like this is not a healthy man. He may have some healthy attributes, he may even wear a few hats that say ” normal ” or ” great” guy. He may be attractive, smart, have a great job, be active in his church, be a devoted parent or child, or have a lot of money.

      But, all this matters not a fig if you are on the receiving end of erratic, crazymaking behavior with a person who will not own up to the destructive impact of that difficult behavior on the relationship. You cannot make an EUM own up to his behavior. Like Natalie has written elsewhere, the EUM is not a child ( even if they are acting like one )

      You might think you can work it out. This is only possible if he has a strong interest in working it out. A start in this process would be him at least acknowledging the negative impact of his behavior. Next would be a clearly stated desire to improve the relationship and then the putting forth of lasting effort to understand and effect change of difficult behaviors would have to follow. Both you and he need to be fully committed to creating a dynamic working partnership.

      If you are hanging on to a person who can or will not even acknowledge their difficult behavior, I think there is no hope, short of divine intervention.

      Pay close attention to lack of progress and time. You will know when you have had enough of trying. With the EUM I knew years went by and not much really happened except for me trying to understand my own foggy confusion about his consistent inconsistency.

      One day, inspired by what I read here, I started to listen to the wisdom inside of me. I took advantage of this site and Nat’s books, and used other resources on the net to begin the very hard work of NC and corresponding necessary work of introspection. Hard but totally worth it.

  30. annied says:

    Elena and Cindy, here’s the very long story. It is painful and humiliating … maybe writing it down will help me stay angry. I have this bad habit of forgetting. I also need to say that it took me a couple of weeks for what had happened to really sink in.

    About 4 weeks ago, I went to my ex’s house to hang out. He decided we’d go out drinking – and he usually drinks too much. This time I was keeping up with him (stupid) and we were both pretty tipsy. My kids were at their father’s house for the weekend. I sent a text to my oldest at about 1:30 am – something silly. I knew she would be awake. Ex is coming back from the bathroom and asks me who I just sent to. I told him and he totally lost it. He told me I was a terrible mother – had no business sending her this late … I can’t even remember all of it, but he went on and on. It was getting ugly, as I argued back so I stormed out. He came out and screamed at me to get in the car and told me how lucky I was that I was even going to drive me back. Got to his house, arguing all the way and by this time I’m a wreck and crying. He tells me to go home. Go home! I was drunk and had a good 40 minute drive ahead of me.

    Now it’s about 2 am or later and I make it to my car … and get sick. I’m so drunk, I’m laying on the sidewalk puking in the grass. I sent him a text asking if I could plz stay b/c I was (see above). He sends back, okay, sleep on the couch but hurry up and get in here and make sure you lock the door. Eventually I made it across the parking lot and inside. Got up early, sick again and left. As I’m driving down the hwy at 60 mph, I am puking on myself – I couldnt pull over. Luckily I had a sweater and kind of used that. I’m almost home when he sends me a text asking where I am. I explain the situation and he tells me to come back! No way, I tell him. Then he sends, I really wanted to wake up to you this morning … later he sends me a semi-sorry we fought text and invites himself over to my place.

    Fast forward to the next weekend. He is depressed b/c it’s his birthday (I know why he’s depressed) and even though I know this, I go to his house with a special dessert he had asked me for, his favorite liquor (which I stayed away from) and took him out to dinner. Ended up having sex, of course with me doing all the “work” while he laid there, drunk again. He did manage to say thank you when I left.

    I dont even know what to say now. What a fool I was. He left me laying on the sidewalk in the middle of the night … what if someone had dragged me off somewhere? Would have been easy to do. He tells me to make sure I lock his door. Why? Because he’s afraid to leave it unlocked in his neighborhood? But I can lay outside all night? And the next day, after all that happened he wanted to “wake up to me”? He wanted sex. I also found out that that night he had locked the door to his bedroom. To keep me out? … Then I do all those things for his birthday. That was on 7/3 – he got mad at me 7/6 because I said I didnt like his haircut and ignored me completely until 7/18 when I contacted him and he dumped me.

    It is beyond comprehension. I’m glad I got this out. It helps.

    • Elena says:

      My god, annie, I’m so sorry you went through that. I wonder, though, how many EUMs are mean drunks. Mine was just like yours – he’d tie one on and then berate me, demand sex, not be able to perform and blame me, and then get up in the morning uncertain of what had occurred. For him to tell you to get out when he knew you’d been drinking heavily is inexcusable. I’m glad you are out of that mess and please don’t let this skeeze try to entice you back. He’s not remotely worth it!

  31. AmyV says:

    Thank you for this Natalie. After reading this I had to really look at the last several years I’ve been “friends” with my so called FWB at work. I am on day 4 of NC (gonna be pretty hard since I have to see him 10 times a day), but I am giving him the FROZEN shoulder, and won’t even look at him. Hardest thing I’ve ever done because I miss him something fierce.

    I used to think we were friends. But when I look back at it, the only times we “hung out”, were the times we ended up in bed. And the only time he contacted me was when he wanted the end result to be sex. But I think I ignored those things because we worked together, so we had lots of opportunities to talk and see each other. And I feel like such an idiot because I would have never let some random guy I didn’t work with treat me like that. At least my 1st EUM (this coworker is my 2nd), took me out on dates and called me, at least until he was done with me.

    @Judy – “It is a discipline for me to learn to live alone. To really be alone and not in some fantasy relationship, in love with a dysfunctional and or behaving dysfunctionally myself.”

    — I appreciate this so much. I want to do this. Since I separated from my husband and subsequently divorced (2-1/2 years total), I have not been alone for longer than 3 months. I’ve gone from one relationship to the next with my FWB co-worker always there in-between. I’m so tired of feeling like I make one bad choice after another. It’s making me hate men, and I really don’t want to hate them.

    Also, I’m really embarrassed to admit it, but I guess maybe it should teach me something as I have wondered if I too am emotionally unavailable. I am a Dot Dot Dot woman. Never considered that it could be annoyingly ambiguous. I learn so much from this site.

    • judy says:

      I recommend reading Pema Chodron, there is a great concept and a title of one of her books “Start from where you are”.

  32. no_more says:

    @ aphrogirl—-I really enjoy your posts and have been reading them on this site for awhile – they always hit home for me. Your relationship sounds so much like mine and what I went through.

    Your comment was so true:

    “What I found out from knowing an EUM is that a man who has never gotten to know his emotional side is prone to bewildering and often cruel behaviors when his strong emotions come up and he feels out of control. Sadly, and i know from a very similar experience, a man who acts like this is not a healthy man.”

    This was a HUGE part of the problems with my EUM, and he wouldn’t take responsibility for any of it. Instead he made excuses and I allowed it, believing I was being an understanding partner. I suffered emotionally behind his bad behavior and he was extremely passive aggressive which made it worse.I lived in illusion due to the normal/great hats he often wore to make it seem like he was okay. He would tell me this is how I am and if you loved me you would accept that and like a fool I did. One of the cruelest things you can do to someone is just disappear and he often did that whenever he couldn’t deal with something. Then he’d come back and hit the reset button and expected for things to go right back to the good ole times. At the time, he conditioned me to believe I really needed him and I’m so glad I woke up & don’t have to go through that anymore.

  33. Ivy says:

    Annied, thanks so much for sharing your story. That was very brave of you, despite the self-loathing involved in it. :-)

    A friend of mine once said something very wise to me: When something terrible happens, something so awful we can’t even believe it’s happening or know how to face it, it’s actually a gift. Our feelings of shame, dismay, resistance, intense distaste and unhappiness are actually pointing us AWAY from what we don’t want — and closer to what we DO.

    You now know that that whole experience with the AC was a kind of bottoming out for you. This is good! You will have a natural repulsion to going there again, one that springs from self-respect and self-love.

    I also had to hit a kind of rock bottom with my ex-AC. I realized that I was setting my own children aside as priorities and shamelessly throwing myself into a wildly unhealthy relationship, just like a clueless teenager. I’m horrified by how I just let the rest of my life go during that (luckily) short time. And I’m chastened by the person I know see he always was – and who I am capable of becoming.

    It’s like you’re in a movie. We just saw the really bad part, where the main character went through some humiliating, raw stuff that really tests her. But you got up and walked away. And now you’re walking into a brand, new life where this kind of thing never happens to you again because you are a changed person.

    You’ll be okay….


    • Gillian says:

      Ivy ~

      “It’s like you’re in a movie. We just saw the really bad part, where the main character went through some humiliating, raw stuff that really tests her.”

      Very well put! I luv it!


  34. AliB says:

    Thanks for the advice, I feel like I am just dying inside and can’t understand how this has happened – I have lots of friends and loving family, all of whom are worried by my connection to this guy. He called tonight and said he wanted to come up to see me at the weekend – I made a joke about something innocuous and he hung up! At first I thought we had been cut off, so called back but he had already switched his phone off. Embarrassed to say i sent a text to ask him to call me back. He didn’t. And this is him being a ‘friend’ !! Now i feel like I want to tell him what I think, but I can’t because he didn’t pick up. I don’t even know what to do next, am so confused … does it get any better?

    • judy says:

      My advice to you is to remove yourself completely and thoroughly, do whatever it takes to not contact this person unless it involves a life or death emergency.

      Your self esteem is within you, climb up on top of the pedestal and stay there.

      Sometimes one has to really work at this kind of practice, because it does not come natural. There are some women that would not think of pursuing a man under any circumstances unless they are returning a call in a loving relationship.

      Never, ever pursue a man who has treated you the way this one has. Leave it. For the sake of your personal health, welfare and Time ( I am 50, believe me – take my advice – don’t waste time) – Discipline yourself.

    • aphrogirl says:

      Your friends who are worried are wise. Listen to them and listen to yourself. You are asking us if it will it get better and that is the same as saying it is not good right now. So you have to ask why you are even maintaining a relationship with someone prone to the irrational behavior you have witnessed.

      You will be forever confused by this man because his behavior makes little sense. There are levels of strange or unpleasant behavior. I think the toll of crazymaking behavior at the level you are describing is serious stuff, and not to be taken lightly.

    • aphrogirl says:

      I forgot to add. If you are new here there are dozens, maybe hundreds? of older posts. There is a pull down menu at top of recent comments. These posts are just as relevant as the newer posts. Getting out from one of these relationships involves so many aspects and Natalie has written about plenty of them.

      One of the biggies I had to come to grips with was the fantasy aspect of the EUM. He presented himself as a person of great character, while all along he really was a liar and a con. I wanted so much to believe that what he first presented was true and it took me over a year of NC to start to understand that he was a con man. There is a lot of good info here.

  35. FreeMe says:

    NML,Thank you for this post.Its like you have insight into my life…early this week i had a stint with MR EU..we were what i have learnt is an illusion relationship for a year or so and had shagged a couple of times but after stumbling this forum i realized that the thing we had was not going anywhere and decided to go a full NC that is after i gave him a piece of my mind so that he knows… i managed to go a full 3 weeks but on the 4 th week he comes apologizing and being the nice person that i am decided to give him a chance and become friends…but having read this article i am now in doubt i have mixed feelings about this guy…..but this article has shed some light and now i have to re-think my earlier decision of being friends with this AC

  36. AliB says:

    Thank you so much for your advice again. Update – I had a text at 5.30 this morning saying: Plan B – talk Friday. I didn’t know what Plan B was! I made my last mistake with this guy – I called him to ask what that meant. He said that he was coming to see me on Friday, and then shouted “Please leave me alone till then!”. I wanted to say that I will leave him alone forever – but he hung up. I don’t want him to come, I don’t want to see him – but I am not going to call him to tell him that. I can’t believe how stupid I have been – the warning signs were there and I ignored them. I am usually quite a happy little soul, I can’t cope with all this drama. Is there any point in even wondering how someone can be very pleasant one minute, hang up on you the next, switch phone off, send a confusing message, then shout at you when you wonder what is happening? From reading other posts on here – I guess not. But …. in the event that he DOES turn up (he will have driven three hours to get here) – any suggestions on how to play it? I am a bit scared x

    • Nicole says:

      Oh yes, I have also had experiences like that with my ex-AC. I think it is a form of manipulation and control, and it can be somewhat emotionally abusive. We deserve better than that. You do not owe him anything, just because he has made it impossible to call him back. They are good at making it feel like things are out of our control, but they are not.

      You could send him a text, “Plan C. Change of plans. I will not be available this Friday.” There. You have been courteous enough to save him a 3 hour drive, which is probably more consideration than he gives you, I would bet, if he is like most of the AC’s I read about on this forum.

      They tend to live in their own world, get away with bad behavior because we (and probably others) let them. My ex-AC was moody, blew hot and cold, and sometimes gave me the silent treatment. I began to take a closer look at the other relationships in his life (friends and family), and I realized that mostly he was surrounded by “yes” people. And when they didn’t dance to his beat, he would become very irritated and withdraw.

      When I finally started to set boundaries with my ex-AC, he definitely did not like it. In fact, it was the end of our relationship. Being apart from him was very difficult for me in the beginning. But at the same time, I felt empowered. I felt like I was reclaiming a part of myself I had lost in the relationship. My self-respect is coming back. And the longer I am away from him, the more clearly I can see who he really was.

    • Eve says:

      Hell, I’d say nothing, let him do the 3-hour drive but then not be anywhere to be found. How about have a girly night out or stay with a friend? Block his number. Vanish.

      • Used says:

        I like both Eve’s and Nicole’s advice. Eve’s for any revenge you feel may be necessary, Nicole’s for the idea of taking back control.

        But also add, at the end of the message, “BTW, goodbye.”

        In the best of all worlds, he won’t see this message until AFTER he gets to your place and (finally!) checks his phone!


        • Eve says:

          (chuckles) I wasn’t thinking of it in terms of revenge but more along the lines of, it’s good enough for you to treat me this way, have some back and see how you like it.

          And go NC. 😉

          Good luck everyone.

          Thinking about it maybe it does sound a little spiteful but you know what – tough.

  37. sara says:


    As bewildering as it may seem it is really textbook EUM/AC stuff. I put up with this type of behavior for about a year. I regret every minute of it. My friends & family were worried & i kept going back for more. No one that cares about you would treat you like this – you deserve more – even if you don’t see it – EVERYONE else does. I very much like eve & nicoles’s advice – TAKE IT. this guy is a loser & is treating you like poo. It’s hard – i know! good luck & chin up – you deserve so much better~

  38. AliB says:

    Thank you so much for the support – it really helps. I have tried the patience of my family with this for months – they are very worried about his sudden changes of mood, so it is good to get some objective advice. I love this site, so glad I have discovered it, and I know that there are lots of people with far worse situations, but I have actually believed I was going crazy the last few months – he told me I should stay out of relationships and that I was too fragile and vulnerable – then walks all over me!! I definitely feel Plan C coming on!

    • aphrogirl says:

      Like Nicole said, this is about control and I have been there, right down to the ‘plan’ concept. The plan is about him making a plan and fitting you in as he sees fit, to help him feel he is in control of the strong emotions that come up in relation to you.

      Yes, it is abusive, but probably not exactly intentional. It is almost like he is clueless and relationships are too ‘hard’ for him to deal with maturely.

      I was close to an EUM like this for many years, as a friend. A lot was cryptic like this. I kept waiting for him to stop acting so odd, because i saw that he was capable of maturity in other areas of his life. But his odd behavior with me never really limproved.

      The behavior you describe seems to be a more extreme version of the push pull than is written about on this site, and while it certainly is childlike and assinine, it also could be a sign of something worse.

      The last major push pul cycle I experienced with the EUM finally made me draw a line and tell him I had reached a limit of endurance. I actually was worried for my physical safety when I said enough; his behavior was so odd.

      The thing to realize is, at this level of odd behavior, you are dealing with someone who cannot handle their emotions. I found it best to detach with some compassion but also realize that I was in a potentially dangerous situation with a person who was angry with me, and also not very good at controlling their own behavior.

      If this were me I would let him know I was not going to be there and I would not be there, just in case he showed up. Some words about how impossible it is for you to continue in the relationship might be appropriate. But I’d skip blame or criticism with someone acting like this. He seems beyond reason, so there is no point with reasoning with him and it just might provoke him.

      Then you need to do what it takes to end the friendship in your own head. This is where all the posts on this site come into play. Good luck.

  39. Resi says:

    That’s so true. Great text NML!!! Thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s so helpful..

  40. Honey says:

    Why is this website filled with so much negativity about relationships? I think it’s high time people got some positivity coming from here!

    • Eve says:

      Well…some folks like to/need to understand why they’re involved with crappy people and not just shrug it off to bad luck.
      This website is actually very positive, it’s encouraging people to as Nat has said repeatedly ‘get real’, stop making excuses for themselves, their (ex) partner.

    • Grace says:

      The relationships are crap and don’t deserve any positivity.

      Positive thinking is not going to make these guys worthwhile.

      • judy says:

        I am using positive thinking, not pink clouds and rose colored glasses with myself. How i feel about myself and my life. Positive thinking not illusions. Acceptance and surrender. Appreciation and Gratitude.

        Relationship experiences are meant to learn by. To learn to love, contrast – experiencing things we don’t like or want teaches us what we do want. The shock to me is that in my life, in this life experience I have repeated patterns over and over with out any intelligence or consciousness and yes, have been in and out of therapeutic treatment. It is taking me a long time. I am finally getting it. I suffered and caused suffering, seems so senseless now.

        I think it is ok to handle someone we don’t wish to date anymore or love anymore kindly but firmly. A positive NO, a good luck, have a good summer, etc. Take Care. No need to be mean unless the situation calls for it. But be firm. Kind and minimal.

        Establishing some positive patterns in one’s life. Good for you and the world.

        Take care all.

  41. Columbia says:

    NML, not sure if this occured to you and i haven’t read all the comments so not sure if it was covered, but it seems to me that Dot Dot Dot may very well have invited you BECAUSE he knew his current fling would feel threatened. Perhaps she was clingy or wanting clarity in their little affair and a little dose of “see what I HAD? see how hot my ex is….see what i could have if you don’t back off and accept my assclownery?” might have been the point or if not, certainly a bonus.

  42. eyeswideopen says:

    I am SOOOOOO glad I found this site. This is my life. I am working with my ex assclown and been wrestling with whether we can “be friends”. We never slept together but had a sort of non-relationship for 3 months. It started great then he began to back out. At first, I thought we could be friends and was the one who suggested it. Within a week, he was saying “things were back to normal and they way they were”. Suddenly, he and I were an “us” and a “we” again. So confusing. Finally, I said I didn’t want him to contact me any more at all and he agreed and it was the smartest thing I had ever done (I have read all the posts about no-contact rule and its brilliant!!). Now, we are both back at work and he’s trying to reconnect, “as a friend”. The problem I have is that he never accepted any responsibility for having misled me or “future faking” – I respect that he can change his mind but he never had the decency to tell me he had – he just figured he would be a little less physical and I “would get the message”. I was so hurt, embarrassed and blindsided when he finally had to come out and tell me he had changed his mind (stating he had actually changed it weeks before but “hadn’t told me”). I feel deceived and disrespected. I know I am looking for validation – I want him to acknowledge what he did, take some accountability for my pain and apologize – but he isn’t going to. He made it clear that “it was a misunderstanding” and that we should just forget about it, not talk about it, and get back to normal. I can’t do that and still have any self esteem. I grew up with the “nice girl” thing – always put others first, always be a grown up – but in this case I don’t think its being selfish or wrong to say that I can’t just give him a free pass here (the fact that he is this way at 40 shows he has gotten far too many free passes already). I know its not my job or responsibility to teach him his lessons and I have been trying very hard to focus on my lessons here, but it just feels wrong to pretend it all didn’t happen and I now know better than to expect him to change or validate my feelings. The only solution I can see is to continue no contact, which is hard given we work very closely together and other people are being made uncomfortable by it (and I have been told by some of them to grow up and get over it – thanks for the support). Just not sure what to do here.

    • Sandra81 says:

      I’m somehow in the same situation as you. See my comment at the bottom of the page. :-) As you work together, staying in contact will be unavoidable, so it’s up to you to stay on your ground and not give in! That’s what I’m trying to do as well…;-) But you’re saying he’s 40???? OMG! Mine is 26 and I’m 28, and I was sure it was just a matter of immaturity, or, with me being a bit older, perhaps I’m more “down to earth”. But, as I see now, this issue comes at all ages. And yeah, he also never had the b*lls to offer closure, or say things like: “I don’t want a relationship” or “I don’t think it’s gonna work between us” (although I DID pull out, explaining my reasons). Good luck, and keep your “eyeswideopen” in the future! xx

  43. AliB says:

    All gone horribly wrong. Over a month since I last posted, and I made a terrible mistake of falling off the NC wagon and letting this EUM back into my life. In the beginning, it was so good … but I ignored red flags (temper tantrums, silent treatment, push-pull stuff) at my peril. I am paying now. He said he wanted us to be friends, but then we ended up blurring the boundaries by sleeping together again when he came to visit me…. he was future-faking again … but then his behaviour was totally bizarre. Over the weekend he stayed, he started criticizing everything from how pale I was to the way I stirred tea! He looked at my computer and questioned why I still had photos of my ex-boyfriend on there (it’s an old computer and I hadn’t even realised they were there … but we are just friends so what’s the problem?!), he checked my phone and questioned who all the numbers were (but we are just friends so what’s the problem?!) … he then said he couldn’t sleep because I was wriggling around and wanted to go home at three in the morning. I haven’t seen him since. He has rung a few times and picked fights, saying he couldn’t be in a relationship with me because I would monitor and control him (er … he was the one who checked my computer, my phone, my cupboards!) … and said that could never happen, could not tell him what to do because he was not my boyfriend, we were NOTHING. He then rang back and said I had misinterpreted what he said! Also I had sent him a text to wish him luck for a job interview and he flew into a rage, saying it was an inane text and he didn’t care about the job … which he ultimately got … and rang to tell me he was delighted. I tried to avoid him, but he rang again to say he wanted to return some stuff of mine … so I spoke to him, tried to keep it light. But when I made a light-hearted remark he flew into a rage again, said some awful things, and basically accused me of all the things HE has done! I feel like I am going mad. He rang to apologise but I didn’t answer … left a message saying HE was hurt because of the things he had said !! Don’t intend to speak to him again, but I just don’t understand how someone can flip moods in mid conversation and I am uneasy that he has said we could have been together if it was not for MY controlling behaviour ….. I have learned the lesson the hard way about the ‘friends’ thing. And then some. Feels like it will never get better just now.

    • Fearless says:

      You did the suck it and see. Now you saw. Now stop sucking. Show him the door – and It will get better. It will. Honest it will. Be nice to yourself. Spend as much time as you can with people who love and care for you. Go NC and start focusing totally on YOU. You have the power here. You just need to recognise the truth of that.
      Take care

  44. Siv says:

    Finally, Finally, Finally. After giving the doomed 3rd chance to friendship, I finally see things clearly. I always suppressed my anger at all the things that happened, because I always thought that he can’t really help being so emotionally stunted. And actually, he can’t. His other best friend just cut contact too. And now his next romantic victim has woken up and left him. And am I happy? No – it really is sad, because his family did that to him, messed him up for life.

    But I can do something about it for me. Allow the anger, cut my losses and jump ship. And when I did it, words from NML and all of you readers came rushing back that I had read, and I realised, I had made it to the other side. The one not turning back.

    Suddenly cutting contact was no longer about his reaction to it – in fact, I realise that just like his actions have nothing to do with me personally, my decision to cut him out has nothing to do with him. It is a decision for me alone – he doesn’t even know that he will never be hearing from me again, and for the first time, I don’t need him to. I can let all the hurt go now – because my life and my choices as of now, have NOTHING to do with him. His thoughts and words can’t touch me. I’m on a higher plane of existence – it’s called reality. And that, for the others that are still frustrated and on the way here, is a great place to be. You will make some mistakes, but you will learn from the pain, and you will make it here. GRATITUDE.

  45. Sandra81 says:

    Well, I’m having the same problem now. Me and my EUM HAVE to stay friends and see each other regularly, as we are part of the same youth organization. We have lots of mutual friends and activities together. :-/ On Wednesday we saw each other again after 2 months when we’ve both been away. The meeting (an organization meeting with several people) went well: we were happy, relaxed, but he still flirts – on one hand, and on the other hand, he told everyone that he was back together with his ex. The way he spoke, and the obvious way he was boasting made me think that he was doing it on puropse, just to see my reaction or see if I was jealous. But, surprise: no reaction from me! 😀
    I don’t know what to do. I’m just hoping to stay strong, because “the fire still burns”, but I’m aware of his assclown nature. He was quick in pursuing me right after we met, but about 2 weeks after our first romantic moment, he started blowing hot and cold. I told him off for weird behaviour in an e-mail, and then we didn’t contact each other for a long while, unless it was absolutely necessary. We didn’t go very far in the “relationship” (as I’m more of the cautious type), but with him around I hope I’ll not give in. Please keep your fingers crossed! 😉 Any advice?

    • Aimee says:

      Don’t ever go back – the pain just increases ten fold!! That’s my advice!

      • findingmyself says:

        Agree…RUN, don’t walk…never look back. Every time you do, its just more pain and heart ache. It will NEVER change or get better. They will suck you in, blow smoke up your ass, only to repeat the same ass clown actions from before. Once an EUM/AC Always an EUM/AC!! RUN!!

        • Sandra81 says:

          Thanks girls! I reached the same conclusion as well. At 28, I’m a bit too old for that high school bullshit and I really need something stable! :-) And BTW, he’s 26, so he’s also immature. I never dated someone younger before him, but he had got me hooked from the day we first met: apart from his (very) good looks, he came accross as grounded, well-mannered, intelligent, educated, sensitive etc. etc. Plus, he was single and he was interested in me as well! I thought I was soooooo lucky! As a friend, I have nothing bad to say about him. However, little did I know that he was also an AC when it came to romantic relationships. But now that I found out, I’d better beware! 😉 I also wish you good luck, and steer clear of this kind of people! We all deserve to be happy! xx

          • Aimee says:

            @Sandra81 – Try doing it at 45 – yuck!!

            When I think of the beginning – he played it well. An email that we had to be honest, the relationship had to be based on mutual terms, talk about everything and work things through. Ahhhh – I really thought – “this it – this is the guy I have been wanting and waiting for”.

            Problem was – it was his terms always, he lied – even about stupid stuff, talking was on his terms only (if we talked) – never did work things through – his idea of working things through was the “Reset Button.” He even told me “the biggest obstacle we had was I wouldn’t let go of the past” – problem is we never “worked it thru” – I was just suppose to forget that he lied to me and cheated – problem he was still friends with one of the girls on FB – so nothing was in the past, it was still in the present. It’s all a mind game – and I am exhausted.

            He lives in chronic pain – and last November before Thanksgiving, he threw up from drinking too much and I said to him very nicely “I sometimes wonder if you really want to get better”. He hung up on me and blocked my phone number for 7 weeks (thru the holidays, etc). Then I get an email in January that he misses me and thinks about me all the time – WTF??!! He’s 47!

            I remember us having a conversation about “having a mature relationship”. WOW. Don’t walk – RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • findingmyself says:

            Yep, like aimee, mid 40’s here too! Never in a million years did I think I would have been in a relationship like that. As a matter of fact, I was thinking about this last night–I never accepted crap from anyone, never allowed lying, never allowed cheating, how in the hell did he break me down? was stealth mode all the way!! I do remember a couple times in the start of the relationship, when I would say something that hit a nerve with him, and his reaction, I thought to myself, “wow, he’s really super sensitive”. Little did I know or see, it was his way of molding me, reducing me, to get me where he wanted me. It was so subtle, at times, I never saw it. Run, don’t look back, as Aimee said, it will never get any better!


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.