Expecting me to be and do the things that I expect of others, is something that’s stopped me from driving myself batty, but it’s also been a really helpful indicator of where I need to step back. In the past, I’ve shown an alarming lack of loyalty to myself while at the same time continuing to engage with certain people out of what I believed at the time were my show of loyalty and devotion. Of course this type of double-edged pledging of allegiance, where you effectively keep throwing you under a bus for someone who isn’t even on the same proverbial road as you or who will throw you back under that said bus because they don’t acknowledge, respect, or even desire that loyalty, is exactly how I ended up feeling deeply compromised and rejected. It would hurt that I could go to those lengths and I still couldn’t change them or get their loyalty.

I’m not alone in having felt this way and not being au fait with what being loyal actually means.

Don’t mistake being willing to compromise the essence of who you are and even your willingness to endanger your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, for loyalty and devotion.

Loyalty isn’t the same as not having boundaries and tuning out of shady behaviour and situations.

Loyalty, that sense of where we consistently communicate and demonstrate our strong feelings of support, needs a foundation of reality and at the very least, acknowledgement, care, trust, and respect. On both sides.

Loyalty is something that happens over time and with experience. Like trust, it needs to be increased on the basis of supporting evidence, not increased to make up for the decrease in your sense of self or the decrease in their contribution to what should be a mutual relationship, romantic and otherwise. Just as meeting breaches of trust with more trust, is a recipe for pain, so is giving away loyalty without due diligence.

We cannot know what loyalty means if we have no affinity to it within us because in reality, if we would betray ourselves repeatedly in the name of ‘loyalty’, that’s not about showing strong support for someone with a core thread of respect and mutuality; that’s about codependency, being excessively emotionally reliant on that person and hoping that by giving in this way that it will create a tipping point of reciprocation.

It’s the whole giving out what we want to get back. The trouble is, we confuse what we’re doing with what it actually is. If we’re not being loyal and we’re actually engaging unhealthily, it’s unrealistic to expect that what will be sent back is going to be healthy – that would be to ignore the reality of the situation.

The only people I owe my loyalty to are those who never made me question theirs

It hurts when we’ve been loyal to someone and they betray us.

It hurts when our loyalty is taken for us being a sucker.

It hurts when, OK, yes we clearly have some things that we need to address within ourselves but our desire to love and be loved is met with cruelty.

It also hurts when we take another person’s betrayal and then we judge ourselves for them having done so.

It definitely hurts when we’ve been misguidedly loyal and instead of learning from this, we decide that we weren’t loyal enough.

Loyalty is a decision and the choice and actions to continue need to be conscious ones. As always with anything to do with people-pleasing, it’s not about what we do but why we do it. Being loyal is a great quality – it just needs to be channelled appropriately.

When we are really honest about why we remain loyal and devoted to someone who shows us that it’s not respected, acknowledged, or appreciated, the truth is, we are remaining loyal to our dream, our vision, our hopes and expectations for that person or even for what we thought we could have been and had if only they had reciprocated ours. We’re not really being loyal to the actual person.

We continue to put forward our brand of loyalty and devotion even when that person is disloyal or just not even there, because we believe that what we’re doing can, will, and should be able to influence that person’s feelings and behaviour. It’s the whole being and doing certain things with an awareness of what we feel that we deserve and then in recognising that it’s not happening, blaming us for not being “good enough” when we really should be asking ourselves, who and what we’re being loyal to. And of course it’s going to provoke our sense of entitlement because realistically speaking, who doesn’t expect a little respect and acknowledgement for their support?

Dig a little deeper though and what will be revealed is a conflict of interest between what we perceive that respect and acknowledgment to look like and what they’re willing to do. We might expect that person to effectively change and step outside of their comfort zone in order to make our own feel better.

People who need integrity, love, care, trust, respect and the intrinsic value and authenticity of a mutual relationship, don’t reward your loyalty with disrespect, derision, or betrayal. They don’t. If anything, they defend their values and identity with consistent and authentic actions and words because they value what it was that communicated to you and others that support was and is a good investment. They’re also highly unlikely to want be in a situation where you’re doggedly loyal due to lack self-love, because it’s not love.

We must be careful who we devote ourselves to, especially if there is an expectation of reciprocation. When we’re around like-minded folk, this is somewhat easier and it’s the same for mutual relationships, however, when we’re having to clobber the bejaysus out of them and even have to raise these folk from the ground up, it’s time to halt. Don’t row a boat with one oar…

Being loyal is a quality that you should value, both within you and others, but don’t mix it up with servitude (being completely subject to someone more powerful) and investing you in dodgy activities as a means of avoiding dealing with yourself.

It runs back to the whole litmus test of giving, helping, and authenticity - if you wouldn’t be or do something if you didn’t think that you were going to receive the perceived and predicted reward, step back. Re-examine your motives and whether your expectations are realistic.

If you’re getting hurt by your loyalty and devotion to someone, it’s time to acknowledge that you do rightly expect to be respected and acknowledged, but this is not the situation or the person where that is happening.

Did they truly earn your trust and support? If not, that explains the disparity between what you expect and what you’re getting.

If they did earn it, was it earned easily or on merit? Or what’s changed? And no it’s not your worth because integrity doesn’t vanish even if what you thought was loyalty has, and to blame it on your worth, is to keep up this whole owning other people’s behaviour and pretending that you have Jedi mind tricking ability.

Was it one-sided? Code red alert. Sometimes you can be so busy being loyal and essentially overcompensating for the other party, that you don’t realise how little they actually do in your relationship until you actually have a need and you’re left hanging.

Embrace and channel your ability to be loyal in a positive way. Giving your loyalty to people who don’t know their arse from their elbow, is a misappropriation of this quality and the beauty you have within to feel connected with people. Ultimately, loyalty starts at home. Don’t go giving it away until you know that you unquestionably have your own back.

Your thoughts?

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75 Responses to Being loyal is a great quality – don’t mix it up with servitude

  1. HappyAgain says:

    This is a very good post I’m recovering from years spent being misguidedly loyal to a group of people and an ex (summed up in this post). Its good to read everything from Natalie. I feel less alone going down the path to healing and I know it can get better.

  2. Revolution says:

    Dammit, Natalie. Great discussion of loyalty. And great usage of “au fait.” You have my mad respect on both accounts.

    I may suck at a lot of things but I am loyal to a fault. As a close friend once said about me: “(Rev), if you love someone, you’ll do ANYTHING for them. You love them passionately and with your whole heart. But if you hate someone, it’s like The Godfather. ‘You’re dead to me. You’re family’s dead to me. Everyone you ever loved is dead to me.’ Yep. Pretty much have to stand by her assessment. I have some serious issues around being loyal to the wrong people, though.

    Great article, Miss Nat. I’m still reading, popping in here and there like the prodigal daughter, even though my comments are sparse.

    • Revolution says:

      Second “You’re” should have been “Your.” Evidently I’m not loyal to grammar….

    • Gina says:

      Revolution, you seem more in tune with how you are and I would like to ask if you are not minding how it is for you whilst in the hating mode, and in particular your meaning of ‘dead to me’? I am rather curious as recently feelings and acknowledgement of hatred is coming through for me (especially toward a particular person) as generally I am more loving hence this hatred thing is alien to me at the moment. Right now I am more dead to others rather than they being dead to me so is there is a difference perhaps? Cheers in advance.

      • Revolution says:

        Hi Gina,

        I’m honored that you would ask my thoughts. To answer your question, the “hate” reference from my friend was more of her contrasting my tendency to have all-encompassing love for those I love, while my pendulum swiftly sweeps the opposite way when I don’t care for someone. But this friend and I both know that I don’t hate people in the true sense of the word. I can with good conscience say that I truly don’t hate anyone. And no, I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable hating another human being, for spiritual reasons that are personal to me. Now, I have had temporary ANGER at others, and I have been all too comfortable with that feeling. However, I do feel (personally, at least) that this also should be a transient feeling, and not something that I let fester inside of myself. It’s not good on so many levels: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Not good for ANY of the parties involved.

        Sorry, my comment was meant more slightly tongue-in-cheek to illustrate what my friend so aptly perceived is my immediate and polarizing response to people. I blow hot and cold, and I’m pretty consistent with either temperature.

        To attempt to answer to your situation, Gina, I think that there is a difference between having anger, even intense anger, at another human being and hating them outright. Would you agree? It’s possible that you are living in that angry state right now, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you acknowledging it is very wise of you. You’ve probably earned that anger, and it is to be felt or else it WILL come up in other ways, to be heard. But living in that anger day and night, week after week, month after month, year after year? That’s another story.

        • Gina says:

          Thanks Revolution, and likewise in your thoughtful and caring response which I am currently processing especially the transient and festering points. I have yet to calm the hatred down and I do see the difference you mention regarding anger and hate so thank you for being my eyes there. I certainly have earned the anger but didn’t deserve it however it’s here with me now and dealing with it. Underlying cause are all the recent and past hurts.

          It is good reading that your conscience is at its core very loving, and that you do consider also the well-being of all parties regardless. That is a fantastic attitude and I need to draw strength from that. It is hard work all this self-care…

          Keep safe and go well in the meantime.

  3. linsey says:

    Thanks for this. It hits home.

    • Gina says:

      Agree linsey, simply and succintly put the hitting home and this coming from the greatest fan of loyalty….

  4. Gina says:

    Dearest Nat, this is a fantastic detailed definition of LOYALTY!! Thanks kindly for pointing out that loyalty is a great quality when channelled appropriately as shockingly mine had been misplaced and misguided in the past equating to the hurts and sorrows mentioned. Pertinent understanding for me now as truly was hard done by shenanigans people had pulled (and continually do so although I no longer engage) to include family. I would say to me to also be wary of family loyalty as simply being a family member is not automatic entitlement to bend over backward especially when it is not mutual nor reciprocated. Thanks Nat and to all the lovely ladies and few fellows that do contribute often life saving testimonials X

    • Erika says:

      I’m confused…am I being loyal?

      I came to the self-realization just this year that I am emotionally unavailable and I’ve been dating emo men. I dumped the EMO man Id been with for 3 months and didn’t look back. Good things starting happening for my career and I was in an overall better, healthier place.

      And then I met a nice young man (we’re both in our early 20s). I wasn’t looking for anything serious, and with the info that Nat gave me, I felt secure in dating with that knowledge.

      He’s probably the nicest guy I’ve ever been with, and the old Erika would’ve been bored and written him off. But, he’s almost entirely action-based vs. words-based. I know ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS (it’s my new life mantra) but the problem (?) is that he’s not very communicative and likes me to do all the talking.

      We haven’t been dating for long, and I know that when a woman starts to think too much/vs taking action, then your answer is clear, but I feel compelled to give him a chance. He CAN be communicative verbally, but he’s mostly quiet and he even said that his family has difficulty knowing what he’s thinking.

      I guess my dilemma is this: Am I being loyal to the first guy who’s been emotionally available even though we have difficulty communicating? Should I continue getting to know him because all of his actions have aligned with what (little) words he’s said?

      Help, seriously confused.

  5. LovefromNel says:

    Dear Nat

    “Was it one-sided? Code red alert. Sometimes you can be so busy being loyal and essentially overcompensating for the other party, that you don’t realise how little they actually do in your relationship until you actually have a need and you’re left hanging.”

    Ohmygosh, this was like a coconut falling from a tree and donking me on my head! What a revelation! Wow!

    How lucky I feel to have discovered BR. I am a different person from last year, and even from yesterday, thanks to your wonderful writings, and your amazing readers who all so generously share their knowledge.

    Look out, here comes Unconquerable Nel with needs, and boundaries, and self-esteem, and independent worth. Yay!

    Much love to all.

    • Melanie says:

      That paragraph is the one that got me too!! I have now finally ended an extremely frustrating friendship with someone who had nothing to offer the moment I needed anything. An amazing article and from the comments on here, a life-changing article for many of people.

  6. confused124 says:

    People who need integrity, love, care, trust, respect and the intrinsic value and authenticity of a mutual relationship, don’t reward your loyalty with disrespect, derision, or betrayal.
    Wow…That spoke volumes to me tonight. I just found out that the AC is still with the redheaded whore he cheated on me with. This sent me into a spiral of self doubt, hatred and I’m not good enough for anyone. I truly wonder how she can still be with him. I wonder if they do change when they meet the right person. Do they? All I know is that I feel like shit and want my happy ending while he the villain should get his comeuppance. Where is my happy ending?

    • Clare says:

      Hi confused,

      A HUGE lesson I’ve learnt recently is that other people’s behaviour isn’t really about you. People are not responding to you with their every breath and action. Someone said this to me recently when I was taking a hurtful action personally yet again, and it was immensely liberating.

      There is not some giant scorecard, where you are measured and found wanting. People’s behaviour is not about you, and it certainly isn’t about your worth. People are doing what they’re doing according to what they can cope with at the time, the skills they have. Often they’re doing their best to survive or to look out for themselves with the limited emotional resources that they have.

      So making it about your worth and where you didn’t measure up is silly, and downright inaccurate, although I have certainly been there. He wasn’t right for you, according to who he is in this moment, and according to who you are at this moment, and how grateful could you not be for that, that who you are is so lovely that someone who cheats is not right for you. Perhaps this red-head tolerates a lot more from him and is miserable and has low self-worth. Maybe their arrangement is just sex. You just don’t know.

      Chin up.

      • Confused124 says:

        Hi Clara
        My spiral happened in a moment of utter weakness brought on by complete shock at seeing a picture of them still together and looking happy. To your point whether they are truly happy or not I don’t know nor do I want to know.
        When the whole cheating/breakup incident went down I was devastated and horribly horribly hurt not to mention humiliated in front of some friends (his mostly. He never wanted to meet any of mine) . I had given him my trust, love, respect and loyalty and he returned none of it. I found out of his vile behavior via Facebook! Facebook! Of all the ways.?!?!
        A shocked phone call to him later I was dumped and broken hearted. It was one of the most traumatic episodes of my life as I had truly loved him. I went immediately into NC. Not that he has ever tried to contact me. He was too busy “trying to have a relationship” with her. I’m glad he did not contact me as I really did not want to see him or hear his lies and excuses. One long ass email blaming everything on anything from his ex-wife to the kitchen sink was more than I could stomach.
        Anyhow….Not sure why I felt the way I did. I tend to be a loyal person in general but something in Nat’s post trigger my sadness and outrage. I’m good now. A 5 miles run and a few hours at the boxing gym brought my self esteem and self worth back :) Thank you so much for your reply. It was just what I needed. Hugs to you from me. ?

  7. Karen says:

    I think loyalty is a great thing to give and get, but loyalty toward another person ends for me when I have to choose between them and myself.
    I was seeing a very nice woman who had all the right qualities at first and it seemed like we were slowly but surely getting to know each other and on the same page with values, boundaries, etc.
    But on our very first telephone conversation she got drunk and said a lot of erotic things that she’d never say when she was sober.
    To make a long story short, even if I was dead drunk one night, my words would be the the same when I was sober the next day. Hers were the opposite. She said she had been tipsy the night before. Tipsy does not cause drunken amnesia. She forgot everything she’d said the night before.
    I don’t trust blackout drunks. Being loyal to a blackout drunk who’s in denial? Out of the question. So, the loyalty stopped and so did my contact with her.
    I may have a few relationship problems, but adding a drunk to my life is not ever going to be one of them. I’ve been in Al Anon off and on for 11 years–I don’t even date recovering alcoholics much less blackout drunks.
    Loyalty, schmoilty. I chose me.

    • Mymble says:

      Oddly enough something similar happened with someone I dated a few months ago. I was having doubts and said I didn’t want to continue. But we continued chatting and he’d been going through a hard time with his best friend being diagnosed with cancer. I began to wonder if I wouldn’t reconsider because I did like him. Then one night he phoned under the influence and said some spiteful things. Later claimed to be unable to remember. I’m never sure if that’s actually true but even if it is, it’s a massive big red flag. Not interested at all anymore, there’s something far wrong and I’m not going to be the one to try and fix it.

      • Karen says:

        UPDATE…my improved self esteem has made it a lot easier to accept what happened and not ruminate about it very much.
        One thing I have decided is to take a dating break–between the Russian phony and the blackout drinker, I’m just flat out tired.
        But it is getting better. The drinker was actually very kind and treated me with consideration and respect…when she was sober. When she was drunk she was a bit much, like insisting on talking wacko politics and religion when I begged her to change the subject.
        Nothing worse that hearing someone’s story of being born again with slurred speech and lots and lots of repetition.
        The only good thing was I could ask her questions that were ordinarily too snoopy. I figured if she was gonna get drunk on me I may as well poke around a little. Didn’t find out much but enough to be on guard.

        • Pauline says:


          Dealing with drunks can get very old very quickly. If it was a once off I would say let it go but it isn’t from what you say and a regular occurrence.
          Move on you don’t need this sort of person and you can do better.

  8. S Smith says:

    On time again! Thanks! Had just sent a “nice gesture” to someone earlier today. I broke contact almost a year ago (lots of personal issues for them and I moved away) and they were heavy on my mind. I’m glad I did reach out to them but this passage puts things in perspective with reality – the simple “hello” and “glad you are ok” is enough! No additional is needed. Whatever their true circumstances were at the time that attributed to them not fully being committed is in the past and really knowing they don’t deserve any additional “special” attention is ok also.
    Stay strong BR family!!!

  9. rachael says:

    People can be loyal to those who are not right for them because it is easier sometimes to overlook/justify/explain/sympathise with/forgive what the other does than feel the pain that their own (impossible) expectations have contributed to.

    • Clare says:

      Very wise Rachael, thank you for this. Exactly where I have found myself on a number of occasions.

  10. Camille says:

    This post was timely for me, like so many of them – spooky. There are times when I’m strong and I’ve got it together and I’m holding on to all the stuff I’ve learned through Natalie, her posts, her courses, her books – and then in the wee small hours of the night when my thoughts gather momentum, with no distractions or work to stop me thinking and remembering, I ruminate and obsess, going over ever inch of my life, my childhood, my family, my failed relationships and the last one (NC for 2 months now) where I loyally dedicated 3 years of my life, love and energy to a man who didn’t deserve that loyalty. My fears bubble over and my self-hatred grows as I blame and berate myself, my ego has a tantrum because I didn’t get my happy ending or even a happy middle as he was an EU AC charmer with narcissistic tendencies and the explosive rages that went with it. I am proud of myself for finally realising how hopelessly misplaced my loyalties were and for getting out of that relationship before I died inside or even took my own life entirely. I woke up this morning after a despairing night and read Natalie’s article. So accurate, so brilliantly put, so kind yet so firm. And as ever, I am so so grateful for her wisdom and her generosity. She is changing me. It may be two steps up, one step down, but it’s still an upward trend… slowly slowly catchy monkey :-) Thank you Natalie x

    • rachael says:

      Blaming and berating yourself says to me that you ARE TRYING to make things better for you. BUT I don’t think self flagellation is the best way to get that result. Maybe try self compassion… we all make mistakes and you are doing your best. Each time you find out you didn’t make an ideal choice for you, you are closer to finding a better way, cause you have learned what doesn’t work

  11. Camille says:

    Thanks Rachael – it’s good to get some positive reinforcement! what’s happening is that I have gone from all crappy thinking to switching my perspective to embrace all I’ve learnt through this website, finding I can sustain the clear realistic and compassionate thinking for a while, then slipping back into old perspectives, then reading a new post from Nat and switching my perspective again to the healthy positive clear thinking ones, then slipping back again into the depression and self-blame, then back to positive again etc etc. But at least this is going on in my head now that I’m out of that awful soul-destroying relationship. It’s more like I’m just doing a bit of inner battle. I pootle along taking each day at a time, floating along with the switching perspectives, trying to be kind to myself when I slip back into the old ways. It has made me examine my relationships and loyalties to my parents, brother and sister, friends, my work, my boss etc etc, and I realise how old ways of thinking and self-blaming, misplaced loyalties etc, have kept me boxed in for years in unhealthy situations. I’m seeing the light and do have self-compassion, I just haven’t managed to sustain that way of thinking yet for more than 48 hours at a time! At least I only sometimes cry at night when I re-live old experiences (although some are still a bit recent). I’m sitting quietly evaluating rather a lot at the moment, and I know that when I’m ready I will make the new me more out there in the world, more truly authentically representative of who I am, with clarity, understanding and boundaries.

  12. Camille says:

    Thanks Rachael – it’s good to get some positive reinforcement. At the moment I’m switching between seeing things clearly and having compassion for myself as a result of all the stuff I’ve learnt from this website, and then sinking back into negative thinking, depression and self-blame, and then reading one of Nat’s posts and switching my perspective back again to a healthier, positive and realistic one where I have a really good grasp of things, then slipping back into ruminating or remembering something that happened and feeling all the old emotions of despair and failure and self-blame, then switching my perspective back again to a positive one etc etc. I am compassionate with myself but at the moment I can’t sustain it for more than 48 hours before my ruminating and negative thoughts get a hold again, but then hey presto I pull myself out of it again – usually by reading one of Natalie’s posts – and my strength returns. I think it’s just a question of time so that gaps between times of slipping into negative thinking get bigger. This post on loyalty certainly has made me examine all my relationships which have caused me problems for a long time – with my family, certain friends, work, my boss etc. I’m quietly sitting and evaluating a lot right now, and when I’m ready I do feel I will be able to re-enter the world with more authenticity, with boundaries, and with the self-confidence that I will not embark on a series of misplaced loyalties.

    I did post this just now but I think it vanished into the ether because I forgot to put my name in the field, so this is a re-write as well as I could remember it.

    Karen – I liked your comment.

    • rachael says:

      Sounds to me like you, like all of us, keep slipping into buying the negative BS ‘story’ about yourself. Of course, when you do, the emotions follow. I agree that practice will help, but your growing awareness is helpful, in my opinion. Just be careful the JUDGE inside doesn’t start the berating.. she/he means well, but she/he is a bit of a bitch/arse is in her/his methodology. Self compassion is much more effective in my opinion xx

  13. Swissmiss says:

    Haven’t posted in ages and glad I popped in.

    In gaining back my equilibrium from the XMM, which took a year—a long, tortuous year, full of insight and growth—a lot was mentioned about the similarities between him and my narc mother, and my need to achieve what I could not get in childhood, to right the wrongs of the past, all of which I agree with.

    But the idea of seeking validation never worked for me. This does. The narc betrays, disappoints, pulls the rug out. You go and run and do hoping for loyalty, consistency, to end the tiresome spurts of cruelty. I remember that feeling so vividly: the exhaustion as a child and with the XMM, exhaustion from trying to make my own dream materialize. Tx for this.

  14. Goldie says:

    Ugh, that’s me. My dad instilled it in me to always do the right thing, no matter what the cost. After we lost him to cancer last year, his philosophy became somewhat of a religion to me. I took it too far. I stayed with my ex primarily because of loyalty and he knew it. Two years ago he’d gone far out of his way to take care of me after I had surgery. In my mind, that somehow translated into “I cannot even think of considering ever ending this after what he’s done for me” so it never crossed my mind to even stop and think whether what we had was still working. It did cross his though. Last summer, he blindsided me with the breakup, three days after we came back from vacation. He never gave me a reason why, other than “something was missing” – in hindsight he was right – there was a hell of a lot missing. BTW I borrowed vacation days from a year ahead to go on that vacation with him, because I thought he needed that – again, stupid loyalty. He’s gone on a half dozen vacations and breaks since then, and I am still negative on vacation days at my work!! After the breakup, I tried to stay on friendly terms with him, because again, loyalty. In the meantime he was cutting down on contact and alienating me from everyone I’d met through him over our two years together… after the breakup, I gave him a list of people that I wanted to stay in touch with, and asked him to give them my regards and contact info… He sent them a good-bye email on my behalf instead, that he never copied me on. I found out when one of them forwarded it to me. It was downhill from there. I met with him once after the breakup and he said none of our mutual acquaintances would talk to me again, because they were no longer obligated to, since I was no longer with him… he added that they’d dropped his ex-wife from contact in the same way after their divorce. I believed every word of it, because again I was still loyal and still considered him a friend. As it turns out he’d made the whole thing up. This spring, he decides to suddenly tell me via email that his new gf is one of those mutual acquaintances, that I’d gotten together well with, and had tried to reconnect with. I had actually helped those two get together. Back when he and I still talked, a few months after our breakup, I had to spell it out for him that the “friendly outing” she’d invited him on, was actually a date, and told him that I thought they’d make a good couple… which they apparently did shortly after that! My idiot loyalty kicked in again after I heard the news. I sent her an email with best wishes (which I’ll give her credit she did reply to). I told him that, although he’d said he wanted to keep in contact via email, that I was no longer comfortable talking to him separately behind her back, but that I would keep in touch with them as a couple if they wished to. I tried to stay in touch with her. Never heard from any of them again. All the support I gave those two and the response I got from both was “talk to the hand”, ugh! I just don’t understand myself sometimes. I have good friends, two great kids in their late teens/early 20s, a new relationship that is pretty amazing so far, with a man who respects me, treats me right, and (unlike my ex) has his sh.t together. And with all those awesome people in my life, I chose to be loyal to the one man and one woman who get a kick out of boycotting me like a pair of seventh-grade popular girls… why WHY? why did I waste my time and energy on these two? Why did I put myself on the line for them, only to make it easier for them to hurt me again and again?! I really need to print this article out and post it on my fridge, so I have it right in front of my face next time I want to give my loyalty to someone who doesn’t need or deserve it. Thank you Natalie for posting it.

    • rachael says:


      I am sorry your dad died. People WILL TAKE sometimes. My own father was a farmer and I can recall at times people would take advantage of his kindness. He too did ‘the right thing’ and sleeps soundly with a clear conscience and the knowledge that he has done his best by others. What others do has no bearing on who he is.
      You ask ‘why’. Maybe there is something you learned from all this?

      • rachael says:

        Ps. I had a guinea pig called Goldie

      • Goldie says:


        Thank you. Yes, one thing I do not regret is telling my ex that I could not talk to him separately anymore. His new gf seems to be pretty sensitive about that stuff. And like I said, I’ve spent some time in her company when the ex and I were together and she used to come to his parties, and I’ve come to like her enough that I simply cannot do this to her, period, end of story. If I had to do this all over again, I’d tell him the same thing again, not for him or for her, but for myself, so I can live with myself. But with all that said, was I hoping to get into her good graces by doing it, so she and I would stay in contact? full disclosure, yes I did, I am not perfect. And yes I’m still sad that it didn’t work out. That was my mistake. I should’ve never expected any kind of reward, if you will, for my actions. Most people just don’t care enough about others to engage in that kind of give and take – Natalie is right here – this kind of loyalty should be something you only give to someone you trust, that has proven to be loyal to you. It was a no brainer to me that my ex, given the way he acted in our last few months together and after the breakup, is not someone worthy of my trust and loyalty. And frankly, so probably is a woman who started asking him out just a couple months after he dumped me out of the blue for no reason – she was there for the entire thing – that she saw how he treated me and still decided he’d be a good partner for her, should’ve told me what she really thinks of me. The writing was on the wall with that one :( Again, I don’t regret sending her that email with good wishes, but I should’ve stopped contact right after that, because it should’ve been clear she wouldn’t be interested in keeping in any kind of contact. My ex has a way of telling people stories about his ex-partners that put them in a bad light, which compels people to choose his side over theirs. (When he and I first started dating, I used to feel so bad for him because of what his ex-wife “had put him through” – in reality she probably didn’t put him through anything – he has a way of putting a spin on things.) Pretty sure that was also what happened here. His new gf, as friendly as she and I used to be in the past, is not on my side now. I should’ve known that.

        Lol that’s cute, my neighbors had a dog named Goldie. It is my old internet nickname that goes 14 years back.

  15. Stephanie says:

    My belief is I only have loyalty to my family and closet friends and even that loyalty has it limitations. When it comes to personal relationships, there especially with AC/EUM there was a faux loyalty there on my behalf. I know that these men had no loyalty because no matter how nice and kind I was to them, they still hurt me. They didn’t see my so called loyalty as positive, they saw it as a way to take advantage of me because they knew I was more loyal to them then they were to me. But at the end of the day, I realized like Nat said, loyalty like trust is something that is earned and if you don’t have trust you certainly won’t have loyalty.

  16. Lorraine says:

    “It also hurts when we take another person’s betrayal and then we judge ourselves for them having done so.”

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Been reading many past articles that apply to me. This was spot on. I have been beating myself up for the past six months for the EUM AC betraying me especially because I was so loyal. Went above and beyond and always had his best interests at heart in everything I did.

    Since he betrayed me six months ago, he has sporadically showed up in my life just at the moment I’m feeling good about myself. A few weeks ago he showed up with his kids and acted like we were still together in front of them. It was really weird and totally messed me up. I have never contacted him. I feel like he likes to play mind games with me every month or so.

    Sunday was my birthday and he texted me at 5:30 in the morning saying he wanted to be the first to wish me a Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day. I never responded… I have learned something from Natalie, texts are lazy communication. If he genuinely wanted to wish me a Happy Birthday, he would have called. I felt guilty for not saying thank you all day, but I’m past it now and just feel messed up all over again.

    I want so badly to move on and I am beginning to notice other men but I’m still trying to figure out why I allowed this person to screw me up like this and continue to f*ck with my emotions.

    This article has really hit me hard. I am a kind and loyal person and I spoil rotten the people I love (animals too). I will be so careful in any future relationships I might have and not get sucked in by a textbook EUM. I so wish there was a magic formula for removing feelings for someone who doesn’t deserve them.

  17. camille says:

    Lorraine and Stephanie

    Spoil yourself rotton for a bit and never forget to be loyal to yourself first. I’m gradually learning these lessons too.

  18. Grizelda says:

    I used to believe what we were told about love and loyalty — that they were infinite in supply and doesn’t cost a thing. And that the more love and loyalty you give, the more you receive.

    What a load of old hippie-dippie crap. Of course love and loyalty come at a cost to those who provide it. There’s an emotional cost, an energy cost — and emotions are rooted in our souls and flow throughout our bodies, so we feel it keenly when we’re in a deficit, when people absorb it from us and don’t return it. All give, no receive, and pretty soon our tanks are running on empty.

    Natalie’s right, it’s a precious resource because what’s loyalty but the giving of ourselves? What’s love but the giving of ourselves? And sex too – the giving of ourselves? Guard you well.

    • Goldie says:

      Wow Grizelda, this is an excellent point. Which means, among other things, that, anytime we give our loyalty to someone who doesn’t deserve it, we fail to give enough loyalty to someone else in our life that does. (This is how many of us, myself included, lose our old friends when we disappear into a relationship.) You’re right, it really is a finite resource. And you’re also right that, when other people take it from us and do not return it, it drains us emotionally and physically.

  19. Peanut says:


    I was just asked by a friend to do something to help her out that I wasn’t comfortable with.

    I know she’s miffed and I do care but I won’t let thay override what’s best for me.

    What’s with this silly loyalty thing. Friendships are about intimacy and exploration not serving one another.

  20. Peanut says:

    And Nat I am still so very much in love with your blog. I am going to be old and grey still typing THANK YOU in big caps.

    Just when I think all the sanity’s gone dried up, you write just what I need. Xx;)

  21. Peanut says:

    Loyalty is a lot like commitment I think.

    I am learning to be loyal to myself. And that means not beating me up if I don’t get the right kind of attention from people.

    I am undergoing laser treatments (so far so good) for significant acne scarring. The day of treatment my face was bright and blotchy and people were mad staring.

    I didn’t even care. I couldn’t wear makeup as to not risk infection, but I chose to not run and hide and had a lovely evening.

    Life is about claiming loyalty to you every second you are alive. I did not adopt the fear of my face that others did (btw it’s looking splendid now/healing well).

    Then tonight I went grocery shopping and got some uncomfortable stares by men. Turns out my period had bled through my pants and it looked as though a B Horror movie was going on in there; my rump was soaked right through with blood.

    I could have chosen to shame myself and vow to never return to that grocer (which I love), but I’m blazw about it all–who cares! I’m a woman; I bleed heavily out of my vagina sometimes; it’s what I do.

    Anyway, I am getting so much better at catching myself and seeing I have a duty to support me. I have a contract with myself that I will always be loyal to me first and foremost no matter what. Toodles!

    Anime and pop tart time. Time to cuddle myself!

  22. Tinkerbell says:

    I can relate well to this topic especially right now. I’ve been struggling with my relationship with my sister. This nothing new. Approximately i year ago I received an inheritance from my deceased mother. My sister received money also but was left less than half of what Mom left me. Neither my sister nor I have any idea why the discrepancy in the amounts since it’s only the two of us. Anyway, my sister asked me to lend her my entire share because she needed it to make house repairs prior to sale. She swore that the house would sell quickly since it was a lovely house in a desirable neighborhood. I wanted to be a good sister and show how loyal I was so I lent her the money. Well, needless to say there have not only been a few setbacks but she was holding out for the most money she could get without realistically looking at the condition of the home which would impact the sale. After this much time has passed I’ve become impatient and let my sister know this. Unfortunately, I expressed my feelings in a less than tactful email. I sent her the email instead of speaking to her on the phone because ever since she borrowed the money she has sharply reduced communication with me. So, I was angry not only about not being paid back, but also because I felt pushed aside and ignored after being so generous. I’ve had second thoughts that had I not been generous and tried to do the right thing I would not in in the situation now of having to apologize to her for some of the mean things I’ve said. Ours has always been a strained relationship–two strong women who love each other as sisters but don’t make very good friends because of our personalities. I will have to make this phone call soon. I sent her a Mother’s Day card and got no response at all, so I know she is really angry and hurt by my words. I’m finding that as I seek to increase my spirituality, but at the same time speak my truth and stand up for myself, that there is a thin line between love and hate. I love her but hate some of the things she does and I know she feels the same way about me. Life is a beatch, sometimes.

    Also received a Mother’s Day card from the ex. I ended up sending an email to thank him which opened up email dialogue back and forth a couple of times. But, today I wrote and told him to stop the emails because we have to have a heart to heart discussion about US, (which we have not had, since I just opted to go NC). But, I’ve only recently begun to feel increasing peace of mind and am really not sure if I want to deal with him because the love I had is not completely dead. I don’t know what I want to do because he said several times that he misses me, but words and actions are two entirely different things. One thing is for sure is that I will tell him I will not be downgraded to just a phone buddy so if that’s all he really wants I am not the one. But then if he acts and shows me that he wants more, I’m not so sure about what I really want from him anymore after he hurt me. I feel, And i will tell him, that he needs to work on overcoming his issue if he wants me in his life. Feedback welcomed.

    • simple pleasures says:

      You are now referring to him as an “ex” Tink. Think about this and where it is coming from within you.

    • Pauline says:


      Ah, lazy communication, where would we be without it these days!

      He got you in nicely with the Mother’s Day card! testing the waters so to speak and you took the bait. You still have unresolved feelings for him and the I miss you emails are also testing you. Has anything actually changed with him? Are you betting on hope and the potential that things will come right this time when it hasn’t in the past? Words don’t mean anything if they’re not backed up with actions and you know this.

      He sounds like he’s running hot then cold, wants you in his life but doesn’t want the full on relationship, friends or friends with benefits, picks you up when he wants you then puts you down again when he’s not in the mood, is this how its happening?

      What do you want Tink? You can’t have a happy fulfilling relationship with a man who only has one foot in and is using his medical issue as a condition on any permanent relationship with him, and by the sound of your post, you barely have one toe in right now and with very good reason.
      Let him sort out his own feelings and what he wants to do without any input from you while you get on with your life.

      Remember what Nat says, never ever ever ever ever wait around for someone to make up their mind about you. They’re either in or they’re out, we don’t do inconsistencies.
      It’s not as if you met him 3 months ago and you are both sorting out your feelings, you’ve had an ongoing relationship with this man for a while now and he’s been blowing hot and cold – the writing is on the wall.

      As for family members and borrowing/lending money, it’s never a good situation. I fell into that trap about 8 years ago, I lent a large sum of money with a verbal agreement to pay it back and guess who is still waiting. I had no legal document signed and the person who borrowed the money is angry with me for asking for repayment, has denied that it was a loan and said they understood it was a gift. They avoid me like the plague and I’ll never see the money again. I was a fool for not getting the legal paperwork done.
      I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen with your sister.

  23. Tinkerbell says:

    You would think after the two situations above, I would conclude that email is not a very efficient type of communication during emotion-packed interaction. Hohum!

  24. Flavia says:

    Brilliant post, Natalie.

    Thank you.

  25. Chutzpelady says:

    Just what I needed! It stopped me from a job-comeback, where I wasn’t shown respect. Thanks Natalie!

  26. Peanut says:

    If anyone has an input/opinion, I’d greatly appreciate it.

    Over the past year, I have invested some time on a friendship that I question now. She’s doing the blowing cold thing.

    I noticed some odd bevavior at first (cooky white lies and compulsive behavior with men).

    My therapist said all I would be able to have is a superficial friendship with her as she is not authentic enough for depth.

    A year later I have such headache about it. I have grown, I want depth and she is the same. Also, when I experience success I sense jealousy on her part (big time) and she disapears. I never do that to her. I am genuinely happy for her when things go well.

    I just sense her emotional unavailability and it seems pointless to pursue friendship because it feels as though I’m on a hamster wheel going nowhere with this.

    Problem is she’s my only friend I have left.

    • rachael says:


      Talk to her about it?

    • Clare says:

      Hi Peanut,

      I was in a situation like this with a friend. Maybe not the same as yours, but she basically had questionable self-esteem, was dissatisfied with her life, and often blamed others for this. She was good fun and I was happy to be a good, supportive friend to her. However, whenever something would happen in my life or I would get something which she herself didn’t have, whether it was a guy or some development in my career, she would become noticeably cooler and even admit to being a bit jealous. She would accuse me of having no more time for her, or just refrain from commenting on it, or sharply reduce communication. It got tiresome but I persevered with the friendship, until one day one of her guy friends, whom I’d met through her, asked me out on a date and then wanted to pursue a relationship with me. This was a cardinal sin apparently and she created drama around this as a pretext to end the friendship.

      I was short-sighted when it came to this friendship, and your situation may not be as bad as this, but my point is if you are at vastly different stages in your levels of happiness and growth, the friendship has a way of manifesting this. it is likely that you will unavoidably drift apart, and this is not a bad thing. You can’t dim your light in this world to make someone else feel better about themselves.

      As far as her being your only friend – the great thing when you let go of friendships that have run their course, is that you create space for new and better friends to come into your life. As you grow and live authentically, so people more on a wavelength will be attracted to you. I’ve seen this happen in my own life, and I am not a social butterfly by any means. I believe it starts with the willingness not to tie yourself in knots for something which is not really working.

      You could continue a superficial friendship with her, but be open to those people who have more depth, who have more to offer you. They are out there, and would probably love a friend like you.

    • Sofia says:

      Peanut, I had a “friend” like that. Luckily, she was not my only friend, so it was not much problem letting go. I did miss letting her go because I thought she had a kind heart and caring personality. We worked together at my previous job. I opened up to her, and she did too, gradually, not as swiftly as me. I invited her to my place, have some wine, talk. We went out couple times. It was always my initiative. It felt like she was not really there. It’s like I was a guy / girl pursuing the opposite sex because I liked the person and wanted to share time together. She would be blowing warm/cold. Not hot exactly. She would take hours or couple days to answer my texts or even a week (that’s after I found a new job so I didn’t see her every day). I kept inviting, wanted to go out with her. She is my age, single like me , and when I am not with my daughter, I wanted us to have a girls night out Friday or Saturday. She would be hesitant or passively accepting. Anyway, eventually I realized I need to back off. It was strange because when we were together, she seemed enjoyed our time together. But it was always my ideas. I suggested to go walking, jogging, going to a movie, joining a gym, so other things beyond night out, and still she was passive. Then I didn’t talk to her for a year. She never contacted. She lives 5 minutes away from me. She is separated from her husband for 4 years now I think or 3. She still waits for him to come back. He basically meets her when convenient to him and at his first call she runs to him. It’s very sad, and I won’t go into it.

      I think it boils down to that she was/is an unhappy person. I wish I could tell her to go to BR now, but I don’t talk to her anymore. She is wasting her precious years waiting for her husband to return to a family life. He won’t. She is 37 and could still try having kids. She won’t because he doesn’t want to. She waits for Friday-Saturday-Sunday night when he is bored or doesn’t have a date, so he calls her up. When we started our friendship I felt infuriated and told her to dump him ( I mean they were separated already) but to dump that idea of a “relationship.” Iwish I could give and follow my own advice…. She was angry with him. She said, I won’t divorce him, let him do it. So, basically , he is not divorced because it is convenient to him, having a bachelor life style yet a convenient familiar wife hookup when he needs to. he has gained. She is losing out. I met her 4 months ago. She is still in the same situation and seemingly “accepted ” the arrangement. But I think she is hoping secretively. It’s really sad because he is not giving and won’t give her what she wants : family, marriage; yet she is still waiting and not moving on. Last time I saw her apartment it was decorated with all the wedding pictures and their times together. It’s really sad.

      Back to our subject, the person you are talking about suffers from low self -esteem I think. Plus, emotional unavailability, not being happy for you, when you are happy.

      I think it’s better to have no friend at all then a friend like that. I would say, do NC and let her go. I did it to this girl. I left her alone. And she never contacts me. She doesn’t need me. Just try, Peanut, don’t contact her for couple months. Most likely she won’t even bother.

      You will find friends. I know it’s hard as we get older, but you won’t be alone. I am sure you have relatives or friends from your childhood you talk to? maybe even long distance?

      I made a great friend recently from my church. I have one friend from my childhood but she lives in another country and she has a small child, so she doesn’t have time much lately. I have several people I know but those are not friendship.

      don’t give up. But really, my opinion, don’t pursue. No reason if she is not into you. There will be someone who is.

  27. Blondie says:

    I wonder about another side of this issue…

    While I, admittedly have put myself in situations where I tried to earn brownie points by putting loyalty coins in a never-ending unreciprocating pit, while expecting love and to be “paid back” in the end, what about when you’ve been able to start to be good about these boundaries and then you find yourself in a relationship with someone who puts themselves in loyalty-busting people pleasing situations regularly?

    One one hand, our relationship suffers from financial equality issues, amongst other things, as a result of it and so I feel resentful and neglected, but I also understand the pain of wanting to be loved by people who aren’t worthy or capable (or just enjoy being the “takers”). The other issue I face is the feeling of emotional loyalty and not feeling “special” because the loyalty and people pleasing is doled out like candy, even to those who’ve rarely reciprocated or are habitually dishonest about their “situations” that they need bailing out from. There are many instances where these individuals are his family members, whom he trusts unconditionally, while demonstrating apprehension towards our relationship and frequently diminishing his loyalty to us over the individuals whom he feels obligated to be loyal towards.

    Has anyone faced similar feelings? How did you manage your feelings of resentment?

    Great post (and comment feed) as always!

  28. Peanut says:


    That would be wise ;) Xx

  29. Peanut says:

    I also think there are some major double standards going on. I am usually very prompt at responding to texts; she takes her time, etc.

    I realized just because I perceive these expectations being put on me doesn’t mean I have to abide by them. I realized I was allowing my fear of rejection to make me ol’ faithful again.

    Today she took her long drawn out time to reply to a quick text, as then did I. I sense some miffed-ness on her part, but I don’t regret my behavior. I refuse to chase people or keep a relationship going near by my lonesome.

    She is used to a behavior I chose to give, but the thing is I am not obliged to be nice in order to save face and keep the peace.

    If it acceptable for her to delay; it is acceptable for me to delay. She is not special.

    • Catherine says:

      I had a friendship with someone that sounds a lot like yours and Sofia’s. I admire your compassionate attitude to these women. My BFF started blowing hot and cold, and then just quit blowing, and I am so angry with her. I’m feeling really bad about my attitude towards her and praying GOD will help me forgive her, she really is an unhealthy person. Natalie’s post on entitlement has helped me with this to recognize that I’m not entitled to be her BFF forever. Stuff just happens, so I am really grateful for that post because it has helped me to heal and see myself more clearly and the situation in a healthier light, and not so self centered.

  30. Peanut says:

    Spoke with friend. She likes needs less contact. I am releived to. It was getting too codependent of a relationship. Yay! Here’s to better emotional relating. Sheesh; this ain’t easy.

    • rachael says:

      Life isn’t, Peanut. BTW, my dad’s pet name for me was a derivative of ‘Peanut’. How did you choose the name?

  31. H says:


    It’s amazing that it seems that we have gone through strikingly similar situations. Everything you said , I have been through. Everything, I really need to talk to u one on one. I am there , missing, talking positively, being impatient with my slow progress, back and forthing. Lost all hope , now I compare other peoples life and think I have nothing. I had to draw closer to God to even get to this place. It’s been 9 months, 6 months if ur technical. All my friend and everyone I met told me to leave or stay away from him as his reputation preceded him but I did not listen. I was too naive and blind and stubborn. My friend even got into an argument with me more than once about leaving him as he’s no good for me. I didn’t listen. I shud have listened. Now if I basically knew this would happen , y am I still Hung up on an AC? Am I stupid or have no self worth or self esteem that I can actually be regretting the break up. Everyone tells me I shud be happy relieved. I’ve felt tht once in a while.

    I know exactly what u mean when u say it struck u one day that u weren’t with him anymore. I had tht , it’s like it didn’t really sink in that he’s gone. It struck me one day and thts a major part in th healing process : not feeling connected or invested. The feeling didn’t last though. Sigh.

    I don’t see much hope, I don’t kno why. I got so panicked about no kids an there is a big reason why similar to ur experience. I just feel that I am a loser who a man can leave as i cud not make him stay as I asked for too much when I shud have just not brought up the same thing and he felt that I was too much of that. I don’t kno that wat he said. Other women say it too that men need peace of mind to stay around. But what if wht these men do makes u unhappy, makes u panic and react by talking about it, I was human , how cud I hav shut up when I was so scared of the very thing he said he was not doing. Turns out he did go and do tht thing when he claims we broke up. I am so stupid and weak.

    How can I write to Nat for your email. Don’t even know if she will share. Advise me of where or how to write her or call please.


    • Sofia says:

      Dear J,

      I could have written your first two paragraphs. I thought I was doing good for three weeks. Here I go again (hormonal too) cried so hard last night that my face is still swollen. And I DID do things I enjoy. I attended my first meetup group that shares my interest, I went to a very nice wine bar all by myself. I was fine by myself and I didn’t feel strange at all, BUT it struck me again (and couple days prior the storm was brewing)I was missing him. Not sexually, not romantically. I was missing him as a person I used to know for one year and talk to almost daily. I almost cried in the wine bar. Cried while driving. Came home and cried and cried. It was so hard I thought I could not take it anymore. I blamed myself again that I did things wrong. I pushed him too much (yeah by wanting to know if he wants to stay in the relationship with me and he said he did but I would check regularly like every time I would hit PMS and for the external reasons too because he was NOT two feet in the relationship. He didn’t engage into my life fully, everything was on his terms, limited time spent together, places, and never let me into his, his friends, his family. I always felt like my foot was out of his door too because he didn’t let me in, and so was his. …). I was feeling like in the first month post breakup but this is month 4. Is this possible to feel the roller coaster again. I page through my grief and loss book now and all the stages and they say , yet, it is possible to spiral again EVEN in the last stage. With every time, they write, the even , indifferent = good days will increase and the outbursts will decrease and eventually they will spiral out. It will all even out. And we will be indifferent. I am working towards it, I am hoping it will be the case. I want it to be the case. I just missed him so much last night it was physically painfully. I am almost crying writing this again, but I am feeling a bit better now. I am proud that no matter how sad, drunk, depressed, anxious, hopeful, no matter what I NEVER CONTACTED him in these 4 months. Never. Only once to respond to his contact a month ago. And I never did again. I am so proud of myself for that. it is so tough. Yesterday I felt like breaking contact but I stopped myself and said to myself, “But look, the first months was the hardest. And I did it. I can do it now. I survived first month, first 3 months. I will survive the next 3 months and from then on it will get better.”

      You are not stupid, you are not weak. You still love him and no self-esteem courses or classes can eradicate that. What can help though is grieving and crying the loss. And time will take care of us, but you do have to accept though that this is the end. Cry all your heart can, but truly now, although as much as psychology reading and BR reading has helped me, the true helper is TIME. And your understanding and acceptance that he is not coming back and you (honestly ask yourself) don’t want him back. I honestly asked myself, do I want him back? No. It just will never be the same. Yes, it feels like I want him back but after few weeks, it will be the same and even worse because I will never trust him again. And the pain of the breakup will stay there between us like a ghost lurking, I think. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. It is our past.

      Please remember you are NOT a loser. It didn’t work out with him for various reasons. Remember J, that time will heal it all. you are still young. you will meet someone. you will have children. You are 28 , right? You still have time. No reason to worry. I know how heartbreaking it is. I cried what feels like my inner guts out last night. So hard that I could barely open my eyes this morning. Felt like fresh after breakup. The difference the time makes though is that today I am fairly ok. The first month post breakup is EVERY day like that. But you see.. .time helps. You have been healing for 9 months. or 6. Look back, doesn’t now seem better (overall not a particular day) then the first couple months? It should be. yes, maybe too slow, but the progress is there.

      I can’t give you a good advice I am still a mess myself. But my intention is to get better. Come back here and read. Do activities you like.

      I still have these painful moments when I feel like my heart was ripped out. I haven’t loved like this in 20 years. Yes I was married, had other ACs, but such trust , vulnerability and hopes and investment – nothing like it for 20 years. But I will be ok. You will be ok. Give it time. Don’t be afraid to feel pain. Feel it through. Cry. Then get up and do your things. And keep remembering that even let’s say in a year or sooner you will look at this as your past. It will get better.

      Hugs to you. E-mail Natalie. I give my permission to give you my email address. I don’t want to post it here.

  32. Revolution says:

    I’m in San Diego, CA and the fires are burning here. One was just up the street from my house! But I’m safe, no worries. It’s interesting that amidst the literal chaos of the last two days that I’m thinking about this issue of loyalty and how I had to inform my dad (and not vice versa) that I was okay. He didn’t call me first. This fire is international news at this point, I’m told, and I live a few blocks from one of the worst fires of this whole firestorm. He lives about two hours away. In California. And I’m getting emails from friends in Germany asking how I am. The thing is, even in times of crisis, people who were never loyal to you are not suddenly going to grow a loyalty gene and come to your rescue, literally or figuratively. It’s not as though the fires are going to lick the conscience of my absent dad or the AC, causing them to check up on me and make sure that I’m alive. So I have to be loyal to myself and focus on those many people who DID check on me, offer help, and express their (uninterrupted) love.

    Any other BR readers who are in the San Diego county area, please stay safe!!

    • Sofia says:

      Revolution, check in soon to let us know how you are doing.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Stay safe, Rev, and I echo what Sofia says – please check-in soon to let us know you are OK. Hugs from across the globe.

  33. Peanut says:


    This sounds quite complex. So basically your partner’s loyalty to suspect family is getting in the way of you enjoying your relationship?

    That is a tough one. Family dynamics can be so deeply engraned that it doesn’t even happen on a conscious level.

    Even that said, if most of us don’t strive toward healthy relationships (even if that means the absence of them) with our families, then it often times doesn’t happen.

    Really I have come to the belief that it’s best for both parties to sort out and get a handle on fam stuff before adding a romantic relationship to the mix.

    • Blondie says:

      Peanut, I think you’re absolutely right. It’s like proverbially sweeping things under the rug hoping nobody will lift it up and see the dirt to not address family issues ahead of time.

      Such a difficult situation.

  34. Peanut says:


    Our friendship is slowing down and I think we are both okay with that. I think the pressure of her being my only friend got kind of taxing on her as well.

    Though I sense a shift in her behavior toward me when I experience success sometimes, I don’t think it’d ever get to a crazy place with her (at least she’d never put it out there like that).

    I think we are just drifting apart and that is okay. Our friendship can’t get deeper so I imagine it might get more honest in that we devote more time to things outside the friendship that are more in line with our individual values. Sad though.

  35. Peanut says:


    I feel a bit embarrassed now telling you how I came up with Peanut.

    Though my dog’s name isn’t Peanut, it’s what I call her (my little peanut).

    And I am quite petite and consistently told how “cute” I am, so I thought it fitting. Plus I often feel like a tiny peanut in a world of cracker jacks ;)

    • rachael says:

      Nice, Peanut. Dad said he called me that cause when I was born, I was so small. Guess a wrapped baby does look like a peanut in it’s shell. Nice to have your dog :)

  36. runnergirl says:

    Oh my gracious…I’m so glad I popped back in. Natalie, you are doing GREAT. I think about you everyday. I feel like we are running a parallel universe. We are 17 days away from election day and I’m living everything you have ever written about. I have my own life now, thanks to you. It happened gradually. The exMM is still hovering and very helpful but he doesn’t get in. I have boundaries thanks to you. Your pic in this post is just what I experienced this morning. You are amazing…fabulous…and way beyond us!

    So, there is this guy who has been on the campaign trail with me since December. The campaign trail has a pied piper effect where folks hop on, there is a ton to do, and things get done. I didn’t notice him. Until now. There is no drama, he isn’t my standard type (of assclown). It wasn’t until I noticed that he wasn’t as assclown that I noticed him. He’s like so not my type that bells went off. Here is a guy who has been with me gathering signatures to get on the ballot, he is out walking precincts with me every weekend…he never outstays his welcome. He doesn’t text and he is always on time. I’m like baffled. There is no struggle. He likes me and I like him. What do I do? Everything you have ever said is now coming to fruition. What do I do?

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hey Runnergirl! You ask, what do you do? To use your namesake, don’t run, girl. And, as one of Nat’s pinterest pics says, ‘be hopeful but not naive.’ Let him show you what he is. It all sounds wonderful so far. Your story is inspiring from what I have gathered in recent and in older posts. There are no red or amber flags by the sounds, just go with it, enjoy it. The rest will speak for itself. Sorry to provide such an unhelpful post! But I don’t think there is anything to do, as such. Just be healthily optimistic xo

  37. Nic says:

    I have a long term friend who I became very co-dependent on recently. She has envy and boundary issues which most of the time I didn’t let bother me. Until she told me my (devoted) husband was a bad father. Then I realised (thanks to Natalie) that some people are not able to slow the spiral into whatever kind of assclownery they engage in.
    I have stepped way, way back and now watch and learn. I ponder and consider my part in the dynamic (very important !). Just like in male/female relationships, Natalie’s words are applicable to female friendships.
    I hope you can learn to simply enjoy her company.

  38. Peanut says:


    I think that’s what it will be–just enjoying her company.

    She is really social and fun sometimes but I can’t help but feel like she lived in a fantasty world much of the time.

    I’m barely starting to come out of that. And now I long for relating with people who really strive to live in reality.

    • Nic says:

      oh Peanut, my friend doesn’t do reality well either ! She is a charmer – the brightest, cutest, engaging person.
      I love my rose tinted glasses, I am determinedly optimistic, yet I consider my decisions and take responsibility. She talked about her cheating in terms of soul mates and unfinished business of past lives (wtf?).
      I struggled with sadness for months until I realised that her raising me up on a pedestal was so she could kick it out from under me – that way she was useful, needed and the stronger one. I’ve finished reading Natalie’s Fallback Girl book and its simply her way of maintaining the status quo. I can accept that about her (and reinforce my boundaries). Then move on to greater things for my own happiness.

    • Catherine says:

      Nic, Peanut, etc. it really is interesting how Natalie’s articles can be applied to female friends as well, and an overall attitude and perspective about our lives and the way we interface with everyone. I love this blog because on the surface it appears to be about dating, but if you really take to heart what she says, it is so much more. Thanks Natalie!

  39. Revolution says:

    Sofia and LovefromNel,

    Thank you for your concern, ladies! I am out of the danger zone now, thankfully. And it looks like as of today, the last fire raging is at about 80% containment, last time I checked. Scary. We are used to fires here in Cali, especially in the portion where I live, but not usually this early in the year. Anyways, off-topic, Miss Nat, for the last time. Just wanted to let everyone know that I’m okay. Don’t worry: my feisty ass won’t burn anytime soon. ;) Love to all, and HELLO RUNNERGIRL!!!!! :)

  40. […] strained by having to deal with these ‘pesky’ others. We try hard to please because we want to influence their feelings and behaviour so that we don’t get what those others do, and also because we want this person to give us […]

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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