It's not that taking a risk is 'bad' & that you should never allow yourself to be vulnerable; it's about WHO you choose to take that RISK with.

Every time I talk with anybody that’s struggling with boundaries and even has objections to enforcing them, or who is struggling with other tricky areas such as criticism, or who are tarring people who are X with the same brush because they had a negative experience with X in the past, what becomes patently clear is that they have a negative association which actually may be a ‘false negative’ – forming a conclusion based on this piece of information as if they now have all of the criteria to say “Computer says NO. This will create negative consequences.”

Something good can ‘equal’ something bad because you experienced something bad that had the something good in it. Prime example – being vulnerable and opening yourself up to someone. Of course if you were vulnerable with someone who went on to break your heart, you might just get the idea that it’s risking yourself that was bad, when that’s not the case at all. Healthy risk is needed for mutual healthy relationships. Taking a risk with someone who is a poor relationship ‘flight risk’ is like deciding that you’ll do your first flight in a plane with one wing or hardly any petrol in it.

Something irrelevant can become a negative relevance. Example, they played cricket and watched a lot of sport, hence never trust a man who plays cricket and watches sport. That was my old thinking…

Boundaries, for instance, are your personal electric fence that communicates to you and to others what does and doesn’t work for you. They alert you to discomfort and the idea is that by living in line with your professed values, you stay inside your own boundary lines. Others know the line when you know the line.

But…I hear from people who have one or a few ‘unpleasant’ experiences with having boundaries so now their automatic assumption and conclusion when faced with the prospective of asserting a boundary is to be filled with anxiety, ill feeling, and a sense of doom because what’s the point in asserting the boundary if they’re only going to {insert whatever the person / people did who have scared you off boundaries]? They forecast that the same or even worse is going to happen… even though this is not likely to be true unless you’re around someone or in a situation that’s very similar.

In one particular relationship in my early twenties, I drew the conclusion that there was a negatory on being myself.

I believed that being myself was what had ‘turned off’ my ex. After that, I put far too much of my efforts into trying to be whatever I thought the latest guy wanted while seething at the ‘rejection’ of not being myself and actually not liking me for not being true to me but also being frustrated about not knowing what being me was, because I’d been through more reinventions than frickin’ Madonna!

Now while I did go out with Mr Unavailable after Mr Unavailable, each situation was unique and actually, being myself wasn’t the problem, so diving in and changing me to preempt or ‘fix’ a problem was a bad move. Incidentally, having needs, having expectations, having boundaries, speaking my mind, being ambitious, being outgoing or even, wait for it, being black were all negative associations that I had that were unjustified.

Making negative associations with boundaries (or whatever you have the negative association with) means that when faced with a situation where you need to act, you’ll procrastinate because you keep thinking about that one time (or few times) when you enforced your boundaries in what was a similar situation where you ended up, for example, ‘losing’ the person.

But hold up a second now – how could you having rightful boundaries cause you to ‘lose’ a person that wasn’t already lost in some way?

It’s like saying “Well asking questions, expecting not to be respected, having some basic expectations, or saying NO means that you will scare off someone who would have stayed otherwise.” No they wouldn’t! They’re a hop, skip and a jump away from exiting anyway. The difference is, you could tow the line and be miserable at silencing yourself and then they’d go further at another point or you’d crack from selling yourself short.

Also was it really about having boundaries or were there other reasons why this relationship wouldn’t have worked?

It’s the same with criticism – does having some difficult experiences with criticism mean that you should never listen to any feedback or yes, criticism? Does it mean that the person doesn’t like you, hates you, or that something bad is going to happen? NO. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what people associate with criticism. I associated ‘failure’ and ‘making mistakes’ with getting into trouble over homework and exams and not wanting to displease and feeling below standard. I’ve been an adult for 17 years (bloody hell) and yet I’ve only cottoned onto this negative association in the past year or so.

And then there’s tarring people who are or do X with the same brush.

I remember when a guy I went to college with spent the summer in the US and came back behaving oddly towards me. Turned out, his girlfriend cheated on him with a black guy and so now he had a negative association with all black people! He actually told me this with a straight face. If she’d cheated on him with a white guy, would he have started hating himself and every white guy?

Every time this guy saw a black person, he felt dejected, rejected, hurt, and angry, but the black guy wasn’t the problem.

It’s the same for other negative associations. Feeling distrusting of 6ft tall people because you had a bad experience with a 6ft tall person is actually sending false information to you that’s saying ‘Tall equals don’t trust the mofo.’ or ‘Short man equals not worthy of my time’ or ‘Cracked a few jokes on a date, must be trying to pull a fast one on me’ even though the person who pulled a fast one on you had far more obvious indications of that than ‘being funny’.

What has to be remembered is context. The association you make may be situational but it is not definitive for all people or situations with the ‘factor’ outside of the context.

Yes you may have been hurt by someone who was funny, with a big job and lots of friends but it doesn’t mean that you should be wary of people like this and try to be with someone who lacks a sense of humour, has no job or a ‘lesser’ job than you and is a loner because you miss the point of what it was that really hurt about the relationship, which means actually, you could end up with the opposite and still end up with similar hurt. I pretty much did this with two exes and in the end, it wasn’t these factors that broke the relationships – one was very shady for lots of reasons and the other was also shady and had drug and alcohol problems.

Negative associations borne from ‘false negatives’ tend to be irrational while also painting you into a corner of being in a cycle of repeating unhealthy behaviour because you’re blinded by the association.

You get over negative associations by repeatedly correcting yourself when presented with it (“No, boundaries are not bad. If I do X, Y, Z, it’ll mean that I …….”) as well as reminding yourself of what happens when you proceed on a negative association. It’s also important to judge a person and a situation on merit and reality (“Is it fair to say that all people who have opposite sex friendships are dodgy?”, and also do things that created positive associations – I felt so empowered when I said NO, when I opted out, when I took action and learned that having boundaries, for instance, is a good, positive, necessary thing.

It would be more useful for you to have negative associations with things that you may have misguided ‘positive associations’ with – code amber and red behaviour. It is amazing the number of people who ignore these and yet would write off someone for pretty innocuous reasons!

Your thoughts?


Dedicated to helping people improve their emotional and relationship literacy, think of me as emotional baggage declutter, shady relationship buster and self-esteem booster all rolled into one! Find Out More | My Books | 30-day projects | Weekly Podcast .
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109 Responses to Are ‘False Negatives’ Causing You To Make Negative Associations?

  1. Revolution says:

    Excellent post, Natalie. I call it “pulling a George Costanza.” (Remember that ‘Seinfeld’ episode where he decided to do everything opposite from his immediate instinct?)I’ve done it a few times, most markedly with the last AC. He was 9 years older (I’ve always dated around my same age), he was boring (I always liked the fiery, musician types. Ugh.), he was well-educated (my boys were usually street smart instead)….well, you get the drift. I thought this last guy was my “diamond in the rough” because he was SOOO different than any man I’ve dated. Turns out I was playing the Opposites Game (you’ve written about this, as I recall). Yeah…that didn’t work out too well. “Context is everything.” True, true.

    I really need to get over this mindset, or the only guys I will have left to date will be 22-year old redheads with no musical talent.

  2. Shy says:

    It’s almost scary, but surely only God could have sent you to minister on the very issues I am having while on the “dating scene.” I’m under 30 but used to being in serious relationships. Since being single, dating sucks! Getting to know this guy, then if that doesn’t work then getting to know that guy. Ugh! Well, oddly enough Natalie, you seem to send the right topics at the right time. I swear you’re blogging about my life
    . Smh… instead, I’ll just call you my guardian angel. Thanks for all of your wisdom. :-)

  3. Julie says:

    OMG. I am always amazed at what smacks me in the face with your posts.
    I so boarded the plane with one wing, was very aware that the plane had one wing (he was married) & yet, I was so unprepared for the crash & burn of said plane.
    It wasn’t the risk, but who I took the risk with smacked me pretty hard as well.
    Thank you for bringing the reality/importance of boundries in such a simple straightforward way.

    • finallygettingit69 says:

      It’s like saying “Well asking questions, expecting not to be respected, having some basic expectations, or saying NO means that you will scare off someone who would have stayed otherwise.” No they wouldn’t! They’re a hop, skip and a jump away from exiting anyway. THANK YOU NAT!!!!

      I am finally seeing that one way or another, he was NEVER going to deliver on any of the things he made me believe were on offer. As I knew he would, he flaked out when things got too real and he had to be or do anything.

      Good riddance to my future faking/fast fowarding ex who has been upgraded to full ass-clown status after his most recent disappearing act. Now I just have to be prepared to not get derailed in the event he reappears with more bullshit to sell.

    • runnergirl says:

      Yup Julie, I boarded the same one winged plane (he was married) and I was totally unprepared for the inevitable crash and burn. There is a few of us here who boarded that one winged plane with a MM, as well as an EUM and/or an AC. Sheesh, I thought that by sheer stubborn determination I’d be able to fly that plane by one wing and I dug my heels in deep. Isn’t Natalie great. No way, no how is that plane gonna fly! So simple, so straight forward. Hello. A plane has to have two wings and is preferably co-piloted. Sorry your plane crashed and burned, mine did too. This leaves me thinking about getting aboard a plane with one wing and thinking I’m gonna fly this sucker!!!

  4. sm says:

    Natalie thank you for smacking me upside the head. I am a Christian but after some bad dating experiences with them and those of friends as well, I couldnt stand to date Christian men. I disdained the thought of it. But after a few rounds with men who dont hold my values, I realize that I am going to have to come to terms with this. Because I am the one not living authentically. Not only that but holding to my values is going to make it a very narrow dating field and I am just going to have to accept it or keep having lots of ‘wrong’ experiences.

    • grace says:

      I had bad experiences dating christian men too, in my distance past. They can be just as screwed up as anyone else. As can we.
      Don’t take too much for granted just because they to go church or even if they lead meetings and are very active. You still need to do due diligence. get to know the heart of the man. And vice versa, he should be willing to put in the time and effort to know you.
      And be careful of being in the “just friends” zone for too long. When you’re all hanging out in mixed sex groups it can get confusing. Are you together or not? I’m glad we had that group time, and still enjoy it, but even gladder we progressed to one-on-one time too. You simply can’t discuss some matters or get close in a group setting.
      “Boundaries in Dating” is written from a christian perspective and may help you.
      It IS a narrow dating field, but it’s narrow for christian men too so it evens out.

      • Lilia says:

        I´m suddenly discovering that most of my friends do not match my values at all, not only the guys I´ve been involved with! It is scary because it´s like I have to start all over, changing my whole social setting. The people I used to hang out with, who were my reference in life, now seem so shallow and petty. But I guess that´s part of living authentically, letting go of the easy superficial unsatisfying relationships, right? I haven´t figured out yet how to take the next step of having meaningful relationships.

        Will you please explain to us what you did in the years you were single, how you worked on yourself? I think you are an example to us all, it would be nice to know your experience.

        • grace says:

          I spent the first three years in depression, anxiety and obsessing about the playa. I did manage to stop hooking up with him, it was seeing a counsellor that helped with that. I did show up for work every day and go to the gym. The thing that really helped was buying a flat. Even I couldn’t obsess about a man AND buy a flat. So I do recommend something new that stretches you. Then a returning childhood sweetheart got in touch, which is how I found BR. That really did help immensely to explain my behaviour, which I was starting to realise was a pattern. I found a terrific counsellor who finally helped me work through the childhood trauma, I made new friends, joined a new church, made more friends, realised I was very happy with what I had and that i could be single and content forever, and then i met the man.
          None of it is revolutionary but what I did do with varying degrees of reluctance or enthusiasm is consider that Nat might be right. NC is not a new concept but she explains it well. It completely worked for me. It’s not about depriving yourself of a man, it’s about treating yourself to some good oldfashioned pride. And understand that we all need love, from God, friends and family, ourselves. It doesnt have to come from a man. But when you meet a man who shares your values it is lovely and worth having.

      • sm says:

        Thank you Grace. I did two 13 week courses on Boundaries at the church and read “Boundaries in Dating” too. I agree on all your points above and since BR totally agree that due diligence must always be done. I am in my 40’s and go to a large church. I have a career, own my own home and other than dating poorly, am past making huge mistakes with my life. When I look around at the Christian men before me who are my age range, they dont even come close. That’s why I started dating secular men. But I have come to realize that makes me a fraud because I do hold and try to keep to Christian values. I am not a fraud but my actions say otherwise. S

        • ixnay says:

          Just a thought — I’m not convinced that Christian/secular is a real thing, the way has hair/bald is.

          What I mean is — there are ‘secular’ people with core values that may very well jibe with yours. Most of the 10 commandments are basic grown-up ethics. And the Golden Rule works for everyone.

          So I wouldn’t call yourself a fraud on the dividing line you mention here. Because, as you discovered, there are men overtly professing many religions who can’t or won’t live those values.

          So I’d say, look for the actions that speak to the core values. Maybe going to a certain church is not the biggest signifier of those values.

  5. Natasha says:

    Oh, have I done this! All of my former assclowns were very outgoing, life of the party types and there was a time when I figured I’d better find someone who was basically mute if I was going to avoid getting played again. Ridiculous in hindsight, but made perfect sense at the time. It’s funny, because I was recently out at a bar and a dude came up to me and opened with, “I usually don’t approach women who look high maintenance, but I had to come talk to you.”. I was appalled and I was fascinated. I needed details. Come to find out, he had a “blonde ex”. Mmmhmm. I couldn’t really respond about being high maintenance, as I’ve been saying “This is my natural color” with a straight face for many years. Clearly, Bachelor Number WTF?! Was a hot mess, but it’s crazy how many of us are running around with these ideas!

  6. Getting It says:

    Loving this post. Got me thinking about how my associations with my past interactions with men and how I associate it with what I want would look like a hot mess of diagram. I’m always the one saying that I shouldn’t be pigeon-holed and how I can’t stand when people mark me as this or that, and here I’ve been doing the exact same thing with anyone potentially available to me based on what I’ve experienced before. A guy is interested in me? Well then he must either be a borderline psychopath or a smotherer. And then I’ll make him jump through hoops until I can precisely categorize him. And then I get to be right, either way, when he inevitably gives up. Truth, I know that I’m a smart, funny person, attractive person who attracts people just being me. And when I start setting boundaries honestly and without a “don’t let this person beat me” mindset, or even worse a “sit on the sidelines and watch him dodge my minefields” game plan, I will actually be on my way to a real relationship. All of the platonic relationships I have are pretty darn healthy-after some house cleaning the past few years-which tells me I’m capable of it romantically as well. I think this bodes very well. Thank you for the continuous sound advice!

  7. dancingqueen says:

    I honestly don’t know how to judge sometimes if I am turned off for reasonable reasons or petty ones.. nor am I even clear if this post resonates or not for me…really confusing.

    I am very good with my instincts since the epiphany years ago, I am not the type to romanticize the bad boys but I gotta say; I am sick of women friends acting as if every guy who I don’t like should be someone I should seriously consider because there is this idea that, at 46, I should be so desperate that any half-way decent dude will do.

    What I also do know is that several times, during a second or first date, in the last 5 months, a guy did something that turned me off and set alarms going. My friends all think that I am being picky.Then later, they do something on the third date that shows their ass and then I am told that I have good instincts..

    Case in point, and I would love some feedback on this; there is this man in my running group. He was being very chatty with me several times on our weekly run and I was kind of expecting him to ask me out at some point ( we only saw each other three times, at the group). I was attracted to him and I liked some of the things that he had done in life and we had had some good conversations. The last time we spoke he was being very sweet and attentive and offered me a free ticket to this expensive running event that he had planned to race in, that he could not (this was last Wednesday). We were alone after the run and we had been talking so much that everyone had gone home, so he walked me to my car. I was really touched by the offer. So we were talking about it, and I said thanks I will let you know and I went to kind of shake his hand as I was leaving and suddenly, very suddenly, he grabbed my hand and kissed it! My first thought was “Dodgey guy, thinks he is way too charming” and I felt really uncomfortable.

    I kind of laughed and said something about how bold that was and went to my car. I told my friend about it and how disappointed I was, and she thought I was crazy…but I don’t know, it seemed odd to me. Now I feel awkward going to the group.

    Am I being “blinded by association” or is this behavior seemingly a bit amber? I honestly feel like it is not kosher and I want to say that I should just go with my feelings; he made me uncomfortable, hence steer clear. But this article makes me doubt myself.

    • Lilia says:

      Well, it depends on what you associate that with. I mean, was there some AC who used to kiss your hand? Or does it remind you of Valmont in the Liaisons Dangereuses?
      Was it the boldness of his move?
      I don´t know, to me it just seems a bit flirty… which isn´t a bad thing. And you have to admit it is quite original.

      Now I´m reminded of this player I used to date when I was 18… he had this gentlemanly way, always let me walk on the side of the houses of the pavement so he would “protect” me from the cars on the street. It was a bit silly but very charming. And yes, he ended up breaking up with me because I was too slow to sleep with him.

      So well, there´s an association for you. But of course, this was ages ago in a land far away from yours, I´m certain.
      I´d say just keep your eyes open and look at where your thoughts take you, perhaps you´re not giving this guy a fair chance.

    • grace says:

      At a party one of the men there – BIG GUY bearhugged all his male friends. Then he turned to me and I braced myself. Instead he kissed my hand. I didn’t mind. To me, shaking hands is for business, it feels a bit odd for me to do it socially.
      It took the man months to ask me out. And only when I pointblank told him to. We were laughing about it the other day. Turned out he was intimidated by me (ha ha) because I used to ignore him. he was intimdated, I was anxious. If we’d let that rule the day, nothing would have developed.
      These guys haven’t read the dating advice. They’re trying to figure it out too. That’s the charitable view. It could be that your guy is dodgy. But I don’t think you have enough to go on yet.

    • Mymble says:

      He kissed your hand! Well that would spook me too. I thought men stopped doing that in about eighteen-oatcake. No idea what the thought process there would be.. maybe wants you to think he’s mr Darcy. I hope you curtseyed nicely,and responded with a “Nay Sir, methinks you are too bold! You must talk to my Papa!”
      I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    • Lessons Learned says:

      I think he’s trying to show you that he is interested without having to kiss you! I think it’s kindof cute ;).

      But you never know, spidey senses can be good things. If only you had Facebook you could see how long it took him to add you, and judge the quality of his message, the number of smiley faces, and the number of messages it took to ask you out (This is the shit I deal with).

      I think a kiss on the hand is quite a clear and old-fashioned (not in a bad way) gesture – I would be flattered!!

      But… big but… he now needs to have the guts to take it the next step – otherwise he is just toying with you. But the only way to find out is to turn up to you running group!

      Worst case – he’s playing you. You’re a big girl, you can deal with it.
      Best case – he’s a sweetheart just dying to make you happy.


    • cc says:

      i’d say, from your description, that he was deftly, but not necessarily too deftly, turning a platonic gesture into a romantic one without actually flat out violating your personal space (e.g. kissing you, and i don’t mean your hand).

      yes, it was charming. that doesn’t mean it was bad. he gave you a free ticket to something he knew you’d want to goto, walked you to your car, kissed your hand when you tried to shakehis. to me, it looks like he’s courting you. but you have to put in the time and effort to find out if that’s what’s happening, and if he’s a decent guy who shares your values and objectives.

      but ya gotta break some eggs to make an omelette.

    • Fearless says:

      I wish a man would kiss my hand. That would be nice. I don’t see a problem. You went to shake his hand, he’d rather kiss your hand. Maybe he didn’t pull it off too well but the sentiment is the same (so long as he didn’t do a flourish with his feathered hat afterwards!)

    • selkie says:

      Dancing Queen,

      His hand kiss sounds like a mix of goofy, playful, and flirting. I wouldn’t personally consider it a red flag for myself, if I liked the guy. If a guy I didn’t like, or just met did that it would creep me out for sure though. These are your boundaries we are talking about though, they may take a different shape than mine. If it made you uncomfortable, don’t disregard how you feel. Maybe sit on it for now and see how he behaves the next time you see him. If the hand kiss doesn’t turn into a request for a date in the future (if that’s what you want), then I would consider him a guy who purposely stays just out of reach but flirts only for fun and his own ego stroke (EUM), instead of a someone with genuine interest. Then it’s a red flag. I think it’s too early to tell if he’s ‘good charming’ or ‘bad charming’, based on what you’ve told us.

  8. Tinkerbell says:

    I don’t feel that a man kissing my hand, instead of a handshake is being “bold”. On the contrary, I think it’s a gentlemanly way of showing you that he’s more interested in you than for a friend. At least he didn’t grab you and try to stick his tongue down your throat. I fail to see where he has done anything wrong. Perhaps if you were 18 – 25, which would put you in a different generation in which you might think it’s nerdy, or very odd, but you say you are 46. I don’t get your drift. You asked for responses, so that’s mine. Not criticizing either of you.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Ladies thanks for all the input! I have scored your feedback as 7 being for giving this guy at least a tiny bit of a chance, and 0 for thinking he is totally dodgy; I will thus, go to my running group like a big girl…~nerves~(did I just invent a new emoticon?)
      @mymble: maybe I can get a chaperone if we date to really underscore my paranoia lol
      @tinkerbell, thank god he did not stick his tongue down my throat huh especially after a sweaty TX run ick
      @fearless yeah the 3 Musketeers hat might have been a turn-off, especially with shorts
      @cc I know I need to try to make an omelette but I am vegan and scared to leave my comfy land of singledom..he is the first guy who has expressed interest in me in months that I have met in the “real world” ( not on-line) and have not thought weird or a player or just needing attention.
      @lessons learned: I am scared that I will go to the running group and get so nervous around him that I will get really quiet or just be awkward. The last man who was my boyfriend tried to kiss me on the first date ( not too aggressively mind you) and I literally jumped out of the way and stuttered “Oh! I am sorry I don’t kiss on the first date!” with a huge blush…I still heard about it months later, it was super-awkward of me:( Men touching me without warning make me nervous.)
      @lilia I think you hit on something but I don’t know what. My last boyfriend used to do the curb-walk thing too and he would also stand whenever any woman walked into the room ( loved it…) I guess I feel like those gestures don’t mean as much in the South as they are often gestures…meaning just for effect. I guess I do feel burned here by having encountered one or two less courtly Southern guys,,,like the one who kissed my hand and 2 minutes later tried to ram his tongue down my throat, or the guy who took me on three lovely dates the final at the theater and then…got really aggressive when he could not come in for a drink on the third date. I feel very vulnerable the minute I get the old-fashioned courtship stuff because I worry that it is a setup ( although last ex was a pretty decent guy)
      Finally@grace *sigh* I don’t know how to be charitable anymore; I feel so self-protective and cynical it is like I can’t let my guard down unless there is alcohol involved…not really able to have a wine before the jog,
      Okay I will try to go to this run group tommorrow if I don’t chicken out. Thanks again ladies!

      • cc says:

        have a good run, and remember – you don’t have to leave your comfy land, but maybe you don’t have to be single. you see? the idea is to be comfy, know you have your comfort to come home to, and still take reasonable chances.

        the more i think about it, its about trusting ourselves, not about trusting other people. take good care of you, do what makes you happy, know you have that happy space to come home to, and then you won’t worry so much that you’ll put yourself in danger or accept less than you should be offered.

      • Lessons learned says:

        Oh do go, and let us know how it goes. Dont be nervous, and if he’s a good guy, hopefully he can put you at ease (although he may be nervous too, so dont have expectations too high).

      • Marie says:

        The last guy that kissed my hand is my boyfriend! It was the end of our first date and we were both highly attracted to each other. He was getting up to leave and there was a heavy tension between us. He took my hand to shake it, but then leaned in and kissed it, then we both just fell together and kissed. It was awesome. We are still seeing each other 2 months later now and everything has been wonderful so far:)
        Now, maybe 6 months before another man kissed my hand that I wasn’t so attracted to and it came across as more icky or contrived even. So, maybe its something that really depends on context. Good luck!!

  9. Christina says:

    Natalie, these last posts of yours are truly doing the world a service. In the end, all of the relationship advice in the world can’t help someone who is stuck in low self-esteem with a skewed view of the world.

    I’ve been guilty of this myself. I wouldn’t date guys who were in the military or law enforcement because of experiences some of my friends had with these guys. No one who like guns or ANYONE from Eastern Europe, lol. I had to realize that I was painting with far too broad a brush, and that I was doing what I often accused others of: basing negative stereotypes on inadequate information.

    It’s just somehow comforting to think that if we have “rules” about who it’s okay to date, we’ll somehow be safe. Likewise with being vulnerable. It’s not the being vulnerable that caused us to be hurt. It’s being vulnerable with a person who didn’t deserve our trust.

  10. tired says:

    im just scared of going into the future with any man , full stop . i hope but im scared that ill be used and dumped again . its happened all my life apart from my marraige where in the end i left . i feel so yuk today im off out with the dog for a walk a long one just to while away the hrs as im low , i dont want to break no contact or look on fb , just for once i want to be strong and walk away instead of crumbling . i feel pretty lost and not sure who i am , lost all sense of who i actually am .x strentgh to all you girls out there going through the same tough times x

    • Victorious says:

      I hope you feel better and stronger now tired. I really miss my dog!!! Stay NC. I will be a week NC tomorrow and it is absolute hell.I sent back a small item of his he had left at my house and was expecting/hoping for a text acknowledging this, which I could then ignore. I am mad he hasn’t even thanked me for returning it or offered to return my stuff, considering we allegedly parted on amicable terms. I will tell him to keep it if he does offer. For some reason I just would like that little bit of contact. Maybe I feel if I ignore it I am rejecting him like he rejected me? You can do this and will feel so much better for it.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Maybe you just need to take a clue from your moniker and pamper yourself with some long naps and time with your doggie and friends…there need be no rush to date.
      Just take a little break and soothe yourself and let yourself heal; when you are ready to get out there you will know that it is time:) Hugs:)

    • Jen says:

      Tired, I feel you. We’ve all been there and had those days… Sometimes I feel like I too am just so scared and tired of going down that road ever again.

      Luckily, dogs are the best living creatures ever. Mine was one of the only reasons I managed to pick myself up again after my AC/EUM experience(s) a few years ago.


  11. Helsbels says:

    Having made a few wrong choices with men in the past i’m now a lot more cautious and am applying being true to myself with regards to my boundaries.
    It seems to be working because firstly I feel much more in control of situations and can avoid possible casual encounters.
    I’m trying not to let past experiences cloud my judgement and stop me taking measured risks with the right people.
    I recently men a man online who I find extremely attractive but I resisted the urge to sleep with him because I’ve just met him, don’t know enough about him or how he will treat me in the future…I don’t have a crystal ball so have to find out gradually.
    He sent me a lovely text after our meeting saying how he really respected me for upholding my boundaries and that he’d had a fantastic time with me.
    So I will keep in touch with him and see how it pans out, i’m sure i’ll soon know his intentions and find out if he’s worth keeping or flushing 😉 I’m so much stronger now partly due to this website, thank you Natalie Xx

  12. grace says:

    “Is it fair to say that all people who have opposite sex friendships are dodgy?”,
    I’ve done a 180 on this. I used to think that it had to be a harem but the man has opposite sex friends. it doesn’t bother me because I trust him.
    The playa had a lot of opposite sex friends and they WERE a harem. It made be very suspicious of male-female friendships. But I’ve come across too many instances of genuine male-female friendships to keep that view.
    sometimes it’s dodgy. sometimes it’s not. You can’t issue a blanket statement.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      I know for a fact that positive and totally platonic friendships can exist between opposite sexes. My very best friend in the world is a man I’ve known for over 30 years. He got married to his wife a week before my own marriage, and we both stood up for each other, that’s how close we are. My marriage didn’t last but his did, and happily his wife is fine with our friendship. Because she knows it has NEVER been anything but completely platonic and never will be. He’s like the brother I never had.

      In my experience, blanket statements are almost always inaccurate. Each situation, each person, each context has to be considered on its own.

  13. Lessons Learned says:

    As someone who played the opposites game in a major way, I completely agree.

    I went from extrovert, scatty, emotionally unavailable man complete with narcissistic harem, mummy issues, who I was on and off with for 5 years (and who still messages me every time he’s in town, nearly 2 years after we broke up)… to emotionally withdrawn, underdeveloped, controlling, chopper, Patrick Bateman-style assclown with no female friends (who liked to pick on me – the best insult he could come up with was the soles of my feet were too rough).

    None of the outside stuff is important. If a person is decent, balanced and thoughtful, they will be who they are, whoever that is, and can also be good to you too.

    Lesson learned.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Wow; a man who comments on the bottoms of your feet…you seriously are perfect if that is his complaint. What a joke!

      That is also odd; that is like sticking a light up his nostrils and telling him that one hair is too long; do people really get so up in someone’s personal- grooming-space nowadays? *scratches head*

      • Lessons learned says:

        I know, tell me about it. What a toss bag. The day he told me my feet were too rough was the day i knew it couldn’t go on. My feet weren’t even bad, and his feet weren’t that great either! Which of course i was mature enough to point out to him.

        end rant.

  14. Pam says:

    Here’s a good one for you. My fiance , who I am supposed to be marrying next year on Feb 14 said this to me yesterday: (and I quote) ” I hope things are going to work out between us” Now what the hell does that mean? We have been together for 4 years and we are supposed to be getting married soon. wtf??? Maybe Im paranoid but me thinks something smells rotten in paradise. Your thoughts?

    • Lilia says:

      My thought is this: ask him “what do you mean, honey, we have been together for 4 years and we are supposed to be getting married soon?”
      And then let him talk.
      My guess is he won´t even remember making this statement, if that´s the case, just brush it off.

      • G-money says:

        Hey Pam, I agree will Lilia, i’d ask him what he meant by his comment especially if it’s out of the blue. Has everything being going alright up until he said that, or is this the first comment that’s made you seem little uneasy? You at least owe it to yourself, whether he was joking or being serious to find out where he was coming from.

      • dancingqueen says:

        second that, perfect response.

    • Fearless says:


      I’m wondering why you didn’t ask him what he meant.

      • Magnolia says:

        I’m with Fearless – though I totally get not saying something right then in the moment. I wish I could slow things down when such moments occur! The confusion of the weird statement, the sudden clutch at the heart that it is something to pay attention to … I usually find myself struck silent or cowed, then having to go back and say, “What did you mean when you said x” or trying to articulate my reaction hours, even days, later.

        What is it that keeps us from asking?

        I guess it’s fear that the fear is well-founded. But staying silent and trying to pretend the comment isn’t on your mind won’t work, either. Ask him and see where it takes you.

    • cc says:

      yeah, pam-
      i’m sure you were shocked and taken aback. but ask him what he meant. try not to have a cow, just ask him calmly and listen.

      i hope things work out too. but, as terrible as it sounds, you don’t want to marry somebody who doesn’t want to get married or who doesn’t want to marry you. TRUST me, its easier to not get married than to get divorced.

      good luck, honey. you’ll be ok either way.

  15. teachable says:

    It depends on the guy Dancing Queen. Did he seem anxious before when he kissing your hand? Doing so without warning or asking & not in the context of a date is a boundary violation, no matter how seemingly cute or harmless. I’d be reading the guy’s behaviour & not his words. He definately has ulterior motives of a romantic (& possibly sexual) intent. He may have wanted to ask you out & have acted like a putz instead. Either way, he has control of his bodily functions. What’s next? Is he
    suddenly going to try to kiss you or worse even, also totally out of the blue/context also? Could he perhaps have mild Aspergers & running be his one subject area of fascination he can talk about at depth? Might this account for his odd outburst? See how you go but see this as a yellow flag & change it to red or neutral depending on how you go from here. I’d actually raise the hand kissing incident with him. No-one violates my boundaries & gets away with it (& probably a sign of more to come so beware).

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey teachable

      He seemed anxious, but I don’t know who was more, him or me. I literally hightailed it outta there lol! So I think he probably feels as awkward as me. I think I left track marks…

      I am going to go to my running group and see how he acts. If he is calming to be around then I will see…if he was just trying to play around to get my interest than I will be a bit upset, but will handle it well as I think, if that is the case and he is a player, I did the right thing to get a jump on:)
      Yes, I felt my boundary was a bit crossed to, but maybe he meant it in a sincere way so I think I will proceed with caution. Thanks!

  16. Kerry says:

    Dancing Queen, When I think of all the stupid, clumsy and awkward moves I’ve made around a man I was crushing on, I would be horrified if he had instantly thought I was some weirdo with dodgy behaviour. Hand kissing is goofy and comical, but I don’t see how it’s a deal breaker or sign of anything dodgy. It’s like NL says at the end of her post: “It would be more useful for you to have negative associations with things that you may have misguided ‘positive associations’ with – code amber and red behaviour. It is amazing the number of people who ignore these and yet would write off someone for pretty innocuous reasons!”
    I’d say that hand kissing is an innocuous reason.

    Pam, it sounds like your fiancé is definitely trying to tell you something, and not being brave about it at all, either. I’d have a serious discussion and get to the bottom of it, to save myself any pain down the road.

    • dancingqueen says:

      “When I think of all the stupid, clumsy and awkward moves I’ve made around a man I was crushing on, I would be horrified if he had instantly thought I was some weirdo with dodgy behaviour. Hand kissing is goofy and comical, but I don’t see how it’s a deal breaker or sign of anything dodgy”

      Thanks Kerry, I think you are right; he might feel as awkward about it as I do and maybe it is unfair to hold him under my paranoia microscope lol:)

  17. Snowboard says:

    You’ll be proud of me, Natalie. Last night, the guy I’d been talking to texted me again and asked if I was still interested in getting together for dinner sometime this week. I waited a few hours and responded that I was sorry but the next couple weeks were actually going to be even busier than the one before and so I was putting my social life on pause for the time being, but that I was sure we would see each other at a party soon enough, and I hoped he was doing well. This was very difficult for me to do, and it caused me a lot of anxiety last night, but then today he sent me back a very sweet message just saying he understood and that he hoped I was doing well too. I know you have said before that frequently when we enforce our boundaries, it doesn’t end up being nearly as difficult as we imagine, and that’s what happened here. His polite response put me at ease, and I’m glad I didn’t put myself in a situation I didn’t want to be in.

  18. Tinkerbell says:

    I recently met a guy online. We messaged back and forth on the site and then I suggested our emailing which we did. Due to very unfavorable and downright crazy past online experiences, I let it be known that I was really skittish about having a serious relationship (we both had stated in our profiles that that is what we were looking for), because I’d been deeply disappointed very recently. He wrote me back saying, “Well, I don’t want to be held responsible for your past hurts.
    You should know me by now that I am not that kind of man. If not, maybe we should move on”. Now, maybe he wasn’t worth my time anyway, but I have to admit, I overreacted at that point telling him, “How can you say to me “I should know by now,” when we haven’t met or even communicated that much, yet.” I also told him that I am more mature and sensible than to hold him accountable for such. Admittedly, I overreacted because the last EUM met me once, felt it was a horrible experience (which was definitely mutual) and never contacted me again. I am used to being the one who does the dropping, not being the droppee, so I panicked. Afterwards, I realized that I could have handled this guy with more finess. I didn’t have to get so angry when he said “I should know by now” and “Maybe we should move on.” I just felt he was assuming way too much. At this point, I don’t care anymore and I’m certainly not pining for him, but, I think I’ve learned a lesson. Don’t start right out telling a guy you’ve been hurt. Don’t carry negative baggage into a new situation where perhaps the current guy is really okay and means no harm. No matter what you’ve been through he doesn’t need to know about it. But most importantly, if you are still hurt or angry you should work through those issues before you put yourself into the dating field again. I did have ulterior motives. I really liked the guy and he did not live far away from me. I knew the possibility of our meeting soon was good. I was afraid of meeting him, feeling that I was “not good enough” because I’ve gained 30 lbs. So, I actually created a conflict, on purpose, so that I would not have to meet him. Can anyone relate to this? Is this classic EUM behavior? The reason I indulge in online experiences is because it’s fantasy, and I’m interested in guys that are hundreds of miles away. I know this sounds stupid. But as soon as my subscription expires, I’m going to stop this madness. Feedback welcomed.

    • selkie says:


      I agree you probably shouldn’t have told him you were skittish about serious relationships and very disappointed recently before you guys have even properly met. It probably put a lot of pressure on him not to screw up before he even started. His response was a bit harsh though in my opinion, about not blaming him for your past hurts. But… he had a point. He really couldn’t promise you at this point you’d never be disappointed in him. It was almost like asking for a guarantee up front. If a man said that to me…I might think it was going to be too much work and that he wasn’t ready. It wouldn’t be my job to reassure him, he needs to show up assured of himself. But, him saying you should know him by now is absurd. How could you possibly know him? He’s expecting blind trust before earning any. I say it’s a no go for both of you. Sorry, if that sounds mean Tinkerbell. It’s not meant to be. I’m barely only thinking about getting back into the dating scene. I recently signed up for on line dating, out of curiosity. I received several requests for communication and promptly deleted my profile. Yikes. I knew I wasn’t able before even talked to anyone.

      You assessment of your own behavior seemed very in touch and introspective. You were honest with him about being skittish, and now your being honest with yourself that maybe that isn’t a fair approach for either of you. Maybe you aren’t ready yet. Be kind to yourself. It took courage to try, and learning what you did about yourself is truly a sign of healing in my opinion.

    • Magnolia says:

      Tinkerbell, I think there is a lot going on in your analysis of your interaction, and many of them are good observations. You could end the madness, as you call it, before your subscription ends – just cancel the subscription. The money is already wasted if you know you’re not yet in a position to date from a place of confidence.

      I agree that it’s no good to advertise old hurts (grace has said a lot about this lesson) but I also think it’s important to get to a place where you wouldn’t even feel like bringing that stuff up into the early stages of a relationship, where it wouldn’t even occur to you, rather than you feeling you’re bursting with untold stories of pain and betrayal and skittishness that you now feel you must “hide” until you get to know a man better.

      Btw, yes, it was unproductive to start confessing fears to a guy you’ve never met in the flesh, but saying “you should know me by now” to someone you’ve also never met is equally misguided.

    • dancingqueen says:

      okay you asked for feedback:)…well i think you have answered your own questions

      “The reason I indulge in online experiences is because it’s fantasy, and I’m interested in guys that are hundreds of miles away. I know this sounds stupid. But as soon as my subscription expires, I’m going to stop this madness”

      yes that is EU behavior, but also, it makes no sense since it contradicts your profile which states that you want a relationship. How can you have a real relationship online with “fantasy” and men who are far away?

      It is a bit of madness but also, a bit unfair. I would get upset if I were a guy who really wanted to meet someone and you were wasting my time for an ego boost.

      step awaaaay from the computer…lol

  19. That Girl says:

    Hello to you all, another lurker coming out of the shadows here!
    I’ve read the Dreamer book (cringed at the many bits that resonated…ouch) and have been reading everyone’s wise and amazing comments for a while now- thanks!

    Hope this is relevant… I’m over a year out of an 8-yr relationship with an abusive narcissist AC, been NC the whole time since leaving his sorry ass (which has helped enormously!).

    Obviously I took a long break, and really am still on it except for the attentions of a younger man I met on business trip a few months back; what started as just keeping up with some friendly, most work-related chats has kind of escalated and we spend quite a lot time chatting online (live in different countries, miles away).

    Having already decided that this is probably just me ‘practicing’ with someone who I like but basically isn’t any danger to me, just today I got a (very sweet, friendly) message, which along with the general tone of our recent conversations has made me see that yes, there is something going on here beyond friendship for him too, and now guess what- I’m freaked out! I immediately feel responsible in some bizarre way- especially as realistically we are unlikely to meet for another year…ugh I dunno.

    I felt reading this that nevermind ‘false’ negatives, having had a reciprocation from him I am now immediately assuming the worst, both from myself (do I really like him? am i just passing time? Am I going to have to ‘do something’?!…etc) and from him too.

    I guess the last time I fancied someone I found myself in hell eventually; its not that I think this guy is a closet AC but perhaps I still don’t generally trust my choices- I can’t tell how much is illusion, and how much is the real them (I sure got fooled by the ex…)

    Or am I just making drama out of something which is basically pretty inconsequential since, yeah, I know- it doesn’t actually exist IRL?! Ha ha.

    • cc says:

      you are B) “making drama out of something which is basically pretty inconsequential since, yeah, I know- it doesn’t actually exist IRL” because “the last time I fancied someone I found myself in hell eventually.”

      i understand that it must be terrifying to think of putting a toe back in the water, and this LD thing with this younger guy feels warm and safe. but its not really doing you that much good.

      what you need to be doing is dating men in your area IRL. you’ve already taken up 8 years of your life with an AC abuser – don’t waste potentially years with a long-distance dreamer relationship.

      you don’t have to tell the guy to get lost, although i really think you should. but get out of the house and go on dates with local guys. just start getting out there, maybe in groups first. get your sea legs. don’t put your life on hold for a fantasy relationship.

    • Mymble says:

      That girl,
      You must have way too much time on your hands if you’re spending a lot of it “chatting” with a virtual stranger.
      Do something else, anything else but preferably outdoors and in company with other real live human beings. There could not be a bigger waste of time than this. I know cos I did quite a lot of it with a faraway unavailable man.
      I also happen to think that men attach a whole lot less significance than us to all this email stuff.
      You’re getting all would about an email!

  20. Awakened says:

    @Tinkerbell this may hurt a little but I can relate. Put an end to the online dating. Not tomorrow; not when your membership ends; but NOW. I too was a victim of this cyber madness and met my last EU AC online; (miles away) we finally met; thought we were compatible; yada; yada ; yada; *yawns* turns out he was from an entire different ” BREED” although my mind lead me to believe other wise. Would this be DOG classification? Not even close; because a Dog would probably have been a bit more compassionate than him. There is nothing wrong with online dating but we can make it an addiction (which classifies us as EU) just as much as them. If you are not ready you’re just not ready. Face that fact first. I made a committment to myself first and to God second that I will never return to another dating site. No point to keep engaging ourselves in false hopeless fantasies when we can have real world hookup/connections. Online dating works for some and others it’s just not their cup of tea. You’ll have that epiphany moment where you realize ok this is not working and this is not my cup of tea. Time to cease and desist. Good luck.

    • cc says:

      tinkerbell et al-
      wait. let’s hang on a sec here.

      wouldn’t quitting online dating because of 1 experience be yet another false negative? that’s like meeting a guy who turns into a bad boyfriend at the laundromat and swearing off doing the washing.

      the problem is not online dating here – the problem is dealing with our own histories, our readiness to date, and, mostly, using the online dating tool correctly!

      an aside – tink- i agree with your post – it would have been nice to not have shared your misgivings with him so he wouldn’t feel pressured (but we have all felt this way, i assure you). and no, he didn’t handle it well, and revealed his nature (thank god!!) by expecting trust when he had earned none. NO, you should not “have known by now” – he was clearly a tool. still, and i’m sorry, there’s a good chance a decent man would have opted out in response to the skittishness statement. we do need to date with hopeful, un-terrified hearts while protecting ourselves with appropriate levels of trust and boundaries. your final analysis of what’s going on for you is, imho, correct, though, and brava to you.

      back to my point – online dating is a TOOL. it is ONE way to connect with other people. and yes, it has its own supermarket quality of attracting lots of dirty guinea tee wearing slimes and opportunists and everyone thinking they can do better, just like bars have that meat market quality, and poetry readings have that, i don’t know, whiny beatnik quality. just like any other dating venue, it can SUCK. but that’s just dating.

      it is our responsibility to use the tool correctly. that means:
      – dating how natalie suggests – with boundaries and self-esteem and having solved as much of our own crap as possible so that we don’t put it on others. this is true of any dating.
      – handling ourselves with courtesy and firmness when necessary. this also is true of any dating.
      – assessing the information and the feedback we receive from others so that we make the best decision we can to opt in or out. again – true of any dating.
      – learning to read profiles, look at pictures, and discern the overtures we receive to weed out the unready, the obvious ACs, obvious EUMs, and the dangerous – this is unique to online dating. but please absorb: it is OUR responsibility to sift through this data to separate the wheat from the chaff. yeah, there’s a LOT of chaff online – but its up to US to sort it out.

      yes, shit happens, yes, everybody gets hurt in dating, but we improve our experience when we learn to avoid hurt by opting out of bad situations and away from people who are bad for us – do so is not our dates’ responsibility. it is OURS. the answer is not to cancel your online membership – its to learn to date better. a pursuit which, ironically enough, online dating is PERFECT.

      • pumpkinspice says:

        well put, cc. Excellent post. When I do begin to date again, I will be using multiple strategies…online dating being one of them. There is no substitute for connection with a real human being, but we don’t all have lives that allow us to meet eligible partners on a regular basis. We also might not live in large metro areas where there are endless supplies of available individuals. So healthy on-line dating might be a ‘must’ for some of us.

    • runnergirl says:

      In keeping on topic with this post, I’m not sure if it is “online dating” per se that is the problem. It could be as Nat describes a “false association”. As Awakened suggested, it could be an issue of readiness. As a recovering FBG/OW, I know straight up, I cannot do an LDR as there is too much time for me to fantasize and dream a relationship where nothing actually exists. I know I cannot exchange more than a few emails before a meet up which means he has to be in my zip. If a guy is doing online dating in my zip and won’t meet in person, he’s flushed. I’m not interested in a cyberspace relationshit, whether he lives on another continent, state, country, or around the block. Some guys just want an email-text-FB buddy to pass time that includes online guys and in person guys. I’d rather spend my time reading BR than responding to some bloke who lives on another continent or around the block and won’t meet me. This is just me and my boundaries. I’m too much of a dreamer to take a risk with a guy I’ve never met. I have to have rigid boundaries because I didn’t seem to notice that the ex married man was MARRIED. I’m not going to board a plane with one wing again. May I please tar all cheating MM’s with the same brush?

    • Lilia says:

      Awakened, this wasn´t for me but I did put an end to my subscription to a dating site about a week ago, it was an instant relief. How weird is that!

      Now I´m wondering though how on earth I´m going to meet new people. As a single mom I don´t have much spare time and I´m at a period in my life when I´m flushing chunks of my social circle because it seems friends can be AC and choppers too…
      Lately I´ve had a series of disappointments, both romantically and wih friends.

      So what to do next? Or do I mind my own business until the universe/God decides to send me some company? Any suggestion would be appreciated.

  21. Tinkerbell says:

    That girl. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Those three questions you asked yourself are some of the same ones I was asking myself and did not want to answer, so I ruined it all. Online dating is such a crock. Way to many questions about what he wants, what you want and Lord knows when you get to meet the individual to do a fair assessment. And that’s assuming you want to meet him. I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m not ready to start anything. I’ve actually met two guys in which we started out online and it was a “no-go”. Currently, I’m talking to someone who has concrete potential, but I’ve had to slow him down. He was over-romanticizing too quickly. A turn off for me when we haven’t met.

    • That Girl says:

      Hi ladies, thanks for giving your views on this. Certainly looks different when its complete strangers who don’t know all the details of your life!

      I’ve been on a few dates and actually have a very (almost too) active social life, although currently that’s on hold due to being away from home.
      But yes, its totally true, I need to keep at it in IRL where you have to face those icky questions a lot quicker and face the various fears they bring up without being able to duck behind the screen every time it gets uncomfortable…
      cc- yes, you’re right. I wasted 8 years, I don’t need to waste any more.

  22. Tired says:

    Hi victorious , i walked the dog far , he has listened to my woes for five years i seemed to walk mysel sadder . I sat down and my old dog came stood beside me and i cried and cried into his fur . As i walked back i felt better as i looked at it from another view , due this site my gut kept on at me dont accept this , i was a week or two ago gonna be the ow to the ow and wife ! Then i gather up stuff met him for which he thought was a cofee and said i been thinking why am sad over someone who dont want me , you more or less have said ypu like someone eles , i dont eant your scraps and youve treated me like shit , i walked . When he was in touch he got a alright mate i dont give a monkeys attitude off me , but i thought what am i doing ? So i came off fb , what he fo close his friend and band page back from open to closed friends only worried ill post somthing ? Blokes so deceptive evil liar thinks we all same . Hurts more he thinks im the evil revenge bent id do that not shes come off because she hurting . I dont do revenge ill let fate take care of that , im just sorry i wasted five years , but and heres the but im seeing a councillor , ive started a english o level and doing a guitar course i wont let him ruin a love of music , im trying to change me and my carreer . Yes i have down days but i ride em out , just cant believe someone can be such a lying user xx love and strength to ypu all and god bless dogs x

  23. Confusedd says:

    That was sweet that he kissed your hand, I think it was his way of letting you know he’s interested in you.

    On a side note, Since deciding to take a complete man-break I have had 1 ex boyfriend and 2 ex-flings message me on facebook… Talk about timing.

  24. Tinkerbell says:

    My Dear Girls, Selkie, Magnolia and Awakened. Thank you tons for giving me feedback. I really wanted it. You all have made so much sense. You’ve confirmed my thoughts regarding mistakes/ misinterpretations, but also observed that I am at least capable of coming to correct conclusions/judgements which is reassuring. I’ve become addicted to online. I am so afraid of getting hurt it’s pathetic. This is why I enjoy the fantasy of communicating with someone far away. I can still get the attention, compliments, ego boosts without investing anything significant. But I will stop right now. I’ve been spending way too much time on this when I know it’s just plain out silly( for me, anyway). The one good thing I will say is that I’m learning a lot and behaving smarter with each new guy, believe it or not. The one I’m talking to now seems to be the most compatible one I’ve dealt with, so far. But, I’ve said that about each one of them. He will be the last ,online,anyway. Maybe, I’m just in love with love, but not caring to do the work. I am committed to working on myself, though. But, I feel I’m so screwed up myself that it’s just too overwhelming to deal with a man, also. I never thought of myself as EU, but I’ve recently realized that I fit the persona. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother was extremely involved in politics, was never home, subsequently she was not nurturing. So I experienced compromised parenting from both of them. Okay, I’m getting off the subject here. I just want all of you to know that BR is a great place to vent built up emotions, get answers to your questions from like-minded/ experienced ladies, and learn how to make healthy decisions in all phases of our lives. Thank you!!!

  25. Little Star says:

    Wow, Natalie, you are spot on again! My few girlfriends “lost” their boyfriends to Oriental girls and I embarrass to admit, that we even hated them for “stealing our boys”! I had couple of Oriental friends in the past and I know they are wonderful people….what was wrong with us?! STILL…I do not date Scottish guys as I had bad experience with my ex, and to deal with another Scottish is freaking me out, how odd!

  26. cc says:

    the key to online dating – message back and forth a LITTLE bit to make sure you think he’s nice, fun, has intentions you like, and makes you feel good. maybe have 1 phone conversation. then, if he doesn’t ask you out, move on.

    the idea is to establish a basis of appropriateness in the match without actually rushing so as to move to a first meeting *as quickly as possible*. don’t drag it out – none of it maters if you don’t have good intuition/chemistry at the first meeting, so do not actually invest anything until after you’ve MET.

    …which is another unique facet of online dating – unexpected chemistry mismatch in person, which is actually the norm, not the exception.

    so do your best to make sure he’s not a jerk and just. meet.

  27. Tired says:

    Woke up with that feeling i get , its like a nervous one in my tummy coz of all this fb stuff and im tempted to text him just to see if hes my friend still. , why am i worried bout that he teatede appallingly , yes yes ill text some crap. But just this once i argue back , no dont , it doesnt matter if hes mot he shpuld be wortied your not friends with him , you wont get the response you want and youll feel like shit , i want out of the crappy addiction , to a not nice person so i argue the insecurity and parania away , i can do this , i can be strong and the feeling is passed , i knowthe true story , i know ive done nowt wrong but sused him out , maybe hes worried ill expose him let him worry he wont know what im doing .

    • Little Star says:

      Tired, so very sad to read your post. I thought the same few months ago, but I am getting better day by day. Did you read Natalie’s books? You should, they are SO helpful, please try to write a letter to your AC and express your feelings, BUT DO NOT SEND IT! Keep a diary, I had one and it was useful too:-) ALL the best, stay strong honey!

      • Lilly says:

        Tired, I’ve been where you are now. Try to follow Little Star’s suggestions, they really do work and with time you will feel much stronger. Hugs to you.

      • tired says:

        little star i have indeed and it was because of this site my gut instinct wouldnt let me continue in the mess of mm and now ow !i tried to let it all go and forgive as i didnt want to carry round anger and hurt it would have eaten me up not him. i seeing a councillor and signed up for various courses trying to change and get out of my comfort zone .its hard to break established patterns .but i domt want to go forward with bitterness and resentment it was a rlship that wasnt meant to be , im a okay girl , warm loving and working on a backbone . its him with the problems not me he has far serious issues to deal with , he cant hurt me now with his lies and cheating .

  28. Tired says:

    Thankyou dancing queen , im intent on fixing me and then dating again :)

  29. That Girl says:

    I remember in the Dreamer somewhere Nat says something like, at some point, when the illusion turns out to be jsut that, the pain (probably the pain you;ve been avoiding by getting mixed up in a fantasy rel.) comes back and you cant’ avoid it anymore.
    Tinkerbell I know exactly what you mean, enjoying the ego boosts, but not wanting to put anythign too significant into it, and for me its basically fear- fear that they won’t like me, but also fear that they will! Cos then that would mean being accountable in some way and having to actually, you know, do something about it.
    I have exactly the same feeling now of being still too messed up myself to be dealing with a man- hmm, maybe this is the message. We need to bring it back and focus on ourselves and see what we can do for us.

    Like, I guess as cc said earlier, if I had a boundary around this form the outset- like ‘You are a dreamer- don’t get involved in LDRs/ online relationships because they are bound to end up in pain’, then I could’ve avoided this one.

    Or maybe the online thing is OK as long as there really is the chance of progression. If they are literally 1000s of miles away then its just not gonna happen, and I guess getting involved w people like that suggests I’m still very EU…

  30. Marie says:

    I think I am in danger of doing this – my ex was a guitarist – his lifes ambition is to be a ‘rock star’! He also was a stoner and played computer games – I am now very much put off by a man that does any of these things!

  31. teachable says:

    That’s a good attitude Dancing Queen. I only mention it as a boundary violation because he not only physically touched you but did so in a romantic way when there had been no talk of such. I dated a guy once, who before I felt ready, would circle his arm around my waist and pull me in close to his body with our bodies touching each other in a frontal position. It was quite an aggressive move as I tried noticably to resist (& with two 2nd Dan black belts I was starting to get pissed & wanted to knock him on his arse & easily could have) although he tried to hide his aggressiveness by pretending it was playful. I eventually verbally had it out with him & told him to STOP DOING IT as it was uninvited physical contact I was not yet ready for & violating my physical space / boundaries (we hadn’t yet kissed & the position had the effect of pushing our groin areas together). He defended his position saying, ‘I see something I like & want & I’m allowed to try to get it.’ I retorted, ‘well you can bloody well WAIT & see if it’s OFFERED to you, which to date, it’s not!’

    I was holding off on him as something felt NQR but I didn’t know what it was. It turned my gut was right. I did eventually enter into a sexual r.ship with this guy & he turned out to be a peter pan ie child in a man’s body.

    The moral of the story is beware the guy who pushes your physical space bounaries, no matter how cute or innocently in the first instance because although it may be a genuine putz moment in the life of a great guy, also healthy guys don’t need to rely on such behaviour to progress or move a r.ship forward (& in fact would be embarressed by it).

  32. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Ladies,

    It’s the start of a new day here in the States, and I’m feeling great. Does anyone know if the “dreamer” book NML wrote after ” Mr.U & FBG,” can be purchased in paperback yet? I’ve been check
    ing and have only found it to be an E book.

    Grace, you mentioned to someone else, “Boundaries In Dating”. Just thought I’d let you know that after reading the synopsis I think it will be helpful for me and I’ll be getting it. Thanks. Keep strong, and be the best you can be everyone!

  33. swissmiss says:

    Has anyone seen their AC/MM again after diving into this website nearly every day? I saw him yesterday, and Nat, thanks to you and all the contributors, I saw the one-winged plane on the tarmac, heard it’s propeller spinning—and didn’t climb on board. The MM saw to it that our ending six weeks ago was as ugly and selfish as possible. I have been reading here ever since. I resisted his attempts to meet again, then a few days ago thought no, it’s ok, I’m strong. I had him agree to specific guidelines and a meeting place where I felt most ok. I was surprised how calm I was–no dressing up to impress, although he did. The i-love-yous and i-miss-yous were right on script! Yes, it was an ego boost for him, but I got what I wanted—to know I am equal and ok, not a craven mass of desire, making decisions that are not in my best interests. Interestingly, I now see him as a manchild who likes to be love-sick and tormented, spinning fake future escape fantasies, while remaining frozen in place. It’s good not to feel bitter any more. I am moving to another city in just a few weeks—excited to be a woman with a future, not a self-installed ball and chain on my foot.

  34. Awakened says:

    @Runnergirl no that’s just you with some SENSE. A One Wing plane. Oh no. That’s enough to make you wanna not even engage. Your comment summed it up for me. “FINITO” “DONE”

  35. Awakened says:

    @Lilia get off the merry go round. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. Just get busy with life and God will send you the right one but he won’t until you get ready . He won’t send you anything that you’re not ready for. Simple as that. It may come from some other means; but it won’t be from him. We delay the process when we keep engaging in relationshit. Some folks will never grasp this and only a few will. Hopefully you are in that few.

    • Lilia says:

      Thank you! I like that, “anything worth having is worth waiting for”.

      This must be the first time in my life I´m willing to stop the BS and not dedicate all my time to worry about useless relationshits… or that idiotic reaction I always have: whenever some AC shows his true colors I start to look for his replacement to take the disappointment away. Not healthy.

  36. Laurie says:

    “It’s like saying “Well asking questions, expecting not to be respected, having some basic expectations, or saying NO means that you will scare off someone who would have stayed otherwise.” No they wouldn’t! They’re a hop, skip and a jump away from exiting anyway. The difference is, you could tow the line and be miserable at silencing yourself and then they’d go further at another point or you’d crack from selling yourself short.”

    Thank you Natalie. After a month of being baited by my ex with TEXTS: I love you, I miss you, I’ll never get over you, I’m not going anywhere, I’ll never leave you again I *bit* about a week ago on what would have been our two year anniversary. When I said “Ok, I’ll put everything into making this work and I’ll go to counseling with you” he started to back off.

    I sensed him pulling away, and although nothing major had happened, the lack of enthusiasm and concerted effort started to raise some red flags. I confronted him in a way that I thought was benign but still assertive: “Hey, I’ve noticed you seem less enthusiastic and you’re not really reaching out or responding to me. I understand that it’s still early days, but I just wanted to address it now before it turns into something more hurtful. Last year you blew me off quite a few times, ignored me, and deprioritized me, and it concerns me when I notice little things happening that remind me of these past behaviors. I just want you to know upfront what my expectations are. I expect us both to treat each other like we’re in a relationship, which means regular communication (not primarily texts), we make plans to be with each other, and there is a level of affection and care.”

    Somehow this turned into me making “demands” and having “unreasonable expectations.” I needed to give him “reasons to be affectionate” towards me. What the what now? I felt him goading me into fighting about things that had happened in the past. Finally, after a few days of this he threatened me with: “I’m done. I can’t deal with this, etc.” In the moment, I freaked out. “Oh, I’m sorry, You’re probably right. I guess I’m not communicating effectively and I am willing to learn a different way of talking to you about these things.” He told me he would call back, and a couple of hours later I got a TEXT: I don’t know what to say. I am really put off by what happened today and the way you’ve approached me since you said you wanted to get back together. I am going to need some time to consider this.”

    The strange thing that is in the past, I would have panicked and thought, “Oh no! I screwed everything up and now I’m going to be on pins and needles until he decides whether or not he wants to be with me. And I sure as hell can’t have any more *unreasonable* expectations”. Instead, I actually laughed out loud and immediately responded: “You said you were done and I believe you and accept that.”It felt surprisingly good.

    A short time later, I found myself briefly following that path of “it’s all your fault” “you overreacted” “you pushed him away with your demands”. But then I realized that even if I had overreacted, I had not been disrespectful in expressing my expectations. If he really wanted to work things out with me, he could have tried to compromise with me or work things out in counseling. But after a few days of fighting he “was done”(despite saying he would never leave the relationship again…it’s actually funny to me now).

    Furthermore, the topline data is: he is untrustworthy and has a bad temper (RED effing FLAG). I was far from perfect in the relationship, but I don’t have to make its demise all about me and all my fault. It isn’t. And for maybe the first time, I’m starting to actually believe the things I’ve been telling myself. I haven’t cried. I think I’ve probably exhausted my reserve! Actually, I feel pretty amazing right now.

    • G-money says:

      Laurie – I can’t tell you how exact your post fits in to my situation – he was all over me too with the “I miss you’s, Im never getting over you” and when I gave in and said okay we’ll give it a go again as I still felt a lot of love for him, he backed off and freaked at me whenever I’d ask him “so what’s our next step at trying to mend us, we can’t go forward until we acknowledge what happened”
      After a serious of explosions and verbal abuse over the smallest things I said I don’t want you to contact me ever again – and the text came in of “I just cant give you what you want”
      It’s funny, I haven’t cried either, I feel so free actually, I put my name down for seminars and I can’t wait to go back to college:)
      Seriously everything you wrote sounded so like my ex, bad temper aswell! I’m working hard to get to the bottom of why I stuck around as long as I did, I’m guilty of betting on potential and staying quiet when I should have spoke up and stood up for myself.
      Heres to them being finally out of the picture and to our freedom and intolerance to their B.S.

      • G-money says:

        To add also – I think he just wanted to press the “reset button” which would make so much sense as to his “freak outs” when i’d mention the effort we’d BOTH need to put in.

        • Laurie says:

          Thanks, G-money. It is so very encouraging to know that my situation is not unique. That kind of behavior just seems incredibly bizarre to me, but then I suppose MY behavior was pretty bizarre (ahem…unhealthy) too! Congrats on going back to college and taking care of you!

          • G-Money says:

            Hey Laurie – Thanks so much and well done you for having the strength to be you and act in your best interests. I can definitely relate to the bizarre behaviour, I’m thinking back going “was that me, why did I do that” (shudder) It really sounds like they were separated at birth by how alike they were. Keep up the good work :)

    • ixnay says:


      You behaved with complete integrity. You did not communicate poorly. You did not have unreasonable expectation. You correctly saw that his actions weren’t matching his declarations, and calmly pointed out he seemed less available in person than he was in his texts when you were broken up.

      My take would be that when you said you were willing to work on it and go to counseling, he freaked out. Because that’s real, whereas his fantasy was probably, as someone wrote above, the reset button, no talk of issues, no therapy, no work.

      But he can’t tell you that. He’s probably not self-aware to even know that. Instead he needed to convince you that YOU were putting roadblocks on the reunion, that YOU made thins too hard to “deal with.”

      I love love love your last text — way to take back the power, because he was about to regretfully announce, after much “soul searching” that you had fucked everything up.

      His text shows incredible blame-shifting. “I am really put off…. approached me … said you wanted to get back together.” See how his choice of words makes it sound like YOU approached/pursued him, that YOU wanted to get back together, that YOUR behavior was off-putting?

      No, HE wanted to get back together, HIS behavior was off-putting. You called him on that in a really adult way, and he turned the tables like an immature coward.

      • Laurie says:

        Thanks SO much, ixnay. Your post really encouraged me. I have to admit it felt pretty effing good to send that text :) I think this whole thing was ultimately about power. He felt powerless when I broke it off, so he tried to get me back and put himself in the driver seat of the relationship. When he realized that I would have expectations, he saw that he wouldn’t have control. So he flipped it: he was going to put me on ice and be in control of how and if the relationship worked out. Gross.

        And the blame-shifting fits right into that. He was always the victim. He always had an excuse. And somehow it was always my fault. I bought it hook, line, and sinker. Aghh! I am so pissed off at myself right now. But it’s a good type of anger. I don’t ever want to put myself through that shit again.

  37. Awakened says:

    @CC online is perfect for some but it may not be perfect for someone else. That’s why I stated that it nothing wrong with online dating if it works for you. But for those that it does not they need to know when it’s time to cease and desist. I just want to clarify that. Could be a great Tool for some….now back to the original posting before Nat comes to police me. :)

  38. Awakened says:

    @LessonsLearned I bet he’s a dried up HERMIT..that magnifies everything. But he has that much TIME to tell you your feet are too rough. SMH. He ain’t your Podiatrist. You probably have gorgeous feet and he just “Wished” his craw dads looked like something.

  39. Awakened says:

    @Laurie wow this sounds so familiar

    He communicates primarily by (texting)… Which screams he’s probably a hermit not capable of having a real face to face or phone to phone conversation. #Redflag#1

    You now have too many “demands” and “unrealistic expectations; which screams too much responsibility for him when he had no intentions of putting up any real effort anyway. RedFlag#2

    He dishes out that he needs “time to consider” time to think things through which screams he needs just an ample amount of time to “Exit” Redflag#3

    Yep you should feel pretty amazing that he’s Done. Kudos to you.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Awakened. Another thing (somewhat incidental but pisses me off nonetheless) I was sick with a sinus infection this past week while all of this was going on. Not once did he ask how I was doing. Meanwhile, I had friends visiting me and bringing me soup and movies. I didn’t expect him or any of my friends to do those things, but to not even ask how someone is doing when they’ve informed you they are ill? I’m starting to think this guy may have been a bit of an ass after all :)

  40. Kerry says:

    Love Awakened’s comment: “God will send you the right one but he won’t until you get ready. He won’t send you anything that you’re not ready for. Simple as that.”
    I totally agree.
    The best thing about dating an AC or EUM is that they teach you what you DON’T want. Once we find those healthy relationships that await us, we’re going to be thinking, “WTF? What was I doing???”

  41. Tired says:

    Thankyou for you kind posts on here , whilst all dealing with your own battles , it is tough breaking a pattern when your self esteem is low , id been coping moving on when he knocked me on my arse by blowing mega hot , but i sussed a new ow and because of this great site i questioned and questioned and then i bailed . So low you can go . I choose to forgive because i dont want it to fester but i want to share this with you , i came out of my second week of college and in those two hrs i clicked i hadnt thought bout any of it , there is a glimmer of hope that i can make it on my own rather than excepting crumbs and still no urge to ho back on fb and look thro windows as they say . I took a step outside my comfort zone of work and kids and went nack to school , mxt why i go for musos because i love music so i doing guitar at collage lol , plus i have my ole dog , bruce the giant schnauzer , whom as helped me get out of bed watch the sasons changed and mever complained of the same tired story . Hopefully it starts to change , strentgh to all you smart hirls out there x

  42. cc says:

    LAURIE! good for you! and if you waver, come back and read your post – you painted a picture of a guy who lured you back with hot and then, when you not only gave the loser another chance but acted like an adult who actually had mature expectations of working on a real relationship, blew cold again. EJECT!! even if it got a little messy, that’s what happened and you can breeze on with clear conscience! brava!!

    • Laurie says:

      Aww…thanks cc! I’m definitely a slow learner, but at least there are no more “what ifs” lingering in the back of my mind. I feel at peace.

  43. Awakened says:

    @Kerry lol That’s exactly what I said and now I Thank God for every thing that he held back from me. Happily Single; Busy; and Patiently waiting. I’m good.

  44. TwinFlames says:

    I have been avoiding the ‘sports’ guys because the ones that I’ve dated seem to only be interested in a woman “in the kitchen and in the bedroom.” I call them guy-guy’s because they only seem to be interested in hanging out with the ‘boys’, drinking, belching,…basically women are there, but they are not taken seriously, women are more like one of their toys. And speaking of drinkers, and I’ll add smokers, I avoid them as well. Drinkers remind me too much of all of the bad experiences I’ve had with alcoholics, and I really can’t stand smokers because my father used to force us to endure too many smoke filled rooms and cars, and I know it isn’t fair, but smokers basically get on my nerves with all ‘their’ second hand smoke. And it is so funny because I just met a guy that I think is a pretty cool dude, and I know he is a ‘smoker’, so I’m trying to respect his right to smoke, but I have a boundary of no smokers, no drinkers, so no relationship here.

  45. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    I managed to enforce a boundary a couple of days ago, even after I felt that all familiar–what did this person just say?; ouch, I’m confused; shock, shock, shock; I’m in the moment, and I feel scared–what do I do? But the feeling didn’t seem as ‘strong’, and I was able to feel it, but not allow it to derail me, and I was able to stand my ground, and it felt great. :)

    Sure, it was messy…got a little heated…I told the person about herself, etc., but I managed to calm myself down, and opt out in the end.

    But, yet, I enforced a boundary at work–was really nervous about enforcing it, and yes I was expecting some form of retaliation in return, and I felt good about taking care of myself initially, but of course the guilt came, and then I felt rejected by some of my peers, and I had this really sad period of sitting with these awful feelings of rejection and just feeling left out.

    I did not ‘see’ the guilt until this morning; for, I just realized that because I felt guilty I was running around trying to smooth things over for enforcing one of my boundaries because some people were questioning my decision, and I felt as if I was being shunned by others. Some of the people that were questioning me, well, I care about their feelings, and so I started to feel like I wasn’t a ‘team player’, wasn’t being supportive of them, but I know I was being supportive of myself, and I know this guilt-pattern now…just moved passed it (I think) because I don’t feel guilty anymore, so I’m happy about that, and I believe that I will recognize this pattern for what it is next time because I know where it came from–childhood–and I won’t be running around trying to smooth things over after enforcing a boundary next time. Wth is that anyway?

    And, I’m managing to get through the feelings, as painful and unpleasant as they are…well, gotta stop downing sweets and chips and tea… I ended up going for a walk because I was really hurting inside, and I felt soooooooo uncomfortable, I was jumping out of my skin.

    Well, I’m glad that I did not ‘undo’ my boundary, and I’ve decided that I’m going to keep it in place, and I’ve decided that I’m going to ride out these strong feelings of rejection.

    I figure that somehow I need to go through these feelings of rejection; have I been running from rejection? I think I have been running from rejection, and I remember Natalie writing something about that…. It’s strange for me, but I just want to go through these feelings of rejection, and kind of get it over with because it seems to be necessary because I’ve noticed that when I allow myself to really sit with really uncomfortable feelings, as “out of my skin jumping” as they are, I seem to be able to handle them a little bit better the next time around, not that it doesn’t hurt, but quite frankly, I’ve just accepted that to be human means that you have to feel some shitty stuff, and that’s just the way it is, but these feelings do pass, and I try to soothe myself afterward….sheesh it still sucks.

  46. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    I associated ‘failure’ and ‘making mistakes’ with getting into trouble over homework and exams and not wanting to displease and feeling below standard.”

    Bingo, “this” is exactly how I feel about my work situation. I realize that I need to keep this negative association in check, now, but I also value being a professional: starting things on time, being on time, planning, doing things efficiently, effectively, and successfully, and it drives me up the wall when I have to deal with all of the systemic bullshit that I think causes me to perform at a lower level…makes me look unprofessional, causes me to make ‘mistakes’ in front of people because my employer is unprofessional and makes ‘mistakes’…poor planning…no planning…no intention of planning…argggggggggghhhhh–below standard. And, I am constantly thinking–this is so unprofessional, what is wrong with these people? Oh, I feeel soooooo ‘low standard’; I need to practice high standards; I want to practice high standards. I dunno, it is part pursuit of excellence, mixed in with a negative association mixed in with needing to be perfect to feel good self-esteem.

    I have managed to start allowing myself to make mistakes, and thus allow others to make mistakes, and recognize that yes, I make mistakes because I am human, and I don’t need to go around pointing out other peoples’ mistakes like the mistake-police…so negative and obnoxious, and I am learning to deal with other peoples’ dis-satisfaction with me…their displeasure, and I’m telling myself–just because you make a mistake, or someone causes you to look unprofessional, or things aren’t perfect or excellent, or someone is unsatisfied with your work, or someone is displeased with you or your work, so f**king what? You are still a great person; you are good enough, just the way you are–stop internalizing it, and feeling bad about yourself, but if you feel bad, ok, you are entitled to your feelings…baby steps baby steps, and I think this has been a great lesson for me to learn, and it soooo goes back to running from rejection for me, so let them reject me; let them reject me with all of their might, and let me sit with the rejection, so I can heal.

  47. Tigger says:

    Does this apply if you have a cheating lying asswipe in your past but now your new man is someone who was a cheating lying asswipe but has been upfront about it and talked through and shown evidence of what he has done to change (all before I came along)? (all while being respectful, seems and feels honest, secure, loving and all that good stuff that should be basic)

    • sofie says:

      I don’t know Tigger, did he mention that he knew why he was a cheating lying asswipe, and he didn’t blame his cheating lying assclownery on the other person?
      Was it something he developed because of a bad blueprint from home? Does he know this?
      If he doesn’t, soon enough he’ll get ‘bored’ and need his ‘thrill’ or find an excuse to do it again. They have to know how they developed this awful trait. And then..yeah..I’d give him a chance. If not, forget it.

  48. Kristen says:

    I have a pattern of dating much younger men. I seem to attract them becuase I look young (or I don’t know why, but the men that approach me are much younger). It has never worked out for me, though, and they all turned out to be assclowns. I would hesitate when they asked me out due to the age differences, but they would assure me how it doesn’t matter and they like older women. But then it seems the age difference was the built-in way out for them later when they got commitmentphobic. Or they just were major assclowns and it played itself out, sometimes dramatically and sometimes easily, but always hurting me in some way.

    I took a long break from dating, hoping I would finally meet some older men when I get back into it. But again, I was approached by a cute, younger guy who asked me out. I hesitated about going because he is 12 years younger, and I associate that with the other men that didn’t work out.

    Age, however, isn’t and wasn’t necessarily the problem. the younger men I dated in the past had red flags besides the age– red flags much bigger than the age differences– that I chose to ignore.

    I had a great time with this younger guy who asked me out, but other red flags were flapping in my face on the date. I was on the verge of ignoring them again, ready to accept them and say I would just have fun with him because he is cute and a good kisser. Then he ignored me the day after he praised me, and I have no idea why. I came back to this site to gain the strength to do what I know is right and ignore him, too, and let it go.

    But reading this, I realize that age difference may cause me discomfort, but the perfect man out there just might be younger than me. So I need to drop my fears about that and stop associating all young men with the bad seeds I dated. Instead, like with the guy I just met, I should be associating his red flags with the red flags I have encountered and ignored in the past.

  49. Kristen says:

    I have also been the victim of men making negative associations about me and writing me off because something I did reminded them of something someone in their past did (and that person hurt them). It wasn’t fair to me, and some times I tried to prove I was different and get him to see that. They could have gone slow with me to get to know me and know that i was not the ex, but they didn’t. I have heard, “You are all the same,” when I did nothing wrong but maybe talk to a different guy with a smile on my face or just had the job that I had (same profession as the ex). Annoying.

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30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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