If you go on dates or enter into relationships with a closed mind and heart, you've not only already made up your mind but you're not really listening or truly seeing.

For some people, when they go on dates, they end up being guilty of this dangerous optimism where they’re basically acting like they’ve won the lottery before the numbers have been called. They’re ‘buzzing’ and ‘spending the winnings’ in their imaginations, hopeful that this date is ‘it’ and they’ll have a ‘happy ending’. But then it’s also safe to say that there are some people out there dating and in relationships who are pretty skeptical. They’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, to be screwed over and just don’t believe that it’s going anywhere, or that they’re liked / loved, or that the person doesn’t have some dark motives.

Why bother to go on dates if you think that they’re not going to get past one date or you’re convinced that there’s something wrong with all of them? It’s the same if you go out there thinking that you’re not ‘good enough’ and that it’s only a matter of time until they see it. All you end up doing is being on high alert for disappointment and assholery or doing the equivalent of auditioning for the dating equivalent of the X-Factor, which puts them on a pedestal. These mentalities don’t allow you to hear or see what’s going on. How can you judge a date you haven’t been on or a person that you haven’t gotten to know?

It’s like when people slag off books they haven’t read (I know someone who seems to be an expert on how rubbish 50 Shades is yet she’s never read it. At least I read 100 or so pages before my head could take no more), TV shows they claim are rubbish but they seem to know a great deal about the current storyline’s, food they’ve never tried or places they’ve never been.

Equally, what’s the point of pushing ahead with a relationship even though you’re in turmoil with skepticism? Everything you think and do will be affected by it and you won’t allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to forge true intimacy and commitment. You’ll keep your options open or be skittish or outright jumpy with your partner because there’s a part of you that wants to enjoy yourself but then you’re worried that if you really allow you to enjoy yourself and let go, that you’re going to be abandoned or screwed over.

If you’ve ever gone along to something that you’ve pretty much written off before you even got there, do you really experience it?

That’s the problem with skepticism; it doesn’t help you hear or see, but it also means that you’ve more or less made up your mind. Then you try to say that you’re “OK” but you know that you’re bullishitting.

Bearing in mind as well that so many of us have an issue with admitting when we’ve made a mistake or misjudged something, often skeptics enjoy something more than they let on and/or recognise that they’ve been mistaken, but would rather maintain their original position. They’re scared of letting go of it.

It’s not about going in blind but if you have that much doubt and cynicism, wouldn’t it be better to get your own head in order rather than participate in Groundhog Day? It’s essentially resigning yourself to being ‘fatigued’ about everything and expecting to be disappointed.

We have a tendency to gravitate to situations that keep us in our comfort zone. It’s why I hear from so many people who don’t feel good enough and who have trust issues, who then involve themselves with people who exacerbate that sense of inadequacy and who give them reasons to have trust issues.

I’ve also found that no matter the quality of the relationship, if you have trust issues and won’t believe that you’re as loved as they tell you that you are or that they’re not doing or going to do what you’re afraid of, the relationship isn’t going to work anyway.

It would be better to deal with your trust issues first and then embark on relationships. It is not the job of another person to teach you how to have a trust system no more than it is the job of ‘everyone’ to challenge your skepticism.

Remember though, it’s not about being blind or naive but it is about coming from a positive place with an open mind and heart which is more authentic than going in with distrust, doubts, and skepticism but acting or even claiming that you feel differently and hoping it will just ‘go away’ without you having to trust you and use your own judgement skills while interacting – yes you can do both!

I know it’s not easy but I also know that a closed and fearful mind never leads to a happy, open outcome. Address your relationship with you, know your boundaries and operate with a debit and credit trust system based on reality and instead of worrying your busy mind, you can get on with the business of living and deal with something if and when it should arise instead of being on high alert for danger and laying in waiting for it.

Your thoughts?

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210 Responses to About Going In With An Open Mind

  1. Little Star says:

    Thank you Natalie yet again, especially for : Why bother to go on dates if you think that they’re not going to get past one date or you’re convinced that there’s something wrong with all of them?” I rid of current AC, and not going to meet him anymore…Remembered before meeting him, I did not have a long break from men, so did not see clearly, what an AC he was:-( Sometimes, I think, if I had a child, I would not give a sh@t about men at all…What they can give? Pain, disappointment and low self esteem! So it is better to stay single and happy:-)

  2. Gina says:

    “There are two kinds of people in the world–those who think they can, and those who think they can’t…both are right.” Henry Ford

    My ex-EUM had become so used to being used, cheated on, and rejected by women in the past that he could not believe or accept that I geniunely cared about him. In fact, he would choose to be in relationships with women who fit the same abusive pattern over and over again–thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy! When it was obvious that I was not like those other women he had dated and/or married, he had so much self-hatred, he started acting emotionally abusive towards me! I told him that I valued myself too much to tolerate that type of behavior and broke up with him. Sadly, some people are SO damaged from jumping in and out of unhealthy relationships–their reality becomes so twisted/distorted, they become incapable of loving or being loved.

    • June says:

      Gina, my EUM has the same backstory, and I got all the I’m not good enough for wonderful you mallarkey. So he continues his journey through a life of self-destructuve pain. I’ll be happy for him if he sorts himself out and finds a loving relationship for himself. Me, I’m still trying to weed out the needy clingy men I do seem to attract. Why so hard to have a relationship based on mutual respect and autonomy? Must be something in my vibe? Clearly I need do more work on myself.

      • Gina says:

        “Me, I’m still trying to weed out the needy clingy men I do seem to attract. Why so hard to have a relationship based on mutual respect and autonomy? Must be something in my vibe? Clearly I need do more work on myself.”


        First, as Nat said in her one of her previous posts: YOU are good enough just the way you are! So stop being so hard on yourself! I remember reading a book after getting laid off from my job many years ago called, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” The author states that when looking for a job, if 95% of the companies do not want you because you are the too old, too young, overqualified, underqualified, don’t have the right type of hair, your shoe size is too big or too small, are knock-kneed, blah, blah, blah! Isn’t doesn’t really matter because the remaining 5% are looking for someone just like you. YOUR JOB is to weed through the 95% (undesirables) in order to get to that remaning 5% (potentially good matches). Once you narrow it down, then you continue to interview until you find the “one” company (partner) that is the best fit for you. Looking for a mate is not much different than looking for a job. As you are well aware, we’re in a recession, and jobs are not as easy to come by. Nevertheless, there is a job (mate) that is out there and is right for us. We just have to diligently continue to look by putting ourselves in different situations were we are more likely to meet men who fall within that 5% category. In order to identify these healthy men, we have to become like Tyler Perry’s character, Alex Cross, who is a Forensic Scientist (I went to see the movie last night). His spidey senses are so keen, that he can anaylze indivduals and reveal their true character, behavior, and personality the vast majority of the time–don’t want to give the movie away in case anyone is planning on seeing it. We need to learn how to do this in order to weed out the EUM/FF/ACs, who are road blocks scattered along the paths of our journey leading to HAMs (Healthy Available Men)

        • Revolution says:

          Gina, you’re the man. Well…you know what I mean.

          I LOVED your thoughts on finding the 5%, and screw the 95%. Thank you SO MUCH. I know this comment wasn’t meant for me, but I needed that shot of positivism in my day.

          And LOL on “HAMs”!!! Better than pigs, eh? LOL!!!! 😉

        • June says:

          Thanks Gina – much appreciate your worldly-wise comments. It’s not so much I don’t feel good enough, just that I never seem to attract the attention of any HAMs – IMHO. So doesn’t that imply I’m not a HAW?? If we attract and are attracted to EUMs by being EU ourselves, as I believe Nat has said in another post, if I’m now attracting men I find too needy would that not suggest there’s something about me I could investigate and wouldn’t like if I dug about a bit in the old psyche? If there’s a tightrope between trust and suspicion that is healthy, as others have said here about this post, isn’t there also a pretty serious one between believing I’m fine right now (of course I am, considering my hormone level….), but could be improved a bit (surely we are none of us so perfect we couldn’t be better)? Is the danger that we spiral into an Amazon-fest of self-help books, start messing with our OWN heads and so stop being authentic people, warts and all? What do you think?

  3. Heather says:

    Natalie, it’s a good point you bring up. I’ve been on a bunch of dates with alot of AC’s and have gotten so used to flaky, rude, inconsiderate behavior that I now wonder if any guy could really be a nice, caring, considerate person. Even now, I think, after almost a year of dating a nice man, when will the other shoe drop. When will he start acting up.

    I’m always keeping one eye open for trouble, because like The Who, I “won’t be fooled again.” i have big trust issues with most men and after surviving a physically abusive marriage and watching guy after guy mistreat their partners, have little desire to marry again. I see a therapist to help sort it out but I am beginning to wonder if my trust is gone forever.

  4. lo j says:

    Awesome. How awful to be on the receiving end. If you can’t enjoy dating, be optimistic, and be okay with whatever outcome, you’ve no business dating and putting yourself … or others … through the ringer so to speak.

  5. Kate says:

    I just came home from a kind-of date with this on my mind. Thanks for the post. My trust levels are super low after two painful relationships. I’ve just started dating a new guy, who seems sound and nice and actually replies to texts and emails and seems pleased to see me. I saw him this afternoon and he was affectionate, greeting me with a kiss. But when we met up again this evening, to go over to friends of his for dinner, he just acted like we were friends – he didn’t initiate anything besides normal, platonic behaviour, although maybe this was because we were with friends of his. I find that I’ve been hurt so much in the past that now I can’t tell the difference between someone showing normal dating behaviour and someone waving red flags at me. It’s gotten to the point where I’m thinking about telling him that if we’re going to date, I need things to be clear and for him to communicate with me and not let me leave feeling ambiguous about what’s going on. Is this wrong? Should I say nothing and just go home and worry each time something happens? I don’t know how to handle this and I’m afraid of becoming so bad at dating that I can never get anything off the ground again.

    • Allison says:


      How long have you been dating? Has he discussed what he wants?

      • valleyforgelady says:


        Give this time. He maybe pacing the realtionship in front of his friends due to his past. You need to pace things here too. As long as you having good honest interactions and he is not crossing boundaries….stick with it. I know this is hard when you have history with hurtfull men. I am coming to learn that men have been hurt by women too. Just as bad if not worse. It so easy to be so careful and suspicious that you can let a good one go. Allow for a man to be eager and then reflective…that sounds like it is realistic. However, you cannot allow hot and cold, there is a difference.

        I have been single for over 11 years. I am now remeeting someone I met 10 years ago who I need to evaluate with new eyes. I am in the same process and need to realize that men are not the enemy!

    • dancingqueen says:


      I am so sorry. I would be upset too about this:

      “But when we met up again this evening, to go over to friends of his for dinner, he just acted like we were friends – he didn’t initiate anything besides normal, platonic behaviour, although maybe this was because we were with friends of his”

      Look, call me old-fashioned, but this, to me, is a big red flag and I think you have every right to be concerned.I respectfully diagree with VFL; pacing a relationship would involve not meeting his friends *until* he could feel comfortable “outing” you as a couple.

      My last relationship ended but he was always perfectly acknowledging in front of his friends; getting my drinks, holding my hand…it felt right. This, you agree, feels odd; go with your instincts.

      Why are you meeting his friends, but yet, he is not openly letting you be displayed as his new gf or even date? It sends mixed messages to me; on one hand, he wants you to meet his friends, on the other, he acts as if you are friends only? It is like giving with one hand and taking away with another imo. If he wants to take things slowly he should not be introducing you to his friends until he can openly introduce you as his gf or date. I would talk to him about it and see how he handles it; if he gets rude, defensive, or tries to minimize things and act as if this is normal, you have your answer.Trust your instincts here Kate.

  6. runnergirl says:

    Hey Natalie,

    Thanks for this post. It is reassuring. As I’m headed into my fifth month of doing the online dating thingy which is totally out of my comfort zone, I am approaching each date/meet up with an open mind (thanks to you and BR). He can’t be “The One” cos I don’t know him and he cannot not (double negative intended) be “The One” for the same reason. I think, as you point out, the key for me, was do I trust myself. So far, those golden boundaries have paid off and I’ve learned a lot about me. Every time I have the opportunity to enforce a boundary and I follow through, it makes it much easier the next time. It is bit like learning to walk, at 50frigggin3! I’m really coming from a positive place with an open mind and heart but not proceeding blindly anymore. That’s a tricky balance. For me, the key has been trusting myself. If I trust myself, I will know whether I can trust a him. Additionally, the online dating experience has helped me to see that I do have choices. I can choose to delete, when I respond, whether I respond, and whether I may be interested, and how I still have choices even if I’m interested. I can meet three guys a week or none if I don’t want to. I’ve had the opportunity to implement two years of BR training and what a difference.
    PS. I’ve started developing my online class because I’ve learned so much from you online and it is a ton of work. I now have an even more immense appreciation for all that you do. What we see online through BR and all your e-courses must take hours of preparation on your part and you have two little daughters and a wonderful new hubby. So thank you. You are such an amazing inspiration. What a juggling act you must do behind the scenes. I’m glad you are so young and filled with youthful energy! If we ever get to meet, the first thing I’d like to do for you is a few loads of laundry while you relax and sip some tea.

    • Learner says:

      Way to make those choices while keeping an open mind WITH your boundaries in place- it’s so encouraging to hear the ways you are putting BR knowledge into practice in dating. And your (?newfound) trust of yourself? Amazing! I also love your idea that each new guy cannot be “the one” and cannot NOT be “the one” as you don’t know them yet. Brilliant!
      PS, good luck with your online class. I have not been brave enough to develop one yet – they DO sound like a lot of work to get up and running, AND to manage students’ contributions/progress!

  7. AngelFace says:

    What a balancing act dating is. Not too skeptical & not overly hopeful- at the start. I’m going to enforce my boundaries and act upon all the first siignals and intuitions. For example: I have a tentative first date planned for Thanksgiving evening. On phone conversation with him a few days ago he told me that he is having Thanksgiving with his X-Girlfriend of eight years. Also told me they have had a rocky time of it. Well.

    I an on can Ellington the first date when he calls me. I will calmly tell him he is free to contact me if he does break the relationship with her. Simple as that! I made it clear from the start that I will date only single available men. Guess he was hoping to ‘fly under the radar’? Hah! I’ve got satellites. Any, and I’m receiving Clear and rapid information !

    NO reason at all why I should go on a date with this one cause truth is that he will compare and consider if I’m of value to him, and hmmm, does he really want to leave his so- called X for Any other woman. SMH- shakin my head. NO. Not me. Not this time.

    I’m going out dancing on Thanksgiving night and who knows, maybe I will meet a good man who IS available! And if I don’t meet one no problem. cause I’m going to have Fun!!! I won’t be wasting my time and
    Ost of all I won’t put myself in a position (again) to fall for a man who is to chicken tort go of a woman he doesn’t want.
    BALANCE. And doing what is right for me!

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      Oh my, your “compare and consider” line gave me a deja vu chill as I realized that this is exactly what these men do! It’s what my ex did to me. They are constantly comparing and considering what value we will be to them and if we measure up on some internal checklist. This is not the same as doing a healthy assessment of a potential partner in terms of what qualities and values they possess, and whether or not we will be compatible. This is much more calculating and mercenary.

      Early on in my relationship, my ex made a list of positive qualities he saw in me, such as “gentle spirit, treats herself well, positive outlook, lover of nature, likes people, thinks well, open to wonder” and so on. It was a really long list. At the time I was flattered and thought, “Wow, he’s really looking at me deeply. He sees who I am.” I thought it was a compliment. Ha. Now I realize that it was more a checklist that he was comparing to some inner criteria he measures women by. Obviously I didn’t measure up to his satisfaction because I got dumped for someone else not long afterwards. I always wondered what HER list looked like…

  8. AngelFace says:

    Sorry for typos above. Typed it from my phone. I am going to cancel the date. Phone Auto typed blah blah Elington? Sorry.

  9. AngelFace says:

    Not overly hopeful,and not too skeptical. But I Will listen to and act upon any and all warning signals. I have a first date planned for Thanksgiving nighty with a man, who on the phone a few days ago, told me he is having Thanksgiving dinner in the day with his X-girlfriend.

    I made it clear from start that I am only interested in dating men who are available and that includes men who are holding onto Xs for any reason. Next time he calls me I will calmly cancel the first date.

    Asta La Vista,Baby. I’m going out Thanksgiving night to eat, hear music, dance and have fun. I will be in the position to meet a man who IS available. No matter what, I wont be wasting my time and I will have FUN.

    I will never put myself in a place of sick competition with the X or other girlfriend. No Sir, No Way.

    My New Dating Balancing Act = Always doing what is best for me and keeping my standards high and my boundaries intact!

  10. Lilia says:

    What about those of us who date or enter relationships with a too open mind and heart? I think my last two failures with ACs were the result of my being too naive, of trusting them too much too soon.

    Sometimes I think I´m quite stupid, assuming everybody has good intentions towards me. Of course, most men take advantage of this.

    The last guy I went out with, some months ago, told me I looked like a nice girl, a good person. I felt a bit silly, I didn´t think it would show.
    And now that I´ve learned what to look out for, here on BR, I figured he was only interested in sex, and was the player type. If I hadn´t found BR, I´d been devastated by his behaviour, because before, I would´ve believed he was a nice guy just because his hair was grey, listened to my opinions and kissed well. So it was a bit humilliating to discover that:
    1) he knew I am a trusting person
    2) he didn´t intend to be trustworthy himself.
    Luckily I didn´t get sucked in too much and didn´t get emotionally involved – not really.

    As for the ex-EUM, I was just thinking this week that I completely opened up to him while he was leading me on and lying like mad. It really made me feel sorry for myself, not sure what to do with all of this. I suspect I can still fall for his FF when he puts out the charm, I´m a bit concerned.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      Lilia, you’re not alone in this. I was shaken when my last relationship went sour so quickly and without warning because I had gone into it not only with an open heart and mind but with an absolute sense that “this was the right thing to do.” I trusted this sense completely. I never had had such a strong gut feeling before, and my intuition seemed to be firing on all cylinders saying “Go for it! This is absolutely right! God wants this for you!” I mean, I felt I could utterly trust my instincts – and I was WRONG! This was a stunning revelation that shook me to the core. The whole point of doing work on BR and other sites like this is to get wise, get better “spidey senses” and trust our own judgement and intuition. But that’s exactly what I did and it led me down the garden path to a stinking compost heap. Now I’m suspicious of my instincts and gut feelings – but if I can’t trust them, what can I trust?

      • Teddie says:

        We trust our intuition when it confirms what we want, when it suits our agenda (“confirmation bias” is what this is called), but we dismiss it when disconfirms our illusion, huh, just when we need to listen to it most!

        • Learner says:

          I didn’t think of it that way before, but you are so right! Time to get rid of that confirmation bias. It’s fine to go in with an open mind, but when our guts give us new info, we should listen up!
          It may be our only defense against those who exploit our trust, as did the men Lilia and SbW mentioned – and my own manipulative ex.

    • Revolution says:

      Lillia, honey.

      “Sometimes I think I´m quite stupid, assuming everybody has good intentions towards me.” That’s not stupidity. You’re assuming others are as you are. Ever heard the expression, “The thief thinks everyone steals”? Just reverse it, now, darling. You have a warm heart and you assume that in others. That is a STRENGTH, not a weakness. DON’T let ANYONE take that away from you or humiliate you with that. THEY are the ones who should be ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES for taking advantage of a good heart. Just be cautious, my dear, that’s all. Cautious as serpents, innocent as doves. You are on a high shelf. Don’t let the bad ones knock you off. And make the goods ones make the effort to get on their tippey-toes and reach for you. :)

      • Jule says:

        Revolution I love this response! I agree that our good and open hearts and ability to trust despite their mishandling and carelessness is a precious thing we have that no one can steal.

        • Lilia says:

          Thanks for your kind words, Revolution.

          I´ll try to see it that way but I´m used to people making fun of the innocent, so to say, so I´m battering myself up because I didn´t see it coming.
          But yeah, I really like your point of view. They SHOULD be ashamed of themselves.

        • Revolution says:

          Thanks, Jule. I meant every single word of it.

  11. Maria says:

    My last three boyfriends have been unavailable types. Thanks to Natalie I am getting wise to the signs & opting out sooner, my most recent relationship lasted 3 months. As soon as I noticed that he wasn’t treating me well I ended it. Okay there are things I could have done better but all in all I’m glad I gave him a chance but I’m also glad I didn’t stay too long this time.

  12. Nancy says:

    Done with the AC, but dating is awful. I’ve been doing that online thing and I seem to meet up with the same type – if you don’t want to have sex with them after 3 dates, it’s over. I recently started seeing a man, who seemed really nice and had a lot of the qualities I’m looking for in a man: seems decent, is incredibly intelligent, owns his own business, loves music…but, little red flags started popping up. He wanted me to let him know what I wanted to do, but whenever I made a suggestion, he always seemed to have other plans, or wasn’t sure if he would be available. AND, he keeps bringing up sex, even after I told him I wanted to take it slow and get to know him better before we became intimate. He seems a little passive/aggressive to me. So, I said to myself…NEXT! I think I’ll take a break for awhile. I need to work on my trust issues and self esteem issues, etc……I need to put myself first and work through these issues. There’s someone out there for me, but I believe I’ve been so ‘damaged’ by my past that I have difficulty moving forward. Oh well, one day at a time! I love this site, thanks Natalie for all your words of wisdom. I love being able to read what others post……thanks again.

    • EllieMae says:

      Nancy – I have found that same thing – men expect sex after the 3rd date. I’m still trying to remember their last name after the 3rd date! Someone needs to clue me in on whether this is some sort of unwritten dating rule and if that’s what the majority of women actually DO or whether this could be just the type of men I attract/am attracted to.

      I’m 55 years old, been divorced almost 6 years and have never, ever thought of myself as a prude but OMG after 3 dates? If I had never known this person before the 1st date, after 3 dates I’ve spent what 4-5 hours max with this person and I’m expected to have sex with them? In my mind, they are barely an acquaintance let alone someone I want to share an intimate encounter with. I don’t even know whether I’d want even a friendship with them at that point!

      They all pretend to agree with taking things slow and getting to know eachother, but the passive-agressive sexual innuendo increases with every date and they make their expectations crystal clear without saying a word. Then when you cut them loose because they are getting waaay to intense, they try to put the blame on the woman for being so sexy, alluring, blah, blah…blech!

      I may end up being on my dating break for the rest of my life, but I have a great life and am happy more than not. That’s about all anyone can ask for. It would be nice to have someone to share my life with but compared to the horny, disrespectful old men I’ve dated, I am so much better off being single with my dog life-partner!

      • Ellen says:

        Well, there is kind of an unwritten “rule” about sex after 3 dates. But it’s not relationship after 3 dates, it’s sex, e.g. recreational. If you’re not wanting that, and you don’t want to rush the physical intimacy ahead of the emotional intimacy, don’t do it. If that’s what they want and it’s not what you want, bye, bye.

        • EllieMae says:

          Thanks for the tip Ellen! That is sure what it has seemed like to me and I have definately been saying bye, bye as soon as it’s obvious that they are turning up the heat because of course in their mind “wow, she’s really into me because we’ve gone out more than once!”. Yuck….

      • Kit-Kat says:

        EllieMae, this was hilarious !!! and so true at the same time:) Love it….

        “It would be nice to have someone to share my life with but compared to the horny, disrespectful old men I’ve dated, I am so much better off being single with my dog life-partner!

        • Kit-Kat says:

          Nancy. I remember the ex- AC pushing for sex early on because he wanted to see if we were a good fit. YUK. I realize now it wasnt because he had feelings for me or could see us in a committed relationship IT WAS JUST SEX plain & simple. It could be with me or anyone else he met on the dating site. I just think men in general ,think about,need, want sex more than most woman (not all) and have different agendas.I remember a conversation where he said he thought about sex every single day at least once but most times more..IDK, we are just wired different ..But wanting sex early is a big red flag for me from now on ..Just saying :)

          • FX says:

            I used to joke that I had the brain of a teenaged boy and made decisions from below the belt… I thought about sex constantly, had casual sex without a thought and had no problem juggling a few men in my life at a time. As a matter of fact, the ex AC with whom I spent several years was just supposed to be a one night stand LOL EUW much?!!

            I’m so different now that I can’t even imagine being intimate with someone new. I’ve been NC for over 4 months and I think this is the longest I’ve gone without sex since I started having it decades ago.

            I’ve met a couple of men recently IRL who seemed to enjoy my company but I think they figured out that they may actually have to invest some time and effort to get laid so they got lost. Fine with me! I know I have some trust issues after the ex AC but it hasn’t closed my mind – just slowed my roll which is all to the good.

          • NoMo Drama says:

            Wanting it is OK. Pressuring you for it and not respecting your boundaries is not.

        • dancingqueen says:

          Yes I agree, that line made me spit coffee on my cat life-partner:)

        • EllieMae says:

          LOL, yeah my dog (EllieMae) is kind of my benchmark. If I’d rather be home with her, I’m really not into whoever it is that I’m out with :-)

      • runnergirl says:

        Ladies, I could hardly wait to get home from my date to comment on this thread. I’ve only made it to a third date once in 4 months. Sure spanking enough, even though sex hadn’t even been referred to, even indirectly, Dreamy almost 4th date guy brought the subject up on the 3rd date as we were saying good night. He claimed to be sexually attracted to me and even though he was hot and had all his hair, good jeans and what not, I automatically responded that I’d need to know someone before sex. Shoot, at that point, we’d been together maybe 9 hours and I don’t know if I knew his last name,let alone whether there were shared values. Other than hiking, I didn’t even know enough as to whether there were common interests. So our fourth date was going to be a hike in a local park. Low and behold, he wanted to play the weekend by ear cos he’s the “spontaneous” sort and he’d let me know. Nope. That wasn’t gonna work for me. I’m not going to hang while for some guy’s phone call. I think the crapoloa surrounding this third date is shinola. I’m not a fan of Evan Marc Katz (too much boys will be boys) but there is a post on his website with regards to this “third date thingy”. I’m simply not dropping my knickers, period. I know me and I know sex makes my mind go numb and then I tolerate and make excuses for shady behavior. Thus, the guy is going to have to be in for the long haul of actually getting to know one another which would include knowing our last names! So EllieMae, I’m 53 and hear you. The thing that helped me the most was Natalie’s articles on dating. Nope, you don’t have to have sex unless you want to no matter how young or old you are. Bottom line, top line: I’ve got a three month sex boundary. Having sex after three dates when I don’t even know their last name isn’t in the cards. So sorry. That’s the way I roll. I’m 53 and I’ve had bad sex and good sex. I’d prefer a healthy relationship based on trust, honesty, and respect. So, I’m not settling for a roll in the hay with some random hot dude whose last name I don’t know just cos it is a “third date”. I totally agree…there are some horny, old, disrespectful dudes. I’m always grateful when the evening ends and I can get away from those guys. But I gotta say, in some odd way, every single time, I’ve learned so much about me. So I approach every meet up with an open mind because I now know I’ll learn something about me. I know sex is not in the cards. Period.

        • EllieMae says:

          I am so glad to hear I’m not alone on this! The last 5 guys I’ve gone out with have tried their best to break my boundaries.

          So one thing I have learned is the “look”. They get that certain horny-faced look & it’s time to have the convo. So far, they’ve all tried to give me the “well, we’re responsible adults not kids and I have needs” speach and I’m gone…..

          • Kit-Kat says:

            EllieMae… For some reason when I read your comment I got this picture in my mind of this ugly horned toad staring at you trying to convince you if you have sex with him he will turn into an amazing prince. NOT gonna happan and so glad you choose to be gone :)

        • dancingqueen says:

          I hear you Runner and Ellie: my last relationship was over a month wait and it was totally worth it; it still did not last, but we knew each other, we had spent a major holiday together already ( NY eve) and I knew he was not just hanging around to get in the sack. I had none of the anxiety that I would have had, had it been only a few dates.

          I don’t know if it is age or what but seriously cannot imagine sleeping with someone in less than 10 dates minimum and before the monogamy talk. Why set yourself up for anxiety and failure?

          On a side note; I woke up yesterday to an email in my gmail from a man I had 6 dates with 2 years ago, who had flipped out on me and written me a scathing email when I did not respond to his text message in two hours, when I was out with freinds. I had not even seen it, but, even so, super creepy. I had basically told him-respectfully-in email that I was not interested in dating someone who communicated like that, and to please not contact me again. He had continued for a few weeks until I had really laid down the law and told him “DO NOT CONTACT ME” in big letters. 2 years of silence and then…passive agressive email that started with “I know you probably don’t want to hear from me but”…and ended with “So did you ever end up meeting anyone or are you still single?” I think that he saw me on the internet dating site, as that is where we met years ago. A few hours later I get another message “lol, no comment? Still the same, it is all about you, huh?” At which time I searched “Block” on gmail and made a filter, something that I did not know about before. Highly recommend it.

          It was tempting to write back”Sorry but it is all about me; I don’t like crazy, needy men, sorry you got dumped and are sniffing around for some attention 2 years later” but just blocked. Ick. What kind of loser acts this way in his 40’s? Augh, the perils of internet connections…

        • SM says:

          Runner you crack me up and inspire me at the same time. I hope you dont mind but I’ve been sharing your internet dating escapades with a friend who’s been through the ringer just like us. I cant get her to read BR so I just tell her tidbits that I think will resonate with her. And your dating stories always do the trick, she and I both have done a lot of internet dating that has been fun and awful at the same time. She loves hearing your stories because it helps her to see that we are not causing all this wacky behavior from these men. So thank you for being a kindred spirit and for giving me a laugh with ‘you could hardly wait to get home from your date to comment on this thread’.

          • runnergirl says:

            Oh yes, SM you may share away and I’m glad you enjoy the wacky experiences. I can’t imagine dating or life without my BR playbook. That’s what has been so fascinating about meeting perfect strangers, their issues clearly can’t be about me or you or your friend, just as Nat repeatedly points out.
            I do have to admit to being skeptical about one date. His profile indicated that he was 5’2″. I thought it was an error but he was upfront on the phone and asked if that would be a problem. I tried not to hesitate but I was skeptical. I figured since tall hasn’t worked in the past, I thought maybe I’d give short a try, and he was growing peppers. I’m 5’2″ and was wearing flats and I towered over him, so one of us shrunk. It ended up not being a height issue though, it was the fact that he lectured me on how to grow my peppers. After about 20 mins of telling me what I was doing wrong, he leaned back, as though I should drink him in, and said “so what do you think”. Errr, “about what” was my response!
            Cheers SM. Keep an open mind and your BR playbook with you.

            • SM says:

              Ha Runner, I know almost all of the shorter ones dont tell the truth about their height. I usually like to take the stuff these guys do to me and try not to do them to someone else. The last guy I met was ‘in real life’, and I so so enjoyed it. I want that experience again. I am normally a very friendly person (that has its own pitfalls), so its not difficult for me to be open when meeting people, its part of my job actually. However, meeting someone who’s single or even near my age is difficult. I may try internet dating again.

        • Feistywoman says:

          My thoughts exactly. I am not interested in one night stands aside from the horrifying thought that sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase in over 50s. Never had one in my life and don’t intend to start. I also have a 3 month rule to decide on a relationship never mind sex. For the latter it is no glove no love. It is at the 3 month point you will see cracks if there are any in a friendship which should be the starting point for a relationship. I will decide if and when sex comes into play once the relationship is established and if he can’t wait and settle for choking the chicken for a bit then he goes. Any man who thinks that he can bed a woman in 3 dates is a player and immature with a lack of respect for women.

        • Sadder but Wiser says:

          Runner, good for you! Stick to your guns, always. I too am 53 and looking for the real deal after a disappointing 15-year marriage, 6 years of celibacy and one disastrous attempt to leap back into the game (with the ex) a year ago that left me deeply saddened and doubting myself. Here’s the problem tho… it’s possible, due to many circumstances, that I won’t have another relationship and will face living the rest of my life in blessed singleness. Which is ok, and I’m not afraid of being alone… but does that mean that my sexual life is over?? Do I have to do without being held and kissed or have any physical intimacy the rest of my life just because I’m not in a relationship?

          Maybe I’ve seen too many romantic movies and am totally deluded, but is it possible to find a nice, caring man who can be genuinely affectionate and kind and respectful regarding sex, or is the FWB thing always sordid and depressing? I have yet to hear from anyone, anywhere that this ever works in the long run. Or is even all that satisfying in the short run. But I don’t know what other options exist. Am I the only person who wonders if such mutually beneficial and healing sexual experiences (that aren’t creepy, shabby, end-up-feeling-used, disillusioned, etc.) are possible? Has anyone had a genuinely positive sex-but-no-relationship experience?

          The thought of going through life and never being kissed again, or held with tenderness is truly desolate. But the last thing I want is some sleazy, thoroughly depressing casual sex encounter. I fear that’s all that’s out there, and my little fantasy scenario doesn’t exist.

          • grace says:

            If you can find a fwb, you can find a husband. Most people get married. Look around at all the married people you know, fat, thin, old, young, rich poor, able and disabled, beautiful, and not so beautiful, good and bad. Take a good look at yourself. What’s the reason you can’t meet someone? Are you so unlovable. Maybe it’s just that you think you can’t have it.
            If is tenderness and love you want, don’t waste time even thinking that casual sex will satisfy. It’s that kind of thinking that keeps you stuck.
            By the way I’m not saying marriage is everything but if you want if you can. With someone you want to marry, not a sorry compromise.
            No I’ve never had a genuinely satisfying sex with no relationship arrangement. And why would you even want that? I don’t see the point.

            • Kit-Kat says:

              grace.. I agree, I dont see the point. A girl at work was talking to me one day about her FWB guy and I could tell she wanted more from him but he wasnt willing or able to give her more so she was taking his offer of FWB in default.. Screw that :) no pun intended .. I would never go down that road its just not my cup of tea…

            • Kerry says:

              Grace, I appreciate your comment. I too believe there’s a partner out there for everybody, and we are limiting ourselves believing it’s outside our reach. There are millions of people around… we must have many ideal mates, if we could just believe we are deserving and just really make an effort to get out there and mingle. I agree with what someone else said about meetup.com. That’s the best way to meet new people. I belong to several, and they’re fun. It’s like being a tourist in your own city.

          • Tulipa says:

            Sadder but Wiser,

            Friends with benefits is not like the movies it doesn’t turn into a proper relationship if you go into a friends with benefits situation that is likely where it will remain. The trouble with these types of relationships is somewhere along the way you have to face the fact it is not satisfying.

            I have not had a healthy relationship so it not like when I was in a friends with benefits situation I had anything to compare it with but I found after a while it was missing something. Like eating empty calories and I started to think what is wrong with me that you dont want a proper relationship?
            There were times I thought wow this is great there are no demands on me to be a girlfriend but then I could only think how low I have set the bar for myself. When it ended it was painful because now I am thinking I’m not even good enough to keep a man in fwb situation.

            Your thinking is correct these types of relationships don’t last long term and you really are better looking for the full package.

          • runnergirl says:

            Hey Sadder, mind if I call you Wiser? I have my “last chance saloon” moments but I try not to let my mind dwell there or I’ll end up there.
            The only time I did casual sex with with the MM but I imagined I was in a relationship and then was destroyed when I discovered it was casual. There’s more out there. As Natalie suggests,don’t make your mind up that there’s only two options. Hugs.

            • Lilia says:

              I haven´t been in a fwb situation but the casual sex I´ve had has always been disappointing. Not technically, many times things did work out physically, but then as soon as it was over I felt empty. It was awkward not to cuddle, not to smile at each other, just a quick shower and goodbye, see ya.
              I always ended up thinking I´d have had a better time doing anything else.

          • Sadder but Wiser says:

            After all these comments, I had to take a hard look at my attitudes about relationships and have come to the rather embarrassing conclusion that I’m not sure I really want another one. But I do want sex! (Ok, now I’m mortified – how shallow does this sound?)

            I just have never been good at relationships and have never really enjoyed them. Hard to admit, but true. Looking back at all of them since high school, I realize I’ve never had a happy one. They have all ranged from mildly disappointing to utterly miserable. The boys/men involved were either various EU varieties or lukewarm or pushy or unpleasant or moody. Or they really wanted someone else and I was an acceptable subsitute. My desire for real companionship and intimacy, and just the joy of doing things together was always disappointed. Even my marriage was more stress and estrangement than happiness. So I’m not as rah-rah about relationships as I wish I was.

            I’m happy being on my own, living on my own, not having to deal with anyone else’s problems or baggage or decisions. There is loneliness, yes, but tremendous freedom too. I’m enjoying myself for the first time in many years. But as I originally wrote, what I don’t want to give up is human warmth, touch and physical intimacy. I know (believe me) that casual sex isn’t even a remotely desireable option and was just musing that I wish there was a third, happy option available to someone like me. Maybe I should give polygamy a try. :)

            • Tulipa says:

              I had exactly the same thoughts as you Sadder but Wiser I haven’t had any good relationships I don’t know if I am capable of one thought I am working on this mind set.
              But it was that kind of thinking that lead me to believe fwb was going to be perfect suit my needs. But it is what led me to baggage reclaim.
              I wish there was another option too… haven’t spotted one that works yet except healthy.

      • Jule says:

        I have heard about the 3rd date thing but I think it’s BS — I don’t play by that rule. Someone told me that a book is out about how to deal with this issue. She said that you can weed out the players by not having sex until they agree to be exclusive. YOu can say “this kissing is great and I’m sure you’re awesome but I don’t sleep with anyone unless they consider me their exclusive girlfriend and they are my exclusive boy friend” If they take off, then they were never a good candidate and didn’t want a relationship. If they stick around then they really genuinely like you. And you will have your answer.

    • valleyforgelady says:


      I think men need to think that a relationship has a potential for a physical/sexual connection and women need to be reassured that there can be an emotional connection. We both want thess connections but the sequence is different. I think through careful communication a couple can be reassuring of the other’s concerns. The woman can be physically interactive without being full blown sexual and the man can be open enough emotionally that the woman knows he is not just trying to get laid. This is the dance of courtship! There are disordered men who are just in it for the sex just as there are women who are either psychos or money grubbers, but if you use your head you can get past this. Ask God for wisdom to keep out the wolves and allow the good guys in!

    • Little Star says:

      Nancy, good for you that you not allowing your dates to break your boundaries and values. I was stupid enough to sleep with my current AC on third date… HE told me, that I am a “bad girl” as I slept with him on third date:-( I felt bad already about it and he kept pointing out!!! He even know the reason why I did that…
      Do not lose HOPE “sister”, I think the Right Guy will wait:-)

      • Willow says:

        I put very clear boundaries in place about exclusivity and he agreed them all- and guess what- he cheated on me, behind my back, lied to cover it up and it took me a long time to discover this.I was distraught. He is a rat.

        • Kit-Kat says:

          willow. SO sorry about what happaned to you. I was also cheated on behind my back,lied too and the list goes on. Its a horrible feeling to know someone you loved & trusted could so easily do these things but they do and they always will. Its not about you dear, its them, they are screwed up and we got sucked into it all.. He is a scumbag ,FLUSH …cyber hug

        • FX says:

          Sorry you went through that Willow. Yes, he is a rat. We can set our boundaries and be prudent but can’t proactively protect ourselves from everything if someone is intent on misleading us. I hope you went NC immediately. My hope now is that my ability to synthesize information and my knowledge and instincts from my ex experience will offer some measure of protection going forward but I know there are no guarantees. I don’t want to be fearful or go Columbo ever again but I will be vigilant and opt out more readily after all I’ve learned.

  13. sushi says:

    My upbringing did not teach me how to trust myself and my opinion, in fact I wasn`t allowed to have an opinion or express it without fear of upsetting my parents. Coupled with “punishment” by lack of approval and love if I didn`t comply. Sexual abuse by my grandfather probably deleted the notion of boundaries so early on. I think this set me up for the mess that my relationships were. I never trusted myself to judge situations and was ripe for abusive and bad relationships. It was really a repeat of my abuse from childhood; I knew they felt wrong and were making me desperately unhappy but proceeded anyway, because I couldn`t have been right. I think it`s a BR miracle and the fact that I AM a strong person that I am learning how to trust myself. Contemplating the childhood -relationships cycle I got angry and upset at my family and exes and myself and then thought to myself, hell with them all, I LOVE YOU! Most important I love you I ever got, from myself :) While I got into relationships despite the flags waving I did wait for the assorted shoes to drop, and of course they did. But since I have more faith in myself now if a good man comes along I hope I`ll be open to it. Fingers crossed. Your assertive course is brilliant, Natalie.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Sushi; that shows how brave you are; that you are able to take yourself out of the equation and validate yourself. Yes, love yourself, always love yourself no matter who does, or does not, love you:) You go!

      • sushi says:

        dancingqueen, thank you. read your comment to me and immendiatelly felt unworthy of someone saying something nice to me. But noted the reaction and now graciously; thank you again :)

        • Learner says:

          Aww sushi, I hear you re: the upbringing not being conducive to trusting yourself, let alone anyone else. It’s fantastic to hear about that “I love you” that you gave yourself. It must have been an amazing moment.

    • Tigger says:

      Hi Sushi
      I’m with you on all but the grandfather bit. Well done!!!

  14. Laura says:

    Thank you for all of the posts that I have read. They helped me let go of a relationship that was no longer serving on any level. Recently, I met a man. Somehow, our connection became a catalyst in opening me up on levels that I did not think were possible. “Keeping an open mind” is the theme. Somehow, I feel as though I’m in a time warp. In your opinion, does actual age really matter? This man is 19 yrs my junior on the linear plane. In other respects, his soul’s wisdom is an entirely other age. I had closed the book in my own mind, based on “cultural rules.” Now, I’m open to continue to receive any gifts from our connection, while I attempt to stay unattached to any outcomes. If you have any thoughts, I’d appreciate them. Thank you…

    • Revolution says:

      Hi Laura,

      Honestly, if he’s of legal age, unattached, and treats you with kindness, dignity, and respect, then I say go for it. That’s my two cents. Just apply good boundaries and take it slow, just as you would any relationship.

    • grace says:

      The bf is fifteen years younger than me, which I am still not comfortable with. However, I would have been comfortable with a ten yr difference either way and it seemed silly to throw it away for the sake of five years.
      We have talked about it and likely will again. But you have to talk in every relationship about children, where you will live, finances, retirement, care in old age. Not on the first date but winging it only takes you so far and I think points to lack of commitment. It is scary to start narrowing down your options and make plans, but better to do a few things well than try to do everything but badly.
      You are in a relationship with this man with the commitment, compromises and decisions that entails. Don’t try to be single as well because the age difference bothers you. In or out?
      I think you’ll be happier in. At least if it ends you won’t be kicking yourself, wishing you’d really given it your best instead of hedging your bets. You can’t remain unattached and process the relationship. Sure you can make it last a long time but it won’t be the deep and loving connection that makes the risk worthwhile. I don’t need another friend, or a good for now acquaintance, I don’t need validation, sex or security. I choose to get to know this man deeply and intimately for the foreseeable future and see what happens. And, this is big for me, let him know me.
      And yes, he is mature for his age. He’s over thirty which helps, but I guess even twenty somethings can be wise.
      I’m assuming all parties are of legal age of course! And beware the younger men or women just looking for a short term fling, and assume that you’re too old to want more.

  15. Judy says:

    Learning how to be open to someone new after you’ve been burned, in big and small ways, is very hard. Until I turned 30, I spent a lot of time on emotionally unavailable men. Through this site and some intense therapy, I realized what my problem was. However, now I’m living in a fairly rural/suburban area, with pretty slim pickings as far as dating goes. Most people rely on online dating, but to be a successful online dater, you have to have tough boundaries and not be too surprised when you come up empty-handed. It’s not always a good recipe for dating. I recently dated someone for a month t

  16. Judy says:

    Oops! Hit publish when I meant to hit the enter key.

    I recently dated someone for a month that I met online. He seemed very much on board for a relationship. We disabled our online profiles, he called to talk, he met my family, we even talked about a weekend away. But I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop because in my experience, it inevitably does. Sure enough, one day we got into a poltical argument (I have a graduate degree in political science). The next day, he said broke up with me, saying some nasty things on the way out.

    My point is, I genuinely am at a place, after everything I’ve been through in relationships, where I know what I value and what I want. My relationship with me is always a work in progress, I accept that. But after having so many dating relationships go wrong, it’s really hard to accept and be comfortable in a new relationship when I haven’t experienced that. It seems to me the only way to get there is trust and time.

  17. miskwa says:

    I have never seen men as the enemy. However, their behavior often leaves much to be desired. I tend to opt out right away, especially after the disaster with the at work AC. I have tried to give on line dudes the benefit of the doubt but it has never worked and winds up hurting the poor guy and wasting lots of my time. I also get a lot of indigent, scraping by, needy dudes. A dating coach said this is inevitable because I come off as being very responsible and financially secure. From now on, if I am not feeling it, if I meet them and it’s obvious that they have lied about their appearance and health, they’re gone post haste. I often want to give them a chance because one only meets men willing to come to this town about every 3-4 months, not very good odds. From now on, I will opt in only when I feel the situation is opt-worthy. I have temporarily bailed out of on line sites and have off loaded some toxic colleagues who think I ought to settle for the first uneducated, overweight man that comes my way. (Gotta love it, when this person knows damn well I am watching my (uneducated) dad slowly die from a lifetime of overeating and other very bad lifes choices). I am focussing on getting this sustainability program going, working on my own building, getting firewood in, trying to fix up this house to increase it’s value so I can sell out and bail outta here in 8 years time, both from teaching and this town. If I meet someone of quality in the meantime great, but I am not counting on it. A number of posters commented on the push for sex on date 3. I think this is becoming really common, here in the western States, there is waaay too much emphasis on casual relationshits. Unfortunately many women do give in to this which makes men think we all will. I have been pressured by date 2 (and found this amusing because this was a dude who lied big time about his health and probably woulda died during the process). For me, this is grounds for giving him a ticket to dumpsville as no man stating he wants a committed relationship ought to be doing this.

    • EllieMae says:

      “From now on, I will opt in only when I feel the situation is opt-worthy”.

      Miskwa, this is so great that I am going to borrow it as my new dating affirmation. Thanks!

  18. Kristen says:

    It’s nice to see some “older” women in here. After about 45, many of us need to date online or we’d have no/very few dating options at all. It’s frustrating, because online dating is a minefield of narcissists, perpetual boys, cheaters and bullshitters. That said, my best friend met her husband, who’s a great guy, online and they’ve been happily married for eight years.

    I’m 49 and my friends are all either married or in long term relationships, I already know all their friends, I don’t meet new people at work (it could happen but would be a fluke), so if I want to date, I either have to hang out on a street corner, in bars, or go online. Online is great if you want to date and have casual sex. Finding a partner online? It’s a jungle in there and you need to have your wits about you. For that purpose, though, online dating is a great experience. I’ve been doing it for almost a year and it has taken me that long to toughen up, trust my gut, keep my eyes open, yet remain open, which also allows me to relax and enjoy the moment.

    Experience, meaning dating a lot, is a great way to get over your emotional blocks and learn or re-learn how to really know who you are and enforce your boundaries, whatever those are (they will evolve).

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Kristen… I agree with you on your statement:
      It’s frustrating, because online dating is a minefield of narcissists, perpetual boys, cheaters and bullshitters.
      I deleted my profile on a dating site for the above reasons. Are there good guys on there, absolutely, just more that are not and it seems like the are nots are rampant. Its an easy feeding ground for them. They dont even have to leave the house.Create profiles full of BS just to suck you in. I pass.

  19. Tyla says:

    I think we need to keep working on getting better at trusting our instincts. I met someone who within half hour of meeting them was talking about having sex with me. Now, being a single women who hasn’t dated in a while I wasn’t overly offended by this (I found it amusing actually) and I did find him physically attractive and quite funny. HOWEVER, this is a situation where even though you’re having a good time with someone and don’t take things too seriously in the dating world where you’re gut needs to tell you – ok, this guy is talking about sex and we’ve known eachother all of a hot minute so our morals/values prob don’t match and this isn’t someone to involve yourself with or expect any type of respect/decency from in the long run. I think it’s easy for things to seem muddled when you date bc on one hand, I’m not looking for my “prince charming” or taking it too seriously but on the other hand, I’m not interested in being used, mistreated or disrespected by flaky people either. So listening to your gut needs to be perfected! If someone displays under the radar questionable signs, it’s prob some amber/red flags stuff you need to pay attention to. Don’t ignore it or reason with yourself. Pay attention. Avoid douche baggery!

  20. lo j says:

    Oh, Sushi, good for you!!
    Until recently, I had this “voice” in the back of my head, questioning, doubting most of my actions/decisions. I’d usually ask someone else what I should/shouldn’t do. Then one day, it was like ‘ding! ding!’ (literally), YOU are the authority of you, you’re own feelings will tell you, trust them. IF my intentions and motives are not ego driven, selfish or harmful to me or others, I know I’m okay. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out, sometimes I put my tail between my legs in embarrassment, but my gut ALWAYS knows.
    FYI … there are good, decent men. I see them every day. They aren’t perfect … neither are we. Darn!!!
    And … at this time in my life I think I would be fine to be in a relationship if someone were to come along. But my subconscious may be telling me I should actively pursue one, as I dreamt my crochet hook (my current addiction) was shaped/felt like a penis!! Ha ha ha ha!!

    • sushi says:

      lo j,
      thank you, yes the “voice” , I had it too. It was like a good and bad policemen. The question that made me click on BR was “Did I let a good man go?” and it took me a year and a half of reading to answer that question to myself with full conviction and took me places I never wanted to re-visit. A year and a half ago if God himself told me ” that man was bad, good on you sushi” I would have been relieved for two minutes and then ….uh…what if God is not right about this.( sorry grace for a religious reference, just trying to convey the desperate depths here ). The penis shaped crochet hook- that i`d worry about- just kidding :)

  21. Demke says:

    I’ve noticed in the past 6 months I have become a lot more open-minded, and just interested in getting to know men that I’ve dated as ‘people’, and just seeing how we interact with one another.

    I don’t get nervous at all like I used to. It’s just a date, with a person. And I used to have the ‘last chance saloon’ mindset and that every man I dated could be ‘The One’. I don’t think that way anymore, which is probably why I’m meeting more quality men. I no longer say yes just to anyone anymore (just to feel good when I was down about the ex).

    I’m dating a man now who is so nice, I’ve always known him through a mutual friend, but never really ‘noticed’ him or even thought twice about him before because my mind was too pre-occupied with the drama from the ex.

    We’ve gone out several times, at first, I wasn’t all that attracted to him (probably because he wasn’t a jerk, lol and he’s actually cute), but that is changing as I’m keeping an open mind… no negative, just enjoying him as a person. We are moving slowly, getting to know one another… and it’s really awesome. He’s done everything right so far :). You know, like how you’d think to yourself ‘if only he did this, or that, or took me here.’ This guy does that, without even dropping a hint.

    I trust myself a heck of a lot more than I ever did… my boundaries and values are in check. And when you do meet a decent man… he won’t even think of busting your boundaries, or treating you with an ounce of disrespect. Believe it :).

    • Lilia says:

      That´s wonderful, Demke.

      I´ve yet to come across a man who is respectful, I feel the ones I´ve met lately are all bulldozers crushing my boundaries. I feel drained, emotionally.
      Sometimes I wonder if things weren´t simpler when there were a lot of rules in courtships and romantic relationships. A Victorian gentleman seems extremely sexy to me now, lol.

    • Allison says:


      Spot on!!!!

      Good luck to you!

    • Revolution says:

      Hi Demke,

      Thank you for sharing your positive dating experience with us. Although I get MUCH good information and perspective on BR, I pay special attention when a woman on here talks about being in a good relationship. It bolsters me that good relationships are possible out there, and I sorely need to build that hope.

      I’m glad everything is working out well, and I wish you both peace and happiness. :)

  22. rana says:

    Good for u angel face. He is not ready for dating sure he has many red flags. Run.

    Lilia do not think that if he has grey hair he shall compromise u n be good. For example if he was a liar for 40-50 years it would be hard to change. I had this thought towards my ex fiance n it ended being me the one to comprpmise n turn a blind eye towards his mistake although he is much older then me.

  23. Revolution says:

    So many things going through my mind as I read this post. In theory, I know that we should have that “sweet spot” of juuuust enough trust (but not too much now! We gotta patrole our boundaries!) while going into the wild world of dating. I admit to seeing men as “the enemy” though I don’t WANT to. It’s not that I dislike men; quite the contrary. However, it’s more of a defensive (versus offensive)stance that I take towards the opposite gender. I have experienced, and seen so many women experience, the most hostile, disrespectful, vulgar, inhumane, selfish, abusive behavior from men. Does that make me bitter or angry? Actually, you know what? It makes me shut my eyes tight and FORCE myself to FIND FAITH in men. So much so that I overlook bad behavior from them sometimes as a way to restore my belief in their humanity. God, I wish I was being melodramatic, but I’m not.

    Do you know what’s sad (and revolting to me)? When I hear that a man has been abused/left or otherwise “done wrong” by a woman, it actually makes me relieved? How sick is THAT? It’s not that I’m HAPPY to hear of it, nor that I don’t feel for the dude. But it makes me think that it’s not just women who seemingly ALWAYS get the raw end of the deal.

    So in conclusion….I don’t know, I guess what I’m saying is that I have a horrible, flinching-dog-cowering-in-the-corner feeling towards men. And yet, added into this crazy mixture is a surprisingly naive, overly optimistic hope that they’re not all that way. It’s like I WANT TO BELIEVE in them so much, but I just can’t seem to build a faith that stands the test of time. Or maybe I’m just subconsciously looking for guys to confirm that I’m “right” about my worldview of them, thereby attracing/being attracted to only ACs and EUs. It’s a clusterf*ck for sure, and it makes me want to wave the white flag.

    I know what you guys might say after reading this. Something akin to “Well, obviously YOU’RE not ready to date with this attitude, missy!” And I’m not sure that you’d be entirely wrong. But the Catch-22 here is that this belief of mine gains strength and momentum the more I’m out of the game and/or dating ACs. So, what’s the answer here?

    Have I severely depressed everyone yet? Lol, sorry.

    • selkie says:

      No Revolution, you didn’t depress me. Yu made me feel less alone in this. I’m right there with you. I wrote a comment similar to yours and decided not to post it because it seemed so depressing and full of self pity when I read it back to myself (I’m not saying that about you, but about me). Trusting someone new feels like jumping into a pit of wild animals. I’m jaded, as much as I don’t want to be. (this alternates with glimmers of hope on good days) But what good is that? I know that mindset will keep me stuck, but it’s so damn hard to change it when you keep getting disappointed by people…not just bf’s. I too feel like this is gaining momentum. I’ve worked hard and rounded some emotional corners for the good, but when is the good going to become tangible? It’s occurred to me that maybe I’m not that likable. That maybe I drive people away. I wish I was a fly on the wall in my own life so I could see myself, the me who comes out of my mouth when I talk. Am I feeling a little sorry for myself? Yes, lately I am. I feel incredibly alone in my life. I like who I am, but feel so unimportant in the scheme of life. Being alone seems easier in some ways, like not being cheated on, lied to, or punched, but it has it’s own hurts. Sick newborn babies (I work with them) that are hooked up to monitors and can’t leave the hospital suffer future emotional issues sometimes from lack of being touched and held. It doesn’t seem that far a stretch that adults can suffer from not feeling love too. I apologize to the BR crowd too, for sounding so negative. I’ve come so far, I know this on a logical level but these little dips into depression, where all you want is a hug, but have no one to hug you just makes the bad days feel worse.

      • Lilly says:

        Selkie, I can relate to the bad days and those dips into depression. I have moments when I feel sorry for myself too, and I’ve noticed that they coincide with feeling hopeless, or helpless and rejected by the ex ‘thing’ (sorry, still angry) and so when I feel this way I remind myself that it was my decision to start NC, my decision to leave an unhealthy situation and my decision to seek a better life. I’m not hopeless there is a better life for me then the one I was living, I’m not helpless as I’m trying to do something about it and ultimately it is me who has rejected him. You need to keep telling yourself how wonderful and courageous you are to have come so far. You have a very important job (all those precious babies) so YOU are a very important person. You sound lovely and very likeable and from one BR sister to another here’s a big, big hug.

        • Learner says:

          Lilly and Selkie,
          *waves hand* Yup, I am getting those bad days too. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it, but then I come and read here, and realize that I MUST stay NC no matter how many times I end up reminiscing or feeling sad.

          Lilly, I must say I am so pleased and impressed with your progress over the last little while. Your brief period of being in contact with the ex seems to have strengthened your resolve to return to and to stay NC, and to give your love to YOU instead. So inspiring – Good for you! Hugs NC sister (yes, I still consider you my NC sister :) )

          • selkie says:

            Lilly, Thanks for the (((hug))) and the positive thoughts.

            Learner, the bad days come and go, for sure. I agree, BR is such a positive place to come and get your refill when your hope is running low.

          • Lilly says:

            Learner, I got burned big time, but I learned something. He’s still the same! I did get the opportunity to tell him how painful it’s all been for what it was worth. He said he was sorry for his “deficient conduct”, but refused to speak about the baby. This is still so difficult to take in, but I’m working hard on detaching us from him. So much pain, but some days are easier than others. I’m definitely back on the horse and it’s been 16 days NC this time around. NC really does work the more space between him and I the calmer I am. He’s returning to Aus early next month and there’s likely to be further contact as we have a couple of research papers under review. If they are published or submitted to another journal he will contact me. I’m bracing myself, but will be following Natalie’s advice about contact when you have to work with someone. You’ve handled this situation brilliantly in the past and I hope I can too. Learner, thank you for your support through all this you have been truly amazing and I know you are hurting too. You will ‘always’ be my NC sister, hugs to you xxx.

            • Learner says:

              “Deficient conduct” may be a bit of an understatement! Glad you’re back on the NC horse and sounding stronger than ever. I hope that if you need to work on any manuscripts with the ex creature from the deep lagoon, that you can do it electronically? That’s how I have worked with co-authors and it seems to keep things nicely business-like :)

    • Lilly says:

      Revolution, you haven’t depressed me. You’ve expressed my sentiments exactly. The thought of ever dating again terrifies me. I know there are good men out there somewhere, but I’ve armed myself with a cross, lots of garlic and a wooden stake. My life partner will be my beautiful dog from now on.

    • sushi says:

      Maybe this would help you: general problem with me was that I felt powerless and at mercy of other people.Wheather they loved me, or liked me or what they thought of me, the approval thing was like a power they had over me. Hence a man not loving me or hurting me and even the idea that he might felt like the end of the world.Like I won`t be able to cope and that it would be unbearable and destroy me.Did not even cross my mind that I simply have a choice to not accept the bad behaviour towards me, say no and follow with action. Imagine that instead of cowering in the corner you just let yourself experience what gets put forward to you and make a proceed or flush decision, and then another and re-asses bit by bit, that`s Natalies trust credit and debit. This is like not taking on the whole man species and trying to make sense of what they are like, it`s going to put you in control of one situation with one person at the time. I found myself at one point feeling like I just can`t trust the world at all and decided that I`ll have a faith in me and that I don`t have to get it perfectly right every time. I`s working for me, I feel stronger, more grounded and to my surprise it feels that if I met another man and got disappointed and hurt again- this time it would not destroy me. It`s an indescribedly good feeling. It makes the sense out of chaos.

    • Grizelda says:


      I’ve been at a loss for something to say about this article and, reading your comment, I now know why — I share your concerns.

      Going in with an open mind is what got me into this mess for the last five years. I kept an open mind about some elements of his character, situation and backstory. I’m a perceptive realist — I know how to read people. He supplied the dots and I carefully connected them. “Don’t be such a harsh judge!” I told myself. “Listen to what he says, read him, know that there’s x-amount of truth and x-amount of lies (outright or by omission), and make your own mind up whether or not he’s worth it. You’re smart. It’ll be alright.” Sadly he turned out to be an extremely high functioning psychopath. Even more sadly, I was exactly his ideal prey — I went in slowly and steadily, with eyes open, mind whirring, engaging intellectually as well as physically, trying not to judge too harshly yet retaining strength and independence, following the breadcrumb trail, ultimately offering my heart and my mind along with the rest of me, which to all initial appearances made him very happy indeed with his ‘win’. Five long years it took for him to tire of someone so strong and able — probably a world’s record for a mentally disordered man — and he nearly finished me off in the end.

      Having said that… I want to return to what constitutes an ‘open mind’. I think an open mind has to be a best-informed mind. Reading Natalie’s teachings here and those of Claudia Moscovici, as well as the books, reports and articles of Drs Robert Hare, Paul Babiak, Martha Stout and others have opened my mind further to a whole other world of the – sadly – highly predictable anti-social, sociopathic behavioural patterns of a surprisingly large proportion of the male population. Admittedly, it makes depressing reading. But I wish I had read it many years ago and could have referenced it before I got in too deep.

      A couple weeks ago I was talking to a man who shared a mutual friend with me. He seemed to target me like a missile. In the two hours after meeting, he performed with precision little vignettes of all the EU/AC/psych behaviour into which I’d been mentally immersing myself. An amused little cartoon chap sitting at the back of my brain, like in the stands at a sporting event, was clapping and stomping his little feet and shouting out “whoo! blowing hot now!”, “hurrah, information drip feed!”, “here comes the future faking!”, “two points! he just gave me the ‘and one time, at band camp’ tale of woe which makes him look like the damaged victim!”, “wow, get a load of those hollow words of emotional mimicry!”. He went on to try to make plans to see me again, but no. Just, no. I’d seen and heard quite enough.

      It would have been lovely to have remained ignorant of the solidly depressing metric ton of evidence and diagnostics surrounding the appalling instinct, motives and behaviour of men who have varying degrees of psychopathy. I really felt tarnished and dirty after learning that these men are literally incapable of genuinely feeling any of the emotions they try to mimic or lay claim to feeling while the suck the lifeblood out of others. I felt duped and used. And things once learned cannot be un-learned.

      But ignorance is no defence. That’d be counter to having a real open mind, wouldn’t it?

      • Teddie says:


        Do you know Sandra Brown’s work? Particularly her book “Women who love psychopaths” and her PT blog? She is bothered less with the psycopaths and more with the profile of the women that fall for them, very insightful if you’re exploring how you found yourself the victim of a psycho.

        • Grizelda says:

          Thanks Teddie, I will add it to the list! These people are parasites on society. They thrive at the expense of everyone else. I laughed out loud with recognition and relief at Martha Stout’s assertion that the only way to deal with these parasites is to cut them out of your life completely. She said you won’t be hurting anyone’s feelings by doing this. They have no feelings to hurt.

        • Learner says:

          Oh Teddie, I looked at Sandra Brown’s work, and some of the traits she speaks of made me feel sick with recognition. I hope the exMM was not a full-blown psychopath, but he sure has some of the characteristics. Eww. It was reassuring that not all of the “victims” are considered to be “weak”, but possibly needing a certain kind of attention from men with certain characteristics. Healthy self esteem and boundaries are protective, though, as Natalie often reminds us. Sooo glad to be out of the web of deceit.

      • Mymble says:

        Yeah but…
        Getting involved with a MM requires you to do the opposite of having an open mind, it means shutting your eyes tightly to the reality of that person and their actions and not joining THOSE dots, leaving them out
        of the picture. Knowing that they are lying some of the time means you are in the looking glass world of never knowing what is true and what isn’t. Which is the difficulty I have, I feel now I never knew the reality of this person, what was true and what wasn’t.

        • grace says:

          Yes, an open mind isn’t the same as shutting yourself off from reality, I would say it’s embracing reality. Rejoice that he and his wife had made a lifelong commitment, maybe with children, and stay the hell out of it.
          It’s pointless, futile, self defeating, and self destructive to apply normal relationship rules to an affair. I remember trying to do it myself. I was sick with anxiety. Not because i loved him but because i was being INSANE. Well, at least it didn’t sit well with me.
          I can’t stress enough how absolutely basic a requirement it is that you both be properly single before embarking on a new relationship. Automatically cuts out ninety percent of garbage, that’s my experience anyway.

    • Learner says:

      Revs, yes, if only we could find that “sweet spot” of trusting. I am cowering in the corner with you! This may sound totally off the wall, but just yesterday I was thinking of the hurt I have had at the hands of men, and wondered if I should just “switch teams”. Women just seem to “get” me emotionally, more than men do. I’m not sure how the whole physical part would go, as my natural preferences are *not* in that direction, lol. Seriously, though, I fully relate to the whole catch-22 thing. No answers, just commiserating. I suppose if we listened to this post, we should keep an open mind!

      • Revolution says:

        Selkie, Lilly, Griz, Learner, Sushi,

        Thank you all for your responses. My emotions have been leaning precariously towards the maudlin in the last day or two, so that’s why my post was so downhearted. I just feel defeated lately. I feel like that dude in the Greek myth that keeps pushing the boulder up the hill, only to have it perpetually slide down over and over again.

        Selkie,I’m glad I made you feel less alone in this. I, too, am feeling disheartened with having disappointment after disappointment with loved ones these past couple of years. And yes, I think there is something to your “newborn baby” story. How heartbreaking for them, and also us. Geez, this post of mine is getting more and more depressing, eh?

        Lilly, please hug your beautiful dog for me. And also, I hope that we both get over the fear of dating and eventually find men who are worthy of our guileless hearts.

        Sushi, I think you’re right in how you handle things. The “proceed or flush” pattern is how we logically should go forward. But how do we stay in the vacuum, either in between dates or just after dozens of “flushes” after bad behavior? It just seems overwhelming sometimes. I want to regain the sense of confidence and hope that I read in your comment, but right now (at this moment) I’m far from it. Your words give me something to aspire to, so thank you.

        Griz, as another realist, I TOTALLY agree that an open mind is also an informed mind. I guess the key is to make sure the information that we feed the mind is correct in the first place, so that it is an accurate gauge. At the moment, at least for myself, my mind is way too negative in terms of dating. I don’t think that this is realism. I need to recalibrate first, I think. Maybe it’s just PMS, as someone mentioned. Anyway, good for you and your cheering section for opting out with that weirdo.

        Learner, you made me laugh out loud with the “switching teams” comment! I hear ya! Like you, if it wasn’t for my damn heterosexual biological urges, I’d do it in a heartbeat! Runnergirl, just so you know, I’d probably go after you first. You sound hot, funny, and I have a feeling I’d like an “older” woman (not old, please note, just older than myself). Whaddya say, Runnergirl? 😉

        Just having a laugh, because I need to lighten the mood for myself. I have to quit all of this negative ballyhoo. I promise I will, and then I’ll be back to my tough self again soon. Be ready to have your asses kicked again soon, ya’ll. :)

        • Learner says:

          Sooo, you’re going for Runnergirl first, are you? OK, in that case, I’m going for Fearless – she has her own sense of humour, she tells it like it is, and I’ll bet *she’s* hot, too. Fearless, are you out there? lol

          • Revolution says:


            I got DE.NIED. by Runnergirl. Now I’m going for Teachable (my first choice, actually, but I didn’t think she’d have me).

            Teachable, you out there? :)

            • Learner says:

              awwww, sorry you were denied by runner – I think she let you down gently though. I haven’t heard back from Fearless, but maybe she just doesn’t want to blow hot, lol. I hope we don’t have to resort to being each others’ FBG’s if Fearless and Teachable flush us. That just wouldn’t be right somehow!!! Oh my, I’m glad we can laugh at ourselves like this. So much better than crying over some AC!

        • Lilia says:

          Well, I don´t know if this helps. But I was talking this over with a friend who is into these new age theories (I´m not) and she thought that my encounters with ACs and EUMs can be taken as tests. So, if I am able to flush them, it´s like telling the universe that Yes, I am ready for you to send me a good man! I am brave enough to renounce to the crumbs and wait for the loaf! I am emotionally open for a real relationship!

          However, if I put up with anything unworthy, it´s like I´m asking for more of the same.
          I´m not sure if things work like that, it sounds a bit simplistic but at least it gives some meaning to the bad experiences.

          • NoMo Drama says:

            I sometimes see it the same way, but then I ask why can’t the Universe test me by sending someone right for me to see if I know one when I see one? The same lessons over and over and over until you can see them coming a mile away (see the little man in another poster’s head, above) get really old.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hey there Revolution and ladies,
          I was going to jump in and say what Pink Panther said but she hit it out of the ball park. Great job and you articulated it beautifully PP. My BFF (only now she’s not) is gay and I watched (and listened) her experience the same things we talk about on BR with ladies. It’s the nature of relationships same sexed or opposite sex. Also, gentlemen post here about their experiences with EUW’s and female AC’s and their comments sound pretty darn similar to ours.
          I wish I had some pearl of wisdom to cheer you all up. For me,I am finding it is a lot about what Nat describes in this post. It’s a balance between unrealistic optimism and unrealistic pessimism. I didn’t decide to date until I wasn’t riddled with fear, dread or unbridled excitement and until I thought I may be able to trust myself (but I’d never know unless I tried). Then I figured if online didn’t work, I’d just take my profile down. No big deal.
          And Rev…my gay gf convinced me that heter/homo sexuality is nature not nurture! So I squarely bat for the other team. Darn though. Sounds like a ton of us on BR would get along famously in person. Imagine, a nice bottle of scotch and a good cigar…

          • runnergirl says:

            …and Thank you Revolution.
            BTW, you don’t need to be your tough self…just be you!

            • Revolution says:


              I got SHUT DOWN, lol. Oh well. As a fellow pitcher (possibly batter?) for the other team myself, I guess that you and I weren’t “meant to be” anyway.:) *sigh* Still, a girl can dream, can’t she? :)

    • Jule says:

      I feel the same as you and Selkie. I want to believe that people are inherently good and there is some good ones out there yet in our small pool of singles at this age.

      • selkie says:

        Hi Jule, I agree good people are out there, but I am like a blind person trying to find them with a stick. I had a couple disappointments this week with two friends I misjudged as nice, so I think my weekend blues were triggered by that. We need to take off our ‘grey’ colored glasses perhaps and put them away next to our ‘rose’ colored glasses. Neither serves us well. An open mind is not a guarantee we won’t be disappointed (I’m adjusting to that) , but maybe learning to let things roll off our backs more.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hi Selkie,
          Your comment reminded me of the saying: Even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes…or something like that!
          Thank you for the reminder that an open mind it not a guarantee but it’s got to be better than a closed one, right?

    • pinkpanther says:

      Hi Revolution, and everyone else. I want to give you all a different perspective about the nature of love relationships. As a gay woman, this site has helped me just as much as my straight BR’ers.

      It’s interesting to me to hear many women talk about “men”. Especially the idea that trusting men is some whole other thing that is different than just trusting people.

      I can tell you first hand that I’ve had just as big if not bigger AssClown women in my life. Getting your heart stomped by a woman is messy business! Women can think up all kinds of nasties that would never occur to your average male AC.

      The thing I’m trying to get at here is I don’t think it’s about “men” per se, I think it’s more about the Nature of Romantic Relationships that is problematic, confusing, hard to sustain etc…

      I am a woman, I have a hard time trusting a love relationship at this point in my life. I know many good women who I do trust, valued friends, I also know many good men who I trust. My friendships are strong, and they’ve gotten bigger, better, more intimate since I’ve been a regular here at BR.

      I love care and respect my friends, and they feel the same way about me. I let them be themselves, I am not invested in all kinds of minutia that in a lover would mean all kinds of crap. I let my friends be, I love their flaws, I love the variety of ways I get to express my own self through them.

      I give my life to my friends, but they don’t chew me up and shit me out the way some of my intimate relations with women have.

      It’s the nature of love that is the issue!

      I wish I could articulate this more precisely. But there’s something about putting men in a different species category which to my gay eyes, doesn’t seem to be the kernal of the problem.

      • Revolution says:


        WOW. Just wow. Thank you SO MUCH for your perspective. I think yours were the words that I’ve been waiting to hear.

        Sheesh, I can just imagine dating a woman assclown. Tina Fey’s right when she says “Bitches get stuff DONE” but I think bitches are probably a hell of a lot better at jacking with your heart than men are. Or maybe that’s more of my stereotypes running amok right now. In any case, I thank you for your thoughts. I need dissenting opinions (or alternate perspectives) in this fight against my own negative attitude.

      • Learner says:

        Wow, yes, thanks – we are complaining about being “untrusting” of *men*, as in the experience of many of us, this is the sex that has hurt us. But you raise a great point – romantic relationships are romantic relationship no matter the sex chromosomes of those involved! So my great idea of “switching teams” was futile anyway. I hope it didn’t offend you, by the way, in the cavalier way I suggested that – I think my brain was just trying to think of any and all options of finding “true love”, someone to truly understand me. I am not so naive as to think that merely switching to a female lover would solve any of my EU or romantic relationship issues.
        And now that you raise the point of women being able to stomp on hearts just as well or more effectively then men – well, that’s just given me a whole new perspective. Thank you!
        I must get back to the work of validating myself – of understanding myself – as we all must :)

      • FX says:

        Thanks for sharing your perspective pinkpanther. Yes, regardless of gender, the agendas, expectations, baggage, etc., combined with the vulnerability of physical intimacy of romantic relationships set them apart from friendships. Our self-definition can tend to get caught up in them more, too – as if being with a certain type of person confers worth and value and another detracts…

        In my EUW/player days, my best girlfriend whom I’d known since I was 8 years old said to me “I love you to death but I wouldn’t date you on a bet.” Fortunately, I’ve made progress! I’m probably still more self-centered/less selfless (in good and not-so-good ways) than a lot of women are conditioned to be in relationships. I think that’s one of the significant reasons the boundary busting behavior I tolerated from the ex AC is so uncomfortable to think about.

        • pinkpanther says:


          I’m so glad I could shed a different light for you.

          The thing that makes me so gay is that I love women. I mean… I really love them. I’m completely charmed by the feminine.

          I think for the Str8 ladies, you’ve got to love men. And I mean really love men, you need to be charmed by the masculine.

          This whole war of the sexes thing is good for make up sex, but for love, it’s got to suck.

          I think it’s a mistake to make teams of women vs men. It’s human nature to want to define things, make categories, and choose sides, but it’s not really giving people the space to be fully themselves.

          I have several str8 male friends. Because I’m gay they don’t (mostly) try to be all hot stuff with me. I get to be around the fun side of men, with zero pressure. I know sweet ones, intelligent ones, know it alls, block heads, artistic types, jocks, all kinds of guys. Most of them have pretty decent hearts, and treat people pretty well. They don’t seem any more F’d up than the women I know, who also run the spectrum of “types”. I like guys because you can say pretty much anything to them and they don’t usually take it as some kind of refection on them. You can start any old kind of conversation and they are usually game.

          I do find sports talk quite boring though!

          Good luck ladies!

          • Revolution says:

            Thank you for your clear-headed remarks, pinkpanther. They help us all so much (as you can see from the responses to your comments).

            I, too, have great relationships with men outside of romance. I guess that things get a bit “pear-shaped” (for you Brits out there) when I compartmentalize in my mind these good relationships with men as “outside of the norm” of their inherent nature. I’m ashamed to admit that I have often wondered whether they have feelings in the same way women do, based on my negative experiences with them. Guess I got some work to do on this.

      • Mymble says:

        Pink panther,
        I hear what you’re saying. Last year I read “The Night Watch” by Sarah waters, and one of the things that interested me about the romantic relationships in that book was that I recognised the behaviours and feelings of all of the characters whether straight or gay. It really was the same kind of dynamics, healthy and unhealthy, truly loving, or abusive and dishonest, that we all experience. I also have a gay man friend who has had/is having similar issues (including a boyfriend who has done the slow fade on hin recently). Although there may be some different tendencies there.
        I dunno, I don’t like to extrapolate too much from one persons experience as far as that goes.

  24. Tulipa says:

    “But then it’s also safe to say that there are some people out there dating and in relationships who are pretty skeptical. They’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, to be screwed over and just don’t believe that it’s going anywhere, or that they’re liked / loved, or that the person doesn’t have some dark motives.”

    Unfortunately this is me. I can still see that I have a lot of work to do on myself.
    I have to learn to opt out when I see red flags.
    The cheater told me tales of cheating and I didn’t think it would be a red flag but he did it to me so it must be a red flag.

    I have to learn to have a fuller life and stop fighting that stupid concept that I am not a whole person because I don’t have a boyfriend.

    I still have fallback traits to fight.

    I feel that men out there have far more options than us whatever type of relationship they desire they get. The ex eum found someone very quickly to replace my role in his life. I seems someone steps down and someone is eager to replace you. I can see my skepticism here that there are no men who want a decent relationship.

    Basically I feel frustrated with the whole dating thing and think I need a break and to work on me I have seen lately I say to myself this is what my values are but do not stand by them I need to fix the flush handle.

    • runnergirl says:

      I hope your daughter’s situation is better now?
      Listen to your instincts. If dating is frustrating now, give it a break. I have a lot of favorite Nat sayings: “There’s no fire” is one of my top five, even at the age of 53. Guys aren’t going to disappear from the face of the planet any time soon. I’m only in the beginning stages of trusting myself to opt out of red flag situations but you can learn to do it. Sometimes, I’ve had to really think, other times it has come easily. Even though we were FBG’s, we do NOT have to continue to be so. We have Natalie, BR, and we have choices. The AC’s/EUM’s may seem as though they have greater “options” only as long as there is a FBG to cater to him and be his “option”. So your ex found a new option. Within a few months, she’ll end up googling “why won’t he commit” or “why did he cheat” and Natalie will have another fan. Take the time to fix your flush handle, focus on you (and your daughter), and when you are ready your mind will be open. I still have to tinker with my flush handle too, trust me. There are decent guys out there. There has to be. Logically every guy on the planet isn’t an AC or an EUM, right? Hugs to you and your daughter.

      • Tulipa says:

        Hi Runnergirl,

        It does get confusing when names are the same there is me Tulipa and there is Tulip who was telling about her daughter’s situation.

        But thank you for the reply all is still relevant to me. I did type this post btw, hope I’m not making things more confusing.

        I have decided to opt out of actively dating for a while.

  25. grace says:

    Yes we have to keep an open mind as we don’t know what people will do.
    we did know with the EUMs and ACS, so we think we can predict that every new man will do x, y, z. While the bf is not wildly unpredictable, he did not behave how I thought he would. I’ve shared some of my relationship history with him, and he was unfazed. I waited for him to start getting flakey, he never has. I thought as the man he might take the lead, he doesn’t do that either. It’s been hard putting aside my prejudices, stereotypes and anxiety. But it’s been very rewarding.
    This relationship is different to my previous ones. There is nothing familiar about it. Yay!
    And not because he’s super amazing rare specimen. He is just a decent, available person. and I was ready.

    • Revolution says:


      May I ask how you got to be “ready”?

      • grace says:

        I got treated for depression, cut off every dodgy ex and hanger on, committed to my job, made friends where I live, joined a new church, bought a flat, made efforts to visit my worldwide family, read BR and Nat’s books, not just read them but really opened my mind to the possibility that she is right, found a terrific counsellor, started smiling more, including at men (though the boyfriend says I blanked him for months, poor dear, point is that I did open up to him eventually and not too late), overcame my huge anxiety at being in a relationship after six years, and am still learning how to be in one. that is something you learn as you go along with the other person. In that way every relationship is unique and it’s what makes you special to the other. our interactions are ours alone. But there is always trust, care, consistency, love in every healthy relationship. I have started to believe that I can have that from a man, who wants nothing more or less in return than the same.

        • Revolution says:

          Grace, thank you for your in-depth answer. It’s very helpful for me to get concrete answers to things. I am considering your words very closely.

    • Jule says:

      Grace, how did you meet him? I’m always interested in how people meet and if there is any happy endings to meeting a guy online, or in a bar, or at a grocery store, etc.

      • grace says:

        I met him at church. It was reassuring to know his name, his family life, his job (don’t care what he earns, but care that he’s responsible), his friends, his values, how he interacts with people long before our first date.
        Years before that, I met someone at a singles event (a ball). I’d recommend that too. I didn’t pursue it because I realised I wasn’t over the ex when it came down to the crunch.
        Friend of mine met someone at a bus stop. She’s very approachable and enjoys chatting to people. I think that’s key.

  26. Lucy says:

    This is so helpful. I used to go on dates with people I knew I didn’t fancy in order to give them a chance. That’s not something I’d do now.

    But the only men who ask me out are the needy or clingy sort. I don’t get asked out by emotionally balanced men. Why is that?

    • Grizelda says:


      Have been giving your question some thought today.

      It’s a fact of life that a fully functioning, independent, shit-together woman attract needies and clingies like she’s the last available lifejacket on the tilting Titanic. It’s harsh, but do slap their hands away or else you’ll be pulled underwater with them.

      Why are they needy, clingy or helpless? Because it’s easier than NOT being needy, clingy or helpless. Why are they attracted to you? Because they themselves certainly would NEVER be attracted to anyone… you know… needy, clingy or helpless. Who would be? It’s hardly sexy.

      If a man is behaving like a child, don’t relate to him on that level. Maintain the Adult-Adult transaction with men in all you say or do. If a man tries to revert to Child, cut him off, don’t react, and remove yourself. You then know you’ve got a thumbsucker there rather than an adult, and it’s time to slap away the hands without giving him one more moment of your time or attention. No need to be nice about it. You have better things to do than play mommy for men who refuse to pull their own socks up.

      • Lucy says:

        Thanks :) That make sense. Weaker people want my strength. But it makes me aware not to accept those people when you say that they themselves would not be attracted to a weaker person.

        My energy has been totally sapped by men I’ve dated. Honestly felt as if a part of me died because it’s taken me ages just to start life again. They took away my self-esteem and built themselves bigger.

        I identified two issues in my former bfs. Both had some complex related to their mother. And there I was acting like their mum. I need to stop that inclination of mine. But how?

  27. vhs says:

    I’ve changed my name because I think somebody ‘discovered’ me here through facebook (of all places ;-)) and that holds me back of being honest here so there you go.
    To Revolution, I’m the one who loves to read your contributions here.

    I love reading all these replies to this post and there are some very good insights and advice I’d love to put in action, if I was ever asked out that is!

    After 3 months of NC, but feeling detached of my ex for much longer, I start to feel ready to meet men and be open to dating. I’d love to have a date, and just be out there again being the happy single I am today.
    But where I live (I do live in a rather big city) you have these ‘clusters’ of people, it’s hard to meet somebody outside the proverbial box. Let alone being asked out like on a real date. Though I’m quite romantic like that, I just don’t get asked out. I do try and I’m not sitting at home in the weekends, and I happen to know and meet a lot of different kinds of people so there are many possibilities of meeting somebody but it just doesn’t happen. I’m not even shy to ask somebody myself, I have in the past without success. There was this one man I liked and it was clear he liked me to, until I asked him out. I saw his interest shrink just like that.

    Maybe it’s early days or something, or should I look further into myself for this not happening to me?

    • Revolution says:


      (Not beta? :)) I know who you are, my dear. Sorry to hear that you have to fly under the radar to avoid FB “friends.” Sheesh, what a world.

      Anyway, sorry to say that I personally have no answers for you right now, being in the same position that you are in. But I can empathize, and I think you should listen to the advice of the women who’s dating lives are *working* so that you can find out how to proceed. That’s what I’m trying to do.

      Note: Ladies, please don’t take that as an affront, as I read ALL of your comments and find them all invaluable. It’s just especially nice to read about those who are currently in healthy relationships (a future I hope for all of us who are interested) and find out what led them to where they are, so that we can learn from them.

      • vhs says:

        Hi Revolution,
        yes, it actualy is good advice, to just read all the advice here 😀
        I guess I’m too eager to put some of my new in place boundaries in practice before they get rusty 😉
        I’ll keep my patience and just work at keeping happy on my own.

  28. dancingqueen says:

    Selkie, Revolution and Lily,

    I get that feeling of needing a hug. I have also noted that is arrives with my pms…pattern much, lol?

    You are not alone. You just need to remind yourself that it is your choice to “opt in” by connecting to other social lines, besides the ones you have severed. I am going to volunteer today at a vegan fair. I am so psyched! I figured that I am always complaining about not meeting veggies here, but not always putting the effort in to trying actively to meet them. I am also signed up for the presidential get- out- the- vote team in my area. It was so cool to go online and realize how many liberals are in my same zip code. All new potential friends!

    On a side note; does anyone want to create a website for quality minded, mature internet daters? It could be called “Notgettingineachotherspantsforthreemonths.com” or “actuallylooklikemyprofilepicandhavethevaluesIespouseinmyprofile.com” or simply, “pleasedon’tactlikeyouareahorndogteenagerwhenyouare50.com”.

    • Jule says:

      LOL. I love the “pleasedon’tactlikeyouareahornddogteenagerwhenyouare50.com” that’s awesome!

    • Revolution says:


      AHA! So YOU’RE the one I forgot (how could I forget you??) in my comments, but you were also the one who mentioned PMS, lol. So right you are.

      I needed the hug, even a virtual one. Thanks, kid. Also, I’m so proud of you and inspired by you moving ahead to join your vegan group! That’s awesome!!! Good for you!!! We gotta keep going, don’t we? I’m going to work on having a more positive attitude, I promise. ‘Cause this sh*t is getting tiring. Anyway, thanks for the uplifting words and good ideas. Let us know your progress!

    • selkie says:

      Thanks Dancing Queen for your very sweet and positive comment! What a great idea, to volunteer at a Vegan Fair. It sounds fun, and the bonus to the fun is you’ll meet cool people. I have been scanning the Meet Up groups in my area and signed up for a few up coming events. It’s kind of scary because I feel like such a misfit lately, but I know I have to push through to get through. I consider it social practice and it’ll help expand my base of friends. I have no fear being alone hiking around bears, camping alone, traveling alone, etc. but showing up to a party where I don’t know anyone is super scary. You gave me an idea on the political front too, I’ll check my area for volunteer opportunities.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Glad that I could help ladies! FYI just got back from the vegan fair and met a really cool gal who is married and just moved to TX. She was super friendly and invited me to a potluck group that she is in. I was really impressed at how nice she and her husband were. It made me realize how many cool and kind people are out there, waiting to be met:) I guess it is just one step at a time…

    • Kit-Kat says:


    • Lilly says:

      Lol moment! Love the mature internet daters site and from one veggie to another here is a big super hug.

  29. Learner says:

    “it’s not about being blind or naive but it is about coming from a positive place with an open mind and heart which is more authentic than going in with distrust, doubts, and skepticism but acting or even claiming that you feel differently and hoping it will just ‘go away’ without you having to trust you and use your own judgement skills while interacting – yes you can do both!”

    I have finally learned to trust myself in staying away from the exMM, and I have *had* to keep an open mind about the whole process of extricating myself from that situation and getting on with my life. It has had effects on other relationships – some good (more effective mother), some not-so-good (work relationships). I have found that as my brain oh-so-gradually becomes less occupied with thoughts of *him*, that other relationships take on more importance, and with that comes the higher potential from hurt from other sources. Is this normal? For instance, this week at work I had 2 situations that I felt hurt about – one where I worked on a project with another person, and she got sole credit for it, and another where I was given less-than-stellar feedback for a different project and it was sent via email to a group of colleagues as well as myself (thankfully not to the ex). I felt invisible in the first case, and embarrassed in the second. And I took both to heart. In the past, I would have rolled with the punches and figured out how I could avoid future disappointments, but this double-whammy really made me upset and doubting myself. I had a little pity party for myself, started doubting that I was “good enough” and felt my self-trust level start to dip.
    At 4 months NC, I am starting to realize that the involvement with the exMM may have served the purpose of avoiding how I feel about other aspects of my life. I usually get very positive feedback from work, so this is a bit of an unusual case that I would have 2 “situations” in one week – but I guess, really, I am coming back to reality in stages, and there is a lot to deal with here on earth! Relationships with family are improving, now to get my self-trust in place at work, too! Has anyone else had this experience?

  30. lo j says:

    Sushi … I’ve taken up sewing.

  31. Kristen says:

    Grizelda … Holy crap. I hear you, sister. I was born and raised in Los Angeles in a family that works in the entertainment industry; in other words, I was raised pretty much exclusively around narcissists and sociopaths. A major drawback of living in Los Angeles is that narcissists and sociopaths from around the globe flock here to make their narcissistic dreams come true. Dating can really suck here if a gal’s looking for a grown-ass man with substance. By the way, I read somewhere that Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or Malignant Narcissism) as a spectrum disorder is replacing/encompassing the definition of Sociopath/Psychopath in the next volume of the DSM…

    Anyway, some of the best experiences I’ve had meeting new people is through meetup.com. I believe it’s international. For me, it’s not for dating, it’s for doing the things I love with groups of other people who love to do the same things: rock climbing, zip lining, cycling, hiking, camping, ocean swimming, etc. I’ve met several people who are in relationships with people they met white water rafting or whatever. There are foodie groups, movie groups, outdoor groups, you name it. You can also organize a group.

    My perspective about online dating is that it’s good practice, keeps me on my toes, reminds me that I’m the one rejecting unacceptable behavior, and gives me the opportunity to meet some genuinely nice guys, most of whom I have no chemistry with whatsoever, but that’s just how it goes, which helps to keep me in a place of acceptance.

    But I have waaaaaay more fun with people I meet rock climbing or playing trampoline dodgeball, followed by pizza and beer.

    • Jule says:

      Kristen, I want to try trampoline dodgeball! lol. Yes, meetup.com is great and thanks for the reminder that it’s out there.

  32. Jule says:

    I’m on a dating hiatus right now and enjoying the peacefulness. I’ve also decided to stop doing online dating websites. I think it’s too easy for men to treat women on there like an online human grocery store.

    I was explaining to my oldest and her boyfriend yesterday about dating at this age. He said that I seem to pick bad guys. I told him that while it’s true I could do better in choosing, the dating pool of good guys is probably a LOT smaller when you’re in your 40s than when you’re in your 20s. He agreed but yes, I will need to make better choices in the future — and hopefully with an open mind and heart.

  33. lo j says:

    ABSOLUTELY Learner. The ones we’re involved with can be a distraction from ourselves. Other things can be as well, ie, sometimes at my work (healthcare) I will find myself fixating on “fixing” or “controlling” a particular patient/situation, then I have to sit back and think, “wait … what am I PERSONALLY avoiding/needing to address that has me wanting to control another.” The only person we can change is ourselves.
    The feedback from our work can be tricky. Take from it what you can. If you see areas of improvement that have been brought to your attention, work on it. If you have done a good job, YOU know it. Others recognition is validating, there are standards at our jobs we’re required to perform at, but our own approval will keep us content and performing at our optimum. You’ll know when you’re not being “judged” fairly as well. I was fired from a company that was unethical with all kinds of complaints from management about me. I was knocked about for a bit (emotionally … i was so good to my patients, coworkers, etc…) but now am with a company who has my same values, ethics, and a manager who backs me up and believes in me 100% (I’ve worked with her last 2 months but known her for years from prior job).
    Learner … you are awesome! Keep moving forward!

    • Learner says:

      lo J,
      Thanks so much for your reply. It’s comforting to hear that others have gone through this struggle at work, too. I find feedback from people at work to be difficult to interpret at times. It’s good to hear that you feel more supported in your new position. I am pretty well established in my job, and can’t see leaving. It’s usually a great place to work – but the criticism I got this week was actually for doing *more* than what was expected! Maybe people feel expectations of *them* will change if someone on the team is going over and above. I don’t know. Anyway, you are right – we need our OWN approval to keep content and performing well. I will keep my own standards in mind from now on, and focus on doing the job I was hired to do! xo

      • runnergirl says:

        Hi there Learner,
        I’d like to echo what loj said about knowing and owning that you did a good job whether or not the external recognition occurred. You know you did the exemplary work and so does your co-worker btw. Natalie has some good posts on receiving/processing criticism which helped me because I have a perfectionist streak a mile wide.
        It was an eye-opener for me when I evicted (mostly) the exMM from living rent free in my head. I, too, found that I had time to look around at other things in my life. I have to be careful not to replace my obsession and rumination over the ex with other things. I’m so grateful my daughter was back east in school while I went through my mistress stress (there’s a reason for the stress in mistress). It was worth the student loans. I knew I’d be grateful one day about those darn loans! Keep up the excellent work dear. Hugs.

        • Learner says:

          Thanks for this, from a fellow perfectionist (but working on being more easy-going and taking myself less seriously). Oh wow, I sure do NOT “miss” the STRESS in mistress!!! I hadn’t heard that expression before. I love it. Hugs back atcha :)

  34. Tinkerbell says:

    Just wanted to comment on a couple of earlier posts regarding kindheartedness, naive, and overly trusting. I had a good marriage for many years. He passed on, leaving me totally unprepared for the AC’s and EUM’s. I didn’t even know they existed. By nature I’ve always been overtrusting, overgiving, naive and just plain too sweet for my own good. My marriage reinforced those qualities. He was that way, I was that way. No problem. A couple of you mentioned that these are potentially fine qualities in a human being and should not be relinquished by that person. Well, I found too many times that AC’s smell a fool. They will use your kindness against you. So then what do you do? I’ve come to realize that it is critical for me to moderate these qualities and emotions to avoid getting hurt. Now, I could flip it off telling myself, “you just have not met the right man, or you attract men that will take advantage of you”. That may be the best decision and I should work on that. But, instead I’ve become overly skeptical, cynical, suspicious of motives, impatient to get to the nitty-gritty of who this person REALLY is so I can stop wasting time. I feel this is a natural and normal reaction to being disappointed, and feeling hoodwinked. I’m quite sure many of you ladies know exactly what I’m talking about and relate. I guess my question is how do you know when he is right? I know all about the essential requirements of love, care, trust and respect. But, I’m not trusting that if I find these qualities in a man that they (those lovely, nearly unattainable traits) will stand the test of time. Am I looking for guarantees that are not possible or even probable? Any thoughts on this?

    • Revolution says:

      Tinkerbell, I do relate. As you’ve already seen in my previous comments.

      No guarantees in life, you know that by now I’m sure. The only thing close to a guarantee is to look for a person’s life patterns. As everyone always says (on BR as well), look at their history. That usually tells you where they’re headed in life, and what to expect from them in the future. And (like my mother tells me) guard your heart. Take TIME to get to know someone. That is also not a guarantee, but I think of it like this: is it a guarantee that if you eat right and exercise and watch your sugar intake that you won’t get diabetes? No, but there’s a hell of a lot less of a chance that you will if you take these precautions. Same with dating. It’s just common sense, you know?

      Another thing I wanted to say to you: please don’t confuse having kindness and an open heart with being foolhardy in dating. Those are two separate things. Should we watch out for ourselves? Absolutely. Can we be a bit suspicious of other’s motives until they are proven trustworthy? Sure. But that is different than letting them (or anyone) convince us that OUR kindness and open heart and good, gentle qualities like this are the problem. The person who is taking advantage of our nature, THEY are the problem 110% of the time. NOT US. I don’t buy into that bullshit blame-the-victim-thinking, and I certainly hope that you, or anyone else on this site, don’t blame themselves (including calling themselves *fools*) because of these stellar qualities. The guys (or girls) that deceive and betray–THEY are the fools. NOT YOU.

      I also wanted to clarify these points in case you or anyone else thought that I was advocating throwing lambs to the wolves. No, we need to lock those motherf*ckin’ pens when the wolves come around. But you know what? It actually takes a hell of a lot more courage and character to be a lamb in this world rather than a wolf. Please Tink, don’t buy into the bullshit wolf propoganda.

    • sushi says:

      I think that you won`t be able to trust anybody until you trust yourself. That`s how it was for me.It is all very new and “in process”but another thing I want to add, I found that trying to work it out in theory made my head spin for a long time. Information overload, and I wasn`t processing it well, I felt desperately overwhelmed. Then one day I was faced with a situation with a long time friend, which may I add was the proverbial last drop in a large bucket of s…t. I listened to my gut, I followed with action without asking anybody for an opinion or thinking of consequences, or how it looked to anybody or even if I was right.Just went in with what felt right to me. It was actually “the” flush of my life. When I told my mum about it she was horrified, oh my god , are you sure, that seems drastic and rude( and I thought, so this is who I learnt how to deal with people from, she can`t tell rude from assertive) and my daughter said; wow mum, that`s great! that woman is toxic waste. I thought it was outrageous( where did I find the courage?) too but it felt an exactly right thing to do. Once you start putting some of the theory into action, just one thing, one time – things will become clear and quite easy. I just can`t believe the change in me, and if it is happening to me it will happen for anybody.Don`t think about him and when he is right, think about if what is/feels right for you. Hugs. x

  35. Gina says:

    Revolution: glad that my words–which were meant for anyone who reads them were uplifting to you. Keep the faith and keep a positive attitude. XO

  36. Gina says:

    Word to the wise…

    Getting back out there and dating can be quite frustrating and disheartening. So keep in mind that just because many of the women on this board (including myself), may have tried online dating and have not been successful at meeting the right guy, that does not mean that whoever is reading this and thinking of debating whether or not to try it out will be unseccessful as well. . Everyone’s experience is unique. If only 10% of people who date online find true love, how do you know that you will not be one of the lucky ones?? I may meet and date a nice guy who is boring to me, but that same guy could be a perfect fit for one of you. Furthermore, you may be hesitant to participate in a social group activity (meetup.com) because there may be more women than men. So what!? If there are 99 women and only one guy, how do you not know that he isn’t the right one for you?? Everybody isn’t a good fit for everyone, but they might be a great fit for you.

    Just my two cents!

    • Revolution says:


      I find your positive attitude absolutely invaluable. Thank you for spreading your light and love here on BR. I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates it.

  37. lo j says:

    Learner … people are threatened sometimes by ones who go above and beyond. You do it for you. That’s obviously their issue. I’ve had ones who have spoken negatively to me/of me for doing more at my job than what they consider necessary., as if they think I am looking down on them??! I don’t know WHAT they think really. That’s their values, not mine. None of my business. I do my job for me, so I sleep well at night. (And get a paycheck of course.) People are funny. They have their own agenda.

  38. Rosie says:

    I’m a long time reader, first time poster, not sure what I want to say, really. Mostly, I’m thinking of the poster (I can’t remember her username, sorry) who wrote that she felt stupid for assuming most people have good intentions and someone else responded that this was her strength and it was shameful of the people who behave badly. Someone else commented (on another post?) that the respect we get depends on how we present ourselves. I took some offense to this last comment, maybe because I was raised to take blame for everyone else’s bad feelings and behavior while my parents took credit for all my accomplishments. I’ve spent a lot of time and money in therapy to learn how to take credit for my accomplishments and how to just call jerky behavior “jerky behavior” without thinking it’s all my fault (though I still do this much of the time). I believe people act according to how they are aleady inclined to act. If a person’s a disrespectful person, he’s going to be this way on a date regardless if I “deserve” it or not. If a person’s a respectful person, he’s going to act this way on a date regardless if I “deserve” it or not. The disrespectful person will get away with it if I don’t have boundaries or know what respect looks like. The respectful person will not ask me out again if he sees me as someone who doesn’t respect herself. I know there’s much more to it than this as all you psychologists out there will tell me. I’m just not sure how much power I have over somebody else’s actions and internal goings on, ya know? How can I possibly have that much power? Relating all this to Natalie’s post on keeping an open mind, knowing that I don’t have that much power over somebody else’s behavior has freed me to go on a date without thinking suspiciously but also without thinking it’s going to lead to marriage. I can truly get to know him (according to what he’ll allow) without all that dirt on the lense. I’m not claiming to have my act together as I read BR for a reason but I do like the progress I’m making. A poster mentioned being “shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove”. This has been my prayer lately–“God, teach me how.”

    • Revolution says:

      Welcome to BR, Rosie! I loved your comment, and agree with your perspective. We don’t “make” the disrespectful that way, they just are. It isn’t “all about us” as some of Nat’s other posts point out.

      Anyway, glad to have you. :)

  39. Jennifer says:

    I nearly turned down and bailed on seeing a couple of movies with a really pleasant friend just because I thought “these movies aren’t really my type (action ish movie or my thing anymore (super dramatic movie. I went anyway and now these two movies are some of my favorite! Same thing with music. My ex gave me all this music and I was like, bah, this is crap. Since breaking up with him, (he had a penchant for binge drinking) I have listened to all the music and it is really, really good, all because I was willing to try something different, because I was more healthily open as opposed to putting up with crap behavior in the name of “being open.”

    When I’m ready to start dating (getting over ex=not ready yet)I might apply this healthy openness. I may delightfully surprise myself as to what I really truly want, like and eventually love.

  40. GettingBetter says:

    Despite my recent mishaps, i have always considered myself having a heart and mind that was perhaps a little too open. While this is going to be perfect for that one great man(if I ever meet him), its considered bait for the parasites out there. Case in point: I just ran into an old college mate the other day. We exchanged numbers to hang out. Conversation 1 and he said:”I still think you’re cute, and i’d like to go with you. But I don’t want to be your man. You’re not going to be my woman. I’m interested in a sexual relationship only. You can join my group of female friends.” I laughed like crazy. Who expects to hear that at 37 years old? With a open heart and mind with a newfound respect for my health and sanity, I declined. Still a nice guy I’m sure, but I’ll save it for the next.

    • Jennifer says:

      I assure you, this is not a nice or even half decent guy. Good for you on declining and laughing at him.

    • Mymble says:

      I realise that I may be unreasonable here, after all he is being honest, and maybe i am old fashioned, but when I read that it made my blood boil.
      Who does he think he is with is FWB offers and harem membership invitations. It’s good you can laugh, I’d have wanted to punch him.
      Do women actually accept his offers? :(

    • FX says:

      Unbelievable! If only everyone who covertly has those thoughts was so up front about it instead of spewing BS to achieve that agenda. It would help avoid a lot of wasted time and heartache.

      • Lilia says:

        That´s hilarious!
        But I think he´d be quite offended if you told him you only want him for his penis and that he can join your entourage of male friends.

  41. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    I trust myself to date now, and I’m confident, and yes, I’m being more of ME–my authentic self, and I’ve been chatting with this guy at work, and I find him attractive physically and mentally and….

    And, he treats me with care and respect. He genuinely seems interested in getting to know me, and I feel so comfortable with him; I think it is because he is a gentle guy, and he makes my inner child feel safe in his presence. It seems weird to say, but I think he treats me as I would have liked my father to treat me–ewwww, that seems a little twisted and unhealthy, but wth am I saying–I think I just ‘found’ a nice guy.

    It seems as if he is being careful with me, and I him…no signs of fast forwarding, or….

    I know I don’t know this guy….

    But, I missed him one day last week when he didn’t come to work, and I felt this longing for him, and I thought to myself I really want to be with him right now, and I just want to engulf or soak him up, so I can be happy, and I had to ask myself if I wanted to use him to be happy, and my answer was yes, and I thought about how I seem to use people and things to free myself from my misery, my pain, and I wondered, am I depressed under all of the escapism? Am I escaping? Or, am I just creating joy and pleasure in my life?

    I don’t feel unhappy all of the time, and I have things and people in my life that I enjoy, but I wondered to myself, am I still searching for a man to make me happy? I dunno; but, I decided that I will not do ‘that’ to him, so I tried not to focus on him over the weekend; I’m focusing on my own life.

    But, yeah, I watch him to see if he is looking at other women, and I ‘watch’ him to see if tries to tell me what to do, or if he tries to tell me who I am, or…but, yeah, I’m myself when I am with him, and I feel as if I’m keeping an open mind when it comes to him.

    I like the slow progression of it, but at the same time, it would be nice if he asked me out for a cup of coffee, but at the same time, I don’t want to rush ‘it’, and if it turns out that we become friends and not lovers, that would be ok–so far he seems like he would be good as a friend, hmmm, but since I’m interested in him romantically that probably won’t work; I dunno…sheesh. I suppose time will tell, and I will have learned some more lessons. :)

    • Jule says:

      This is wonderful. Proceed with cautious optimism. I do understand what you mean by “a gentle man” who will treat you the way you should be treated and the way a good dad would be. I recently dated someone like this too…I felt safe, honored, respected. He continues to be a wonderful person an very respectful of me even though we couldn’t continue. Yes, unfortunately, there was an issue I had to walk away from. I guess my point is, go slow and learn about who he is. No one is perfect. Everyone has issues — even the super nice guys. We have to determine if they are issues we are willing to deal with.

      • On Leaving Sugarland says:

        Yes, thanks Jule,

        That is exactly how I feel…”safe, honored, and respected.” Thank you so much for sharing with me. I’m thinking, ok, so I recognize that I have daddy issues, and I need to go slow, and not jump to conclusions; I’m thinking I am going to just keep an open mind as Natalie says, and go through a proper discovery phase with this guy. Yes, and I will be cautiously optimistic; I believe I can do ‘that’
        –Thanks again xx,
        On Leaving Sugarland :)

  42. lo j says:

    Pinkpanther … men were always so FOREIGN to me. (Because of my unavailable father.) They were not even the same species, really. Until I became friends with “safe” men, married, mature with no hidden agenda (not even dreamt up by me!) could I appreciate that men were human. Looking back, how in the world could I even think of having a relationship? Poor fellas. Poor me. I have two sons now. I adore men. They have feelings just like we do. They can’t find shit, but they’re not so different after all. If they are the enemy to us, then we are not ready to love them.

    • Jennifer says:

      Lo J,

      Goodness do I identify! I have felt the same way in that men are a totally different species for twenty something years. I really thought they had no feelings. (My father was mostly absent physically and always emotionally). There are a couple of platonic men in my life that are really well, warm, sweet and respectful. And this gives me hope for when I’m ready to date (still getting over an unavailable ex). I still have to be vigilant in screening the men that peak my interest, I still find my self going whoah, no Jennifer, back up there and walk away. And I’m only taking about friendship with men but I still am drawn to the unavailables. But that is changing. You’re right men in general are not the enemy.

    • Revolution says:

      I relate to your comment, lo j. Men have always been so foreign to me too, not being raised with a father myself. I’m glad that you’ve learned how to navigate the male “species” in all of it’s various forms. I’m working on it myself.

  43. Gina says:


    He showed you who he was right from the start, and that is truly a blessing!! NEVER EVER feel disheartened when this happens!! Instead be thankful!! A man’s rejection can be God’s protection. You are successfully weeding out the 95% of undesirable men in order to find the 5% who are! Onward and upward my dear!!

  44. Gina says:

    Revolution: Thank you for your kinds words! If I can come on this board and be a blessing by trying to encourage and uplift people who are hurting, then I am happy :-) You are a strong woman and you have a beautiful spirit! Please DO NOT allow ANYONE to steal your joy and break you!! XO

    • Revolution says:

      Thank you, Gina!!! I see the same type of woman you describe when I read YOUR comments! I have found that the only person who can break my spirit is MYSELF. So I gotta keep pulling myself up by my bootstraps. We all do. Thanks for the encouragement!!

  45. mlc says:

    well ladies i have been put on time out…amazing to me considering i did nothing except speak my truth…after dating someone seriously and exclusively for over a year, i noticed a post on his facebook wall that led me to believe someone was way too familiar with my boyfriend for me to be comfortable. i told him i was uncomfortable and he immediately went on the defense. i was not accusatory because i understand we can’t control what other people write, however, he was still defensive and ended up the conversation saying HE didn’t want to see ME that evening. We continued discussing, with me being the calm one, go figure, and it came out that he didn’t see anything wrong with developing relationships or “chatting on im” with women he had met on an online dating site at the same time I met him. His rationale is that WE are in an exclusive monogomous relationship and everyone knows it. My perception is that even though our relationship is very very good, he still has some lines in the water “just in case.” I have been 100% all in, just as I thought he was. I have been struggling with this for two weeks. Now everything that seemed innocent before, seems questionable to me. I don’t know who is who…I feel insecure in our relationship and insignificant. I don’t want to be part of a cheerleading squad even if I’m the captain. I finally had to have this second discussion with him yesterday. At which point HE put ME on timeout. Un freaking believable. I am now supposed to wait while he does some thinking and figures out what HE wants. AMAZING. Am I missing something here? Would ANY of you be okay with finding out your boyfriend of over a year had been communicating with prospects he met at the same time he met you? “I knew nothing was going to come of it so I don’t see any problem with making new friends” His rationale. I’m upset about not knowing he was doing this because it is NOT okay with me. Had I known, I would have said, it’s me or them. I DO NOT LIKE TO SHARE.

    • Linden says:

      I wouldn’t like that, either. I’m not saying people can’t have friends outside the relationship, but if he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, then why the secrecy? Shouldn’t you know these friends of his as well?

      If your relationship really comes first, then you and he will find a way to talk it out. This may include him dropping all the outside interests, or it may not. The point is, you’ll have to both be okay with the outcome, and I mean entirely okay, not one or both of you just going along with it. If he doesn’t want to talk about it and would rather do the silent treatment, that would be a dealbreaker in my book.

      • mlc says:

        Thank you all for your input. It confirms what I believe. He even said these words: I was trying to see if this relationship would lead to marriage. Which I already knew because we discussed this when we first started dating. We are both 48..

        Just how arrogant to say HE needed time to think about what HE wanted…..something I bet he didn’t realize is that when YOU take time to think….the other person gets a chance to think as well….

        I told him Sunday I don’t think he would be so quick to say some of the hurtful things he has said in the past or be so quick to put me in time out if he didn’t have so many lines still in the “prospect” pond…all innocent of course…wtfe

        He is very self absorbed. Why wouldn’t he have said, we need to talk about this and see where this relationship is going and if it is going to work. Why be defensive at all? I already know why. In fact, I told him, you are not ready for me. He knew EXACTLY what I was looking for in a relationship when we first started dating. I spelled it out loud and clear. He agreed that he was looking for exactly the same thing. I know people can change their minds, but he didn’t change his mind…He still wants the same thing…he wants to have his cake – me and eat it too – them. NO FREAKING WAY

        Here’s the kicker: he is being deployed in February for maybe up to a year. There will be little contact. I asked him if I was going to be sharing that time with his “friends.” That’s when he said he needed time to think. Take care…and hung the phone up on me.

        • Anon says:

          None of that sounds good. A year is a long time, and if the relationship is not moving forward but is moving backwards (to other secret friends, silent treatment, hanging up, fighting, and moving away) it doesn’t sound like it is likely ending up in commitment or marriage. He is putting the writing on the wall and you should read it, maybe start making some new friends and plans for yourself, since he is clearly going full speed ahead with his life, away from you, for at least a year?

    • sushi says:

      Mlc; It`s possible that they met and were not interested in each other and did not do the defriending because there was no cause to do that (dramatic for no reason).I don`t do facebook, but apparently some people “collect” “friends” and it means nothing.You can tell that sort of thing I imagine because it would appear friendly but distanced. If the woman was over familiar it would be your boyfriend`s cue to put her right by responding accordingly- distancing himself or asking her to behave out of consideration to you, preferably because he cared about your feelings. Anything else is not appropriate. His getting defensive is a flag. If he was friends with her in a real life type of thing ( facebook is a bit like life on another planet to me) you would feel included in the friendship and he would not be making you feel like you should keep your nose out of it or else- you know people who have nothing to hide- don`t hide. If it`s a flirty online contact, it`s not on.It`s dating website continued. I would be upset too.

      • sushi says:

        Mlc : PS : he is doing a “switch” , been cought out in an inappropriate situation, you raised the issue, he did not admit to it being not right and attacked.Now he needs to think- it`s a threat on his part of withdrawing and he hopes you`ll react by letting it go because you`ll be scared to lose him. If you do you will be agreeing to his terms in the matter. Eerily familiar dance- from my last relationship. plays with your head and makes you doubt yourself. Go with your gut.

        • Revolution says:

          EXACTLY what I thought, Sushi. SPOT.ON.


          He needs to “decide” what to do with you?! After you calmly and reasonably expressed yourself over something that would make most (male or female) people in a relationship uncomfortable? Um…..really?!

          Even you said in your own words that you felt you were in a “time out” (therefore suggesting you feel infantized by his response).

          What it really sounds like he’s doing is greasing the shoots. Setting you up as a patsy. That way if he decides to leave, it won’t be because he’s a philandering coward trying to do the “slow fade,” but because YOU’RE the “psycho jealous” demanding girlfriend. Effing REALLY??!!

          Listen, obviously I don’t know you two and can only comment on what you’ve written here, but to me, it sounds like he’s pulling a power play on you. I’m not suggesting you play him for the “upper hand” (waste of time, and no one wins, in what SHOULD be a mutually loving and respectful relationship). I’m suggesting that you re-evaluate a relationship where these games are even being played at all.

          • vhs says:

            I have been in the exàct same spot as you are in now, with that same reaction and that same blame shifting situation and all I can say here is that it didn’t get any better at all. We’ve been together for 3 years, and he let it become some silly power struggle between me, the captain, (funny how you put it exactly how I felt it, but this is the first time somebody describes it this well) him, and any other new ‘friendship’ (all with women off course, he didn’t make a lot, if any, new male friends weirdly enough) he engaged into. If you do not like it, don’t let your concerns be pushed away like this. It is a reasonable thing to have raised to him, why? Because you were left in limbo about these other ‘friendships’. No more no less. You’re either together or you’re not, and if you want disclose certain other people (women) out of your partners life (talking about your bf here now, not you) then he should reconsider how he sees being exclusive all together.

        • Jule says:

          MLC – I agree with Sushi and Revolution. And ask yourself, if there really is no harm in doing this secretly, would he be ok with you secretly having some guy friends that you flirted with? If tables were turned I seriously doubt he would be ok with it. Don’t ask him cuz he would say “sure, it would be fine” but it wouldn’t be AT ALL. He’s twisting this like it’s you and your problem. If it’s a relationship that’s open and based on trust, you would have known about this person.

        • mlc says:

          I refuse to doubt myself. My feelings are my reality. I think about things before I say them. I am a rational person and even though I was afraid of what would happen, I powered through that fear because I HAVE to be honest and authentic if I am going to get the relationship I want. I’ve been single for a long time, I am no desperate. I don’t NEED a man – I WANT one.

          I think he feels like he is such a catch…fit, good looking, employed. What he fails to realize is that he also comes with a lot of baggage: divorce, children, deaths of both parents and a brother within a few years of each other….All things I knew were reasons to not date him…All things I discussed with him prior to agreeing to date him because I did not want to be the soft pillow. I wanted a man who knew exactly who he was and what he wanted. He absolutely convinced me (and I believe he convinced himself as well) that he was healed and ready to move on. I WILL NEVER DATE ANOTHER MAN WITH HUGE ISSUES LIKE THAT that have happened recently.

          Just as I suspected, emotions popped up at certain times, surprising him. We were already involved and cared about each other and were seeing where this serious relationship could go so I was not going to abandon him. I wanted him to know and I did show him that I would support and encourage him through these things. Even though it was very difficult at times.

        • mlc says:

          I am afraid to lose him. I am more afraid of staying with someone out of fear of losing them. I simply cannot do that. Trust me, this hurts…BAD.

      • mlc says:

        I believe he does collect friends, which aren’t “real” friends. I mentioned this to him, “you have 509 friends and 500 of them are single women…how many more “friends” do you need? I truly do believe everything was innocent and there was nothing to any of it, no reality to it whatsoever…However, I DO NOT LIKE IT. My feelings are valid and I am part of this relationship. If he valued the relationship as much as he valued the ability to create faux friendships, then his first reaction would have been, you know what, being with you means more to me than anything. i want us to be happy and i want you to feel comfortable. but he didn’t do that. He is only thinking about himself.

        I did not call him back. I have not logged into facebook. I will absolutely not contact him at all. I am sure he will call once he realizes what he has lost. I’m not perfect, but I am pretty darn close.

        • grace says:

          everyone has issues that might make them undateable.he can’t help the deaths. Lots of us are divorced. The key issue here is the harem gathering. I don’t think he will change that because you don’t like it. Most likely is the behaviour gets driven underground only to resurface when you are in even deeper.

          • mlc says:

            I understood that he had no control over the events that had taken place, which is why I was totally understanding, supportive and encouraging. And I would not change the way I handled it. I know he appreciated it.

            I feel deceived by omission. My trust has been broken. That is number one on my list.

            • dancingqueen says:

              probably too late to comment on this but this “you have 509 friends and 500 of them are single women…how many more “friends” do you need” is unacceptable. He is a harem-gathering 48 year old who is being deployed and seems to want to chasten you like a baby when you correctly feel uneasy…please dump him. I see major red flags. sorry…big hugs

              • vhs says:

                I’m also a bit late in commenting but PLEASE mlc, and I have said it before but please take this into account.
                I had the exàct same issue with my ex, under the exàct same circumstances as you are describing here ‘he couldn’t help it’ ‘he was just being friendly’ and another beautiful one ‘I can’t help it that this happens to me and it doesn’t happen to you, what does that say about you’ (haha loved that one -not).
                And you know what?
                I could have men swirming around me any damn day of the year, if I was solliciting I could! It’s not about those women, it’s about him. He is on the lookout for them and they find him. Because rrrrreally, I mean rrrrealy, what kind of enigmatic god do they think they are that women would just throw their ‘friendship’ on him in masses without him ‘doing anything other than being friendly’
                Please. They see a vacant spot in the guy and they take it. And he’s just a wimp who doesn’t know how to say no, and who doesn’t WANT to say no because the equator runs through his ass, and you better not shake his believe and make him lower his ego supply. He couldn’t wait when I broke it off, to shag his *they’re just* ‘friends’. Oh, and be careful of a guy who BLAMES these women for wanting to be his friend. That’s his fairytale. Not reality. You can’t be getting all of this attention without seeking for it. It can be a positive thing or in a positive way, but it is never positive if it’s hurting somebody you love and is sabotaging the exclusiveness of two people in a relationship.

  46. Gina says:

    On Leaving Sugarland:

    This guy may very well be a wonderful guy, but when you said that, “He makes your inner child feel safe,” that gave me pause for concern. It is YOUR responsibility to make your inner child feel safe. You are already giving this man, whom you barely know, too much power. My initial impression was that you were starting to overthink too much about this man, but I was hapt to read that you are redirecting your focus back to yourself!! Yay!! That’s where it should always be. Remember: you create your own ridiculously happy life on your own. A man (who is worthwhile), would simply be the icing on an already scrumptious cake (you).

    Also…never get your meat where you get your money! In other words, be careful of dating someone you work with!! If things go belly up, you still have to interact with them. With that said, I dated four guys that I used to work with: two turned out to be a disaster, and the other two ran their course (I ended up marrying one)

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:

      Thanks Gina,

      “This guy may very well be a wonderful guy, but when you said that, “He makes your inner child feel safe,” that gave me pause for concern. It is YOUR responsibility to make your inner child feel safe. You are already giving this man, whom you barely know, too much power.”

      Yep, it gave me concern when I wrote it, and I’m a bit hesitant to feel the daddy issue there because I like this guy, but your’re right: It is my responsibility to make my inner child feel safe, and I’m just not there yet….

      Hmmm, I never thought about it as “giving him too much power” though, I just feel really comfortable with him, but maybe I should ask myself why I feel so comfortable with a guy that I barely know. (I really don’t want to ask myself this question; it will spoil my crush.)

      Ok, I feel really comfortable with him because so far he treats me as I always wanted to be treated by my father–I think he’s kind, gentle, and patient, but I don’t know him, so I get that I’m drawing too many conclusions, ok, I get that, thanks Gina.

      ” A man (who is worthwhile), would simply be the icing on an already scrumptious cake (you).”

      I agree. :), and I like how you said that….

      “Also…never get your meat where you get your money! In other words, be careful of dating someone you work with!! If things go belly up, you still have to interact with them.”

      I agree, but I’m not planning on staying in this job; I’m moving on as soon as I can find a better job because I’m sooo underemployed right now, but ok, the real reason is because I don’t want to think it through because then, I would decide not to pursue him because I would have to face the fact that I think it is a ‘bad’ idea to date a co-worker. (hmmm, did I just say I was going to pursue him?)

      “With that said, I dated four guys that I used to work with: two turned out to be a disaster, and the other two ran their course (I ended up marrying one)”

      Hehehehe, yep, I want to take this risk :) …er, or do I? :( Sheesh….

  47. Tinkerbell says:

    Thanks a bunch for your response to my concerns. Between BR, my therapist with whom I discuss my relationshits with men, and reading one self-help book after another, I am one confused mess. But, thank God my great friends are an outlet and s source of great enjoyment. Yes, I’m definitely confusing loving kindness, for being exceedingly naive and foolish. I still have so much work to do, but at least I’m not where I was. Currently, I’m reading “Safe People” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Prior to that it’s been “What Women Don’t Know (and men don’t tell you)” Michelle McKinney Hammond, “Get Over It and On With It, also by Michelle, “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout and “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. I am not saying that all this stuff is infallible and undisputable, but I’m desperately trying to straighten out my screwed up mind. I go back to my childhood but do not see enough in it to have made me a person who thinks and acts impulsively the way that I do. I feel as though the more I try to climb out of this pit of confusion, not only with men, but with people in general, the more I feel like it’s futile. Just the other day, I was reading the newspaper and found a psychic. I called her up and agreed to have her come to my home for a reading. After, I hung up I said to myself. “Have you totally lost your mind? You are ready to allow a complete stranger, not even recommended by a friend or anyone whose opinion you value, to come into your home?” I quickly called her back and started to ask more information about her. She got evasive, did not want to give her full name and made the excuse that she was “just starting out and did not have a website, but hoped to have it up and running in a few days. Red
    flag. I cancelled the appointment. So, then I started ruminating over how I could even entertain the idea of doing something so crazy and even act on it. Any way, the upside is that a year ago I would have followed through and met with her. It is such a very long hard road to emotional/psychological health. It’s depressing. But the other positive note is that I no longer allow myself to get bogged down in depression. I just keep working on it and reminding myself that I did not get this way instantly and recovery is not going to be instant either. Thank you all for tolerating my rambling. I believe BR helps me more than any other methods I have tried. And, btw, I feel wondeful after quitting online dating. It may be beneficial for some because they know how to use it, but I am not one of those people. Far too impressionable.

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:

      Hang in there Tinkerbell ((((Hugs)))

      Yes, the road can be hard, but it really IS doable, and it sounds as if you are doing the work–I always try to remember what someone on here quoted– “progress, not perfection.”

      :)~~On leaving Sugarland

  48. pinkpanther says:

    How ironic is it that the lesbian is defending men! The next time you hear an ugly sterotype about us queer girls, you let em know, we’re gay cause we love women, not because we “hate” men!

    • Lilia says:

      Thanks for your feedback and your defense of men – maybe they´re not so bad after all.

      Everytime my girlfriends/mom and I start to analyse our relationships we end up sighing “Aah wouldn´t it be nice if we´d like women, romantic relationships would be so much easier!”. When we were younger two of my girlfriends tried it out as an experiment, because they were so frustrated with men. Apparently they did have a nice time with the “experiment” – at least they giggled a lot about it afterwards, but of course it didn´t stick. You´re just the way you´re born, right?

  49. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    Hmmm, upon further reflection, I think I’m getting the real lesson, for me, here: I think I’ve changed another belief and some perspective: I don’t believe that a man can “make me happy.” I think that that realization is what I’ve been wrestling with….

    I see my life in layers, and I can see that though I could be happy with a man on one of the top layers, that man will not take away my pain that still exists in the deeper layers. I know, I know it’s not his responsibility, and I don’t want him to try to take responsibility for my pain…for my life, that’s for me alone to…; for, I don’t see men as rescuers anymore–I’m not looking for some wise man to come along and take care of me–teach me how to live my life, as I used to…that idea is absurd to me now. I can’t believe that I used to want to turn my life over to some guy to run, wth? Now I just can’t stand it when a guy tries to tell me what to do; who I am; what I should and shouldn’t do like, think, and…pfffttt.

    I like men, and I want to share my life with a man some day–though I’m still “getting one.” No one can give me that, and I just don’t want them to try.

  50. Tinkerbell says:

    OLS. Hope you don’t mind the abbreviation. You said exactly what I was thinking about saying next. But since I’d already written a book I decided against. It has been surprising to me the number of women who talk about romantic liasons with a co-worker. I may be old-fashioned but I thought that was always a “no-no”. Way too much discomfort to endure when it’s over. So then what do you do, quit and go looking for another job? Talk about seeking unnecessary stress!

  51. XT says:

    I needed this post today

  52. Tinkerbell says:

    Confused again. Gina, it was your post was to OLS. Sorry. Tink.

  53. Lois Lane says:

    Talk about a timely post…… Last week I had an unexpected night away from my son and went to dinner with friends. One friend is a really great singer and she insisted we all go sing karaoke. So I went to a new place, on an off night, and sang karaoke. I’ve never done that in my life! (I don’t think I can carry a tune in a bucket.) But I did it and I had a blast. And then a guy came over to talk to us and he seemed nice. And then he asked for my number. And he’s called and been a gentleman and asked me to dinner. All very simple really. So I come to BR and…….. Going in with an Open Mind! This is the first guy, as in a total stranger, that I’ve given my number.

    I really communed with others here who feel that their goodness, innonence, etc have been sorely abused. I waiver between thinking “Wow, I really need to offload being so nice” and “No, I refuse to become one of THEM”.
    So I will trust myself and keep an open mind. Thanks BR!

  54. Gina says:

    June, just because an EUM is attracted to you, does not mean that you are an EUW. You are only an EUW if you choose to pursue a relationship with them. EUM’s are often attracted to women like us…however, we have the power because we can simply dismiss them (the way in which you would dismiss an annoying fly buzzing around your food at a picnic table), and not take it personally. Are you perfect?? Will you ever be perfect?? Absolutely not! Reading self-help books, being reflective, and looking at past mistakes is fine, but at some point we have to say, ‘I’m as good as I can be in this moment and that’s enough.’ So get out there, laugh, flirt, be happy and simply enjoy life in this moment–don’t over-analyze or worry about this and that–just LIVE because tomorrow is not promised to no one.

  55. GettingBetter says:

    To hear my old college buddy tell it, he’s got to hold them off with a large stick. His conquests have run from married women to several strippers. Not a lot of emotional interaction in all of that, is there? Combine his bragging with the fact that he is a currently unemployed Donald Trump wannabe with bad credit living with his mother, and you can understand why I’m keeping my panties on. Men are scarce, but they’re not that dang scarce.

  56. Kelli says:


    Great post!

    I’m two years out of my relationship with my very LAST ass clown in December. I don’t at all, consider dating, as in getting out there and actually allowing to happen. The REASONS are what you’ve outlined above, BOTH scenarios I could see happening. This tells me that I’m not READY yet and I don’t know that I will ever be.

    I will be 49 next month.

    Perhaps the years of ass clowns, and life time abuse has permanently created a barrier to having another relationship again. Ironically, this feels comforting to me. I’m not altogether certain that being alone the rest of my life is a BAD THING. I want to be comfortable enough with myself that I am completely INDIFFERENT to the idea of a relationship, as I have a feeling that if one were to happen, it would not be the result of “looking”.

  57. lo j says:

    Mic… bless his heart. He’s a douche. It hurts now, I know, I dated one just like him, same scenerio with the FB friends, which, btw, they are all surface, shallow relationships, which is all he can handle, but you need more. Keep moving forward and leave the dead weight behind. It’ll hurt, for sure, throw yourself into BR, read ALL Natalie’s posts, BLOCK him on FB, figure YOU out, and eventually you’ll be grateful for this experience.

  58. Rebecca says:

    What would you recommend to someone who’s never been on a real first date? I’m 27 and all three of my ‘real’ relationships started with meeting them through mutual friends. All relationships were very unhealthy and involved either their addictions or exes. I have been on a date twice in my life – once in high school and again about six years ago. Both were nerve racking and very uncomfortable. Why put myself through that? However, my rules for dating are just not working! I keep meeting loser after loser! At this point I am convinced I will forever be alone, despite being very attractive, fun, witty intelligent and a good head on my shoulders. Do I have to suffer through dates to meet him?

    • runnergirl says:

      If your rules for dating aren’t working, I’d suggest reading every thing Natalie has written on dating. I’ve found her advice to be the absolute best. I’m 53 and had never been on a first date until six months ago, despite three marriages (and divorces). Met all my ex’s and bf’s at work and thought I knew them cos we worked together…wrong! From where I’m sitting presently, even though some dates have been tortuous (like the guy who snagged fries off the plate from the former dinners), it has been different. Dating is a discovery phase as Nat says. There isn’t a short cut, at least I haven’t found one. I go in with an open mind without thinking this is the one. If you are “suffering” maybe a little time out would help? I know it may feel like time is running out at 27 and taking things slowly isn’t in the cards, try dating and taking things slowly at 53. Talk about time running out. Dating doesn’t have to be nerve wracking or uncomfortable. It can be an adventure and an opportunity. I’m really enjoying dating thanks to Natalie and BR. I’ve actually enjoyed the really, really bad dates, which I’ve posted about such as the guys who talked for hours about how they screwed over their ex-wife or how they refuse to go to AA because they aren’t addicted. As well as the guy who stood me up on a second date cos I didn’t call to wish him a happy B-day, after one date (had to block that dude). As well as almost fourth date guy, who couldn’t commit to a fourth date after I indicated I wasn’t up for sex until I had a chance to know somebody. Not to mention the fixer who just needed somebody to fix him. No, you don’t have to suffer through. You get to choose, and at 27, you have a ton of choices! Even at 53, I have a ton of choices, although some days are better than others. Just take it slowly. I have a 23 yro daughter who thinks her life is over cos she broke up with her bf. Dear lord, I can barely remember my 20’s. There is so much more life to live. Enjoy being 20 something and dating.

  59. Ruth C says:

    Totally love this post. Good reminder for me right now with a new relationship on the horizon after my marriage broke up 7 years ago. I guess in my case it isn’t a thing of ‘getting all fixed’ and then getting involved but more of a case of ‘fixing a little’ stepping out a little, seeing how that feels…’fixing a little more’ and so on and so forth. So far I’m doing okay.


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.