recovering from a breakup is a reality and a possibility but you need to be working WITH you not AGAINST you

Many people break up or even embark on No Contact with good intentions. On a number of levels and in many respects, they’re aware of some pretty compelling reasons for why they’re no longer together and sometimes, it’s even recognising their own reaction and how deeply embedded they’d become in someone, that makes them realise that they lost themselves somewhere along the way. Despite the good intentions and compelling reasons, many of these people will struggle to stay broken up or NC because often without even realising it, they’ve unconsciously slipped into habits that are undermining their efforts.

As humans, we do tend to give ourselves a hard time about life not living up to the picture that we had painted in our heads. With breakups, when we have an idea of how things ‘should’ go and then we (or they) don’t respond as we’d forecasted, we think, Ah feck. I shouldn’t have bothered with No Contact, or we think, This breakup was/is wrong. I need to go back.

People say to me, ‘Natalie, I really want to be done with this. Why do I keep going back?’ and ‘Why do I keep breaking NC?’

Aside from suggesting that they look at what else was happening or going on within them at the time when they went back or broke NC, I stress that it’s all very well going and doing the actions but if they associate certain things with their ex / being in a relationship / feeling better and this runs counter to their NC efforts, they’re highly likely to go back on themselves.

It’s all to do with associations, namely negative associations.

If you have negative associations with certain things that are lumped together even though certain situations in the group don’t actually belong there, when you try to act differently, it’s going to feel weird and wrong, even though it’s not. You respond in particular ways to those situations in the group even though the response may not be appropriate and reflective of the actual situation at hand. As a prime example (and subject of another post), lumping together conflict, criticism, and people disagreeing with your point of view and then having an associated response of feeling disliked, rejected and then lashing out and cutting the person off.


Let’s imagine that we’re going through a breakup and are No Contact (NC) for our own self-preservation, after recognising how badly we’re being impacted by our continued attempts to engage with our ex and win him/her over. NC is about replacing our typical responses to certain feelings, thoughts, or ‘triggers’ with no more responding to or initiating contact while practicing self-care at the same time. For instance, we find a healthier way to respond to stress/sadness/anger and talk ourselves through why we’re not responding.

Initially when we feel angry, frustrated, mad, bad, sad, afraid etc, we may associate these with wanting and needing our ex back and all of the things that we’d hoped for the relationship. In our minds, they fit into the group of situations and things associated with making us feel good and better, and in turn, the associated actions may be to reach out and do something that amounts to people pleasing.

Over time, if we remember that we’re NC and learn to associate these feelings with the natural part of the grieving process of a breakup and are kind to ourselves at the same time, we gradually weaken the link / association between not feeling good and ‘soothing’ ourselves on our ex…. which in some instances, is like seeking comfort from thorns…

If however, we lack self-compassion and give ourselves a hard time about being NC as well as berating ourselves, we’ll continue associating feeling better and good with reaching out to our ex or getting back together, while at the same time continuing to associate feeling worse with being broken up / doing NC, and in turn will break NC. Let’s be real – if we give ourselves a tough time and pin our hopes on a ex, them so much as farting in our direction seems like a welcome reprieve from our own torment.

We are also likely to ‘go back ‘ when we’re bumbling along unconsciously and end up being distracted due to sliding into a negative thought pattern or knee-jerking to various feelings and in turn, experience a knock-on effect.

While we most definitely need to support ourselves through this time with good self-care habits, until we recognise that we incorrectly associate reaching out to our ex with feeling better or even secure and ‘resolved‘, a part of us will consider our post-breakup or NC efforts incorrect or even a waste of time.

Many people who I’ve spoken to about their breakup struggles, shock themselves when they realise that even though an ex doesn’t actually make them feel better and in fact, reaching out leaves them feeling worse, they continue subscribing to this lie that the ex is their feel good solution. They treat the belief as if it’s a fact without looking at the facts. Often beyond a temporary high, there’s a swift decline in the feel good factor that gets harder to replicate with the more damage that they do to themselves.

When we have negative associations and are giving ourselves a hard time, we’re also biased towards evidence that supports our misgivings. We wouldn’t remember that we actually had a really good week; we’d home in on the fact that we had a rough day or even few hours.



Once we become more aware of The Disappointment Cycle with this specific situation (feel hopeful again in response to a cue/trigger, go into a sequence of thoughts, feelings, and actions, disappointed again, lather, rinse, repeat), and recognise the things that we do and experience that comfort us healthily, plus recognise where we’re also feeling better in the absence of our ex, we stop regarding them as the solution. When we also become aware that our solution to how we feel internally is housed in someone else, we can also look at where we need to step up for ourselves because until we do, we’re operating from a position of excessive emotional dependence which is very unhealthy, instead of coming from a place of a reasonable level of personal security.

We can’t be chasing people down to make them fill us up, create our lives for us, or to act as escape hatches.

You always know that you need to look at your associations when trying to do good things for you keeps feeling ‘wrong’. You gradually become aware that something is ‘off’ and it’s easy to become confused and to second-guess yourself because you start wondering if your reactions are all ‘wrong’. As I explained to someone who regards people who are nice to her in a similar manner to liars and cheats, it’s not that she shouldn’t be distrusting and angry when a person lies and cheats (that’s a healthy response) but a person being nice to her doesn’t belong in the same ‘box’ or ‘group’. There are people who are respectful and caring without an agenda.

Likewise, it’s not that there’s something ‘wrong’ with you if you do the very human thing of struggling with your emotions and thoughts after a breakup, or you’re even tempted to do things (or you actually do them) that you’ll later think, ‘Jaysus! Was I smoking crack?’ How you feel is how you feel at that moment but you’ll feel much better when you don’t have negative associations confusing what you think your actions in that situation ‘should’ be plus if you’re acting unconsciously and knee-jerking around, you don’t get a chance to have a really good stab at sitting through your feelings and letting them pass.

Recovering from a breakup is very much a possibility and a reality but you need to be working with you, not against you.

Your thoughts?

Check out my original post on negative associations for ideas on challenging your associations.

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187 Responses to Are negative associations undermining your post-breakup and No Contact efforts?

  1. Beth says:

    Thanks for this brilliant post, Natalie! There’s no way that I could have maintained no contact if I hadn’t found Baggage Reclaim and your books. I was in tears after a rough afternoon and after two months of no contact, I was just about ready to crack and reach out to my ex. After reading your blog post, I was reminded that reaching out to him would only push me back into the disappointment cycle instead of making me feel better. Thanks for the reminder to stay strong. :)

  2. jurneeka says:

    omg – this resonated with me. I am going through this right now. Started seeing him in December, we hit it off – BIG TIME and could not stop texting each other. The sex was amazing, we had/have great, fabulous chemistry. However, after New Years it’s like he dropped off the face of the earth. He has kids, money issues etc. etc. I don’t have a problem with that, but apparently he has pushed me away, but still wants to see me. we saw each other about a week ago, the chemistry is still strong, but…he can’t be affectionate. He can’t come over to my place. things have changed. This past Friday I asked him over for Valentines Day weekend and he declined nicely saying he didn’t think he was ready yet (i don’t normally observe V-Day as a rule but it was 3 weeks out so i figured what the heck).

    Just read this and it’s like a light came on. I don’t think he’s playing games with me intentionally, but there is a game being played and my heart is the soccer ball. and seeing that schematic for The Disappointment Cycle made me realize that is EXACTLY what is happening. So it’s time to move on and initiate the NC rule, starting now.

    • CC says:


      Sounds like he just wanted someone for the holidays…and you were it. Is he divorced? if not, I wouldn’t count on much from him, too much on his plate. If he is divorced, he’s not interested in getting tied down with anyone. I went through this with my ex. He was seperated when I started dating him, it was a mess. We broke up, then later he was divorced, and told me he wasn;t interested in a relationship.

    • hotoks says:

      Omg!!!Same story. Met him in December, could see enough of each other, fly to join him on his holiday ( that he insisted and)

      Next thing, he is not ready for a relationship. Thanks for this article. Such a great read!

  3. free voice says:

    Excellent post Nat…<3
    Hit at the right moment.
    Cheers big ears X

  4. HappyAgain says:

    I have found when I focus on being kind to me, being my own friend, considerate and caring to myself I am able to keep moving forward. That has been the biggest thing I’ve learned over this past year+. Committing to me the way I previously would commit to helping others. I’ve had to make choices that weren’t easy and commit to the choices but I am improving and the stress and anxiety I used to feel is less and less. I’m on my path. It hasn’t been easy, it’s been a lot of personal work and relearning much of what I’ve always thought and felt but its getting better. I’m committed to myself. It makes me feel free.

  5. Sandy says:

    It’s actually not me that keeps on breaking no contact, even after changing my landline and my cell phone numbers he contacted me at work just a week and a half ago..saw him sitting down the street from my work the other lunch time, he managed to oh so casually arrive at my street just as I was turning into it, get a big wave and smile and then the contact at work. What the hell do I do now? It’s been a year, he is still with someone else but he keeps on saying he wants me back, I keep on saying to him that you are with someone PLEASE DON’T CONTACT ME!!!
    It’s like I have to go through a grieving process each bloody time and even though it’s not as hard as it has been I am sick to death of it, each time I always think this will be the last time and it never is…I am aware of his games because of Natalie and BR but come on this is getting really ridiculous.

    • Sandy says:

      I spent 5 years trying to make a relationship out of crumbs with this man, the abuse, the name calling the complete Ass Clownery of who he is…the person he is with overlapped with me before I finally found the strength to break up with him, he has insulted me by asking me to be the bit on the side to the bit on the side lol…but even after telling him to stop contacting me and changing my phone numbers he still doesn’t get it…..aaaaarrrggghhh why, why, why?
      Was not changing my numbers not a big enough effin hint?

      • CC says:


        Your guys is a stalker, call the cops! I repeated this below becasue I attached it to the wrong post. It’s for you.

      • Pauline says:


        CC is correct, this guy is a stalker and he’s getting off on tracking you down, turning up at the times he knows you will be around, parking in your street, emails, phone calls and texts. Its all done for the unsettling and scary effect it’s having on you and he knows it, that’s why he’s doing it.
        He’s getting a thrill out of you asking him to leave you alone, to stop contacting you and he’s completely ignoring this and doing what he can to harass and unsettle you.
        This is not a nice guy.
        A decent man who sincerely wants to get back together doesn’t act like this, he will be honest and upfront about his intentions, not acting like a sleazy stalker hanging out behind a bush to ambush you at every turn. And he wouldn’t have a girlfriend/wife in the background.
        Don’t respond to any of his attempts to contact you and call the police if he keeps persisting, hanging around and won’t leave you alone.
        Be safe and be proactive, sometimes a visit from the police to have a chat with these guys will be enough and common sense will prevail. As long as you let him keep harassing you, he won’t stop.

    • Daffodil says:

      Dear Sandy, similar thing is happening in my story too. He says he loves me and he says that he loves his current girlfriend too. Initially he threw a friendship card at me and then the get-back-together card. After a month again, he changes his decision and throws the friendship card.
      He also has the audacity to get all mushy with me while continuing to have an affair with another woman. I told him the same thing that he cannot do this. And while I said to break all contacts, he mails me in the name of new year first and that was the last time I replied to him. 20 odd days into my NC, I get another email from him with casual enquiries, how are you, what r u upto blah blah. I chose to ignore it. I know how hard it is and I can understand how hard it must be for you to go through that what with the incessant calls you get. But stay strong and try to make yourself happy even if you don’t feel like it. I am sure you will come out much stronger than you already are :)

      • Sandy says:

        Thanks Daffodil :-) I am alot stronger then I was, I am back to being who I was before I met him…I just find it hard when I can’t understand why someone would act this way.
        Apparently he thinks I am just waiting in the wings for him to finally be with me again….mmmmm what part of “you aren’t that special” did he not understand?!
        It’s like he has the hide of an elephant, which nothing seems to penetrate…I always knew he was quite narcisstic but I am really tired of all the games.
        He said he just happened to be passing my street, but he was unaware I had seen him parked down the road waiting until I went by…it’s made me feel kind of anxious if I am honest and now I find myself keeping an eye out for his vehicle.

        • Daffodil says:

          Exactly Sandy. They are narcissistic and whenever they need an ego massage, they call/text/email to see if they can still walk on us some more. Anyways, I am so glad to hear that you are back to yourself :) That gives me hope too! Thank you.

    • oregongirl says:

      I have the same problem. I broke up with my MM AC 6 months ago and he won’t leave me alone. I broke up with him last August, and he still calls me, texts, me, emails me, etc. I have not contacted him. I changed my cell phone number and somehow he got a hold of it. I have no idea how. I blocked him from all my emails, so he creates new accounts to get through. I block him from my life, and he shows up at my work (I am a teacher) with chocolates and roses. I tried dating online, and he found me and created a profile and is bugging me on the DATING site, for pete’s sake. He is MARRIED and I have had enough! I gave him a chance to get a divorce and be with me, and he said he couldn’t. OK. So I walked away. It’s like you said, Sandy, I keep ignoring him but this thing keeps escalating. I don’t know what to do. Every time I start feeling better, calmer, happier, he POPS UP and then I start to feel sick. It’s like PTSD and I have to take anxiety pills to deal with it. Does anyone have any ideas? If I keep ignoring him, how long will it take for him to go away? Should I forward his emails to his wife? Tell his boss? Call the police? He works on a ship and is away at sea for months on end…this is making it so hard for me to get on with my life. Any advice is welcome. I am at the end of my rope.

      • oregongirl says:

        OK, this is what I did. I sent him one final email that says “STOP BOTHERING ME. From now on every email you send me I will forward to your wife. If that doesn’t stop you, I will call your boss and tell him you are harassing me with government phones and computers, if that doesn’t stop you I am calling the police.” My girlfriend said I needed him to know that I am completely serious and that there are consequences to causing me so much pain and grief. I have never been this “serious” with him before. I am not going to count this away from my days of NC. I feel better for taking positive action and will let you know how it goes.

        • Sandy says:

          Good luck Oregongirl I really hope this work for you, I know that feeling of feeling better, calmer and happier, it’s like they have a radar which picks up that you are happy without them, my eczema has come out again, I feel tired and ended up like you having to take an anxiety tablet, something I haven’t done for months.
          I found myself feeling quite down driving home from work tonight hoping I didn’t see him “lurking”. I spent the day at work looking at every phone number that came up on my phone and hoping it wasn’t him, can’t change my work number sad to say.
          His pattern seems to be every couple of weeks which is why I changed my numbers, but this is harder…can’t just quit my job and a restraining order isn’t that easy to get without proof of txts, phone calls etc, something I didn’t keep a log of cos I didn’t think it would come to this…although knowing that his ex before me did take out a restraining order should have been a red flag don’t you think? My fault for believing him when she said she did it because she was a bitch, another red flag which I ignored, so many red flags, so many things I ignored…god I was blind, but hey got to stay positive eh? :-)

      • CC says:

        Yes, I think you should tell his wife. These men get away with this becasue we let them. I had a producer hit on my once on a show i was working on and we started dating. Of course, I was cautious due to their reputations. One day his wife flew in from another country to check me out and I guess fight for her man. No need to fight, the moment I found out, I told her to keep her husband on a leash. She asked me not to do anything and I told her she had nothing to worry about with me. Then she flew back. I would never let a man cheat on a woman with me. I never spoke to the producer again, and I felt good about his wife (even if I do think she’s an idiot for keeping him). After you tell his wife…then call the police.

        • oregongirl says:

          CC and Sandy,
          Thanks for the support. When my daughter was in Middle School a boy harassed her by putting pornographic pictures in her locker. She asked him to stop and he kept doing it. It was very very painful for her. We went to the principle who said “there’s nothing I can do.” I did some research and discovered that the ONLY successful way to stop bullying is by having a strong authority step in. The victim cannot stop it. It has to be an outside authority. Armed with this, I went back to the principle and said “If you don’t stop this kid from harassing my daughter I am going to call the police.” Well, he didn’t want that. He suspended the kid, and threatened him with expulsion, and it stopped. IT STOPPED!!!
          Remembering this helped me to see my ex MM AC as a bully, who needed to be stopped not by me, but by authority. Have not heard a peep from him, I will keep you posted. I see this as what Natalie calls “keeping our boundaries in place.” Well, with some jerks your boundary has to be a 10 ft. electric fence! Sandy: does he work with you? You could threaten to go to HR or his boss if he doesn’t stop. Maybe just the threat of this will make him cool his jets. I’m thinking of you–hang in there, sister!!! I share your pain!

    • CC says:

      I think he is what’s called a stalker. You might need to involve the police. I’m serious.

  6. karen b says:

    I can absolutely confirm that NC is the only way to go … for your own sanity.
    I went NC in July last year… for 15 days .. then he messages … so like a fool I respond .. then we message and message and I fold and agree to dinner .. and then we plan … and he cancels and manoeuvres .. so I stop play the messaging game .. and so we have a week of NC and then it starts again
    The disappointment cycle is alive and well and you just have to get off it !!!

    Last physical contact for me was after dinner .. again .. 8th January .. new start .. new promises .. new words ..same behaviour .. believe what you see not what you hear .. and so I decided .. enough .. I am getting off this conveyor belt.

    And so we have NC again now from 16th Jan and I am feeling healthier! The stress rash on my arms has cleared up .. I feel hungry and not anxious all the time .. I feel like I am detoxing.

    I can’t quite bring myself to delete his number from my phone .. i don’t know why .. but its part of the process and when I am ready I will do it.

    I feel back in control

  7. Daffodil says:

    Thank you so much for the post Natalie. Spot on and timely! I recently discovered Baggage Reclaim and can’t thank you enough for the strength you pass on. The exact things that you mentioned in your previous articles(on Assclown exes) happened between me and my ex. How sad that I never saw the red flags. Anyways, I am in NC since a month and recovering from the pain which was excruciating at the start of the breakup that happened in October. It was my first ever relationship and it did not even last three full months.(emotional blackmail if I did not have sex, mistreatment, lies, cheating – all in my first relationship at 26 years of age :)) He broke up with me to carry on his relationship with his roommate who he was seeing besides me. However, through NC I’m getting back to my cheerful, strong and wonderful self!! To everyone who is going through similar heartbreaks, I assure you the positive effects NC can have on you; hold on to your self-respect and let go of your exs already!
    I really need some suggestions please!!
    I work and study in the same university my ex goes to and have to see him everyday. Right now, I am on a vacation, so NC seems easier. How or what possible steps can I take to avoid awkwardness when I am put in situations where I have no option but to interact with him at the workplace?

  8. Max says:

    I am the comments on here and I am thinking to myself REALLY? When someone is SHADY and is USING YOU – at what point does the NEED for ATTENTION – get a reality check and you SEE yourself as Valuable – instead of a Carpet? I really cannot believe women keep this garbage going over and over and over again.
    IF you cannot keep your LEGS CLOSED for 90 days – when dating a new man – then you need help. In that short amount of time you will SEE all that you need to and WON’T get USED for SEX and an EGO stroke. Either he is worth a relationship and Sex or he is NOT!!! Don’t go into situation in Desperation MODE – seriously – THINK ABOUT YOUR SELF WORTH!!!!

    • Stephanie says:


      I’m not sure if your a man or woman, but you need to pipe down with the all caps. It’s not necessary and you don’t see anybody else yelling at one another. All people are different and have different life experiences so to believe that the 90 day rule works for everybody is not realistic. We all have to make our mistakes and heal and learn, but what we don’t need is some jerk trying to tell us what to do with our bodies. Life a journey full of heartache and happiness and we all must learn to find that balance in our own way. Having support from people helps to make this much easier and helps one to understand how their choices must change to make this happened.

    • Getting it! says:

      I know – bl**dy women. I mean, boys will be boys, right? We all know that they can’t stop themselves from being disrespectful (or a stalker) when they’ve decided that you’ve slept with them too soon. I mean, the guy wasn’t a willing participant in all this “hasty” sex; he didn’t already have some strange arbitrary notion of when a “respectable” woman should engage in sex. To be fair, he wasn’t even there – it seems the only reasonable explanation for why an event that I have always thought involved two people is only ever one person’s responsibility. So, close your legs ladies. Keep your libido locked up tight! You can’t let that beast roam freely – look what trouble it might cause you.

      It’s like a contract, see?

      On the 91st day, should the Female Party have been absolutely successful in complying with the Respectable Woman clause (being to keep her legs closed for the immediately preceding consecutive 90 days), a binding contract will come in to existence that creates an enforceable obligation against the Male Party to abstain from Douche Bag Behavior.

      And then you can have all the sex you want.

      It’s so easy, isn’t it?

    • Mel says:

      Max, you may think you’re stating the obvious…but clearly you know very little, to nothing about how women work. Your comment is patronising and in my humble opinion verging on chauvinistic.

    • Tabbycat says:

      As a woman I have to say I have a level of agreement with “Getting It” and “Max.” Its the very same thing that I was just telling a friend. Had I waited probably 90 days in my last relationship; I probably would have seen what I would have caused me to opt out.

      For me I believe that our current culture of easy sex causes men to behave in the manner that they do. I don’t believe its inherent. They did not behave in such a manner before women changed our behavior. I personally find it repugnant that its common to discuss and have sex so casually;but talk of commitment and marriage is considered offensive.

      I am only speaking for myself (in self-evaluation. I have found that the truth hurts but its still the truth) I have my own cookie to monitor so I’m speaking for myself.

      I also think Max was using caps on some words for emphasis not shouting. This all caps=shouting is cray to me anyway. Never heard of it until recently. I sometimes write in all caps because I sometimes like the look. Still do-no harm intended.#PEACE

      • LoveLand says:

        Dear Tabbycat, I think ‘Getting it!’ was making a point exactly opposite to that of Max’s, albeit sarcastically. I do agree with what Stephanie and Getting it! said and yes, as grace is pointing out, it is not that simple. I personally don’t believe that ’90 days of abstinence’ works for every person and I am very uncomfortable with the idea that sex is a prize for waiting for a certain amount of time. It is like every other moment in a relationship that people wish to share with each other. It is also part of getting to know, but that solely might not be the basis of why some people(men and women) behave the way they do.
        I did not understand the part of your comment where you say ‘They did not behave in such a manner before women changed our behaviour’.

        If one says that easily available sex causes men to behave in the way they do, then one is making a sweeping generalization about the nature of all men and it is demeaning to some. (only some men are looking for easy sex in the name of a committed relationship and then bail out.)And that particular idea also demeans people who are in casual sex arrangements or who prefer one night stands. I meant no offence to your personal beliefs whatsoever, sorry if it appears so.

        Some people are very clear about what they are looking for from the other person, honestly make that clear and then enter into the arrangement. I don’t think that one should be judging people on the kind of choices they make with honest approach toward others. It is only people who are looking to take advantage of someone or some situation, that cause problems/pain.

      • Stephanie says:


        I get what you are saying, but as I said to Max, this obsession with the 90 days is nerving. It very well maybe true if you wait to get to know someone before you sleep with them you may save your self a lot of heartache if they turn out to be a jerk. But the reality is most people who end up suffering the most hurt is not because the did or didn’t wait 90 days to have sex, it’s because many people ignore a lot of red flags (both men and women) and put themselves out their emotionally with people they probably shouldn’t. Having a commitment before you sleep with someone does not necessarily make for a happy relationship. All people have to figure out what works for them and what doesn’t and we don’t need some self-righteous (Max) trying to judge us for our mistakes.

    • grace says:

      Some will happily wait 90 days for sex (which is not that long). Some will wait until marriage. Or the first child. Or retirement. Then they bail.
      It’s not that simple.

      • Brenda says:

        Exactly and what about the one’s you never even had sex with for much longer than that who insist on stringing you along, so many variations and situations, that is just ignorant and accusing and blaming to say the least.

    • simple pleasures says:

      The way I read it, Max is speaking to us as a concerned parent to his/her children who reads their heartbreaking stories of how they have gotten into casual nonrelationships but are deeply emotionally wounded because they have become sexually intimate without the relationship behind it. I don’t think Max is saying hold out the carrot for a 90 day trail period, I think Max is saying, hold off on sexual intimacy and emotional investment until you can love, trust, and respect this other person who you know (by actions not because they tell you anything) that they love, trust, and respect you.

      • Stephanie says:

        Simple Pleasure,

        The problem is we are not Max’s children! He or She needs to change their tone because we don’t need his or her self-righteous pity. We all have made mistakes and I am almost certain the Max has- but we all must learn from the those mistakes. To believe that abstain from sex is the answer to relationship happiness in not necessarily true for everybody. If that were the case then 50% of people who get married and have sex beyond 90 days wouldn’t be divorced. The problem is that even with actions your relationship still may not work. My point is that people are complex sometimes things work out sometimes they don’t, but there is no one size fits all solution for everybody.

      • Curveball says:

        I found Max’s comment incredibly insulting, condescending and just-a-tad misogynist (“keep your legs closed”). Max isn’t my parent.

      • lizzp says:

        I was meaning to comment on this a few days ago! In general, I’m in agreement with you, Simple Pleasures,on the gist of what Max is saying, though perhaps his choice of words (delivery) has offended some readers here.

        To quote Max “..get a reality check and you SEE yourself as Valuable – instead of a Carpet?”. Well haven’t and don’t we women often ruefully describe ourselves on here as having been doormats for EUMs or ACs once we recognise it? And don’t we encourage each other with varying degrees of ‘love’ from the tender to the tough to desist? I need to constantly remind myself and have others remind me that I am *valuable* and surely that is a common issue amongst many of us who are or have been tied up for long periods with EUMs/ACs.

        “In that short amount of time you will SEE all that you need to and WON’T get USED for SEX and an EGO stroke. Either he is worth a relationship and Sex or he is NOT!!! Don’t go into situation in Desperation MODE – seriously – THINK ABOUT YOUR SELF WORTH!!!!”

        And what Max says above, well surely it embodies one of the most salient battles we are fighting with ourselves when we persist in/don’t walk away from a relationship with an EUM/AC having been hooked into the dynamic because of rushing or allowing ourselves to be rushed in what should be the Discovery? Isn’t that indeed tied to self worth? I think Max’s comment also stresses what is already said so frequently by many here – someone who is EU, is an AC, a Narcissist, someone who needs ego stroking and has a pattern of using people because they cannot be alone with themselves is going to ‘sniff out’, if you like, the fall back girl with a low sense of self worth, questionable esteem, boundary issues and that hated attribute referred to as “desperation”. 90 days or whatever but yes, I know that for myself I’m much better off allowing time for someone to unfold before getting physical because I am a person who is still building up her worth to levels where I can trust and utilise my intuition and I know that for me emotional and physical intimacy go hand in hand and that is not something I can assume about a man who I am only just getting to know.

  9. Peanut says:

    I’m a twenty-nine-year-old female; it’s been near two years since the relationship that brought me here ended.

    I’m almost (so close) to being completely neutral to the ex. I am finding myself attracted to different men again (which is good because I never thought I’d be attracted physically to anyone else). The thing is they’re all pretty young. Like early twenties. I feel a bit weird about it, but the men I give a second look to are all about 21. This kind of freaks me out. I’m a bit ashamed and embarrassed.

    In any of your opinions what is too young to date for a twenty-nine-year-old woman? Obviously I would never do anything illegal and I’m absolutely not attracted to men who aren’t adults. But this is a sticky situation. I’m going back to school and I guess that’s part of the reason. I’m a bit seasoned to be in the undergrad university crowd perhaps. Maybe it’s about values and not age when we’re adults? I’m just not sure. Advice?

    • Stephanie says:

      All I can tell you is be a little weary of men in their early twenties, because many of these guys aren’t ready for a serious relationship and you maybe setting your self up for more heart ache. Approach the situation cautiously.

      • Elgie R. says:

        Peanut, I say have fun with the younger man. Realize they fall in/out of “lust” 20 times a month. They can be very intense, but that is where being older should help you reign in some of the craziness.

        I hope to have the same issues!

    • Pauline says:


      29 isn’t exactly old you know. Just go out and have some FUN. Enjoy yourself.

    • Mephista says:

      Peanut, most of us who have experiences and problems with emotionally unavailable men are commitmentphobes ourselves. One of the very telling signs of commitmentphobia is that we’re attracted to “wrong” men – big difference in education, backgrounds … and/or age. We do it because this is our reason why we can’t get serious with (committed to) the guy. You’re hurt by an EUM because you’re emotionally unavailable yourself and being attracted to such an unsuitable guy (in your 20s, 8-9 year difference is a huge difference) is a sign that you haven’t worked through your commitment issues yet. Believe me, even if you go in for fun you will 99.99% likely end up with a heartache. It’s not worth it, continue to work on yourself and your boundaries and actively look for a guy suitable for you. A guy who’s 21 and still half a teenager simply isn’t.
      I’ve recently come to the conclusion. To keep in check my own commitmentphobia I’m not dating (even causally) anybody whom I can’t proudly present to my family and friends. To keep in check their commitmentphobia I won’t rush into anything and I’m out as soon as (if) I start getting mixed messages or hot and cold treatment.

      • noquay says:

        This too is not so simple. Yep, most 21 year old guys are basically teenagers. Unfortunately modern parenting styles haven’t given young folk a good push toward independence. That and younger women are more mature than same aged men. I’ve always gotten myself into trouble with men my own age, including the AC. I’ve been in rships with dudes 15 years older and broke it off due to their immaturity. I really think education level, core values, life goals, how much one generally has ones crap together in life are more determining factors.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hi Peanut

      I’m the same age. While I’d like to think that age is simply a number, I do think younger guys want different things.

      Having said that, I’ve not had much luck with older men either. It comes down to the individual man, I think.

      So I wouldn’t write someone off simply because of their age.

      Best of luck.

      • Pauline says:

        Well said Nel.

        I was 6 years older than my ex husband and he couldn’t have cared less about the age difference and we were together for 20 years until his drinking got out of control.
        A girlfriends mother was 8 years older than her father, they had 5 kids and stayed together until her death last year.
        Another friend married a man 13 years younger and they now have 3 kids.
        I could give you a lot more examples where there are 5 years plus age gaps between women and their younger partners.

        It really depends on the person as to whether an age difference is going to be a deal breaker in the relationship.
        If you believe that a man must be older before you will go out with him you could be missing out on a younger man who is a good guy and wants a commitment.

        Peanut, keep an open mind, nothing wrong with going out on a few dates with younger guys and you have your BR boundaries and your own values to keep you safe.
        Remember it’s just a date, not a commitment and you can say NO to anything you don’t like or don’t want to do.

        • LovefromNel says:

          Absolutely agree, Pauline – and thank you for your response. I guess the main thing it comes down to (and why we’re all on here) is whether they’re emotionally available or not. The crux is not really a (sometimes arbitrary) number of age. It doesn’t matter whether he’s 20 or he’s 40 because if he’s an EUM, AC, narcissistic numpty, then it just won’t work. It’s not about us, and it’s not about their age, in my humble opinion. Anyone can be emotionally unavailable. And you absolutely hit the nail on the head with the second last paragraph – ‘it really depends on the person as to whether an age difference is going to be a deal breaker in the relationship.’ I don’t want to throw everyone in the same basket, but the 21 year old guys might be far more interestested in drinking and partying, and the 35 year olds might be far more interested in movies on a Saturday night. Again, whatever floats your boat, Peanut – but really it’s about whether he meets your needs or not, and whether he’s got a green (not red haha!) flag flying above his head! Love and hugs to you both. Nel

  10. Magnolia says:

    I guess I have some of this going on: I am quite down again, feeling betrayed and isolated, having lost my sense of work as the one thing that I enjoy about being here in this town. Because my friends are also my colleagues, I don’t feel right or easy about sharing how betrayed I feel, so I sit by myself in my apartment thinking that it will be six months before I can get out of here.

    The thing is I should be practicing self-care: greens, veggies, exercise, tea, etc, but instead I’m smoking and eating pizza and staying in bed. Right now the very act of having to get the greens or dress up for a winter walk feels like what I have to do when I’m “taking care of me” because I’m sad, or I’m sick, and I’m tired of feeling like a fragile, allergic kid who needs to eat gluten-free vegan and get her vitamin D, basically to have to nurse myself, when I’m all alone: the part of me that is supposed to do the nursing is just broken, angry and fed-up.

    There’s no going NC from work. I have to show up and meet my responsibilities to my students; act like everything is fine, and keep putting energy into this place, for my own survival only. If this were any other sort of job, I’d just give my two weeks’ notice and leave.

    I guess this weekend things were compounded when I went on a date – first date in a long time. I was happy with myself for connecting with a guy from the local library who seems to have the same opinion of the culturelessness of this place as I do. But wouldn’t you know: he’s only six months out of having left his wife; he kept saying separated then correcting himself to say ‘divorced,’ which I didn’t press him on, but I doubt you can be legally divorced only six months after moving out; and he seemed aimless and when he suggested that his recent celebrations for his 40th were a three-day long party, I got the impression of someone who likes the idea of going on a bender. In the end he left the date early, around 9:30, saying he had to work the next day, but not before picking up a bottle of wine as he walked me to my car. I felt rushed to a close, but wasn’t exactly sorry. I was just disappointed in meeting yet another guy who isn’t looking for a relationship, but will try to date you like he is, telling sad relationship stories to try to get a bit of play. I’d like to invite you to my place for a bottle of wine and a movie, he said; and I instinctively felt: yeah, cheap way to get me alone on your couch. Sigh.

    • Curveball says:

      Ahhh…I’m so sorry you’re having a rough time. And yeah, sometimes sitting in bed, eating pizza and watching movies is just the sort of self-soothing in which we need to indulge.

      And that guy – six months out of a marriage. Oh, that sounds just like my ex. Good for you for recognizing where he’s at and what he can’t offer. But still, I get the disappointment. Really, I do.

    • noquay says:

      Tough love time. 6 months seems like along time now but it will go fast. Was in this same exact situation but the committee upgraded the job description which effectively eliminated my chances completely, not that I wanted to stay there. You are a short-timer though it doesn’t feel that way. What I did in your situation is to force myself to get at least three application packets out every week. I wasn’t very thrilled about soem of the places I applied to, but at least I felt empowered, not mindlessly accepting the situation. Might as well have the institution pay the postage, eh?
      Sorry you had such a sucky date, sounds like a closet, or perhaps not so closeted, alcoholic. Be grateful that your BR senses are working. You are going to be outta there soon so I am afraid dating is kind of a waste of time right now. The hiring committee destroyed your psyche for a little while; don’t complete the process by not taking care of YOU. Get outside for at least an hour a day, read, walk dogs at the local animal shelter, whatever floats your boat that does not involve inhaling anything other than plain ol air or junk food.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Magnolia,

      I haven’t been on BR for too long but have been following your story so far.

      I hope you don’t mind me commenting – I don’t have a lot to say but I wanted to offer a bit of a hug of support.

      It sounds like you’ve got a lot going on work-wise, and an EUM lurking in the background there too, but kudos to you for putting yourself out there and going on a date!

      And again for acknowledging your boundaries and avoiding his ‘cheap way to get you on the couch!’. I can definitely relate to yet another disappointment, and yet another man who doesn’t want a relationship.

      The guy I bumped into on NYE, who is someone I met in 2009 (but not my ex-EUM) said to me “Nel, if you’re single on NYE next year, I’ll take you on a date and we’ll go out for dinner.” Errrr, really? You need to wait a year for … well, what exactly? A year to have casual sex and be emotionally unavailable, I suppose.

      Meh. Anyway. He’s no matter really. Certainly no loss, as your date sounds too.

      About looking after you – I think just do what you have to do now to get through things. Whether it be smoke, eat pizza, sleep – go for it. You’ll reach a point where the better things – greens, tea, journalling, walking – become more appealling. Don’t be hard on yourself for coping in whatever way you need to. Because the key word right now is coping. Soon you’ll be healing.

      Big hugs to you. I hope things get better soon.

      Love Nel

    • Tracy says:

      Magnolia-yeah, you can get divorced right out of the gate…I lived in RI and from the time I filed the papers to when the divorce court date took place was a whopping 90 days. *I* was in no place to even LOOK at another man at that point, but my ex was already on the prowl on line and within 6 months had moved in with another woman. Three years, and $10,000 of her money later, he dumped her for his current wife, with whom he is about to divorce. Almost seven years after the divorce I have had a couple of three month relationships, and one year and a half one. At this point, I haven’t dated in over a year. The last guy just wore me out as far as looking goes. I’m just not interested anymore. When I go to ‘look’ online (as I am surrounded by ‘masters of the universe’ where I live, and I am average looking and sized with no hefty alimony so I am not considered much of a ‘catch’), I find myself not exactly repulsed, but almost bored with what I find. I, too, want to eat pizza, drink wine and stare at the TV, and goodness knows I do a pretty good amount of that. But I’m making a ‘get out of Dodge’ plan to get out of this part of the country, to make myself financially and emotionally independent, and am focusing on doing the things *I* WANT to do, not worrying about what some man with baggage wants me to look/act/be like.
      Stay away, far away, from the newly divorced or ‘lying about his separation situation’ guy. It only leads to pain for you.

    • Magnolia says:

      Thanks Curve, Tracy, LovefromNel; I’m taking it day by day. Noquay, I love you. You know I’ll get back to wanting health; heck, I might even manage to gain, out of this situation, health habits that really do come from what I want versus feeling guilty about self-care and frightened of being fat. Working on new app as we speak. xo.

  11. julie says:

    This is so timely that it’s almost like this blog was speaking directly to me because the universe knows I am struggling and honestly I don’t understand why. He was an @sshole, a miserable one at that who was EU, passive aggressive, sarcastic/caustic and drank. When he drank he was nice, sober he was not real nice and I found myself making excuses or thinking I misunderstood him etc. He has a low self esteem so he said things to try to bring me down to his level and he refuses to do anything with his life other than be miserable and make excuses as to why he can’t change things. I said “no more” on new years eve and have been struggling ever since, and am now on an antidepressant. I feel very weak even tho I am a very strong person because someone like him broke me. I have never been with an EUM before this one so this is all new to me but I will know when the next one is round the bend that’s for sure and I will get out ASAP. My brain is stuck on the dickbag like a broken record, and I still cry just about every day. even the music we listened to echoes in my head almost nonstop. that was something we both enjoyed a lot and what brought us together I think, in addition to other commonalities. I put too much stock in that stuff and I knew it all along yet I figured if I stayed and loved the badness out of him he would see my value. the harder I tried the harder it became.

    he contacted me a couple of weeks ago to apologize for some nasty things he said to me on new years. when I asked him to apologize he refused and even tho he saw me in tears he said he didn’t want the drama. he apologized via txt a week later; he was an all txt person (yes red flag I learned that here). apologizing after the fact was a very PA thing to do. his excuse is that he has been dealing with a 14 yo dog that is his life (and I think the reason he makes lots of excuses for why he can’t do things, move into his own place yet claims to hate his life as it is, etc.). the dog recently became lame and he didn’t have the balls to put him to sleep. the dog is in a wheelie cart and he claims that he’s known the dog longer than me, so he doesn’t have time for me, cries daily blah blah blah. he can, however, pull himself away from all the “grieving” to post on the monsters of rock cruise site, so he is planning on taking the cruise that he invited me to go on. I of course believed him so I got my passport, had some surgery beforehand too, all the while I think he was using that as a carrot dangling the bait in front of me to keep me around for as long as possible yet I don’t know why. for me, it was never about the stupid effing cruise; I don’t use men like that. the dog will die soon cuz he’s so old – then what will he do. he will be out of excuses. sometimes I wish I could watch him implode from afar :)

    he ruined thanksgiving by looking down his nose at the brand of turkey I bought, rearranged my pantry shelves because I guess the way it was wasn’t good enough, kissed me then said he thinks he’s coming down with something, hugged me only to squeeze my tummy roll (which is hardly there cuz I’m a bodybuilder) and he did the squeezing twice! he couldn’t stay for dessert and I made a pie with the filling he liked as he said he didn’t like pumpkin then of course he said he didn’t mind pumpkin after I made something else. on xmas he didn’t kiss or hug me, or act like he wanted to be there. he ate, he loved what I cooked and asked if he could take some with him. after eating he couldn’t stay 15 minutes to exchange gifts. his came stuffed in a pillow case tied with a garbage bag tie. mine were all nicely wrapped, even though I was fresh from surgery. he said he has issues with holidays yet happens to have the same ornaments I do, go figure. he said he’d be back to do the gift exchange, then the thing happened with his dog (which is the truth, not an excuse). however, to be thought of as lower than a dog, cruise, alcohol, his guitars, vegging in front of the TV snockered and alone I suppose kicking this puddle of scum to the curb was actually the healthiest thing I’ve done for ME in a long time.

    This is just a small portion of what has been done to me by him, and I’m ashamed of myself for allowing him to walk all over me, and wipe his feet on my back like a welcome mat.

    I removed his contact info from my phone. if he decides to contact me I will not respond. I deserve better than this. He was lucky he had me for the time we were together. We aren’t young, either – mid 50′s. just goes to prove that some men NEVER stop the game playing bullshit. he was a 12 yo emotionally in a 55 yo mans body.

    • CC says:


      When I read what you wrote, I had to laugh, I see the comedy in this, what a character this guy is. lol! and the poor dog! Well, at least he loves him. He also sounds like an alcholic for sure…and you are mummy! Glad you dumped him.

      • julie says:


        The sad part is – we are so much alike it’s nuts, except instead of drinking I lift weights, and i’m not afraid to love and get close to someone – but he is. we had fun together due to the crazy commonalities we share. he told me straight up that he is “shy” and because of his past, it takes awhile for him to open up. I think this was all bs. I didn’t mind going slow, that wasn’t the issue. I was cool with how things were, seeing each other every week for awhile there, spending a night or two together and having fun – I have my own place and like my independence. because I’ve never had priors with someone like him, I swallowed it all up as he spoonfed it to me. when he started insulting me I was like…wtf did he just say and did he mean it? I wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not. then came the wishy washy behavior, the promises/statements that never came to fruition. alleged “forgetfulness.” He is a shitty communicator and never really wanted to talk about us or a future in any great detail because that is considered “drama” to him. it seems this was all on his terms and like a fool I allowed him to call most of the shots. when he was drinking, he said sweet things to me, which he probably forgot all about when sober. I dunno.

        before we met he told me he drinks every night when he gets home from work. I guess lots of people do this, but I never have nor have I been with anyone who has done that. again I give the benefit of the doubt altho I did ask him if he was an alcoholic – partly kidding partly not. as if he would really tell me the truth. it wasn’t until I looked at the relationship from the outside after being out of it for awhile that I saw that he was nice when he’s been drinking and when he hasn’t been he’s all the crappy things I’ve mentioned about him. here I cut him slack because he’s a double cancer with virgo rising. no, it’s because he’s a freaking asshat. so much for astrology and EUMs lol.

        he was sooo into me at first I thought omg I’m so lucky to have a second chance with him especially after coming out of a pretty loveless marriage. we talked years previous on an online dating site but never met until last year. then, little by little all the weird behaviors came out to greet me: mr passive aggressive, mr sarcastic, mr date breaker (but wouldn’t tell me straight up, I had to keep hounding him, mr scared of getting close but ok with banging the hell out of me, mr grouch, mr holiday ruiner, mr hater of all things related to relationships and marriage (and children too, who he calls “turds”)…the only thing that mattered to him is his dog, his guitars, music,alcohol and spending money hand over fist (and the cruise, which is a bunch of 80′s has been rock bands and his excuse to get drunk with them for 4 days in a row). I truly think and I told him so that he is like an addict who values things more than people (he disagreed lol) and seeks only the next high: when he gets it by buying something he can’t afford/doesn’t need, or getting into relationships that when new are stimulating all the feel good chemicals in his pickled brain, he is getting the high at first but when the high wears off he’s searching for it again. in other words, I became old hat after the honeymoon period wore off. not exciting. not new. won’t go out of his way for me in any way, shape or form. he never intended for me to be anything other than a 3 month fuckbuddy even tho I told him I am not interested in that. he basically used me and lied to me while doing it which is cruel and calculating, all the while I thought we were just taking it slow. he took away my choice to be in or be out by lying to me which is reprehensible. he once told me he couldn’t see me because he was in a bad mood due to his living situation and his finances. yet, he will go out and buy an expensive guitar while this is going on all the while lamenting that his dog needs surgery and he doesn’t have money blah blah. his behaviors keep him right where he’s at – miserable, which probably fuels his reason for drinking. he overspends on everything, probably because he thinks things will make him happy or cover over the emptiness he feels inside. we went grocery shopping for dinner once. now mind you this is just dinner. he spent $186 and it all fit in ONE bag. I told him ya know you could get out of your living situation if you cut back on the grocery bill for one and stop the excessive spending on shit you don’t need – he of course had an excuse why he could. food makes him happy he said. he grew up poor. and…what???

        what a horrible thing it would be if his old dog died while he was on that cruise. Imploding in T-minus 3-2-1 *BOOM* I like his dog and don’t wish anything bad to happen to him. but if it’s his time to go while dickbag is on a 4 day bender at sea…sometimes karma is a real mofokka.

        btw his dog is mostly incontinent too. the last time we spent the night together at my house his dog emptied his bladder on my hand tufted wool rug. do you think he offered to clean up after his dog, or offer to get my carpet cleaned? of course not. it seems the bad behaviors were mounting on purpose to get me to end it with him, because he is a chicken shit punk who couldn’t put his dog out of misery.

        his living situation is that he lives in a room with a bathroom with a door to the garage and one to the upstairs where his roommate lives. he tries to drive his roommate crazy with loud music. he is seething over the fact that the roommate has a girlfriend and they have a normal relationship. he calls him a pussy. I would laugh if they get married and she and her kids move in upstairs and make his life a living hell or if they all move out to a new place, because then he will have no place to go.

        he’s never been married, no kids of course and his longest relationship was 4 years (which was a red flat I ignored), and I think that’s part of the reason for his misery and fall from perhaps more normalcy to this. even his roommate said he was a curmudgeonly recluse who only goes to work, comes home and wants to be alone.

        i’m sick and fukking tired of analyzing this to DEATH. at some point i’m hoping the wellbutrin kicks in and I stop the circular thinking/ruminating about what I did or what went wrong. it was nim not me.

        • oregon girl says:

          Julie: imagine you looked on a dating website and saw, with no picture, a man describing him self as this:

          Hi, I’m Mr Passive Agressive, Mr. Date Breaker (but I won’t tell you straight up), Mr Scared of Getting Close, but ok with banging the hell out of you. I’m Mr Grouch, Mr Holiday Ruiner, Mr Hater of all things related to relationships and marriage. I hate children and call them turds. I promise not to care about you, but will care about my dog, my guitars, music, alcohol, and spending money hand over fist. If you have self-esteem and care about yourself, please don’t answer this ad. Doormats welcome!!

          Wouldn’t you scream and run the other way!!!! Please do so if he ever contacts you again!!!

          • julie says:

            damn that’s the truth right there. thanks for the perspective; just a minute ago my eyes were welling with tears because I missed his scrawny ass. I don’t think he has the balls to contact me again, unless he’s been doing some soul searching and for that, he’d have to have a soul.

        • CC says:


          The guys sounds pretty bad. He’s as crippled as his dog, but his dog sounds sweet, poor thing, probably hates his masters company too! The only problem here is your attachment to him, you aren;t in love with him are you?

          I know I had an ex who could be AC and was definately EUM in the long run. We had a tough start becasue I dated him while he was going thru a divorce. We had such fin together. He too, loved his guitar first, he used to be a muscian and still is. I loved that [part of him. He also had a daughter I really became attached to. After our break up he kept emailing wanting ti be friends, so we were for 6 months, loved it, but then fell for him again only to find out he was not interested in a relationship with me. Ouch. I couldn’t go back to friends and have been NC since July. I am falling apart a bit now, have too much time on my hands, since I got laid off, not having luck with online and I am tempted to email him. Also, recently an ex addict 25 yrs clean was interested in me and the attraction is high but he says he’s not ready for a relationship since he’s still recovering from last one and doesn’t want a rebound. I haven’t heard from him this week and I miss that too. Life is very boring right now!! I don’t even have anyone to go on a holiday with and I’m not motivated enough to go alone. Blah Blah Blah..I’ll stop. Good luck with this one.

          • julie says:

            CC – I’m so sorry! truly, I’ve been reading basically the same storyline from all kinds of hurt women here and we all have almost the same thing to say about our experiences with these men; it’s almost like the devil is churning out cookie cutter soulless douchebags and leaving his minions to decorate them all differently. At least the new guy you’ve been talking to was honest enough to tell you the truth of his situation and not lead you down the proverbial garden path.

            the truth is, I did have fun with the douche but looking back (which is often painful but eye opening in a “wtf was I thinking or was I thinking” kind of way – we had fun mostly when we were drinking and hanging out listening to music and then there was, of course, the sex. I was in a loveless relationship prior to meeting him, and was celibate for about 2 years while hanging in hoping that things would change. they did. husband decided on valentines day of all days to tell me he might not love me then a month later filed for divorce. several months later, enter the douchebag i’m lamenting over. he KNEW all of the crap I had been thru (there’s a lot more) and still abused me; as a matter of fact he said it’s because of all I had been thru that he dug me and he likes that i’m feisty – probably because he could get a rise out of me when he was pulling a PA move. Further, I think he cannot be alone with his thoughts. thinking it was just because he was different I dismissed a lot of the odd things that kept cropping up. for instance, he always had to have TV and stereo on and other various distractions, and in his truck his music would be blaring. I love music too but there are times when i don’t want to hear it lol. when he was home, he’d drink. so i’m thinking all of that were distractions so that he wouldn’t be alone with his own tormented thoughts.

            he loves his dog, he honestly does. he does not like people and seems to go out of his way to just stay alone, another reason I was thinking I was nothing more than, excuse the term, “f*ck puppet.” He actually called me this once and I thought he was kidding. he wanted me only on his terms. there was give on his end in the beginning so I know he’s capable, then it all slowly disappeared over time. I hoped it would return if I hung in and loved him enough. its the good times that i remember which makes healing from this difficult but now the grim reality is setting in (thanks to wellbutrin lol). anyway, the dog is over 14 like i said tho and all he did by buying him the wheelie cart was prolong the inevitable for a little while longer. i’m sure that hit home with him too that the dog won’t be around for long and while I feel sorry for him on that account, I did not deserve to be lashed out at. like I said, he has built his “life” on excuses. he cannot get out of his current living situation because of his large dog; when the dog dies there goes that excuse. he cannot get out of his living situation be he claims he cannot afford to; yet he refuses to stop spending money on shit he really doesn’t need. he is his own worst enemy. all he wants to do is disappear into music, TV and alcohol because he cannot deal with his life – it would take too much effort to do that, you know like an adult would do – so he hides like a frightened child.

            (((big hugs)))

            I totally hear you about life being boring lol. while I work fulltime and am in the gym about every day, I miss the connection with someone even on just a txting level. there is a noticeable hole in my life but I cannot take the chance of filling it with another douchebag. that’s why I decided to undertake some projects that I’ve been putting off for good reason but now is the time. it will distract me enough to be ok with being alone which is something I have an issue with. for the first time in my life i’m looking at all the crap and then have to say that *I* am at the bottom of the pile of it. I need to fix me, which is something I never really thought about doing. I guess like the douche, I’ve been hiding out from painful truths too. however, I have bigger balls than he does so I will deal with it and not hide.

    • oregongirl says:

      Hang in there, Julie. Your story is much like mine. Being with an alcoholic is a soul-destroying experience. Run away from him. He will never stop drinking, it will get worse over time, and if you stay with him it will DAMAGE you. When I finally dumped my alcholic MM I went through something very like PTSD and had to take tranquilizers. I would wake up in the night shaking, heart pounding, feeling like I was going to drown.
      Make a list of all the things that make you happy, make a list of what YOU like to do, make a list of your dreams, and then get busy making yourself happy. You can do it! I did this last spring and ended up going to summer school in Paris, something I have always dreamed of doing but never made happen. I went by myself. I was very very happy. No, I did not wish my drunken sailor was by my side. Come on Julie, live for you!

      • julie says:

        thanks oregongirl! I’m in CA – we are neighbors :) It’s awesome that you went to Paris and are doing things that make you happy. I figured out that I don’t like being alone and will get involved with men who aren’t good for me based on that. This time I am going to remain single and take care of me. This last thing left a real bad taste in my mouth and perhaps it was the only way to get my attention that indeed I need to love and appreciate myself before getting into something toxic or just not right with someone else.

        I’m sorry for all that you’ve gone thru – and for all of us who basically share the same story over and over again; the theme is the same, just the details are different. I’m feeling better day by day but have setbacks which I think is normal.

        You’re doing great! I like reading stories where we come out on top – living well is the best revenge as they say. True!!


    • Tracy says:

      Julie, I went out with that guy. Super critical. It’s been two and a half years since I was with him and I still worry about my tummy roll, the quality of my housekeeping, the amount of hair on my body…he just pounded this dislike of me into my head and I can’t seem to get it out, even though I’m not even dating or looking at this point. And after he dumped me, for some skinny thing that he was pining for (and she was married to boot), he called 9 months later and wanted me to take him back. When I pointed out that he didn’t seem to like anything about me, he got furious with me for not accepting his offer of me taking him back. Mind you, this is from a man who was short, fat, and had no friends. He couldn’t even keep an AA sponsor he was so obnoxious. And yet, he felt fully qualified to criticize me.
      Run like hell from men like this. There may be a fun moment here and there, but the rest of the time is pure torture.

      • julie says:

        Tracy, I feel your pain! you realize I hope, that the reason these douches put us down is because of their own self esteem issues – they probably have little to none, so they try to bring us down to their level. he was furious huh? LMFFAO. that’s funny that he thinks so highly of himself – sounds a bit narcissistic there. I think these guys are an ecclectic grab bag mix of AC,EUM, narcissistic personality disorder, PA, borderline personality disorder, depression, bipolarism, schizoid behaviors and other crap. However, we are NOT qualified to deal with all they bring to our lives. their issues are theirs, they need to own it and deal. I think we as women do too much to absorb all this crap like a sponge, hoping that if we hang in all their issues will disappear because they will see us as the one who saved them from themselves. women are nurturing so we find that taking on this role comes unfortunately too easy for some of us, i’m guilty as charged. you know if I took care of ME like I took care of him I would be loving my damn self to death and treating myself like I was god’s gift. I don’t know how to do that, but i’m going to learn.

        I’m sorry you had to turn to tranqs to get over some of his bullshit. I felt I needed an antidepressant myself so I sought help. I don’t see any shame in that but I do wonder how I allowed some idiot like this to basically drive me to the point where I was so sad I cried all the time and felt if I got hit in a crosswalk it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to not be alive any more. seriously what the hell. love is supposed to feel good. this wasn’t love by any stretch of the imagination.

        I live within my means, he does not which is why he has all kinds of shit and no where to live. he buys expensive crap he doesn’t need because having that stuff elevates who he is in his own mind. because I do live within my means he says things to me to make me feel that I am not good enough for him, that I don’t have a nice enough flat, or food, or furniture, or anything. he was talking about getting a microwave or something and I was like wtf for you live in a freaking bedroom dude, but being nice I said maybe he could get one at Target. he wrinkled up his nose like the dog farted lol and proceeded to tell me in not so many words that a person like him would NEVER shop there, he would go to William Sonoma (upscale place whatever sheesh) to get some microwave/ convection oven for well over $500. hello, what the hell for? the put downs go on and on. he once tripped me when we were at the beach too. thought it was funny.

        Girl, if he was on fire I wouldn’t piss on him to put him out. :)

        have a wonderful day, and stay strong. you are beautiful. believe it.

        • Tracy says:

          Oh, Julie, we definitely dated the same guy, and it is truly, narcissistic behavior on their parts. The guy I was with wanted to make sure I wore certain ‘labels’, and would lord it over me that he owned his house and I did not (at the time). Well, he got his money in an inheritance, so it’s not like he earned it. And funny you should mention getting tripped at the beach. My last time with the ex, he wanted to go for a run down the beach, even though he wasn’t a runner. I had been running for a while, so I had pretty good endurance. Well, instead of running WITH me, he pretty much sprinted down the beach running 20 feet ahead of me, because he knew that if we truly went for a run, I would have outlasted him. At that moment I realized what a total ass he was. I still can’t believe I stayed as long as I did.

          • julie says:

            Hi Tracy,

            yup it seems like we ALL dated the same guy lol! he used to walk in front of me, not beside me. when i asked why, he said it’s because he walks fast. no, it’s cuz he’s a ginormous dick. like your exdouche cashing in on an inheritance, my exdouche is waiting for someone to kick so that he can get something out of it. i would lol if he was cut out of the will. of course, all of the things he told me could be lies. he said once that i shouldn’t believe anything he said. dunno if he was being funny or honest, or a bit of both. he claimed to be broke all the time yet seemed to be able to buy buy buy. do you think he ever took me out? nope. the only time he did was when he took his dog out to the beach, or to the park. otherwise he says cooped up in his room with the tv on and music blaring probably so he doesn’t have time to think about his life and what kind of loser he is.

            yup i agree it was pretty douchey behavior for your ex to do what he did to you on the beach with the sprint. do you ever wonder wtf we saw in these guys?

  12. Jenna says:

    I have spent 7 years of accepting crumbs. My AC just kept changing his mind, breaking my heart every time. I just put up with it, hoping one day he would finally be ready, and I was gonna be the one…everything was always on his terms. All I did was try to make it work for seven years, and make it as easy as possible for him to be in the relationship. Finally after six years of this he,s ready to move in together.. I paid for the down payment, found the house, everything! Then after one
    year, he changed his mind again, and says he just doesn’t want to be part of a couple right now…Now we are living apart but in the same neighborhood. I have spent the last six months trying NC, (after it was obvious every time he contacted me he’d just
    wanted sex)…but have failed about 5 times… It’s devastating because all I think about is how did I go

    to just being a piece of a** to him, after all the years we were together. Anyways this kept happening, sometimes I ignored him, sometimes I folded. But about three weeks ago I tell him no more, please
    delete my number and leave me alone, no more sex, he said we would, but he hasn’t. The other night I get
    a text.. It,s a booty call in disguise. I ignored it. Anyways this post really helps me, and I hope it will help me continue with NC because I know it’s my only choice. BTW this is my first comment after following this blog for the last eight months or so.

    • yoshizzle says:

      I think the likelihood was that you always *were* “just a piece of a**” to him and he played along as much as he had to , to keep you involved. That’s a shocker to wake up to I know.

    • CC says:

      Good for you! Good luck!

  13. Stephanie m says:

    Ladies the one thing I can tell u is no contact works! Its hard, but this is only way to get some clarity. For me, I had my epiphany moment after seeing him with yet another women and that was it for me. So after he called me up a month later acting like nothing happend I was through. I knew I was over him when I had sex with him after nc for 3 months and I thought I would vomit. Sometimes u have to get with people to know that u don’t want them anymore.

  14. Curveball says:

    Great post, as usual! I just wanted to check in and share that it’s officially been a month of NC. I’m very proud of myself because I’ve never made it this long. Truth be told, I never really tried NC because I wanted to be the exception. I thought I could “handle” being friends/fwb/in touch with/ my ex. And that was bulls***. There are times that I’ve literally had to sit on my hands because I just really wanted …something (attention/validation/relief?).

    What’s helped is to remember just how bad the last go around with him was – resulted in me going off the deep end upon hearing that he was off to Mexico with another woman and bombarding him with self-loathing texts. Not remember in the sense that I’m beating myself up or revisiting/wallowing in the pain – but to be crystal clear that interaction with him results in my self-esteem and dignity going down the toilet.

    What I’ve noticed in the past 30 days: a lot of anger, some sadness – but also a quiet calm and strength. I’ve also been working out a ton! :-)

    • Einstien says:


      That sounds exactly my plummet to the bottom. When the misery gets to the point where you do and say things that are so not who you are. The complete disgust with my own behavior is what finally shocked me into reality.

      Been a year, and although I do care what happens to him – we were together 6 years – I have no idea what I kept seeing in him. It would take roughly a million dollars to make me go back.

      Live and learn.

      • Curveball says:

        Thanks for your response, Einstein. And congrats on a year of NC! I was with my EUM for 3.5 years. And in retrospect I often wonder what I saw in him, too. He has a young son – and I was quite bonded to him. That relationship is actually much harder to lose, tbh.

  15. noquay says:

    I am in a similar situation; I work at the same small institution as the AC. To make matters worse, his latest conquest, a now former friend, shows up at our place of work on occasion and this is a really small town. He initiates contact, I do not, but I do chair two committees he wants to be on. I no longer will work with him on any project (I’d wind up doing all the work anyway) and publicly refused a request to do so. The only real solution in this situation is to “give them our backs”, literally turn away from them. In your case I hope the dude graduates soon. I assume you have some idea of his schedule, what his car looks like, his routines. It’s unfortunate when this sort of thing happens; for many of us, the folks we are most compatible with are often colleagues as we are more or less equals which may not be the case with others in ones community. This is why I feel strongly about hereinafter never becoming involved with anyone in my community, that means colleagues, folks running/employed at establishments one patronizes, or those whom you have to deal with in any regular way. When things go south, you cannot get away from them and a new job/location in these financial times may be hard to find. Although taking up with someone outside your area increases the risk of them having hidden agendas such as wives (which hopefully we can quickly suss out with our newly acquired BR Spidey senses), if you have to bail, you can truly stay NC.

    • Daffodil says:

      Thank you noquay! I totally agree with you. Me and my ex are in the same year. So we might graduate at the same time. 2 more years to go :( I do hope that we graduate really soon and get jobs in different places. Yeah, have known his car, schedule etc for months now. Should be able to avoid, but not possible everyday.Yes I understand how annoying you must feel when his former friend shows up. The most painful thing for me to endure is that my ex’s current girlfriend is also in the same university and in the same department as me. I have to see both of them together every single day and not to mention that she was once my friend. I was so sad to lose her this way as she was a nice person and she did not know anything about me and my ex. Now she does know something, but am really not sure what he told her. I think he just told her that ‘I was so madly in love with him and chasing him all the time and since he did not accept, I stopped talking to them both’. These thoughts keep pricking me so much, but I don’t want to rat on him or anything like that, just want to be indifferent. Yeah, I feel the same way as you about not getting involved with colleagues and people from the same community. We have to keep our radar up all the time. I feel so vexed and tired sometimes that all this feels like work and as if none of my feelings are going to be genuine going forward. It’s like I’m being watchful of who I trust, how much I give. I was never like this in my life. May be it was because I was always in the safe haven of my parent’s house. Now out in the world, it feels like I landed myself in a battlefield and trying desperately to get out of it uninjured so that in the end I can live a peaceful life. In the one and only relationship that I once had and lost so soon – I was so naive, with so much love only for him, heart, mind and body concentrated only on him, as if I was alive only to be with him. I was living in a fairyland, building castles out of thin air. When he broke up with me, I was suddenly jolted into reality. How unbearably harsh the truth is!Anyways, good luck to all of us. Going NC is really helping me to get back to normal self.

  16. Able says:

    Great post! I’m going to have to re-read to really digest it. It’s been only a week since the last txt from her, but something about today feels very different– like I’m beginning to believe I’m going to be ok. The negative feelings are not as strong as they were.

  17. Einstien says:

    It takes a long time to be able to accept that the reason they keep contacting you has more to do with their ego and not wanting to loose than it has to do with any genuine feeling. But when you’re finally emotionally ready to accept the truth, it’s really obvious. You can’t kid yourself anymore. Nothing is ever going to change. It makes it easier to stand firm in your resolve.

    Every day that you are away from them gets easier. They’re hold on your thoughts and life gets less and less. YOU WILL come to that glorious day when you REALLY don’t care anymore.

    Extricating yourself from their orbit is the ONLY way to get out of it an on to the rest of your life.

    • oregongirl says:

      So true! Well said! I just emailed your comment to my work so I can re-read it first thing when I get there. Genius.

      • Elgie R. says:

        Einstein, I felt like AC had his “sights” on me this last month. I suspected his intense pursuit had nothing to do with caring for me and everything to do with emotionally crushing me. I felt he wanted to set me up for a wham bam, then disappear for a very long time with not an iota of contact.

        With all his flurry of contacting me recently, AC never addressed the elephant-in-the-room issue between us. Never alluded to it, never mentioned it. He kept rolling on with meaningless lazy contacts “How are you”.

        I started to reflect on his actions to see what is it that I think indicates ACMM cares for me? Our relationship was destined to end someday, we both knew that. I wanted a “souvenir” of him. I asked him to give me one of his old shirts, and it took a whole year to get it. A shirt. I think I had to ask five times.

        I am pretty sure AC was setting me up for pain. I paraphrased this quote today….”Expecting AC to treat you right because you’ve been good to him is like expecting a bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian”.

        And I believe he may have felt a little guilt later on, after he inflicted the pain, but not enough to stop him from doing it in the first place. That’s HIS cross to bear. Something in him seeks to destroy women who care for him.

        • Einstien says:

          Wow, Oregon, I’m all over myself now.

          Elgie, I don’t think my exAH ever purposefully hurt me, he just didn’t care whether he did or not. He couldn’t handle the rejection, which is why he kept turning up like a bad penny with empty promises. My emotional well-being was never an issue. I think there are those who do take pleasure in inflicting pain. Your agony is the ultimate ego stroke.

          Ladies, this too shall pass.

  18. squashbanana says:

    So long time reader, first time commenter. I went NC last september,I was allowing myself to be treated horribly by a person and was dumped and blamed for caring, being available, being a doormat etc. You know how it goes. Anyway I was successful in keeping no contact from my end, I got sad, depressed, angry with myself and the ex (Narcissist, tries to build a harem, needs you watch them) and then I got busy improving my life. He contacted me on xmas eve, to tell me he was just “putting it out there” if I wanted to come jam (we are both musicicans) with mutual friends, (um NO!) he also added if I could bring that “stuff” he left at my house (with no mention of these oh so important things, for three months) with me. He didn’t even wish me a merry xmas! I deleted the message, and turned off my phone for the night.I DID NOT return the call. Last weekend his next try was to mention an old text message joke I sent him when we used to be together,asking where I found the picture I sent.In my head I said “you could just google it” Delete, ignore. When they reach out it is for them, it is not for us. Not once did he say, how are you? how’s school? To be fair, he never said that when we were together either. No change? IGNORE. Let your silence talk for you. Don’t poke the bear.

    • Stephanie says:


      Mine had the nerve to call me after a year in the half to let me know he was getting married to the girl he was dating while he was trying to see me! And then had the nerve to asked to meet up! By then I really didn’t even care, but I thought to myself– Why are you doing this? Why couldn’t you just leave well enough alone? I believe that this just showed how little he cared about my feelings because if he did he would never have called, not to mention how disrespectful it was to his fiance. I guess he wanted some reaction, but all he got was a big fat Congratulations and I hope you happy!

    • Mephista says:

      The only way to hurt this kind of people is to ignore them or be indifferent. Well done, banana! Now take his things out of your place, sell them at a garage sale and spend the money buying a cute guy a drink with his money. That’s what I did with my-ex.

  19. Betty says:

    Thank you, Nat. I am going through a difficult breakup right now, and am in a daze, crying a lot, but mostly fighting myself. I wanted to be NC but I sent a text the other day because I felt the need to tell him how hurt I was by the way he was nasty to me. His way of ‘dealing’ with sadness is to turn it into anger – the thing is, he doesn’t realise that it’s not like that for everyone. He knew I was sad so he thought if he was nasty to me I would just hate him and be angry and move on. He is so emotionally immature! He was getting on with things, happy with his choice to have hurt me, when I had acted with so much love.
    Anyway, I’ve been beating myself up for having contacted him the other day. We spoke on the phone for an hour, and I got apologies from him. But I had to push for them. There was a lot of justifying, crazymaking, bringing me down to his level – and I ended up second guessing myself, questioning everything, wondering if I could start again with a clean slate because of the hopes I’d had so early on (betting on potential, anyone? Him pressing the reset button? Crazy-making? All of the above).
    It hurts. It hurts a lot. I am going round in circles in my head and my heart. Thank you for this article. My friends say he’s emotionally abusive and manipulative. I keep seeing the wounded little boy and I want to love him enough to make it all better (just call me Florence Nightingale). But I know I need to believe I deserve better. I feel so unutterably sad about him though. He really is just a sad, confused, sweet person. But with so much anger after a very difficult life. I’m crying again. This is so hard. I don’t want to abandon him. But I know I deserve to be treated better. He belittled me, he was so nasty and it was unprovoked. He lied to me. He blew things way out of proportion, distorted things. I can’t go back.

    • Diana says:

      I so wish you the best, it sounds like where I’ve been and where I just left. Here’s what I can offer you. When do you feel sorry for yourself? When do you become nice to you and realize, it’s his choice not to seek the help he needs to overcome his own obstalces. You can’t help him if he doesn’t want it. but you can help yourself. I wish love for you and a overwhelming peace to get you to the best love you deserve and it requires looking yourself in the mirror and yelling I love me some me. Be Happy

    • julie says:

      Betty -I think a lot of us look beyond the obvious and want to care and love the hurt out of these men. They will not change unless they want to, though. I read somewhere that “if you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it.” I know in my case I approach things from my own perspective – giving care and love to someone who cannot do these things, because I guess I feel that inside him is the same person who is capable of these good feelings and action. I project how I am onto them and that is a HUGE mistake. it leaves the door wide open for all kinds of covert abuse which becomes less and less covert when they figure that you’ll stay and take it.

      ps you need to abandon him. he is a jerk and a leopard won’t change his spots. you are better than this, and you deserve more. he is an adult and it’s not up to you to fix him even if you could. and you can’t. this has to come from him and unless he is ready to look at himself objectively, nothing and no one will heal his hurt.

    • Einstien says:

      Betty…smack, smack.

      That “wounded little boy” is a figment of your imagination. He is not a sad, confused, super-sensitive person. He’s a son-of-a-gun that knows exactly what he’s doing. You know how I know? Because nice guys don’t act like that.

      You are in “how can I justify this bad behavior so I can keep on seeing him” land. You know how I know? Been there, done that.

      The worst mistake you can make is to assume that someone is acting in some way or doing something for the same reasons you would. This works for us when you deal with someone who shares your character, I can assure you he does not. He acts the way he acts because he is a selfish prick that doesn’t care about anybody’s feelings or needs besides his own.

      Lets say I’m wrong (I’m not). You’re still screwed, because you have the unenviable and impossible task of trying to explain to this man the concepts of honor, dignity, respect, common courtesy. He’s a grown-up! If he hasn’t ‘gotten it’ by now, he’s not going to.

      Get out now….there’s only more hurt down the road. I do feel your pain.

      • julie says:

        Great advice and so much truth to your words especially the part where you say “The worst mistake you can make is to assume that someone is acting in some way or doing something for the same reasons you would. This works for us when you deal with someone who shares your character, I can assure you he does not. He acts the way he acts because he is a selfish prick that doesn’t care about anybody’s feelings or needs besides his own.”

        this is IT, in a nutshell. Thank you for your perspective. It’s spot on.

      • Betty says:

        Einstein, I know you mean well, and I thank you. But I find it really hard to be so dismissive of another human being. I’ve had plenty of time to get to know him, and I can assure you that I’d find life difficult if I had his family. Heaven only knows how hard it must have been for him when he was younger. I can see why he’s built up walls around him to feel safe. He IS a sensitive soul, this I know. He is incredibly gentle and kind. But he has issues with resentment and anger, and trouble trusting people. He’s quick to judge. Very much like a wounded animal. My heart breaks thinking of it. He’s shown me such gentle acceptance, and at the same time such unwarranted spite. I’m truly conflicted. I want to make a difference to his life.

        • Elgie R. says:

          Betty, you believe that only the purest, most unconditional love can save that man, and you are woman enough for the job.

          We’ve all been there ……. and look where we are meeting up….at BR.

          But go on….you’ll be the one that makes the difference. NOT!

          I’m curious……..none of us are perfect and we all have bad habits. What bad habits and traits of yours has someone in your life loved away?

          We can’t change other people!

          He has a mean streak and he will always have a mean streak. He will apologize after each bad behavior and then do it again at some later date. He’ll spin convoluted justifications every time. Over time, he may stop apologizing because it will become clear that you will accept his lousy behavior in the name of “love”.

          The AC I know once made the general observation “Why apologize?”

          The EUM I know did have an abusive upbringing. His parents whipped any semblance of self-assertiveness out of him. He became PA in self-defense, I believe. But no woman can love that out of him. It is up to him to want that to change. But it is too deeply ingrained and he is not introspective. The best he can do is find a woman who wants to deal with a PA…..whether for the drama or for the healing.

          OT: I see so many character similarities between the PA single EUM and my NPD female coworker…I would love to see how a relationship between those two would work out! They are distrustful, spiteful, openly envious of others, extremely judgmental, feel they have superior mental prowess, feel they are “special”, seem to have arrested development at the junior high school level. Man I would love to see the dynamics of them together.

          • Einstien says:


            You don’t wind up on a site like this when you’re dealing with the garden-variety hard-to-reach guy.

        • Sandy says:

          Justifying much?!

          • Sandy says:

            Um that reply was to Betty, you can justify how he is until the cows come home but that doesn’t change anything…I had quite a bad childhood but I don’t go out of my way to hurt other people because of it, as Elgie says, he has a mean streak and will always have a mean streak, justify away…see if that changes anything.

            • Mymble says:

              So true, you can analyse the crap out of them but what is the point really.
              Betty he does not respect you at all, and when there is no respect there is no love. The more you tolerate his behavior the less he will respect you and the more punishment he will dish out. No-ones background justifies them shitting on other people, no-one. The BEST thing you can do for him, the very best is to make it clear that you will not put up with it, walk away and don’t look back. Then maybe he will be forced to realize that what he does is not acceptable and he needs to address his issues. Msybe, but more likely not. Easier to find another poor soul to torment.

  20. dancingqueen says:


    Sometimes you can disguise your self-care and make it more palatable…get an Amy’s healthy frozen pizza, pile on some additional veggies, make a yummy juice concoction or get the Evolution ones…indulge in a healthy way. Go to a relaxing yoga class don’t take a chilly walk. Try to make your healthy choices still enjoyable. I was feeling a little sad last week and so I bought a new better quality mystery novel and curled up on the couch rather than reading the pompous French literature that my guilt told me that I should be reading. Baby steps.

  21. dancingqueen says:

    @Julie okay I can’t remember when I have laughed so hard…between the twist tie pillowcase wrapping and the dog in a wheelchair your ex is a bad “bromance” movie just waiting to be made. Please just put his pics in a pillowcase, tie it with a twistie and burn it with a smudge stick to bless your nc;)

    • julie says:

      lmao dancing queen – when he handed it to me on xmas I was like…holy frack you cannot be serious??? in his defense it was a rather nice pillow case lol. I shoulda took it, hit him over the head with it and sent him on his way. I deleted all traces of him in my life – pics in my phone, facebook etc. I still have some of his music on my computer and ipod. since we shared the love of the same bands I cannot bring myself to listen to The Cult at this point even tho I loved them way before I met him, along with some other kickass music. argh, I like to listen while in the gym.

      once he told me I laughed like a tranny. I don’t have any idea what that even means, but it kinda scares me that he knows what a tranny laughs like. :D

    • CC says:


      Well put! What is a bromance movie? Is that a typo or a new genre, I haven;t heard of it.

  22. Mel says:

    I was on a crumb diet for 2 yrs, the worst kind, with an EU MM. All the while I beat myself up as to why I was affording myself the pain that comes with loving a MM which I can only describe as living in an emotional swamp. It’s a world of pain and at times it seemed almost like self harming behaviour. No one held a gun to my head, I chose to live in that swamp, I chose pain. Please don’t punish your friend or sister that makes the same mistake as I did, trust me we’ve been punished enough! Now that I’m out, I realise that what led me to my MM in the first place was that I was lonely, probably desperately which is why I made such bad choices, and was prey to unscrupulous people. I always rejected the concept of loneliness as I had thought that it stemmed from a lack of people in your life however, I have now come to realise that for many if us, it’s from a lack of love. I didn’t get enough as a child, and subsequently, I have not had enough as an adult woman either so I’m a prime target for AC’s and EUM’s. He always used to say that I deserved better and that he felt guilty, I used to hate it when he said that as it felt patronising and made me feel like crap. I know that he did respect me though, and possibly ever love me…but obviously not enough right?

    My EUM MM had his own issues including depression and of course I thought that I could Fix him….with my love, sound familiar anyone? Long story short, I fell madly in love with him, told him at the last minuet and ended it soon after. It’s my third shot at it and I’m happy to say it’s been nearly 6 weeks of NC. Thankfully he took me seriously and he has not contacted me either, that I know of. I have removed as many tokens and reminders if him from my life as I could find, including 2 years of emails, almost 5,000 of them! Closing that email account was like a weight being lifted…there was so much pain in those words that I couldn’t bear to hold on to them any longer. I’m no where near ready to enter the dating zone however, I’m off the disappointment merry go round which is one of the many benefits of having ended it. I struggle with the concept of never seeing him again, and although I’m grieving him, I know within myself that I wont go back now which is empowering and helps me move forward. Thank you Natalie and BR for all your support. I come here a couple of times a week which helps me on my journey

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Our thinking regarding a man who has not been good for us is very important. We should try to mentally distance ourselves in order to effectively get over him and move on. You don’t do that by calling him “my EUM” and “my MM”. An Eum is unavailable, so he cannot be yours. An MM cannot be yours when he is already married to another woman. So your reference to him as “my” anything doesn’t even make sense. Stop thinking of him in that way. He can’t be yours, period so don’t attach any imaginary feelings of ownership to him when it’s never going to be possible, unless he goes through major therapy to become an available individual. He also would have to be divorced before you could refer to him as “My”. Think about it. Distancing him is far healthier than claiming him to be or to have been yours.

  23. jodie says:

    OMG what an amazing post. After finally deciding to lose the assclown in my life for good, I started NC yesterday by blocking all contact and telling my friends ive gone NC so say they dont talk to me about him. All well and good but when Im alone and I start wondering whether Ifve done the right thing and thinking of the shoulda woulda couldas. I suffer from low self esteem anyway so any form of rejection I find extremely hard to deal with. Yet I keep getting niggling feelings that if I let him back in my life then this feeling of pain and rejection will go away. Yet I know this is the worst thing I could do as he would come back, be nice, use me then be off again and act his usual assclown self. Im trying to be kind to myself, focusing on myself and my life but it is hard. It feels that there is something missing and I need to fill it in order to feel complete. In regards to what he did…….well along with finishing with me every other week he told my best friend he was falling in love with her, took drugs in my home (without me knowing at the time), lied to me, played me, blocked all contact with me for no reason, accused me of flirting with my friends and even tried breaking into my house. I was in pieces because I had strong feelings for him. But him telling my friend he was in love with her was the last straw and ive cut all contact.I need to be strong. This website is a godsend Im so grateful I found it! xxx

    • Poppy says:


      What you must do, even though you will find it hard, is to remain no contact. Stick by your decision and trust it. Trust you, that you have made the right choice for you and a happier future. I am not going to tell you it’s easy by any stretch as you will go through a plethora of emotions but its worthwhile in the end. It’ll take time, annoyingly so, but you will get there. It’s day 1, be proud you have realised that he is just not good enough for you and keep going. Also feel proud that you have owned this decision, that he has not made it for you and at least, from that, you can keep hold of some self respect. Unfortunately, for me that is one of my biggest regrets that someone who treated me so atrociously should in the end finish with me after an on off saga for such a huge chunk of my life. Don’t waste anymore time, feel the emotions, work with them and don’t go back.

      I am not at the end yet but it’s looking hopeful now, life is slowly shining a brighter light and I know myself better than ever before. You will get there, please think looooonnnnnggggg and hard about going back on your decision.

      • LovefromNel says:

        Dear Jodie, I can only strongly echo what Poppy said here! And don’t forget to be kind to you. You need distractions too. Read a novel, take up something you enjoy (yoga, pilates, whatever!), learn how to sew, drink lots of tea – it doesn’t really matter, but the trick is to keep yourself busy. When you feel like texting, message a friend instead, or come on here and write a comment, or read Nat’s posts (even from years ago). And reward yourself too. Acknowledge how far you’ve come, and do kind things for you – shopping, a facial, a manicure, a massage. Again, it doesn’t really matter what they are – each to their own – but it’s important to remember you in all of this. Small steps, but kindness is key. As someone who also suffers low self-esteem, it’s easy to be too hard on ourselves. As Poppy says – life is slowly shining a brighter light. We have even brighter (blindingly so!) lights to come. Hang in there in the meantime. Best wishes, Nel.

  24. Downunder says:

    NC is the most amazing thing ever! I have been NC for over a year and honestly after a few months you just stop counting. After 3 years with mr unavailable we buy a house together – then he leaves after a month and flip flapping between new girl and me for 6 months. It was honestly the most painful time in my life and the anxiety and out of control feelings I felt when I didn’t know when I’d hear from him was ridiculous.

    Finally with the help of this blog I was able to go NC. Months after he got engaged and I didn’t care. Recently he has reached out again with some lazy communication and you know what? I’m thrilled I dodged a bullet. I’m thrilled I hit delete with no remorse and thrilled to know he will never change (they never do)

    And now I am yet again in NC with most recent narcissist AC but the difference? I broke up with him. I finally listened to my gut and red flags and opted out. My next step is to not attract these men at all and work on myself.

    NC has given me such a great feeling of being in control of myself and bringing power back to me it’s such a great satisfaction knowing I can do it when I never ever thought I could live without this person. If I can do it anyone can and trust me you won’t regret it

    • LovefromNel says:

      Well done to you, Downunder! (I’m making the assumption you’re from Aus? Me too!). That’s quite amazing that you got to the point where he became engaged and you didn’t care. I hope one day soon I get to that point (he’s not engaged as far as I know!). And again, well done on maintaining your boundaries with the most recent AC. I too have a habit of attracting these particular men and, thanks to BR, am now looking at why. Thank goodness for Nat, the girls on here, and the oceans of wisdom. Truly a lifesaver. Keep up the excellent work. Nel

  25. noquay says:

    Yep, not only does it suck when he takes up with someone else right under your nose, but when it’s with one of your friends, its worse. Latest conquest was a rare thing here; a woman close to my age who was a fellow athlete too. Lots of folk here give me crap for heading out on the trail solo, but there isn’t anyone anywhere near my age interested in a 5 hour training run. What’s worse, and seems to also be the case with you, is that he apparently said some really bad things about me as she treats ME as though I am evil incarnate. She knew I had been badly hurt, was having major problems finding someone new (a common problem for educated chix in this region), that I was trying to escape the area and really cannot right now, but didn’t know who had done the hurting. I blame myself, I was vulnerable, extremely lonely, starved for intellectual conversation, and he unfortunately seems to be the only attractive, healthy, environment oriented, educated man for miles around. Tried to settle for guys I really wasn’t attracted to since then but that is a colossal waste of time. I would suggest as you are probably a good deal younger than I, that you try and get your coursework over ASAP, and get away. Take summer classes if you can to get done sooner. From now on, any man you are interested in has to be one you need never see again if things go south. The scorched earth approach to NC works best.

    • Daffodil says:

      Dear noquay! Thank you so much for your advice. Yes, I think it is better to finish my study sooner, however, it is a research degree and I should produce three original, substantial papers (done with one, 2 more to go). I will concentrate and work harder instead of grieving over what happened. I totally understand your state and don’t worry about training solo. You are a lovely and independent woman and just don’t care if people are judgmental. After all there is only one life and we cannot just let it pass by for the fear of being judged. In the end, it doesn’t matter what others have thought or felt about us. Best wishes for your journey of life and I am sure you will find love along the way. :)

  26. Sad times says:

    I am back onto day 2 and have set myself a target for 30 days. I’ve found that by setting a target I have something to aim for and if I get to that point then I will either want to contact him or I won’t. If I do and it gets me nowhere at least id feel like well he definately means this is what he wants and hopefully it won’t hurt as much as it did 2 weeks ago. Or hopefully I will feel like I don’t want/need to contact him! Deep down I am hoping it will be him that gets in touch first but at the same time I KNOW that won’t happen. At the same time I’m thinking why am I even thinking of wanting to talk to him again and potentially hearing all these words to hurt me, but I don’t know how else to get my head around not speaking to him :-( arghh.

  27. Miss M says:

    An eerily timely post. After maintaining NC for three months and ignoring his incessant texts and emails, I caved during a moment of panic over an upcoming major surgery I have to undergo. Hope springs eternal, except in the case of this EU man and I may have done myself more harm than good. What was I thinking??

    • lynn says:

      Miss M – I did the same thing recently. Was 3 months NC … (he had contacted me previously) But last week I became an aunt and I was so excited without even thinking I texted him to tell him. I was fine the entire day because I realized I was on a ‘high’ of ‘talking’ to him but the next day was not good. I am back to NC. These things happen and we really can’t beat ourselves up. I did for about a day and then decided to move on. It is what it is. So now its your turn to forgive yourself, go back to NC and focusing on yourself.

  28. Diana says:

    I’m so blessed to have found this site. I don’t want to have this emotional baggage anymore. I deserve and have so much to offer. I will take this No Contact until I don’t have to the desire to ever to talk him again. Wish me luck.

  29. Able says:

    I eased into NC by shutting down the excuses conversation. it saved me from hearing more hurtful unfiltered BS from the ex who was so prpud of being so “honest” and “direct.”

    I realize I associated that contact with very negative feelings. Easy peasy.

    The alone part afterwards was and has been difficult, but I’m getting used to it by using the time to pursue my own projects.

    Maybe I can’t just take on a new relationship like she’s been able to do (apparently) but I’m not like that. And I don’t need to prove that to anyone.

  30. ThreeDLife says:

    Wow, great article. I was on the Disappointment Cycle and emotional rollercoaster with my AC. Took him back 3 times. Each time it lasted 3 months. There was a definite pattern and I finally realized it. I’ve been NC for 8 months now and feel so much better.

    I like the Maya Angelou quote, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” My AC showed me again and again that he was a lying, deceiving manipulator, but I didn’t believe it and kept thinking he would turn into the charismatic guy I fell for in the beginning. He never did.

    He ran hot and cold, with the hot taking place when he realized I was moving on and he wasn’t finding anyone (or found someone but it didn’t work out). Thanks to Natalie, I now know this is the classic Fallback Girl position. He was likely thinking, “You’ll do until someone better comes along.” Needless to say, this was very bad for my self esteem.

    I currently have to decide whether or not to go to an event we have enjoyed together in the past, which occurs annually in February. In addition, a mutual friend is coming to town and I would like to see her, but cannot be sure I wouldn’t also see him. I am leaning toward not going to the event and not seeing the mutual friend (and explaining to her my current situation so she won’t think I’m avoiding her). I think this way, I can remain firm in NC. I am determined to not less this man do any more damage. I guess I’m looking to this forum to give me some feedback on whether I am choosing the right approach. Part of me feels I will truly be over him when I can stand in front of him and feel nothing (which I think I can do at this point).

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear ThreeDLife, I love that quote. It’s so very true. I find that often we ignore what we see (when they show us what they are!) because we have a habit of seeing the best in people. We ignore the bad bits, and find justifications for their behaviour, when instead, we should let it speak for itself. People show you who they are very early on. It’s easy, though, for us to give people the “benefit of the doubt”, when they don’t deserve it. Also, can you catch up with your friend without going to the event? Best wishes to you. And stay strong. Going off the strength of your comment, I am sure you will very soon get to a point where you can stand in front of him and feel nothing. I hope to get to that point soon too. I also hope to have a rock in my back pocket to throw at his head, too. Hahaha! It would make it particularly enjoyable actually throwing it, because he always described me as very gentle. It just goes to show how much I despise him now. Hugs. Nel

    • Einstien says:


      If you are the least bit apprehensive over the prospect of seeing him, I wouldn’t go.

      There won’t be any doubt in your mind when you come to that place where you are completely free of him. You may feel nervous about seeing him, but that will be it. There won’t be any part of you that is tempted to go back.

  31. SandyBeach says:

    Great post Natalie.

    I found this site by accident (after my break up) and I absolutely love it. I find your posts very inspiring, and not sure I would have ever started no contact with EUM if I didn’t come across this site.

    Anyway, I have been NC for 4 months now after a 3 year relationship with someone who was just separated when we met. (I know, red-flag) Everything was great the first 2 years and then there was this shift. He would be hot/cold, make plans, break plans, Id catch hime in lies, break up with him, make up with him, break up again and the cycle continued. I finally came to my senses and broke up for good. I want to put this behind me and just move on.

    The first month of NC for me was horrible, and at times almost unbearable. Second month got better and by the end of the second month I felt great. Every day was getting easier, I would spend time with friends, new hobbies, family, exercise every day, I really felt like I was making real progress. Until recently…:( I just feel horrible and depressed over the whole thing. I know I made the right decision but why has 4 months of NC gone by and I feel like it just happened yesterday…ugh

    I refuse to contact him, but sometimes I feel like if he contacted me I don’t know what I would do.

    Is it normal to have months of getting on with my life happily and then just get hit with weeks of being sad, thinking, obsessing, missing him, crying….I just want to get over this already!

    • Nat Attack says:

      Hi Sandy Beach~

      I’ve experienced some of what you wrote about in your post and I believe it is normal. After my EUM ended our horrible relationship a few months back, I decided to go no contact and experienced a steady surge in confidence, happiness, and self-respect. However, last week, out of nowhere it seemed, I began to feel angry again, and would fantasize all day about witty, humiliating remarks I would hurl at him if I ran into him at an airport. (It’s the only way we’d run into each other. I live in Hong Kong. He lives in Alaska. Thank god.)

      After talking about this with friends, and achieving some clarity on the matter, I realized that I wasn’t regressing at all. There have been a lot of other things going on in my life–stress with work, job search, trying to write my novel, etc.– that have made me very anxious lately. Once I dealt with my anxiety in relation to those aspects of my life, my anger/depression about the relationship subsided, and I was back to feeling strong and positive about our split. I think I just latched onto the issue because it’s easy. I use him as a scapegoat sometimes, when I’m afraid of my life and feeling insecure about my abilities.

      There are many reasons why you could be struggling right now, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re back to square one. Do you have an activity that calms you, or a good friend you can talk to? Maybe if you can step away from the issue for a bit, and return to it when you’re calmer, you’ll be able to see the source of your struggle, what’s actually bothering you. Try not to worry and be frustrated at yourself. What you describe sounds normal, and self-loathing, in my experience, only complicates recovery.

      I hope you figure it out. Good luck! =)

    • simple pleasures says:

      Three years is a substantial amount of time to have been invested in someone. Four months is probably not long enough to get over them. You are probably going to go through the whole grieving of loss process, anger, sadness, acceptance and go back and forth amongst them for a while. I suspect your first 4 months were the denial stage. I spent a year in 99% NC and thought I was well on my way to getting over him. Looking back I was mostly in denial then, merrily living my life, but the other stuff hadn’t hit yet.

    • lynn says:

      sandy beach – you are grieving. and grief has cycles. I found another website through Natalie’s called getting past your breakup. Here is an article about recycling which I am currently doing. I feel really good for awhile then get sad/angry etc. Its normal. Sit with the feelings, journal then go do something good for yourself. Here is the article I was talking about …

      • SandyBeach says:

        Thanks for the comments ladies, very insightful and so helpful!!

        I’ll check out the link – thanks..:)

  32. jeanette says:

    Thanks so much for posting. Ive learned so much. I haven’t had contact with Mr unavailable for 3 weeks. Come to realize I don’t even miss him.

  33. Mel says:

    Natalie mentioned ‘excessive emotional dependence’, which is me in a nutshell….how do you deal with this, so that you don’t take it into your next relationship? I’m assuming this is a common theme for those of us that have not received enough love throughout our childhoods and adult life combined…

    PS 6 weeks NC today, still grieving but happier within myself. There’s no going back for me this time!

    • Einstien says:


      That’s me, with men anyway. I was the child of an alcoholic, and have the typical child of an alcoholic personality. I didn’t get a lot of what I needed as a child, and a whole lot of what I didn’t need. That’s what happens in any dysfunctional family.

      Emotional dependence….yeah. Throw that in with our intolerance for rejection (aka, need for acceptance) and a r/s with an assclown throws us into a tailspin. That’s where we need the healthy coping skills we don’t have. We can stay with these jerks for years because we don’t have the wherewithall to get out. Crap…I could write a book….

    • LovefromNel says:

      Mel, Einstein, this is me too. My dad is also an alcoholic and while I don’t know if that explains my emotional dependency on men, namely emotionally unavailable ones, I’d love to know some coping strategies too.

      I guess it comes down to working on us in the meantime. Developing healthier self-esteem and self-respect so we don’t project our emotional needs on others. And we don’t crave their love/affection/attention to make us happy. We don’t need them to validate us as people. Because we are good enough as we are.

      Best of luck, too, Mel, and stay strong with NC! They are all probably interconnected in a way. NC -> our inner sparkle back -> healthier self-esteem -> less need for validation from others to meet emotional needs.

      Do you like my attempt at a flow chart, y’all? Haha!


    • flcc says:

      “how do you deal with this, so that you don’t take it into your next relationship?”

      By taking care of yourself, validating yourself, strengthening your self esteem, looking into yourself for what you are missing.

      Start with looking inside you: What do you think you are missing or lacking? What do you need to feel whole? What need is this relationship trying to fill?

      You can start with self help books on self validation and self esteem building. You can also throw in some meditation and light exercise (yoga for meditation type activities)

      If you have the money or insurance you can seek out the help of a professional therapist.

      Hope this helps.

  34. Lorraine says:

    Perfect Article for me. I’ve been on the “disappointment cycle” for the past week, like a carousel I can’t get off.

    I went away with my sister last Thursday for a long weekend at her lake house. He started texting me Friday evening, asking for help with something we had purchased together last year. He needed paperwork or date of purchase, whatever. After going back and forth with texting about his problem that he acted like was an emergency and desperately needed me to help him, I told him that I wasn’t home and couldn’t really do anything until Monday afternoon.

    Can you believe he responded with, “why aren’t you home?” I didn’t even respond to that and he caught himself and responded with, “just kidding, thanks for helping me.” Meanwhile, here I am thinking how he needs me and my hopes are up for I don’t even know what anymore.

    Monday, while driving home, again he starts texting me asking if I’m going to help him so again I told him that I would look through my papers when I got home and let him know what I find.

    I got home and immediately before doing anything else, spent TWO hours combing through receipts and statements looking for this purchase, I made phone calls, went on the internet. I couldn’t find the information he wanted but I made an appointment for him to bring the device in to be looked at. So I texted him Monday evening and told him the situation and that I would take the device to the store for the appointment on Wednesday at 2 pm.

    Haven’t heard from him since… By Tuesday afternoon, I got so angry I canceled the appointment. I wanted to text him that I spent two hours trying to help him and he couldn’t even take two seconds to text me back with an ok or something. But, you know, I’m done here. I’m not saying, doing, texting, nothing.

    I’ve got to get beyond this. I was doing good with NC but he finds a way to see me in person. I just keep asking myself, what the f*ck is wrong with him but now I think I should be asking what the f*ck is wrong with me? I just keep hoping for this turnaround and fairytale ending that I know logically will never happen.

    Bad day…


    • Elgie R. says:

      Hi, Lorraine. Take a deep breath. Most of us here are cursed with the people-pleasing gene.

      It is only recently, like in the last year, that I’ve learned that inconveniencing myself is rarely required.

      I am allowed to do NOTHING. I am allowed to say NO. I am allowed to fit YOU in when it is most convenient for ME. I am allowed to let YOU deal with your problems BY YOURSELF.

      So now, when I find myself wanting to help “fix” something in someone else’s life, and that someone else has a somewhat shady relationship with me, I stop myself. And I’ve discovered that they manage to handle their problems without any intervention from me.

      So in your case, when you got home you would have carried on with whatever YOUR original plans were. If your schedule had a lull where you could look for that receipt, great….if not, great too…tough cookies for him.

      Ahhhh….feels so good not to have the weight of satisfying other people’s expectations on my shoulders.

  35. ThreeDLife says:

    Nel, You’re right. I like to think I’m open-minded, give the benefit of the doubt and try to see the best people. My AC showed me early on who he was, but I made excuses for him and ignored it. Live and learn. I won’t do that again.

    I have decided not to go to the event where I might run into him, even though part of me thinks he shouldn’t keep me from it. There are other events to attend where he doesn’t participate. There’s no reason to put myself in a situation where it may set me back. NC has made me strong. In fact, as much as I think it would feel great to stand in front of him and feel nothing, there’s no compelling reason to ever see him again. In a way, I find satisfaction in thinking it’s his loss in never getting to see, speak to or touch me ever again. As for our mutual friend, I am sure she will understand.

    Best wishes to you, too, and thanks for the response. LOL on keeping the rock in your back pocket. I felt that way for a long time. I finally got past being angry at him. Now I pity him and his endless treadmill of short-term emotionally-barren relationships. I am remaining NC.

    • LovefromNel says:

      ThreeDLife – I love this too: “In a way, I find satisfaction in thinking it’s his loss in never getting to see, speak to or touch me ever again.” YES YES! How can I channel this? I think it’s my low self-esteem that switches it the other way around and I think and feel that it’s my loss never getting to see him again, never again hearing his voice and laugh, or him getting a splinter out of my hand. Argh! Nostalgic Nel. That’s what I should change my name to. *small sob*.

  36. kay says:

    Hi, just thought id leave a message to say thank uou to nataile for helping me to say no contact for over 8 weeks now! Longest its ever been is 2 weeks then ive resisted and got in touch with him! He had a girlfriend, only been with her a few weeks, then 2 years down the line he is still with her!
    He has ruined my self steam which im building up, i used to be so out going, and social yet because i thought he was the one to make me happy i carried on fighting for him! He called me horrible names and if i did something he didnt approve of he would go to the make a big grand gesture to his girlfriend… taking her on holiday! Which by thr way is where he is now!
    I never ever thought i would move on from him, part of me still.does love him but i would never lower myself to engaged in bring the OW again! I am worth more than that, although shame i didnt think like this years ago then maybe i wouldnt have gone through the hurt & pain! He told me he loved me but couldnt trust me, hence the reason why he wouldnt leave his trusting girlfiend! Im hurting & goin through the greiving process… Havin to sit on my hands not to contact him ive come this this far i dont intend to go back!
    Thank u all u for ur post on here its helps so much x

    • Sandy says:


      He can’t trust you??!!!! How fucked up is that when he is the one cheating with you on his “trusting” girlfriend?! Come on he’s been with her two years and through all of this you have been fighting to get him…why? All he has been doing is having his cake and eating it too. Don’t let this ass take away anymore of your life.

  37. Peanut says:


    What I’m attracted to is rapidly changing. The younger men in early 20s I was attracted to now strike me as a bit imature (That is my kryptonite. My father is a forever sixteen-year-old) and too much a pain.

    I think I want to go back to my early twenties. I feel I totally missed out on dating (was in a physically abusive relationship, then stayed single for 5 years). Maybe I doubt my capabilities for a serious relationship. I seriously doubt my capabilities for a serious relationship.

    This last young man sits behind me in class and reminds me so much of my ex.

    This keeps happening in college. I keep getting a carbon copy of my ex in each class. Geez I’m tired. Your comment helped.

  38. julie says:

    Hey everyone, I ran across this article today and thought I’d share if that’s ok – it basically hammers home everything on Nat’s blog. There are some links to more info contained in the article. It’s about moving on after divorce but the same rules apply for those of us not married to these losers.

  39. Peanut says:

    Thanks for the replies/comments ladies.

    I do know of a young man in his early twenties (married) who really has it together. He strikes me just as if not more mature than I. His wife is an acquaintance.

    I think it’s individual to a point — but, yeah, I really don’t know how comfortable I’d be trying to forge something serious with someone who’s only had few years practice as an adult when I’ve near had a decade. I feel so behind. I made a new friend in class today. She’s super sweet and she’s eighteen. Upon telling her my age (29) she proclaimed, “You don’t look that old!”

    Ah, geez, just feeling really insecure about my age and where I’m at in life (living with family and back in school).

    I don’t regret quitig my job and going back to school. I know my career is in the arts. 100%. I’m not good at anything else. It feels good to know that about myself. A bit scary though.

    It’s just hard sometimes: Guy in class who reminds me of the ex, a few good friends less than I’d like to have, living with the elderly, tight monetary funds, etc. I know it could be worse but that’s never really a stable consolation as it just forces you to think of more depressing stuff.

    A tiny part of me wants to go back to that place of numb complacency where an office job, scones, candy, my fantasies, and reality TV were enough to get me by. I hope I never regress there.

    But a part of me feels this forward thing is unreasonably uphill at times. I need a break from stressors, yet I can’t seem to get away. The more I try at making friends, the less people respond to me. The more I try and get over my ex, the more I am reminded of him by men put in my path like him.

    How many times do have to slay the dragon before it lays to rest?

    • Ellie says:

      I know the feeling Hun. 29 myself and I still feel 20 inside. Nearing 30 is scary, I know it’s not old, but it’s a maturer age and frankly it’s scaring me! My recent AC was 27. The girl he dumped me for is 26. That made me feel old in a way, too. Unwanted. Discarded. Am still having trouble getting over what he did to me.

  40. julie says:

    here is something interesting I found while bored during lunch at work :) it’s eye opening. It’s the author’s feeling that character disordered people are pretty much unchangeable because they are basically rotten all the way to their souls (they have one?). I answered the questions at the end as they pertained to my own personal waste of skin. I was astonished at how many of the traits he had.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Julie, I found that link extremely helpful. I’m choking on my cup of tea about how many traits my ex-EUM had too. “10.Tendency to project his own shortcomings on to the world about him – frequent blaming. Never at fault.” After we broke up, it’s something I scribbled down (in trying to make sense of the situation). Thanks so much.

    • noquay says:

      Holy cats Julie, my at work AC has about 70, count em, 70 of these traits. The ones about childhood, school performance, I wouldn’t know about because he never talked about his past. No wonder I feel as though I’ve been put through a wringer!

    • amicrazy says:

      OH. MY. GOD.

      I cannot believe how many of those traits the ex MM/AC exhibits.

      I am almost in shock over it.

    • Lorraine says:

      OMG Julie, That was so scary to read. I too am astonished at how many of the traits he has. I will read this often. It can help all of us here realize that these men are not good and will not change. Life with them would be constant misery. Why would any of us want that for ourselves?
      Thank you for sharing.

      • julie says:

        Mel, Noquay, AmI and Lorraine: omg you guys when I saw the list I was astounded by the fact that the exdouchebag had at least 75% of the disordered character traits. I cannot believe the amount of blatant ignoring of red flags and justification of his behaviors that falls squarely on my shoulders. if it talks like a snake and crawls like a snake it’s a snake. I’ve made friends with a chick at my gym who is a counseling intern. we talk in the locker room about boundaries, relationships and what not to do the next time-it’s kind of like a real time version of this site! Next time a man is interested he’s going to have to work for it, and earn it. i’m going to string it out as long as I can to make sure I don’t get too close until they’ve proven they have none of these disordered character traits. men love the chase, and chase they shall. no more bending over backwards, being there every minute he needs me, me doing for him but him not doing for me. if a man wants you, he will go out of his way for you.

  41. Broken hearted says:

    I am completely flabbergasted. And understand why no contact is necessary. I recently dated a man for 4 months long distance. While we were dating, he called all the time, started saying love you at end of calls etc. I went away on 2 week vacation overseas to him breaking up with me and not coming to visit over Xmas as we had discussed. My heart was bruised. His supposed reasoning was proximity and access to get to know me.

    We have been split for 7 weeks. I have had a hard time moving on because I was blaming myself for being clumsy (hurt myself when I saw him last), begging when we broke up (more like surprise) and generally thinking of every tiny thing I could have done to run him away. When I’m reality, I was awesome, fun, playful.

    Well, I just looks on his online dating profile, first time in 3 weeks. I know. I know. Well, he updated it, and guess what he changed? He is now open to long distance.

    So now I feel my worst fears, that he broke up with me because of something I did, and not because of the distance.

    Am I off target here?

    • lynn says:

      broken hearted – are you saying you traveled overseas to see him? Honestly -I don’t think anything is your fault. I think long distance relationships are hard when you haven’t ever met before. And I think its hard to trust that person so far away. The fact that he was saying I love you after 4 months sends a red flag…and it sounds like he just wants a ego stroke and attention. Long distance can give him the emotional support he wants but no ‘real’ commitment because he is so far…who says he wasn’t having sex with someone in his town or is married…I know I don’t know all the details but I would go NC and not talk to him again. Don’t invest anymore time into him….and maybe try to find someone local…

      • lynn says:

        and it sounds like he didn’t give you any real reason of why you broke up…its all him, not you and you can’t beat yourself up over someone you barely knew/know.

        • lynn says:

          sorry I just re-read your post and realize some of the stuff I said maybe don’t apply. Just trying to encourage you to realize that its not you. Its HIM! 4 months is really the honeymoon phase anyway – not necessarily real life. If you can take off your rose-tinted glasses and look at him at face value … that will help.

        • Broken hearted says:

          He said it was the proximity and ability to get to know me. Why would he now be open to long distance with someone else?

      • Broken hearted says:

        No, not overseas. I went on vacation overseas. He is east coast, I am Midwest. He did not splash around “I love you”. He said “love you” twice at the end of two very sweet conversations. Did not think we were in love, but falling over time.

        And he was not seeing anyone. I am sorry, but while I am in pain, and he did have some faults, not every man is cheating or red flagging.

        • Wiser says:

          Broken Hearted, I agree that not every guy who does inexplicable things is an AC or is cheating, or giving off flagrant red flags. However, there is a lot of immaturity out there, especially when people are swept up in the heady feelings of first being attracted to someone. Without knowing your entire situation, this sounds very much like a guy who simply didn’t feel as deeply for you as you hoped, even though perhaps he really wanted to and thought he did in the moment (many men are notoriously good at really feeling things “at the moment” but when you look closely at it, there’s more froth than substance). The immaturity shows itself in the fact that he was sort of fudging the truth in an effort to let you down ‘easy’ – but when people do this, they’re really trying to avoid anything uncomfortable for themselves. He was wrong to lie about it and say that it was too hard to get to know you because of the long distance – because now if he is willing to date long distance, then long distance isn’t the issue. Therefore, his ‘reason’ wasn’t true. He was also wrong was let himself be carried away and tell you he loved you before he really understood what that meant. A man who loves you in an authentic way isn’t going to be deterred by “proximity” issues. And no one should be saying the L word until they are really sure.

          This guy sounds like me about 25 years ago when I hurt a very nice young man in a similar way. I was all swept up in him, got involved sexually fairly quickly, we took some trips together, and I think I told him I loved him… and then for some reason I can’t even explain to this day, I lost interest in him. This was my immaturity showing itself. I had skipped right over the discovery phase into just enjoying a fun relationship without thinking through the consequences. And I remember how hurt and bewildered he looked when I tried to explain, lamely, that I just didn’t want to continue seeing him. Our whole relationship lasted about 4 months as well, and I believe that as time went on I began to see that we were really different people and wanted different kinds of lives, but I handled the whole thing very poorly. I’ve always hoped that this didn’t wound him too deeply and that he has forgiven me. I have been on the receiving end of this very behavior myself – most recently with the ex who brought me to this site, and now I was the one hurt, bewildered and wondering why a truck had just run me over. He too never really explained what happened. He simply had overestimated his interest but plunged ahead recklessly with my feelings anyway. So I understand how painful this is for you! But I no longer believe that he dumped me because there was something inherently wrong or inadequate about me.

          Sometimes people just don’t know why they feel what they feel. Or why they don’t feel something. But what I do know is that it does not mean anything is wrong or lacking in YOU. There was not a thing wrong with the man I lost interest in – he just wasn’t right for me. I think in time it would have been apparent to him that I wasn’t right for him. In fact, if I was “right” for whole scads of people then something definitely would be wrong with me! It’s like that great saying, you can be the most luscious peach in the world, but some people just don’t like peaches. Dealing with the fact that not everyone is going to be crazy about you, and some people will actually dislike you is a life skill (not just a relationship skill) that we all better work at mastering, so that we can face rejection and disappointment without immediately being triggered to think “something is wrong with me.” Otherwise we will constantly be at the mercy of other people’s whims, their immaturity, their unconscious motivations, and their mysterious feelings that they don’t even understand themselves.

          • Brokenhearted says:

            Thanks for your thoughts. Checking a box willing to do relo will not make him emotionally prepared to do long distance. I 100% believe he does not have the bandwidth to do anything that requires much of him.

            I should say that he did not check that box until 6 weeks after we broke up. I tend to think his fishing pool is not going that well, and honestly I was really great to him, so he might be more open if he is struggling… Anyhow, none of my issue.

  42. Peanut says:

    Broken Hearted,


    No it’s NOTHING you did!

    I would not pursue long distance relationships. It’s an oxymoron. You can’t have a relationship at a distance.

    Peanut xx

  43. Ms jl says:

    We will all get there together. Let’s keep with the NO MORE CYCLES and stay true to NCR! Happy anniversary over and over to each of you AGAIN and AGAIN!

  44. IntheClear says:

    Another amazing read. I’m at the point where I’m starting to see that the time for contact, if ever, is the time when you want nothing from that person in the way of a romantic/committed relationship.

    [And of course, once they feel this light energy from you, they'll probably fall in love with you anew, completely clueless to the mysteries of their flip flopping heart.]

    I have changed my mantra from: “I miss my baby” to “I miss my baby, but I’d rather be with someone else.” Makes a difference.

    • Brenda says:

      Or.. I miss my baby, but now I am ready for a “grown man and a grown relationship” so can no longer mother him. ;-)

      Mommy has to do dinner with an adult now.

  45. Brenda says:

    Love that image Natalie it is really 100% spot on how that goes, Nothing is more FREEING than when your just not caring anymore and OK with that.

    Sometimes I think when we make promises to always care for someone we can get stepped on too much and then think we are breaking some unseen LAW or something also, Even though they may be really doing us wrong or just not good for us.

    On top of that pattern you laid out I would also like to mention this part for some of us here, because I know that I had BOTH going on simultaneously.

    We can get stuck not wanting to break or own promises to someone, But we really need to make some promises to ourselves as well so I had learned.

  46. amicrazy says:

    Four weeks NC tomorrow. The ex MM/AC called my best friend (the only friend of mine that knows about the affair) Monday night saying he was miserable and still loves me and wants a divorce and misses me in his life.

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    This post was spot on with the timing though because I was having some of the negative association struggle. I am doing things to discover myself and love myself without a man (especially a toxic one) but that “rejecting” someone when they are hurting feels “foreign” to me. My Florence Nightingale instincts were starting to kick in but I had a great talk with my therapist and reminded myself that I’m on my way to having a happy, fulfilling life. And logically, I know all of those things but sometimes I have to still remind my emotional side.

    I know that 4 weeks isn’t long enough to be completely over the hurt, anger and pain that this “relationship” made me feel but sometimes I just get so impatient. I want to feel neutral about it and not have him cross my mind for days at a time. I have to trust the process though and keep actively working on me and my life and I know I will get there.

    *hugs to everyone*

  47. Sanntay says:

    I thought I had been recovering from my casual fiasco pretty well, not having to see the AC at work very often as he spends more time at the new project, while I’m still finishing up the old one. Sometimes when I do see him or he tries to make small talk (on the days that he even speaks to me – very random) I still feel very, I don’t know, kind of ambivalent and vulnerable, still angry, yet fearful because he still arouses feelings in me that I don’t like or want to deal with. I don’t know why he still has that effect on me, and I need it to stop. I have been trying to refocus since he was just in my office about 20 minutes ago asking about a work matter related to a disability claim, although he tried to relate his story to my still going to the gym, and as an aside, said he wasn’t trying to get all up in my business. WTH?! Did he forget that he was all up in my business when we were both naked?! It was just something about the way that he said it that really got my goat. I was so happy that the phone rang. He lingered a bit and then left. Maybe I’m being too sensitive but I just found it appalling that he acts as though we’ve never met, and like we never had any type of history whatsoever. Did he have an effin’ lobotomy or something? I know it’s been almost a year since our last encounter, but it still hurts. I’m trying to pull it together. I don’t know when the negativity will dissipate (probably when I never have to associate with him again), but I had to get this out. Thanks, BR, for letting me vent.

  48. dancingqueen says:

    a”bromance” is a cheesy movie for dudes where they spend so much time being dudes in love with their dudeness that the female characters are an afterthought. Kind of a male bonding movie for guys th o bring a woman to. The male equivalent of a chickflick. They usually have peter pan boy characters like Seth Meyers. ;)

  49. kay says:

    Your totallu right.sandy! I can see it for what it was….he was having his cake and eating it! Makes me feel silly because i always thought i was string enough not to let anyone do that to me! I honestly thought my situation was different….again how.silly was i! Its a massive learning curve, i still feel hurt he choose her over me when i invested so much time into him…..even left my job because i couldnt handle.the hold he had on me! He was controlling & pocessive……OMG why am i even wasting another thought over this person! He thanks again sandy & everyone on this blog, it helps so much!! Xxx

  50. TanyaC says:

    Broke NC with my ex boyfriend after three months of not speaking for closure, now I’m regretting it a bit. I sent him a text that read this: Hi, I’ve debated on if I wanted to ever speak to you again but i feel that I need to do this for my own closure because we never had a formal break up. We both made mistakes and I don’t want to carry any baggage in this new year. Hopefully in the future if we cross paths we could be cordial with each other. He text me back five minutes later and said to give him a sec because he was at work and he would call me later. I anticipated the call but he never called it’s been two weeks so far. So do you think he doesn’t care to contact me and is just playing games? Or he just doesn’t know what to say? We had a pretty bad break up which was violent which he started and my friend told me he tried hooking up with her friend at a party (kind of crossing a line) and my friend intervened and he told her what’s the problem, I dont like him anymore and I havent contacted him(which I usually do) so what’s the big deal. When we both just stopped talking to each other after the blowout and he hasnt attempted to contact me. So it’s like he’s playing the victim. What should I do? Im sitting here thinking why he would say he would call and then don’t? IS this what he wants? For me to be pathetic pining for his call? I feel so hopeless and that our relationship was just a waste of time. I just cant get over this. His birthday also passed three days ago and I didnt call. Was that the right decision. He still didnt care enough to call.

    • Lynn S. says:

      Tanya, leave it alone. Please, I hope you’re spending as much time thinking of yourself and what makes you happy and what good things you want in your life and in your future as you’re spending thinking about him. Put it behind you, it’s not worth worrying over now. Your relationship wasn’t a waste of time if you learn a lesson about yourself from it. Be the woman who doesn’t care enough to call him again. Give it time and be kind to yourself.

      • TanyaC says:

        Hi Lynn, thank you for the advice. My pride has stopped me in not calling. I guess a part me just wants to know if he still thinks of me. He’s a bad guy in many ways but he has his good parts too. My mother died of cancer last year and he was the best boyfriend I could ask for, very supportive, even fought my brother who put his hands on me. I always hold that dear to my heart and I guess because of that I will always remember him. So its particularly hard for me. I still dream about him. I just hope that I can move on soon. I feel like I’m going crazy. But do you feel, he just didnt care with hooking up with the friend? Or was he really trying to get a rise out of me. And if we’re not together, why play the games still? I’m trying to make sense of this.

    • Ellie says:

      Hey. I am in a slightly similar situation. My ex AC isn’t violent, but he is a heartless fool, who dumped me on Facebook well, I found him in a new relationship there with a chick he swore blind was just his “best friend” . We were meant to meet but he canceled plans to without even texting me. Just never showed. Haven’t spoken since. I’m sure he is telling all who listen that I’m a bad person. It’s games. He is a game player and yours more than likely is a game player as well. A waste of precious time. It’s hard to move on but you have to for your own sanity, and keep NC. Good luck x

      • TanyaC says:

        Hi Ellie, yes I’m trying my best to move on. I look back and look at all the manipulation that went on the relationship and thought how can someone possibly love someone when all they play is games. Why didn’t he just leave me alone? And then I think about the fact that I want someone here with me to hold me or just have fun with like I sometimes had with him

    • Grizelda says:

      Tanya, he’s a dodger and a runner. Not turning up to arrangements, not calling when he agreed to call? That’s not game playing — game playing takes two people, it sounds harmless and it infers that you’ve still got some kind of thing going on. But the only thing going on is his complete and utter disrespect for you.

      Yes that’s what they apparently want, these dodgers and runners. They clock up the miles, drawing in whatever women they can, but the punch line is always the same — they run off because they’re empty people and despite what other people may give them, they have nothing of significance to give in return.

      Don’t think it’s going to be different for any other unfortunate woman now or in future. Dodgers and runners never change. The assclownery is in the blood. Like night follows day follows night, he’ll start dodging each of them too in time, and running away, and making excuses, and leaving them in a disappointed dust cloud of hurt, and just behaving like a nine year old for the rest of his life. So screw his birthday, he has no birthday, he’s nine years old every year. You do not need or want that disingenuous mess.

      Good on you for going back to NC. NC is the only ladder one can climb to pull oneself out of the pit, one rung at a time. And once you climb it, and you’re standing on solid ground again, believe me you turn around and look down into the hole you were in and you cannot believe how you ended up down there. You can do this! You will feel so much better when you reach the surface.

      • TanyaC says:

        i can’t wait to reach the surface. My only thing is, does he even think about me? OR am I just another girl he wasted a year and half with? Im so confused and all I want to do is curse him out and tell him I still love him at the same time. I’m so heartbroken and I never thought I would be back in this position again :(

      • Edy says:

        So screw his birthday, he has no birthday, he’s nine years old every year.

        LOL>… the best line I have read today!.. sooo very true.. same as my ex AC … I think he is 2 years old though, has the emotional maturity of a 2 year old.

      • lizzp says:

        Love it Grizelda, he has no birthday cos he is 9 years old every year!! This stood out to me as my gorgeous little man is turning 9 very soon. I feel confident that his dad and I are doing a good enough job to help him keep getting older in both emotional and linear time! Baggage reclaim ripple effect Nat…as I continue ‘growing up’ so to speak, my little fellow reaps many secondary benefits..Ladies I would be so proud 10 years from now to know that I had helped nurture and ease an emotionally available young man into the adult world. ox

  51. Peanut says:

    Nel, Pauline,

    Thank you ladies so very much for the words.

    I discussed it with my therapist and she affirmed that as long as the person has had at least a few years under their belt as an adult and I in my twenties (or soon to be 30), it’s very much worth investigating instead of dismissing it all on age alone as after adulthood a healthy person is not determined by age.

    Today I was around various men in my schedule (all platonic situations as these men are either in a relationship or married). All strike me as quite lovely with solid virtuous boundaries.
    I’m thinking of four right now and all are between the ages of 22 and 60. The twenty-two-year-old is one of the most mature men I’ve probably been around. He and his wife own and operate a hugely wonderful, beloved and successful business in town.

    I’m excited to have healthy attractions to men after thinking I’d just never find anyone alluring or attractive after the ex and eventually (pretty soon I hope) I’ll be exploring these attractions (but not before reading Nat’s latest post). And with all my baggage reclaim tools in hand of course!

  52. renee says:

    He still sends me emails but I don’t respond. He can say whatever he wants, that I’m the love of his life is depressed cause I don’t reply, blah blah blah blah. 4 years of this misery-go-round (he’s unavailable)and I’m DONE. It’s a great feeling not to want to respond. It was a long road but I finally made it out. Just wanted to share with you ladies that I’ve been where you are, all the different levels of getting out, falling back in, and getting out. It is possible to get out and stay out. What did it for me was I woke up to the reality of what it was and what it wasn’t and what it would never be. I had to be the one to break contact, cause he sure as hell wasn’t going to. No more florence nightengale for me. No more trying to nurse broken men. I woke up to the reality that he was using me as an emotional airbag for years. I’m doing what’s best for me… giving my love and affection to someone who it will do the most good for-and that’s myself.
    There’s hope ladies, you can get away and stay away. Just wake up to whatever your situations realities are. Be honest with yourself.

    • Dust n Roses says:

      Rene — but HOW? how did u wake up? I’m awake and I know understand everything u are saying, but how did u stop obsessing and how did u get over the hurt that u probably invested so much in nursing him, but he never came through on his promises or was truly loyal (as was my case)??

      • renee says:

        @ dust n Roses- How’d I wake up? I took an inventory of the realities of the situation. And the pain that I was suffering from this crazy making situation. And the realities told me that I was wasting my time and holding onto false hope that there would be the happy ending to this, that it was impossible for us to be end up being a real couple. Not because of me but because of him. I was stuck on the misery-go-round or as Natalie calls it the “Disappointment Cycle” for a number of years. And step by step I distanced physically, then worked on emotionally disconnecting, that was hardest, but the emotional pain that keeping in contact was causing me was taking a massive toll on me. It was a good motivator to keep trying to get free. And finding out why I kept going back and finding out that it was my issues that kept me going back and his issues didn’t help. Once I recognized what that was all about I could then take the steps to unhook myself from it so I could move forward. And getting educated on what the words “unavailable man” means. See they tell you their available with words, but not with their actions. You have to go by their actions. No action=’s unavailable. 4 years is way too long not to see actual results. If you keep waiting for something to happen and nothing does in all that time, it’s just more of the same excuses, fears, problems, stuck-ness, then it’s time to give up and let go and start taking steps to get out. That was a huge pill to swallow so I had to break it up in many little bits and take them each one by one each time I went back and then left. Eventually I got the whole pill down and it “cured” me of the “illness” of the cycle. I suffered enormous amounts of sadness and depression. I had to protect myself from more harm, let myself grieve, cut contact in order to totally grieve so I could heal. I got away. I’m not singing and dancing happy, but at least I’m not suffering horribly anymore. And I’m staying away cause I know what will happen to me if I go back. More suffering and more no action from him. I got over the pain of thoughts that I wasted a lot of time with him because I look at it this way, I learned a lot about myself and relationships and men, things that I can use now going forward so I can recognize unhealthy, unavailable men right away and be able to steer clear of them. I’m grateful for that. I’m not as naive or believe in the fairy tale things I used to that people are meant to be and all that kind of stuff. That’s for the movies and fairy tales, it’s not what happens in reality in real life in the real world. I’m educated now so that is going to serve me well. I hope that answers your questions. Mine never gave me any promises-he would just say things like we must be together and he must come get me. And how I was the most wonderful woman he ever met etc. etc. Now i know that when he said that it meant he was sad without me and grieving and it didn’t mean that he would actually come get me. As time goes by the hurt goes away. Staying away from him helps in a big way for sure. It sucks when people don’t keep their promises and it hurts but I’m not all that surprised when that happens anymore. Lots of people do that, I’m no condoning it, but recognizing it’s a reality in life. I’m sorry but I don’t know what your situation was but I think sometimes when people make promises depending on what they are, if their saying their not going to do something that they have been doing for years or start doing something that you want the to do they make these promises so you will trust them again and more often then not they’ll break them, cause they’ve got problems and issues. And unfortunately loving them or being loyal to them doesn’t make a difference, it doesn’t change who THEY are. It only seems to put us in the firing range of being dumped on again because of who THEY are. We need to spend more time and effort taking care of ourselves then taking care of others too much. I’ve had a tendency to do that, but I’ve cut back a lot. You can’t love someone out of their treating you badly or their bad destructive behavior. I’ve made that discovery. I don’t care who they are, mother, father, sibling, husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend or how close you think you are to them, or how much you love them. Some people are just lacking and are limited. I’m suspicious of people who make promises to me. Cause of the reasons above but also it can be due to they changed their minds. Which people do all the time and we can’t do anything about that. One of the things about promises that we need to keep in mind is that often that by nature they have a possibility of being broken. People do what’s best for them so we need to do what’s best for us and not sacrifice so much that we’re left broken and shattered when they don’t live up to our expectations. Think about if it’s realistic or not to expect certain behavior from people. I know i’ve had to re-adjust my expectations of people, not everyone is as considerate or thoughtful as I am, nor do they act the way I would. It sucks but that’s the reality. We have to learn who’s really the kind of person we should be investing our time, energy and effort with. And if we find ourselves investing and getting hurt over and over we need to stop and think why the heck are we doing this? And figure out if we should stay or go. Sorry I got to rambling here. ha.

  53. ribecca says:

    I know this feeling, it has been 40days of no contact and I really miss him. I still have to fight the urge to contact him, because I know he will not pick up the phone, and I am not going to give him another chance to reject me again. I set a goal for my self which is not to contact him for the entire year. He said he never want to se me again so I guess I will never see him again, I am the dumpee so that means If I contact him I just bring humiliation to my self.

  54. Gloria says:

    My ex sometimes sometimes crashes on my couch if he has plans with our daughter two days in a row, so that he can avoid commuting to and from his place in between days. Sharing space with him leaves me feeling so sad and rejected when he finally goes back to his life. The funny thing is, I’m the one who ended it a year ago. But I can’t seem to let go, even though I’m in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in with another guy. My heart aches for the marriage that I clung to for nine years out of hope. He just left now because I told him I wasn’t comfortable with him just hanging out at my place to avoid a drive. I know I should be proud of myself, but now I just feel so alone. He’ll never be what I needed.

    • renee says:

      @ Gloria- I know exactly what you mean when you say that your heart aches for the marriage that you clung to for years out of hope. Been there done that. Even though your in the healthiest relationship you\’ve ever been in with another man. Your ex being around in your house for a few days every week reactivates your sadness and you start to grieve again the loss of all that you hoped for.You\’re protecting yourself from having to grieve again and again by telling him that him being around isn\’t working for you (don\’t feel bad about) is a good thing. He can\’t be what you need and you accept that. Congrats on doing what\’s best for you and telling him to go so now you won\’t have to experience all those feelings anymore. There\’s something especially heart wrenching when you love someone but you can\’t be together with them but still have to have contact with them because you share a child together. My heart goes out to you. I hope understanding that your grief got triggered by him being around and that is why you feel the way you do. Also know it\’s a temporary feeling and it will pass now that he won\’t be staying there anymore. You did the right thing. You don\’t need to feel proud or not proud about it… no need to put a label like that on it. It\’s just you doing what\’s best for you and you are going to continue to be ok. Sounds like you\’ve come a long way. Best wishes to you and your new relationship.

  55. renee says:

    @ Rebecca- you hang in there, I know how hard it is with fighting the urge to contact him. Your doing great. What I’d do that helped when I had the urge to contact him was, I’d make a list of all the reasons I shouldn’t. And think about how lousy it would make me feel if I did. Like Nat said “it’s like seeking comfort from thorns” It’s not easy I know when someone breaks up with us when we still have feelings for them. But we need to take care of ourselves by doing what’s best for us, even when it’s hard. That way we won’t be drawing out the grieving process that your now in, so we can heal and finally be free. It’s only been 40 days, your still grieving, with time that will pass. Staying out of contact will help greatly.

  56. Sue says:

    Seven (7) months NC and it still hurts sometimes. Nat makes a good point that going back is not the answer. Thanks, I needed to hear that, today.

  57. Cherry says:

    Hey Guys!

    Some of you might remember my story from years ago….

    I was in a 5 year relationship with my ex who was emotionally unavailable and emotionally abused me. I eventually got stronger and ended the relationship and moved continents for a fresh start. I now have my own business which is doing really well. At the time I had become so bored of his on/off behavior and empty promises, I was sick of being hurt and I’d just had enough…

    A few months after I left, he turned up – he flew across the world to find me. He did, and asked me to marry him, with a ring and everything! I said no. Strange as when I was with him it was all I wanted, but I knew a marriage to him would equal a lifetime of unhappiness.

    Nearly a year down the line and with some contact, I have become a lot more independent and strong willed. Even though, my self esteem is still low and I have boggling doubts about the decisions I’ve made. My ex has been to therapy and says that he has changed, that he now understands love and wants to give me everything he couldn’t before. In my logic mind I know I would be a fool to go back, as I really don’t think he has changed, I think he is just scared as he no longer has the power to control me. I just need a little bit of reassurance from my self doubting self that were I to give it another go it would be the most stupid thing I could ever do. To think how far I have come, and the person I am becoming….

    I hate that I still even question a life with him sometimes….


    Much love,

    • simple pleasures says:

      I couldn’t remember your story Cherry and put “Cherry” in the search and came up with your post from May 7, 2012. Please reread what you wrote. Let me offer you reassurance that to give it another go would be the most stupid thing you could do.
      From someone who stupidly made it another go.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Cherry,

      I am a newcomer to Baggage Reclaim so I don’t know of your story. I can try to provide a little bit of advice, though, from what you’ve said here. I hope it helps – even if in a small way.

      While I have no doubt that people can and do change, I am less sure that your ex-EUM leopard can change his spots. One of my good friends always used to say to me ‘words are cheap’. It is so very easy for him to say that he’s changed, that he’s been to therapy, that he understands love. I’d be asking some more probing questions – How has he changed? Why does he now understand love? What would he do differently? Sure, he may be a different partner three months into a recovered relationship. Three years into it, however, and I’d hazard a guess he’d revert back to his former comfort zone – that of an EUM and emotional abuser. He sounds like a controller. Imagine how much he’d whittle down your newfound strength! Horrid.

      And, on that note, it isn’t worth how far you have come, to go back to that. Like simple pleasures says below, I too have gone back to an EUM, three times (argh, I feel sick typing that). I was reeled in by his words, and not his actions. I was hooked on his promises, and not his deeds. At the time (this was back in 2010 and I was only 24), I hadn’t discovered Baggage Reclaim, I didn’t know my worth, I didn’t know my boundaries, and I certainly didn’t know what an EUM or AC was. It is only the most recent one that has brought me here. And it has been like a revelation.

      But you’ve had your revelation! Don’t go back on it. There is someone out there who will show you his emotional availability from the very start. Who will never abuse you. Don’t go back to someone who you will likely always doubt. He’s not a good man. Otherwise you’d still be together.

      Hugs to you dear girl. Stay in touch, and most of all, stay on here so you can keep strong.


      • LovefromNel says:

        Also, to anwer the question (sorry, I tend to ramble without actually answering the question that was asked).

        No, I don’t think you’d be stupid. If you were stupid (I hate that word!), you wouldn’t be here in the first place, asking advice.

        I do think it would be unwise though. There’s a difference!

    • grace says:

      I remember. Don’t go back. You already did the hard bit, keep going. And cut the contact. I was intermittently in contact with an ex, it was very insignificant contact but I do feel relieved it’s completely over. I ignore him completely. Like your ex he was self deluded and overly romantic about “us” even though there was no “us”. He was nowhere near as abusive though. Your ex is actually dangerous.

    • Mymble says:

      I remember your story. It was one of the worst. He was beyond EUM and AC he was something far worse. He will do or say whatever it takes to get his hands on you and then you will find that not only has he not changed he has got worse and he will take revenge for you having escaped.
      If he felt true remorse for how he behaved he would wish you well and leave you alone. As it is he is again refusing to respect your wishes and continuing to pursue when you have said no. That isn’t love and romance, that is about power and control. Cut him off and cut contact.

  58. Jane says:

    Cherry. I’ve read your old post. All I can say is please keep away from this destructive man in every way. It’s not even remotely worth your time to try take another chance there and figure out whether or not he has changed. You put so much effort to move on slowly from that unhappy time in your life and it’s only you who can hold on and save yourself from this self-worth crushing man. The only thing that holds you back from completely moving on is that you were in touch with him after all. Just cut contact completely, it is the only way to make sure there isn’t a little peace of your heart still pining or him or hoping he will be different one day. You are probably right about him being afraid he is loosing control over you. So if that is something you don’t want, then don’t allow him to somehow sneak his way into your life again and make you unstable. Every time you start wondering again if maybe this man was The One for you, try to remember that it’s simply not true because if he was, you would have had a loving relationship and you’d still be having one with this man.
    Someone else’s true genuine care isn’t supposed to feel like shit. I remember some old post by Nathalie saying pain is not love. Pain is pain. If you look back on everything that happened in your “relationship” (warzone) I really feel that this dude you describe is f*cking unbelievable and if you hold on for 5 years to this man, I feel you will end up even worse if you go back now. It will just be even harder to get out of there again because you feel you invested so much. All I can think when I read your story is cut him from your life completely (really, no contact) and focus on your own life with healthy friends and things to do. And every time you are about to pine for him, just remember the drama, the bullshit and just recall how you felt like this relationship was hell and wonder why you stayed in there for 5 years to begin with. It should make you angry I think and it gives energy to move away from him. Remember that you do not need in touch to ‘follow up what he is doing’ or whatever because what he does or not should be more or less irrelevant to whatever you are going to do. That you sometimes question your decision does not mean you didn’t make the right one (cutting him out and trying your best to move on). You came a long way, don’t throw it out of the window. Don’t go back.
    Good luck!

  59. regina says:

    I am a newbie here too and am so thankful to have found this site. Next month would have been or 45th anniversary. But for the last 5 years I didn’t know what took over my “loving” husband. Jekyll and Hyde. Cruel and then so kind again. Kicked him out numerous times during these last 5 years, but kept taking him back because the previous 40 years were good. I finally had enough hurt and tears and filed for divorce 3 months ago. We are now divorced, but he comes quite often, on his own, to help with maintaining my house, taking me to doctor appointments, food shopping, etc. Yet, when he’s here, he usually will do something hurtful to me in an emotional sense. I do need his help here, but it’s truly costing me more drama and hurt. I can’t afford to hire handymen and so just keep letting him come to help. Our sons think I am the problem and he is so convincing… that they have pretty much turned against me. I do believe he is a Narcissist and have learned that he may also have early onset dementia which could explain his total change in personality. I’m a pretty attractive 65 year old and have been told I look like I’m only 50 but I have no single friends to go out with and am so so sad and alone. I”m finding it difficult to manage on my own and so I default to his constant offer of help.
    I divorced him to stop the agony and now I’m still in the same place anyway. I don’t try to entice him in any way, and have flat-out blasted him for trying to make me a booty call, which he has tried 3 times already since the divorce. I believe he only keeps offering his help here, because that is the only power and control he can have over me now. What do you kind people think about this situation? He thinks I have this wonderful single life, and doesn’t want to move back here anyway, so why come to always “help” me??? Power and Control?? I truly appreciate any feedback.

    • grace says:

      Could be the dementia. Friend’s wife had it, turned her from a sweetheart to the, er, opposite. He couldn’t look after her anymore (he’s 80) and had to put her into a home.
      My mother has gone into a mental decline and it makes her personality quite bearable whereas before, not so much. So illness can definitely change them.
      Two options – develop an emotional forcefield so he can’t get a rise out of you or b) take a diy course, and you’d meet new people too

  60. simple pleasures says:

    If you had 40 good years together, he’s not a narcissist. It does sound more like his changes are due to aging. I suspect it’s hard to break old habits. He probably comes around because he experienced 40 good years, is now a bit adrift like you. But you are familiar, comfortable, and well, he can be himself with you, he doesn’t have to try to impress you. If he’s 65ish too, he’s probably reviewing his work history, and life in general, wondering what’s next. You are 3 months divorced and grieving the loss of a very long term committed relationship. You’ve parted from a companion and face the uncertainties of aging too.Of course you feel sad and alone. You’re grieving. Your sons have no idea what went on in the privacy of your home, don’t be defensive to them, they just don’t know. If you appreciate his handyman help try to make the jump to He is my friend, he helps me out, we’ve known each other our entire adult lives. If he’s grumpy, sarcastic, critical, whatever negative stuff he puts on you, just think to yourself that neurologically, psychologically, physically his age is wearing on him. It’s not about you, you look great.

    • regina says:

      Thank you both, Grace and Simple Pleasures, for kindly responding to my request for feedback. I really do agree that in view of my need for physical help here, I REALLY DO NEED TO DEVELOP AN EMOTIONAL FORCEFIELD FROM HIS EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND YET STILL BENEFIT FROM HIS HELP, WHICH IS ALL HE HAS LEFT ME WITH AFTER A 47 YEAR RELATIONSHIP.
      I now look at him as a cruel and malicious fraud and question all the years I THOUGHT were good. If the change in him is due to dementia or alzheimers, I would have rather lost him to death than to such cruel betrayal. But thanx again for your kind responses to my post.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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