matching six dice

I see so many people practically getting a Ph.d in investigating what someone said but didn’t back up with words, or investing themselves in something that looks like a relationship but the other party has said things to the contrary, that I felt it was time to break it down.

If the person appears to behave like they’re in a relationship by exhibiting the hallmarks of one such as spending time with you, sleeping together, introducing you to people, acting like you’re in a relationship, but then says that they don’t want to commit, that you’re “just friends” or ‘Friends With Benefits’, or denies that you’re even together, or says they’re not ready, their cat’s stuck up a tree, they haven’t got clean drawers, their budgie died when they were five, or whatever, if you continue, you’re ignoring the fact that their words don’t stack up with what you believed to be the actions of a relationship.

This is basically not seeing the wood for the trees because you’ll be telling yourself that action speaks louder than words, as if having the hallmarks of a relationship without the landmarks of one, trumps someone essentially disrespecting you and your relationship. You don’t realise they are lessening their responsibility, managing down your expectations, and telling you that you have the wrong end of the stick. “This isn’t a relationship so whatever you’re reading into things, it doesn’t hold the same meaning for me. I don’t feel the same way.”

It’s time to ask yourself what the hell you’re doing with someone who will shag you, get an ego stroke, play house etc but then say things that completely contradict that? When they say stuff like “I don’t see myself settling down with you”, you must be thinking “What the what now? Pur-lease! They don’t know their own mind!” That’s like thinking they’re a bit thick and need some hand holding in the relationship department.

However, when someone says any of this “I don’t want a relationship” and other such BS that contradicts their so-called action, it’s a get out clause and forewarning. If you continue, they assume you know the deal and recognise that how they’re acting is with a backdrop to what they originally said. They haven’t changed their mind.

On the flipside, I come across an incredible number of people who are sold on the wing and a prayer of words. Some have been interacting with people who have never had their actions match the words that come out of their mouth for over five decades. That’s some heavyweight Future Faking with an even heavier does of denial, rationalising, and minimising.

When you allow someone to persistently and consistently talk a good game without delivering, it’s like allowing them to bend over in your life and fart an incredible amount of hot air.

You may be thinking “Oh but they said it so they surely must have intended it” or “People who don’t love you or don’t want a relationship don’t talk like they’re in a relationship” or “They must say this stuff because they intend to do it and then it must be something about me that’s making them not do it so if I love them enough and become a loveable person then they’ll finally come up with the goods”. These people are a violation of the Trade Descriptions Act while selling you goods under deception.

Really, being with someone who talks but fails to act, is like calling up one of those chat lines over and over again. “What’s your fantasy today?” they ask, barely disguising their boredom while cutting their toenails. “Tell me about the type of relationship we’re going to have, the things you would do, where you would take me and then tell me all the excuses for why you won’t do any of those things and then reel me in again with some more Future Faking…”

I know I’ve said this many times but if actions and words don’t match, you’ve got problems. Match, match, match, match, match.

When someone is a person of integrity, they act like they’re in a relationship and talk they’re in a relationship because they think like they’re in a relationship. People whose actions and words don’t match have a disconnect with their thinking which is reflected in their actions and words, which also causes them to not live congruently with values they profess to have and desires, needs, and expectations they claim. The disconnect means they undermine what they say and do.

They don’t match because they don’t commit to what they say and/or they don’t commit to what they do.

The person who acts one way and says something else is talking themselves out of any perceived commitment to you so they can lessen their vulnerability and responsibility.

The person who says one thing and then does another thing entirely or nothing at all, is passive aggressively acting themselves out of any perceived commitment. The longer you hang around, the more they realise that you buy the fantasy so they take their foot off the peddle and just keep farting that hot air, occasionally throwing out a little action in times of panic and then gradually undermining it all over again once they think it’s safe to.

This means that there’s no point latching onto what they say about being in a relationship with you if they don’t act like they’re in a relationship with you, and there’s no point latching onto the fact that they appear to act like they’re in a relationship with you but they tell you that you’re ‘just friends’ or that it’s ‘casual’.

If you don’t have a match, you don’t have a relationship but you do have problems. No match, no healthy, mutual relationship but you’ll definitely have a whole load of mind effery going on.

When someone’s actions and words don’t match, you can never truly trust in them or where your relationship is headed, which by the way is nowhere. You’ll be left hungry for substance and very confused.

Just because an ex did those things with you and called you their boyfriend/girlfriend or you ‘feel’ like you’re in a relationship, or your feelings within this pseudo relationship are that of someone in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re in a relationship or that you know better than someone who’s acting or saying differently.

Actions do speak louder than words but don’t get it confused. When it’s not a match, the actions tell you everything you need to know.

If someone appears to act like they’re in a relationship but says different, it means that the actions are now those of someone who is not in a mutual relationship with you, which means you’re feeling and giving in what you perceived to be a relationship and now need to roll back.

If someone says they’re in a relationship, but doesn’t back it up with action, their actions contradict it or they even do nothing at all, it also means that not only is this clearly not mutual, but it doesn’t exist as stated, which is verging on a fantasy relationship.

If actions and words don’t positively match, which means you have hallmarks and landmarks, you’ve got problems. You will have even greater problems if you fail to recognise the disconnect and push your flush handle. The funny thing is that when they do match, you know where you’re at, and when it’s a good match, you’re not spending your life feeling mind screwed and ‘hungry’ for substance.

Your thoughts?

For a no holds barred guide to actions not matching words, check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.

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197 Responses to Actions Matching Words in a Nutshell: If You Haven’t Got a Match, You Haven’t Got a Healthy Relationship But You Do Have Problems

  1. Leisha says:

    On target as usual dear Natalie…Happy 6th!

  2. Karina says:

    Right on Nat! I’ve just recently been talking to a guy who I of course asked out (and no ladies…I have no problems asking a guy out, that’s not going to make me less of a woman) and he seemed genuinely interested in me. So I proceeded to give him my number and he decided to TEXT me a week later. After that I asked him to please call as I personally HATE texting! He did and we met up for a drink. So then he went on to call twi after I tolod him that if he’s truly interested it should be a two way street. He agreed and said he would love to spand more time getting to know me, talking and hanging out. So I invite him today to the movies and no reply whatsoever! The guy is all talk and no action. As a matter of fact, I’m going to fart his way and hope I don’t encounter him again! Funny then how my friends say to just see it as a win-win, gaining a friend! The problem is I’m not in the market for a friend! So actions have got to back up words ALL the time, unless you have a death in the family, a serious illness or your dog died (that would be my excuse since I am a doggie lover). Otherwise, hit the road Jack and don’t come back no more!

    • jasmyn says:

      Sorry to say this to you, Karina, but it seems maybe you were coming onto him a bit too strong. He probably did have an interest, but felt slightly pressured and didn’t want to hurt you. Call me old-fashioned, but I truly believe that the guy has to do more of the pursuing, particularly at the beginning.

      • NML says:

        Jasmyn, I entirely disagree. If anything, by reacting to his earlier behaviour of texting a week later, she flushed him out. I agree with Natasha that at this stage I’d say nothing and see what he does which in this case is nothing. As women we have to stop making bs excuses for other people’s shady behaviour, especiallly men. It’s that type of thinking why so many women end up with flip flapping unvailble men. We are not weak human beings. What you suggest is disempowering and again, as women we have to stop making out that stuff we do is stopping someone from doing something they never intended to do. You’re basically saying “Damn Karina! If you hadn’t said that you’re not into texting and mentioned about the interest to the man who took a week to TEXT you to ask you out, you could be living the fairy tale.”

        • Natasha says:

          Amen Nat – they are who they are! I had something similar happen with a guy that a friend set me up with (this guy was a new friend of her boyfriend’s). Here’s what happened: We went out to a bar with a group and, at the end of the night, he said, ‘What are you doing after this?” I said, “Going home.” Of course, I had no desire to go out with him, but one of my other friends was insistent that “that’s just how guys are.” Mmmhmm. He had said that he wanted to take me to dinner, and honestly, going to one dinner was better than a dozen lectures from my friend.

          He was away on a business trip that week and kept sending these inane texts. At no point did he say, “When are you free for dinner this weekend?” On FRIDAY, late afternoon, I got a text saying he was back and when could I meet up. I replied that I had already made other plans and wished him a great weekend. He didn’t suggest an alternative day, so I thought, “BULLET DODGED.” My friend (not the one who set it up – that evening was the first time she’d met him), however, went on and on that he was “probably offended” that I had made other plans and I SHOULD CALL HIM and tell him I wanted to have dinner. At this point, I had to grow a backbone and say to her, “No thanks, I’m just not interested in him.” She was convinced that he could have morphed into Ideal Boyfriend. In fact, she didn’t give up this idea until she heard from a work colleague that the guy was a total assclown. To steal a phrase from you Nat, the sun does not shine out of these guys arses and Karina is right to FLUSH!

        • SM says:

          Nat have you written a post that says ‘dont listen to your friends, listen to your gut instincts’. I have stopped discussing dating issues with some of my friends because they are as screwed up as some of the eu’s I’ve been dating. And typical women, they will rework an ac’s words or actions to something I should accept when what I should be doing is running for the hills. I was discussing with a friend about how the last ac pulled the ‘needy’ card, he was angry with me because on a nite he asked me to come over, he stayed on the phone for an hour and 20 minutes and I got upset over it. Here’s what my friend said ‘well you do like to spend a lot of time with people you date’, what?! seeing someone 3 times a week you are in a relationship with is ‘needy’?!

        • HowPredictable says:

          With all due respect to those who think otherwise, I think Jasmyn’s point is a good one. I’m not “old-fashioned” in the least (and in fact am I well-established, confident professional woman), but I always wait until a man asks me out, at least the first time. I think it’s the least they can do, if they really are interested. And if they have to be prompted to drum up interest in me, if they never get around to it, if they are too shy (blah, blah, blah — insert feeble excuse here)… then I don’t want them anyway.

          Empowering as it may feel, when a woman asks a man out (rather than vice versa) in SOME cases at least, the man will agree to go along for the ride, but he may not feel invested/fully attracted. Some guys will see whether they can get sex, will see where things go, will gladly add you to the list of other women he’s already seeing and keeping as options… but that might be it.

          The men of this world are used to doing what they want, going after what they want, and getting things accomplished. If they haven’t seen fit to ask a woman out, then it’s because:
          1) it has not occurred to him,
          2) he hasn’t felt attracted, or
          3) he’s got other more appealing women in the queue.
          If the woman still pursues him nonetheless, he may agree, but his level of enthusiasm and participation will be suspect. And this is when the “actions not matching words” will often occur.

          My humble opinion, only.

          • NML says:

            Hi HowPredictable, I thought I should respond to this as I think this is going off in a direction that it really wasn’t and isn’t headed. Karina asked a guy out, which incidentally I get the whole not asking a guy out thing and yada yada yada (see post here, he texted after a week, they went out, she mentioned about the whole not into texting and also about her interest, and then tumbleweeds. I think you’re assuming that Jasmyn’s response is solely about asking him out, even though my response is not about asking him out, nor is that the entire issue here. It’s not really about humble opinions either – your opinion is valid, as is Jasmyn’s and anyone else’s, however, what I did object to is this implication that Karina by clariying about the text had done something ‘wrong’.

            “Sorry to say this to you, Karina, but it seems maybe you were coming onto him a bit too strong. He probably did have an interest, but felt slightly pressured and didn’t want to hurt you. Call me old-fashioned, but I truly believe that the guy has to do more of the pursuing, particularly at the beginning.”

            This is a site about empowering people to have better relationships and to live and love with their self-esteem in tow. In the context of the comment that Karina wrote which again I should stress is not wholly and solely about asking a guy out, it’s not beneficial, supportive or empowering to basically say “Er, yeah, you came on too strong by saying to someone who didn’t text till a week had gone by that you weren’t into texting and also trying to clarify the interest”. I’m tired of women being expected to bear the blame for Other People’s Shitty and Flip Flapping Behaviour and yes, I do object when as women, we then blame women for a guy’s dodgy behaviour as if the sun shines out of their arses. Now this man sounds like this fragile being that has been pressured out of his interest. I’m on the BS diet – I just don’t swallow these dodgy excuses.

            I only WISH more people would nip it in the bud early on/get the hell out of dodge. And I should clarify again, I agree with pretty much all that you have to say about these types of guys but I also know too many living examples of couples who are still together, married, kids, etc who were asked out by the women. He would have behaved this way whether he asked, or she asked, it would have just reared its ugly head in another way. Oh and the day after my first date with the boyf, I called him the following evening. I doubt that makes me a tit but I know many women that wouldn’t do it. I’ve never thought “Oh NO! I called the boyf the day after our date instead of waiting by the phone for him. Maybe he’s not very interested in me!”

          • colororange says:

            I am curious about this and wish you would expand on it. The whole thing about whether to call a guy after the first date or to talk to him first, etc. There is conflicting information out there about this subject and it has me confused.

            I’ve heard other “dating experts” say if you want to be the feminine energy and pursued, you have to get the guy to notice you and if he is interested he’ll come up to you. If you want to be the pursuer and masculine energy, then you can initiate or call first. Where does all this tie in together? How does it fit? But then I suppose if it were the “right guy” you could not go wrong. Just confusing!!

            • NML says:

              Do what is appropriate for you and the situation. You don’t have to ask out guys and most women still don’t and you can let him call after the first date, but you also have to know who you are. i.e Are you one of these people that has you both walking down the aisle before the end of the first date and has panic attacks about when they’re going to call, or are you pretty relaxed? Are you going to feel crap if you call and unsure of their interest? Don’t call. I don’t know anything about this feminine and masculine energy stuff as that’s not my domain. I’m not into dating formulas – I’d suggest you get comfortable with you first and your improved self-esteem will help guide you. Basically your actions should match you.

          • Karina says:

            Thanks Nat! And to all the ladies who feel that asking a guy out and then making the woman, your fellow sister feel bad about it, then I suggest you read Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman by Phyllis Chesler. I’ve been reading on recommendation by my therapist and boy has it opened my eyes and seriously sheds light on what those ladies are saying about me having to play dumb and wait for things to fall on my lap. If that was the case, life would have passed me by a long time ago. And sorry to say, but modern feminists cannot only be categorized by their careers, we have to take ownership over the rest of our lives as well. Again…thanks Nat! :)

      • grace says:

        I agree with jasmyn that the man should do more of the pursuing, if only because they didn’t get the memo on equal opportunity dating. Or at least it should be 50 50 so I wouldn’t ask him out twice. However, asking him to call rather than text is not a biggy. It does flush out the chronic texters – I’m very allergic to them having been managed by text in my previous two relationships. If you simply accept his texting, he will continue to text and you’re stuck in a text relationship. If you call him out on it – he’ll either a) run off b) comply for a little while and run off. I’m afraid that c) instigate a permanent change and morph into the perfect boyfriend is not an option. a) and b) is unpleasant but at least it saves time! If they want to run, wave them goodbye.
        But all that said, if it’s right, it’s right and there isn’t any need to strategise or wonder about who’s turn it is to call, or who should ask who or where he/she is. It will just work.

        • blueberry girl says:

          @ Grace
          “If you simply accept his texting, he will continue to text and you’re stuck in a text relationship.” I flushed a chronic texter/sexter who I allowed to use me for basically getting his rocks off and an ego stroke. We were supposed to meet but he cancelled, never agreed to another time, blah, blah, blah. When I finally asked him to please call me so we could have an actual conversation, you guessed it ~ phone silence. buh-bye.

    • Natasha says:

      Karina, I’m not a fan of being asked out via text either! I would be careful about asking them out on the first date and saying straight up what you expect from them as far as expressing interest though. I totally agree that it makes you no less of a woman (and you’re an awesome one – I like your style!), but I think that it’s important to have a little mystery in the early dating stages. Not only is it quite sexy, but if you hold back and let things happen organically, you’ll see very quickly what the guy is all about.

      I am 100% with you that it shouldn’t just be the guy chasing us and us playing hard to get – I think it needs to be a back and forth, like tennis. This way the all talk, no action dudes will be weeded out very quickly, since the ball can’t stay in play if there’s no action going on!

      p.s. I’m so glad you brought up “Hit The Road Jack” – it’s raining monsoon-style here and you’ve inspired me to watch “Ray” :)

    • Lavender says:

      This guy doesn’t sound good at all. You’re so much better than someone who ignores you and just texts you. I once knew a guy who would text me many times every day, but when I saw him in public he would ignore me – not that this guy did this to you. Either way it’s not a sign of an emotionally healthy person.

      • Karina says:

        Thank you ladies for the feedback! Sorry Jasmyn, but I didn’t come off too strong. I’m usually one to wait around and have the guy make every move and all I’ve ended up with are idiots. I agree with Nat that we have to stop makes excuses for other people and all other ladies are right abput this helping weed out the wack ones. I’m not a traditional woman in many senses and I firmly believe we are strong enough to ask a man out and pursue. I was honest and clear when I said I was interested in him, not pushy. I would have appreciated more honesty from the get go.
        And ladies, he TEXTED me to say that he doesn’t see us as more that just friends (maybe his texting thing is generational since he is five years younger than me?).

        I agree with Natasha 100%! But I didn’t give him my life story from the beginning, the mystery was still there, just that he didn’t care to explore it. It’s amazing though how my girlfriends here see me as the one doing the female gender a disservice by being up front with him. It truly hurts that I don’t have more female support.

        And ladies, I think we all need to have a heart to heart with ourselves and ask what we want in life and in men, then go for it. Afterall, that’s what man have been doing for centuries, it’s our turn now. And thank you Nat again, I’m not looking to live in a fairytale, but I do wantto create my own happiness based on my likes, needs and want. At the end ofthe day, the only perspn I have to be ok with is me.

        I love this blog!

        P.S: You’re very welcome Natasha…I love that song and the movie!

  3. Claire says:

    This is so on the ball, as ever!
    Without going into the boring ‘ins and outs’ of what I have or haven’t been thru, I will say this:
    For the last 15yrs or so, I’ve mostly managed to avoid shit heads like my abusive ex hubby, but the most recent guy I met (who was a lot younger than me, but did have a PhD as it happens?! lol) So, he did the whole ‘future faking’ thing, talking abt how he wanted to marry me, what a beautiful baby we would make 2gether, and even now, he says that he ‘misses me’? blah blah, n’ all that jazz, only to turn round and then say he isn’t ‘ready for commitment in the near future, and doesn’t know what he wants??’ (blaming it on family issues etc etc) Get lost!
    Head f*ckery Grand Central?!
    I’m still reeling from the shock/humiliation/frustration of it all, but ultimately, I know that I owe it to myself to move on, even tho it’s super hard at times, as he has nothing to offer me but stinky cold farts!
    Luv u Nat, and thank u for another great post xxx

  4. KA Growling says:

    Great post Natalie! I am cringing inside as I recognise myself in my last relationship here – I continued with things as he was ‘good on paper’ and I’d been single for a long time but my actions would not have been matching my words. My gut told me all along that it wasn’t right for me. Yuk.

    I laughed out loud about the ‘my budgie died 5 years ago’ bit – one of my exes used to use the fact that his dog had died 10 years before to excuse his crappy behaviour. At the time I was all understanding and forgiving (even when my mum had died 10 years before but he always dismissed this when it came up). I would laugh in someones face if they pulled a llne like that on me now but hey ho, you live and you learn :)

    • Claire says:

      OMG! these guys so need a ‘reality check’?! Losing a pet is sad, yes, but still using that as a ‘trump card’ from 10 yrs ago? Ho hum, as u say, we live and learn, and ours is not to reason why they do/say what they do… moving on, with grace…
      With love,
      Claire xx

    • Samantha says:

      @KA: I recognized myself too! Yikes!

      I woke up one morning and was like, “I am done, I have to do this.” Break up with him that is. I was realizing that I was rationalizing his behavior, making excuses for behavior, and reinforcing it because I was there all the time for him. Things started to become one-sided and I was doing all the work, there was no effort on his part. I was not happy and I was legitimizing his behavior by letting him disrespect me.

      He asked me to move, told me he was saving up for something special (ring talk?), but always made excuses to not see me when he was in town, but I made excuses for that. It was long distance and I was getting very frustrated and I just had enough after the crying and not eating (and this part sucked because I love to eat). He was using me. He was pursuing me while he was still married. He did it with me and to me, and he will do it again.

  5. Spinster says:

    This is why it’s so important to be vigilant in ensuring that the actions match the words, instead of getting caught up in emotional whirlwinds so quickly. Actions MUST match words, otherwise the words are pointless & useless. (also speaking to myself in this regard; even though no one is interested in me romantically and vice versa, gonna review the hallmarks/landmarks post for possible future reference)

  6. ElleJaeP says:

    What & how can you tell IF (your being deceived) if the actions MATCH his words?

    For 5 years I was “fooled” into thinking we had a “real” relationship. His actions matched his words….. & yes it was everything that a normal Relationship consist of — UNTIL he broke it off & I discovered he was not “in love” & he admitted he doesn’t know what “love” is…. BUT, he knew how to “act” like a wonderful boyfriend, for 5 yrs.
    He claimed & called me his g/f all the time, went to family gatherings, considered me into ALL his plans, called me constantly, checked to see what & how we would spend the weekends, do the grocery shopping, spent Holidays with family, he gave me a Ring, keys to his place, it “seemed” like the real deal.
    BUT…. in the end it was not.
    He was an EUM who wants everything that consist of a relationship & played that part very well, as long as things were going great – BUT, he didn’t know how to “deal” when things started to not be so great — he seemed to have sabotaged thins so it would end. And I ultimately learned things were NOT as they seemed……

      • Claire says:

        Funny how things turn out. I met a guy once, we got on really well, blah blah, and then out of the blue, he dumped me?! I was devastated for abt a year, then evetually we got back 2gether and ended up living 2gether for 5 years!
        However, I became so BORED with him towards the end, because he didnt want to go anywhere or do anything, and constantly critisized the way I spoke/dressed, and I lost respect for him, so I moved out. It was VERY painful, and he was so devastated, that he turned to God/The Church for support. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but he’d never been that way inclined b4…
        I felt bad about the pain he went thru, and tried to support him as much as I could, but there comes a time when we have to cut off either way, as it becomes patronizing and inappropriate to maintain contact. I guess that’s how my recent ex probably feels about me :( It’s hard.

        • Tanzanite says:

          Hi everyone

          All Nat’s posts seem to be wrote for me,but this one is particularly painful to read.I fell madly in love with the fantasy. He was a future faker but I can honestly say that phase was the best phase of my life,it felt like heaven on earth, as if nothing bad had ever happened to me in my life. He temporarily made me forget my life hadn’t been great.I was besotted. I was impressed with the band he wore on his wrist which said “faith” You can’t go wrong with someone who believes in God I thought. . If we got together it would be great, he had christian values,it couldn’t possibly fail.I resisted for a long time because he was younger.I remember him patting my hand and saying it didn’t matter when I told him we could never have children.I remember him saying he would cherish me forever.Just that word made me go weak.
          I didn’t realize it was a fantasy at the time until I gave everything up for him and lost everything, including my self esteem.He was ok until he had to step up, and be the man he said he was.He managed down my expectations and blew hot and cold for along time after.I know why I put up with it for so long,it’s because I couldn’t accept how much i’d lost ,I couldn’t believe anyone could be so mean spirited and when your in the gutter, a single crumb looks good.

          Please don’t laugh when I tell you this-

          In the 3 years i was in this fantasy relationship I never went to his house because he said his male flat mate wasn’t very nice.

          I never met or spoke to a single member of his family or his friends.

          Forgot all my birthdays.

          Never stayed over at my house even when I became single-only ever visited me during the day,…..on a Tuesday usually.

          I had had enough, and when he came to my house I said-
          ” what is your address ”
          he said ”
          ” i don’t know”
          .I then said,”
          ” you don’t know your address ? Take me to your house then. ” he said
          ” he will be in ”
          .I said,” enough !”

          I did no contact several times and it was always him who got back in touch promising to change, but he never did.There were many more examples but i’m to embarrassed to admit them all and you can only write so much.I have had to keep this all to myself until I found this site.

          That’s when it hit me, I would cry all day and then I would have to put cold wet cloths on my eyes to take the swelling down before…

          • Lavender says:

            I think I dated this guy. Especially the part about not sharing his address and making ridiculous excuses. You have nothing to feel embarrassed about. It’s not you that did these things, but him. He should be embarrassed.

            I absolutely relate to this paragraph:

            “I didn’t realize it was a fantasy at the time until I gave everything up for him and lost everything, including my self esteem.He was ok until he had to step up, and be the man he said he was.He managed down my expectations and blew hot and cold for along time after.I know why I put up with it for so long,it’s because I couldn’t accept how much i’d lost ,I couldn’t believe anyone could be so mean spirited and when your in the gutter, a single crumb looks good.”

          • Samantha says:

            My guy said he would not talk to me on the phone because his apartment did not have full walls. This was true, but always made excuses. We did talk on skype. I am pretty smart, but I was an idiot.

            I met a guy who refused to tell me his age. Really? You don’t know how old you are.

          • Happy Soul says:

            Tanzanite, I so hear you…GOD, we probably dated the same EU!!! My AC contacted me again after 9 months of NC (I dumped him in January) and here I am in Square ONE…I let him in again, and he promised me a WORLD but yet again No ACTIONS! HOW can I rid of him??? I tried everything:-(

    • madam butterfly says:

      @ ElleJaeP

      Your relationship could be the mirror image of the one i was in for 3 years. He called me ‘my girl’ , bought me so many things i can not list all of them including clothes, perfumes, jewellery including 5 rings which included a diamond trilogy ring and a diamond eternity ring etc, took me on weekends away, theatre/cinema visits, expensive restaurants – everything you could possibly wish for really but i think i never listened to what he had to say to me at the beginning of the relationship as i was getting so loved up, which was a statement he made quite early on in the relationship ‘ i am mean, nasty, selfish and cruel’. Those are the exact words he came out with, but i actually laughed because he did not seem to be either of those things. He was going to be with me forever, even if i became ill he would always look after me. And there were so many plans for the rosy future he was planning for us together!

      However, fast forward 3 years and now that we are no longer together boy do i see how those words were actually NOT spoken in jest. He was all of those things he stated initiallyand MORE! He is a compulsive liar, a cheat, deceitful, devious, spiteful and i was left shell shocked at the way he just told me one night right out of the blue without any warning ‘ i do not want you anymore, i am a changed man, i have changed now! I was stunned!

      How can anyone tell you that when he had appeared so loving towards me? Fortunately i am a strong minded person and although shocked to my core at the time, on reflection now after over a year of NC i am finally getting myself together physically, as yes,i was physically shaken as well as emotionally ripped apart and it knocked my self esteem to shreds for some time.

      Since we split i have discovered he has all of the traits of a Narcissist/Sociopath and so i have not really lost. If anything, i feel i am now forewarned as to what to look for before i give my heart away, and instead of not listening to what they do say, keep a clear head and be guided by their actions and to keep an ear on what they state in the first place. Funny thing also, this man asked me what Love was as he did not know……

      • Tracy says:

        Wow, same thing here. One weekend, I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread, four days later, he “can’t be in a relationship…”

        We’d been together a year and a half. I was involved with his kids, he vacationed with my family, went to my sisters wedding, I went to all his events. I was the “spouse”. The joke was that his son would only come over if he knew I was going to be there. When I joked once, that after my kids are both in college I’ll be so poor I’ll be living in a cardboard box, he said, “No, you’ll be living here.” Then he acted like he never said it.

        In July, when I point blank asked “Where do you see me in your life in two years?” He said, “Living here.”

        After the break up, I read A LOT about Narcissists. Man, oh man, does he fit the profile. No empathy, no willingness to reach out to the other partner, to please the partner. Negativity. Cruelness…not overt, but in the form of “helping” you (“you should lose 10 lbs…you’ll look so much nicer”) The book said that they come on STRONG and can be very charming for quite a while sometimes. But then…

        They decide that there is something “flawed” about you, they can’t put their finger on it, but you are now UNACCEPTABLE. You disgust them. You don’t know what it is, either. They need to jettison you ASAP. After all, this whole exercise is for THEIR comfort, your feelings are irrelevent.

        In my case, this man, who ‘can’t be in a relationship’ was back on line within a week, hunting his next victim. I’m sure she will be walking on water in his eyes until that one day…

  7. Natasha says:

    “They don’t match because they don’t commit to what they say and/or they don’t commit to what they do.”

    Amen! I was involved with a boomerang assclown that begged me to take him back, fronted like we were dating, pulled a disappearing act after a supreme display of douchery and then informed me that we had been “friends”. Say whhaaaaaaat? Nat is right, this stuff is an utter mind-screw. I think one of the hardest lessons to learn about dating is that people who are either a hot mess or have no integrity will do things that are straight-up outrageous or seem to make…Absolutely. No. Sense. If someone can’t or lacks the empathy to do something as fundamental as lining up words and actions, ohmygod, leave his ass. Words and actions matching is what I like to call a Baseline Decency Action, i.e. you can’t even begin to think about progression, compatibility, etc. if that isn’t happening. Don’t give people like this the time of day – trust me, you can do better!

    p.s. Love the new Commandments on the sidebar :)

    • Mango says:

      “If someone can’t or lacks the empathy to do something as fundamental as lining up words and actions, ohmygod, leave his ass. Words and actions matching is what I like to call a Baseline Decency Action, i.e. you can’t even begin to think about progression, compatibility, etc. if that isn’t happening.”

      Yes. yes yes yes. What was I thinking? I bought into the fantasy, while he signed up for classic unavailability and commitment phobia. The advance course. Still trying to make sense of it all, our history, all that I’ve lost….

      • Natasha says:

        Mango, I have asked myself what the hell I was thinking many, many times! If I had responded to my ex’s recent advances, I would be at the SIX year mark with someone who couldn’t stump up a BDA if there was a 10 million dollar prize for it. A lot of these guys are very clever at selling the fantasy, so don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s human to want to buy into it and our mistake was not returning the damaged goods fast enough, while blaming ourselves for buying them in the first place. *Big Hugs*

        • Mango says:

          BDA? I googled, and some um, ‘interesting’ ones came up…lol!

          Well, with my dude, I really don’t think he ‘sold’ it so much as I read waaaaay too much into things, based on our history. Silly girl. When we found each other 14 years later, I am embarrassed to admit, yes, I fell into the fantasy. If I’m real with my self, the relationship was mostly in my mind’s eye.

          *hangs head in shame*

          Big hugs to you too!

          • Natasha says:

            Mango, that’s my abbreviation for Baseline Decency Action – I want to google it, but I’m scared now haha! I think everyone gets carried away with themselves at some point in life and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. As you know, I’ve had more than one (*AHEM*) moment in my dating history that I look back on now and wonder if someone was breaking into my house and slipping PCP into my iced tea. Sometimes, this is how we learn!

  8. Shauntee says:

    This is so true! I learned this the hard way this year. I had someone treat me like we were in an committed solid relationship but their words said other wise. I finally stepped off the train 2 months ago and taking some time to regroup because I was truly hurt by how I was led to believe by words and actions that this person loved me.

  9. Magnolia says:

    I did this to someone: from about day seven of our first hooking up I said I wanted out. I ‘tried’ dumping him two weeks in, then a year and a half in, then three years in, then finally ‘got it’ on the final try, when we had been together for over five years. My self-esteem was so low that even though I knew I didn’t want him, I believed him when he said “it doesn’t get any better than this,”and that I wanted too much if I wanted more than he was offering, and that he knew I loved him. I’m a decent person: while I was with him we lived in other countries together, travelled, set up home, he renovated, I decorated, we cooked together, etc etc. I tried to feel what I was supposed to feel but I kept telling him, over and over, that I wasn’t feeling it. I became pretty verbally nasty near the end, too. And when I’d get upset and pick fights he would call me ‘nuts’ and ‘crazy.’

    I was so conflicted, wanting ‘something’ more, not knowing what it was, feeling I don’t dare to risk leaving a devoted person for nothing more than a feeling of lack, very sad that apparently I couldn’t enjoy a good thing. It was only after going to my best friend’s second wedding, where she was ecstatic to get to marry the guy (and is still very happy with him and their two kids – and had NOT been happy in her first marriage to a guy she felt she ‘should’ marry after 8 years of bf/gf). I knew I would never feel that way about the man I was with. I dumped him that weekend and he was DEVASTATED. It was awful. Gut-wrenching. Ugh. I was a real mess for a couple years afterward.

    But I remember him saying, through tears: “But I thought this was IT!? I thought we were in it till the end!” Now I know we had talked about growing old together, and talked about babies, and had even pretended to be married while we were overseas, but I thought: “I have been TELLING you from day seven that this doesn’t feel quite right to me. You’ve been saying for five years that I’ll get over it. I’ve finally decided I won’t get over it and don’t want to waste any more time. How can you be surprised??”

  10. Sarah T says:

    Nat, I TOTALLY knew my ex was in the first camp. The actions kept me invested and on the edge thinking that he seemed to be coming round to being in a relationship…yay, I’d won!! But the voice in my head (being drowned out by my desire for things to work out) was absolutely spot on. Everything felt wrong, fake, lacking, empty and precarious. Every day was like it could be the day he pulls the plug and I’d be history. That day came, I was gutted, I started reading your blog, I felt better, I met someone, I’m happy! Feeling the way I do now makes me see how crappy things were then. If only I’d invested the strength it took to keep me hanging on in there to getting the hell out a lot sooner!!
    Many thanks for putting yourself out here and creating this blog. Good luck with the book!! Xx

  11. colororange says:

    Actions and words matching. Well I have been working diligently at not saying I’ll do something when I might not. I’ve been returning voice mail messages when someone has called when I’m feeling anxious to call them back. But today I effed up. I’ve been so emotionally exhausted and worn out that I decided not to go with a couple people to this event tonight. I wanted to stay home and get my mind off work and the married jerk and watch TV or a movie. It probably would have helped me feel better had I gone but it’s too late now. Lesson learned. I probably owe them an apology for being wishy washy about going anyway then not going at all. Heck I just realized what I did. Talk about being unconscious. Boy when I get in these fogs, I really miss what is going on out there and people.

    Nearly everyone around me is that way; what they say does not match what they end up doing. It’s only recently I even figured out what integrity meant! No joke! I didn’t have much of it because my role models didn’t either. So here I am as an adult woman learning what it’s all about. Am I perfect at it? No. Do I still want to run and hide from people? Yes. Slowly I pay attention to what I am saying and try not to put something on offer that I won’t fulfill. But lately I have been really annoyed that most people that talk to me do it through text. They tell me things or ask me things through a text, not a phone call. I’ve been getting to where I don’t respond to texts anymore, not out of being unavailable but it feels like I’m not important enough for a person to call. I know it’s “convenient” to text but it’s easier to say things than type it out on a screen. So I either need to catch up with the times and that is how people communicate now or I need a new group of people to talk to. It drives me nuts that everywhere I go people are texting. Where is the verbal, face to face communication? Am I wanting too much to want that from someone? Anyway, breaking my habit of lack of integrity is getting better. When I recall the anguish I endured at the hands of an AC or EUM or prick saying he’d hang the moon and stars for me but ended up dumping a porta potty on me instead, that will help me to remember not to do that to someone else. Because it causes you to really feel like a steaming pile has been unloaded on you when someone does that.

  12. Heartache Amy says:

    Well, this definitely resonates with me. Yes, I was the one who fell for a MM. This summer, he pursued me (and I fell for it), telling me things like how he was going to leave his wife, how we were going to “call in sick” to work and spend a day together, how he was going to call me, on a few occasions, and didn’t…When I called him on some of these things, he dared to state how I didn’t trust him and how insulting it was. In my last e-mail to him, I wrote that his actions truly didn’t follow his words and even wrote that “actions speak louder than words.” I guess he didn’t like that since I haven’t heard back from him. I only wish I had caught on sooner instead of rationalizing his behavior and accepting his excuses. I still like him and it still hurts, but I’m trying to get over him.

  13. LarLa says:

    Awesome post yet again! I just had an action guy. He acted like we were in a relationship for months! We got together on a vacation with friends but we lived in different places so I never brought up a relationship as it wasn’t an option. Then we chatted and flirted just about everyday. He moved to my town a few months later. He came to my birthday party, we went camping with an actual couple (mutual friends), shared a tent and flirted as before. Then he told me he didn’t see us as being a long term thing but still wanted to continue the friendship. I told him he can’t treat a girl like a gf and have her believing he wants a relationship and then say the opposite. He has a history of this – there are at least 2 others our mutual friends know of. He would never call the girls he treated as girlfriends as girlfriends. I told him that we were never really friends and cut contact. It was hard as he was the first guy (not the last!) I had really strong feelings for. Glad I cut contact…wondering what was going on in the months before he moved here was excruciating.

    • Sassy says:

      Good for you to do what was right. If a man wants to see you, but only flirt, then there is something wrong.

  14. Blair says:

    This is a great post and I agree with everything you say considering I’ve dealt with someone who played a good game but gave me crap in return.
    The pathological lying, giving me the silent treatment when I tried to figure out what was going on, making excuses for why he couldn’t see me, and most of all blaming pretty much all of his actions because I was “too quiet” around him and his friends.
    Whenever I read a post like this I understand that it isn’t a match and a relationship is not all dependent on me, but my biggest problem after dealing with this a**hole is that I’m left wondering “Why wasn’t I good enough?, What’s wrong with me?, Am I really too quiet?, What did I do wrong?” The questions are endless and I always feel like it is my fault for him treating me this way.
    Any advice would be helpful…

    • grace says:

      why do you want to be good enough for an insulting, pathological liar? If you kick a dog everyday, the dog is going to start feeling bad, it may become fearful, nervous, mistrustful. The answer isn’t to teach the dog to be a better dog and therefore the owner will be kinder. The answer is to get the dog a new owner.
      Get a new, caring owner – yourself.

      • Blair says:

        I know I took it personally and I don’t want to be with him anymore.
        I’m stuck on the “why’s?” He made me feel so wrong about who I am, and basically blamed his not wanting to be with me/make time for me on the fact that I’m too quiet. That’s what hurts that he said that to me…like I am what’s wrong and that was his answer to everything.

  15. runnergirl says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Excellent and thought provoking post. Of course, it’s now pretty obvious to me that a MM’s words do not ever match his actions. For all the OW’s out there, dear lord, go NC ASAP. He can claim to love you and you are soulmates but who does he go home too when he’s done with you? His wife, right?

    This post brought up for me the fact that while I played the role of OW, my words did not match my actions. I claimed I loved him, we were soulmates, and had the greatest love of all times, but he left every night to be with his wife. I overlooked that little detail? My words clearly did not match my actions. Of course, his didn’t either and since I was so focused on him, I didn’t have time to focus on my words and actions cos it would hurt too much. I accused him repeatedly of how his words didn’t match his actions but I never thought once about how my words didn’t match my actions. Ouch. Yikes. Face Plant.
    “Actions do speak louder than words but don’t get it confused. When it’s not a match, the actions tell you everything you need to know.” As usual, you are all spot on. NC has given me time to focus on me and now Natalie, when I read your book and posts, I’m focusing on me now instead of him. When I read this post, I realized, my actions didn’t match my words. My words said I wanted a committed, respectful, loving relationship. My actions by being involved with a MM contradicted my words. If I’m going to talk the talk, I’ve got to be accountable and walk the walk. I had the hallmarks. I want the landmarks. Thus, if I truly want a loving, respectful, trusting, and healthy relationship,being involved with a MM isn’t going work. I’m going to have to change my actions to match my words. I know this seems like Relationship 101 to you all but I have a thick head when it comes to relationships. Tomorrow, I’ll wear my “kick me” t-shirt to the gym. Dear lord, what was I thinking is the only thing I can think. It seems so obvious now with all of your help.

    • Fearless says:


      I relate very well to what you say here. After a while on BR I noticed that almost every complaint I had about “him” was equally applicable to me! When we realise we have to go NC with them we are mostly very focussed on how badly we have been treated by “him” but when you start to notice that you are at least 50% responsibe for the mess of these relationships is when you start to see yourself and your own behaviour and the whole “mess” quite differently.

      My actions and words did not match either. I wanted his commitment but was settling for very much less. I said I wanted a proper relationship but I was seeing a guy who was patently not offering me one.

      So what was i thinking??? Well, what I realise now is that I have never seen relationships with men in terms of what I wanted from *a* (any) relationship with *a* (any) man. I always saw relationships in terms of what I wanted from *this* (particular) relationship with *this* (particular)man, so that my desire for a relationship was always about a specific man to me and never about relationships in general or about men in general.

      Yet I have noticed that other women (my long-time friends for example) always ended getting married when they started looking for *a* relationship (non-specific) with *a* man (non-specific) who might be up for a proper relationship/marriage. To me they were simply looking to get married -and they all did (I didn’t!). I tended to think that they were simply seeing their biological clock ticking, were tired of being single and doing the ‘single thing’ and were simply looking to “get married” (which they were!) and that they’d just marry the first man that offered (which they did!), so in a sense I don’t think I was wrong about their motives, if you like. They have all made pretty good marriages, by the way. I, on the other hand have ever married. Aside from being the only one of my friends who was also a single mother of a growing child (which I think played its part in my EU relationship behaviour), I wasn’t looking for “marriage” per se. Generally there was either no-one I was seeing or was interested in at any given time, or if there was someone I really liked then it was *this* particular man I was wanting to be with.

      I don’t know if I’m making sense and am probably also straying off topic but I have been thinking a lot about this lately and if I coud pin-point the reasons I never have married then this is surely it – I haven’t been looking for “marriage” (or commitment) – that’s all to much of a vague and non-specific notion for me! I guess I have a problem! (I wonder if this is what being EU is – I am confused about myself cos I have never gone ‘out there’ simply to look for someone to get married to?! So I end up accepting much less than that and I give very mixed messages about what I actually want)

      • runnergirl says:

        Hi Fearless,

        You are making sense. I can’t remember when it turned for me. At first I was focusing on the behaviors of the EUM/AC’s. Now, I’m focusing on the behavior of the FBG and you are right, I’m 50% responsible (maybe more) for continuing in a situation where I said one thing and did another. Like you, I never really thought about relationships in general, it was always about a specific situation/individual. “I am confused about myself cos I have never gone ‘out there’ simply to look for someone to get married to?! So I end up accepting much less than that and I give very mixed messages about what I actually want)”. This is it for me! I am/was so EU and confused myself, I didn’t even realize I wanted a healthy, committed, loving relationship. I can see how my mixed up words/actions left me vulnerable and dining off crumbs. I get involved with a MM, who by definition is unavailable, and then decide I want a committment from an unavailable MM? He may have had the EUM/AC playbook down pat but I had the FBG playbook down pat as well.

        Don’t give up, Fearless. Natalie gives me hope: “There’s a guy out there that will commit to you (when you’re ready to commit) but that’s not going to happen if you stick with Mr. Unavailable”. Once I realized what I want, it sifts out all the EUM/AC’s.

        You don’t want to be married just to be married, right?

        • Fearless says:

          “You don’t want to be married just to be married, right?”

          Yes, correct. I did want to be married though. Seriously, I honestly thought so anyway! But apparently I am EU cos if I wanted to get married why would I waste my time with a guy who was never going to deliver? Pre BR I would have answered that with: it’s not just “being married” that I want – or I could have been married two dozen times by now! – who exactly is it I am suppsed to want to be married to? – To me that was the crucial question. I would have married the EUM (I’m pretty sure I would have) – he didn’t want to marry me back! So for me it was a rock and a hard place. I see now that one just has to move on and be alone (god knows I was alone anyway!)

          Runner: “Once I realized what I want, it sifts out all the EUM/AC’s.”
          Yes. I can see that’s how it would work. I think I have always focused on the “who” I want rather than the “what” I want. For me the “who” and the “what” were always one and the same thing.

          I don’t think I have so much “given up hope” as I am just utterly done in with ten years of EU crap – it’s all but finished me off for relationships. I sure do know now what I don’t want. Mostly now all I want from men is *peace*. No more mixed messages and flip-flapping and silent treatment and cold heartedness please. That’s all. That’ll do.

      • NML says:

        Hi Fearless, I’ve been thinking about your comment which I will use as inspiration for a post but I wanted to say that you’re making sense. What you’re referring to is what most women who are reading this site/been involved with Mr Unavailables are doing – meeting someone and deciding based on their own set of factors that *this* person *must* give you the relationship you want because it’s what you want from them as opposed to what they’re actually capable of being and doing. It is what creates an incredible amount of pain because it’s a bit like being a child and stamping your foot and going “But I want it!” when you’re told NO.

        When you genuinely want marriage etc, those form part of your values and particularly if you value your time, you won’t hang around with someone who comes to show that they don’t want marriage or whatever it is. Instead, it’s best to walk away from that and align yourself with someone that shares the same values. Many women think it’s their job to convince a person into changing their values. Here’s the thing: Their values are their values. Remember your ex Fearless? Well he demonstrated his values throughout the entire ‘relationship’ and he tried to get you to adopt his values for the entire duration and to some extent you did in order to hold onto him and it made you miserable because it wasn’t reflective of your *own* values.

        I think it’s difficult to say that they married the first man who offered. I think it’s easy to say that when you’re on the outside of it as it’s a bit like saying I got with the first available man that came along just because he was available. My friend did pretty much the same thing as you for over a decade. She was like a dog with a bone and kept breaking it off and then going back. *Finally* she let it go. She’s been with her current guy for the past few years, they’re living together etc and she’s hoping it’s not too late for babies but even so, she’s just glad she embraced herself and her own values and found happiness on her own terms. Her ex is exactly the same with a new woman complaining about the same things my friend did…

        Also to be fair, if you were with your ex, you were never going to truly be available to an available relationship because you were invested in an unavailable one.

        • Fearless says:

          Thank you for your response Natalie. I can see everything you say is right. Yes, I was like a child having a tantrum – I wanted my way and I ended up miserable and frustrated cos I was always being railroaded into *his* way.

          I mean no disrespect to my friends (or anyone) re marrying the first available guy who offers – of course, as you say, it’s not that simple – and my pals ain’t that daft! They are more relationship smart than I am, obviously. What I am now thinking over very hard is “what” I want for *my* life. For now I guess it’s just to get myself together – get to know myself – get to love and care about myself and never, ever, ever compromise myself or my values like that again – I never want to be that vulnerable again – and if I do pick up an interest in someone else he has to align with what I expect and need from a relationship or jog right on. Thanks for BR and all your help over these many, many difficult months. You are a godsend.

          • RadioGirl says:


            “What I am now thinking over very hard is “what” I want for *my* life. For now I guess it’s just to get myself together – get to know myself – get to love and care about myself and never, ever, ever compromise myself or my values like that again”.

            Absolutely with you on this, Fearless, it’s what I’ve been working on with the therapist for these past few months and it’s been a big part of the “bunged-up and stuck” feeling. I sense that I’m gradually turning a corner with the quest to let my own identity become fully-expressed (as opposed to it having been swamped by various ex-EUMs’ identities/values – and especially the last one, the immature spineless airline captain in whose “busy” chaotic life & shallow values I lost myself so completely that it triggered the epiphany where I’d simply had enough of being that way). I’ve reached this small breakthrough by simply nurturing and caring for myself as if I’d been physically ill (indeed the emotional devastation did make me physically frail for a time), and literally getting to know myself as if I was a new friend. The therapist got me to ask myself often “do I like the colour of this? does that move me? what’s my opinion on this? what do I feel about that?” as a way to get started. I’ve been treating myself to things like a trip to the theatre, a tour round Buckingham Palace, afternoon tea, country walks – some things on my own and some with trusted family and friends whose love and care I am certain of. The times on my own are becoming increasingly as enjoyable as the times with friends & family, and less self-conscious as a single person. It’s proving to be a long road to make progress along, but I’m slowly learning to get in touch with my own true feelings and needs for the first time in my life, and to be moved and affected in a healthy way by things in the world around me whilst also having compassion for myself, especially in the darker, sad moments. Not sure if this makes any sense, but wanted to share what seems to be working for me, albeit very slowly. Keep going, Fearless, and please know that your comments on here are thought-provoking and lightbulb-moment-inspiring.

            Sorry, Natalie, think I’ve strayed way off topic here!

          • runnergirl says:

            OH MY,
            I just turned the page, it’s been slow going this weekend as there’s been a ton to work through. Listen to this, it helped me address why my actions have not matched my words: “You need to start asking yourself ‘Is this what I want?’….FBG’s do what works for Mr. U’s and assume it’s what they want without genuinely considering whether it’s what they actually want. Your needs and motives are different than another person’s…What do you want? Trust me when I say that it’s not what he wants….It’s back to the short, medium, and long-term goals again….Do you want a committed relationship with an available partner? If you don’t have an identity, it’s time to create one independently. Learn to give to yourself and meet your own needs.” Natalie, I’m sorry if I’m violating a rule or going off-topic or being a blog-hog. I just finally truly got it: How could my actions have matched my words when I didn’t know what I wanted? Another Mango ‘head desk’ moment!

          • Fearless says:

            Thankyou Radio.
            am so gad you’re making headway. Sounds good! I am actually quite good (maybe too good) at spending time alone; I like my own company, can always interest myself in something; can relax quite easily (too easily!).

            You’re plainly a very clever and resourceful woman, Radio – you’ll be just fine – and you have fab sense of humour – I love seeing you posting; cheers me up! Sorry too for off topic… stops now!

          • runnergirl says:

            Ladies, I have a new fantasy. Here’s my new fantasy. The 2nd Edition of Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl has gone nationwide and worldwide. Fallback Girls everywhere are figuring out that their Mr. Unavailables are unavailable and are healing, most importantly moving on, and are finding decent guys who are committed, exclusive, respectful, and loving.

            Mr. Unavailables, assclowns, and/or married men find themselves alone in the bar with their cell phones implanted in their ears and up their arses. Here is my fantasy discussion: Hey dude, I texted her I missed her and she hasn’t responded, what’s up with that? She always fell for my lazy shit miss you texts at silly-o-clock before. Yeah, I could always count on a lazy luv u text after I blew her off, now she isn’t responding. Where have all the fallback girls gone? This isn’t fair. I could always dial her for a shag at any time, day or night, and now she won’t pick up and ignores my texts. Hey, you guys are at least single, I’m married and the Other Woman claims she’s not that woman anymore. Shite, I’m going to have to go home to the wife. That’s going to suck cos she doesn’t give a damn. Where have all the Other Women gone? This isn’t fair. We all have needs here and we are used to getting them met with Fallback Girls and Other Women with no strings, at their expense maybe, but we have needs. Where’d they go? Hey Fallback Girls and Other Women, what do you expect us to do now?

            Ah, the day when there are no Fallback Girls and no Other Women and all the EUM/AC/MM’s sit around at a bar, watching football, drinking shit beer, and wondering why they can’t get laid. Tell me this isn’t a fantasy to cherish?

            Take a flying leap off a short pier.

          • cavewoman says:

            I was married before, in the most bass-ackwards way possible… first I didn’t “believe” in marriage: it’s just a piece of paper anyway; then I was the one to ask the man to marry me, while I secretly wasn’t feeling he was “the One” but it seemed practical at the time… (embarrassingly EU of me) and then once we were married I tried to live my idea of the serious “married couple”, and if he had different ideas it was probably his fault for being lazy, uncaring and/or maladjusted. All the while, I was feeling so self-righteous for being the committed, faithful wife and mother while he was, well…. I think he was miserable because he too mostly bought into how since I was the impeccable “well adjusted” one, something must be wrong with him… (Okay he’s not perfect but we both should have known he wasn’t marriage material)
            Then my post-separation EU FWB experience… in ten minutes I fell madly for him, but told him I wasn’t ready because I wanted him to chase. I am that much of a liar. Then he said he wasn’t looking for a relationship so I proceeded to hide the fact that I’m in love with him, and worked on being best friends waiting for him to fall in love with me. How painfully self defeating! Then when that got unbearable I fake-NC’d him but reconnected in a couple of months, hoping in a way only the truly delusional can hope.
            I told myself and these men so many lies. I was such a darn coward… did a crappy job of taking care of myself. I have not yet fully decided what I want.

          • Josie says:


            I think the only thing I have learnt in relationships is that you can not make someone love you, treat you the way you want to be treated. It has to be within them to actually WANT to do it. If you force the issue, of course you will always be having life THEIR way.

            I think we have to accept that people do what they do because it works for them. The trick in good relationships is to pick someone whose natural behaviour not only works for them but also works for us and who is open to change on feedback.

  16. ms.option says:

    I’m once again dealing with the actions not matching the words. I ordered Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl yesterday. I am so hoping after reading it I will get it once and for all. I am the fallback girl over and over and over.

  17. bella says:

    …a few words I shared with the last clown I dated….”I can’t hear what you’re saying because your actions are SCREAMING at me”….he of course didn’t comprehend this…. Thank you Natalie for your amazing insight & wit!

    • Fearless says:

      So good. So true! Thanks for posting that; I’ll bear it in mind! Their actions are screaming at us it’s a wonder we can drown it all out and focus on some piddling little thing he said once on the Wednesday just before Good Friday the Easter before last!

      We must also hear our own actions too, which are slso screaming at us yet we manage to turn a deaf ear to those as well.

  18. Robin says:

    This could not have come at a better time.

  19. Fedup says:

    Claire an ex of mine does exactly the same thing. I’m like well if you miss me so much, why don’t do you do anything about it? I never got a straight answer out if him.

    • Fearless says:


      My ex EUM used to say he missed me – by text! – weeks after he’d disppeared, walked out on a conflict situation and/or just shut me down. I used to say stuff like: ‘well, what’s kept you away from me? War? Floods? Earthquake? An epidemic perhaps? Oceans? Mountain ranges? You’ve been kidnapped and no-one’ll pay the ransom? A prison sentence? A major accident has left you paralysed?

      Like you – never got an answer. Wierd thing is mine actually would appear really perplexed and/or momentarily startled that I had said any or all of the above – like he was almost shocked at me pointing out what was to me a very obvious contradiction between his words and his behaviour.

      They should get an Oscar of Bafta or such thing for missing us so much and yet still put up such a convincing performance of someone who doesn’t miss us at all!

  20. P Jay says:

    Its no easier than this…”See it for what it is and not for what you want it to be!” for so long we women have been conditioned into believing if we “claim it” or “think towards it” or whatever cliche’ was in at the time that eventually will come into fulfillment from that guy and into a relationship. However if you allow your self to fall for all the mumbo jumbo, before you know you’ve wasted a lot of valuable and precious time and beauty. Listen, if I guy does one thing and say something else, PLEASE DON’T READ IN TO IT!!!! If he says he’s not looking for a relationship at this time and you are? “nice to meet ya” and keep it moving. Don’t go to sleeping with the guy thinking that someday he’ll change his mind about you. No, he won’t you’ll just be one more person he is sleeping with. You have to understand something about Men, while we love in the present they love in the past, meaning after there is no more, he understands and see the value. And I mean should we be surprised that’s the makeup of a man. While women sight is 20/20 men HINDSIGHT is 20/20…LOL. Always with regret! But ask this question? How many times has a man approached with and told you he was married or in a relationship but he wants to get with you but have to be honest he just can’t be in a relationship with you at this time, however if you down just being FWB (friends w/ benefits) it’s cool with him? And how many of us unreluctantly said “Sure”! But here’s the kicker! HOw many men can tell you a woman approached them and said, “look, I’m not looking for anything right now because I have a man or married, I just want to kick with you by you spending money on me, I don’t want to sleep with you but I want you to pay my bills, give me money and always be available when i call for whatever but never sex or relationship. And if you down with whatever then we should be good? ” There isn’t one man that can tell if approached like that he was in agreement. So what I”m saying is if we got to play the game to get what we want, then Men should be required to do the same and stop selling ourselves short and disrespecting us, because when a man approaches you with that proposal, he’s basically saying you are not worth his time or energy to know anything about you, but just enough of five minutes to SCREW YOU, and those five minutes will cost you more than it’s…

    • Lavender says:

      This article is so good! Couldn’t agree more.

      “he’s basically saying you are not worth his time or energy to know anything about you, but just enough of five minutes to SCREW YOU, and those five minutes will cost you more than it’s…”


    • molly says:

      Yep, I’ve had it happen many times where a guy will say they are otherwise involved but there was “something about” me that they just felt a “connection.” Total and utter b.s. Usually these comments would hit me like a freight train because many times these were men I had professional or social ties or interactions with so it wasn’t like they were total strangers.

      When you are in a healthy place emotionally you see this stuff for what it really is.

  21. Nancy L says:

    My Dad used to say when people are all talk and no do, they are ………
    ” Heap Big Wind and No Rain”.
    I value integrity.
    Life rewards actions.
    Thanks Natalie

  22. healthyheart says:

    My Dad used to say….When people are all talk and no do, they are…….
    “Heap Big Wind and No Rain”.
    I value integrity.
    Life rewards Actions.
    Thanks Natalie

    • Fearless says:

      Nancy, I like your dad’s saying.
      Reminds me of a favourite quotation:

      “All sound and fury signifying nothing”

      (Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’)

  23. Gina says:

    Once again an excellent post Nat!

    I’ve had a couple of glasses of sangria and am a bit tipsy, but after reading post after post after post after post about men who are basically worthless, I am now depressed. I am sick and tired of reading about all of the ACs, EUMs, and FFs. Where the hell are the good men who are serious about establishing and maintaining healthy relationships that lead to marriage????????

    Phuck it all!!! I’m looking at adopting a little dog because they are loyal, devoted, and don’t care if you’ve put on weight, how you look, or whatever. They love and adore you…imperfections and all…

    • Fearless says:

      I concur! Are men really interested in commitment? Are the ones who are interested in it the exception rather than the rule, so is looking for commitment and monogamy from a man the same as trying to be (or find) the exception rather than avoiding the rule? Are they not hard-wired to self-centredness and shagging around? Are men and women not simply at cross-purposes?

      My life-long experience of men (and I am half a century old) is that they are a whole lot of trouble for a whole lot of nothing – except pain and disappointment. Men should get a cat instead of a woman (cats are EU! :) ). If we want loyalty and commitment we should get a good dog! :)

      • Donna L says:

        I can’t believe that’s true. I want to just thinj I’ve been chosing the wrong guys. I’ve spent most of my life thinking I had to be thinner, prettier, sexier, more laid back less this, more of that to be worthy of genuine love and affection. I think I learned something from my last relationship, although in the hardest, most painful way. If someone who lies, steals is verbally agressive and emotionally withholding can walk away from me thinking that they are a great guyworthy of love then why can’t I believe that myself? I have flaws and things to improve like everyone else but if I just STOP beating myself up and accept myself then maybe I can believe that I AM worthy of love too. Then maybe I’ll meet a guy who is attracted to the happier me. Not someone who is so lacking in self acceptance that they will bend over backwards to please a man who at best is loaded down with so many real issues that he CAN’T treat me decently.

        I think I’m finally starting to get it. And the relief brings tears to my eyes.

      • Tanzanite says:

        Hi Fearless

        I heard someone say-” men just don’t commit anymore” ,and part of me thinks that’s true.They just have a selection of fall back girls,option girls,booty calls and when his woman of the moment wakes up to who he is,he has another one waiting.

        I feel like i’m done with men but i’m not done with life.I need some new female friends.Power to the sisterhood .

        • Fearless says:

          Hi Tanzanite

          “I feel like i’m done with men but i’m not done with life.”

          Yep. I feel much same. In fact now that I am done with EU/AC crap and possibly men altogether, I feel that maybe MY life can properly begin, in that MY life will now get my full and complete attention! These men can just go stick their paltry offerings where the sun don’t shine. I am not interested in pleasing these people anymore.

          • Tanzanite says:

            I’m with you on this fearless.

            Investing in myself for a change sounds like a really good idea.

    • Natasha says:

      Girl, didn’t anyone ever tell you not to drink & read the comments?! ;) I totally have moments where meeting someone and settling down sounds like The Impossible Dream, so it’s not just you. There are decent, commitment-minded guys out there and I have to continuously remind myself of this whenever I look at my dating history and the single guys I encounter and think the world is full of the douchey and screwed up. The way the dating world is now makes it easier for the AC/EUM to function, which sucks big time. If there were fewer women putting up with their crap and people stopped making movies about how great booty calls are, maybe they’d have to think about pulling their heads out of their arses, but it is what it is.

      In the meantime, I think if you’re not meeting the guys you want to meet, then it might help to change up your routine. I know it sounds like such cliche advice – but seriously, a new hobby can lead to a more fulfilled you and more opportunities to meet decent guys. Personally, I see more cute guys on the golf course and the tennis court than I see in six months in the bars! I have a dog (get one – you won’t regret it, they are so much fun and bring so much love into your life) and dog parks are great and, yup, chock full o’ dudes. Hope this helps!

      • Gina says:

        Hey Natasha,

        “I think if you’re not meeting the guys you want to meet, then it might help to change up your routine. I know it sounds like such cliche advice – but seriously, a new hobby can lead to a more fulfilled you and more opportunities to meet decent guys.”

        True that! I’ve decided to give online dating a break and try meeting guys in a more traditional manner, such as joining social clubs. The goal is to participate in fun activities and outings with the purpose of having fun. If I happen to meet a wonderful guy in the process, that would be great.

        Oh, and I’m going to check out a little dog that’s in a rescue shelter tomorrow morning. If we’re both turn out to be a good match for each other, then I’m bringing the little guy home :)

        • Natasha says:

          Gina, that is so exciting! My little friend was a rescue as well :) I have a feeling this is going to be a great match!

  24. Aura says:

    My ex was full of lies, fantasies and yes his words never matched his actions. I called him on it again, and went nc for years, only to go through the same scenario years later and to initiate nc again. The thing is, I’ve been nc for a while and yes I remember all his flaws, but some days I miss the fantasy. I miss the fantasy, isn’t that just pathetic? I keep trying to get past it, but some days, I want fantasy, and not generic tv, novel fantasy, but my own personalised fantasy. I miss it. I know he’s bad for me, so I stay away, maintain nc. I have never been addicted to someone before, except him. I cut him out of my life, but he’s still in my mind and heart and it’s been a long time. I’m doing everything in my power to move forward, but sometimes feel, he kept my mind off all the other difficult things in my life, that I was happier being mind effed, then just focusing on reality day in, day out. Does anyone have any advice for me today?

    • molly says:

      NC works wonders. Not letting them into your life in any way, shape, or form, and eventually the hurt will subside. Thinking about him will subside.

      Women especially seem to get wrapped up in fantasizing about some perfect relationship life because we’ve been forcefed that crap from the time we were born. It’s not easy to shake those stereotypes and tapes we play over and over in our heads, but one thing we know WON’T work is having contact with someone who we allowed to completely bust up our boundaries and make us emotional basketcases.

      Think about any relationships you’ve had where you did the breaking up. You probably had NO thoughts or fantasies about that person even two weeks after it was all over.

      You’ll get to that point with the current hot mess of a guy but it will take time because at some level we don’t get “closure” the way we did when we had more control in other situations. The expectations we build up with these EU guys have been built up and broken, built up and broken, built up and broken. That’s a lot of emotional damage to have to wade through, and initially you need hip waders to do it, but eventually you don’t even need to stick your toe in!

    • Tanzanite says:

      Hi Aura

      It’s funny you metioned addiction.Are we all addicted to love ?
      Alcohol and gambling addiction is caused by doing something too much or too often,but love addiction is caused by not getting enough or not being loved properly or so it seems- i’m no expert. Most pyschologists would say love is one of the most important things we need.You can give up alchohol and gambling and live a good life but if you have to give up love you are at a loss.When I ended it with the assclown it felt like I was dyeing whilst I was still alive. ( not because I’d lost a great bloke but because i’d loved too much) I’m a lot better now but sometimes I feel like i’m only half living, and can only be completed by having a mutually respectful relationship.

  25. Tulipa says:

    I know I’ve said this many times but if actions and words don’t match, you’ve got problems.
    It is that simple.
    As simple as this conversation
    You have been saying we are friends and you will call etc but your words and actions don’t match. Actions speak louder than words.
    His response:
    My very down time has meant I haven’t been in touch with other friends either. I will call you but not in the very near future.
    Yes someones words not followed up by actions equals problems.
    And yet when we were dating he was as good as his word the majority of the time that is why it is so disappointing he is no longer that way, unless I’m kidding myself.

    • SM says:

      Tulipa this is what actually happens (I know cause I’ve been there). He said he wanted to be friends, I told him I didnt want to be friends that I was only interested in a romantic relationship with him. Neither one of us believed each other and then we both got mad when it didnt work out the way we wanted. I’m glad Nat wrote that you need action and words because one without the other is baseless.

  26. Fedup says:

    Wow spot on! My dog has outlasted all of my boyfriends! And he never dumped me by text, cheated in me, rub his new relationship in my face, badmouthed me, treated me like crap or tried to use me for sex months after breakup.

  27. Mango says:

    “Actions do speak louder than words but don’t get it confused. When it’s not a match, the actions tell you everything you need to know.”

    I miss our long-term friendship. I do. Yet, I am DONE with being seduced by maybe’s, and I love you, and I’m scared, and I’m crazy about you BUT, and all of the wonky thinking cyclones whirling around wishing, and hoping for things to be different. For two years. That’s just nuts. And exhausting.

    I don’t feel emotionally healthy, or as grounded in my life as I know I could be, and am finally focusing on getting me back. Finally. Good grief, why did it have to take so long? Urghl.

    “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
    ~ Maya Angelou

    • blueberry girl says:

      @ Mango. “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”~ Maya Angelou
      I love that! The key is to keep it real and make sure you’re not blinded by fantasy and the relationship happening in your own head. People will ALWAYS show you who they are. I’ve learned you have to pay attention and believe them. When I ignore what they’re showing me, I get burned…badly.

      • Mango says:

        “The key is to keep it real and make sure you’re not blinded by fantasy and the relationship happening in your own head.”

        And there was where I detoured and things went horribly wrong. You’re right. People DO always show us who they are; we simply choose not to see it. Live and learn. Keep it real, indeed.

        Maya rocks!

        “Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
        ~ Maya Angelou

  28. Cat Nils says:

    Hi everyone, and thanks Nat once again, for a great post.
    I have had all types of relationships. I can say I’m not interested anymore talking to someone about a future together. It gets easier when we get older, we know what we want, and don’t want. I’ve come to just enjoy men, no matter what they say, I don’t believe them anyway, I know better, most of it is B.S. Too many people out there, don’t know what they want, however they want everything, when they meet me, they discover I don’t want anything, so they just relax. I strongly beleive in friendships, if they can’t be a good friend, they certainly can’t be anything else. The way I see it anyway.
    Personally I suspect we may be all saboteurs in our relationships, by our own expectations. sincerely, Cat Nils

    • Mango says:

      “Personally I suspect we may be all saboteurs in our relationships, by our own expectations.”

      Yes, absolutely.

  29. Guys know what to say to rope women in, so they do. It’s just so easy to keep a woman hanging by occasionally feeding her those little crumbs she wants to hear. So easy.

    Great post, Nat!

  30. buffythebs_slayer says:

    I just have to share this quote about the sales process.

    “Think of any situation where you have purchased something, and, at the end of the purchase experience, things got nasty. Assumptions you had made at the beginning of the process turned out to be incorrect. Promises that the vendor made were broken, and the vendor was very reluctant to make it up to you. The enthusiasm you and the vendor had at the beginning of the process was gone, and in its place were raw nerves, legitimate concerns, and a lot of haggling over “what we must do, now that we know what we didn’t know before.”

    This is, unfortunately, a very common state of affairs in any complex sale. It’s also completely unnecessary. Most, if not all, of the typical end-of-sale-process disappointments can be eliminated altogether, if expectations are set properly up front, and reinforced as the purchasing process proceeds”

    The last one said he was a mercedes but he really was just a rusted pickup truck that had been parked in a forest for years.

    I want my effing money back. LOL. If only…

    • Tanzanite says:

      I like that buffy.

      I work in retail,so I understand it totally.

      If we sell something that we know to be faulty we have to state what the fault is and where the fault is, on the label.

      If all assclowns had a label that said- full of bullshit caused by having a swinging brick where the heart should be, we would leave it on the rail wouldn’t we?

      • RadioGirl says:


        “If all assclowns had a label that said- full of bullshit caused by having a swinging brick where the heart should be, we would leave it on the rail wouldn’t we?”

        I dunno – it seems that sometimes I’ve been tempted to buy the goods with the “faulty” label on them at a seemingly bargain price, thinking I could mend them and make them into something fabulous and unique. It’s just a shame my judgement of my own ability to do that was way off-balance and I ended up with something shoddy and useless, having spent time, money and effort on it for nothing.

        Am having a less positive day today, as my ex has been showing off to mutual friends about how he’s getting paid by his airline to lounge around by the pool in a warm foreign land for 4 days (no wonder they’re going bust!). I guess I have to try harder to close my eyes and ears to any news about him that’s floating around, as it never does any good for my long and arduous journey of healing and self-discovery…

        • Tanzanite says:


          When it comes to clothes I wouldn’t dream of buying anything faulty, it’s false economy and not worth the effort.I thought I had bought a designer garment and at a later date someone had put a faulty label on it and it took a while for me to notice it.

          I feel for you, I really do because it’s hurts when you think you are on your backside and they are on the crest of a wave.It is so hard to recover ,I know it is,some people are better than others,i’m rubbish but I keep trying.

          If I could get on face book with a name that isn’t taken already I would be happy to chat sometime.Until then,I will quote you from the film eat,pray,love.

          “Ruin is the road to transformation.”

  31. Gina says:


    Truer words have never been spoken :) I, too, am almost half a century old. I know that there are good men out there. Unfortunately, finding one is like finding a needle in a haystack. I don’t understand why men are called dogs…why insult dogs like that?? Dogs are actually very loyal and devoted. The love they have for their humans is unconditional.

  32. Anari says:

    Lavender love your post! I agree Nat , actions should meet words but the important thing is is walking away when they don’t.

  33. molly says:

    This is the one area (talk v. behavior) where you’ll be able to figure out right out of the gate whether you are dealing with someone who is a flake. From the very first time you interact, you’ll start picking up clues and as we start dating we can feel it all out as to what their intentions are. Many times there are red flags on the first date, or even before then!

    The last guy I dated gave me clues on our FIRST DATE that he would be trouble and I should steer clear. He was critical without providing constructive input of how I handled a situation with my homeowner’s board. On the same date, he acknowledged having had an affair with a married woman that went on for several years. What I didn’t ask him was whether he was still seeing her or not! But that behavior alone should have been a huge red flag. He might as well have put a blinking red light on his forehead that flashed “Warning! Stay away!”

    He then pursued and pursued, calling and emailing me incessantly until I agreed to go out with him again. Another red flag.

    So I pretty much knew from the first date that things would be difficult and instead of appropriately evaluating the evidence and making better decisions, I got swept up in it.

    Evaluate the evidence you have. Weigh what he says with what he is doing. And do not let them keep moving the goalposts. You will be wasting your time with a guy who constantly “refreshes” and wants to keep changing the rules or backtracking and trying to explain himself, ad nauseam. Give it up and look elsewhere for someone more healthy because that isn’t healthy!

    • SM says:

      Molly you are so right. A guy I had a crush on for a year, told me something that rocked my core being…before I went out with him. Now if anyone else had heard what he said, they wouldnt have thought anything about it. I even reworked it in my mind because I had been interested in him for so long, I did not want to give up the fantasy so when he finally asked me out it was like I won the grand prize. I ended the relationship 6 months later because even though this guy acted like he was in a relationship, his words never matched up ie.. he never said he loved me. As a matter of fact, when I confronted him with it, he said he didnt and would never love me, that he had never loved anyone. I broke it off a week later. This was the pivotal relationship where I realized something was wrong with me and sought therapy.

  34. miskwa says:

    My AC had a variation on this: actions matched words but were at odds with his actual feelings. He acted like he was interested, says the things that an interested man would say, but probably despised me. Then it was of course MY fault for trusting his words and his actions.
    Go figure.

  35. Anari says:

    I guess I’m also reflectg and thinking that maybe I read the actions wrong. In that maybe I was searching for a diagnosis and labelled him eum but maybe it was just not into me. Where do u draw the line into readg into actions. Cuz if someone isn’t into u the actions won’t match right so that doesn’t mean that they’re eum. It does mean that they’re actions don’t match and you need to keep walking though.

  36. carol says:

    Gina — Yes, there are many good men out there. I have dated several in the past five years, and am currently in a four-year realtionship with one who wants a marriage, but is waiting until I get past the fear I have left.

    After a 25-year relationship (21 years married) to a diagnosed alcoholic narcicist, I was in horrific shape when I escaped. Nat’s Florence Nightengale posts are SOOOOOOO on target! Always being strong, understanding and excusing destroys your sense of the respect and boundaries that you deserve in a relationship. I have always said that it would have been easier if he had cheated — I would have recognized that was wrong, and would have left. My ex-husband did things like having a drinking buddy call me pretending to be a cop, and telling me that the ex had been in a fatal accident. I was completely thrown off, because who DOES things like that? I mean, such cruelty must surely have been triggered by something I did, right? And then the next day, I wouldn’t even be sure if it had happened because he’d say it hadn’t, and who DOES things like that. But the caller called for to apologize and grovel, so I knew it had.

    I divorced him 6 years ago, and am in a much better emotional and physical place. Much of it due to my work, but it’s also been due to the fellow I call my life partner, even though I’m still afraid to get married. (My ex and I dated/lived together for 4 years before marriage; he didn’t expose his shady side until we married.) There are men who will respect you, themselves, and your relationship. They’re not perfect — maybe not a 10 in the looks department — but they want to build a life with you. Not on top of you, or with you in the shadows, but with you.

    Don’t despair. Figure your boundaries. Respect them.

    • Gina says:

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for sharing your story and for the pep talk. So glad to read that you found yourself a wonderful guy who loves, cherishes, and adores you!!!

  37. Connectingthedots says:

    I have to say as I read through these posts I wish I would have stumbled upon your blog months ago! But at the time I didn’t think I needed it. I’ve been wasting my time with the guy you’ve described here…he acted like we were in a relationship…then acted somewhat shocked when I made it clear I was interested in a committed relationship and he stated he just wanted to be friends and he is scared of commitment. At that point I thought it was over but he continued to pursue me and would often ask about my feelings (even asked me why I liked him and he didn’t understand why I did)…He would often want to talk about having a relationship and would say I hope this progresses further. At the time I should have listened to friends and got out because not only was this going on, but he has an out of control temper rarely directed at me but he would become someone else out of anger and I couldn’t talk sense into him. I had a soft spot for him because he said he’d been rejected a lot in the passed and he didn’t have the best childhood. His mother was emotionally cold and unavailable to him most of the time. His father wasn’t part of the picture. And he doesn’t really have any friends. He would often say how much he liked me and how he could be himself and tell me things he couldn’t tell other people…things seemed okay, not perfect because I wanted more than he did but then I kept getting a feeling he was talking to someone else…he was always very secretive about things that shouldn’t have been a big deal. Anyways I decided to cut things off. That lasted for a couple of weeks and then things started up again just as before. Then I sort of found out that he was spending time with another girl although I’ve never confronted him directly because technically I’m not his girlfriend and didn’t think I had the right. Plus he has a way of turning things around on me and making me feel like I am crazy or out of line. I recently cut things off again and he texts me the other night to say he misses me. The next day he followed it up by asking how my day was…when I responded and asked how his was…he didn’t respond until the next day?! I guess he is just messing with me. I don’t know if I should respond again if he ever texts and tell him to leave me or alone or say nothing at all. I can’t get him out of my head but reading through your blogs is helping some. Thanks for the words of wisdom!

  38. Sandy says:


    Yes, that’s what I was always saying to my ex who not only didn’t match words and actions, I’m surprised his eyes were the same color and his legs were the same height! The cruelty and casualness with which they behave is unreal. NO ONE DOES THAT KIND OF STUFF!
    Love this blog and NML!

  39. Sassy says:

    I think you need to watch words and actions. I just met someone here who had just moved here. He asked me out, and before we even met he was already suggesting we do things other than the date we had scheduled. This made me feel like, he wanted me to fill a void for him of the loneliness of a new place. He then texted me everyday prior to the date, which I felt like was too much and builds false intimacy.

    We went on the date, and I discovered he is only here for 3 months,not the year I expected. And during the date every time I mentioned things to do, he said, oh we will do that. MEANWHILE, he starts talking about how he is living day to day, is here for three months, and did not even think enough of his time here to pack the right clothes.

    The second time he mentioned day to day, while all the same time being very affectionate, and talking about what we would do, it hit me. Soft and sad, but not angry, that this guy wanted me to play girlfriend while he is on semi vacation here. I was not mad, I was and still am sad. I told him that I liked what I was seeing, but that he was not really open, and that I would end up with my feelings hurt. One of the hardest things I have done in a long time because I liked what I saw. BUT, my gut told me to listen to the discrepancy between his words and actions. At moments, I still regret telling him to go away, but I need to know that I can find someone who is open to exploring a lifetime partnership, and he was on the first date giving me all the info I needed.

    Thoughts anyone?

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi Sassy,

      It sounds like by listening to his words and watching his actions, you may have dodged a 90 day whirlwind, fantasy romance only to wash ashore as a FBG on day 91. If your goal is to find someone to explore a lifetime partnership, then this guy may not be it since he said is he leaving soon. Although I haven’t had to implement it yet and I never have been able to trust my gut, I’d trust your gut on this one. This seems like what Natalie and the others have been saying, the actions must match the words or there will be problems. He gave you all the info you needed on the first date and you listened. Wow, congratulations and I admire your honesty, despite the fact you liked what you saw. If you felt like you were filling a void and playing girlfriend while he was on a mini-vacation, you probably would have ended up doing just that. Your post was very helpful to me. As a classic FBG, I can recover too. Congratulations for walking away from what may have been a train wreck. Stay strong and don’t get sucked back in.

      • sassy says:


        Not sure if this will add or detract – hehe!

        Before you get all excited for me, I did call him back the next day and left him a message that we should maybe get to know each other. And he did not call me back. However, that was when my aunt was like “You are so closed, blah blah blah” the next morning. And then the fear and shame set in.

        So I got confused and I did some research about fear and intuition. And now that it is a week or so later, I realize, it was my intuition that I felt that night. Intuition is soft and non-judgmental. Fear on the other hand is loud and mean.

        When I thought about how I felt the week afterwards, I had a lot of mental mean loudness about how I should give someone a try, how I am going to be alone, why would I have ran him away when he liked me, how I was an idiot, how I don’t deserve what I want, and I am incapable of a real relationship, that he would find someone he falls in love with here, and it could have been me.

        But I got really centered and I realized that when I think about that night and how I felt, I was sad, but calm and centered (maybe a little dramatic, heh). Intuition and sadness go together because you can know you are doing the right thing and sad because you are not opting into something damaging. Fear is mean and cruel. It is full of shoulds and coulds and signals a bigger issue. The fear set in the next day and tried to drag me into old habits.

        I knew it would end badly, and I took care of myself by ending it. That I am so calm about, and feel great about myself about. Unlike listening to what I wanted to hear, I know I read him properly. He was “fastforwarding” and it could not work, and I knew I would be roadkill as he on date one had already gotten to the level of intimacy he would ever feel. I truly believe that men know if or if not they are open, and he was consciously or subconsciously putting up barriers. He was a good guy, he was honest about where he was, but I did not need to sign on for it. And he did me a favor by not calling me back. I just need to trust myself, and it makes me excited that I can see what is happening and take care of myself

        Now that I separated what was going on, I can really let go, and be kind to myself, and working on continuing looking for what I want and need.

        • SM says:

          Sassy thank you so much for that post! You do not know how much you have helped me. The part about fear being loud and mean. I am being courted by a company for a job, I will be doing the same thing I’m already doing but with a lot more responsibility and a lot more money. Its a long hiring process and I go from feeling really good about it, to feeling like I am inadequate and dont deserve it. When I feel good about it everything is clear. When fear starts setting in, I feel depressed and like I am not worthy and I so AM. Whew THANK YOU, I seriously need to get a grip on this. Its the same thing that happens to me if I meet someone that I consider has all the I want and need.

          • Sassy says:

            You are most welcome. I still feel sad, and I still hear mean, but I now know it is not him, it is me. Look up inner bonding, great framework. I hate thinking about what he is doing, but then I speak nicely to myself, and I realize it doesn’t matter. I stumbled on my journey, but just scraped my knee, nothing is broken….

        • runnergirl says:

          Hey Sassy,

          Even if you did call him back, you did listen to your intuition and didn’t let the fear drag you back into old habits. I like the description of the difference between fear and intution. This is the exciting part: “I knew it would end badly, and I took care of myself by ending it.” You trusted yourself and acted with love, care, and respect toward yourself. Your actions toward yourself matched with your words. That’s a tremendous step.

          As Natalie would probably say, this guy wasn’t your last chance saloon. There’s no fire. Good for you for taking care of you, despite your Aunt’s advice.

          • Carrie says:

            Sassy don’t sell yourself short! You did amazing and exactly what all of us hope we do when faced with the same kind of choice. You did what was best for you and trusted yourself.. and it’s okay that you questioned yourself the next day. We’re all works in progress. You did fantastic.

          • sassy says:

            Thank you ladies. What I see now if how miserable I would have been, and that keeps me from thinking how wonderful it would have been. I am very lucky he did not call me back, and it was not the worst thing I could have done.

            I spoke to several of my male friends about that and here is what they said, so you can all learn from it.
            A. Most men know how available they really are from minute one, and generally know how long a relationship will last.
            B. His talk about the day to day was either conscious or subconscious, but regardless he was letting me know where I stood. Most likely he did not expect for someone to call him out on it.
            C. And while I think I came off as crazy – men would have thought I was much more crazy if I had tacitly agreed by not mentioning it, and then a month in or a month before he left pitched a fit about what he had already told me, even if it was not direct.
            D. Men are very capable of relationships that will not progress from an emotional perspective. They can stay there for a long time, as long as they are getting some needs met.

            These things are not to men bash, many men are very available, it is about listening to words and actions and realizing that they say what they mean, even if your don’t like it. And that you won’t change what they say and mean. So you need to choose – IN or OUT. All things to consider.

            As to my story, I don’t regret what I did, and I am very happy I have found the peace to realize that the fear is most likely much worse than the reality and what he thinks really does not matter. Only what I think of myself.

        • bella says:


          …you are a wise woman. …listening to your inner voice (boundaries)..will never steer you wrong… what you wrote of fear and intuition is so profound… so true…

          Thank you for sharing your wisdom


  40. sarah says:

    My last relationship to a T. I felt on edge, insecure, confused, angry, dismissed – all of it. He was saying one thing and doing another. My (bad) contribution to all this was to read what I wanted into the things he did. If he brought me a treat, it was because he cared, not because he was trying to distract me with tiny bits of nothing (it was literally the “least” he could do). The most he said was he felt “close” to me – that he said it by email said it all.

    To the woman who was embarrassed about not going to his house in three years – don’t feel bad. My AC never kissed my mouth – just everywhere else. WE also never really had sex but slept together. It was all about the ego stroke and attention. He may have future faked off the top but he never really intended to get into the relationship. To be honest, I realized that sooner than I would admit but thought if I completely changed who I was, I would become worthy. Turns out, he was a worthless piece of crap and I can’t believe I twisted myself into knots trying to prove I was good enough for him.

  41. Brenda says:

    Well I been no contact now for 4 days…I went to see a counsillor as I really needed to talk,and get some things straight…I learnt alot,mostly about Emotional abuse and what these men can do to manage us down…My ex dissapeared,no words, the silent treatment…What I did not know is that this is the worst abuse of them all,its like you are an object,your dead nothing….Your ignored…It hurts like hell,but you know,there is a day when we will have to answer for our past hurts..and I find comfort in that…I am a better person than he will EVER be…..And for that I am grateful!

  42. anoosh says:

    what about when the actions matched the words, and then some, during the whole (future faking fantasy “true love” old friend from college separatedman long distance) relationship — but once he pulled rug out, it’s been nothing but BS ever since. this is a man who treats his children like gold, and convinced me his marriage failed bc of his wife’s long affair (boo hoo). how can there be such a disconnect w/integrity? after the Vanishing Act of summer 2010, I know i had no business ever speaking or allowing contact ever again. but that was before I found Baggage Reclaim, so instead I started working on my PhD in Relationship Books & Get Your Ex Back Websites. and also praying several times daily, which I have never believed in my whole life. after 6 months of NC which I stupidly broke in August (by not hanging up on him), and continuing to interact (ever so slightly), I finally had my stuff returned. it’s the pix he sent of our “magical” trip together that’s getting into my thoughts and dreams this week. he made yet another empty promise to “ring in the next few days” (hasn’t, shocker). I’m not reacting. I relate to some comments above, I feel so pathetic that I could have sunk so low in my life that I could still have one molecule of feelings for him, that reading BR constantly and doing all kinds of self-love hasn’t killed it. I want to not care. but I cannot imagine ever being over this heartbreak, and I’ve had many in my 46 years. (writing on cel in cafe, hopefully I’m within char limit)

  43. Aura says:

    I’m actually now thinking it’s normal to miss someone occassionally, even if they are bad for you. The main thing is to stay away, maintain nc and the feelings pass. Sometimes as soon as a day later, you feel relieved that you didn’t go there.

  44. jennyana says:

    Hi everyone!

    Natalie, this is a great post. Actions and words should go hand in hand. I broke up a month ago with a man that for the past 8 months behaved as we were in a committed relationship, only to find out that he never wanted something serious to begin with. This man was my friend before and he never told me that he wasn’t looking for something serious. What’s up with these men? I see so many people around me getting into casual relationships. It might look like a duck, walk like a duck, quack like a duck, but it’s definately not a duck.

  45. runnergirl says:

    Natalie or somebody, I’m confused, AGAIN! As I evaluate and take responsibility for the misalignment between my actions and my words, I’m confused about the section on “Giving What You Want to Get Back” (pgs 212-213). “By persisting in giving what you think you need, you’re not really giving to him; you’re giving to you. You’re also by choosing to give to him, giving to a very inappropriate recipient.” Is this correct: I gave to him what I wished he would give to me and what I wished I could give to me? “What you’re happy with isn’t what he’s happy with. What he’s seeking or happy to get by on is different to you.” Could it be that his actions did actually match his words? He was happy as his needs were met. He had an adoring OW and a committed wife and family. Could it be that I was unhappy because my actions did not match my words?

    • Fearless says:

      I don’t have the book (yet!) but sounds like we treat “him” the way we would like to be treated by him and the way we’d like to “deserve” to be treated so we are really trying to give to ourselves. Sounds like ‘projection’? Our actions of care towards him are at odds with our actions of neglect towards ourselves; we hope to get from him what we are actually unable to give to ourselves – love, care and respect.

      We imagine that our feelings must be the same as his feelings and our love for him must be the same as his love for us so we imagine we are loved in the same way by him, but actually he does not feel the same way; we are simply projecting our feelings on to him cos we then imagine we are getting the same the back – that he is on the same page as us – so we are really trying to give to ourselves – and we never actually get it so we feel worthless.

    • Magnolia says:

      Runner! Thanks for pointing out this passage and giving me the opportunity to think it through. I reread the section and your comments. Hmm! when the exAC said he was happy I never believed him. Though we always say here “when someone tells you who they are, believe them”!

      I always excused his meanness and putdowns by thinking he must not be truly happy in his life and if he could just see that, he’d a) stop and aim to be TRULY happy b) stop being mean to me and c) it would be all because I taught him that he didn’t have to be so angry and mean.

      But – hold up – you mean he was totally happy being an asshole and only unhappy that I wasn’t worshipping him the way he was used to?

      What does that mean? Was I being accepting of his poor behaviour because I think I’m an asshole and need acceptance? That’s not quite it – I’d say I was projecting all my anger onto him, then trying to fix it. I thought he’d appreciate my relieving his obviously anger-driven long life of pushiness, bile and chauvinism.

      But he was happy. He said so. And he pretty much was. He didn’t want me to fix any anger he had. He just wanted me to behave. And so what he would have liked me to give was more submission and less lip.

      I thought: your actions don’t match your words. Ding! Ding! The only options then were to bail, or to show disrespect by not listening to what he was saying and assuming I know his own mind better than he does. I chose the latter.

      But in the world through his eyes, his words and actions matched just fine.

      So I guess I was ‘giving’ him what I needed: insight into how my anger/hurt/insecurity was driving my poor choices.

      Don’t know if I got Natalie’s meaning exactly, so I’m looking forward to hearing what others have to say.

    • jupiter23 says:


      I interpret the quote as meaning that women in these kinds of relationships get something out of it–or they wouldn’t be there. They get to enact something in the hopes of winning and triumphing, usually because of self-esteem issues that could stem from a lot of areas. So by giving, they get. So, yes, you gave to him in hopes that you could “win” and feel good about yourself–which, if healthy, you have should been able to do by yourself.

      He might have been content, having an OW and a wife (happy, I have know idea; he might actually loathe himself or have self-esteem issues himself which makes him need more than one woman to consider himself a man). But to me that is entirely separate from whether his words matched his actions. I also see whether or not he was happy separate from whether or not you were unhappy. Maybe his words did match his actions (I have no idea). If he said you are my soul mate and still had sex with his wife, then no–they did not match. If he said I love you and left and went home to his wife–then no, they did not.

      You were unhappy because you were involved with this guy and because of the underlying reasons you were involved with this guy. If you said I deserve more to him and slept with him, yes, your words did not match your actions. But it wasn’t the fact that they didn’t match that hurt so much–it was just the action itself. If you had said I deserve more to him and did not sleep with him, would that make you happy? No, probably not. You would be wondering if you had slept with him, could you have screwed him into loving you. But you would have been a better track to begin to get better, find peace, and eventually be content. You are on this path now, it seems.

      I don’t know whether or not this answer suffices. But I will say that sometimes deep analysis is not needed, sometimes we should just be grateful we got out.

      • Fearless says:

        “But I will say that sometimes deep analysis is not needed, sometimes we should just be grateful we got out.”

        I agree. Analysing the crapola out of it all – especially out of him! can keep us very stuck. I do best with my days when I just know that it was a crap situation that was never going to work out in a thousand years. Matter done. Lesson learned. Forget it. Leave it be. Move along. Be glad you’re done with it all. Stay away from him and never, ever take up again with the same package, different guy.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hi Fearless, Magnolia, and Jupiter23,

          Thanks so much for your responses and helping me work through this. I certainly don’t want to take up with the same guy again, different package. I get it now. I was giving to him what I wanted. Fearless, this is what I don’t want to do again: “Our actions of care towards him are at odds with our actions of neglect towards ourselves; we hope to get from him what we are actually unable to give to ourselves – love, care and respect.” My actions were not only neglectful toward myself but extremely harmful. I am glad I made it out.

          Magnolia, thanks for taking it one step farther. “So I guess I was ‘giving’ him what I needed: insight into how my anger/hurt/insecurity was driving my poor choices.” My low-to-no self esteem was clearly driving my poor choices. (I responded to your Poethost comment on the Foothold article.)

          Jupiter, this makes sense: “I also see whether or not he was happy separate from whether or not you were unhappy.” In this section, Natalie explains that it is dangerous to treat partners and relationships like extensions of yourself. I was totally trapped in my feelings and failed to see that there were two separate individuals that needed and wanted different things.

          Here’s a great passage: “Healthy relationships require recognition of individual needs and not treating one another like mirrors to generate what we need. It’s also important to recognize that you may have unrealistic expectations or looking for stuff that’s either stuff that you should be doing for yourself…” Duh. No wonder I was confused. Thank you ladies.

    • Sassy says:

      Yes, he may have actually been very clear with you, and you ignored it. That is possible. People do it all the time! Women do it all the time! There is cognitive dissonace when you want something. He tells you that younger the oth woman, and actually treats you that way, but you think you can change him, and make him love you enough to want what you want….

    • NML says:

      Hey Runnergirl – just saw your review on Amazon ((((hugs)))) and thank you! Now onto your question:

      When we throw our energy into the abyss by being involved with someone that busts our boundaries or has us operating in an environment where we don’t treat ourselves with love, care, trust, and respect, we keep loving, and giving, and doing, and then more loving, and giving and yada yada yada, because we think by behaving in what we think is the way that we would want somebody to treat us, that they’ll *match* us. It’s like “I’m loving you unconditionally, or at least my version of unconditional which is loving without limits in an unavailable relationship, so you must love me unconditionally back”. His actions matched his personal agenda of having two women blowing smoke up his arse and getting the best of both worlds. His actions matched those of a cheat. On a wider level, his actions directly contradicted things that he said to you and vice versa. Of course you’re still unhappy because your own actions didn’t match your own words. If you had truly wanted love, commitment etc, *obviously* you wouldn’t have sought it with a married man. You were unhappy because it was an impossible task and the man you were with didn’t match the type of relationship you were trying to get.

      • runnergirl says:

        You’re welcome Natalie. You’ve done so much for me (and for so many others), I hope it is a best seller and the delivery person has to make another delivery! You so deserve the success you have earned.

        Additionally, thank you for your response. It is usually the case with me that if I don’t get something, it’s because I’m doing it and it is deeply internalized. I absolutely was giving, loving, and doing because I wanted him to match what I was giving and love me back. Of course, like you say, it was an impossible task and nothing matched for me, my words or my actions. Also important is the recognition that I have been treating partners and relationships like extensions of myself and I now recognize the danger in doing it. Big lightbulb moment! I love the phrase “excusing is the loyal sister of denial”.
        I really hadn’t given much thought to “what” I wanted, like Fearless’ comments above, I was vested in “who” I thought I wanted. I’ll be interested in reading your insights as to Fearless’ comments regarding sorting out the difference between focusing on the “who” rather than the “what”. It seems so obvious now that if I want a committed relationship, getting involved with a MM/EUM/AC isn’t the action that matches the words. I think I was doing the same thing as Fearless in throwing a tantrum when he couldn’t/wouldn’t love me back the way I wanted because I was confusing the “who” with the “what”. “His actions matched those of a cheat”….made me laugh all day. Thanks to you and all the others, he no longer has me blowing smoke up his bum. It makes me happy to no longer be that woman! Soooooo GRATEFUL!

  46. molly says:

    “I need to sleep with multiple women and not be exclusive so I have the confidence of knowing that if and when I’m in a relationship and if that woman leaves me, I know I can attract other women.”

    It doesn’t get any more convoluted than that ladies. There are simply no words in response to this level of tap-dancing.

    I was just having a good laugh with a friend about that line – yes, an actual line that the EUM told me.

    • Sunshine says:

      This is straight out of “playa 101″.
      My ex had “How to Succeed With Women” in his backpack that he carried around with him (red flag, much?), and basically it and all of those other kinds of books about “getting” women (as opposed to cultivating a real, loving relationship), all tell a man to never never EVER EVER be dependent on any one woman for his sexual needs.

      Nothing about cultivating a healthy attitude towards sex or having a good sexual relationship with themselves or about the freedom there really can be in a committed relationship…just do not ever narrow your sexual field down to one woman, it’s a terrible terrible trap, lol.

      • Lavender says:

        “My ex had “How to Succeed With Women” in his backpack that he carried around with him.”


        • Fearless says:

          hee hee, yes! the clue is in “my ex” (and no doubt the “ex” of many others) – dead successful then!

  47. Anari says:


    I see where you were coming from, and I understand you. I’m glad you were up front- it’s almost like you’re being extra cautious now because you’re watching out for red flags so you start taking control and look for an answer. The point is that you remained in control, and heck if he doesn’t like how assertive you are then you know what…he wasn’t for you. If theres one thing I’m learning its you can’t hide your true self. If you believe in being assertive and having an equal opportunity’ll feel the same later…and this means if he doesn’t appreciate your verbalization and assertiveness now in the chase…he won’t like your opinion later as well.

    No worries… and can anyone tell me how I can add a pic to my profile. I’m tech savy but for the life of me can’t figure this out!

  48. anoosh says:

    I’m so sad after re-reading this post and all the comments, incl my own (awaiting mod.). A year & a half of heart ache, trying so hard to heal, grow, change. My handling has been far from the postEU-breakup ideal as outlined on Baggage Reclaim. but I’ve really tried, and at least I was batting a thousand on NC for 6 mos. I had a wonderful time on holiday out West for 2 weeks, visiting one of my dearest friends. but even that was tainted, for once again I was the single woman amongst couples, families and kids. in general, it was great to be around a truly happy marriage of 20 years, 2 people that are so committed & in love. but it also made me feel like I’ve missed out on the most important thing in life, and it’s too late for me to have kids now. I’m so sad no one I loved ever wanted to take a chance with me. I wasn’t hiding in a cave this last year, I try to get out and stay engaged. No male interest whatsoever. sorry for the pity party. just feel so lonely and tired of my failure to overcome everything.

    • Fearless says:


      your post is very touching. I know what you mean. i used to not bother going to various functions etc. because I was sick of being the ‘odd one out’ – the ‘failure’ – the perennial single woman at the night out! When I was 8 months pregnant (22 years ago now) and abandoned by the father I went to a big family wedding surrounded by couples – single and heavy with child. Didn’t do anything for my self-esteem! I hated every minute of it.
      I went through a spell of hating being in the company of ‘couples’. My friends would invite me out with them and their husbands. I stopped going; I wanted to spend time with my friends – not their husbands! And yet the last thing we want to be is a desperate single woman (of a certain age) looking for man so as not to appear ‘odd’…. yes, it’s all very unpleasant; it’s difficult not to feel marginalised. There are so many pressures on women, even in the 21st century, to be ‘coupled’.It takes a strong and independent woman to resist the feelings of loss and inadequacy… and other people ten to project their own expectations of compulsory coupledom on to you.

      I project a person who is not bothered by unrelenting singleness but my true feelings are at odds with that. I don’t want people to think it makes me very sad, but it does.

      • miskwa says:

        Fearless, I can really relate to what you are stating. I am a pretty strong lady but it does hurt to do some things as the sole lone person among couples. I was shamed into going to a movie at our college by the person showing it although I made it clear that I hate sitting thru movies alone. She made it sound as though it was my fault for being single. It is odd that most folks here who chastise me for being totally alone (no family, most friends have left here, not many other older educated folks here) are those that never lived in that situation themselves.

    • Magnolia says:

      Hi anoosh. It’s totally normal to have down days. I’m facing down the possibility of it being too late for me, now, too. That’s a real loss if you wanted kids within a committed relationship and it didn’t work out that way. Grief is a brutal emotion.

      But please remember that feeling hopeless is indeed a feeling, and it will pass, and you will feel hopeful again. I’m trying to move from hopeful to confident. It’s not straightforward to change a long and deeply held belief that love happens for everyone else.

      I know something is going right when I suddenly have a thought about myself or a warm feeling for myself that once I only ever thought could come from a guy. I hope these shifts are happening for you, too.

      For example, I have never felt safe to feel and behave like a totally smushy kissy smitten flirty girl. But lately that emotion has found its way back into my body, and now, one more thread that got disconnected in me is reconnected. Now if a guy makes me feel that way, I’ll be conscious of it, instead of numbing it, turning it into irritation or irresponsible behaviour, or denying it. Now I can make a conscious choice about how often in a year *I* feel “male interest” – that is, my interest in a male, not the feeling of wondering about their interest in me.

      Anyway, don’t lose hope. You never know how close you are to a new opportunity. You never know when your work will pay off and suddenly your perspective on everything will shift just so slightly, but it will be the last little shift that allows love to come into your life.

      • anoosh says:

        thank you for the feedback, ladies :) I really appreciate the encouraging words. I just replied to another comment below (from Anari), kind of going into it a little more. there’s always so much food for thought here. it was so great being able to get away, to be with loving friends. my closest girlfriends all live so far away now, I don’t have the social or support network I once did. tried hard to build that up locally the last year, with very disappointing results. at this stage, everyone just seems too busy and/or wrapped up with family/jobs/kids. and technology just seems to take the place of actual communication. I meet nice people at events, but it doesn’t seem to go further than that. I don’t know why, this weekend, another of countless spent alone, just got to me.

  49. Fearless says:

    I am beginning to see the full extent of the actions and words discrepancy in the whole long non-relationship with the EUM. The more distance I achieve from the whole situation the more and more I see how my own actions and words were all over the place! I can see now how manipulative I actually was. I’d give him what-for, tell him I was done with the whole thing and then expect him to have relationship amnesia when I became sad and lonely and missed him and wanted to hear from him again.

    And him?? Well, I am beginning to think that in many ways his actions and words were more aligned than mine were! Talk about making it up as you go along? Talk about fur coat of denial – I was wearing ten of them all at the same time! This guy showed me who he was a thousand times and more – I refused to believe it.

    What he saw was a woman who never walked away when anyone else would have – long long ago!. He must’ve wondered what on earth I was all about that I still gave him the time of day – in the same breath as telling him all of this wasn’t good enough. Plainly it was. I feel for the posters who have mentioned how humiliated they feel. Me too. Very humiliated.

    • Josie says:

      It is humiliating but actually it’s just a mistake, we all make them. The thing to do is to learn from the experiences and never let yourself be in that same sort of situation again.

    • Natasha says:

      Oh Fearless, I went through the stage of cringing at my own actions too. I did the whole, “Never call me again!” faux-NC and I’d actually lie to MYSELF about being done with it. It is embarassing to have been involved with men that were using us and to have taken them back repeatedly, but keep in mind, no one forced them into returning for seconds, thirds, fourths, etc. My ex has been trying to get in touch and I think to myself, “Aren’t you embarassed? Do you literally have no shame?” I think you should try not to wallow in feeling ashamed for too long and remind yourself that it takes two to tango.

      It’s was really tough, because I had to own the fact that I acted in ways that made it near impossible to take me seriously. However, putting the blame completely on myself (which I basically tortured myself with) wasn’t the way to go. Like you, I believed I genuinely loved this person and thought that eventually he’d see that and all would be well. Being invovled with somone that has no integrity will leave you not knowing which end is up, because you have to go against your own to be involved with them. Think of it as reclaiming your integrity and values – much more positive I think! *Big Hugs*

  50. mirelle says:

    Looking back at the FB/OW I used to be, I notice that I was able to believe thousands of lies, only to explain/normalize the bad behaviour.
    Hilarious justifications, such as ” I can’t tell you my surname because I don’t have a good relationship with my father and it’s his name, not mine”, ” I did not call because I left the country”, ” my marriage was just an arrangement of our parents”/”it’s just marital status, I am still searching for the right person for me and now trying to see if you’re the right one:))”/ ” I didn’t tell you I was married because I would have lost you”, “I married her just because otherwise she would have killed herself” (!!!) ” I can’t leave her because she is depressed/tried to commit suicide/ we bought a house together/it’s not the right time/I promised to her father that I would take care of his crazy daughter” or ” See, I divorced as I promised to you. What promises didn’t I keep?” “We can’t spend Easter together because one of the guests is a relative of my ex wife”…etc

    I could quote thousands of lies like these.

    Any normal man/woman would laugh at this stupid reasons, and would walk away and close the door. But I tried to convince myself that he is an honest man, that she’s crazy and maybe our “relationship” might work.
    It’s strange for a person who doesn’t lie to accept so many lies, only to picture a monster into a decent person.

  51. Deena says:

    “you’ll be telling yourself that action speaks louder than words, as if having the hallmarks of a relationship without the landmarks of one, trumps someone essentially disrespecting you and your relationship”.

    This has hit the nail on the head for me, I have just finished a 5month crap friend with benefits situation with a man who blatantly and upfront told me he did not want a relationship. I decided to ignore this and continue nagging him into exclusivety – under the guise of yes I agree lets keep it casual but you cant f*ck anyone else and he would argue back to me saying he told me he didnt want a relationship. The confusion for me came because he treated me in what I saw a girlfriendly manner, he introduced me to his friends, took me out, was protective when other guys came near, was publicly affectionate, shared stuff about his day (seemed open). But the words he said all kept me at a distance. He had made it clear in the beginning he had just split from his ex and didnt want a relationship it was my choice to accept this arrangement or deny it, I chose to accept. The funny thing is I never wanted a relationship until I felt annoyed that he hadnt’t even consider one at all. Everytime he reminded me I wasn’t his girlfriend, or introduced me as a friend I felt a massive pang of anger. These are the times I would try and verbally force him into agreeing to be “mine”. After we slept together a few times and he distanced himself I refused to accept that he didnt have to call me or see me as we werent in a relationship, as far as I was concerned I was going on his actions and “acting accordingly”. I got shut out coldy and embarrasingly behaved like a lunatic turning up at his work – because I felt entitled, after all it was only a few days ago he was happily hugging me and including me in his social there. I then began to verbally abuse him during arguments throwing personal things about his ex and mother that he had told me in confidence back in his face to get a reaction. I was so desperate for a reaction, any reaction good or bad to show that he felt…something, anything. I felt that an action of any manner meant he cared about me on some level, I even wanted him to hit me at one point – I jus wanted him to explode with rage and punch me or something to show that I got to him and I meant something on some level. This is the messed up thing,…

  52. Deena says:

    This is the messed up thing, when you will accept ANY actions or words – positive or negative as a sign of genuine interest, love or respect. I hounded him about once every few weeks (normally after I had been out with friends drinking) because his actions had seemed so sincere. Then one day after I had turned up to his work yet again and called him an embarrasingly high number of times (nonstop!) he finally text me saying “stop calling me blablabla” – i was to drunk to remember the rest. I just know the words “stop calling me” were such a huge relief, it finally calmed the madness in my head. He finally had said something that matched how he was behaving and I stoppped. Just like that. I went no contact not conciously but because I didnt WANT to call him anymore, I didnt care and deep down I guess I truly didnt like him but because he had shown interest I accepted it. Three weeks after this he text me and I went to see him after some persuasion a few weeks later – I was curious and admittedly made a mistake. I met him and we went out for drinks. Needless to say I was so happy to see him, things we great he was “acting” like I was his girlfriend again. I wasn’t in the mood for sex, I felt a bit strange and found the overload of affection and attention he was giving me rattling as he had not matched these actions with words or by calling, being genuine – all the normal things a person with intergrity does. I felt empty. I told him I wanted to go home after and he was so desperate for me to stay, I caved in. He made love to me like he loved me, looking into my eyes kissing me being very affecionate – actions again – however i felt empty after the sex, I turned my back on him and went to sleep. He on the other hand was on cloud 9, refused to let me sleep away from him and pulled me in cuddling an being sweet. It was suffocating but exciting. Inwardly cold but so warm and reassuring. I left the next morning from work feeling confused but not attached to him. We didnt speak for a few days and I didnt care, he then text me (yes text another lazy action) and I went to see him. I was halfhearted. We met for a drink he was feeling insecure as he had to wear glasses instead of contacts, he kept talking about it and apparently I wasnt paying attention he got annoyed with my lack of interest, we went for a drink he wanted to go out and smoke so I said go on…

  53. Deena says:

    I said go on then – he wanted me to go with him – why? I thought are you incapable of going out for a smoke on your own, i refused and said Id wait inside he got angry and I caved. I started feeling annoyed that I was constantly jumping to his beat, after all he is not my boyfriend so why should I “act” like his girlfriend. That night when we went back he couldnt get it up and he blamed me for behaving unnatractive as I was too needy and it was turning him off! The one day where I was a little more in control, having fun, enjoying myself flirting and behaving like the girl he met he couldnt have found me more unnattractive. He phsyically manhandled me and I also ashamedly did the same to him (hitting eachother, he never hit me hard but it was enough to leave bruises on me for a few days) – we BOTH acted in a way which was out of sync to our actions, we BOTH didnt want a relationship but behaved in ways which encouraged the other person to invest in more feelings. I behaved in a desperate manner the minute he told me he didnt want me, the second the words of him not wanting me left his mouth I jumped into the pit of desperation and “acted” in the way that he had come accustomed to and probably secretly liked. Its humiliating that I stuck my leg through his front door refused to leave, cried crocodile tears, begged him to explain why he couldnt get it up for me, hit him to get him to hit me back which he did but not hard enough to make me feel he was genuinely angry (therefore his actions showed he still wanted me?). I couldnt understand the sudden turn. And i still dont, but I know that I dont genuinely have feelings for him, I am just addicted to the empty actions and wanting someone who DOESNT want me as its all Ive ever known and what Im comfortable with. I have not called him since the bust up where I begged him to f*ck me, (can you believe the desperation) and I wont be calling him again. I have made a promise to myself to do something different for once in my life, this doesnt make me happy so why do I keep repeating the same actions expecting a different result. Is not just his actions its OURS too. I always call and beg them to come back and when they do eventually I think its cos there must be something about me – yeah there is – desperation. I dont need to be desperate and neither does any woman, we have options and you can make the choice to…

    • aboutme says:

      I want to thank you for sharing the cold hard truth about your recent engagement with an assclown. I know that it was difficult to admit some of the embarrassing facts. But i think that it is beneficial that everyone reads this so that you can take control of your feelings when you experience rejection. Rejection is hard for most people but that is when self love and self respect must take center stage.

      I am not a counselor but I encourage you to get counseling and work on loving yourself. I suspect, unless you put in a lot and I mean lot of time focusing on yourself and loving yourself. You will be destined to repeat this destructive behavior.

      Lastly, i still applaud you for being honest which I believe is the first step in recovery. The next step is action.

      • Deena says:

        Thank you for your kind words, have decided to get help and talk to someone as this is a reccuring pattern in all my relationships. I think I do like him a lot but im screwed so its easy to say oh i never liked him anyway. I have spoken to him since and I believe that this is my fault. Im self obsessed cos of major insecurity I was constantly on edge seeking his attention and approval causing arguments and being an ass. Im vile when im angry and no normal person would stand that. My actions dont provide any reason to enter into a relationship or even like me. He didnt lead me on he was honest about just wanting stuff casual, maybe if I had normal self esteem I wouldnt have read so much into the situation and been able to enjoy it more for what it was. This site has so much useful info, will keep reading on self improvement and for once make a change – will be very hard but im going to do it. Good luck everyone xx

  54. Em says:

    One of my best girlfriends once said: I honestly think you´d be perfect for each other, that a lot of people never meet someone they match this well, that when I look at him looking at you or hear him talking about you, I see and hear a man who loves a woman, if there ever was one. But: he continues not to choose commitment. Despite being part of every aspect of each other´s lives (except sex), he tells you he doesn´t want a relationship. He sleeps in your bed without touching you, then in the morning, instead of snuggling up with you, he jumps up and makes you breakfast. You have a wonderful friend, and he´s crazy – ! – not to level up. But he doesn´t, and he won´t. He is who he is, and he wants what he wants.

    After our timeout (initiated by him to give me the space to move on, which worked – and I had never realised the things I´ve realised about the both of us had I been close to him during those months), he told me that a) he´d missed my company terribly, and cried a lot, b) he was still not, at all, interested in a relationship, and c) that he thought there was a possibility he might remain single all his life.

    I am telling you this in case it can help anyone: because it is further confirmation of what finally got me off the hook. *** He is who he is, and he wants what he wants. *** No matter how much sense it (in other people´s view) makes for him to choose me, and no matter if his mother, his sister, his best friends, his ex-girlfriend all think he and I are the perfect couple in waiting, he is who he is, and he wants what he wants. And there´s nothing I can do to make him be someone else or want something else. There are things *he* could do, but he continues not to choose them. Not out of fear. Not out of inability. Not out of lack of [insert whatever]. But because of preference and active choice. He doesn´t WANT to. And if suddenly he does want it with someone else, it´d be because he´s fallen madly in love. And he´s entitled to do that, you know :) And if missing me so much that he cries doesn´t cause him to want to be my boyfriend, can anything? I doubt it.

    I don´t walk around knowing when we last were in touch anymore. I don´t check my phone frantically to see if he´s gotten in touch (to the frustration of my girlfriends, haha, who won´t get immediate feedback any longer either), and I don´t check his facebook daily. Hello, freedom.

  55. Anari says:

    I understand exactly what you’re saying. I travelled around the world this summer – backpacked across Asia. And when I had my run in with my ex this past Monday – he put his hands on my shoulders and said ” its not healthy to travel the world by yourself, to eat by yourself, it’s not healthy you should have someone to travel with you you should be married and have a kid, this isn’t healthy.” And while I think he was trying to tell me that he wanted me to be happy- I felt like punching him in the nose. It’s amazing how many people thing singleness is a disease. Some people even say you could go for him, or him, or him, or him. And it’s like in the back of your head you’re thinking- I can go for any of them but who will go for me? Society, especially if you’re from an ethnic background seems to put extra pressure on those who are still single. BUT what happens when you get divorced, where are they now.

    I’m at a point where having kids is something I’m not hopeful for. I’m embracin reality and moving on with my life. Or atleast trying to. It’s just me… me, myself and I. And thats how it’s going to be.

    • anoosh says:

      thanks Anari :) good for you, taking that trip, sounds amazing! I’ve been single for so long, it’s hard to visualize a happy ending with relationships anymore. I’ve spent more time in my own company than most people I know. I’m good at it. one of the hard parts is that I actually had made peace with it, for a very very long time. I hoped to meet someone, the *right* someone, but I was not consumed with pursuing or obtaining that. I spent most of my 30′s “out there”, after the breakup of my most serious relationship of 5 years (7 really, took 2 to really break up). and then, after failing to meet anyone seriously interested, and getting stood up by an AC on my 40th birthday in front of 25 of my friends — I decided to give myself a huge present. I just kind of let it all go, all the expectations and disappointment. I tried to just accept how things were and be happy. and yes, hopeful, that it would be the right strategy for attracting the right man at the right time. it took 4 1/2 years for this last EU to show up, and it was the happiest I have ever felt with any man, ever. I believed him when he said “we belong together”. that’s how it felt to me too. but this time, at 46, I cannot get back to that place, where I am at peace with what happened and healed from the heartbreak. I loved him so so much, and still do. the loneliness is palpable, every single day. god it would be so nice to meet a nice guy, just to have dinner with, to have some male company. I’m an outgoing, friendly, gregarious, affectionate person. no one’s approaching or asking. my love life consists of reading Baggage Reclaim every day since April, and mulling over the last 3 decades of going through so much rejection and pain. I wasn’t cut out for it. I never wanted to be a single mom either, so I held off on having kids. Now I regret that decision. Yes, tomorrow is another day, hopefully a brighter one. I’m just so sad right now :(

      • Izzybell says:

        Hi Anoosh,

        You are not alone. I’ve also struggled with feeling like I missed the boat with having kids, something I’ve always wanted to do. And with feeling like I’ve wasted time loving and hoping for a long term partnership with the wrong men. I’ve learned a ton along the way, and it sounds like you have too. I think if I had met someone and married them in my 20′s or 30′s I’d probably be divorced by now, still single, and still wondering if there was something wrong with me.

        You know, if you really regret not having kids, there are alternate ways of creating a family. Adoption, fostering, or just deciding you are going to be a super active and involved adult in your friends’/siblings’/coworkers’ children’s lives.

        Thank you for sharing your feelings here- know that they are shared by many, and being sad about unfulfilled wishes/choices is a completely normal part of accepting where you are in your life and moving on.


    • Josie says:

      he is just undermining your self confidence as he sees you are moving on and getting a life. It’s got nothing to do with being single, it’s him saying “how dare you be getting on with your life, eating on your own lol, travelling without me!” Wise up that’s the voice of jealousy!

      • Anari says:

        Really Josie!?? I NEVER saw that perspective! I wouldn’t think he’d be jealous of poor single, can’t get a man me. Hmmm food for thought. THANK U sooo much!

  56. Lavender says:

    Nat, I was wondering if you have written something with ideas of how to get over someone you can’t get over. I guess all of your brilliant articles outline that to some degree, but do you have an article that deals with suggestions? I guess the major one is no contact hey!

  57. Katie says:

    I understand your comment about feeling humiliated, I have struggled with that too. I felt humiliated by my ex AC’s behaviour in standing me up for dates, silent treatment, coldness etc etc, and by my own behaviour in not walking away (and also stopping standing up for myself, as he ignored me for days/ weeks every time I did that). It has really helped to read other comments: one lady felt humiliated by her ex AC, particularly as it brought back memories of an incident where she was at school, and some girls persuaded a guy to ask her out, and then later said it was a joke and laughed at her for believing that the guy wanted to date her. It helped me to read a response (I think from Natalie) saying that, unlike those girls at school, her ex AC hadn’t behaved the way he did to humiliate her, it was to get his needs met. It helps somehow to think my ex AC wasnt trying to humiliate me but had his own agenda. I didnt cause his behaviour, although still coming to terms with my own part in it all!

    • Anari says:

      I think alot of us here have felt humilated and turn to BR for comfort from each other and Nat’s posts. I felt humilated when I was stood up on Valentines Day, and many other occasions. I feel humilated right now for even entertaining him after my run in last week…but what can you do? Thoughts of rectifying it, or doing something stupid to harm one’s self doesn’t make sense. I’ll get stronger dealing with the humilation…you guys will too. And if it’s any conselation perhaps the EUMS laugh it off and don’t even think about it.

      • Josie says:


        humiliation is what?…It’s just your thoughts about what happened. You can change those thoughts to better ones which empower your self confidence. Being stood up is NOT the worst thing that can happen to you but letting some unempathic dickwad define your THAT’s humiliating! You were burnt, you are recovering and you will get better and heal from the bullshit.

  58. Monika says:

    Great read as always.
    My story: my ex promised me everything under the sun….and then some. And initially he delivered on a lot of things but at around the 2-2.5year mark, I started realizing that the closer we got to doing some of the bigger, meaningful things we talked about (ie shopping for an engagement ring, looking at buying a property together), the more he started to back peddle. To be fair to him, there were difficult circumstances in our lives that didn’t allow us to move forward with our plans sooner but once these obstacles were out of the way, he continued talking about “one day….” but more and more it felt like “one day” was in a very far away place and time.

    Ultimately after a few months of this unstable behaviour (saying one thing but never following up with actions) I got very annoyed and walked away from him (I did give him fair warning though that I had issues with the discrepancies). It was one of the most heartbreaking decisions of my life: loving someone with all my heart but having to walk away b/c I loved myself more (and I am the type of person that has always put up with cr*p so standing up myself like this was TOUGH and something new for me).

    His reaction to the breakup? Letting me go without a fight and telling me that it was my “negative outlook” that caused him not to want to continue to act. He blamed my “negative” expectations of him (always expecting the worst) as a reason that he changed his mind and now he was no longer sure if he wanted to do the things he promised afterall (marrying me, having children with me). The couple of times we spoke after the break up, he continued to outright blame me for his backtracking and naturally I continued to blame him for making empty promises.

    So you can imagine my confusion until this day…..was it possibly me? was it my self fulfilling negative prophecy as he claimed? or was he a future faker? And its scary b/c in my heart of hearts I believed him and his love for me – I never trusted a man like this before and now in retrospect I’m questioning the sincerity of the entire relationship. It might help to note that he was with a woman for 12 years before me, had 2 children with her and refused to marry her although she pressured him for years (hence my apprehension at the 2.5yr mark when nothing concrete was happening).
    To add to the sting, he had the…

  59. Flo says:

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time…I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to extricate myself from a guy who continues to treat me like his girlfriend, but doesn’t have the words to match it…he tells me he doesn’t know what he wants, that it has nothing to do with me, he just needs to figure things out, he wants to be with me most of the time, and other BS. But then he goes and plans these amazing weeklong trips, whole weekend dates, etc. which of course throws me off every time! The minute I think I need to be done with this EUM, he does something romantic and it keeps me around for Round 2! Anyone going through this same thing?? Any words of wisdom to help me dettach from this crap??

    • Josie says:


      maybe he is just a guy who enjoys romantic weekends and making out with someone attractive but doesn’t want anything more. That’s okay. People are entitled to act the way that works for them.

      If you want more from him and clearly he doesn’t want to give it, either enjoy the nice weekends for what they are, no strings romance or find someone who better fits your emotional needs.

      It’s not possible to turn a pigs ear into a silk purse so why try?.Find a silk purse even though the pigs ear you have at the moment occasionally manages to look like a silk purse!

    • mirelle says:

      Oh, yes, we all went through this kind of BS over and over, that’s why we’re here. Some of us heard also plans of getting married/ having children blah blah (we’re lucky that they did not materialize)
      BR is a place where you learn what “I don’t know what I want from you” means and it means BS BS BS.
      And the romantic periods are the poison which kept us around the jerks. No contact is the solution to detach yourself from the illusion.
      Good luck with it. It’s not easy at all.

  60. Lavender says:

    In actions not matching words, what if a guy answers your calls and emails when you call and email and is flirtatious when you speak, but doesn’t ever initiate contact? In this way his actions aren’t matching his words.

    In this situation should you just stop contacting him or do you think he’s just a passive guy and it’s ok to keep initiating contact? We aren’t dating, he’s just an acquaintance who I am crushing on and want to get to know better. I am all for women initiating contact, but I feel like if I didn’t contact him, he might never speak to me and if I contact him, he will at least get to know me better. What do you wise women think?

    I have had this same problem with guys in the past. I don’t like playing games, so I don’t want to withhold contact when I want to speak to someone but I don’t want to contact someone if they don’t want to speak to me. It’s hard to know if the person is just busy and is grateful that you contact them or if they don’t want you to contact them and are just being polite.

    • Sassy says:

      Men do what they want. If he is not calling or arranging to see you, then you have nothing. Passive men still end up with girlfriends. Stop the wishful thinking. Stop contacting him and see what happens. He might step up, he might not, but at least you have your answer.

      If this is a pattern, you need to look at why you like men who don,t like you back.

    • Indie says:

      “I am all for women initiating contact, but I feel like if I didn’t contact him, he might never speak to me”

      There’s his actions speaking. If you’re not sure that you will hear from him if you don’t contact him, time to move on. Guys don’t give you credit points for doing all the work. There are guys who will answer your call for an ego stroke. You don’t have to be sleeping with a guy or in a pseudo relationship with them to be used for an ego stroke.

      Stop initiating contact and you will find out real fast if he is interested in in you or your attention. When a guy wants to get to know you and is interest they show it by doing the work of initiating contact and asking you out.

    • Josie says:


      some guys are passive and some guys are just flattered by your attention by the phone calls, but are not that intersted. Only time can tell if you have someone passive or a total waste of space. In my experience though a man who is interested acts like he is. His actions match his words. However the fact that you are even asking the question means that something doesn’t quite tick YOUR boxes by this behaviour. Maybe just get a crush on someone who acts in a way which better floats your boat. We really don’t have to make do with men who can’t return or initiate calls.

    • Lavender says:

      Sassy, Indie and Josie,

      Thank you so much for your advice. I think you’re all right. I guess if he liked me he would initiate.

      Josie, you said: “However the fact that you are even asking the question means that something doesn’t quite tick YOUR boxes by this behaviour.”

      I never thought of that, it’s true. I guess I will not contact him for a while and see what happens. Do you think it’s the same with friends too? Like if you have a friend (even the gender you’re not attracted to) and you are always initiating contact, but they never do, does that mean the same thing as when it’s a romantic pursuit type situation?

      Indie: I think this is really good too: “If you’re not sure that you will hear from him if you don’t contact him, time to move on.”

      I just figured that if we got to know each other better he would start initiating himself.

      Really sad but true. :(

    • intuitive says:

      Lavender, I’ve dealt with this before too. What I’ll usually do is make one last contact, making clear I’m interested in hearing from them soon, and then I stop. I prefer to leave the ball in their court.

      Hate to say it, but if I feel the need to do this, it usually IS the last contact that takes place between us and I know I need to move on.

  61. Lisa says:

    Natalie, your blog simply is the best dating blog out there. Haven’t found anything like it. You share great insights, your blog should be required reading for teenage girls all over the world :D :D :D!!!

    To add my comment:
    It’s true, people need to make sure the words matches the actions and vice versa. But I think most people getting involved with an unavailable person got there completely unprepared. They find someone who acts like a bf/gf. Of course they should listen to words such as “I am not ready for a relationship”, but it’s hard when there’s loads of chemistry and you guys seem perfect together. And very often these people add a “yet”. So how are you supposed to know that they are going to drag you along forever, mess with your heart big time etc. It is hard to tell in the beginning.

  62. imfree says:

    “How are you supposed to know…” I guess most people know because they have been treated well in relationships in the past (whether it be romantic ones or with family/friends) or witnessed good relationships (eg between parents) as they were growing up. I honestly think, if I had managed a good decent relationship early on in my late teens/early twenties then this would have set the bar for how I would then expect to be treated.

    My friend has often said to me when I’m blathering on about my latest disaster “would you expect a friend to do this to you? you wouldn’t allow it, you’d walk away, so apply the same kind of standards to men”

    I guess it is about being honest with yourself rather than pulling the wool over your eyes and seeing what you want to see. I have been in guilty in the past of living in a fantasy world – my own kind of future faking – rather than taking a good hard look at how things are in the here and now.

    • Josie says:


      I agree with your friends..don’t put up with behaviour from a man that you wouldn’t tolerate from a girlfriend.
      I have a girlfriend who is ever so busy. She doesn’t return calls, texts or anything and when you manage to catch her she was very busy as if I am not! Did I flush her ass YOU BET! She’s showing her lack of interest by her lack of actions, Am I no! she’s not the only girlfriend in the sea! ha ha ha, but you can bet when her latest guy dumps her she will be back calling…sounds like she’s just looking for a fall back girl, ego stroke and someone to moan out to! I’m not that girlfriend! Friends can be emotionally unavailable (read USER) just like men can.

      • NK says:

        Josie im on you on the girlfriends post! I use to put up with a lot from certain old freinds. These days the flaky ones can be flaky somewhere else. I brushed off a flaky cousin whose now making an effort to contact me. Im not bothered now though we dont have much in common, but i always made an effort in the past because hes ‘family’, now i like.meeeeh
        Same ting with one of my oldest freinds, she use to treat me like crap sometimes and used me. I just let her! now ive got over it and shes better nowadays (but still flaky) and now im like.meeeeeeeh

        I have made new friends now, but I’ve also learned to be alone and love it. I was an only child and actually had great fun on my own, but I did have a lonley childhood for the most part and when I became a teen and got more freedom i just went along with my mates to feel like i belonged, normal, except they werent an only child whose been in care and had a father who ignored her!
        Such is life :) its great that Ive got to this stage within myself, very happy with this!

  63. HowPredictable says:

    So let me get this straight.

    When dealing with potential EUMs, we have to beware of:

    1) Actions matching words (i.e. acting like he’s in a commited relationship, but then telling you he doesn’t want commitment); AND
    2) Words being backed up by actions (i.e. no future faking, telling you he wants a future but never following through with concrete steps foward).

    Whew! I’m tired. Or maybe I’m just tired of EUMs. ;-)
    PS. I love this blog. Thanks, NML!

    • Josie says:

      How Predictable,

      I see it this way..people whose actions don’t match their words are lying to you and to themselves and people who tell you they will do things in the future and don’t follow through are also liars. They are emotionally unavailable because their lies just serve to keep you interested and asleep on the job of protecting your life whilst they get their needs met via blinding you with the fiction. These lies are an enormous thief of your time and one thing is true with emotionally unavailable men and women, you will never ever get back the time you wasted on them and because its all based on lies, you will also never get what you want.
      When people lie to you, they show their intent. Get rid of them right away before you waste your life on the unworthy.

  64. ms.option says:

    Can anyone tell me why they do this? I can understand if you are asking for or demanding more but why up and tell you once again that their feelings for you are intensifying,that he has been an a**hole to me in the past and was so sorry but that he was not going to take me for granted anymore and he understood if I didn’t believe him but that he was going to work hard to prove it and would never become distant from me again. Love bomb me for a month and a half with the most romantic and sweetest words. Says all of those things one week ago and then the very next week starts ignoring me. I send him a text and say “you are doing what you said you were not going to do”. He doesn’t reply. Next day I send “Hello?” he replies “hey, are you going to be mean to me today?” Then says he has has had a sinus infection,blah,blah,blah. That was last Thurs and haven’t heard from him since. Is he really setting out to hurt me? It really seems that way. I try to hold back to avoid getting hurt but he is so convincing and every time I decide this time it will be different and let down my guard is when he pulls the rug out from under me. It is wrecking me emotionally. Does he enjoy that? My question is why,why? And why do I like someone said earlier have one iota of feeling left for someone that does this to me over and over.

    • SaraK says:

      Ms O:
      It’s not important why they do this. Maybe they lie to themselves when they are lying to you, who cares? The important thing is that this action is hurtful and abusive, and it will never stop. They are missing a part of the brain, whatever. This man is a loser.
      Go No Contact: Get your friends and your activities to support you, and walk out into the Sun. Don’t look back. You can find techniques on this site to help. It hurts more initially, but it stops the cycle and frees you.
      Now Go!

  65. Hersheigirl says:

    Talk about actions not matching words. Well, two weeks ago, yet again my 7 mo old EUM said he needed time to think. We had already extablished the I love you and even talk of the future, including some concerns. Of course this time like all others I panicked, started in with the letters, text messages, begging pleading to just talk. He would get mad and say “go away”…the worst was this past Friday. I have to pass right by his house on my way to work, I can’t help but notice when his car is not there. I text and told him it was good to see he had moved on so quickly. That afternoon he text back “go away you bitch”..the things this man has said to me. He has called me a bitch, selfish, go away, you name it and then could turn around and say I love you. When we were together which was a lot during the week, almost every night he was so affectionate and loving and then one day he would say I need time. I’m sorry but you don’t love someone and then use the excuse of being mad to say hurtful hateful things. When you really love someone you don’t need time to “think”, right? I am still in so much pain, my heart aches. I can’t stop crying and I keep telling myself how could I still care for a man that treat me with such disrespect? What is wrong with me?

    • Natasha says:

      Hersheigirl, don’t shed another tear over this man – he’s an ass. When a man does a complete Jekyll & Hyde, you can be sure that it’s the Hyde part that’s the real him. Here’s a post that was a huge help to me – I think you’ll really like it too! *Big Hugs*

      • Hersheigirl says:

        Thank you! That was him exactly. He told me from the start that every woman leaves her man. His wife of 7 years left him for another and then the next long relationship he had 4 years later lasted 7 years and she cheated on him too. He said from the start that the two of us are different and we are. I believe he does or did love me but I believe his fear of failing and not being the kind of man he thought I needed was more overwhelming than anything else. I’m not making excuses for him because there are none but what hurts the most is that he now makes it my fault saying he asked for time to think but I wouldn’t leave him alone therefore I ruined it for him. Now he turns it on me and he has told me before he pushes. What pisses me off is I still love him, even after being called a bitch, and a whole host of other names like crazy, you need to grow up, etc. etc. I know deep down it would never work but the pain isn’t any less there. Thanks and I’ll keep reading. It does help.

        • Natasha says:

          You’re very welcome! I know it hurts like crazy now, but I promise you it will get better. It is awful when they blame their crappy behavior on us and you’re right not to believe it – it’s just the mark of someone that can’t/won’t take responsibility for his actions. I know what it’s like to think, “Why the hell am I in love with someone that’s obviously a nasty piece of work?” and, believe me, it will pass! As for all his bleating about how other women supposedly did him wrong, I give you this:

          There’s always a lesson in these relationships and now you know that if a guy comes out with a statement that goes, “All women/all my exes [insert anything negative, i.e. are needy, psycho, left me]“, run!

          • Hersheigirl says:

            I am so proud of myself. Day four of no contact and I came home yesterday to find a pair of shoes he said he threw in the trash and my house key. There was a note inside that said “I didn’t throw these away”..well, DUH I can see that. I didn’t contact him and I won’t. As far as I’m concerned he could have kept them because I wrote them off anyway. I just find it odd after I finally stop contacting him he gives them back. Oh well, I’m staying on here and soaking it all in. Thanks all!

    • Lynda from L says:

      Hershei Girl,
      You are not going mad and the pain is very real, I don’t know what this guy has said to you but you need to stay on this site and read over some of the stuff on Future Faking…there is no limit to what a guy like this can say to get an outcome and that can be access to your company,sex,ego boost, even the temporary illusion that he will commit(Makes him feel good for a while?). I have been where you are and understand your compulsion to contact,to demand explanation, to over analyse. But he’s verbally abusing you now, he’s dangling a carrot then pulling it away,he may even be getting off on the power he has over you…you need to distance yourself. Get a friend around you,focus on some other activity,let the pain happen for a while but stay the hell away from him. Read Natalie’s bits on No contact. You did not deserve such disrespect, you need time to build up your esteem again but that will never happen around a guy like you describe. Concentrate on one thing at the moment the repair and love of yourself. Stay in touch x

  66. jupiter23 says:

    I’ve dated one person for a couple of months that I didn’t have strong feelings for. When I ended it, I lied about why I ended it. I said something about feeling like he didn’t have enough time for me, which was partly true, but if I had loved him, I would have dealt with it. However, I didn’t sleep with this person and when I ended it–I never spoke to him person again, even when he called me.

    I had to figure out my own mind and how I felt. Once I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have the level of feeling to continue, I ended it with a clean break. That’s the difference. I didn’t string him along, keep him around as a friend to help me move or tell me I’m pretty. So I never understand the mentality of someone who can say they don’t want a relationship and still hang around. That’s how I know these guys are usually not good people. Good people don’t use others for their own ends.

  67. NK says:

    Today I found the art of meditation, i would recommend it to anyone whose brain is ticking over time about these men/women. I actually met up with my ex eum on sat, he said i was the ‘love of his life’ when i bumped into him last. I was ingriued buy this statement, but hes still very much the same. I just said that its been long enough now theres no anger left, no nothing. So the only thing left to do is to watch him say bitter things (no doubt they may come out) when i see him around and ignore him. When that tiny (it gets smaller and smaller all the time) says ‘oh but you loved him! the intimacy was special!’ you know its just a hangover from an extended binging session of 2009 :)
    And the action point…….is my favourite on this whole site. The BEST advice anyone could give you. Ive used it lots recently Thanks!

  68. ms.option says:

    He told me when he is not contacting me it’s not because his feelings for me had changed it was because he has always had trouble focusing on one thing for long. That he had at times been cold to his parents and his daughter but it didn’t mean he loved them any less. That is what makes me wonder if maybe it is not intentional. Because he absolutely adores his daughter and if that is true then why wouldn’t it happen with me also? I guess I’m looking for reasons not to give up on him and explain why his actions don’t match his words.

  69. Aimee says:


  70. Michelle says:

    Amen! This post pretty much says it all. I thought there was something wrong with me, that I was looking for too much because my so called “relationship” felt so empty and literally was going nowhere fast. Oh how my thinking has drastically changed thanks to this blog.

    I still cannot wrap my head around people however who go around partaking in pseudo “relationships” only to downplay that it is anything at all, that you’re “just friends,” etc. I mean what is the point? These people obviously don’t want to be in a relationship so why bother? Why bother getting close but not too close? How can you spend so much time with this person and yet still have little to no regard for them whatsoever? In my opinion a relationship of any kind either flourishes or fades with time. This constant back and forth seems like such a waste of time, so vapid and pointless. I mean when I don’t want to be in a relationship I remain single, I don’t go around searching for someone to use in the meantime taking advantage of them, feeding them BS so that they’ll stick around. I don’t understand how someone can treat certain individuals as such, with little to no respect whatsoever and yet feel okay or even justify their own behavior. For me, this remains a huge motivator when thinking back to the person I was seeing. I’ll have those moments where I feel saddened by how everything has ended but then I just think do I really want to be with someone who goes around treating people like this? Definitely not!

  71. FedUp says:

    I just want a guy that doesn’t try and use me as a booty call, dump me coz I don’t put out on the first date, dump me by text, flirt with other women in front of me, cheat on me, or insult me in front people just to make himself feel big. Why is this so much to ask for? After almost a decade since I started dating, why can’t I find it?

    • runnergirl says:

      FedUp, I’ve been following your comments. I’m with you totally. Maybe it comes down to defining our goals and setting our boundaries. I don’t respond to text or email messages anymore from any guy Period, let alone at 8:00 pm on Friday or Saturday night…seems to much like a booty call to me. He’ll move on until he gets a response. I don’t do the flirting with other women thingy. I left events three times when he did this. I just up and left him as he was much more interested in her than me. That’s a deal breaker for me. Of course, I was involved with a MM so that should have been the deal breaker becuase he was MARRIED. Can you imagine a MM, his mistress, and he is flirting with yet another woman? It is too humilating to admit. Not me ever again.

  72. natalia6 says:

    I am in the grieving process. He is the 3rd EUM i have been involved with in my life. I don’t know if i am generally attracted to these men because i also have commitment issues. Maybe i do. However all three of them were quite attractive, very well educated, they had good jobs and they were smart, sexy and funny. They had a great ”package” for any woman.. except that they had commitment issues. Maybe i was blinded by their attractive traits. Maybe i was blinded by my hormones. The fact is that now after my last ”relationship” ended, i feel so sad, so disappointed.. He was very good with words but not with actions. Does this mean that his words were fake? Didn’t he have real feelings for me? Was i just convenient for him? Is everything they do-blowing hot and cold blah blah- a strategy? Do they use it consciously or unconsciously? Because if they use it consciously this means they are frauds. Right? I have so many unanswered questions.. I feel so deceived, so disappointed. (Sorry if my english is not so good)

    • runnergirl says:

      Hey Natalia6, your english is fine. You may have been an option. So very sorry. It is the most humiliating thing for me to realize that I was just an option. When I read Natalie’s Mr. U and the FBG, I’ve seen how I played perfectly into his dance. I’m a classic FBG. I hope you can get a copy of Nat’s new edition. She addresses every question you pose. Your questions are the same questions I had. Are you NC? NC is the only way out. Have you signed up for Natalie’s NC guidelines? I’m 10 months in/out and it still is difficult but getting better. He isn’t thinking about what is best for you. What is best for you is up to you to figure out. “I feel so deceived, so disappointed.” Me Too. Worse, I realize I deceived and disappointed myself.

  73. Elise says:

    This is so true! I have been “friends” with a guy for a while now, he was the one who initiated the friendship and everything. For a while, I thought he really meant it when he flirted with me and I let my imagination run wild with our future together. But I have since come to the sickening conclusion that he’s just using me as a fall-back girl. He flirts with me a lot and even hints at marriage (we’re not even dating), but he has yet to make any kind of action, like asking me out or anything…it is so annoying and frustrating. And I realized too, that virtually all our communication is on Facebook or email or text message, and he has only initiated contact out of the blue every so often. And the last few times we’ve chatted he’s seemed increasingly distant, except for those ridiculous sly, flirty comments suggesting marriage and a future together. I was such a fool to fall for it… So I’ve implemented the No Contact rule. It’s been a week and as of yet, he has not so much as sent me a message…this is really disappointing. I really liked him and thought we had potential but now, I see he is an EUM and his actions are definitely not matching up with his words. I’m just glad I saw it before I was seriously involved…

  74. JadedJulie says:

    Hi Anoosh, I feel exactly the same way as you. At 42 two failed marriages my second ex has got a 19yr old up the duff. Go to parties on my own mmmm however have a boyfriend of three years…..EUman, so doesnt really count does it. This one would have been the man I would have wnated children with a great father, they always seem to be…. but has had a vasectomy. We have been on and off with him for three years, still live separatley he comes round because he likes being looked after………but funny how he doesnt look after me. ( always manages sexy time of course) WTF am I doing………smoking alot more as I dont have kids so dont need to worry about paying the mortgage or going into a nursing home, who would realistically look after me…………..What a situation I tell him im very unhappy and things need to change……they might for a week and return back to normal. I have a good job had a rubbsih family life father buggered off and had no interest in either my sister or me……Im stuck and its making me depressed on happy tabs but now a stone heavier , deep joy. Any advice would be appreciated……….good luck Anoosh love and light xx

  75. MinSyd says:

    I can’t tell you how much this article has helped me. I was with a great, lovely guy who’s not over his ex, and half of him wanted our relationship, the other half not sure. Still he called me everyday. After 2.5 months I told him I was looking for a relationship but if he is not then let me know. He came back a few days later saying he couldn’t offer me a commitment right now but still wanted to continue seeing me. I told him it’s best we call it quits. He tried to suggest just pulling back but I said that wont achieve anything. We broke up my idea. He still called me everyday!!
    Two weeks of this I couldn’t take it anymore and told him No Contact for a few weeks. He genuinely sounded hurt, i will never forget how he sounded. It took him a while to understand but finally he said he will respect my request but told me he calls me all the time because he loves talking to me and hanging out with me, but can’t give me what I want. I told him I just needed space so I can let go and I’ll call him in a few weeks.
    I now am questioning my decision and break down about it every day. If he called me everyday there must be something there right? I miss him terribly and have two streams of pain, my own loss in losing him and that I may have hurt him too.

    I know deep down I’ve done the right thing, doesn’t stop it from hurting so much. So my point is every time I read this article it empowers me and makes me feel stronger, so thank you Natalie you really know how to shake a girl out of her “sucker” mode. Now every time I doubt of feel weak, I come here for a dose of reality!

    • grace says:

      If he calls you every day but has already turned down a committed relationship with you, you are correct – it does mean something.
      It means he doesn’t respect the fact you broke up with him. It means you are in the hot-cold cycle, and he is currently blowing hot, to be followed by blowing cold should you pursue this. It means he wants to use you for what he can get. It means that if you continue to be in contact with him, he’ll assume you’ll agree to his conditions. It means that you will always be no. 2 (or 3 or 4 or 5).
      I wouldn’t even call him in a few weeks, but that’s me.

  76. Katherine says:

    I feel as if I am in a very similar situation. I have begun seeing a guy for a few months, who was initially a friend, whom I had suspected had feelings for me (these feelings were mutual). He has since told me that he really liked me, and we have began seeing each other. I went out with his friends, with whom I got on well and he mentioned that he had told his family about me. When we’re together he tells me he adores me, that he is glad he initiated things with me and that I am the only one for him. As I had known him before it seems out of character to say things he doesn’t mean. I asked mutual friends and they agreed. Nonetheless, he often cancels on seeing me (he always seems to rearrange this though). Recently, I was due to see him on Saturday, he cancels for Wednesday. Then late on Tuesday night I receive a message telling me he has had to unexpectedly travel the next day. The following day, when he should have spent eight hours travelling, he was on facebook. All day. Until 3AM. That journey must have been ever so tiring… We agree to meet up on Saturday. But by this point he has been invited to a party. I am contemplating calling him and asking him, as a friend, if he still wants to see me. Is this a good idea? I hate the idea that I may be being strung along. The answer might hurt, but I would much rather know. I do like him though, and hope this conversation might make him realise we need to match more.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!