married topline data

Back in the day when I worked in advertising, I’d use research data for pitches. As I’d experienced enough boring presentations, I recognised the importance of delivering the most salient points. There was a saying that we used to bandy around a lot that forced us to cut through the fluff:

“Give me the topline data!” – I talked about this a couple of years back with my post How bad do things have to get?

“The topline data in relationships are the key overall ‘symptoms’ of your situation. Many of us get lost in the details, investigating the other persons problems, looking for understanding of why every last little thing is happening and rationalising the situation by finding even the smallest of anomalies to justify why our situation is different, why the person is an exception to the rule etc.”

I’m reminded of this when I, for example see readers complaining about umpteen things that a person is doing and then adding that they’re married, and then seeing other readers (hat tip to Grace, Fearless et al) remind them that actually, it’s them being married (or attached) that’s fundamentally the issue. The other stuff is the detail and contextually, as in, in the context of being married/attached, it’s actually what you consider to be important enough to latch onto however they’re inadvertently legitimising all of the reasons you should be exiting.


It’s the same when people tell me that someone hasn’t been calling, keeps blowing hot and cold, won’t commit to being with them, won’t commit to not being with them, is sleeping with someone else or trying it on with someone else in the office…oh and they said at the start that they didn’t want a relationship, or that it was never going to be anything other than casual, and yada yada yada. They’re unavailable – not committing to action never mind a relationship is top of the agenda hence actions and words don’t match, hence there’s a problem, hence you’re not mutual.

Often, when you’re drowning in the detail and you keep bringing up certain points about their behaviour, you’re actually inadvertently supporting the topline information about your relationship.

Take the married example pictured. There’s no point in ‘suddenly’ realising that they’re cheating and married, or thinking it’s for some noble reason – there’s no such thing as an honest cheat. They have to communicate by text because they’re cheating, they’re not leaving because they’re married, they’ve said they might leave because they’re married but if they’d immediately said that they weren’t leaving you might have cut off the free access to the Crumb Per View shag, ego stroke and a shoulder to lean on.

They say they can’t leave the kids because they’re married and it’s also because it seems so much more palatable and humanitarian. They send sexts because they’re married so they have to send dodgy pics and ask you if you have any underwear on because they’re not around all the time to do it in the flesh. They may be sleeping with someone else because, well, one is clearly never enough anyway, and they break promises because one can’t make them when one is breaking promises with someone else, plus they keep asking you to wait because they don’t want the backup plan and free cake to end.

Take the unavailable example. You’re focusing on those good points because they’re unavailable – if they were available and you were happy, you wouldn’t have to itemise them and separate out the ‘good points’. Things aren’t progressing because they’re unavailable. You have so much in common and yet they’re unavailable – this means that much as your commonalities are great, you don’t have mutual ground where it really counts. They said they don’t want to commit – it’s because they’re unavailable. They’ve Future Faked numerous times because they’re unavailable which means commitment issues, which means they’ll flip flap and undermine what they say and do. They keep getting off with their ex because they’re uncommitted and unavailable. They’re unavailable.

It’s quite easy when you’ve lost sight of yourself and your values to be unable to see the wood for the trees. You get so used to justifying your initial reasons to be with someone, and then you get used to justifying your subsequent reasons, and after a while, it just becomes one big justification drive. It’s about having a reason to stay and avoid getting out of the comfort zone with an uncomfortable but necessary decision, even though you’re actually making a very good case for why you should take a parachute and jump.

Last year I wrote about whether you can elevator pitch your relationship issues – can you take a story that you might spend hours telling and get down to the core problem and explain it in 30 seconds to a minute? It helps you drop all of the excuses and denial so that you can focus and stem the distraction.

When there’s a presence of code red and amber issues in a relationship, they trump the detail. Trump.

Topline represents the most critical information. Ignoring the fact that someone, is for example married is like saying that you don’t see infidelity and the fact that they’re married as that big an issue. You might think the other person can be dispensed of for the right reasons – the love of you. You think cheating is OK for the right reasons – chasing love.

Clinging and drowning to detail actually shrouds the relationship and your vision of it in illusions. The more detail that you’re using to justify and explain your relationship, is actually the greater indication of how much boundary busting and values conflicted behaviour and bullshit that you’re putting up with.

If you’re trying to work out what you should do next and how to make a decision, use the topline data to guide your decision and add context to all of the other information. When you do, the path to doing the right thing by you will open up. Until then, you’re just painting yourself into a corner with detail and excuses.

Your thoughts?

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168 Responses to Are you drowning in detail? The importance of heeding the ‘topline data’ of your relationship

  1. AngelFace says:

    My Current Topline Data Is:
    He is stalking me and violating me by moving 7 houses from me on same street. It is a sick form of negative control. I’m not dealing with it very well.

    Today a friend who is a counselor told me she will give me the contact info of a counselor who specializes in stalking issues. I am starting my weekend with more confidence and peace. I have not been doing so well these past three (holiday) weeks with him and I home at same time, even though I have been trying to ignore him and forget all about the abuse & etc… I feel so sad and so violated. Time for a professional.

    • To be honest AngelFace, it’s a bit difficult to ‘forget’ about abuse unless you’re good at lying to yourself which in itself presents other problems. If you accept the fact that you have in fact been abused and that you’re abuser is now living seven doors away, you can focus on the action part – how are you going to handle the situation? Seeing a counselor is a priority and formulating a short and medium term plan. As long you accept the topline information – he’s a narcissist which means he’s dangerous plus he’s been abusive which means you should stay away, no questions asked, you give no room to him in your life. Don’t try to figure out what he might be thinking or doing, what his gameplan is etc – unless you’re an assclown yourself, you couldn’t even begin to imagine what he might be thinking. He’s just a man who lives 7 doors away, one that you know that you must have nothing further to do with. Don’t have any contact and go about your life as if you don’t see him. Look straight ahead as you pass his house even if when you get around the corner, you collapse in a heap. If he is seeing signs of affecting you, it feeds his thirst for attention. He has a harem and is already no doubt targeting his new prey. Of course, you could move but you may not want to do that. If however this situation isn’t addressed in the short to medium term, as in within the next 3-6 months, you will have to consider moving – no house is worth your peace of mind. He’s not winning if you move but if you end up being a prisoner of your own mind and home because he lives 7 doors away, you’ll have to question the value of staying.

      • jennynic says:

        Angelface. I was stalked by an ex who was abusive and threatening and who used my neighbor as his spy. They both ganged up on me and when I stood up for myself they cut me at the knees by trying to make me an outcast socially and threatened my safety. I never had a moments peace and ended up hiding in my house with blankets over the windows, eating dinner in the dark, and parking around the block and climbing over my back fence to throw them off my schedule. I lived in a prison and I was losing my sanity. I was told to stand my ground by some but all it did was fuel their aggressive harassment. I kept thinking I had control over it and that I couldn’t let them force me out of my home, but I was living my life in hiding and in a state of fear. I eventually moved when I knew the ex was out of town and didn’t tell anyone but my family where my new place was. It was in the same town but it was out from under their noses. I didn’t own the house so logistically it was easy for me to just find a new rental. Take being stalked very serious. Listen to what Natalie says and listen to your gut. I wish you the best.

  2. tired_of_assanova says:

    There’s also bottom line data- the conclusion we draw after reading it all.

    Bottom line – OPT OUT!!

    • RadioGirl says:

      I was thinking the same thing before I even read your comment, Tired! Topline, distilled from the long list of issues and “problems” he and/or we had, boiled down to him being emotionally unavailable. Bottom line was that he therefore wasn’t treating me with much love, care, trust or respect so – FLUSH! So simple, really.

    • Actually, the top line is the bottom line! When you hear the words ‘unavailable’, ‘married’, ‘narcissist’, ‘liar’, ‘control freak’, ‘abuser’, ‘user’, ‘doesn’t want a relationship’, ‘only wants to text me’, ‘just wants sex’ – while this is the top line data, it’s fundamentally the bottom line. Rationalising any of this stuff is just bullshit by another name.

  3. runnergirl says:

    Totally loved this post Natalie. I know you (and Grace & Fearless etc) know how long it took for me to sort out the details from the topline: He’s MARRIED. Shoulda been game over. Thank you for the constant thump up side the head and for your amazing patience. Swear to God and BR, after two years, I really did suddenly realize he was married, cheating, not leaving, and there was no noble reason other than he liked the free cake and Crumb Per View shag and he was a liar. Although I didn’t have the exact words, it was a rude night. I just can’t imagine I was upset over only getting a text when he was with his wife. At work, we call it lost in the weeds. Of course, I was upset not because of a text but because he had a wife. Duh. I am only now coming to grips with how deep in the OW weeds I was. There wasn’t even a forest.
    I can elevator pitch it in one second and two words: He’s MARRIED.
    Always so grateful for your clarity. It’s kinda hard to wake up and realize he’s married, I’m buried in the weeds, and there are trees let alone a forest! I wish there was something more than thank you. Thank you.

    • I think many an OW goes through this Runnergirl – in fact all of them do really because it’s like the weight of them being attached doesn’t seem to materialise until it becomes obvious that it’s not a ‘relationship’ or that they’re not leaving. It was only in hindsight that I recognised that the attitude I had to him breaking it off with his girlfriend was very out of sync with how *I* would like to be treated by a man and have our relationship ‘disposed’ off. It is remembering that she’s human, with a name etc that adds a lot of reality to the whole thing.

      • NCC says:

        I feel for myself as the main relationship who got cheated on, and for the OW in the ACs harem. My top line is, “he’s a cheater.” And that is followed by ALL other AC traits and him being a habitual cheater and LIAR. Nomatter how much I wanted to believe I was the exception, or really even the “main” relationship, I would never trust him again. Sadly, sometimes I don’t even know if I was the “main” one or the OW. To some women, I’m guessing I was the OW. We lived together so I feel it stings even more to think he thought he could get away with it all. I don’t feel much anger towards the women, just towards him. If they knew about me, does that make them better, or worse than me? Neither I’m guessing, they were being fed bulls*&t just as I was. I like what you say Natalie about giving “life” to her so to speak, and realizing that basically the way he would have to handle “disposing” of her…you wouldn’t want to be treated that way were you in her shoes. That’s what happened to me. And I got to see how cruelly and coldly he treated two of the OW when our paths crossed. I knew, as a woman, the pain they must feel as well when he did that to them. Guess what, as I knew he would, he eventually did the same to me. Trust me when I say both are equally painful…being the “main” woman who he tricks into thinking is the exception, and being “disposed” of for somene else. Again, top line, he’s a cheater. I almost feel like if he wrote a list about me, it would include, “doormat for me to wipe my dirty shoes on.” But guess what, that’s not me anymore, but he is and my guess is will always, be a cheater. And all of the ugly things that go along with that.

        • SM says:

          NCC you are so right, nobody wins with these cheaters. Not the wife, the ow, the new girlfriend, the girl he leaves you for, nobody. The only one that wins is the one that opts out of these situations even if you are the spouse. Noone he is romantically involved with gets all of him, the spouse may get their bills paid but they have no security what-so-ever. I know, I was the spouse, the mistress got dumped as soon as I opted out because guess what…an affair is not so fun once you are single and have lost your nice little warm home.

          • NCC says:

            “The only one that wins is the one that opts out of these situations”

            Thank you SM, I need to hear that. Thank you too for the support. Back at ‘cha! It’s so true too about how no one has security with these men and as you say, “no one involved with him gets all of him.” I felt that way the entire relationship. I knew I wasn’t getting all of him, that is one of those feelings I wish I hadn’t ignored. It almost feels like I wanted to be the victim again, so that when it ended, and I always knew it would, I’d get to be sad again…aka be in my uncomfortable comfort zone. This I see as my own emotional unavailability. Instead of loving, caring, and trusting myself in the beginning to make an ACTUAL solid decision, as always, I let him play out the relationship how he saw fit, and I ate up the crumbs that filled my most desired needs and what felt good. I will say that I have to be compassionate with myself at the same time, and remember I’m human and make mistakes, and I’m trying to learn from those.
            I was only in this for 6 months and not married to him, this has been the most difficult break up with an EUM/AC yet though, hopefully because it is my game changer. He was divorced, but only a few months prior when he told me a year. It breaks my heart to hear people can do this to spouses. Hugs SM!

        • ixnay says:

          I hear you, NCC.

          I *thought* I was the main woman. We lived together. Now I wonder if I was ever the main woman, or just a crash pad. I’m pretty sure that when he left the apartment, to anyone he interacted with, I didn’t exist.

          • NCC says:


            Thank you for commenting. I’m sorry to you and anyone who has gone through something similar, but the support from someone who understands helps so much. The reality of him using me and lying to AND about me hurts more and more each day, and at the sametime sometimes less each day because I’m processing it and moving away from caring about him, and caring about myself and valuing ME instead. But, it’s still so early on. This man only told those he was also lying too about me. He used “our” house as his wh*rehouse at any extra moment he had. And HE was the wh*re. Pretty sure I didn’t exist for many of his intents and purposes.

  4. MaryC says:

    You gotta take off the rose-colored glasses in order to see the “Topline Data” in the first place.

    • RadioGirl says:

      Very true, MaryC – and Baggage Reclaim was the place that first helped to remove my rose-tinted specs, and divest myself of that heavy and burdensome fur coat of denial too. What a relief to see clearly, and run free and unencumbered!

  5. Fantasy Girl says:

    I would like to know why after a lifetime of being the LAST person who would condone infidelity, I became a would-be OW (refused to sleep with him) and STILL pine over him after he went NC with me for not sleeping with him or agreeing to being FWB. It’s disgusting. This is some MM crack for sure. It’s bizarre how you can be sucked into this sh*t and then the MM runs off leaving you holding the emotional bag wondering how you got there. Ugh. NC all the way (again).

    • Sushi says:

      Fantasy Girl, you DIDN`T BECOME the other woman. That`s the important thing, and as Natalie said decisions that are good for you in the long term sometimes feel shit at the time/short term. It`s so true and so hard to try to see when you feel in the present. Keep strong.

    • Lynda from L says:

      Fantasy Girl,
      You might have felt a whole lot worse if you had slept with him and he had strung you along for a while. Just take each day as it comes, but you had a lucky escape.Thinking of you.

    • Well that’s a question that only you hold the answer to Fantasy Girl. What I will say after seeing numerous people in variations of your situation, whether you realise it or not, you got off on this kind of attention and then when it stopped, you missed that feeling of being desired, the fantasy etc. Even if you didn’t sleep with him, you have had an emotional affair with this man – even though you say you don’t condone it, what you didn’t actually condone was *sleeping* with him. Unfortunately you tried to hold out for your terms because you wanted him – he didn’t yield to your terms so in the end, you feel rejected.

  6. Fantasy Girl says:

    I’m sorry you have to deal with that Angelface. Stay strong.

  7. Tasha says:

    Oh, brother…. TODAY I dealt with the harsh reality of acknowledging some top-line data in my current relationship: He’s controlling.

    It doesn’t matter that the difference of opinion over some assinine CD was silly. He did not respect my opinion, though he wants me to respect his. A BIG double-standard…and a boundary violation.

    Then, he proceeds to turn the car around 20 minutes away from the destination because HE decided that I would not enjoy his company for the rest of the evening. I felt like a punished child. Boundary violation #2.

    He then proceeds to pick up the argument from earlier by misquoting me and telling me that my thought process was illogical and goading me into justifying my illogical position further. Drama. Boundary violation #3.

    Needless to say, I told him to fuck off.

    Relationship terminated.

  8. Heartache Amy says:

    This was (is) me. I lost sight of the big picture when I got involved with a married man this past summer. I’ve been reeling from being separated from my husband, so I was vulnerable, and along came a church-going (married) man who set out to pursue me, mostly via e-mail, then texts, and I fell for it. He future-faked, lied and told me strange things (like asking me if I had a room in my house for his sons to stay in) and somehow, I tried to normalize them. He flattered me to the nth degree, and yes, I admit I enjoyed the brief amount of time I spent with him. Of course, it ended, via e-mail, with him writing a bunch of lies and things that I said so that it would be easier for HIM to end it. It was cowardly and hurtful on his part. I never thought I would go for a married man, and I’m ashamed to say, at the time, I didn’t really care about what it could do to his wife. After all, I had been hurt, so why not someone else, I figured. Wrong of me, but it was how I felt. The ending of this brief fling was a blessing in disguise. This guy is taking a heavy duty anti-seizure/anti-depression med, and he seems to have little in the way of morals, despite his church and lodge activities. Quite hypocritical, I feel. Four months later, though, I admit that my thoughts still drift to him, probably because I still see him at church. I’m in the midst of getting divorced, I’m stressed, sad and lonely, and at this particular time, have little hope for meeting a decent guy. I’m dealing with a lot of loss, so I figure that’s why I keep thinking of him. I know nothing will ever come of it, but it makes me feel ashamed and sad that I keep doing this. But, it helps to remind myself of the forest for the trees: this guy is married. Bottom line. I just wish he hadn’t chased after me, and I wish I had been stronger to resist it.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      It’s not just married people either – I know a lot of people who have “open” relationships. I know five or six couples (former or current) that have had an arrangement like this. I think it’s become far more important now to ask questions like ‘are you seeing someone’ and *doing* something with that information.

      Sadly, I had my head in the sand for so long, in denial, and I got burnt pretty badly. Even with red flags in my face I still did not see.

      Oh well, I made a mistake and should have opted out much sooner!

    • Bessie says:

      I understand where you are … the same happened to me this past year and … I’ve ended up working with him, can you believe (and we work together so so so so well). Its been an interesting 2011 for personal development.

      Because I now work with this guy (married, 5 children) I have found out by investigative means that he has more than 5 children (yes, secret children) and has had about 20 lovers in the past year or so. No wonder he can’t hold down a conversation and calls every woman he speaks to, whether he knows them or not, darling or sweetheart.

      He is a predator and the more I find out the more I reckon he’s a psychopath/sociopath. I’m well out of that one (I called it a day before I started working with him) and I pity his wife and his other lovers, all of whom think they are the only one.

      Be warned, all you others!!

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        @ Bessie, There’s ALWAYS more than one person in the competition isn’t there? It’s like ego stroke crack! And worse, as a fallback I was *solely* focused on getting the AC – totally neglecting the fact that other people would also be making offers/pursuits.

        I recently found out a friend of mine met their current partner while playing around on someone else’s open relationship. And then it was ambiguous so they started dating someone else – but then went back to coax their current partner out of the open arrangement with this other person – which makes four people involved; I struggled to listen to how complex this sounded.

        In this case, the exception was made, and the current partner organised themselves, left the open relationship and are now with my friend. But this is the EXCEPTION!!!

        I had to say, my mind boggles!

        • RadioGirl says:

          Even if I *was* made the exception in a scenario like this, I’m not sure I’d ever feel very secure in the relationship though….

          • grace says:

            Yep. For me, it would go the other way. I’d “fight” for “my” man and then ditch him after a year or two cos I didn’t really want him, I just wanted to win. Sometimes the underdog turns the tables just so they can be the dumper. Yes, it’s ridiculous.
            We shouldn’t have to “fight” for anyone. We certainly shouldn’t be fighting off other women. If it doesn’t come naturally I’m no longer interested.
            As soon as I get that familiar old feeling “Am I better than her, Am I more interesting, Am I pretty enough? Can I win?” I know it’s time to GO HOME!
            The only feeling I’m going to follow from now on will be the unfamiliar one of:
            “Oh, my, this man is single, available and suitable. So am I. This could really go somewhere”

    • Eloise says:

      Heartache Amy, I’ve come to realise, from my experiences with emotionally unavailable men (albeit not married, but EUM all the same) and reading BR, that relationships are just mirrors of our current state of emotional health.

      You say the married man is on anti depression medication and you refer to yourself as “stressed, sad and lonely”. The married man “has little in the way of morals” and you refer to yourself as being “ashamed” and “wrong” in that, at the time, you didn’t care whether he had a wife or not.

      You’ve just come out of a marriage and you have to deal with that loss yourself (not through someone else). Feelings are finite, but they need to be felt to go away. I’m now firmly of the view that I want to be someone that I would want to be in a relationship with (ie emotionally available and happy in my life). Someone else cannot make me that person. I have to be it myself. Spend time on you, sorting out you for you. Then you’ll not just be strong enough to resist, but you’ll not be interested in that type of guy in the first place. You have the power to take the heartache out of Amy.

      • Sushi says:

        Amy, this man is a passive agressive manipulative user. I can`t imagine how hard dealing with him and divorce must be. Eloise is right she verbalised it so well. That is what I think I am doing, becoming someone I would want to be with. I feel I`m recovering from the break up, but it is different than any other time I have gone through a break up before. I`m finding myself at the out of chaos stage, on the way to a better self esteem and it feels like I am at the same time sorting out all my break-ups and hurts from before. I stopped feeling desperate for a relationship, stopped worrying about getting older, running out of time. There is so much more I need/want to do for myself. I`m definitely an EUM now, but in a good way :) This focusing on yourself business is an absolute revelation!

      • P. says:

        Beautiful, Eloise.

    • Fantasy Girl says:


      “I just wish he hadn’t chased after me, and I wish I had been stronger to resist it.”

      I feel your pain there. This guy chased me for sex for a YEAR! I resisted but still became emotionally attached falling for his bs. And I became attached because he told me “things he never told anyone before” and all the rest of the bs straight out of the MM handbook.

      Don’t feel shame about something, change it! I am taking control of my thoughts now and REFUSE to give him anymore of my head space. If he pops in my mind, he can pop right back out!

      • Heartache Amy says:

        Thanks, all. Yes, I HAVE been mirroring the MM – he’s unhappy in his marriage, he’s depressed, and I identified with that. He has little in the way of morals and when I was with him, I lost track of mine (in some senses). And yes, he is passive aggressive and a manipulator. It’s a Godsend that I’m not still with him. I know I need to work on myself, work on being happy with who I am. This is where I’m struggling because it’s a blow to the self-esteem when I’m feeling rejected, in some senses, by two men (albeit, men who are total jerks and who are completely inappropriate for me).

    • Hi Heartache Amy – affairs are like uppers and painkillers. They’re tonics for escaping your problems and feeling desired by someone who’d have to make you the exception and essentially eff over someone else in order to have a legit, out in the open relationship.

      What I would suggest though is that the word ‘church’ always comes up in your comments Amy and while we’re all human and err, you could also stand to be reflective of the values that have you returning to that church week after week, in mind, actions, and soul. It would have been great if he hadn’t chased you but it would also have been great if you told him to eff off at his first move – it’s the same for all OWs.

      You’re trying to take a shortcut – you don’t want to feel the feelings, experience the loss, and come to terms with the end of your marriage. You wanted to jump into an affair with an immoral, skirt chasing, buffoon of a man who actually has some serious issues, issues I might add that would not have magically disappeared with you. Until you deal with your feelings and the loss and also stop feeling sorry for yourself over the affair, you are unable to operate from a position of strength. I personally know women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s who have started new relationships. Unless you know something that nobody else knows, even God himself, I think you’re exaggerating somewhat when you suggest that out of near 7 billion people, in a time when over 45s have never been so plentiful, all of the decent people are gone. It begs the question of why you go to church if you have so little faith in the human race and yourself?

      Cry, wail, scream, punch some pillows, join a new church, jog, walk, swim, have a mini bonfire in your back garden and pretend to be Angela Basset’s character in Waiting To Exhale – maybe burn an unsent letter or two where you write out your anger to your ex, to yourself, to the jackass from church, go to a counselor, speak with your priest, volunteer, keep a Feeling’s Diary, clear out all the old stuff in your home and reorganise, see a therapist, take a trip, start a class, do something new every week, but basically do anything other than beating yourself with a shame stick.

      • blueberry girl says:

        “…do something new every week, but basically do anything other than beating yourself with a shame stick.”
        I’m miserable with my life in many areas (job, relationships, appearance, etc) and your last paragraph gave me a jolt. I keep looking for an AC/EU shortcut to my personal happiness when all roads lead back to me. And, no, a new sweater, shoes, handbag, etc. is not going to work…

  9. EB says:

    Well written N.
    When you’re in DEEP you’ll use any detail to solidify your actions.
    But, then again, something VERY basic is wrong here. That’s one little detail that is constantly in front of us – They Are Attached.. Well, at least it was in front of me…so I acted on it and went no contact. Almost killed me, but hey – I’m here writing this comment. With a smile.
    Cheers N.

  10. Lynn says:

    As I told him, “You lie to me and you lie about me”. That summed it up. Liar.

  11. Sharon says:

    Natalie-every thing on your “married” list was checked off for me. I feel good its not in my life anymore and I have set clear boundries. I am no contact from the MM now since November. He keeps texting, and I keep ignoring. For some reason it is very different this time. And as the months go by, I feel stronger and stronger. This time I don’t care if I have another man in my life, I am happy on my own. This time I know it is different.
    >>AngelFace. Oh I am so sorry. Now your home doesn’t feel safe and that is bad. I’m glad you are getting help. Stalking was an issue for me too, but not living that close. This is at a whole different level. If you live in the US there are local services for this. I am sure your friend is pointing you in the right direction.
    Hugs to you. <3

  12. Dee says:

    Women deserve to be in the light instead of being kept in the dark, that’s what happens when we date married men. Good read!

  13. Dublin says:

    I read all these articles (great articles) and for me, the bottom line is…he doesn’t love me..period. I’m not ever going to be the “one” for him. I am wasting my time, and love on a man that doesn’t really love me. Oh he will tell me he does, but I know he doesn’t. You don’t lie, manipulate, use, and cheat on someone you love. You don’t create doubt with someone you love. You don’t make someone you love feel insecure with the relationship, never knowing where you stand with them. And that’s how he has made me feel for almost four years. He will always be a liar, a cheater, a user. I’m done with riding his crazy train, I want off. I’m pissed at myself, I seen it and thought if I was good to him, loved him well, treated him well, he would love me the way I deserved to be loved. I was living in a fantasy land, I created. I allowed this man to treat me badly. No more, I’m done. I have no more desire, or energy for this. It’s been 3 weeks of no contact, it’s been hard. And he has been persistent. But nope I just don’t feel the love I once did, he killed that. I fought for a man that really doesn’t want me, but doesn’t want anyone else to have me either. I’m licking my wounds healing up. I’m not playing victim anymore, whinny, depressed. Never again will I let a man like that in my life, never. I started therapy to find out what MY issues are. Obviously I have a few for tolerating poor treatment from him. It’s all about me now. I’m taking the time I need to be healthy again. I’m starting to feel the happiness I had before I met him. I want Natalie to know how happy I am that I found this site, and how valuable her posts have been to me.

    • RadioGirl says:

      Well said, Dublin – and a heartfelt “ditto” to everything you wrote. Our new and permanent Topline Data has to be I’m Taking Good Care of Myself. Stay strong – onwards and upwards!

    • InLoveWithMarried says:

      Same with me…like my story!!! Good luck!

    • You’re welcome Dublin and it’s great that you’re putting your energy where it really matters and where it really counts – on you.

      These people drain you, even of the original good feelings you had for them. No relationship should feel like doing ten rounds and having to keep getting back up – there’s better ways to spend your life. I’m glad you’re tapping into the happiness that existed before you met him.

  14. NICOLE93 says:

    OH GOSH. Yes. This is what I needed right now…

    When you’re caught up in lust and attraction, its so incredibly easy to stop thinking clearly and slide down the hill of fantasy and illusion — the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. I always tell people to follow their gut feeling. If there is a little nagging whisper on your conscience telling you something is off, LISTEN TO IT for Christ’s sake. Especially with us women… we are experts at analyzing the crap out of everything and anything when in reality there was little or no meaning to it at all. This post reminded me of my best friend who is having an emotional affair with an attached guy. 1) She lacks personal boundaries 2) She is a magnet for emotionally unavailable men and assclowns 3) She looks past the main picture and focuses on frivolous detail. I’ve tried talking some sense into her time and time again but to no avail. She listens to me and pretends to agree with every word I’m saying but then continues to act without self-love or self respect. She’s also a people pleaser so she has a hard time saying no to anyone. I just don’t know when she’ll finally wake up and realize that all her relationship woes are self-created. Yes he’s a manipulative a**hole, but she’s a perfect target for guys like him: naive, flighty and lacking self-respect.

  15. kristen says:

    I do find it interesting how some people just won’t see the big picture.
    I am trying to stay out f a friend’s business, but I may have to just stop hanging out with her to do so because it is making me want to puke.

    She gets hurt, but then little crumbs mean the greatest expression of love to her. She looks at movies and fairy tales as great examples of love. To her, it is ok that there was another woman the whole time that he needed to explore his feelings for. To her, if she did not let him go be with this other woman, he would “resent” her. She was hurt by it, but showed him how pretty she is by getting all dressed up for him, saying she understood tho it hurt her so… told him she wanted him, etc. , continued to communicate with him while he was “feeling it out” with the other woman… Now she is so happy that he found his happiness with her because he came back to her. She says he is worth waiting for. I see it as she is easier because he knows she is hooked and there for him and will let him do anything he wants and lives closer to him than the other woman, but she sees it as he realized what a great love he can have with HER instead. She didn’t tell me exactly what he said, only told me that he came back and all is well and it didn’t work with the other woman and she is so happy and feels great that she waited and “stood up for herself,” by telling him how she felt about him and how much she loved him while he was gone.

    But the big picture is… he is married and unavailable to really build that great loving relationship that she seems to crave and think she is in. It has been 8 months and the divorce is not even starting. So she will stay in this dizzy love state while he chats online and has a wife.

    I am told that I don’t understand or am envious or that he is really such a great guy with so many great qualities and this is what dating is all about. wow– is that a quality man? I guess it can work out. I guess the big picture doesn’t matter. I guess it will be roses until he needs to “feel out” the next girl. Or maybe he is done and is hers as she is his? She is fully invested in him, but is he in her? Other friends think what she has is great and perfect and going just the way it should be. Am I crazy for seeing it so differently? Do you think he magically changed and really did decide he values…

    • Fantasy Girl says:

      I feel sorry for your friend kristen. The MM I spent time with seemed like he wanted me to move close to him. He even suggested I hang out at the pool in the building where he lives with his wife. Uh, no. I do believe he expected me to behave like your friend. I can see how when you are in that world the crumbs can become that meaningful – like the random reward manipulation of casino slot machines.

      And to answer you question about do I think he’s changed? HEEEEEELLLLLLLLL NOOOOOO! Why would he need to change? Your friend is making herself the perfect doormat.

    • grace says:

      You may be able to prevent her from continuing to share her garbage with you by pouring cold water on it. If she says:
      “He’s a really special person worth waiting for”
      You say
      “Yeah, maybe his wife thinks so too”
      She says
      “I wonder why I haven’t heard from all this weekend”
      You say
      “Cos he’s married?”
      Eventually, your friend will stop talking to you about it. The classic line that I once yelled out in the middle of the office when I’d had enough of a colleague’s drama was
      Funnily enough, she’s stopped sharing her nonsense with me but I still hang out with her. We’re still friends but she knows where I draw the line.
      Bottom line is this – maybe she needs to share the garbage with someone else with more tolerance for it. YOU can be the friend she does other stuff with. We can’t be all things to all people.

    • Dublin says:

      I lost a good friend over my constant talking and BS about my EUM. She just seen me as a weak person, and stupid for tolerating being treated bad. And couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t/couldn’t just walk away, why I took him back. It hurt me that because of this man, and my own insecurities I lost a friend. She told me she didn’t want to be friends with me and my drama. That was a huge wake up call for me. Yet I was there for her and all her many men issues. She would date a man a few weeks or months then dump him because of “red flags”. She followed her own advice. But I suppose she seen me as a friend red flag also.

  16. raven says:

    This is a great post! The visuals work really well – what is the topline? I love it. Thanks in a large part to you (I started reading this blog two and a half years ago after yet another EUM left me weeping) my topline now reads AVAILABLE and MUTUAL! I am never in doubt of how he feels about me, he keeps his promises, he talks to me about his feelings and he includes me in his life and is willing to put as much effort into the relationship as I am. He’s solvent, responsible and supportive. It’s not as exciting as previous relationships and I can feel drama tugging at my sleeves sometimes, but I know that is just the same addiction tug as when I was giving up smoking years ago. My intention to be sane in relationships is now stronger than my desire to have a wild romantic fantasy and all the work I’ve done on sorting out my boundaries, clarifying my needs and wants and addressing my own emotional unavailability has paid off. The whole of my life has improved through engaging with your blog.

    As always, Natalie – Thank You!!

    • Bessie says:

      Luvin’ this, Raven, well done for listening to yourself and being true.

      I am just about there and ready for the solvent, independent, single, available and funny chap that doesn’t know about me yet to come into my life when he is ready. No other chap will do, I have my tick-list at the ready. NO MORE MARRIEDS OR EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE!!!!

      I am also addicted to the drama. Love the fact you acknowledge the tugging of the drama. I will be aware of that when the time comes. Thank you for writing!!!

  17. Magnolia says:

    I’d like to share a somewhat lengthy quote from Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries in Dating. The author mentions a psychology seminar he took talking about people with character disorders, defined loosely as people who don’t take ownership and responsibility for their lives:

    “I will never forget what the instructor said about the number-one priority – other than protecting your personal safety – in treating character disorders. As soon as there is any kind of deception, stop everything. If you are trying to help someone and he is lying to you in some way, there is no relationship. The whole thing is a farce, and you should not go any further in trying to help the person until you settle the issue of deception. There are no other issues at that point except that one.”

    They go on to say that in your life, including your dating life, “you should have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to deception.” They lay out some strategies for dealing directly with deception if it happens in a relationship you care about, and suggest that unless the person owns it, you can’t move forward. “To the extent that you’re being deceived, there is no relationship.”

    I had already read and absorbed this message that lying counts as top-line information around the kind of person you’re dealing with when I started dating my ex. I remember the first time he lied to someone else in front of me. It was so casual for him, so unpremeditated, and completely unnecessary.

    I asked him about it, and he defended the lie as necessary. I was too far in justifying mode by then to do as Cloud and Townsend suggest, which was to admit that I did not in fact have a solid relationship based on trust. I told myself that a small lie like that can’t be the end of the world. When he justified it rather than owning it, I decided to accept his way of seeing his behaviour, instead of being firm enough to say that for me, deception is top-line info.

    Cloud and Townsend ended up being right, of course. My gut knew it at the time. Live and learn!

    • Lynda from L says:

      This reminded me of the unnecessary lies that my ex told. It’s interesting to link this with lack of responsibility for their own lives.. The continual scanning of dating sites was a given…but he also often transferred motivation and responsibility for an action onto me and onto others. Here is an example.
      We were at a wedding of his friends and had booked a taxi, his suggestion, for midnight. We had a bit to travel back, seemed sensible.
      When midnight came round, the party was still going on a bit and I returned from the toilet to hear him suggesting that ‘I was the party pooper’ He nodded his head in my direction with deep sigh.
      He did this frequently, made out that others were responsible for a decision, he also didn’t man up a lot. He did it glibly.
      At the time, the first few times I was also into rationalising/justifying this into nothing so that I could stay in the relationship. However, I am reminded Mag, how much this did get to me and in actual fact was a signpost for how things would evolve.
      I mean ‘ He was continually deceitful’ is a glaring Topline…
      I don’t know the book you mention but will look it up. Thanks.

      • Lynda, I’m in a restaurant laughing my head off – thank you also Magnolia. But seriously Lynda, we’re you going out with my ex? I could have told the same story!

        • RadioGirl says:

          Me too! I do hope I never lose my new-found ability to see straight through this pathetic and spineless “blame-anyone-and-everyone-else-but-myself-so-I-can-duck-out-of-all-responsibility” tactic. My ex positively *reeked* of it. Pfffffft!

          • Lo J says:

            My ex was “fat” because of his ex-wife. (“Fat” his words … not mine.) They had been divorced three years when I met him. Hmmmm….

        • Lynda from L says:

          No joke.. I am thinking of writing a’ Compendium of Cautionary Tales:Stories my Arsehole told me’
          Truly could fill book!
          Seriously, enjoy your lunch out…but feel guilty girl, I have just burned some M&S wonton to cinders because the article/ comments are so great today..

          • P. says:

            This is about a relationship that has not happened. It was a social occasion where I met (by chance) someone whom I talked to online before (I do not remember if it was a dating site or another site). So, he asked me about dating etc. and I shared that lying is something I disliked. He said “oh, but I have already lied to you” (about something very minor and inconsequential). Then he proceeded to tell me I would have a really hard time dating because “of all those rules you have.” WTH?

    • Sushi says:

      “people who don’t take ownership and responsibility for their lives:”
      Magnolia, that would be my ex. Who lied about lying. If I listened to my gut I would have flushed within a month of knowing him, before I got invested. Obviously, he was the last man on earth. Never mind, know now to trust the gut. I must read that book, thanks.

    • Fearless says:


      I found that a really interesting comment. Thanks very much for posting it.

      “I will never forget what the instructor said about the number-one priority – other than protecting your personal safety – in treating character disorders. *As soon as there is any kind of deception, stop everything*.”

      How simple and obvious really is that (when you hear it in black and white)? Of course – stop everything. OMG… if I had done this I would never have had any relationshits; I might have had a few more bona fide and decent relationships based on trust.

      I think there is a lesson there for many of us. Mags, along with the many pearls of wisdom I get here on BR, this is another I know I will never forget.

    • I was thinking about your comment this afternoon Magnolia as it fascinates me about people’s attitudes to lies. I’ve been with guys who lie and let’s be real, I spent plenty of time lying myself. Now it is second nature not to tolerate lies and I do it right across the board.

      Lying and our acceptance of it from others is about our own moral compass and where we are on the scale of acceptance of reality. When we accept lies, on some level we recognise we’re telling a few porkies of our own.

      The reason why liars can convince is because they insert a smattering of truth to make the lie plausible.

      For who it’s plausible to, it’s plausible because it makes their *own* illusions plausible.

      The smattering of truth also may only be true when it suits the context of your illusions.

      They tell you a lie about how busy they are, pressure yada yada yada as to why they’ve been unavailable.

      They have been busy (possibly) although they may be busy doing someone else or living up their backside, but it’s not the reason why they’re treating you as they are.

      It’s plausible however because some of the busyness may be real but also because accepting it means that the illusion that they care and this is going somewhere can continue.

      The other side of lying which is the mind fuckery territory, is to use the outrageous principle which relies on the recipient of the lie having their own issues with honesty – lack of self-esteem and self-trust means that you quickly offload what you know to be true, to accept their lie so that you can proceed. They (the liar ) need to have an almost steely confidence and lack a moral code, empathy, or remorse unless…they suddenly need to take the high road for themselves.

      The lie is so blatant, you suddenly think maybe it’s not a lie especially if lying so callously is something you feel you wouldn’t do. It’s either accept the lie and realise they’re dangerous, or lie to yourself.

      Lies are like weeds – let one in, more will grow. Admittedly also similar with rats and cockroaches.

      What everyone who accepts lies has to deal with on their end, is why they feel it is acceptable to lie when quite simply it’s not? This isn’t about Santa and tooth fairies – these lies are about themselves!

      • Fearless says:

        All so true in you comment above Natalie. So horribly true. More food for thought and self examination!

        “Lying and our acceptance of it from others is about our own moral compass and where we are on the scale of acceptance of reality. When we accept lies, on some level we recognise we’re telling a few porkies of our own.”

        I recognised myself in that, instantly – in all you said really. We accept the lies to avoid acceptance of the reality. We make excuses for the lies to avoid the reality. I ever lied to the ex EUM – at least I never knowingly and willfully told him any lies. There was never anything for me to be tempted to lie about. I sure was lying to myself though (and lying to myself about his lies), and I suppose all that internal self deception and acceptance of lies coming at me from him has to manifest itself in what I would say to him, for sure; so I must have lied to him too, but mostly to fool myself, not to fool him. He just lied. Plain and simple.

        I remember one night I asked my dad to leave my house as he was becoming drunk and obnoxious. I was telling the ex EUM about this the next day (I’d only bee seeing him a few months). He asked me what I told my daughter about this (she was 11 years old at the time) assuming I would have concocted some palatable excuse for her as to why her Papa was sent away. I looked at him with knitted brow as I thought it an odd question and I said to him, ‘What do you mean, what did I tell her?… I told her I asked Papa to go home because he’d had too much to drink and was being a pain in the neck. I told her the truth because she has to be able to trust me”. I remember this vividly even though it was a very long time ago – it has stuck in my mind. It was at least an amber flag, which I must have registered clearly and so have remembered it all this time. I should have paid more attention! (I thought it might have been a lesson for him; it wasn’t).

      • Magnolia (in Paris!) says:

        Hear, hear Fearless! I had to wonder why I had attracted and accepted so many guys who were, shall we say, ‘free’ with the truth, especially when I had always heard like attracts like. I knew I was no straight-to-your-face liar, but living in fantasy is a deep self-deception.

        Truth is I had trouble believing that I, or the people who would be with me, could make and keep promises or commitments. But I was certainly used to listening to ones I depended on promising and promising and never coming through yet never calling them on it. I think I learned somewhere along the line to expect people to be full of it. And I never learned that telling myself things to avoid reality IS lying.

        Some of the drama I create is a kind of lying too.

        The less BS I accept from myself, the more obvious it is why lying topline info when it comes to someone’s availability for healthy relationship.

        Sending love from a delay on my way to Italy, where my sister is about to get hitched!

    • SM says:

      Magnolia, I love Cloud and Townsend’s books. Have you read Safe People? I did a 13 week course on their Boundaries book, twice. It really helped me straighten out my business and family life. I need to reorder the dating one and keep it around as my ‘bible’. The thing I liked the most is that it helped me see where I was violating other people’s boundaries and areas where I needed to be a ‘safe’ person. I can see through your comments that you are trying consider your own behavior and work on it. Thanks for reminding me of the deception part and how we need to stop. I got a gut feeling in the first two weeks that the last ac was lying about something. My internal alarm was going off loudly for two days to jump ship but I didnt and I have suffered the consequences.

      • Elle says:

        Yes, yes, yes, ladies! The AC in my life lied to the STD/STI doctor about his number of sexual partners. When I pointed it out, he said that he had been embarrassed about some of them being from so-called ‘developing countries’ because it could change the sorts of tests required. My body felt wonky – who would lie to a doctor about something quite serious like this? One of the reasons I didn’t walk was that I felt bad about how I had cheated on my previous boyfriend. I felt it was somehow an exchange, an act of self-forgiveness even (showing him ‘mercy’ was mercy to myself), perhaps even that I no longer deserved a person of the highest integrity, that we could roll around in the grubby marshlands together and somehow come up clean!

        • A. Branch says:

          One of the reasons I didn’t walk was that I felt bad about how I had cheated on my previous boyfriend. I felt it was somehow an exchange, an act of self-forgiveness even (showing him ‘mercy’ was mercy to myself),

          I have been trying to be forgiven through osmosis. Lesson learned, thanks Elle . Andrea

    • jennynic says:

      Magnolia, thanks for sharing that with us. It really can be that simple, can’t it. It would’ve saved me a lot of years of bull shit and bad relationships if I walked after the first lie. Even watching them lie to someone else should prick the ears……cause your turn will probably come too. This site is by far the most valuable resource I have found. Natalie has an uncanny, ‘matter of fact’ way of explaining things so you can’t stay in denial for long and the comments are sometimes equally as enlightening. The women here (and men) are making me have ‘aha’ moments almost every day! Some help me reflect where I was and understand WHY I was there, and some make see where I want to be and I get inspired. I now look at the rest of my life, like unhappiness at work and struggles with my family, as issues that contribute to my hollowness and uneasiness, not just bad relationships. The vision of being happy, really happy, looks like having a calm life, feeling passion for my work and life, learning new things, doing what makes me feel fulfilled as a person. Having a relationship needs to be the cherry on top…..not the whole cupcake. For that I need my own recipe. I am having a minor epiphany today.

  18. Fresh Start says:

    Thank you Natalie for this post – really helpful to me at this moment in time. Celebrating two weeks of NC with my ex-MM (well three, but a minor slip up on Xmas day – oopsy) but it’s amazing how distance brings objectivity and with that comes clarity……followed by a gradual increase in confidence.

    Fact is, he is married, and all of those topline remarks listed above are bang on! Yes, he’s married, he’s cheating on her, and that shows when the sh*t hits the fan, or things get a bit ‘bland’ (as he described his marriage once!) cheating is how he copes with that? I’m definitely going to leave, turned into….actually it’ll need to be a bit longer but I assure you it’s just because I’m sorting things out and getting things in place (financial etc) so that things go more smoothly when I do leave. Most of the communication was via text, and yes there was the sexts and pics! I dread to think of that now but hey, I have to say I look damn good in all of those pics so read ’em and weep buddy because that’s the closest you’ll ever get to me again! :0)

    During the course of the past two weeks I have been healing, and the light switch has come on that it wasn’t because I wasn’t good enough, or something I did….it was simply because he’s married, that’s the fundamental issue (something which I was able to overlook quite easily before when I was in ‘the bubble’). He’s also a liar and a cheat, and I now see that I actually had a very lucky escape, because if a grown man can’t handle the ups and downs in a relationship without jumping ship and effectively jumping on someone else, them he’s absolutely positively not man enough for me!!!


  19. Polly says:

    Women deserve to be in the light instead of being kept in the dark, that’s what happens when we date married men. Good read!

    This really struck a chord with me. I think the invisibility is one of the most self-esteem sapping and damaging aspects of these unsatisfactory relationships. We get talked into protecting them by staying invisible with veiled threats about not ruining things. I would say that being kept invisible should be a red flag or topline data. If they were proud of being with you they would share it with a trusted friend. If they tell no-one they are either ashamed or have no-one they trust in their lives. Or probably both. Either way it is a warning sign.

    Keep up the good work Natalie

  20. Groundhog Day says:

    If only ~I hadnt had sh*t vision for so long!
    hindsight really is 20/20… i have been an OW for 3 men in the past, and im ASHAMED of myself for doing it now.. i wasnt thinking of anyone else other than myself, and lets be honest i wasnt really thinking of myself very much at all… i was miserable and hurt constantly but kept on coming up with these little details and holding out and holding out, why why why couldnt i just see THEY WERE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE ELSE! im happy to say im currently free of EUM’s, MM’s and any other bizarre variations of unavailable.

    i beg of everyone reading who is currently miserable with an EUM to just end it, if he is “the one” you claim he is then you’d know about it, becuase he would have become available for you

    im so happy now im free of all the drama, this is such a nicer place to be, and its all thanks to Natalie and every comment i’ve read on this site


    • blueberry girl says:

      “I beg of everyone reading who is currently miserable with an EUM to just end it, if he is “the one” you claim he is then you’d know about it, because he would have become available for you…”
      G’hog, you are soooo right. And we wouldn’t need BR to get our heads straight. Sounds like you’re in a great place. Kudos.

  21. Lynda from L says:

    His ‘Topline’ data as follows;

    ‘ Despite words and promises, common interests…he never converted this to action and shared values. He was EUM when I met him, and he still is.’
    And mine,
    ‘I continued to think I would be the exception to the rule , by staying as long as I did, I got my boundaries busted big time.’

    Thanks Nat.

  22. Sharon says:

    “amazing how distance brings objectivity and with that comes clarity” Well put. It is amazing how all of the OW have the same stories, excuses, with the MM. It’s almost like aliens picked up sample men all over the planet, trained them the same, and then plopped them down on the planet to do havoc.

  23. Lynda from L says:

    ‘Things get a bit ‘bland’ (as he described his marriage once!) cheating is how he copes with that?’
    If you do nothing else, Fresh Start and you seem to be doing a lot…( Keep going!)remember that line, because it’s one of the most callous, low down, vomit inducing things a guy can say.
    His topline is is I’m Married’… in his case,
    ( ‘ I feel I am entitled when bored.. to cheat, engage another woman through false promises…to assuage my needs. All my needs, whenever, whatever. Including sexts’) Eurgh!!!
    I mean, who would buy that product if it was an advert. Not you, not someone like you. Stay away and strong.

  24. Fresh Start says:

    Magnolia, that’s a really simple insight and with my MM I had many red flags in relation to not ‘owning ones actions’ that I ignored. He once said that he didn’t feel like he was cheating on his partner or doing anything wrong because he wasn’t having a physical relationship with her (according to him they were in separate rooms -hmm??). He said that their relationship was just like brother and sister and they were co-habiting.

    Is that why one evening (I hate to admit when he was with me) she texted him asking “Don’t you love me anymore, you’re always out these days”. It actually makes me feel awful to think that the poor woman was sitting at home wondering where the hell her life is going and he’s with me promising me the earth! You should have seen the panic on his face as he made his excuses and left shortly after that text saying “I just need to keep things smooth because I don’t want her making things difficult regarding access to the kids once I leave”.

    Topline, bottom line, and all the other lines in between, he was lying to us both. When I think back now to moments together, and conversations we had, I think I actually knew at certain moments that he was lying, but he was very convincing, and being an older respectable man, I thought, surely he wouldn’t be lying to me. Doh! So damn glad to be off the roller-coaster. He has no power over me anymore, I feel free and it’s fantastic!

    Good for you ‘Dublin’. It’s a really harsh reality but the fact that you can acknowledge your relationship so objectively shows that you are becoming stronger, enforcing your limits, and healing. Best of luck to you lady! xxx

    • Limerence No More says:

      OMG! This was the MM I was seeing as well. They were just “roommates” at this point and he needed excitement and spontaneity in his life. He couldn’t leave until his kid was 18, he was already paying child support on his last divorce and he wasn’t going through that again. LOL. His story sure changed once she found a text from me and we had to “cool it” until she simmered down.

      Whatever. I was ALL too eager to lap up those crumbs for far too long and I engaged in sexts and photos and all that degrading stuff too. I work with this AC to top it all off.

      Another bottom line: It’s MY responsibility to opt out and not let these AC’s in. I can’t BELIEVE I fell for his nonsense and actually thought I loved him and was just EAGER to welcome him back into my life after nearly three months NC from him (I stepped out of line at one point and this was his “punishment”).

      He sent out a fishing text the other night (was I hiding? and when he didn’t get a response he wanted… “nevermind I was just seeing what happens when you text someone who has blocked you”) LOL. Whatever. He’s an asshole and doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

      Right now all I care about is doing a damn good job and working on me. I saw him at work and then he sent another text that oh he didn’t mean to hurt me btw, yesterday… whatever. I’m not hiding and I’m not responding. NC all the way.

  25. Fantasy Girl says:

    “I think the invisibility is one of the most self-esteem sapping and damaging aspects of these unsatisfactory relationships.”

    AGREED!!! Thanks to you and Nat for putting words to that. That has been my biggest issue with this and why I refused to sleep with him even when I was in fantasy mode. I guess that is ego? He made me invisible (I was complicit). Amazing.

  26. Wizzy says:

    I am so guilty of rationalising ass h**e behaviour! I think sometimes I can’t even figure out who’s telling the lies, is it him or me?! (I consider the rationalising to be deceitfulness).
    If they stood me up, disparaged me, called me a walrus,vanished into thin air for a month or two, told the drinking buddies (in detail) about our sex lives. whatever it was I’d stick around telling myself a whole load of crap about how I couldn’t leave

    • Natasha says:

      Ahhhh Wizzy, I’ve been there too! My rationalization (and this is a common one for many a Fallback Girl) was, “If I stop talking to this guy, I’ll be alone.” Errrrrr, I wasn’t exactly being loved, cherished and showered with attention and Belgian truffles, now was I? You’ll be amazed at how much lighter you feel without a few hundred pounds of assclown weighing you down.

      • Fantasy Girl says:


        “Errrrrr, I wasn’t exactly being loved, cherished and showered with attention and Belgian truffles, now was I?”

        The MM I knew would do this for his wife…and then try to have sex with me, tell me he didn’t like to sleep with her, couldn’t talk to her, had group sex the day before he reunited with her (after she went back to school briefly in her hometown), and god knows what else.

        That really got to me – the way he acted like he was an attentive husband (almost a father figure) publicly and then disrespected her privately trying to creep with lil’ ole invisible me. But he maintained this sort of defensive, defiant attitude like he was a protective, attentive husband. WEIRD.

        She must know he’s a cheat though. He told me once she wakes up at 3 am crying, begging him not to leave her. She is completely financially dependent on him and living in a foreign country – just the way he likes it, I am sure.


        • Natasha says:

          Fantasy Girl, my ex wasn’t even attached anywhere else (*that I know of*) and I STILL didn’t get any goddamn truffles – how messed up is that?! In all seriousness, I nearly had to start clutching my pearls when I read, “had group sex the day before he reunited with her”. Just when I think I’ve heard it all. Of COURSE he was trying to front like he was a great husband. To be a cheater, you have to be a liar, and to live knee-deep in bullshit and falsehoods you can’t be anywhere in the neighborhood of being real with yourself. I am SO glad you flushed him!!

          • Fearless says:

            “To be a cheater, you have to be a liar, and to live knee-deep in bullshit and falsehoods you can’t be anywhere in the neighborhood of being real with yourself.”


        • Polly says:

          Fantasy Girl,

          Mine also had a completely financially dependent wife – a situation engineered by him to make him look good is my belief. Must be another one for the MM handbook. Scary. I’m free now but oh how I wish I had found BR earlier!

          • EllyB says:

            I’m always wary of men with “completely dependent” wives. Staying home with the kids and therefore not having a job is one thing and usually okay, I guess. But if the wife also, for example…

            – doesn’t speak the language of the country they’ve been living in for many years (I know such cases)
            – doesn’t drive even if they live somewhere in the country
            – has no access to family money (or knowledge about their financial situation)
            – is being treated like a baby by her husband
            – doesn’t do any kind of part-time job, charity work, studying, hobbies or anything the like even if all her kids are grown-up

            … this makes me shiver. I think many abusive guys deliberately choose setups like this (for example, with “mail-order-brides”) because this helps them to get away with almost anything.

            Of course, in some cases this might also mean the wife is constantly taking advantage of her husband and basically controlling him with her dependency (not healthy either).

            In any case, this doesn’t make the husband “look good” to me.

      • Fearless says:

        “If I stop talking to this guy, I’ll be alone.”
        Me too. And worst part is I still feel like that some days (but not going back!) Irony is that I was afraid of being left alone and yet I was never more alone. He contributed nothing other than the fact that because he was always somewhere in the background I could fool myself that I wasn’t going it alone – that he was my safety net. Yep, well, that “safety” net was all holes and no net.
        “Errrrrr, I wasn’t exactly being loved, cherished and showered with attention and Belgian truffles, now was I?”
        Nope. Me neither. Not unless there’s a Belgian truffle called “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t”

        • Natasha says:

          “Not unless there’s a Belgian truffle called “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t”

          Love it Fearless! So very, very true as well about the safety net with no actual safety. The irony of it is that many of these guys are thinking of the women they are involved with as another kind of safety net, i.e. a rainy day option. Yick! I think it’s pretty common to feel alone at times when you’re single (I do every once in awhile as well!) – what’s important as we’re not using it as a sign from above that we should be going back to the assclowns!

          • runnergirl says:

            Wow ladies, thank you for posting regarding the faux safety net with these MM/AC/EUM’s. I got a rude awakening in the last few days that put the exMM and my pity party into perspective. I’ll start with my dog. Because I have no boundaries, I allowed my neighbor to take my dog on long walks even though she is golden retriever with hip displasia. Now, she can’t move very well. I told my neighbor, no more walks but she can have my dog over for visits. My 22 year old daughter just broke up with her bf and doesn’t want to return to the East Coast to finish school cos she lives(d) with the bf. She is supposed to graduate in August, loves her school, and was doing fabulous. I’m the only parent on the lease and have 38,000 dollars in student loans for her undergrad education. She won’t talk to me. Then my car broke down this morning and I go back to work tomorrow. Somehow, the exMM and his problems have faded into the background. Now, I just want my daughter back in school, a dog that can walk, and a car that runs. Who gives a flying frig what is going on with a lying, cheating, scumbucket MM? Can I take back my pity party and just have a happy daughter, a dog that can walk, and a car that runs….please? I don’t need a date.

          • Fearless says:

            Oh Runner… yes, when some real problems show up it puts a lot of things in clearer perspective. Your daughter will see sense and go back to finish school – even if she’s late for start of term. She will. Let her think on it for while by herself. They say bad luck comes in threes!

            The top line info here is that it’s not some assh*le let-me-mess-you-about male who is important – he’s not. What’s important is the people we love (that includes ourselves, and dogs, and cats for some folk, but cats are EU! Lol) and those who love us back – these men don’t even come close. Thinking of you. Hug.

          • Natasha says:

            Runner, it is indeed so true that when we’re having a Murphy’s Law Day that assclown-related issues seem so very small in comparison! I remember College Boy Drama very well. I would say remind your daughter that, no matter how badly she’s feeling now, she has decades to meet someone else (I say this because my mother had to remind me of this very fact when I was her age. I never lived with any of mine though, as they were all living in fraternity houses. Ironically enough, many of the men I have met since are, in their own minds, still living there. Ahem.) and no man, I mean NO MAN, is worth jacking with her education. I have a feeling that she’ll come around. This too shall pass my dear. Give your doggie a belly rub from me! *Big Hugs*

        • blueberry girl says:

          Fearless, you cracked me up with that one. I wonder if Godiva would consider marketing the “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t” truffle?
          For me, it’s far lonelier to be pining for a specific guy than not to have a guy at all…

          • runnergirl says:

            Thank you Natalie, Fearless, and Natasha,
            My daughter may be returning to school and the bf will move out. She may be getting ready for Natalie’s books. I think I’m seeing a little Miss Self-Sufficient…the apple thing. I’ll find out about the dog today.
            This kid and dog drama has reinforced my topline: He wouldn’t be here for me because he’s married! Another great topline Natasha: Don’t let any guy jack up your life.
            Thank you ladies.
            Natalie, I love the visual. I keep seeing a big red circle around “He’s Married”.

  27. grace says:

    I was out with a big group last night and a male friend of a friend clearly fancied me. I was attracted to him too but was cautious because I didn’t want him to think I was interested when I’m not (yes, you can be attracted to people without having to shag them). When he said he was married, I immediately let my guard down (no funny stuff) because I knew I had an instant “get out” clause should things get out of hand. They didn’t get out of hand or even close but it was an interesting dynamic that I only let the barrier down when I knew he was married. That’s kind of back to front. I’ve got into questionable situations in the past because there was a get out option (distance, already attached, married) which made a dangerous situation feel safe. That’s how we can end up obsessing about texts, /fb and emails instead of the topline data that MOST men will present straightaway (for good or bad reasons -GOOD: I’m married, so back off BAD: I’m married so whatever happens is your problem, not mine – I’ve warned you).
    I got into trouble with the MM a while ago – because he was married I thought it wouldn’t get out of hand. Naive! Cue the stupid sexting.
    At least this time I drew a line under the evening. Told him us girls would find our own way home and no harm done.

    • Natasha says:

      Grace, I had a similar situation happen once with a male coworker years ago (this one would fall into the BAD category). I had only been working there for a few months and didn’t know everyone yet and this guy and I got to chatting at an after work cocktail get-together. Once we’d covered the where are you from/where do you live/where did you go to college/where were you working before this, he got to talking about his wife and how she…wait for it….”doesn’t understand him” and “they never have sex”. I was obviously grossed out because I didn’t even KNOW this guy and therefor did not need to know the ins and outs (or alleged lack thereof) of his sex life. As I was extracating myself from the conversation asked me how I was getting home and offered to give me a ride. Oh, I’m sure he wanted to give me a ride alright. I took the train home, thankyouverymuch. The brass balls on these married guys never cease to amaze me!

    • P. says:

      Grace, could it be that we are committment-phobic, so if someone is unavailable (or perceived as such), we act more freely, are more “ourselves”, and then they get attracted? Whereas when they are available we freeze bc it suddenly becomes more “real” and “possible” and we are afraid to mess up?

      • SM says:

        P, yes, yes and yes. On New Years eve, I was out with my girlfriends. It was like 10 girls to every 1 guy. A nice, decent looking man starts chatting with me and I find out we have one really important thing in common so I’m interested. He asks me to dance so I do. Now I am a good dancer but because I’m thinking this guy has some potential, I dont go all out as usual (feel free to laugh here). I hold back a little for fear of whatever, I dont know. Then I ask him how long he’s been divorced and he says actually he is separated and its not final yet. I completely lose my interest here, I like my men legally single and EU. But since the male to female ratio was really bad, I continued dancing with him and since I knew I didnt want him, I let my guard down and then became my usual dancing self. I thought about that afterwards, I’m more myself with men I know from the get go are unavailable or that I have no interest. Men that are real potentials I have my guard up for fear of doing or saying something stupid. Need to work on that, like Nat says in a previous post, ‘nobody is that special’.

      • Mymble says:

        P, that definitely resonates with me.
        I was always too shy to talk to men/boys who were my own age and clearly “suitable” and available. My first relationship was with someone who was much older. We became friends. Because of his age, and I thought he had a girlfriend I never thought he was boyfriend material. Without telling me he finished with his g/f and then declared his feelings for me. I was totally shocked. We were together for several years and it was a good relationship. Had I thought of him as being a possible I don’t think id have been able to have a comfortable friendship with him and I don’t think it would have ever developed into a relationship. Since then I’ve tended to go for men who were very passive and who I wasn’t really very into – because I knew rejection wasn’t likely and wouldn’t be that hurtful. And then – worst of all – the MM.
        I have never felt good enough, that’s what it comes down to.

        • grace says:

          Oh no, don’t tell me I still don’t feel good enough! AGH.
          I think it’s the case though – I’m so used to the feeling I’m not aware of it. Like I’m not constantly aware that I have brown eyes. Deep down, I’m scared to get to know the one man I really like because a) I think I’m too old for him though I don’t know how old he is. Probably younger, everyone else is and b) I’ve been marred before and have had so many dodgy relationships I wonder “Am I too corrupted?”
          I don’t feel that way about OTHER people. I would say “The past is past. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s how we learn”
          It’s only when we’re honest and bump up against a REAL prospect (rather than a MM or a commitment-dodger) that we can really know what’s holding us back. With unsuitable men we can always lay the blame at their door. We never have to look at ourselves. He’s so much worse, right?

          • blueberry girl says:

            Hey Grace, funny you should bring up the age concern. I totally relate & think the same thing when I meet a guy. Although I take great pains with my appearance, I’m still old-er. During a discussion about cougars (hate that term) and age difference, my last younger guy told me he “didn’t even think about it,” but I knew his age; I never told him mine. I was thirteen years older.
            My mind recorded: not young enough=not good enough

    • EllyB says:

      Oh Grace, I can so definitely relate to that! With attached guys I used flirt like crazy. If they were available, I was immediately on guard: I guess I pictured a relationship like the one I had with my toxic parents or like the one they had with each other (yuck).

      No wonder available guys seemed “dangerous” to me. Since I never experienced any healthy relationship in my life, I naturally believed they all looked pretty much like my (extremely unhealthy) childhood.

      Attached guys seemed “safe” in comparison. I think I somehow pictured them abusing their own wife (after all, I used to believe abuse was normal!!!) which meant they didn’t need to abuse me. Crazy but true.

      Only recently did I realize how much NOT safe they were. Every flirt with an attached guy sent me into a new emotional tailspin. Those guys made me feel truly horrible. As a consequence I struggled to suppress those feelings with all kinds of crazy thoughts.

      Believe me, Grace, “flushing” MM right away is a huge relief. I think it’s okay to enjoy the company of attached guys from time to time, but ONLY if they don’t overstep any boundaries at all. Healthy MM don’t do that anyway.

      • Tulipa says:

        This is something I have puzzled over for a while now.
        I go for men that don’t ‘like’ me that have no interest in a relationship with me and often will feed me their topline “I don’t see a long term relationship with you”
        If a decent guy comes along and I get the vibe ooo this guy ‘likes’ me I can’t run away fast enough.
        I too let my guard down and become me if the guy is attached in my case I am friends with a seperated guy and I am me, I know there isn’t a possibility of any kind of relationship with him.
        And even though the EUMs topline is I don’t see anything long term with you that oh I will be the excpetion to that comes into play but I am never me I become someone who is conservative and reserved it is hard to decribe and I think why can’t I just be me?
        I hope I make sense.

        • blueberry girl says:

          And this ladies, is how I wound up leaving a note on this guy’s car window with my phone number. I couldn’t face him and let my interest be known. For me, it’s a fear of rejection, of being hurt, of feeling less than, of not being good enough. A married, or otherwise unavailable man has so many issues that keep him at a distance, I don’t have to blame myself…it’s his fault that a ‘relationship’ can’t work.

  28. SM says:

    Great post Natalie! After reading, I sat down and thought long and hard about what the topline data is that I usually get right off the bat that I then go on to ignore. I’m not attracted to married/attached men, for some reason thats one boundary I have naturally. Mine are always single and EU to the bone. Also if they tell me they aren’t interested in a relationship, I wont date them either. I like the ‘delusion’ of availability, therefore I’ve dated a lot of future fakers. After some thought I came to realize that I get a gut feeling right at the beginning that something isn’t right and that I should get the h-ll out. Since there is usually no outward proof of what it is and I like the immediate gratification of what’s happening, I go on to ignore my gut feelings. I would say that is my topline data, gut feeling telling me to run, I dont always and then the ensuing behavior you listed above begins. Does this make sense?

    • Lo J says:

      Right there with you, SM. I always thought I was one of those “auditory” lovers that liked to hear the pretty words. But now, I think I like to hear bull shit. LOL!! Its the instant gratification. I don’t want to have to wait it out to see if it will work out or not, to wait for the action. Tell me now with your future faking.
      That’s being insecure with yourself… not being able to handle your own emotions, whatever may be, and wait it out. (FYI … with a future faker, you KNOW the outcome.)

  29. Fantasy Girl says:


    “BAD: I’m married so whatever happens is your problem, not mine – I’ve warned you”

    *gulp* I think what’s the MM meant when he told me he was married in the beginning. I thought he was a “good guy” and let my guard down. I will remember this one. Actually, no, the moment I hear a dude is married he will be like a gay guy to me. Untouchable!

  30. grace says:

    Yes, I think so.
    I can be super friendly and warm to men I perceive as non-threatening (married men in their 80s for instance) but there is a single man I like very much who I’m too scared to speak to. I’m quite relaxed about it, though, if it’s meant to be we will bump into each other again.
    I’m slightly less relaxed about the married men – I’ve had to “handle” a few recently and I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong. Why me?

    • Fearless says:

      i had to handle one of those recently – he asked me to lunch with him again even though our work together is over and done. I have ignored his email suggesting same. I fear I’m now being very ill-mannered but am too pissed off with all this trying to get past the ex EUM bs in my life to care whether I am the rudest girl on the planet or not. Eff them.

      Why me? Why you? We are there. We appear to be manless. Unprotected. We are pretty. We are personable. We are worth a shot. Why not you? Why not me? Eff them. The single guy you like? At least give him that nod that you told me about. Maybe a smile wouldn’t hurt?

    • Mymble says:

      I read somewhere (here?) a tip; pretend he (the single guy you like) is gay! And therefore totally unavailable. I might try this, I have a gay friend and we have the most uproarious friendship, it’s giggles all the way. Why can’t I be like this with everyone?
      I worry about my age too late 40s, but I’ve been doing it since the age of 30, how stupid is that.

      • grace says:

        I spoke to him today, it was all right. Natural, no need to pretend anything. But when he offered to walk me to an event next week (because I don’t know the way), I said no – I’d figure it out myself. At the weekend I turned down another man who invited me to a lowkey dinner (not a date, just a social with other people there). So, is there really a man shortage or is it me? Both these guys are single. I had no problem accepting a MM invite to his Christmas lunch (with his wife and family, no funny stuff).
        I’m 46. When I was in my 30s I told myself all the good men are gone, now I feel I’m too old. When I was in my 20s I felt too young.
        I think at it’s very heart it’s got nothing to do with age. I don’t deny its more difficult at our age but far, far from impossible. it’s about as “impossible” as getting a new job, ie completely doable if you really want it and aren’t afraid to try.

      • Lo J says:

        I remember when I was in college, my girlfriend used to APPROACH the guys she LIKED!! WTF???!! And she did the hair flip and everything! And giggled and flirted and even DATED THEM! She’s married now.

        • Lo J says:

          A really funny book about commitment phobic women (even ones who are attracted to gay men) is “Venus in Spurs” by Sheila Gillooly. Really a good book.
          And “Hiding from Love” by John Townsend (One of the “Boundaries in Dating” authors) is good, too. Actually, ANY of their books are awesome.

  31. Stephanie says:

    A great post Natalie!

    Some of the points Natalie replied to Magnolia earlier made sense to me. My ex EUM would tell lies as to why he couldn’t meet me or stood me up but would add a dash of truth to the lie. Because some of his lies included his family, i.e. “I can’t see you this week because I want to spend time with my family” (he wasn’t a MM and his family meant his sisters who both only lived 4-5 miles away from him and his cousins) it meant that I would find it hard to question him about it because I didn’t want to come across as being selfish. But it bothered me because I knew deep down it wasn’t 100% true. However I still continued to stick around and wait because I was lying to myself by hoping that what he was saying was true and he would suddenly miss me and want to be with me! Its only now that he decided to totally disappear into thin air that I realise that most of what he said was lies and spin to get what he wanted and to make me jealous of him ( he would say things like, “all my sisters friends fancy me, they are all stunning but I don’t fancy them”). Like Natalie said I itemised every good point about him but failed to act or recognise the bad points! I hung on to all the future faking and hot air for dear life, why?

    Whilst I am no longer in depressed mode, I find that I still think about him every bloody day (in all my years of dating this has never happened to me) and I have to do everything I can to stop my mind from going there. I no longer feel the need to contact him in any way but he is like a headache that just won’t go away although its been nearly 3 months already! I find that when I’m out having fun or visiting friends and family he doesn’t enter my mind but as soon as I’m home alone he creeps in again! Then again, he is a Creep!

    I just wish I had the sense at the time to get out sooner, but I’m sure we all wish that. :-)

  32. Natasha says:

    I love this one! I spent five years boomeranging with someone that managed me via text/lied about faux-injured-deceased relative to avoid hanging out with me (Yes, I’m serious. Haven’t these people ever heard of claiming to have the flu? Jesus.)/after being called out about faux-relative, waited a few weeks and texted to ask if I saw a nonexistant obituatry and said ” I just wanted to know if you felt bad about what you said”/disappeared on a regular basis/treated me like I wasn’t good enough to have a relationship with/bs-ed that he wanted a relationship and disappeared during the holidays/still tries to text, call, make a general nuisance of himself.

    When I first went NC, I took all of this data and came up with, “Well, he’s super-duper-special and I just can’t measure up.” Errrrrrr, say WHAT? The real topline data was, “He’s an assclown and, ironically enough, he’s not good enough for me.”

    • sushi says:

      Hi Natasha, we are all here because we think at the time they are the last man on earth. I recognise that I always worried about me being good enough for them and every single relationship I had re-confirmed I wasn`t. Not good enough for my dad to just love me, not more important than their various addictions, not good enough not to be cheated on and used and lied to. How ridiculous it now seems to me, and what I don`t understand is it felt so bad and so wrong to allow myself to be treated in this way and I let it happen practically all my life anyway. Topline for me; trust yourself, you cannot live against yourself, it destroys you.

      • Natasha says:

        Sushi, I know exactly what you mean about it seeming ridiculous in hindsight! I’ve had exactly one decent romantic relationship (in high school, which was, errrrrrrr, some time ago) and I often think “How the hell did I let this go on for so long?” I love, “Topline for me; trust yourself, you cannot live against yourself, it destroys you.” So very, very true!

  33. Breeze says:

    Thanks for this Natalie.

    Topline/headline: He is sleeping with someone else.

    *I* am the fallback girl. If this other woman is not available, then, and ONLY THEN, he will text me and/or call me. I don’t have solid proof of that last bit, but nevertheless I know that I am the secret “mistress,” not this other woman, so…*I* am the second option. Period. Never mind that he hasn’t been trying to get to know me as well as I’ve been trying to get to know him. Never mind, even, that that’s the only code amber/red so far–I’m his second option! Meaning: I’m operating with crumbs here, and that’s not enough (ahem: no LONGER enough) for me.

    Opted out.

  34. Silverbee says:

    Long-time lurker, coming out of the shadows in profound gratitude for this brilliant website and all the brave and wonderful people here who have shared their pain and struggles. Natalie, your articles have been a life-saver to me.
    I am a 60-year old woman recovering from an EUM/AC encounter that pulled up and out every last one of my fears. insecurities, blind-sides, scars, you name it – a man from my long-ago past who I contacted 18 months ago and got involved with, thinking wow here I am back with my childhood sweetheart, I get to start all over again and have the fairy tale I missed. There were red flags right from the beginning, even as he talked about how delighted he was to have me in his life again, how perfect we were for each other, blah blah. My gut kept telling me something wasn’t quite right, but I was loving the emotional excitement after many long years of widowhood, and I wouldn’t pay attention. I eventually got all the bad stuff – the hot and cold, the evasive communications, the dripfeed, the future faking. Right off the bat I could see he had SERIOUS baggage, had no good thing to say about his two ex-wives, was completed estranged from his kids, constantly complained about how others didn’t understand him or treat him right, and more. This was the topline data, and it was in front of me from the beginning. HE WAS NOT EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP, for a thousand reasons I could list. And frankly, neither was I or I would never have accepted any of it. It took two nasty break-ups, one by me and the second by him, for me to finally “get it”.
    I miss the sense of having found something special in my older years – it’s hard at this age to let go, when you know there really aren’t that many fish in the sea left. But much better the satisfaction of being whole in myself than destroying my happiness and peace of mind apart trying to make someone available who doesn’t want to be and can’t be.

    • Fearless says:

      Welcome! Doesn’t sound like this character was anything special afterall, sadly – and plainly you are not the only one who thought so; sounds like he has left a trail of destruction in his wake. Be glad he’s gone – he was robbing you of your real chances for some happiness. That’s the way I see my ex EUM now and I understand how emotionally distressing that is – I feel I have been robbed and plundered and left for dead. But, as they say, Dick Turpin wore a mask – these guys don’t, yet the truth is, as you say, that the top line data is on show from the beginning; we just decide to look away, come up with every dubious “reason” to ignore it and barge ahead into the danger zone regardless. Good luck! Stick with the NC. He’s a rotter. You deserve better. We all do.

    • Elle says:

      Keep on healing, Silverbee. You sound like a brave, intelligent and solid person. I too had to take a degree in my own fears and fantasies, about 18 months ago. It was a painful, confusing and expensive course, to say the least, but I finally got my certificate – confidence and peace of mind – which I value more than any romantic relationship I have been in, even the most loving. Don’t forget that love comes in many forms, including this site!

  35. Karen says:

    Great timing needed to read this…
    I been with a this man for three years finally finished it with him yesterday have a five month old baby with him he has a son and he hasn’t told them about our daughter and his son(16) doesn’t even know about me?? he doesn’t live with them but still pays for everything as if he lived there and he wasn’t even married to her, he was complaining about this so why does he do it?? says he can’t be a dad as needs to sort out this situation before he can move on?…
    I told him I would not be there for him when he has sorted out this think his had long enough to sort it out.His family know about me his mum (he lives with), dad,sister ,brother but I have never meet his son.( he has meet my three children).
    In a word he is so UNAVAILABLE!!!

    • mymble says:

      What does he mean, he can’t be a Dad? He is a Dad! It isn’t an option, it has already happened, and is a fact. He is 50% responsible for bringing a child into the world and that child’s needs now have to come first, however inconvenient that may be. If he didn’t want to be a Dad, he should have taken steps to make sure it didn’t happen. How can he talk such dreadful shite? It sounds to me like – I don’t want to acknowledge my responsibilities and pay child support. I am EU to you, and I will be EU to our child too. I will reject her and pretend she doesn’t exist. I hope you have proper legally binding maintenance arrangements in place. get legal advice if you haven’t already.
      The child, at some point, will have a right to know who her blood relatives, (including half brother) are, he can’t keep his life compartmentalised like that, to preserve his image, at the expense of his children.

      • SM says:

        Mymble it doesnt get any more selfish than that. You hit the nail on the head, EU’s are eu to everybody not just their romantic connection. My own father is the poster child for EU, my mom divorced him 21 years ago and he has never changed his tune even though he whines about being alone. He is eu to his girlfriends and to his kids too. Stand up and take note ladies when you meet a man whose kids dont have much to do with him.

  36. Lo J says:

    Grace — OMG! I may not have competed with the wife or the girlfriend, but there was the other woman from the PAST so many times! The ex -wife!! (And truth be told, she really wasn’t much competition, really. sigh.) Oh, the lamenting from these men. And the sympathetic ear I lent! (I had my own agenda, of course.) The first time I feel uncomfortable with a man talking about his ex, I will discontinue the conversation and move on to the next one. I promise. I won’t do it again.

    I can say, though, with my last relationshit (thanks Fearless :-) ) that I didn’t make it about me. I knew the ex was HIS problem. And I did address it with him. Didn’t do any good, really, but it was different from times past!! 😀

    Today, I am so thankful for my experiences, especially my last one. I have grieved this past week, though it ended over 4 1/2 months ago. I learned so much about myself. I think he was a lot like me several years ago, so I can forgive him AND myself for mistakes, wasted time, and choices made. So funny how that works, that “back and forth” for forgiveness. I’ve had more energy as of late, optimism and I am putting things in order to start dating again. Finally. I have been decorating my home, putting the finishing touches to it so it is welcoming to others. I have almost been ashamed to bring someone “into my home” literally and figuratively, but with a picture hung here, a knick- knack put there, a sweep and a shine, I will be ready. Not perfect, as I have expected before, but perfectly imperfect. And I’m excited. And quite frankly, I need some sex. How’s that for motivation to get the work done! LOL!!

  37. Balthazar says:

    Does anyone have any tips on how to cope with having to see the EU (or emotional terrorist as i like to call them) – and the woman they cheated on with you and then left you for – on a daily basis? I’m in a situation where unfortunatley we all work close together – thank god different buildings but still next door – but i feel like i’m on a mission to make it outside to the shops/bus every time i leave work without seeing either one of them. Even when i go to the bar at bottom of my building one of them is usually there. He is actively avoiding me so that’s not so much of an issue, I mainly see her around the place and have to suffer through the dirty looks etc from her and her friends (I feel like screaming, it’s not just my fault! he pursued me and kept you a secret/lied about you!) and then if he is there i ignore him but he stares at me, infront of her. It’s really getting to me. I just don’t know how to move on when i have to keep seeing them around…I know I don’t want to be with someone who cheats and lies, but a crazy part of me feels like she has “won” because he chose her. Ridiculous I know. I think I’ve probably answered my own question here and I just have to keep living my life and reminding myself – the topline data here is that he lies and cheats.

  38. Bri says:

    I’m definitely hanging onto the “MAYBE I’ll leave” line, and it’s that little bit of hope that keeps me in this faux-relationship with my MM. I accept crumbs after making excuses for why he can’t give me what I need (or anything close to it). I’ve been miserable for over two years waiting, and you’re right NML, he can’t commit to being with me or being without me. It gets harder every time he leaves and comes back, but I’m a fool and I’m still here after all of it.

    I get hung up on one sentence or even one word from him and tell myself, “hang out a little longer, he still might leave.” I cry every single day without fail because I’m so unhappy with this situation but I’m too scared to let him go in case he decides to choose me. It’s a pathetic place to be in, but I’m absolutely drowning in detail and not focusing on the real issue: he’s married and has made no plans to leave anytime soon, not to mention he often ignores me and makes me feel empty, alone, and unimportant. I have no boundaries with this man and I let him treat me however he wants and I’ve completely lost myself. My life is consumed with his moods and the little details he drops about his feelings for me. I don’t even feel like myself anymore.

    • PJM says:

      Hi Bri – I remember you from before: a strikingly beautiful woman in a really ugly situation.

      The ugliness here is that the situation is largely of your own making. You actually have the power to stop this madness: to stop crying every day, to get your life back, and start being really happy.

      You might think you ‘can’t’ do it, but I believe in you – I believe you can do it. You CAN go no-contact with your MM and start getting your life back – if you really do want it back.

    • mymble says:

      Hi Bri,
      I remember your post before Xmas when he said he wanted to put you on ice until the New Year.
      I assume you don’t have dependants, can i suggest that you consider relocating, look for new job and place to live far away? Because you do seem to have trapped yourself in a cycle with him, only it is a downward spiral, and a change of scene and the demands of a new job might help get you out of the rut.
      I say this because the only *good* thing about my MM is that he is far, far away… thus NC (4 weeks today!!) is much easier, I can walk the streets, go to work, knowing I will not be upset by bumping into him etc.
      Referring back to the original post.. he is married – he will not leave his wife, and is not even bothering to pretend that he will. By putting up with the situation, in a way, you are proving to him that you are not marriage material, and not worth leaving his wife for – he is taking you at your own valuation of yourself (low). The situation is not retrievable. (I struggled with that, thinking if I was more this, that, or the other I could bring him round…nope..will never happen) There is nothing you can do to redeem yourself here, but put it behind you. I shudder to write this, because it applies(well, applied!) to me too.

      • grace says:

        yep, once you’ve bent yourself into a pretzel to accommodate him, you don’t win the (dubious) prize, you get put in the “not marriage material” category.
        Yep, the loser thinks THAT much of himself that a woman who doesnt value herself and allows herself to be used for sex is not”good enough” to be his wife, the stepmother of his children or mother of his future children The hypocrisy is boundless.
        I’m sure the cheating liar is spinning all the lines – it’s my wife, my kids, the house, the dog etc. He may even believe his own lies because that way he doesn’t have to face up to the truth of what he’s doing. Cheating, lying and deceiving not just one woman but two.
        Bri, It’s all very well saying you know, know, know. It doesn’t let you off the hook of having to do something. He’s not going to leave his wife. If he does, it won’t be for you. Now do something with that information.
        Get some clear water between yourself and him, and you’ll realise that HE isn’t good enough for YOU.

    • Fearless says:

      This man is abusing you, controlling you and exploiting you. That’s the way I see it. I concur totally with what Mymbe is telling you.

      He is just taking full adantage of the fact that you are now very vulnerable to him, that your expectations are now so reduced that you will put up with any old shite in return for any old random crumb of attention he might deem to chuck in your direction; he is controlling you with this carrot and stick treatment. Your behaviour is sad, his is abhorrent (and abusive, frankly).

      Until you learn your own true value you you will not be able to show others (like this using MM) what your value is – you are showing him the value you place on yourself. He believes you. Why would he not? Rather than doing the right thing and leaving you alone, he is taking full advantage of your dearth of self-worth – and he is making it worse for you as every day goes by. Mymbe is right. This cannot ever be salvaged – it will only get worse and worse. You have to cut your losses. He is NOT EVER going to “choose you”. *You* need to choose you. Do you really want to still be in this position a year from now – 4 years from now? 10 years from now? Cos that’s what happens unless you get a grip and see the shit you are in for exactly what it is. You’ve had your head in the lion’s mouth too long. Dump the detail. He is MARRIED (and he is a selfish, using, abusing f*cker) If you are not looking out for you and he is not looking out for you (and he is NOT, believe me), then who will, Bri? Who?

    • allie says:

      Hi Bri,

      I want to tell you that even if he left his wife that doesn’t mean he will love you or commit to you. My exhusband cheated on me with a woman, he wanted the divorce so we got a divorce eventhhough i told him we could work things out. So he DID divorce me and they have been “together” on and off for 5 years!. He had cheated on her numerous times, he got her an engagement ring but never married her and told her that he just got the engagement ring to keep her happy. He has kick her out of his house twice and she then took him back and went back to live in his house (the home we built together). Right now they are living separated and claiming to be sinbgle in facebook, but i know they keep seeing each other. Its nothing but a ploy to not look so bad, but in my opinion she is nothing that the fall back girl. He told me that I was a lady and that didn’t fit in the life style he wanted to live, he wanted a wild woman. There you go, thats why he picked her, so he wouldn’t feel so bad cheating on her because in his twisted mind, she deserved it. It has been 5 years and in my opinion she has got the shorted end of the stick. I was married to him for 3 years but he pay me off my part of the house, while she has been living with him, helping him make payments, groceries, etc., and after five years, she is out again with nothing on her hands. I heard that he said he wants to get her back, of course, he can’t afford being by himself, and what is better than the old fall back girl. Don’t become that girl. <3

    • A says:

      “I get hung up on one sentence or even one word from him and tell myself, “hang out a little longer, he still might leave.”

      Bri, this man is not someone you should want to be with. That being said, your belief that ‘if only you stick around he may leave her’ isn’t rational. He has no incentive to leave her to be with you because he already *has* you. If at the end of the day he really wants to be with you, then he will make it happen. You walking away would not change that (and if anything, wouldn’t it make more sense to think that he would have to lose you/miss you before he would even consider inconveniencing himself by leaving his wife?)

      You’ve already tried waiting around and it has not gotten you anywhere. So why not try something different?

      I think that if you get away from this man and stay away for a good few months, the hold he has over you will lessen, and you will start to wonder what you even saw in someone who treats you so poorly. I don’t want you to leave in the hopes that doing so will make this man chase you, but I do want you to see that waiting around will not make him choose you anyway–you have nothing to lose, except more of yourself and more of your years if you do stick around. Isn’t two years of waiting around for someone more than enough? It’s hard to walk away, but you have to choose yourself over him. Stop thinking about what you hope will happen or what could happen down the line and look at what *is*, right now. Is this the life you want for yourself?

      • Elle says:

        Bri, Imagine you’re being chased and toyed with by a lion at a cliff face (in Africa, OK!), but you do have the option of letting go of the edge and falling a non-death-defying (in fact) length into a moving stream that will take you somewhere you can’t even see exists from your vantage point. What you’re doing now is just gripping onto the edge of life, while your tormentor, real and otherwise, paces the margin. You’re already in the most terrifying and awful state. Why not jump and see where life takes you? I can almost guarantee: you’ll surface at a far nicer place, a place where, at the very least, you can breathe properly.

    • blueberry girl says:

      Sadly, Bri, even if you got him and honey, you won’t, because they never leave (“it’s too expensive, I’m waiting for my kids to leave for college, she’ll come after me with a knife (!), I won’t be able to live near the beach anymore” – all actual excuses I heard from exMM), how on earth would you trust him? He is clearly extorting your vulnerability to dangerous levels. NC is your only answer. Freedom from pain is within your reach. You have the power.

    • Sunshine says:

      Bri, say he does leave. Then what?
      An MM I was with many many years ago DID leave his wife for me. Filed for divorce and everything.
      And once he was moved into my home I suddenly realized what I had on my hands was a man who would lie to and cheat on his wife, a man of weak character who played the victim and wouldn’t take a stand for himself.
      Sure enough, one night he went to stay with his daughter while his wife went out and he didn’t come home. I *knew* in my heart of hearts when he left that night he was going to stay the night with his ex-wife. That morning I got up and started packing his stuff and dropped it off at his ex-wife’s house.
      Later she and I compared notes and he had been living a double life, lying to both of us – she looked at me and said, “did you think he was only lying to me and being honest with only you the whole time?”
      Yup, I sure did.

      I wasn’t facing reality…if you let yourself really think through how it would al *really* be in the future based on his character that he has shown you, ie abusive, lying, coward, manipulative…, it will be much less attractive. It will not be all better someday if only he would only leave her, and it’s not because you aren’t lovable. He is who he is, take a good look at what you are really attracted to.

      • runnergirl says:

        Hey Bri & Sunshine,
        Bri, sorry to hear you are in the same spot. I know it is impossible to stay in that situation but it really isn’t impossible to get out, although it seems like it.
        Sunshine, sorry to hear about what you went through with the exMM. Your comments are precisely what I realized with my involvement with exMM. By reading BR during my first few months of faux-NC, I finally recognized that an MM has to lie to the OW too. I swear to god, I thought he was an honest cheat. He thought he was too and told me so! I totally get that you thought he was only lying to his exwife. When we got caught by his poor wife this summer, my best girlfriend started talking about how we should get a condo and make it official and how things “should” be. Things were really hectic and I remember almost sh**ting a brick. He was a liar. How on god’s earth was I going to live with a cheating liar and build a relationship based on trust, respect, and love with a cheating liar? Talk about scared straight. Good for you for packing his shit and dumping it at his exwife’s house. Loved it.
        Bri, many wonderful ladies on BR repeatedly pointed out to me that even if he did leave his wife, I would have a lying cheater on my hands. They also pointed out that if he did it to his wife, he could do it to me too. Forget all the details. Topline: He’s a liar. You know that upfront because he’s cheating on his wife. Is that what you want? A liar. It was really difficult for me to accept that he was a liar because I had him on a pedestal and had such a fantasy going on in my head. Top, bottom, and every line in between (as another poster said): He’s a liar. Good luck to you. Don’t waste any more of your life in this situation. Sending you strength.

  39. Lovingme says:

    Great post from Natalie and all you ladies, so many to mention, my ex EUM/AC is an absolute classic EUM and even though I kept hanging onto ‘but he’s different’ I can’t deny it, from reading all the posts from you ladies he is so textbook perfect AC/EUM but what I’ve noticed today, about me, is that if I stop being angry
    towards him, the relationship or me I feel love for him and I don’t want to do that as I can then slip into ‘maybe some day’ which isn’t good as that holds me back. I was NC for about 4 months I think, he wormed his way back only for the ego stroke so he could move on to the next girlfriend and it has now been about 7 weeks NC, I know there is no going back, top line is all the things highlighted for the mr unavailables but why won’t he leave my frigging head and emotions??????

  40. Frustrated says:

    Great. So once you realise all of this after two years of going nowhere and nothing changing how the hell do you break free? :(

    • You have to walk away and stay away. Accept reality instead of the fantasy. Work out on paper what reality, not your hopes for what the relationship *could* be and *should* be. Stick only with reality because it is reality where a great relationship resides. If you don’t heed the fact that you have already spent two years too many in a relationship that is going nowhere and isn’t changing, next year you’ll be regretting that three years have been spent and that you knew the score but chose to stick with the lie. You cannot make way for happiness and for a better relationship with you and someone else, if you keep holding on to a poor relationship. It’s time to ask yourself what on earth is so bad that you would rather avoid that than end this fiasco? You deserve better – it’s time to believe and act like you do instead of holding onto a poor investment.

      • Frustrated says:

        Thank you Natalie. It brings tears to my eyes but I needed to hear that. Since last August I have been reading your blog and have read both your books. He ‘disappears’ (I dont hear from him and I refuse to chase) for 2-3 weeks and I start to feel strong…then he reappears with an ‘I miss you’ text and gradually, a few days in I’m right back at square one. Just have to keep reading and believing I guess.

        Thank you x

        • Lynda from L says:

          Aw Frustrated, sorry. Speak about it and we’ll all pitch in. You’re not on your own. The answer is in your own hands though. keep on posting for support.
          The texts are mindfckery for sure, but you know that ..right?
          Just start to do things for you. Write down how you feel about the relationship, read it back,starting point. Reality starts to happen and stay on site.

  41. tina says:

    so mr. unavail is getting married in three weeks.. he has tortured me for the past year. i pull away get stronger and BOOM he swoops him to bring me down. so the last thing is this one – i teach yoga and I am a very compassionate, engaging teacher. i say this because i realize it is one thing that has kept me confident during this year of the BREAKAWAY. i mean this guy, didn’t even tell me he was getting married after we has an on off on, on one off relationship for 9 years. I found out via facebook.! ugh on that i have since deleted my account. But this is the kicker, he sends me holiday emails (he is in HONG KONG by the way with his coworker fiance) he sends a happy 2012 email. it reads “happy 2012. been busy. doing lots of yoga. my teacher is fantastic. she is very good, and a great teacher. oh an flexible. yoga is so sensual and therapeutic. i am loving it…” OK when he found out i got my yoga certificate he said “oh you don’t look like a yoga teacher. aren’t they all chunky and not so pretty” then this email to tell me HOW MUCH HE LOVES YOGA , why the heck would he send that to me, knowing (or does he) how much he took me (sophisticated, smart, sexy lady) for a ride. i was peeved. so i am teetering back and forth and wondering what kind of devil is he? i mean engaged and contacting me, and telling me about some yoga teacher. i know he is BAD NEWS but need to vent about how he cut into the one good thing i have going now (oh that and i bought a guitar and have been playing and writing my songs.. fun)
    any support is appreciated so i don’t contact him. Thanks LADIES!!

    • allie says:

      Hi tina,

      I wouldn’t waste too much time trying to figure out what he meant by that. I am sure he didn’t give too much though to it whenever he was writting it. Forget it, keep doing your own thing and move on, you are doing excellent. Either if this was a compliment or not, it doesn’t make any difference he is an EUM.

    • grace says:

      he’s showing off.
      ignore him.

    • SM says:

      tina I would revel in the fact that he is an idiot and you wont be the one legally attached to an idiot.

  42. Tina says:

    Thanks Allie… Appreciated. Yup classic EUM and a Narcissist too. I have done good work to get out from his grip. Fact of him getting married in 3 weeks is probably bringing out the committment phobe in him. His “finace’s problem now” not mine. also been trying to date a bit after all of this and you know what, 3 EUMS!! but i got rid of them lickty split. learning faster. and have to figure anyone i am attracted to right now (until i heal) will be one. so caught the red and amber flags faster. Setting my sites and affimations on a good man… i deserve one :) Ciao LADIES!!

  43. FX says:

    I was thinking about my past relationships – good and bad – in relation to this post. I think there is top line information to heed above any relationship-specific top line. Does this relationship/person make me feel sad, bad, less than, anxious, taken advantage of, foolish, powerless, or out of control, etc.? That should really be all the information I need!

    I just read a column (link below) by Carolyn Hax, an advice columnist whom I enjoy reading for her no BS insight and replies. One part really stood out:

    “…But since you’re currently trying to rationalize a decision to keep seeing him, despite, again, brazen deception, you need to realize that you’re in one of the most dangerous positions people can find themselves in: You’d rather get high than take care of yourself.

    Just because your drug of choice is a man (or gambling or risky sex or compulsive shopping or overeating or dieting/exercising or .?.?.) instead of a mind-altering chemical, that doesn’t make your position harmless, and it certainly doesn’t make it romantic. It’s bad for you. You don’t care. Why?”–is-you/2011/12/21/gIQAk7DbhP_story.html

    I wish I could send a link to BR directly to the letter writer!

  44. tina says:

    Hey Grace,

    I think you nailed it too. thanks luv. Good luck to all of us cool chicks! T

  45. Oldenoughtoknowbetter says:

    There are lots of comments on here about the MM and sexting and I just want to share something. When I was with the MM, I thought sexting was the most fun! Yep, sex talk, pictures, all of it kept the sexual tension very high because I did not get to see him and “release” it very often. And I have to admit I actually enjoyed it, both the sending and the receiving.

    Now I am dating a single man who is very available to me. We do almost no sexting, and what little we do is kind of barely nasty. I was thinking the other day, why was it so fun before and now I can’t really be bothered? Here is the profound answer: because with the MM we had to use it to keep the sex tension high, which was our connection. I am now dating a man I have great chemistry with and when I want sex I just ask for it and we do it! No sexting, sexual tension required! It is there for me whenever I want it!

    The frequent great sex, and his ability to spend the whole night with his arms around me, beats the thrill of sexting any day. So now I have to say, enjoying sexting would probably be a red flag to me today, because that would indicate to me that I can’t, for whatever reason, actually have the real thing. And if I can’t have the real thing, why do I want the tension without the release? So great to be out of that mess!

    • Lynda from L says:

      Great post Old enough, so true! This kind of emphasis would definitely be a red flag in future for me as well. I never went along with pics, just seemed a bit seedy, but my Ex pushed for it….congrats on your lovely life now, bet you are loving the difference!

  46. Jamie's twin says:

    Old enough, you have just made my day……I have just fallen off the wagon with MM after 4 weeks NC, he called from a landline that I didn’t recognise……..I very very stupidly, after reading all the what not to do’s on here for the past 4 weeks……..sext him after!! WHY WHY WHY!!!! I have just started seeing a great single guy and his arms were around me ALL last night….this happened with MM 3 times in 5.5 years…….

    Your post REALLY hit the nail on the head, it will never ever happen again….

  47. Oldenoughtoknowbetter says:

    Jamie’s Twin, don’t be beating yourself up for responding to the MM. It took me many months to wean off the MM crack and I was only with him a year, not over 5! I did get a text from him over the holiday (thanks to BR, I knew it was going to come) and finally, for the very first time, I felt absolutely nothing. I just laughed from the predictability and hit DELETE. I swear, these guys really are all exactly alike, and reading BR we can predict their future behavior. If they only knew how unspecial they all really are! But we know now….

    My bf is out of town and I almost sent him a sext last night saying “I want to f**k you” and I just couldn’t. It felt disrespectful to him and to us. This is from the QUEEN of sexting!! I changed it to “I want to kiss you”. Why the difference? My whole relationship with the MM was disrespectful, to me, to us, to his wife, and even to him. So it fit. My current relationship is respectful and loving. He is not a prude, and we do plenty of sex talk in person, but sending that sext would have made me feel cheap and that is not how I want him to view me. So if I see it as cheap, my MM certainly did too, and that means he saw ME as cheap. When we start to heal, and truly feel for ourselves what Natalie is talking about, loving and respecting OURSELVES, it becomes incredibly easy to hit that delete button. So just keep working on you and one day will be no “WHY??”. I honestly thought I would never get over the MM, and I am SO over him! I feel sorry for his wife…wish I could send her the link to this website!!

  48. Jamie's twin says:

    Thanks Old enough, fell much better after sleeping on and it and I think much stronger today…..this is the 3rd time we’ve split, his doing the first two and mine this time, it was a snap split……he rang to say he couldn’t meet…..I snapped and said forget it, neither of us needs this…….so my terms and this did make the NC easier, even though like you say it’s like coming off crack!
    I loving wearing perfume and make-up without the risk of contamination! I am beginning to feel ‘normal’…taking the dogs for a walk with someone and holding someone’s hand in public! I also love the fact that my phone is not attached to my hip waiting for a call! I have deleted his number, deleted texts and moved his after shave and shower gel…so getting there I do believe…starting to feel good about me, not planning my days around Mr. Unavailable, I have a day off each week and would never plan a thing on that day ‘just in case’ ……New guy’s Daughter has just asked me to her Birthday on that day…..first, how nice is that!! second, how nice to say ‘yes!!’

    I have bought Natalie’s book for some bathtime reading!!

    JT x

  49. Bhoot says:

    Reading this reminds me of a friend of mine who is engaged to be married and is “blissfully” unaware of what kind of man she has. She talks about him all of the time (or should say I complains?) and then when I reiterate back to her what she says, she says No, it’s not like that, I love him, etc. It’s like she can’t see the writing on the wall in big bold colors or is deliberately not seeing it.
    I realize that she is from a traditional family and a traditional background and that they were pretty much introduced to each other and knew each other several months before they got engaged, but still, it’s obvious she doesn’t really know him. He lives in another country from her and comes back once a year for a month and sees her only under heavily chaperoned meetings (dates?) and the rest of the year he is texting her, emailing , chatting on Messenger, and calling her occasionally. This has been going on now for over 2 years and she insists she knows everything she needs to know about him and that they will live happy ever after.
    I also know who her fiance is (she introduced us) and one night he and I were chatting online and he mentioned that he had been engaged before. That wasn’t very interesting until he told me that he still has his ex-fiancee’s ids on all of his messengers and watches her a lot online, that the ID he is using with my friend is one he created for his ex (she doesn’t even realize that his real ID is something to with his ex), and that sometimes he calls his ex and hangs up on her just to hear her voice. He even told me that he kept all of his ex’s pictures, letters, and other stuff. This normally wouldn’t have been surprising to me except that this guy professes to be pretty religious and feels that the past should stay the past! Still, I was pretty thunderstruck by all of this and I asked him if he really loved his current fiancee (my friend)and his response was that of course he did. She was the love of his life and that was that.
    Needless to say, I am totally shocked at what he said and he even told me that he contacted his ex recently to find how she was. I found myself thinking about how my friend runs down her evergrowing list regarding this relationship. He told me the whole history of his past relationship (his side of course) and he sounds like a total EUM.
    This whole thing reads like a bad drama and if the font gets any brighter, she’s going to go blind. However, they’re convinced it’s a match made in Heaven and she’s looking forward to their future. I must be weird or something because I see this whole relationship as a bad one. Meh!

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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