Super Busy Superhero

Many people protest about how “super busy” they are – I’ve been guilty of this at times myself – and I regularly hear the, “I don’t have time for dating” and “I don’t have time for a relationship” defences along with what pretty much amounts to, “You draw the short end of the stick including my casual attitude towards you and even my neglect because, well, you know – I’m super busy. Have I mentioned how important I am or how insane my job is, or how everybody wants a piece of me?”

Just as who people are is self-evident, where a person’s priorities lie and what they make time for is self-evident too.

I don’t dispute that we’re busy people living in a busy world. We live in a time where protesting about our never-shrinking todo list and almost competing about how crazy hectic our lives are is the norm. There’s also the pursuit of the work/life ‘balance’ plus the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect and to achieve.

That said, if you’re someone who is doing the whole “I don’t have time for dating / a relationship” but saying that you do want one, or are expecting somebody who deserves better (and will probably keep giving you more of their time in the hopes that you’ll change your mind), to basically put up with you throwing them a bone from time to time, and are even justifying inconsiderate or even shady behaviour on your ‘busyness’, it’s time for you to go on a BS Diet.

If you genuinely believe that you don’t have the time to date, then don’t date or certainly don’t give potential partners the impression that you’re up for and offering more than what you are.

If you don’t believe that you can spare a few hours a week or that you only want to use that time to engage in distant (read: lazy) communication and or only want to use that time for sex, ego stroking etc, you don’t have time for mutual relationship. You want to keep it casual. If a person having needs, feelings, expectations, opinions etc is ‘taxing’ and you’re already mentally working out how to stop them from getting ‘carried away’ (possibly without being direct and honest), halt.

Your reasons for not having time are your reasons – own them. You don’t need to justify those reasons to anybody once you honour them but when you don’t do this and engage in contradictory behaviour that may leave a person questioning themselves and certainly questioning your integrity, an explanation will be looked for because your flip-flapping and backtracking will create questions and confusion, even if to you, it all makes logical sense.

Until you’ve genuinely rearranged your priorities, or your work / home situation changes, or whatever it is, it doesn’t make sense to half-assedly pursue dating or a relationship for your own ego’s sake, or to tick some box in your head or with your family, friends or ‘everyone’, because ultimately, people are humans with feelings and lives of their own.

I’m not saying don’t get laid or have fun with likeminded folk; I’m saying quit with the whole I Am The Busiest Person On Earth, Possibly Busier Than A World Leader or Superhero protestations. You doth protest too much. Stop using it to manage down people’s expectations – manage your own.

Busyness is something that offers us protection from having to be vulnerable and having to face aspects of ourselves and our lives. You don’t think workaholics are the way that they are because they’re so crazy about their job, do you?

If you’re on the receiving end of this whole “I don’t have time for dating / a relationship” malarkey, take them at their word, not at their strokes whether they’re ego or sexual ones.

It’s hard not to take it personally especially when it feels like you’ve been having a great time or that you could be so great together ‘if only’ they’d put in the time, energy, effort, and emotion but fact is, as humans we overestimate our capacity to be and do certain things and when it all gets a bit too real for us and we don’t have the high of the honeymoon period to carry us along – everything feels great at the beginning including new habits and interests – the reality of what we’ve been saying and doing along with any expectations created plus our own feelings, is exposed.

The thing is, it’s not your job to open up someone’s schedule or their emotions for that matter. It’s their job to make time and if you take over their responsibilities, you will take away any foundations that would act as the basis for a healthy relationship. It’s not your job to convince a person into being involved with you or to make more time because you’re getting into the whole selling territory. It’s a slippery slope because they end up on a pedestal and this automatically makes your relationship imbalanced.

I hear from people who have been making the busy excuse for ‘partners’ for anything from months to 20 years. Sometimes we forget that we’re too old to be waiting for mummy or daddy to come home and make time for us. It’s also safe to say that we hang around out of fear that if we tell them to jog on, their schedule will magically open up for someone else. In the meantime, we accept crumbs and they have their behaviour reinforced by our continued presence because they don’t experience natural consequences.

Don’t let anyone put you on layaway!

If they can’t manage their time and ‘fit you in’ now, how are they going to fit you in later when there will be more commitment and expectations? What’s your plan – to wait around? To hang in the shadows? To be The Most Perfect Person On Earth TM and/or to have no needs, feelings, opinions etc? That’s a half life.

If a person doesn’t have time for you they don’t have time for a relationship which means that it can’t progress, it won’t be balanced, consistent, committed (in whatever guise that takes – it doesn’t have to mean marriage) or genuinely intimate, plus over time you will become desensitised to this treatment due to being used to that person (and you) using their super busyness to justify their behaviour and attitude. It certainly won’t be mutual but you’ll certainly be shortchanged.

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113 Responses to Being ‘super busy’ isn’t a justifiable reason for accepting crumbs and mistreatment

  1. NK says:

    I’ve had this issue more with old friends lately than any lovers. I had one person tell me that I had thrown my toys out the pram because I pointed out that they are forever saying they’ll come to a event with me and a mutual friend and then cancel last min or don’t turn up. I’ve had a few other ‘friends’ acting this way lately too. Im 27 and I feel that this age is the ‘friends drifting away’ age. We are all getting older , more into our careers, settling down etc… A few people I’m happy to lose, others I never thought this would happen. That a mutual bond would keep us but obviously not. I most certainly don’t put up with the from blokes (I’m in a ltr now) but even if i wasn’t i know i’d not be putting up with this behaviour. I used to treat people like this, I was emotionally unavailable with guys for 2/3 years. I had lots of casualness and it it suited me just fine most of the time. I had a mixture of messing some boys around, becoming available to the wrong ones and meeting up with those with a same mind frame as me. Glad I’m out of that now though, I feel lighter and brighter!

  2. inlove says:

    I feel this post was written for me! Perfect timing as i have been “struggling” with a similar situation. My love interest (of 5 years now) we dated for 3, broke up in 2012 and to date we’ve been in this weird limbo phase, she isn’t dating anyone and i’m not dating anyone. the reason we broke up was because she was always busy and like you mentioned in your article it created this weird dynamic. we stopped having sex and i had enough of her not making time for things and she was feeling too much pressure from me. i love her to pieces, she is an A-type, with a big big heart, who is too busy. i love her and we continue to go on holiday together and i feel the fires we had before have mellowed out, but there is this elephant in the room of me wanting her back. to an outsider we appear as friends, but to me we most certainly are not, but if i were to discover she was dating someone else i would need to opt out immediately of whatever we have going on. it’s not the most healthy situation, but i do not see myself removing her from my life. what types of questions should i be asking myself? i dont want to pressure her into a relationship again, if it’s there, it’s there…

    • Einstien says:

      InLove,

      You said it yourself. If it’s there, it’s there. People that want to make time for you, do in a way that doesn’t leave you wondering, guessing, and in your particular case, hoping.

      She may be a wonderful girl (people don’t usually find their way here because our mates are/were ‘wonderful’), but you need to accept that she doesn’t want the relationship you want and move on. I would suggest cutting all contact because continued contact would be painful for you and keep you stuck.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        My feeling is if a man tells you that he hasn’t got time, he’s not interested and you need to flush.

        • Wiser says:

          There aren’t too many things I’m sure of, but this is one of them: People always make time for what’s important to them. Period. A person who’s really interested in you will bust a gut to show you that interest, to find time to be with you, to make you a priority. If they don’t, that says it all.

          • Gina says:

            Yes agree, people generally know what they want and are not afraid to pursue and maintain the relationship…as lovers or friends and so forth. If their interests wane then their need perhaps have not been met so they put in the half-hearted effort to eventually opting out altogether…well the one of reasoned thinking do as opposed to those who will milk it for all its worth (true nitwits the latter are) :/

  3. Rebecca says:

    Excellent advice as always. Been in a relationship like this for the past two years. I have learned a lot. Its been long distance and he does have many responsibilities but really does not have time to date and its been sinking in for me. At the start things were great and that is where i find my brain going to hang on. We had a fantastic connection and he was easy to be with. Lately ive been detaching emotionally because deep down i know its not going anywhere. We are both single parents with little spare time. I have my kids full time and he has his half the time and works a PT job in addition to his full time job.

    • T says:

      I am in the same situation Rebecca. You’ve held on for two years…hard to put a timeframe on a relationship on whether to stay or go, isn’t it? How often do you see each other? Do you do things as a family including the kids?

  4. JMW says:

    I had a funny dream where I got a text from my SuperBusyMan that said “I’m trying to get through over 100 emails a day, but perhaps you and I can get together in Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov or Dec 20xx.”

    Rationally, I knew he was handing me crumbs and ended it a while back. It’s nice to get confirmation that my subconscious has caught up…with a sense of humour, no less!

  5. Monique says:

    This post is right on time. My ex AC used to always say these things, verbatim: “I’m too busy, I’m in high demand, everybody wants a piece of me”. Talk about delusions of grandeur!!! I took that to mean that i was moving further and further down his priority list, and i was. Looking back, he used his perceived business as a way to not have to focus on the mess his life was/is. Fortunately we are no longer together, I’m so glad I ran for the hills, have gone no contact on him for almost 3 months due to him overstepping boundaries and just being tired of being tired.

    • rewind says:

      I love that…tired of being tired. Every time I let him back in, I just end up being exhausted by the games that he plays. Realistically…if someone care about you they will make time. I still grab at those crumbs, though. But I’ve learned to also keep going on with my life!

    • Peanut says:

      Monique,

      I would have outright cackled in his face. What a tool. I’m glad you got away. Hang in there.

      Peanut

  6. Janiqua says:

    Thank you so much for posting this today! This is totally what has been happening lately in my relationship, which just ended yesterday!

    Initially, he came on very strong, and then when things started getting more serious, even though he claimed he wanted a relationship and we were exclusive, his behavior became very strange. He was super busy, basically doing nothing. He had some new life goals and was working on them, such as purchasing a house, and finding a new job, but they were not things that would cause him to not have ANY time.

    Even though he continued to claim that he could feel that what we had was something special, something that doesn’t come around often, that I was beautiful, funny, and he was so attracted to me and loved spending time with me, he was not really sharing himself, letting his wall come down, and just wanted me there when it was on HIS time only. I stopped contacting him and he would text me totally impersonal crumbs. I had to get out of it as it was just not working for me and wasn’t fair.

    So hard as I really did love him when he was available, but it would feel so hurtful and I would feel so misled during the whole week when I would be fed impersonal crumbs and was kept hanging on a string.

    • Kiara says:

      wow this sounds a lot like my situation (below) except I didn’t have the balls to initiate no contact… and see where it got me… discarded like a piece of dirt! You 100% did the right thing, please please please stay strong!! x

    • Tracy says:

      Janiqua-This exactly describes the last relationship I was in, which ended a year ago. He really inserted himself in my life, future faked the day away. As we live an hour apart, and we were both full time parents, we could only realistically see each other once a week, which starting out, seemed fine. But towards the end, he started making excuses (work, a friend coming from out of town – friend couldn’t come on his OTHER non-kid day?- switching visitation days at his seven-year-old’s whim…) I could go on, but I’m embarrassed that I put up with it as long as I did. But what screwed me up was that I still received multiple texts a day telling me how I was amazing/awesome/incomparable/blech…

      So I guess there are more of these tools out there then I guessed!

      • Janiqua says:

        there must be a ton of them out there unfortunately! I don’t understand why they can’t just be honest instead of stringing us along. I kind of think that even though it would be hard to hear they don’t want a relationship, I think it might actually be better than hearing all this positive stuff, making us fall for them, and then getting so hurt in the process.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Janiqua,

          They string us along so that they can continue getting the ego stroke and romp in the sack. A real man will be up front (though they’re never as direct as women are) so you’ll at least recognize there’s no future and flush. The AC’s (creeps users) will just continue to mess over you for as long as you allow. IMO, that type of “man” is nothing but a cockroach. Squash it and keep stepping.

          • Janiqua says:

            so true tinker bell!! the ego stroke and the romp in the sack!! and my EU was not even that great to begin with! haha

      • Gina says:

        Tracy with your embarrassment of putting up with all the excuses brings to mind what happened in my situation. The excuses just kept snowballing rapidly and I was really at a loss as to why they were occurring…totally believed them until I finally finally got it better late than never thankfully. It’s weird how people do that instead of just opting out altogether which I myself should have done from the get go when I realised the type of person he was….

      • T says:

        Don’t be embarrassed that you “put up with it” because we all have to learn these lessons in our own way and time. Hang in there! If he really wants you, he’ll make time! Funny thing…they usually realize what they’ve got once it’s gone!

  7. Kiara says:

    My Mr. Unavailable/too busy for me would be “busy” at work all the time then when he’d finally get a night off I would be so excited to see him but then not hear from him all night… where was he? Oh, still at work (the pub) having drinks with all his workmates WHO HE SEES EVERY DAY. And HE was the one who forced his way into my life, I made room for him even though I had a demanding job, freelance work outside the job, and a busy social life… he just had… the pub. Great.
    Oh, and this gem also did the disappearing act on me, no explanation, no goodbye, I still have heard nothing from him for a year but you know what, finally i can say THANK F**K FOR THAT.
    Ladies (or men) DO NOT put up with this behaviour. Get out of that situation ASAP. You’re worth more than that.
    I know I might sound like I’m still angry but the caps are merely for effect, I’m so very happy without that narcissist ruling my life :-)

    • Janiqua says:

      Kiara, How long were you dating this guy? It was interesting reading your story because it sounded so familiar to me too! So, I was so glad when you responded to my post. this is still very fresh for me…just happened this weekend, and it is super hard. yesterday I felt great for the most part, but this morning I am definitely a bit sad. Trying to not just remember the good times, and trying to focus on how terrible he made me feel.

      It is crazy how we get so caught up in things and are willing to accept these measly crumbs when deep down, we know that what they are doing is really not the relationship they claimed they wanted. it is super casual. I felt like I was not learning more about him and he would only let me in from time to time. Also, like I was being held at a distance. Then, when I would try to initiate contact or make plans, I would be treated so poorly and would feel horrible I even ask.

      How long ago was your situation and what did you do to help you get through these feelings?

      • Kiara says:

        Hi Janiqua, yep I totally hear what you’re saying :-( I was dating him for 6 months, at first he wanted to see me every day, texting every 5 minutes, coming around unexpectedly etc, I was cautious and tried to take it slow but he gained my trust and at the time I didn’t know anything about unavailable men or fast forwarders. It went down hill as soon as I let down my barriers for him, we even exchanged the “L” word, and he began to tick every box in the unavailable checklist that you see on this website, including what I mentioned on this post. Its a long and complicated story (he had the “life goals” thing as well), and I let him get away with so much, finally ended with him avoiding us “talking” about what was happening long enough for him to literally disappear with no explanation… and that was a year ago pretty much.

        The important difference between you and me however is that you have taken control into your own hands which is honestly the BEST thing you can do, I wish I had done the same and I predict it won’t take you as long to get over as it took me, as I left it up to him to give me closure that never ever came. So I was waiting a long time.

        My advice is to take comfort from this site, read about no contact and how not to break it, phone a friend instead if you’re thinking about talking to him, they can remind you of how loved you are and how much you don’t deserve the way he treated you. Guys like that rarely change so the best thing you can do is not drag it out, as harsh as it seems to ignore him. It will hurt and it will be hard and you WILL miss him, and you’re allowed to feel shitty but don’t beat yourself up about it, try to be kind to yourself and don’t ever blame yourself, negativity gets you nowhere apart from spiralling down a horrible rabbithole of self doubt.

        The last thing i will say, and I know you’re in the eye of the storm right now so it will be difficult to see, but use this experience in a positive way, learn about yourself and your emotions, go a bit crazy if you need to, it’s ok, meditate or go away somewhere if you can and learn to be happy alone again… because you will be and i promise you’ll come out the other end being thankful for your experience if you look at it the right way.

        I know these are probably all just words right now but you ARE going to be fine without him, just do your very best to keep that toxic human out of your life.

        All the best xx

        • rewind says:

          Amen. Your words are encouraging!

        • Janiqua says:

          Oh Kiara, Thank you so much for your response! I have to say when I was reading your first part about how as soon as you let down your barriers for him that things started going downhill, that it totally resonated with me. I remember actually feeling a bit smothered and not sure I wanted to be involved with him in a romantic way initially. Then, when I finally decided to open up and enjoy the situation, it changed drastically.

          I think what finally made me realize that this wasn’t good for me is that I had been feeling horrible for well over a month. I had not been eating and had been losing some weight (which wasn’t all bad…haha)
          I used to talk with him on the phone or Skype several times a week, and receive texts a ton throughout the day that were so incredibly sweet…then, it all changed, and some weekends I wasn’t even sure if I would see him, and if I wanted to talk with him on the phone, he would not be very nice at all.

          I think one of the worst parts was that right before the holidays-on the 22nd, he suggested we take a break. He said he would get in touch with me after the New Year. So, I had a horrible time over Christmas and New Years, and right after that, we talked and things seemed back on track.

          We spent the weekend after New Years together, exchanged gifts, and had a really wonderful time. We talked about things and he reiterated that we were still exclusive and that he thought if we could see each other at least once a week that would be great (we live about 45 minutes away from each other.

          But the next week, I hardly heard from him, and he didn’t want to talk on the phone or Skype. I had totally backed off and just waited for him to get in touch with me during the week. When last weekend was approaching, I did ask if we were going to get together and he said, he wasn’t sure because he might be busy. Saturday was a rainy day and would have been a great day to hang out, but he was not in the mood, so I went over Sunday and tried to talk with him. The talk went horribly, but I just knew that I could not go another week barely hearing from him, accepting crumbs, and possibly not even seeing him on the weekends either.

          This week has been weird, as I have felt all sorts of emotions. I miss who I thought he was, and definitely feel so misled as his actions showed me his words meant nothing. Part of me wishes I didn’t see him this weekend and have things end, because we would still be seeing each other. However, I know the end would have come soon enough anyway because I would not have been able to take the rude treatment much longer.

          I am actually planning to head to the shore this weekend with my dog, alone. I had told him that I was planning on inviting him this weekend, as it is a long holiday weekend. My hope is that with some time and hopefully some sunny weather (as it has been quite rainy and overcast here which doesn’t help how I feel) that I will start to feel better off. I miss him and wish I could tell him that, but unfortunately, I don’t believe he really was ready to open up for a relationship.

          Thanks so much for your response and your encouragement. Definitely super helpful to hear from someone else who has been through a similar situation.

          • Tracy says:

            You said, “I miss who I thought he was.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I missed the man who implied that we would be in it for the long-haul, who wanted to talk about incorporating our kids into the mix, who wanted to meet my family, who listened to me bitch about stuff and would make me laugh til I cried.

            But…when I forced myself to be real about it, and it took awhile, I realized I DIDN’T miss: going radio silent on me on the weekends (I don’t care if your kid is home…my kids were home and if I didn’t answer his texts ASAP I’d get a snarky little follow up message). I didn’t miss the guy who always seemed to have some invisible physical ailment. I didn’t miss the guy who was obsessed with his ex’s personal life (and intensely jealous she had a new life with a new man). I didn’t miss the guy who, despite the distance, only came to me ONCE, yet I went to him weekly. Once you start really acknowledging the red flags it puts things into perspective.

            • Janiqua says:

              Tracy, I really hope that while I spend some time realizing this is over, that those red flags become even more apparent to me, so that I will not find myself involved in a situation where I feel so tricked by his words, when his actions after the first few months fail to measure up. Right now, it is still so early, that I am just still missing him, and am angry about what could have been. Wish sometimes this process wasn’t so hard. But, like someone told me a few days ago, we didn’t fall in love over night, so it will take a little while to heal. sigh…thanks for your words of encouragement.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Janiqua,

            His decision to “take a break” just when the holidays were coming was cruel. We want to be with our families, but we also cherish that time with our lovers. Leaving you hanging prior to Christmas day and past New Year’s Eve/Day is unforgivable. He would have never seen my face again after pulling some sh*t like that.

            When guys BEGIN acting shady it’s time for you to kick them to the curb. No fifty million chances to do right. It’s not going to happen. And, you feel so much better when YOU did it before he did it to you. It may still hurt a lot if his actions forced you into it, but it’s far easier and preferable to be the dumper, and not the dumpee.

            • Janiqua says:

              Oh Tinkerbell…even though I totally agree with you about this, I wish I would have had you telling me this, on top of my family here…The holidays were horrible because of this mess and I found that I couldn’t attend everything I had originally planned because I was so down.

              My BIGGEST mistake was letting him spend the weekend after the new year with me at my place. We had a wonderful time, but shortly after, I realized that I couldn’t handle the basically non-existent relationship with barely any communication during the week, and the possibility of not seeing me even on the weekends.

              You are so right, as the holidays should have been the time for me to just walk. It was so humiliating to be alone when we had originally planned to spend that time together.

              Today is day ten away from him, and it is getting a little better as I am able to see things much more clearly than over a week ago. I am still sad, but parts of the situation now seem more like a bad dream, them what actually really happened in my life. I can only continue to hope that it will get even easier as time goes on.

        • T says:

          You hit it right on the head “I was cautious and tried to take it slow but he gained my trust and at the time I didn’t know anything about unavailable men or fast forwarders. It went down hill as soon as I let down my barriers for him, we even exchanged the “L” word, and he began to tick every box in the unavailable checklist that you see on this website”.

          That is exactly how I feel..I finally let my guard down, let myself become emotionally available at his request and then bam….no more texts every day…or I miss you…or I can’t wait to see you….assholes!

    • Better Off says:

      Oh my goodness you two; it’s insane how so many of our relationships are mirrored. I dated a guy for seven months who was not only always too busy although he said he was really into me — Facebook takes up so much time, — but took and took emotionally, and physically. He dumped me — surprise; he couldn’t support ME emotionally or physically — and I was devastated but I am realizing it was one of the best things he’s ever done for me.

      These guys will look back one day and wonder where they went wrong. Let’s do ourselves a favor, and find men who truly deserve our love, affection, and attention. I understand there are people who don’t want to be vulnerable but it doesn’t mean you treat another human being as if they are expendable — especially when they are making time for you.

      Vice versa for guys in the same situation.

      • kiara says:

        Thanks Better Off :-) I will never understand how someone can treat another human being without compassion… for a while trying to get my head around it sent me to a black hole… but now I have accepted there are people like that out there and thankfully for this experience (and for Baggage Reclaim) we are all learning how to spot them, and also are better able to appreciate actual decent human beings!
        Who knows what these men will be thinking years down the track, not much probably, it can’t be a fulfilling life to live a lie and always keep people that care about you in the dark. Even though I was the one that got hurt I’d much rather live in my world of compassion and truth rather than in their shallow existence with my eyes shut!

        • LovefromNel says:

          Kiara, there is such wisdom in your words. Thanks a bunch for writing them. Trying to understand my EUM’s cruelty also sent me spiralling into a blackhole, in which I sat around blaming myself and crying for hours on end. He became ‘too busy’ and then disappeared into the ether. Not much closure (except when I sent a drunken text and said that I have had enough and this isn’t fair – to which he responded defensively saying he’s been busy). Of course I apologised and then was just ignored (and then the two text messages following that).

          Often I think that the nicer we are, the more others can treat us without compassion, care, kindness, respect. I guess that’s why it is important to have boundaries, which I’m developing, and the ability to recognise red flags and trust our instincts (and I’m slowly getting there with that too) – thanks Baggage Reclaim and Nat.

          This line of yours was brilliant, by the way: “Even though I was the one that got hurt I’d much rather live in my world of compassion and truth rather than in their shallow existence with my eyes shut!” So true! Their shallow existence seems to be a planet populated by cowards. They can all stay there.

          Hugs to you, and thank you.
          Nel
          x

          • Janiqua says:

            Nel!! I totally agree with you and think Kiara’s post was so helpful. I am also working on boundaries, and will be really hoping to pay more attention to some of the red flags that appeared that I managed to ignore because I really wanted to believe things were better than they were.

            Hugs to you all,

            • LovefromNel says:

              Janiqua, I just read what happened to you and it sounds very similar to what I’ve experienced (and, I’d say, a lot of others here too, which is why we’re here in the first place!). I’m probably beginning to sound a little like a broken record – sorry gals!

              I hope you get away this weekend and are able to enjoy some sunshine with your dog. (You don’t want to know how hot it is in Australia – ergh!!).

              Remember to be kind to you while you’re going through such an awful time, and try to do things that make you happy and are some form of distraction. Walk with your dog, read, bake, cook, get a facial – whatever it is, just look after you.

              I know it seems like you wish time could fast-forward, and my gosh, in August last year, I wished that too. In fact, if someone reminds me of anything that happened in August/September/October last year, or I see something from back then, I get goosebumps and shiver because I think how sad I was, how hopeless everything seemed, and how I felt like the love of my life had slipped away.

              When in actual fact, with the passage of time, I can see that it wasn’t all my fault, I’d tried my best but he wasn’t emotionally available and ready for a relationship. The flags were there at the start, when he was honest and said he didn’t want a relationship, but then he changed his mind and thought he had to give it a go, I suppose. It all felt so right.

              Anyway, it’s not me I really want to talk about. I just want to assure you that there’ll be a time when the fog lifts and you’ll have your sparkle in life back again. It does take time and care though.

              Big hugs
              Nel
              x

              • Janiqua says:

                Nel, Thanks so much for the hugs and thoughts. I totally know what you mean. My holidays this year were totally horrible and I was such a wreck. Initially, I had been so excited to hopefully spend some of the holidays with him, but as that did not happen, my mood worsened. I could hardly recognize myself as I was crying and spending most of the days in bed. (I am a teacher and had some time off-but when I should have been relaxing, I was not taking care of me.)

                While I feel a bit like a weight of the whole situation has been lifted (it was so stressful not knowing from day to day what mood he would be in and when I might hear from him or see him-even though he promised he was committed and wanted a relationship)-I am still sad and trying to make myself happy. I know it will take a bit of time. It is just hard to process being so misled when my heart thought there was so much more. So glad to hear that you are doing so much better than you were at the end of last year.

                I am in the US and it is winter here…would love some warmer weather, but I still enjoy heading to the coast here in the colder months and walking on the sand with my dog!
                Thanks again for the healing thoughts.

      • Janiqua says:

        Better off, I really hope one day these guys do wake up and realize where they went wrong. I also wish that they would stop claiming they want a relationship when they really are not willing to be vulnerable and open to a true, compassionate relationship.

  8. noquay says:

    I teach full time, run a small farm, cut my own firewood and STILL find time to spend with those I care about. True, dating has a strong seasonal component, due mainly to weather. If I don’t have time, I don’t date, period. It surprises me how many folk find time to veg out in front of TV, fart around on Faceplant, yet cannot be bothered to be present. Nat is right; if you are that busy, don’t date. Also if you KNOW you cannot function in a true, realized relationship, do not be on line. This is also a major pet peeve; folk who know they are leaving the area soon, who cannot have sex for whatever reason, who know they have major issues, like wives or girlfriends. Stay away, don’t waste someone else’s time and energy.

  9. Einstien says:

    I so enjoy Natalie’s posts. She states everything so eloquently and with the kind of wit, humor and sarcasm that lets us laugh at ourselves while we soak it all in.

    I’m mostly glad to see my thoughts, feelings and experiences on paper. I’ve never been able to find the words to describe them.

  10. Tracy says:

    Went out with this guy during summer, it seemed like the timing was just off…but we went out for almost two months and every time we would be together it was always a good time. I met his friends on a couple of occasions and it seemed like when we were both free we would get together. But conflicting schedules came up and classes and all sorts of things seemed to be getting in a way. He kind of just let it die, when I tried to see what happened he said it had nothing to do with me and that was that.
    Months later I found out he hooked up with some girl the first night he met her in some bathroom…and now they’re official. It’s so confusing, it’s like I don’t know what I did wrong and how he’s with her considering how they met.

    • Elgie R. says:

      To say “I don’t know what I did wrong” is self-abuse, IMO. Forming a good relationship is not like taking a test, where you check all boxes and if you get it right, you get the “A” in relationships.

      He wanted to be swept away, obviously. Chemistry is not predictable. My guess is he feels that elusive *chemistry” with bathroom-babe. That is no reflection on you. Stop seeing him as the prize that you lost out on.

      Whenever I am in a situation where things just don’t seem to be taking off with a guy, even though we have nice times together, it is always because there is no mutual *chemistry*.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Tracy,

        You haven’t done a thing. He was ready to leave. He probably met the other chick awhile back, waited until he felt certain it would work out with her and by that time he couldn’t care less what you thought or how you felt. It is the epitome of selfishness. You just have to pick someone who really has POTENTIAL and give them a lot of rope to eventually hang themselves before you’re too deeply involved. There are some good men around and it’s a very difficult search. But, time always tells the truth in the end.

    • Elgie R. says:

      I agree with some of what you say, Tink. But I strongly disagree that the man was playing Tracy in any way. All I see is a man who did not feel a strong attraction to a woman he was dating. “Like” is not “love”. “Good Conversation” is not love. “Pleasant company” is not love. He was weaning himself out of it – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. And during the weaning off process, he went out one night and found another woman he was strongly attracted to. No harm. No foul.

      Hey, Tracy. It’s like the song “Everybody Plays The Fool” says: /There’s no guarantee that the one you love, is gonna love you/love is blind, it cannot see/a certain person could never be/now you cry, but when you do/next time around someone cries for you/.

      And I am not getting a sense that you are so in love. I get the sense that you are saying DIBS – “I was here before HER, so he should have picked me.” You are making yourself out to be the discarded one. Think about the last time you dated a guy who was more in to you than you were in to him. You didn’t feel you owed him a relationship, did you?

  11. Alice says:

    I met a guy in June. I was kinda heartbroken from a previous relationship (never a good way to begin one). Looking back now: both guys were arseholes. I was reluctant to date but he was very eager and kept texting me for a while. We eventually arranged a date a couple of months later. It went extremely well. We went on two more. We talked about all aspects of our lives and he was such a gentleman – didn’t even try to kiss me at all. He talked about dating as if it were for him to meet someone seriously – now I feel this may have been a con. I felt uneasy when, he told me he were going out with his friends one afternoon and would possibly see me then. When I texted him he didn’t really reply properly and only wanted to see me in the evening after he’d seen them (it was a mixed gender group of friends – so not like only out with the boys). The next night we met he was incredibly drunk, well so was I and we ended up in bed together. He told me he’d not had the confidence to kiss me previously because he was too nervous. Yet under the influence he told me he loved me and bizarrely enough a little later that he wanted to f*ck me and a little later that he wanted us to make it exclusive and he couldn’t stand the idea of me being with another guy – mixed messages, but whatever, both are possible, right? Anyway, apparently he’d told my friend that night that he’d been “trying to f*** me”. I confronted him and he started crying and said his affections for me were: “obviously physical but deeply emotional as well”. Anyway, my back was already up at this point. His contact seemed to be extremely persistant when I ignored him for a couple of days, and yet he could likewise go that amount of time without texting me back. So, I forgot it. Ignored his final requests to meet up. He told my friend later that I’d dumped him by no response. Any suggestions? I’ve been played before so I’m wondering if I’m being overly sensitive or if now I’m justifying as indicated above?A

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Alice,

      You said it yourself, honey: “looking back now, both guys were arseholes.” From what you’ve said above, he does sound like a bit of a clown to me.

      Although I also consider myself a bit sensitive at times too, I don’t think you’re being sensitive AT ALL in this situation. Don’t second-guess yourself, or what you’re instincts are telling you. That doubt in yourself is what plants the seed for our self-respect to go down the drain – if that makes sense. Trust yourself, trust what you’re instincts are telling you.

      It would be far too much drama for me, at this early stage.

      Do you really like the man? Are you still upset about the previous relationship? It’s hard to know whether to persist or not, but I think your answers to those two questions there will give you a truthful answer. Combine that with the drama that this man has already exhibited, I would be hesitant.

      The right guy will come along. And it will feel right from the start, with not much drama attached. I’m hoping for the same too!

      Best wishes to you, and I hope you’re OK.

      Nel
      x

  12. Able says:

    Busy or drama. Either way I was usually willing to help try to make things easier. I was willing to help so we’d have more time together. I was trying to take care of her and help with her child. Someone asked me who takes care of me and I had to honestly say no one, other than me. It never occurred to me for it work both ways. Wtf. Too busy means they don’t give a sh*t.

  13. Finally Free says:

    “Busyness is something that offers us protection from having to be vulnerable and having to face aspects of ourselves and our lives. You don’t think workaholics are the way that they are because they’re so crazy about their job, do you?”

    This really resonated with me. I did used to think my ex was just so frantic and indispensable at work that he couldn’t avoid the constant lengthy absences and being like a zombie from the tiredness when he finally did decide to grace me with his presence! When I met his boss through mutual friends after we split he (my ex’s boss) told me that he never could understand why my ex was always in the office, he’d even offered him a laptop so he could do some work at home if he really wanted to. That guy put a real stranglehold on my heart, and now I’ve left him he wants to clean me out financially too over the sale of our home while he collects a huge paycheck (I earn a third of what he does)! He also took up with someone else immediately after playing devastated over our break up. I tell myself that I left him because there was nothing left to hold onto, and if it costs my savings now it’s just the price of my freedom. But I won’t be falling for the “You know how busy I am, why can’t you just be supportive?” (read: just sit in silence and don’t need anything from me) thing again.

  14. Janiqua says:

    hey Finally Free,

    Love your name btw…

    My sick part in this is that I DID support him and his busyness…I knew he was doing things like looking for a house to buy, and volunteering his time, to better himself, but also knew deep down that if he had time to do all these things and get on facebook and get ego strokes from others, that he most certainly had time to be with me. He just CHOSE not to. I kept thinking it was my fault, when all along, I knew he really wasn’t ready for a true relationship with open communication. He just wanted the feeling of a relationship on his own time schedule.

    • Finally Free says:

      Hi Janiqua, I think that’s the thing – I thought I WAS being supportive, by choking down my feelings, suppressing my needs, sitting there in silence beside him while he did whatever, but inside I was screaming “Pay me some attention! Can’t you see you’re tearing me apart?” And eventually you realise, however much you give, however much you support, it’s never enough for someone who doesn’t want to give back. I left him and moved straight onto another EUM, he told me I was wonderful and made me feel like the centre of his universe until it all got a bit too real for him and he realised he may have to deliver on his future faking, at which point he started backpeddling and sleeping with other people. It was the same lesson in a different form – if they don’t WANT to give you their time they just won’t. It’s about them, regardless of how wonderful you may be, and how many hoops you may be jumping through for them. Lots of love x

      • Janiqua says:

        Finally, I certainly hope that once I am in a better place after this situation, that I will now realize that I will not take the “super busy” excuse anymore. My “relationship” with this guy was totally tearing me apart. I felt like I couldn’t work, or even enjoy each day because I was so worried about if and when I would hear from him, what he would say, and if we would be spending time together soon. Which seems so crazy when I think about it, as in the beginning, he was smothering me and wanted to see me and talk with me and do anything with me just to spend time with me.

        I kept wanting to talk with him and try to work things out because we both felt we had a special connection…but it was like I was talking to the wall. He would listen, but then the same behavior would resurface. He wanted things to be on his terms, so he was in control of the whole situation. His wall never really seemed to come down to try and enjoy what he “claimed” to want in a relationship.

        It has been so very hard this week for me. I have been doing alot of journaling and reading and spending time thinking. I am also trying to think not only of the things I loved about him, but of the bad things and how horrible I felt when he was not contacting me as much, or taking forever to contact me, or not wanting to spend as much time together.

        thanks so much for writing me!

  15. Crazybaby says:

    One of my lovers suddenly went from seeing me weekly to almost monthly. When I confronted him about it I said “if someone *wants* to find time to see someone, they will”. He replied “yes and no…”. Hmmm. What is that supposed to mean?

    It’s always a clear sign they’re backing off, and I’ve learnt to take the hint and back off myself even further. Nothing troubles them more than you being out of reach when they were the ones trying to distance themselves a bit.

    It’s often to do with them realising that one or both of you are developing feelings. The L word. And it’s like they pull away to think about whether this is what they want or not.

    Like some of the other commenters I’ve also frequently experienced this with friends. It’s just as hurtful, especially if you’ve been friends a long time. Sometimes they’re genuinely stressed out or broke, but often it’s because their life is shifting, and you just don’t fit the picture any more, like when one of you is still single while the other is moving in with a new boyfriend. You like to believe your friendship will transcend everything else going on in your respective lives but sadly it doesn’t.

    It’s hard not to take it personally, and it’s cowardly of them to back off rather than being upfront and honest, but that’s invariably the way it goes :(

  16. Peanut says:

    Ahhh. Home sweet home>Baggage Reclaim. This is where I find my dating sanity in a world that has lost it in that realm ;)

    People always make time for what they want to. And people always do what they want, though they don’t always say what they want to do.

  17. Fabs says:

    “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
    ? Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

    He wanted to meet me, chased me for two months, arranged for a weekend away, slept with me and a week later when I asked, when are we going to meet again he said: let me look into my diary. And gave me an appointment 12 weeks later.
    True story.
    He is history now.
    I am busy but I have always made time and make time. It is fun to be with someone one loves.
    At the same time I worry, that I have lost the ability to share my time and space.
    I am sure though that if and when I meet a suitable partner all will fall into place.

    “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
    ? Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

    • LovefromNel says:

      Fabs, the Little Prince is my favourite children’s book (filled with adult wisdom). Isn’t it terrific? I love the quote that you found, too, by the way. My favourite was always “What I see here is nothing but a shell. What is most important is invisible…”
      It always reinforces that age-old notion our Mums taught us that it’s what inside that counts. Bless you for remembering the rose quote. I must go back and re-read the Little Prince. x

      • Teddie says:

        I buy “The Little Prince” in every country I visit in the respective language. When I study a foreign language, I read “The Little Prince” in it, learned so much already because I know it by heart.

        • Fabs says:

          wow this is amazing
          I read the book in farsi when I was 7
          I still have my old tattered copy
          at my wedding ceremony I read the taming bit to my future and now ex-husband
          I have read other books by Antoine
          I am in love with this man have been for 36 years?

          might start collecting Prince in diff language too

          hugs to all of you

      • Fabs says:

        or the desert is beautiful for the hidden well in it
        Ahhhhh
        i still cry when I read it- even more so since I have children
        It is so hard to get to know people – it can take a life time
        I am still discovering new things about myself – many many hidden wells
        Hugs

  18. Lostinspace says:

    This post is so apt it’s untrue. I spent 9 months with a guy who continually put his job and family before me. He claimed he wanted a relationship, but did nothing to help the relationship progress. I only ever saw him on his terms and he made a habit of letting me down at the last minute. I knew he had commitment issues, but eventually he let me down for the last time and I ended it.

    A month later I met someone else and now I’m pretty happy. The new guy is everything the last guy wasn’t: he wants to be with me all the time and is warm, affectionate, and kind. He isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but for the first time in a long time there’s no drama and I don’t feel insecure; only loved and cherished.

    Guy 1 then gets in touch over Christmas and NY, asking how I am. I gave him short shrift and thought that would be the last of it. But no, today he emails me again asking how I am and how he’s sorry we never had the chance to talk. I pointed out to him that it was his fault – he had the chance and he never showed up, without explanation as ever. I get the feeling he’s trying to worm his way back and part of me wants to see what kind of BS excused he comes up with to justify his past behaviour.

    Honestly, guys like this are like cockroaches – it’s impossible to kill ‘em off easily!

    • Allison says:

      Lost,

      Blocking kills them off instantly.

    • Gina says:

      Lostinspace please do not respond anymore to his communications, if anything do this out of respect for yourself (you detailed precisely what he is like) and the new relationship that you are now in. And tread easily with the new guy as it has only been a month…love and cherish yourself first and foremost :)

  19. NoMo Drama says:

    As disillusioned as I have become with some of Obama’s policies and actions, one thing I still like to see is the photos of him taking Michelle out for date night. You think he’s not busy?? It’s an example and a reminder that we’re not asking too much.

    This is a type of “too busy” I run into a LOT: the guy who’s always working and is only available at hours commonly associated with booty calls. I just flushed one of those. I told him I wanted to see him during the day, someplace public — add to that I didn’t know him well enough to feel safe inviting him over yet — and that was too much to ask. Next~!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      NoMo,

      Good for you. These guys think they’re either irresistable or we’re too stupid or desperate to not make our wishes known. Glad you’re smart enough to listen to your gut and not only your heart.

      • NoMo Drama says:

        You’ve got to start as you mean to continue. I guess if all you want is a booty call, own it and carry on. I already know that is not what I’ll be happy with, so not going there.

        Sadly, my father was always “too busy” to see his kids — pretty much up to the end of his life. I have had to do a lot of work to recognize that that is what feels normal to me — one of the strongest pulls for repeating a pattern — and walk away when I see it now. Fortunately it doesn’t feel as normal as it used to.

  20. ThreeDLife says:

    I find it very interesting that our stories are so similar with ACs and EUs. I had a very similar experience to Janiqua, Kiara, and others above.

    My AC came on very strong at first, claimed he wanted a relationship, told me I was beautiful and the most exciting person he’d met in years. We started doing lots of fun things together. Then, only 3 months later, he started backpedalling. He told me he thought too much communication was not a good idea, and relegated me to a once a week phone call.

    I remember one time he stood me up because the cat was lying on him, so basically, I was lower priority than the cat. This should have told me something, but I hung in there expecting the charismatic guy I met in the beginning would return. But of course he never did.

    I have been in NC for 6 months, and definitely feel much, much better. I’m sure the amount of time differs by individual, but I finally feel like I have my life back. I am apathetic to him now. Back when I was hurting, I didn’t think this time would come, but want to encourage others in NC to stay strong, and know that things WILL eventually get better.

    I guess the silver lining is I learned a life lesson. I will never again put up with lazy and sporadic communication. If someone is interested, they will MAKE time for me, and if I’m not a priority, I will never again stick around for someone’s crumbs.

    • Kiara says:

      Hell yeah! I’m really happy for you, it feels so good to come out of the other end of the storm, wiser, stronger and more compassionate than ever. I never thought it would happen either, honestly thought my days of hope and happiness were behind me. Definitely not the case :-)

      • Janiqua says:

        so glad to hear that you both are much further along that I am and you both feel so much better. I wish I could almost fast forward to a few months ahead, just to stop feeling so terrible. I miss him so much still, and just really hope that I can think more about the bad parts so I don’t miss him and the parts I loved as much. Time…hopefully in time…Thanks for your encouragement.

        • kiara says:

          Oh babe, I feel your pain, I really do. But yes unfortunately there is not much that will make the pain go away 100%. You HAVE to feel it. It’s so necessary.
          I thought I’d share with you some things that helped me through my many months of feeling completely lost, alone, anxious, abandoned, betrayed etc:
          1. reading a lot of baggage reclaim (obviously) and learning about the guy’s behaviour, once it gets broken down for you it takes a lot of the mystery away and helps get him down off that pedestal inside your head… you have to do this while being true to yourself and facing the facts… ie somewhere inside you might be hoping things will change and you’ll be together, reality is they most likely wont, I know it sounds harsh but the minute you start accepting the harshness is the minute you become a bit more liberated from the situation. Facing your fears head on. Trust me, this works.
          2. I used to get terrible anxiety ever since I was a teen, and this guy knew that, yet that didn’t stop him pushing me to the very edge… so I turned to websites/books etc which helped me manage my emotions, anywhere from spiritual buddhist stuff (which teaches about looking your fears dead in the eye and experiencing them to the point of making friends with them, highly recommended) to websites promoting internal acceptance, psychology websites, feminist self help stuff, relationship support sites with similar stories to mine… basically what I’m saying is you have help everywhere, you’re never alone, and it’s a great opportunity to learn as well (also FYI I’ve since stopped getting my anxiety, and realised that’s the positive side of what happened to me, he pushed me so far I had no choice but to fight back with all my might, and I think that’s an amazing outcome from what I thought was a hopeless situation)
          3. I kept a little diary of quotes and stuff which I could look at from time to time which made me feel a bit better. Your own personal self love book :-)
          4. Talk and talk it through, if you have close friends they will listen over and over again without question… don’t be afraid to offload as it’s really important
          5. If you feel you have things to say to him, write a long letter, but don’t send it, once again bottling things up inside is counterproductive
          6. Spend lots of time with your family/closest friends to remind you who you are, you lose yourself with a man that treats you like dirt.
          And remember you are your own best friend and only you can get yourself through this (with the support of loved ones of course) but essentially it’s up to you to tackle this in the most positive way possible. Be strong and soon enough you’ll see the light at the end of this black hole.
          We’re all here for you :-)

          • Janiqua says:

            Kiara,
            Thanks again for all of your advice and kind words!

            It is kind of cool that I have actually been doing some of those things you have mentioned.
            -I have been journaling alot and am considering writing a letter I will never send.
            -have a few books that center around buddhist beliefs that I have just started to read that are helping me through the situation
            -putting quotes in my journal and pinterest!
            -talking to friends and family and emailing them as well instead of contacting him.

            Part of what is hard is I am still friends with him on some social media sites. I know I should block him. He has some good news about the house he purchased and it makes me upset that he is so happy. While I will stop looking at his posts, as I am sure he is looking for ego strokes from his friends, I just can’t help wishing right now that he actually missed me and felt badly about how poorly he treated me. I can’t wait for the day when this is not such a big deal for me anymore.

            Thanks again for all of your help. I really appreciate your all of your ideas and thoughts and they are also helping me through this difficult time.

  21. ChiTownKitty says:

    My guy was so busy all the time you’d think it was amazing that the world existed before his birth. My guess is that on his tombstone it will say “I’m Busy.”
    When we first met, he was upfront about some of his commitments–two sons who very involved in sports and he said that he tried to go to as many of their games as he could..he wanted me to know that (and his visitation schedule) right away if that was a problem. No, it wasn’t as my ex-husband never found time for his kids events(also, after we started dating for while, he said that he would love for me to come watch them play…like that ever happened). He was always busy, unless he needed his ego stroked and sex. We broke up and moved on.
    Then after 8 months of NC he contacted me and asked to meet me to apologize. I accepted, and we had a wonderful time. We talked about dating again and I was very clear in terms of the whole “I’m busy” thing..oh, need to add one important thing–he ALWAYS came to my place, even though at least half the time I would have made sense for me to go to his place. I never once saw his place except one time, early on, when we Skyped (looked fine to me).
    The real kicker was right after we started dating again he flat out said he didn’t have time for a relationship…of course, in my brain that didn’t register immediately and I kept telling him what was important to me in terms of the time we spent together….when I finally realized that all he did was listen to me to shut me up, it ended.
    And yet (and this is why I read this site)…I remember the good times, the dinners, the time we took that long walk, his arm around me, calling me as soon as he left my house and was on his way home telling me that he already missed me…. I miss THAT person but I have to keep telling myself that it was only an act (or as I call it, his long con) to get what he really wanted–

    • Einstien says:

      ChiTown,

      They mean it in the moment, it’s just that it’s in that single moment. Those single moments that come a couple of hours a month.

      They can seem sincere, because they are – IN THE MOMENT. It’s up to us to realize it is fleeting. Won’t last.

      I thought that experience would never stop hurting, and I would never be happy again, but I was wrong. There’s peace on the other side. Hang in there.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hi ChiTownKitty – I hope it’s a bit warmer in your part of the world now! I’m from Australia and we’re in a heatwave at the moment and it’s quite awful. Extremes extremes! Anyway, I wanted to say – it’s our self-imposed construction of others that generally lets us down, isn’t it? When we create an image of what we think they are, and what they can be – rather than what they actually show us they are. I don’t miss someone ignoring me, putting me down, questioning me. But I do miss the man I created in my imagination, with overflowing potential, warmth, love (the best bits, which often did occur, but often didn’t too). I hope I am making sense. Best wishes to you.

      • Janiqua says:

        Nel,
        I have to agree with you…I think sometimes we also elevate who they are in our mind. All of the good things they say and do are pushed to the forefront, and we push the negatives and red flags to the back. I guess the best way to deal with this is to look at the whole picture and try not to let the words and only the good things stand out, although that is where we have the hope for a relationship that we desire. I really hope in the future, I will be more in touch with all of the behaviors with the guy I am dating, so that I will know if it is really real, or if I am being totally misled.

        Easy to say, but in practice and thought currently, so hard to accept and do. sigh…

        • ChiTownKitty says:

          Thank you everyone for your replies. After reading them, I found a way to think of this relationship (and all the the others that failed) in a way that makes sense to me.
          Its as if I remember my EX like the coming attractions trailer for a really bad movie. How many times have we gone to movies based on the trailer and said “This movies sucks! I’ve already seen all the good parts!” That’s what I am doing–boiling down a relationship into a three minute snippet.
          No one, including myself, wants to watch the parts when I was ignored, made to feel like I was too “demanding” because I said what was important to me, or treated simply as an easy ego stroke, etc.
          So now when I think of him I am now going to associate him with some of the terrible movies I have seen!

  22. Work in progress says:

    Really great post and quite timely for me. I’ve been on and off baggagereclaim for many years now. And I find myself here yet again.

    My ex and I officially broke up (after three months of dating, him being 120% invested, saying that he felt we could have a future, meeting my family on an overnight trip etc) in November. He is doing active duty/special ops military and will basically be unavailable for the next 8 mos. Before anyone asks if I think he’s bullshittig, he’s not. He has a govt job where he gets deployed about 6-7 mos out of the year so it’s something he’s passionate about which I respect because we need guys like that. He told me that he did not have time to worry about me and relationship “stuff” while he was training.

    Stupid, stupid me told him that we could continue to see each other until he leaves in February. You see, he kept saying let’s see what happens down the road or, you never know what will happen when I get back on the east coast. He kept giving me hope. Meanwhile I get sucked in deeper and deeper because it appears that as soon as we are “unofficial”, he completely opens up to me. I learn about all these issues he’s dealing with because of his recent divorce (I know, I know, HUGE red flag, abort mission now worthy).

    Well all came to blows over the holidays and we decided (well he mostly I’m ashamed to say) to take a solid break and not talk for a while. I’ve been struggling so much. Because like many of you, I say, if a person WANTS a relationship, they will make the effort. It’s so hard to go from speaking to a Perron every.single.day to not at all.

    And now, after weeks of back and forth txts and talking round for round, he’s starting to give me the cold shoulder. Yes, I know I should respect his boundaries and I will. But seriously, I feel like I deserve better treatment. He’s so stuck on his issues and so self absorbed that he can’t see what I’m going through.

    I guess I should appreciate his honesty but I still feel like I’ve been screwed over. He fast forwarded HUGE in the beginning and made me feel like we were going somewhere. As soon as I reciprocated the feelings, he bailed using his job and “busyness” as an excuse. All the while telling me “let’s see what happens down the road”.

    Am I off the rails here? I feel like I have a valid reason to be upset. I know I ignored major red flags and believe me, I’m taking a lesson from this one.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    • ChiTownKitty says:

      You do have several reasons to be upset! First I call BS on the whole “doesn’t want to have to worry about you and relationship stuff” while he trains. What the heck is that supposed to mean? There are thousands of people in the military who are in relationships–this is a cop-out.
      You said that he decided to take a solid break but now you are texting. If he meant what he said, he never would have texted, nor opened up to you (he is busting your emotional boundries).
      I think two things are going on here. First, he may actually have things to work out regarding his divorce (I am giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one–so many times we think we are ready to move on, have the best intentions, but find we aren’t there yet).
      Second, and this is the bigger one–I think he is running hot and cold to see if you are willing to stick around…
      As for considering your feelings, I have found that that these ACs are incapable of it. You have a better chance of getting compassion from a coffee table!
      You have every right to feel hurt and I hope that with time you start to feel better. Coming here and reading Nat’s posts and everyone’s comments has helped me soooo much!

      • Work in progress says:

        Thanks ChiTownKitty.

        Agree on all points you make. I too call BS on not wanting a relationship because of training because you are correct, people make it work. And I told him that. Bottom line, I think you are right on the divorce thing. He never worked through it properly and now, he’s starting to feel angry and depressed. Instead of taking time to deal with it, he jumped online about four months after (probably to mask the pain).

        I’m also giving him the benefit of the doubt insofar is that I think he thought he was ready. But once things started getting serious and heavy with us, he ran as fast as he could.

        Thanks for taking the time to read my post and respond. I think I’m through the worst of it (the horrible crying). But I know I’ll still have my moments. Nat is right when it comes to cutting off all contact. It does really help. And to be fair to him, I’m the one that’s reaching out. He’s the one telling me that he needs time and space. But again, he keeps saying “for now”. It’s always prefaced with a hope for the future.

        So I just need to take control and let go. And learn from this huge gaffe!

        • Janiqua says:

          Hey Work in progress,
          I totally know what you mean about talking every day and then having nothing. It is soooo hard. I am on day six of NC and it has been filled with ups and downs. Some moments I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, and others, I am so sad and just want to call or text him. The really bad crying has ended, but I am still getting a bit teary eyed this weekend. was ok during the week. I have found this site to be so helpful, as well as journaling and reading a bit. I think we are all here to support each other and get back to where we were before we met these guys…but we are now even wiser!

          • Work in progress says:

            Hi Janiqua,

            Thanks for the response. It’s been a rough long weekend. I wish I could say that I was on day 6 of no contact. Good for you! Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time letting go. It’s like I’m addicted to this guy :(.

            Journaling helps me too. I’ve made a list of 5 things I need to do before texting him. I just need to stick to it. Tomorrow is a new day right? I’m just trying to go with the ups and downs and hope that feeling the emotions will allow me to let go and move on. That and no contact!!

            I hope you are doing well!

            • Janiqua says:

              Hey Work in Progress,
              I felt so similarly, like I was addicted to him. Usually I am such a strong person, but this situation really through me for a huge loop.

              Today is day ten for me and it has been quite a bumpy ride. I still miss him terribly and almost feel now that had we just stayed friends, that this would not have happened. He was just so good at persuing me, that I was caught and fell super hard.

              For me, I really miss hearing from him every day and sharing thoughts, ideas, and laughs. I wish I knew if he missed me at all. However, it does seem like the thoughts and memories are starting to fade just a bit. The hard part is that we have had a long MLK break from work and then some snow days here, so that provides alot of time for reflection. I am doing much better today than I was yesterday.

              sending you hugs and hope that things are getting a bit better for you as well.

  23. neri says:

    This is a wonderful post. I have been no contact with my mr unavailable for only three days now, but they have been the best three days I have experienced for many months.
    We had an affair and both promised each other the moon and stars…I was willing to hold up my end of the bargain, he wasn’t.
    He moved away for work 1 month ago and at first the messages were steady, the contact there, and then…gone. I pushed the issue and he was so busy- finding an apartment, working, spending time with his son, etc. Come to find out he’s going back to his girl on the weekends and sleeping on a friend’s couch during the week.
    Not too busy for a little virtual sex, but way too busy to actually talk and tell me the truth. I feel like such an ass, I gave up my job and almost my family for a fantasy that was never going to happen.
    Square one and a big painful lesson learned.

  24. kata1 says:

    I have really enjoyed reading all these comments, from women who have learned the hard way and those who are still learning, myself among them. Natalie should be blessed for starting this site. It has changed my perspective on men, for the better. I have said, for the past 2 years, if women would start having each other’s backs, stop serving up sex on a silver platter to men who are in no way committed to them or even looking out for them, and would not settle for anything less than what they deserve, the quality of men would improve 1000 %. Men do a lot of this crap simply because they can. What one of you said earlier, about being sweet, kind, understanding, etc., well that worked in another time, with a different kind of man, but in today’s world, a lot of men have become lazy and self centered and take advantage of some women’s good nature. It’s not wise to wait for them to change. But like I said, if we stop overdoing for them and overindulging them and staying true to ourselves, they will have no choice but to either change or start dating each other!!

  25. princess says:

    I dumped my EU. 5 yrs of being given crumbs. I am so glad I found this site. I am not alone. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me. I was reading a post someone posted about her EU, I LOL because my EU use to say the same thing when I pressed for marriage. He would say I want things to flow naturally. Well it never happened in 5 yrs. When I finally got the nerve to walk away he blamed me. He said he shouldn’t have taken be back. Never mind that he was the one who contacted me 13 months after we broke up with absolutely NOTHING to offer. I come to this site whenever I am feeling down. What keeps me going is I know this feeling won’t last forever. I am on day 14 of NC. The first week I would stare at my phone or constantly check it to see if he contacted me. Nope. This is week 2 and I don’t even look at my phone any more. That alone makes me know that I am making progress. The good thing is I don’t have the urge to contact him. He has my property. I will ask for it once I am emotionally sound and I have him out of my system.
    Yes ladies we can do this! Woot! woot!

  26. Finally Free says:

    It seems like it’s been a tough few weeks for a lot of us for one reason or another (most of them pretty similar to be fair!) and so I just wanted to say something to ladies like Neri and Janiqua and anyone else who may be wondering what could have been if circumstances and attitudes had been different. When my last (because he WILL BE MY LAST!) EUM started blowing cold and distancing himself after sweeping me off my feet in the beginning, I kept in touch with him and willed with all my heart that he’d realise he’d made a mistake and beg me to take him back. You know what? He did! As soon as it looked like I’d accepted it was over and started to move on, there he was, calling himself an idiot, asking for another chance, promising he’d do whatever it took to prove he was serious about wanting a future with me (his words). Obviously I was thrilled, all my dreams coming true, everything I’d fantasised about! It lasted a week. Then back he came, the flipflapping, emotionally stunted, morally dubious man-child. Even if you get the outcome you think you crave, it doesn’t last. They feel what they feel and probably even mean what they say in the moment when they’re swept up by a feeling. And because their feelings are the most important thing in the world (!) that’s what they act on, what’s best for you is always sidelined. And for the women they move onto after us, yes they may appear to reap the benefits we ‘missed out’ on, but they’re usually getting the same man with the same issues, just in a different outfit. Even if he moves on and MARRIES someone else (a gutting thought for many of us I know), she isn’t winning a prize. She’s making the best of the broken toy that we injured ourselves on and discarded. She came along and dug him out of the trash because she didn’t know better. I’m 3 months NC and he’s made me pay for throwing him away, but it feels so good not to be late for everything anymore because I’m so exhausted and depressed from his mind games that I can’t drag myself out of bed on time. Being under his power made me feel physically weak. Cutting him loose saved my life and BR has been such a huge part of that. Thanks to Natalie, and to all of you ladies who are learning the truth – it’s not about us at all, it’s all about them, and what they want right now. Which will probably be completely different next week of course! Love to you all.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Finally Free, I absolutely adore what you’ve written here. There are nuggets of golden truth in every sentence.

      “It’s not about us at all, it’s all about them, and what they want right now.”

      So very true. Was everyone else’s EUM as self-absorbed/self-obsessed as mine was?

      The first time I went around to his place (we’d met many times before that), he sat me down on the couch and showed me all the pictures of his building/carpentry work. When I managed to get two words in, explaining my work and what I did for a living (I write speeches and it often gets quite busy and stressful, which I explained), he fobbed it off and said ‘you think you get stressed!’. (Apparently my stress was not equivalent to his because he managed his own business).

      It was ALL. ABOUT. HIM.

      We always did what he wanted to. He was always the one talking. And if he wasn’t talking, he was belitting something I did (is that how you peel potatoes, Nel?).

      On my desk, before I discovered Nat and BR and you fine ladies, I’ve scribbled notes about him on a post-it note, in an attempt to make sense of the whole situation (I didn’t know it wasn’t about me, at that point).

      With the wisdom of BR, I can look back at my fumbly attempts at trying to understand why it all went wrong (scribbles about him include – irritable, moody, always talked of himself, a bad listener, walking on eggshells, take take take, control freak, couldn’t leave bobbypins/haircomb at his house, his comment – do you listen to the words in songs, Nel). As I am writing this, I have realised how far I have come.

      But I also feel sad for the Nel of six months ago, the way she was treated, and the attempts at making sense from a situation that was so nonsensical.

      I can only hope that this Nel doesn’t let this happen to herself again!

      Love to you too, Finally Free. And thanks for your words.

    • Janiqua says:

      Finally, WOw, you are already three months NC? That is awesome!! When I first started reading this post, I was like, wow, he actually tried to come back…and then when I saw what happened, I realized that is what would happen with any of us here.

      I am still early on…day ten, and it has been hard at times, but I am also feeling a little bit better. I think what I miss the most is our friendship, and almost secretly wish we never decided to try for a relationship, as a friendship would probably be all he could handle. I still feel hurt though that these guys act like they want a real relationship, but when it finally starts happening, they freak out and only want things on their terms. I only wish I had seen the warning signs and really paid attention to them sooner, as I feel my heart would not have been as hurt as it has been recently.

      thinking of all of you on this chilly day here in the states!!

  27. Rejected says:

    This site is so helpful in making me feel less alone. So sadly though it shines a light on how horribly women are treated by men who are so self absorbed. I am in a unique situation and really don’t deserve any sympathy but just need a forum to vent/share. I am married and have been involved with another man-also married for 4 months. In the beginning he made me feel special,sexy,desired…all the things I wasn’t getting at home. We never had any desire to leave our spouses but did talk about being together long term. Up until 2 weeks ago we saw each other and he made the effort to talk or see me when he was available. The holidays were hard because his wife was home most of the time and we didn’t see each other for 3 weeks. Then all of a sudden it was like he flipped a switch and became extremely unavailable…when I finally pinned him down he wouldn’t answer me about his change in attitude and said things might get worse before they get better because he has a lot going on. I took that as a total brush off and plan to be NC with him. I am already struggling with this even after one day…I know this is actually a gift for me because I can now refocus my energy on my husband. I just wish he had given me a reason for basically dumping me. That will continue to bug me.

    • M says:

      Rejected, I am also married and working through the end of a “relationship” with an EUM (not my husband). I think we looked to these men for a reason and it’s worth discovering what that reason was.

      My EUM and my spouse are seemingly different on the surface but they have many of the same issues. Through reading Nat’s book and this site, I’ve worked out what it is in me that is drawn to these guys. I’m determined to ensure I don’t repeat the pattern and I’m working toward leaving my husband. I could only do that though once the other EUM was also out of the picture.

      I don’t know if it helps or not, but the more I read about this, the more I realise, none of their behaviour is my doing. I might be drawn to them but they are who they are. They do this with everyone. And unless they admit they have a problem and go into serious therapy for a very long time, they are unlikely to change. It doesn’t matter who they are with.

      I can imagine you are heartbroken. It is a horrible feeling to be lured in and then pushed away. You can’t help feeling that there is something about you that caused this. But rest assured, there isn’t. This is all them. This is as good as you get from them. Because ultimately, the only person they really love is themselves.

      I wish you well and I hope you find over time the pain lessens, once the reality of who they are sinks in. I remember a time when I felt so grief stricken I could barely breathe. I look back on it now and wonder how it is that I was blinded by the reality of this selfish man for so long.

      Commiserations and consolations. And keep reading here. It does help. xx

    • neri says:

      I have no advice for you, but I know exactly how you feel. I am in an almost parallel situation. I also know that even with the pain there is a big sense of relief. It will get better.

  28. noquay says:

    Kata1
    Really love what you wrote; yep, these lil boys are the way they are because we do indeed teach people how to treat us. Certainly the AC I have to see at work was allowed to use, overlap with, and discard woman after woman because they let him. The two women he has had the hardest time with, his ex wife who finally divorced him and myself, are the only two women, far as I know, who took him to task on his behavior. She finally disappeared to get away from him and I am seen as a mistaken, desperate, bitch. We women really do need to watch one another’s backs even though some women still won’t get it. Lot’s of my colleagues knew about his behavior, I the newbie, did not. Even a casual mention of such would’ve put up my Spidey senses and may have saved me a lot of grief. I saw that his male colleagues treated him with some distance but didnt know why. Latest conquest, however, knew I was terribly hurt by him (she was a friend) and now sees me as someone as evil as he does. If self centered, uncaring folk were treated like pariahs they would either do the work to change or they would sit about and whine; either way, they wouldn’t be in a position to continually hurt others.

  29. T says:

    I love this site and this article spoke to me as well, but I do need to add my situation to obtain feedback. I’m in my 40′s and am a single parent of a 10 year old active in sports son. I am also dating a single man (almost 4 mos) with two kids who are also very busy with sports. He works full time (5am-5pm), then comes home and either coaches his kids sports, spends time with them at home, or goes to bed early due to his work schedule. On the weekends, his time is filled with kids sports along with various activities he does with them such as bowling, skating, movies, restaurants, etc..I too, work full time, have my child all the time with the exception of every other weekend, when my son visits his father for the entire weekend. I am also taking grad classes, so to say we are busy, is surely a true statement. We see each other every other weekend when my son visits his fathers for the weekend.
    We both agree that telling our kids about us before 6 months (give or take) is not a good idea until we both feel we are fully committed in this relationship. We also realize that perhaps once that occurs, we will be able to spend more time together doing things as a “family” unit (our kids know each other and attend the same school).
    Now that I’ve fallen in love with this man, I’m wondering if he’ll truly ever have time for me. I felt this would be an issue after 2 months of dating, but he begged me to stay and give him a chance to show me he had time for me. However, he seems to be a lot of talk and not much action. We text a few times during the week, talk once or twice and that’s it. Am I demanding too much to see him more than just one night every other weekend when it’s only 4 months since the beginning our relationship. He really does have a full schedule, but I tend to agree with the article: if you really want someone in your life, if you really are crazy about them, (not mediocre) you’ll make time.Thoughts?

    • neri says:

      Honestly, to me, he does just sound truly busy. That’s a long workday, and you know how kids eat your time. Think about it, even if you were living together, how often would you be able to interact if he is up and gone by 4:30am and not home until 7 or 8 at night? I think you guys have a scheduling conflict, and his interest in you will probably not change it, nor yours in him.

    • Elgie R. says:

      Hi, T. He is “managing down your expectations”. He wants to keep you in the casual see-you-when-*I*-feel-like-it zone.

      A lot of you are posting concerns about the time *he* won’t spend with you. These men don’t want something “serious” with you ladies. Their actions are speaking loud and clear. Why do you ignore the meaning of their actions? Why do you insist they say things to you in words? These men use words to dodge.

      Do you really expect a man to say up front “I just wanna see you when I’m in the mood for you, when I’m bored, or when I want some easy sex. Then I will disappear for weeks until the mood for you hits me again.” They say it with actions, or inaction, really.

      • Janiqua says:

        Elgie,
        I think it is hard sometimes because they say one thing and then DO something different. Even though we all have heard the old saying, “actions speak louder than words,” I think many of us want to really believe what they say.

        In my situation, I am glad I recognized this earlier, but I will keep this in mind in the future, so that I will not become so enraptured by any more ridiculous talkers that cannot seem to show me by their actions what they truly want.

        It seems they say what they think we want to hear…

  30. Ellie says:

    My ex AC made the excuse he was busy with college work right before we split he also said he was busy ”job hunting”. Before, when we first met, he was never too busy to see me. I found out he was seeing someone else just a few weeks ago and i found out on Facebook. He didn’t have the backbone to tell me. I’m still smarting. He is not the person I thought he was, and it’s a shock. The girl he is seeing has been an on of fixture in his life for years and I have a gut feeling she is the reason why all his other relationships before me came to an end. I’m angry and hurt. Angry because as he doesn’t have a job, I gave him money and gifts, and hurt in that he didn’t have the heart to tell me. I have never had a relationship end in that way before so it’s new to me. Put me right off dating for a while am sad to say.

  31. neri says:

    Does anybody else’s EUM seem to have a complete “victim mentality”? I think this is part of the super busy phenomenon. If they are just kept too busy by circumstances beyond their control (ie what the rest of us call “life”)then my god, what biatches we are to push them to spend time with us and just add more stress to their plate? Ugh, don’t we understand that they only have time for relationship lite? Then if we push the issue, they can be a victim of us and our neediness, and that is why they had to distance or blackout. “Oh yeah, I loved that girl but she just needed so much of my time, she didn’t get that I had work/school/kids/D&D, what-the-f-ever”
    I guess to me in the end going NC was not only an expression of my self esteem in the I didn’t deserve the the hot and cold, the stroking, and frankly the using- but also that my EUM was such a victim that either way I was going to be just another example of someone who shit on him, and the choice was to be the one who dissapeared and broke his tender heart =evil woman, or the one who would just not leave him alone and give him space =evil woman. To the victim all of us are evil or will do evil at some point, because that’s just how their cursed lives are. Even though that choice was a function of my own ego, I’m happy about it because it means I still have one, and I think a lot of us on here could stand to find one again.

    • neri says:

      A great song to listen to on this subject is “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Son’s. Whenever I feel down about him I turn that one on and go, ohhhh, that’s right! Poor little lion man.

    • Janiqua says:

      Oh Neri, you are so right!! The weekend before the mess happened for the last time with us, we had an amazing time. But a few days later, he was back into his busy world, and when I asked on Wednesday evening if we could possibly get together on the coming weekend, he yelled and said “you are making me feel like a dick!”

      I wish I had been the strong woman I usually am at that point and said “well, yes you are!”

      Instead, I said something lame, like “we had a nice weekend and we both talked about wanting to try to spend more time each weekend with each other.”

      I knew what I was asking for really was not being too demanding…it wasn’t like I was asking for his WHOLE weekend…I have stuff to do too…but a few hours?
      He made me feel like wanting to spend time with him, or talking to him on the phone was giving up sooo much of his precious time he needed to achieve his goals, whereas just a few weeks and months before, he seemed to have no other priorities, but spending time with me and chasing me.

      It really also was ridiculous when he would say how busy and tired he was, but he would have time to get on Facebook for his daily ego strokes from his “friends.”

      How long have you been no contact Neri?

      • neri says:

        Not very long. I think 6 days? I broke down and texted him, but before that I had gone two weeks and then fell into his little trap of missing me so much and being so lonely and hey lets talk dirty online. Butthole. It’s been since December 19th that we have seen or spoke in person. A month makes a big difference. Good luck Janiqua, you can do it!

        • Ellie says:

          Oh dear Neri, I know all about assclowns wanting dirty online talk! ..my AC got me hooked by starting this kinda thing with me. I thought, silly me, that he’d eventually get more romantic! What a fool I was! So, fool that I am, I gave in and compromised my boundaries by engaging in sex chat and sexy pictures which I regret completely. When the end came, I asked him to delete those pictures and he wouldn’t, he just skirted round the subject and talked about something else on SMS. All the time I was with him, he was never really interested in anything I had to say, apart from sex talk. And I got hooked..on that..on crumbs! I will never ever be taken in like that again. I have been a week NC now and sometimes, I think maybe I’m being unreasonable, that he really does genuinely want to be friends, but I cannot be friends yet as I am in pain over how he ended things. I wish all you ladies the best in your hopefully AC free future ..Ellie x

  32. Finally Free says:

    Neri’s comment about a victim mentality struck a chord with me over my last AC. There’s a line in the song that Taylor Swift wrote about John Mayer that goes “and you’ll add my name to your long list of traitors who didn’t understand”. That’s exactly what happens with EUMs. They do everything they possibly can (in their own minds, and maybe it’s true because they’re so limited in what they can/want to offer) to please us but we’re too “demanding” because we want more than crumbs, and so we feed into their victim mentality and become a sob-story to lure the next girl in. It’s cruel and unfair. But I ended up meeting some of the girls he’d invented his sob-stories about, the ones he’d called crazy and needy and desperate. And you know what? Without exception they were bright, brilliant, funny and beautiful women that he’d invariably messed around, neglected, made thoroughly miserable and driven to the point of near breakdown! It made me wonder whether he’s crying on his new girlfriend’s shoulder about how much of himself he “gave” me, and how I rejected him. I walked away because he was an assclown who repaid my loyalty with screwing around, end of story. Ladies, beware the misunderstood victim of misfortune, quite often the only thing he’s ever been a victim of is the consequences of his own assclownery.

  33. JOANNE N. says:

    This website has just come to me as a gift. I was just contacted by an ex I never ever got over, could not even settle into marriage after his breakup with me 19 years ago. He proposed marriage after one and a half years when I was not ready. He said there was no waiting and broke up immediately and coldly. I always blamed my self for his cold, swift breakup with me. I got in touch with him every 2 months or so, hoping for his mind to change, but that Christmas, 6 months after breakup, he proclaimed he had met someone new, in other words my hope was over and stop calling please. So I wished him the over best and did not call again. April 9, 2012 he phones out of the blue 18 years later. He talked about the weather, his pets, my pets, etc., but nothing concrete. He said we should catch up at lunch. I said “great, yes” as I never married. I heard from him next on September 13, 2013, yes 2013! Could we do lunch next day, I say “Yes great”. That lunch happened, but he seemed quite cool, slightly distant, how weird, and I was busting with joy! He told me of his cheating wife who he divorced and their two daughters aged 10 & 12, who he shared custody of, etc. etc.
    He asked at end of lunch if we could go to see a movie sometime. Of course I agreed. Then, no call till December 23, 2013. He had been drinking and said he wanted to start seeing me and have fun like the good old days. Yes, I agreed. 2 days before Christmas, what a gift I thought. He has now made two more calls to me making cold, strange excuses not to do the fun, the getting together. Too busy now. He had to paint a basement room one of the times and visit with the two daughters another time, always at the last minute. Here is my question. After these 20 years of memories, grief, self-doubt, and self-blame for the breakup way back when, only to be thrown these miserable crumbs now, do I do No Contact or answer the phone and tell him I have found happiness and to have a good life. I need this 20 year saga to end right by me. I do date but this AC needs a special treatment for the final contact. Thank you Natalie and all who are brave enough to end all these guys’ selfish games.

    • grace says:

      Joanne
      You need to step back and ask yourself why someone you didn’t want to marry nearly twenty years ago is causing this much anxiety. It may be there are other things in your life you’re looking to escape.
      Quite a few of us have had exes turn up after ten, twenty, thirty years. At best they’ve become distant friends, at worst marriages have been wrecked for no benefit. These reconnections sound special and romantic but in the digital age they’re very common. Don’t put too much value on the romance of it, look at the actual experience you’re having right now.
      You could just say, I was pleased to hear from you but I don’t think this is working out. Let’s just part on friendly terms. You can nc him later if he can’t respect that.

      • JOANNE N. says:

        Hi Grace, thank you for bringing this one up as I realized I never explained why I could not marry him at the moment he asked. I was dealing with my mom’s health and needed some time to get that settled. I fully blamed myself for not being able to juggle both and a descent man would have waited and tried to
        help. I just am seeing this now after
        finding this website and all of you.
        And you are right. I am in some kind
        of blind romanticized fantasy. If I
        were to look at this as someone else’s
        post, I would hardly believe a woman
        would even consider giving this guy one
        more minute of time. I have this
        moment decided NC will be the only
        thing to heal this reopened wound.
        Honestly, till now I have thought I owed him something for causing his pain all those years ago. That is part of the anxiety. I have it all wrong and I owe him nothing. Thank you Grace.

  34. Janiqua says:

    Wow Joanne! That is quite a story and experience. I am not sure if it would be better to tell him up front, or to just do no contact. I can see the positive aspects to both ways of dealing with the situation, and after so long, how much it would be helpful to you to let him know that you are happy with your life and will not put up with his BS.

    I am glad you have realized this early on, as it would definitely be hard having him come back and want to spend time with you, but now he is showing his true colors to you again. It seems like he is not in a very good place in his life and he needs to have some ego stroking done.

    I hope some others chime in and give their ideas as to what to do…please let us know what you end up doing.

  35. JOANNE N. says:

    Hi Janiqua, you were so kind to reply to my story and that in itself has given me more strength. I wrote that post in the afternoon on Saturday, and would you believe, he phoned when I was out on Saturday night. I don’t even normally go out Saturday nights because it is so cold right now and sometimes warm bubble baths, good books and good movies are perfect companions. So he got his first NC by accident.
    However, as I thought this through the next day, I believe he was fishing around to see if I was sitting around at home alone on a Saturday night? Now I know another call will be coming, could be tonight or 8 weeks from now. As I read the other posts over and over, I feel NC would be more humiliating to him, because if I tell him he is destroying me with these games all of these years later, he may play a victim, say he is best rid of me for telling him off. I did not mention that not once did he say he has thought about me or missed me over the last 19 years. He simply said on December 23 that he wanted to start having fun again, and began setting up a dinner date that never happened. Why on earth would a man call after all that time to do this to a woman he loved 20 years ago? Could it be his revenge on me? This one will take a psychologist to figure out. It is just unfortunate that I always held a torch in my heart for him. This person he is now is not the man I remember. Still just need to know best way to end this, for me to get some peace for the rest of my life. hoping for any more advice. Thank you for reading this!

    • lizzp says:

      Hi Joanne N,

      He is hoisting up a fleet of RED flags and unless you’re keen to be his fall back girl in preference to mutual,loving and respectful relating don’t waste your precious energy and loving self trying to decode them anew. The code’s been cracked countless times right here and you are surrounded by experts. The translation will be: Emotionally stunted, self centred and self absorbed. SELFISH.

      Really, how dare he leave it so long between calls and make half-assed plans only to cancel/excuse himself with oblique whim? How dare he! How dare he?

      He DARES because he is not experiencing the ‘natural consequences’ (Natalie’s term ?) of *his* actions. YOU can deliver these natural consequences…actions really do speak louder than words in all situations. Being IGNORED, AVOIDED and SHUNNED by your lovely self – *that* is a natural consequence for his behaviour in the circumstances.
      All the best Joanne!

  36. Elgie R. says:

    Joanne, don’t offer this man any sex. Protect your heart. If you want to see if a good acquaintance-ship can happen, then go to it. But this man is so far from being committment material or boyfriend material. Only pain lies ahead for you if you try to have a one-on-one adult relationship with him. He is in full rebound mode right now.

    Don’t let nostalgia steer you wrong.

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!