If you're going to miss him/her at least have the good grace to miss them for who they were and are, not who you thought they were (but weren't), or hoped that they'd become.

Following on from my last post on regret hangovers, I wanted to share some thoughts on letting go because many people convince themselves that ‘letting go’ is something that happens passively, when actually, it’s a choice, one incidentally that you have to actively keep choosing to do. If you decide to let go on a Monday but then you have an off day on the Thursday, you have to make that choice otherwise you turn in the other direction and opt to hang on.

Letting go is deciding to be done.

Are you done? If you’re not done, why aren’t you? Don’t let your ego keep you holding on because not only can it end up feeling like you’re clinging on to barbed wire (especially if the person is toxic or your self-esteem is depleting) but you’ll end up regretting letting your ego be in the driving seat.

Letting go involves a willingness to move on as well as an acceptance that moving on is going to happen.

I’ve seen people devastated by bereavement. They know that they’re not going to move on immediately but that in time, they have to go back to work, laugh again, see friends, be frozen on the spot by suddenly being filled with memories while going about their business and they basically live as best as they can. Some days they win, and some days they’re not so successful at but they keep going. Sometimes we can feel guilty for ‘getting back to normal’ because we realise that we’ve been going through a good patch – this is when you have to be careful of reinvigorating your holding on efforts.

It’s tough, especially when you feel like there are some answers that you could do with, but when you make the decision to move on and let go, it means that you’re not looking to add anything. After a while, holding on becomes “Let me see what new pain I can find for myself”.

Now I know you may be tempted to drag last year into this year or maybe you already have… but it’s time to make a commitment to letting go. If you’re not moving on or willing to keep making the decision to let go, you’re saying “I’m not done yet” and “I’m not willing to forgive me”.

While you will experience painful feelings as you grieve the loss of your hopes for this person or situation, you’re not inviting any new pain into your life.

If you keep chasing them for attention and validation or suppressing your feelings with drink, drugs, overworking, eating etc, you’ll feel far worse than you will from the healthy releasing of emotions and thoughts.

I used to be afraid of feeling, afraid of crying, afraid of letting the thoughts in. All that energy I put into avoiding these things brought me a world of pain, much more I should point out, than if I’d had the courage and willingness to be vulnerable.

Be more willing to draw a [positive] lesson from the experience than you are to reignite conflict or pain. It’s like reopening a wound and throwing salt on it, or… revisiting your vomit.

The moment you choose to start focusing on reintegrating yourself into your life and finding a different purpose is the moment that you take back control of you instead of trying to control the uncontrollable.

Letting go is pretty difficult to do when you’re neglecting you in the present.

Nurturing you buffers you against the pain of raking over what’s already passed which yields to blame, shame, guilt and obsessing or ruminating about the future where you try to anticipate what’s next including anticipating doom or where you’re unwilling to face the future and make decisions for fear of it taking you away from your past.

Holding onto the past can be a way of avoiding responsibility for your own life. When you spend your life being angry for where others have failed you in the past and make them responsible and accountable in your mind for why you’re not being and doing X,Y,Z now, you’re absolving you of taking action and making choices. It’s like “They’ve effed up so I can’t do any better”. Actually, you can give it a damn good shot at. It’s not that these people aren’t wrong but at some point you have to question why you’re devoting your whole life to ‘making them pay’ or trying to make them change.

Letting go is a decision to stop living in the past. Come back to earth. Fast.

Don’t devote too much energy to feeling angry that they’re not thinking, feeling and acting like you are. Does it matter if he/she is “happier” or doing “better”? You’re two different people who handle things differently and may even be faced with different circumstances. If you compare how you’re each living your lives including your own values and characters, that will give you a clue into why they’re ‘bouncing back’ (they may have an emotional airbag too). It’s hard, but they don’t have to go at your pace. Some people don’t want to feel a damn thing and will throw themselves into the nearest relationship. Or bed. Or dating site. Or fantasy.

If you’re going to miss him/her, at least have the good grace to miss them for who they were and are, not who you thought they were (but weren’t), or hoped that they’d become.


we met for a reason

Not all good things last. I learned this as a child when my mother would get upset with me because I didn’t want a great day out to end. I wanted it to last ‘forever’ and the potential disappointment would seemingly affect me and this would wind up my mother who would think I was ungrateful. Not all good things last. It would be great if they did but we have to appreciate them for what they are or were.

Disappointment is understandable but also inevitable – you don’t learn how to handle disappointment by never handling it and coming out the other side.

Clinging ain’t sexy or healthy or love. If you’re clinging, you’re not loving; you’re excessively dependent.

It’s difficult to move on when you’re at extremes – you’re either consumed by near hatred or convinced that this person is the key to your life. Don’t hold onto either of these sets of thoughts and feelings.

If you can’t forget or move past what someone has done, this is OK but you can’t hang around them and attempt to make him/her not forget and move on either. Yeah some people don’t even want to spend so much as a hot minute contemplating what they’ve done and experiencing and expressing genuine remorse, but we can’t hold people hostage until we feel ready to move on.

And don’t hold on to a bullshitter or a bullshit situation because bullshit begets more bullshit, something that you don’t need in your life. If they’re lying, deceiving, manipulating, chopping, mind effing, tap-dancing all over your boundaries and taking advantage of and abusing you, let go and flush as many times as needed.

Your thoughts?

Have a great weekend, x

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228 Responses to Beyond The Regret Hangover – Thoughts On Letting Go

  1. max says:

    I cut the cord with my ASSCLOWN. IT was a lesson – a hard one to learn but a lesson just the same. There are days when I miss the fun of messing with him – but truth be told he had nothing I needed or wanted …just easy to pass the time with. And we do grow out of the bad place….and into the light. Onward and upward!

  2. Lisalamb says:

    This about made me cry lol. Wonderful post Nat! With the new year starting I’m starting to realize how much I havent let go from my ex AC. Emotionally and mentally. Looking at old fb posts and his fb time to time, it has gotten easier but the sting is still there. Also, my best friend still lives with him…which may have a lot to do with my holding on but still is not an excuse.

    I have maintained NC since September with him, which I am very proud of. But I still can find myself angry at the fact that I had to leave our apartment at the time and was the one to move on. He didnt even chase me, offer to help or show any real sympathy. I hold onto that anger as he happily lives his life.

    Does anyone have any advice on ways to help let go of your ex who lives with your best friend, a tie that I feel keeps me from really letting go?

    I love the BR community, you all are truly inspirational and strong :)

    • Chrysalis says:

      Hey Lisalamb. Just so I understand correctly does your best friend live with your ex as in a non romantic flatshare scenario or are they a couple?

      • Lisalamb says:

        Hi Chrysalis,
        Thanks so much for your response :) My best friend is in NO way romatically involved. She lives there as well with a couple of other roomates (his friends). She just could not move as much as she would like. But due to the issues I had with my ex at the time, that made me and her have issues as well.

        I love her a lot and she is genuinely my best friend. See her almost everyday because we work together as well.

    • Beth D says:

      Wow Lisa that is a rough one. He lives with your best friend? Ughhh First of all be glad he didn’t chase you. That is the worst. Mine did and I ensued on a 4 year roller coaster that prevented me from truly moving on even though I had met a wonderful guy. I missed him and he knew it so he mind effed me consistently. I even missed the stupid drama so I kept letting him back in albeit as only a friend. Next thing you know you are flirting and confused and messed up. I finally put an end to it without an explanation after he ran hot and cold with our friendship and I realized he could still hurt me with callous behavior. I feel a huge weight lifted with NC.I swear the last time he called I literally dropped the phone like I was playing hot potato, lol Re the best friend situation. Obviously you can’t go over there and I would even tell her/him you don’t want to hear anything about him. I would even be scared to talk about him with your bestie cause they may go back and make comments like…”she is so upset” That would be a big ewee Keep busy with other friends, family and new interests. Keep coming here. It really does keep you strong because of all the wise posters who have been through this and gotten through it successfully.

    • Fearless says:

      Lisalamb,

      dump and block both of them? If he’s an AC your friend will come back trying to cry on your shoulder one day soon. By then you’ll probably see her too for not much of a friend.

    • Little Star says:

      Lisalamb, could your best friend move to another place? OR they have a relationship, I did not get it?

    • Sunshine says:

      I’m sort of dealing with a similar situation here. My ex’s cousin is one of my closest friends and the whole thing has been really hard for me. I don’t feel comfortable talking about how I feel etc. with her because I’m not sure how much she actually tells him. She is supportive and all, but then again I know she’s under his influence. The last time I saw her she told me I had been selfish (when still in relationship with the ex) and only thought of myself (this referred to settling down and moving in together). And that really hurt me because obviously she doesn’t understand what I had been going through with the ex AC. I dont know, it’s just hard to maintain mutual friends after the breakup. Knowing that now she’s friends with the new girlfriend – which is logical from her perspective of course – also doesnt help at all. I find it easier not to be in regular contact with her anymore …

    • Snowboard says:

      Hey Lisalamb,

      We would definitely need more information about why your best friend is living with this guy, but I suspect that your friendship with her isn’t going to work out. She basically has to choose between you and your ex AC, because you need to move on, and spending time with someone who sees him on a daily basis is going to seriously derail you, unless she despises him too. If she is choosing to live with him, it seems she has made her choice. That’s amazing that you’ve kept NC with him since September though! Be proud of yourself and keep going!

  3. Beth D says:

    “don’t hold on to a bullshitter or a bullshit situation because bullshit begets more bullshit, something that you don’t need in your life.” I love this so much! I did exactly that and put up with more mind effing and manipulating during the break up than I would ever put up with during the relationship. All because I didn’t want to let go and believed his bs “but you are my best friend so we have to stay friends!” . Kept letting him break my boundaries. I am usually a strong person and never took crap from guys but this one who I now realize is a master manipulater narcissist always found a way to get his foot in my closed door. I am so done. Proud of myself for not answering his desperate texts during Christmas and not answering his “I am so worried” phone calls. Thank God he finally got the hint or somehow his pride took over. His last text was “is this payback?” I had to laugh at that one. Why would you ask that? lol Did you do something wrong Ass? Getting into my head that he is a toxic vampire and hanging on to the good times was just stupid since he will never be that man again because that is NOT who he really is. I feel in control and I feel like I hold the power. No Contact helped me so much with clarity of my situation. It helped me to say loud and clear without explaining “NO MORE BS” !!!!

  4. Robin says:

    Letting go is something I’ve always had problems with! Before, I really couldn’t let go of anything, because I was blaming myself 100% and thinking I had to be “perfect,” ie., whatever everyone else thought I should be and someone who didn’t make mistakes at all. That was enough to send me into a depression! These days I’m working on myself and making sure that everything I do is a decision and not just a wish that things will get better.

  5. Chrysalis says:

    Letting go. Yep, its a toughie. I’m struggling at the moment as the (ex)husband who took flight and left when his affair was outed rather than facing what he did and being straight about it has pressed the reset button and is wearing his Mr. Nice Guy mask. Which is seriously messing with my head. I was so tempted to call him and tell him all that he’s done wrong (like he cares), tell him I don’t want ANYTHING more to do with him (like he cares) and basically say blah blah blah. Because that’s what he would have heard and I would have been left with my self esteem in shreds and a serious regret hangover at having handed my power over to him. So thank you Natalie for your blog, your courses and your Facebook group. Thanks to what I have learnt I DIDN’T call him. I realised that its irrelevant what I say, its done and dusted and its time to move on. My actions will SHOW him everything I was so tempted to tell him. It reminds me of our tutor in creative writing class teaching us that the basis of a good story is that you ‘show don’t tell’. That sums it up for me.

  6. Disillusioned says:

    Another timely post … How is it Natalie that you are in my head & my heart … Are you a mindreader??? What a fantastic post it answered everything ive tried to kid myself with, everything ive tried to do, everything ive thought, everything im trying to do ….
    Thank you …
    Have you ever thought of publishing a relationship bible/encyclopedia ??? Your advice and yr insights are so spot on, down to earth and i can see all your posts divided into volumes in sections on peoples bookshelves for easy reference …

    Now to get onto letting go, hour by hour … Does the pain get any easier? Do the thoughts dissipate eventually? Ive cut everyone out of my life now, i feel so humiliated, dissillusioned, grief stricken, i feel that my bad choices will haunt me forever & i trust no1 now. I was needy but didnt realise at the time of starting this whole stupid relationship, i didnt unstand the obsessing etc., i just thought it was cause i liked the persons company. But now i know it was addiction on my part to feeling good, icant forgive myself for my behaviour no matter how hard i try … :(
    So natalie thanks for the nurturing on your website ….

    • Hopeful says:

      Disillusioned
      I feel much the same as you, what you wrote could be my words exactly. I wonder why we can forgive others so easily at times but not ourselves? I wonder will we always be haunted?

  7. Lucky_Charms says:

    Revisiting your own vomit. What a visual, no more of that! After being future faked for a year, the assclown broke 2 months of NC on Christmas Eve in a busy grocery store. He told me that he was soooo sorry, he never meant to lead me on, his head was f’d up and he didn’t know what he wanted. After trying to hand me this hefty trashbag of garbage, I ran and haven’t looked back. I am not saying it wasn’t painful, but, given the choice of revisiting my own vomit or letting go of an assclown who hands you nothing but garbage, I chose to let go and FLUSH! Thank God I always had my own residence, finances, family and friends. I am looking forward to opening my own studio and making a new start this year of amazing work. There is no way I want to revisit vomit. There is no way I will ever look at that assclown without thinking the only thing he is capable of creating is garbage. I’ve got more important things to do. Don’t we all?

    • Trina Morgan says:

      Excellent!

    • Grizelda says:

      LuckyCharms –

      The scene you describe is once again another perfect depiction of the crocodile-tear-streaked ‘apologies’ these Assclowns deliver to their victims after they’ve enacted some patently nasty behaviour. I think I described it to another poster in a previous thread as him asking you very nicely to please now kiss the boots he kicked you with.

      They offer the post-apocalyptic list of excuses not because they’re sorry in any way, or they’re trying to own their past behaviour, but exactly because they DON’T own their past behaviour, and the last thing they want is you assigning that un-owned behaviour to them. They actually feel you’re being unfair if you somehow drew the conclusion that they’re jerks. And the very idea that we might be referring to them as ‘jerks’ in general conversation with others (based on reams of genuine evidence I hasten to add) makes their hair stand on end. But rather than improving their own behaviour (which, naturally, they will not, because that requires effort), they’re going to try to change their victims’ minds about the seriousness of the crimes or try to convince everyone they need to be absolved of all sins because they’re… born again! Frankly, if they’ve behaved in such a way to become permanently branded as an asshole by the people they mistreated, they have to live with this the rest of their lives. How dare they expect the benefit of behaving with impunity and then having their terrible records expunged. If they want so badly to be thought of highly, what they need to do is behave in a way that results in people thinking of them highly in the first place.

      He accosted you opportunistically in a supermarket on Christmas Eve to ‘speak from his heart’? That must be the laziest, dumpiest, drive-by apology I’ve ever heard. Had you swallowed those lines, he’d probably have walked away thinking of himself as a King Amongst Men for gifting you with his words this fine holiday season. Ironically, what he gifted you with was a nicely-wrapped reminder of what he really is.

      • Revolution says:

        Exactly, Griz. Here’s the formula (for any ACs out there listening, who want the Cliff Notes version, ’cause God knows you hate to spend that much effort reading):

        overall pattern of asshole actions = asshole

        overall pattern of nice actions = nice guy

        END. OF.

        • Grizelda says:

          Haha! Put that on the chalkboard. And the next algebraic step goes like this.

          overall pattern of asshole actions = asshole
          asshole + apology = asshole + sounds coming out of mouth

          overall pattern of nice actions = nice guy
          nice guy – 1(incident of bad behaviour) + apology = nice guy + probation
          nice guy + probation < nice guy
          but
          time(nice guy + probation) = nice guy

      • beth d says:

        Oh but they are sorry!! Never for their bad behavior. Very sorry they got caught at being the asswipe they are. They are even sorrier you figured out they are an asswipe and have decided to flush them!

      • Lucky_Charms says:

        Thanks Griz, for your very sage wisdom. He knows he’s a POS wrapped in his Hefty bag of garbage he lives inside everyday. He has achieved NOTHING in his life, Because, that would require what you call “EFFORT”. That is the true sign of these assclowns who live on a giant pile of garbage. All they can do is live with rot. They are rotten to the core, and try to live off of people who achieve and aspire. They are too lazy to get off their garbage pile of lazy, and do anything other than to suck the life out of all of us who want to make the world a better place. Just FLUSH! He can stay in the toilet he will never swim out of.

      • tracy says:

        “they’re going to try to change their victims’ minds about the seriousness of the crimes or try to convince everyone they need to be absolved of all sins because they’re… born again!”

        Love this. This is literally my ex husband. He hasn’t seen his kids in 2 1/2 years, doesn’t pay child support regularly, refuses to help pay for our son to go to college. And yet he touts himself as a born-again “Christian” all over Facebook. It’s all about making him look like a ‘good guy’.

        I’m not religious in any way (and for the 20 years we were together, neither was he), but somehow I don’t think Jesus would condone a man who doesn’t take care of his children.

      • lovingmefirst says:

        Grizelda,

        SO TRUE!! and you broke it down so well!

  8. Lilly says:

    I’m struggling with making the decision to let go. Physically, I’ve been able to keep away from him, but mentally I feel stuck. It doesn’t help that he keeps pursuing me then disappearing then pursuing again. It’s like a constant cycle of anxiety followed by relief following by anxiety; over and over. Then again if I’m not there then he can’t do this can he? It’s really about me not being able to let go yet. I think I’m opting to hang on and right now I’m in serious danger of giving in. He’s invited me to a gathering at my old university where I’d have the opportunity to meet experts in my area of research. I need to think. If I accept would I be going for him or me? I’m sorry I’m rambling, but I’m confused. I don’t want it to be a case of (as Natalie says) “Let me see what new pain I can find for myself”, but I would like to meet these researchers.

    • Grizelda says:

      Lilly,

      You need an invitation from him to go to a gathering at your own old university? It’s you alma mater, so surely you’re entitled to attend in your own right? And if so, agreeing to let him squire you there is… ah Lilly why don’t you just ask him to crap all over you while you’re at it. Sorry to be blunt, but girl you already know he’s the source of, not the solution to, your pain.

      Read carefully. You’re looking for a chance at a magical happy ending to this affair that’s never, ever going to happen for as long as you live. It is never going to get any better, but it sure as hell is going to get a lot worse the longer you keep entertaining this fantasy. He knows all about how much this is hurting you, and he’s actually feeding off your pain. Who does this? What kind of man?

      “Let go” is probably a term you’re not mentally ready for yet. Try just going into neutral instead for now. Stay NC and stay your course. Your feelings for him won’t be brought under control until you go NC properly for 3-4 months. Then, believe me, you’ll view him and his behaviour in a way that will be incredibly embarrassing. We’ll still love you, though!

      • beth d says:

        It depends on how long you were invested in the relationship. I was in a 10 year relationship that had some really good years. That is a bad situation because you do hang on to the good times more than you would had he treated you badly most of the time. Much harder to let go since when he was good he was the best. I made it to 6 months NC and finally broke down and thought we could be friends. Mistake!! He started the mind effery. Went NC again for 5 months and broke again. If it was an intense relationship you need to stay no contact for a long long time. Both times I broke I thought I was over him and it turned out he could still affect me. Sometimes you have to do NC forever if they are the type to keep pursuing you. If he is a narcissist, he will never stop and keep contacting you when his supply is low. Especially if he gets it in his head you are “the one” That translates to a bigtime fallback girl situation. Natalies fallback girl book does help alot! I decided I don’t want to be in the nursing home getting I miss you phone calls from this Narcopath.

        • mat says:

          Bravo to that. This is also what prevents me from going back. I do not want to be still yelled at and put down when dying.

          • Ms Determined says:

            I know you probably didn’t mean it to be funny, but LOLLERSKATES @ mat. I can just imagine these assholes doing just that. “Can you hold that death rattle down mat, I’M TRYING TO WATCH TV HERE!”

        • runnergirl says:

          Oh dear god Beth d, you just startled me as I was starting to drift into dreamland. I very well could end up in the nursing home getting I miss you phone calls from the exMM while he and his wife are in the nursing home next-to together. By that point, I’ll be clinging to rusty barbed wire.
          “Letting go is deciding to be done”…Ahmen!

        • Jennifer Tiffany says:

          “I decided I don’t want to be in the nursing home getting I miss you phone calls from this Narcopath.”

          Ah, Beth, I so needed that. :) :) Got a good laugh. I’m having a rough NC day. More like a I broke NC via facebook ex stalking day, ate junk and cried all day day.

          Your post made me think of how I used to get these sappy, “I miss you” texts from the ex. I thought I had found the jackpot and scored me a real man who needed/longed for me. I look back and I think, surely the idiot could have called, or the lazy twat could have came over. We lived in the same city. These men…these men…

    • Allison says:

      Oh Lilly,

      Why are you doing this to yourself? Especially with the situation with your baby, and how he responded.

      Isn’t this guy still married- even if he wasn’t he’s a major creep? Where is this going to go? Why haven’t you blocked contact?

      Please, seek some counseling!

      • Allison says:

        I mean, what will be enough? How much worse does it have to get, for you to move on from this loser?

        Hasn’t there been enough pain!

        Please go back and read your posts, and perhaps there will be some clarity.

    • Revolution says:

      I agree with Griz, Lilly. Tread lightly with this situation. There’s an assclown in them there woods….

      • Sadder but Wiser says:

        Lilly, what would happen if this guy got hit by a bus tomorrow? Would all your career prospects just shrivel up? You’d never meet important colleagues again? Your professional life would be over? No other person on the planet exists who can help you network, do statistics, write articles?

        That would be crazy, right? No person is that important, that essential. Even if you had a business partner who suddenly kicked the bucket, you would cope. You would make plans. You would look for solutions. You would figure it out.

        I think you’re allowing yourself to drift into magical thinking, and that is a very dangerous thing to do. If you fall off the cliff this time, all the pain that will result will be completely your own doing. Not his, yours. Because you know better.

        If you can’t keep away from him for your own sake, can you try to put the needs of another suffering woman (his wife) ahead of your own? Because it is ethically and morally wrong to enable him to continue to do evil to his wife. Isn’t the thought of that enough to keep your distance?

        (And I do love you, honest!)

      • Lilly says:

        Grizelda, Allison & Revolution,

        I really appreciated the reality check because my emotions are all over the place. It’s all such a confusing struggle. It’s confusing because he’s also asked me if I’d like to give a presentation to his students as a “guest” lecturer, suggested that I might like to mark papers as a way to earn some money and offered to pay half my travel costs. These efforts lead me to think (hope?) that he must like me or am I being completely delusional? I do have a tendency to slip into fantasy land; that’s what landed me in this mess in the first place. I also know that contact with him both causes and relieves my anxiety. Sometimes I’m in such pain that I’d do anything to stop it and I’m afraid to completely let go in case it hurts more. Allison, I’ve had some grief counselling and it did help. I think it would be a good idea to go back.

        I so want to be strong and come on here and say that I’ve gone completely NC. I know deep down that’s the right thing to do, but I’m still clinging on to that “barbed wire “. Maybe, as Natalie says in this post, I feel like there are some answers I could do with, but he’s not going to provide them is he. Thank you ladies.

        • Ms Determined says:

          Lilly, I have something gentle to suggest and then some straight talking to do.

          Part one.
          It’s no wonder this guy is proving tricky for you to flush, he’s the only connection to your baby. If that connection wasn’t there, you’d have been able to push the eject button yonks ago. I’m sure someone has already pointed this out but it bears remembering so you don’t allow it to get in the way when you think about your MM/AC. You need a physical place to associate with the baby just for you. I don’t know if anyone has suggested planting a beautiful tree or rosebush so when you are grieving you can go there and talk to the baby rather than be drawn to thoughts of his origins. Also, I want to take this opportunity to say to you that yours is one of the saddest stories I have ever read, and to tell I think you are one. strong. chick. If you can weather the emotional storm of losing a baby, you have more strength than us here combined to make some useless asshole gone.

          Now for part two.

          I have been known to sprinkle magic thinking on my breakfast cereal so I can utterly relate, but come on, get a fucking GRIP girlfriend.

          YOU ARE WANTING TO BE ‘LIKED’ BY SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T GIVE A TOSS ABOUT YOU. HE WANTS YOU TO SAY YES TO THIS (HE’S EVEN WILLING TO PAY FOR IT) SO HE CAN THINK HE’S NOT SUCH AN ASSHOLE. HE IS USING YOU.

          Remember: “Total fucking fucker, total fucking fucker, total fucking fucker.” Now repeat this until the end of time.

          • Ms Determined says:

            Actually you don’t need to repeat it until the end of time, only until it sinks in. If it sinking in happens AFTER the end of time I will come find you and kick your ass.

        • Allison says:

          Lilly,

          Please trust us, the pain goes away when you cut them out. Completely!

          You have to do this, as it will finally bring peace and self-love back into your life. Ask yourself, what you get from this, other than pain? Does all this anxiety seem normal? Can you introduce this man to your family and friends?

          I think that you really need to focus on the fact that he was not around during the most difficult time of your life. After that, how could you expect him to be there for you in the future. That loss should be enough for you to NEVER speak to this man again!

          You must also consider his family, as this is not right, and very destructive. His kids and wife will be forever effected!

          Time to do the right thing for all, and end this. You must begin to move on with your life.

        • Fearless says:

          Lilly,

          don’t worry about what you think you should come one here to say. I’m sure I speak for all when i say we are with you no matter what course you take now. If you do take him up on his offer, you will need the support afterwards, and you will get it here, if nowhere else. We do understand. Try to imagine that if it was someone else that was making you this offer, someone who had persistently treated you – and your baby – like yo don’t matter, would it still be so crucial for you to go to this gathering? Be brutally honest with yourself about why you think it is a chance not to be missed. How detrimental to you would it really be not to go with him? Really? It’s just an excuse. You are convincing yourself, though, that it’s a good excuse. It’s not. It’s like sticking your hand in the fire so as to retrieve a forged ten pound note. It’s only a tenner, and you can’t even spend it anyway.

          He sounds a lot like my ex. Before my BR days he’d offer me research jobs so I could earn some money. I would take them cos I needed the money, but I cursed him silently cos in my mind I shouldn’t have been in the position of needing the money; after a ten year “relationship” with him, I should have been living with him/married to him in a two income household. An if I wasn’t wasting my time on him i could have had that with someone else. So I deeply resented him all his patronising good-deeds, which made him feel good about himself – made him feel his crappy crumbs and asshole treatment was perfectly acceptable, when he was actually a total fucking fucker.

        • Jennifer Tiffany says:

          Lilly,yes you are being completely delusional. YOU ARE WORTH MORE. STEP AWAY AND STAY AWAY. NO CONTACT. STAT.

          This man is bad news bears. He is trying to control you. For your self esteem, general health and sanity, leave this situation before it gets worse. If you don’t initiate and maintain NC, it will get worse. That’s the only thing I can promise. Take care. And please take care of YOU.

          No HE IS NOT GOING TO PROVIDE THE ANSWERS YOU NEED TO MOVE ON. He will just mess with your mind and cause you more and more pain. His crap behavior is answer enough. GET OUT AND DON’T GO BACK.

        • ixnay says:

          Lilly,

          His o-so-generous offer is a way to reframe the connection between you on his terms, with him as the magnanimous benefactor, you as the mentee, all trauma and drama swept under the carpet. It’s control and managing you down. Your acceptance means, for him, that he’s the good guy, all is forgiven, you are now in his debt. And for what?!! A chance to speak to one of his classes and mark some papers?! And you’ll pay half of what it costs to travel, stay, and eat? And your heart will be racing, you’ll feel sick, enormous surges of anger and grief will be suppressed as you strive to maintain professionality.

          You’ll look for a chance to talk honestly, and he’ll block it, seemingly oblivious. If you’re a good girl and go with the program, he’ll say how good it is to work with you. He might even lie to his family and sneak away to have sex with you. Do you think that would mean he “really likes you”? Is that the beginning of a lovely relationship? Or is it profound disrespect, opportunism, and a way to make you sell yourself down the river?

          Mark papers for your own colleagues. Hell, get a part-time job as a barista. Guest-lecture for real friends, or apply to some conferences.

          This guy has hurt you and let you down profoundly. Don’t go to his lair and prostrate yourself on his professional altar. Please.

          • Mymble says:

            Lilly,
            Read what everyone has said.
            I also thought for a long time that the MM did or had or might “really like me”.
            I showed another man (who was not romantically interested in me) some things he had written, told him things that had been said. I wanted a male perspective. All he said, quietly, was “He doesnt put much value on you as a woman, you’d never really want to be with someone like that, would you?”
            It hurt to hear it, but was helpful in that it helped dispel some of the illusions that still persisted, the hope and wish to change his mind about me.
            This man doesnt value you either, and as long as you continue to give him the time of day that wont change. He’ll continue to “chase” because hes not offering you anything at all. He’s offering you the chance give him something, and get nothing in return. (I’m not an academic but an offer to mark papers?!?) For him, it’s a game. There’s only one way to change
            his mind about you and that is to decisively cut him off and treat him with the icy contempt he absolutely deserves.
            It took me the longest time to “get it” and I still have moments of thinking back to how affectionate he was , at times, how confiding, how he pursued. I regret not having been firmer, having gone NC so many times, derailed, etc. Every contact would set me off on the horrible cycle of anxiety, fear, hope, anger, sadness, self hatred, wondering desperately why I
            wasn’t good enough. Now I regret the time and energy spent on that narcissistic, vain, absurd nincompoop. Godalmighty. He was a twit, I don’t care how many “fans” he had! Kick the jerk to the kern (and if you have a man friend whose discretion and good sense you trust, ask his opinion. It helped me hearing it from one of their own kind!
            Also, one of these days he is going to get busted by his wife and you don’t – really don’t – want to be in the middle of that shitstorm. She won’t want to blame her man, because she probably loves him. You’ll be cast as the bad one.
            If you are serious about your career, it will poison your reputation. Whatever career successes will be attributed to his patronage, and sexual favours, however unfairly.
            (((hugs)))

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Lilly:

      Listen to Grizelda!!!

      YOU are a competent, intelligent woman. HE is a bottom feeder. HE needs to ride YOUR coattails. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

      This is NOTHING but another manipulative power-play because HE CAN”T STAND HIMSELF AND HE NEEDS TO PLAY “BIG-MAN” TO YOU IN ORDER TO FEEL EVEN THE EENSIEST, TEENSIEST BIT IMPORTANT.

      If YOU want to see these researchers..YOU are perfectly capable of registering for the conference, going to the conference and speaking with these people. YOU DON’T NEED HIM FOR ANYTHING!!!

      Don’t look at his emails. Don’t read his text messages. Don’t listen to his voice-mails. Don’t answer the phone. don’t interpret his smoke signals. Don’t look. Pretend he is DEAD.

      Do you have a smartphone??? If so, download Norton Anti-virus for android. You can block calls and texts to the point the phone will act as if they never came in.

      YOU ARE DRIVING YOURSELF CRAZY and I really don’t want to come kick your butt in person. This man, I mean creature, is USELESS!!! Erase him. I’m begging you.

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        Lilly,

        I have one more thing to say…I said it on another thread. he is not the father of your baby. You have to think of him as an anonymous sperm donor. Because that’s ALL the thought and caring he gave your precious angel. This asswipe is SO LOW that he denied his own flesh and blood. He wanted nothing to do with your son, and if I remember correctly, wanted to “take care of the problem.” You MUST look at him as nothing but a sperm donor. For your own mental health and ability to move away from him.

        I don’t want you thinking I’m beating up on you. I am trying to break through the fog with the unadulterated truth so can can move away from this lousy excuse for a human being.

        This creature (your ex) is beyond a narcissist. I know a thing or two about narcissists from being the child of one. In my opinion (and I’m not a professional, I need to qualify that) he sounds likes he’s actually a Malignant Narcissist. This is BAD NEWS ALL THE WAY AROUND. He doesn’t care about ANYONE but himself. He doesn’t LIKE anyone. His brain is so mis-wired that he is NOT CAPABLE of caring for, loving or liking one single other person on the planet. People to him are POSSESSIONS and OBJECTS to be used to satisfy his agenda, his wants and his needs. HE CANNOT AND DOES NOT SEE ANY OTHER LIVING HUMAN AS A PERSON IN THEIR OWN RIGHT.

        You need to sit with the anxiety and see a therapist who is conversant with personality disordered individuals. A grief counselor will not cut it in this situation. I am not overstating it when I say you are quite literally locked in a dance with the Devil in this situation. He will not leave you alone until he literally destroys your soul UNLESS you get REAL and STRONG and HEALTHY and cut him off completely! It is the only way. Trust me on this.

        In a lot of ways your situation is the worst one here. Your ex enjoys toying with people, making them suffer. Just like a cat who toys with a mouse before it goes in for the kill. This is what your ex is doing to you. He gets off on it. Cut ALL contact. He can find someone else to guest lecture, to mark his papers, to escort to a conference, to torture for his own amusement. Do NOT let it be you anymore.

        I can’t stress enough or say it any stronger. He IS malignant and life-threatening to you. He IS a human cancer…and Human is debatable in this case.

      • truth=freedom says:

        Lilly,
        PLEASE listen to all this great advice from the BR girls/guys who truly have your back. The answer is NO NO NO you dont have to attend to please him and I feel he is using your academic and professional capabilities as a way to stay connected to you. He is still married, please dont let him use you again in any shape or form.He was horrible to you when you lost your little one and that should never be forgotten. hugsx

    • dancingqueen says:

      Lilly,

      You do not need him to introduce you to new contacts. I cannot believe that you have only worked with him in your research. I know that doing a PhD would involve more than him, right?

      Contact the other people who were helpful and ask them for introductions. Tell him that you are not interested in speaking with him anymore, even on a professional basis due to your past affair ( say this in an email) but that you are sure that he will not do anything to sabotage your efforts to make your way in your field. This way, if he tries to keep any of your research and pass it off as his own, you have a paper trail about the true nature of your relationship and maybe you can force him, with that paper trail, to not have the balls to do anything slimy.

      DON’T SEE HIM: HE IS NOT EVER AN OPTION. HE IS LIKE A MURDERER and you are putting yourself in his path. He is NOT a good person; please stop kidding yourself, he will never fix what happened and he will never ever do anything but hurt you. He is NOT a good person and you made a mistake. You need to accept that and stop hiding from it:(

      • Rosie says:

        Oh, Lilly, I can’t add to what others are saying. This note is to let you know that I’m rooting for you too.

        • Lilly says:

          Wonderful BR Ladies,

          I’m truly grateful to all who have taken the time to write. Some posts have made me cry, but it’s all good and your support has grounded me in reality. As my sister told me, “it’s time to choose a path and decide what to put in your backpack”. You have given me so much to reflect on and I would like to write back soon. Thank you so much.

    • runnergirl says:

      Lilly, you have a ton of wonderful responses to sift through and I know this is a particularly tough time for you. My thoughts are with you.

      I hope you don’t accept his “invite”. BTW, I blinked twice regarding the invitation to grade his papers. Am I missing something? Grading his papers is somehow an honor? In about three weeks, I’ll be buried in grading papers. I won’t invite you to do it though. Maybe I’ll email the exMM and see if he would like to grade them!

      I hear what you are going through with his “offers”. The professional offers of assistance seem to be standard AC arsenal. The exMM did it to me recently with regards to a cool project. I responded on my work email that it sounds like a cool project and I’d be happy to tell my students about it. If he contacts me again about it, I’ll invite him to grade my papers.
      Again Lilly, like Fearless said, we’ll be here for you no matter how you respond. His “offer” of marking his papers just frosted my a$$. If you want, I’ll respond to him!
      Hugs to you and the little one.

      • Victorious says:

        Now this is a brilliant idea Runnergirl, because something we all seem to have in common is that we are great, I mean brilliant at spotting each others exes shit and can find multiple amusingw ays of calling them on it. Not so great at identifying and dealing with it ourselves though are we. So, how about the Great Assclown Swap? We can all respond/deal with each others Narcopaths/EUMs/ACs and see how that works out for us?

        • runnergirl says:

          Lol Victorious. Love the idea of the Great Assclown Swap. Since these guys rely on text/email, it ought to be easy to arrange. We could simply swap cell phones. Totally made me laugh.
          You are right about spotting each others exes shit. It does help me spot my own shit.

  9. Bee says:

    You’re so right Nat, if we are going to miss them, miss them for who you know them to be, not what we’ve fantasised or projected who we wanted them to be. NC is really the best way to do this cos after a while, I’ve found that even if I wanted to go into fantasising what I thought he was, the fact that I’ve had no contact since the day of the BU in nov, has almost forced to remember who he really was- Mr Not Quite Right. So when the little voice says “maybe he was The One”, about five secs later another little voice says “really? That’s the best for me? Did I want to be Mrs Not Quite Right?” Having had no “triggers” caused by contact, plus mutual friends who are super respectful of my request for no into about him, it’s much easier to get perspective, even when I slip up in my head at first. It’s practice, practice, practise hey. BR is like my new best friend, helping me everyday with words of wisdom. Thank you!!

    • Ellie says:

      Wow your comment really struck me, I love it! We seem to be on the same page. I am trying lately to “practice” not talking about him, not hoping for info about him…It works actually, and I’m going to keep practicing. Like you I knew he was never quite right for me, but there’s something about someone being “not quite right and you love them anyway” that can actually make the mourning process harder. Keep on girlfriend, we can do this!!!!

    • Lorna Doone says:

      That was excellent, Bee. I’m just coming out of that, Mr. Not Quite Right.

    • Victorious says:

      Mine was Mr Not Quite Right In The Head.

  10. Frank says:

    I really like this post and the two before it Natalie…I feel like you’ve really helped me though my feelings from a break up i had late last summer and have been still holding on to…So many things remind me of this person but your posts help me see where any low self esteeem and not feeling good enough has played its part…Thank you for all that you do..I’m very fortunate to have found your website.

  11. Sanntay says:

    I’m still trying to let go, and it is very difficult. I allowed myself to get into a casual relationship with someone I work with, and slowly his behavior toward me began to change in a negative way. I later discovered that he is Facebook friends with another female at work that he claimed he was not interested in, but he never “friended” me. I was very offended that he would give her access that he hadn’t provided me, but clearly ‘sex buddy’ and ‘friend’ aren’t interchangeable. I am convinced that he has slept with her as well, because intuition is such a powerful thing, and when I am in the presence of them both, their interaction makes me extremely uncomfortable. But for the sake of my job, I remain professional and cordial even though some days I’m dying inside. I have no one to blame but myself Just like I got myself into it, i can get myself out of it. Time is a healer, but it would be so much easier to get over him if I didn’t have to see his deceitful face every day. He’ll get reassigned in about 6 months, but right now that seems like an eternity.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Sanntay,

      This is an incredibly distressing situation. And nope, not all your fault. Yes, as adults we are 100% responsible for our actions, but these men are con artists. I’m sure some manage to get the best of us at times. Lord knows how hard I’ve fallen. Keep your chin up. You can move on.

  12. yoshizzle says:

    Hey Nat
    -realizing that moving on is a) a CHOICE! not something that happens or doesnt happen TO me and b) only possible if I decide to have faith in the process and let it happen …these were biggies for me.
    I’ve gone NC for the first time in seventeen years of abuse even while separated. He’s spazzing out about it but I don’t care. I acquitted myself from my life sentence with this man.

  13. natashya says:

    how do you know when you’ve let go? some days i think i have, and some days are so excruciatingly painful. i’ve moved beyond missing the EUM. i now see him for who he was (with me). i have a problem of letting go of the fantasy, i guess. i still miss the feeling, i miss the idea of a relationship, a future i thought i had. (wow, i sound like a teenager.)

    • Victorious says:

      I really get this Natashya and struggle with it myself. Ex narc even said to me, “It feels like we are teenagers again doesn’t it?” This was during the “hot” phase. What I didn’t realize was that the downside of it would be just like being a teenager too. i.e bucketloads of angst and crying and feeling like you will “neverloveagain” When I feel like that I try to think of those old lost teenage loves/crushes/boyfriends. Men who I was distraught over but now either think of fondly but rarely, or think “WTF was I THINKING!” Soon these ex bozos will be history, like those other men. Proper history that we don’t think of every day. The peace will come Natashya but I think the more traumatic the experience was, the longer it takes to get over it, and this is not reflected in the length of the relationship itself. Sometimes I just tell myself I am wallowing and need to lighten up and see the funny side. The man we thought he was is probably out there somewhere, it just isn’t/never was him. He will cross our path someday. He will just wander into our lives. But there is no fire.

      • Feistywoman says:

        I really get this Natashya and struggle with it myself. Ex narc even said to me, “It feels like we are teenagers again doesn’t it?” This was during the “hot” phase.

        Hee hee I just have to laugh at this as an EUAC said this to me recently and then acted like a teenager when he told me he didn’t want to see me again by text!

        Don’t you just love it! Seems that assclowns are the same the world over with a rather limited vocabulary. I have certainly learned from my brief encounter with this one.

      • natashya says:

        thank you all for your input.

        yes, when i look back over other men (and boys) i’ve cried over, i indeed say to myself ‘wtf was i thinking?’ i know the peace will come eventually.

        the thing is… it’s been 4 months since the break up. r’shit was only 4.. i am starting to become really ashamed that i am STILL not completely over it.

        the break up wasn’t traumatic in the sense that my abusive marriage ended. it was traumatic in the way that he opted out when things were GOOD. it left me totally bewildered. and to add insult to injury, i not only accepted the FWB card afterwards, i een PROPOSED it. it put me inta tailspin of epic proportions, i can tell you that.

        even though in my head i KNEW it was over, my heart obviously thought i could make him change his mind. of course, he didn’t. he was relieved to have let me go, was still getting the benefits of fabulous sex on a platter, why would he want to go back to actually having to step up to the mutual relationship plate. i don’t even blame him!

        i have forgiven myself for kicking myself when i was down. the FWB scenario will never happen again, instead i will be handing out the NC card.

        i have been letting go of the fantasy, little by very little. instead of dreaming about how he was in the beginning and how things could have been if he had not freaked out, i do go by how he treated me in the end, which was cruel at worst and careless at best.

        for a while i wanted to be angry with him, look at him as this horrible AC, hoping that would slap me back into reality. it wasn’t working. i’m not sure if he was an AC. it doesn’t matter anyways.

        he hasn’t contacted me, i’m not checking up on him online, i’m doing a lot of things to get over this and move on and i’m sure that one day i will.

    • Sunshine says:

      No, you sound like a woman who loved someone very deeply and lost him:) I’m going through the same thing. Letting go of the fantasy is the hardest. And of all the plans I had that of course included him. But then after keeping strict NC and you start looking at things more objectively and you gradually start to see them for who they really are. The emphasis is on “gradually” here:) it takes time, at least for me it does.

    • Grizelda says:

      Natashya,

      I think by staying NC, that is essentially slamming on those brakes. And you have to slam on those brakes (before the cliff please, not after), before you can pause to collect your breath, restart the engine, try the signals, readjust the mirrors, get comfy, put it into drive, and pull away.

      Your heart will catch up with your head. Right now it’s still tugging on you like an innocent child, wondering what happened. It takes longer to understand how things are. It’s so resilient that it thinks the trouble, the unhealthiness, the pain and the abuse is something it’s game to cope with once again — because unlike your mind, your heart can’t think beyond the fantasies it invented. It will catch up if you take good care of it.

    • mat says:

      I hear you. I’m struggling against my own imagination, which is really powerful. The woman I fell for had the same physical shape as my mother, and I naively expected a loving relationship almost from that fact alone. When I think of her, I remind myself of the famous quote from The Little Prince: “Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”, and I remember how closed both our hearts were when we were together, and how much I lied to myself and ignored the icy feeling on my heart every time she screamed at me, interrogated, criticized and tried to control me. It is only now that I recognize the profound truth of this famous quote, which I always liked very much. Ironically, it was also one of her favorite quotes, and I wish I had taken her own advice earlier.

    • beth d says:

      I had the same problem which is why I put myself through hell post break up. Missing the feeling was a rough one for me until I realized one fact. “This person does not have my best interests at heart” He has HIS best interests at heart. I realized that even when he treated me well it was because he knew he HAD to or lose me. It is a bit of a cold shower but necessary to get it through my mind that love is not pain. The illusion of who he was kept me in a crazy game and never ending roller coaster ride. The realization that it was not this true soul mate kind of love I thought it was but rather “Limerence” made all the difference in the world. It definitely takes lots of work and strength to stay NC so they have no chance to get you back in their web.

      • tracy says:

        Yep, the minute that you realize that they are only in it for their own best interests and you are disposable (to them), you have to stand back and think, “Why would I even WANT to be with someone who doesn’t have my best interests at heart?”

        I just had to flush a guy who needed “space”…Sorry, but if the way you need to get through your “angst” is to send me packing until YOU’RE ‘ready’ for me (and you’re hoping that I’ll wait around while you contemplate your navel) because you don’t “know” if you want to be with me…Declaring that I should be ‘patient’ is not having ANY regard for my interest.

        F-that. Flush…

  14. Emerldeyez says:

    Two things summed it up for me, ” have the good grace to miss him for who he was, not what I wanted him to be or he said he was” and some are a blessing and some a lesson. The good times became fewer and fewer and shorter and shorter. Was that enough to hang on? Did I believe anything that he said? Ever? I feel more sorrow over his animals that I became very attached to then ending the relationship with my EUM. He has been by three times since I started NC six weeks ago. And I am trying not to fault him, thinking he can just show up and I will re-start the relationship because I have so many times in the past been open to it. I am at the point of no return. Too much pain, no more benefits, no more hope, no more fantasy. But I have a list, that keeps me in the reality of what the relationship was, so I can let go, and stay in the here and now. Last night I got home three hours later from work then normal, and I was out walking my dogs, and he came up behind me. I didn’t see him, and he wanted to talk I said it’s over, go away. He said is that it? Like I don’t exist? I said go away, and ran up the stairs and locked myself in. He followed me up and was at my door, but I locked myself in and went into the bedroom. I’m beginning to feel stalked and if it happens again, I’m calling the police. I feel his behavior is escalating.

    Lisalamb, the only thing I can say is continue the no contact, and that best friend, would no longer be my best friend. I don’t think I continue the friendship, too much of a betrayal. Sometimes holding on to anger does more damage to us.. Someone said to me once, he who angers me controls me. I certainly don’t like others controlling my feelings!

  15. Kim says:

    Yeah, this one rings pretty close to home, as all of Nat’s posts do. I thought I had let go a long time ago, and was getting on with my life, happily, I thought, from my manipulative, abusive, controlling weasel of an assclown, and then I heard on New Year’s Day that he was engaged to be married to the woman he left me for. Then, I snooped a little on his profile and saw the proposal video that he posted on YouTube, at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, complete with the waiter bringing the ring and him getting down on one knee, her crying, and everyone clapping when she said yes. Gawd . . . I just about threw up when I saw that. Just like him to turn a private special moment like that into a spectacle. I have no idea when the wedding is, and I don’t want to know, but my brain has been concocting all kinds of nasty revenge comments; I wish I could warn her, but that would just make me look like a crazed, jealous ex-gf, and she wouldn’t listen to me, anyway, even if she’s seen some red flags already. Besides, I figure he will eventually show his true colors and do my job for me. Honestly, most of the time, I’m just relieved that it isn’t me who is marrying the douche—I’m still in therapy almost 3 years later from the damage he did to my emotional state with his narcissistic abusive behavior.

    • Chrysalis says:

      Oh Kim that’s rough. I feel for you having to witness such a sick making display. I am doing my best to stop playing videos in my head of the woman that me husband was cheating on me with (I looked up her FB profile and of course shes younger, prettier etc). Thats why I have STOPPED snooping. Its a bit like that old adage that evesdroppers rarely hear anything good about themselves. Well in my experience cybersnooping never brings anything but heartbreak. If it hurts dont do it.

    • Allison says:

      Kim,

      How long were you together?

    • MJ says:

      Kim, whenever I am angry or upset and feel that I should really put the warning out there about my AC, I think to myself, well, noone warned me, now did they? That puts my thoughts right back into perspective. Besides, on most occasions, people ALWAYS have to find out the truth for themselves, and these asshole ALWAYS show their true colors sooner or later, and hopefully sooner so they can be flushed out ASAP. :)

    • Ms Determined says:

      OK Kim, so I did some interweb sleuthing (what can I say, I gave up cyberstalking my ex AC long ago and old habits die hard bwah ha ha) and if the video I found was the one you’re talking about…that woman is in soooo much trouble. Those tears are going to be tears of pain at some time or another. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t actually see her jump out of her seat and scream a confident and joyful “YES!” she just seemed to have trouble stopping laughing/crying. I was actually hoping she was crying with laughter that he would pull such an unimaginative proposal and then she would reach under the table for the cream pie and yell IN YOUR FACE, BOZO! before letting him have it.

      I can tell this guy is a class A assclown just by his video technique. Firstly, him actually capturing it on video at all is a dead giveaway. He wasn’t doing it for her sake, she was THERE, it’s not like she needed to watch it later to know what happened. And it was a time when you shouldn’t be aware of cameras, you should be in the moment. She looks unaware he has a camera on her (which is kind of creepy, I am sure he didn’t want to give the game away but…ugh). Framing it so there’s enough room for his head to pop into it. The whole thing looks like it was made exclusively for his ego spank bank. I bet he watches it and touches himself murmuring “I love me, I am so normal and healthy.” Over and over. Because that’s what he wants everyone ELSE to think. What the fucking fuck?

      And that’s it isn’t it? It’s about everyone else. Seeing as he couldn’t sell tickets, he posted it on YouTube, the most public forum of all! He made it for YOU, and for any OW he had at the time, and for each and every woman who’s ever accused him of being fucked up when it comes to love. Surely something like that belongs on his private computer so they can look at it privately anytime (anytime they might have forgotten they got engaged). I mean, it’s not exactly the Royal engagement, who the fuck would care?

      These idiots are sooo transparent.

      • Victorious says:

        “I bet he watches it and touches himself murmuring “I love me, I am so normal and healthy.” Over and over. Because that’s what he wants everyone ELSE to think. What the fucking fuck? ”
        Oh how that made me laugh! That is exactly the sort of thing my ex narc would do. He was so DESPARATE to be seen as “normal” which is the only reason he ever took up with women. He preferred to get his Narcissistic supply from strangers/colleagues/friends cos a proper relationship was just too much like INTIMACY (aaggh, run for the hills!) However, he knew that A) This made him look a bit odd.
        B) A girlfriend is a GRADE A source of supply.
        So, time and time again he would seek out a girlfriend and then realize again and again that he couldn’t hack it and would rather be masturbating. 48, never even lived with a woman.
        Pathetic narc fucking fuck.

      • MRWriter says:

        Puleeze! I admit I looked it up too (Mackinac Island being one of my favorite places) and the whole thing looked incredibly staged, unauthentic and frankly, nauseating. Her reaction struck me as odd, forced, even her laughter sounded hollow and fake. Poor woman! There wasn’t any affection. You didn’t miss out on anything with this AC. I’m sorry I gave him my 2 mins and you gave him so much more.

    • Victorious says:

      Ok I had a little peek at this too. You do not have to bother telling her anything about him. SHE ALREADY KNOWS. Did you not notice the way she had her hand over her mouth the whole time? This shows she either distrusts what he is saying, or her reaction to the proposal is dishonest.

  16. UltraDeb says:

    Natalie, I just love you…

  17. Andrea says:

    “does it matter if he/she is happier or doing better?”
    That one hit me as I have been sitting here wondering exactly that and thinking that. I know he’s moved on with someone new and it just irks the hell out of me. But I’ve also maintained NC for over 2 weeks which is the longest I’ve gone. See he was “dating” or “waiting” for this new one to make up her mind, which still continuing to string me alone and future fake everything. Why should I care if he’s happier. He’s never going to be what I want, what I need, who I want, he’s just not going to be it..as much as I want him to be that, he isn’t going to be IT!!!

    • Allison says:

      Andrea,

      Hon, why were you waiting for him to decide if he could be with her? He wasn’t stringing you along, you stuck around for a baaaaaaaaaaaaad situation.

      Please don’t wait for anyone to choose between you and another, as you should be the only choice on offer.

    • Hopeful says:

      Andrea,
      I just read your post and it triggered what my EUM said to me. He said, “I am never going to be what you say you want”. “You keep asking me over and over to be that person and it’s never going to happen, never”. How much proof did I need, I didn’t listen, just kept on hoping anyway. That is “relationship insanity”. Good luck and stay NC.

  18. hlady says:

    best article yet. great lessons here for free :) thank you. I am greatful for such clear glasses to seeing better than i ever have to past situations.

  19. runnergirl says:

    This is really, really great Natalie. Maybe it’s where I am as I look back and try to look forward. I’m a bit frustrated at being so BR educated and still doing the “I’m not done yet, I’m not willing to forgive me”. I just want to smack me upside the head and get on with life. It’s like I still want to figure out if he was a lesson or a blessing…great quote BTW. Of course, he was a lesson. Rationally I know that in so many ways. I still seem to be resisting the lesson with the dying gasps of letting go. Not so much anger at him any more because I’ve accepted the fact we are two very different people. It’s like I’m still struggling with a two-year old tantrum child who wants that candy at the check out stand. I want that candy goffamit. It looks so good. Even though the candy isn’t good for me, will rot my teeth, make me hyper, and doesn’t really taste that good. I want how I thought things would be…insert tantrum here.
    Okay, rant and tantrum over. Time to move on.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      runnergirl…

      Maybe it would help to look at him as BOTH a lesson AND a blessing. You obviously have a handle on the lesson part. He is also a blessing because this relationship has ed to a much healthier, happier, self-aware and self-loving runnergirl. would you have grown this way if not for becoming involved with him?

      So yes, he’s a jerk and an asshole and an AC and all the rest of it. BUT (yes I said it) he was also a personal message to runnergirl from the universe so runnergirl can be the wonderful woman she is!

      • runnergirl says:

        Thank you La Pintura Bella. He was a lesson and a blessing. AND (rather than but), it was a personal message from the uni…a very difficult one as you know. My best to you.

        babyangel, I did the yo-yo thing in the first year of my faux NC cos I wouldn’t let go and truly close the door. My antics delayed me from moving on. I’m not holding on anymore. I just have fantasy tantrums now. Once the fantasy bubble bursts, it takes a lot of effort to reconstruct. It becomes more and more difficult to slip into denial and magical thinking. Sometimes the two-year old tantrum child just needs to be held and gently put to bed. Hugs to you.

    • Fearless says:

      Runner

      I still want what I thought things would be. Just not with him – ex arse. I think I have now disassociated ‘what I thought things would be’ from him. You can still want what you have probably always wanted from your relationships – of course you do – and that is sore, I know, but what has some old MM who couldn’t give you ‘what you thought things would be’ got to do with it!?

      I have other exes – other past relationships. So do you. Why do you think we no longer want ‘what we thought things would be’ with any of them? Answer: cos we know they wouldn’t, couldn’t, ever be.

      For me, even a shred of wanting/hoping for things to be what I thought they could be with the ex EUM is self-harming deluded fantasy thinking; I know it could never be what I thought it could be, not then, not now, not ever – he doesn’t have it to give – not to me, not to anyone; it wasn’t about me – I know that now. Doesn’t mean we stop wanting, wishing, pining if we must, for those things, just not with these men.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      runnergirl,

      Sheesh, do I identify with you. I just posted my not being able to move on rant and that I desperately wanted my ex back. Then it occurred to me that if he was at my door step, given who he REALLY is (a compulsive seducer/alcoholic who acts like a giant six foot infant) I wouldn’t want him back. Ever. It’s those illusions I just won’t shake free of.

      You mention the candy thing. Love it. Love the analogy. I’ve always had a sweet tooth. Recently I tried to cut out sugar and ended up eating 8 donuts in one sitting and completely gave up. So for a week I ate nothing but my favorite (or so I thought) sweet treats. Naturally I felt terrible, hungry and wanting more.

      My relationship with sweets is like my relationship with the unavailable ex. I build it up in my mind, punish myself for wanting something bad, and when I actually get it, if I truly listen to myself, I see, that in truth, I never really wanted it anyway. It was just a big waste of time to distract myself from myself.

      • runnergirl says:

        Fearless and Jennifer Tiffany, you are both so spot on. Letting go of the fantasy man is my issue. I could have the actual cheating, lying married man show up on my doorstep right now. I don’t want THAT one. I want the one I imagined god dammit. So yeah, I’ve got to shake the sugar-regret hang over. He simply doesn’t have anything to give to me. It’s like eating 8 sugar donuts. Feels good in the moment and then feels like crap.

        • Victorious says:

          “I don’t want THAT one. I want the one I imagined God dammit.” Exactly Runnergirl. I have written this in my diary. To remind me I was “in love” with a fantasy.

  20. runnergirl says:

    Natalie, this is the best: I’ve seen people devastated by bereavement. They know that they’re not going to move on immediately but that in time, they have to go back to work, laugh again, see friends, be frozen on the spot by suddenly being filled with memories while going about their business and they basically live as best as they can. Some days they win, and some days they’re not so successful at but they keep going. Sometimes we can feel guilty for ‘getting back to normal’ because we realise that we’ve been going through a good patch – this is when you have to be careful of reinvigorating your holding on efforts.

    I saw this first hand. And it is the best description of what I’m doing at the moment. I think I was going through a good patch and getting back to normal, experienced anger/guilt, and then resorted to reinvigorating my holding on efforts.

    As you always say, breathe Runner. I get impatient when I know what I have to do and try to do it and can’t be perfect. There it is. Thank you if you allow me to ramble. I’m not frigging perfect. Arrgh. There it is AGAIN. Boy that perfectionism is really tough to work through. Breathe.

    • babyangel says:

      Im doing exactly the same thing runner girl. I know what I am doing but can’t stop. After 2 months no contact I decide to get in touch when I was drunk at our xmas party. Well of course it ended with a pre chrismas shag. I went away for the holiday and managed not to contact him – though thought about him – as soon as I was back home my fingers took on a mind of their own and texted him. So now we are doing the dance again – back and forwards. I know he is a BSer and I don’t believe a word he says – well maybe a teeny part of me does, but I can’t seem to stop. If im honest I don’t want to stop. I think I hope that my need for him will weaken with time and just fizzle out. I am totally stumped over this.

  21. miskwa says:

    Tis hard to really mentally let go when you feel there are no good options. Doesn’t look like I can afford to relocate, jobs are scarce, not sure I even should be driven out and loose most of my retirement due to an AC, and what men I have met I just cannot even force myself to be attracted to. On top of all that, apart from colleagues whom I cannot confide in, there’s no support network there nor functional family. I refuse to accept “less than” but am horribly lonely. I avoid contact as much as I can but do miss the talks about environmental issues and social justice issues that we used to have even though I understand I was being used as a source of narc supply. I miss being with a man I am actually attracted to and respect. I swear that the American west is a hotbed of anti intellectual, anti environmental, underachieving older men. Nasty thing to say but that’s how I feel. I can’t talk about these things with anyone else here. I work very hard but no longer enjoy my work after all that happened. I am maintaining NC, he is excluded from all social functions and committees that I initiate, I have avoided contact with his latest conquest who was a good friend, I quickly have recognized red flags or major incompatabilities in men since then so I am not repeating mistakes, but I still feel as though there’s no hope and also emotionally battered. Yep, so I DO try to keep busy through overwork, house projects now done solo, tromping thru the mountains, also now done solo. Do not relish going thru the rest of life alone but doing the “right” things aint working.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      miskwa,

      I can relate. Since cutting contact with the ex, getting a bit of self esteem/worth, I am completely alone in my town. Friendships I had before no longer appeal to me. I’d rather be at home blogging, reading or resting. Also, I’m not so quick to make friends because now I believe true lasting/worth it intimacy takes time to develop, so there is not a quick fix for my loneliness. My twenties are slipping by and I feel helpless. Like I’m not really living and don’t know how. And, oh, do I get discouraged with my geographic location, yet I’m too afraid to move and feel I have too many obligations here in my home town. So I get where you’re at. It’s a tough place to be.

      • Mymble says:

        Jennifer,
        You are still very young, this is the time when you SHOULD take risks and get out there! Get out of the house! Get off the sofa already! Staying at home and reading is for oldies like me LOL.
        When I was in my early thirties I jacked in my secure, well paid job and went to the other side of the world to do voluntary work for 3years. It was a fantastic experience. The things I regret are the things I DIDN’T do, the wasted years in my 20s sitting on my arse wondering when things were going to improve but doing nothing about it. I developed a bad soap opera habit, can you imagine, like a pensioner.(actually that’s an insult to pensioners, my mum is one and she wouldn’t waste a minute of her time on such rubbish)
        A book I can recommend is “Feel the Fear and do it anyway” a dreadful cliche I know but I still find it inspiring.

        • Mymble says:

          Jennifer
          Sorry I hadn’t read your post below about the grandparents. Your situation is certainly more challenging and I’d have worded what I said a little differently if I had read the other post first. I understand the bitterness about the ex AC, I felt like he had a much better life than I – well he did, was very charming, handsome, wealthy and successful in his career, none of which could be said of me. However those feelings do pass. It’s like feeling angry and resentful of Cate Blanchet, or Kate Winslet, for their beauty, talent and fame; they are nothing to do with me, they don’t have my life, my kids, my mum, my job, my problems, – my pleasures too. Don’t compare your insides with his outsides.
          And anyway, no decent woman would consider a guy who refuses to work. He may be able to have flings, but not many are prepared to support a lazyarse playboy.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey Miskwa, I totally relate being in Texas…its not easy being a vegan, atheist, Democrat here:(

      Can you rent out your house for almost the cost? Seriously, the trapped feeling sucks.I remember feeling that way when I lived in Europe; I was in this little mountain town, unable to drive and although it was beautiful and I loved speaking the language and being somewhere foreign I felt horribly trapped; there were NO cool men who were not married and who were my age. I was only there for 2 years but I can’t imagine sacrificing yourself for too long; don’t lose your retirement, but life is too short to be trapped.:(

  22. “I used to be afraid of feeling, afraid of crying, afraid of letting the thoughts in. All that energy I put into avoiding these things brought me a world of pain, much more I should point out, than if I’d had the courage and willingness to be vulnerable.”

    I LOVE that. At first I read the intro and I thought, I don’t know– I think letting go is inactive. Then I read this quoted part and I felt like I was validated– letting go is going from actively resisting to being inactive… BUT letting go can be active in the way that the body is always active:

    The way our body muscles are designed is misleading. Even when you are resting your leg on a chair and feel relaxed, there is still a set of muscles actively working against the muscles that we voluntarily use to move, bend, jiggle our leg.

    I can actively let go but feel it is inactive. See, it seems to me that being vulnerable is not something you force, but something you allow (inactive); however, to relax and exhale my tears, screams, nervous shakes, there is a second “muscle” allowing me to surrender. The is something working against my need to “hold on”.

    Does this make sense?

    You have got me thinking…

    xx

    • Teddie says:

      Yes, it makes sense to me, we have indeed evolved to be amazing activity works! If you think what brain and muscle activity is involved in just standing and walking straight! Just ask someone who constructs machines or robots, what it takes to keep the thing from falling! Indeed, we already possess all we need to make all improvements we want!

  23. Maria says:

    Dear Natalie,

    The process of Letting Go of a EUM/AC Preacher/Minister.

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your website. I am a Christian and your voice is sorely needed among Christian circles among women who profess to know and believe God. If one takes a moment, and closely examine her heart and what is in the Bible, they will find that the same nuggets of truth and wisdom that you have written in these web pages are found all throughout the Bible.

    We Christian women tend to over-spiritualize things, fail to use the sound judgment, heed wise counsel and walk in the truth (all of which is found in the Bible, especially in Proverbs which is very blunt, direct and funny -like you) and hang on in expired relationships all in the name of Jesus. Speaking for myself personally, I overstayed in an expired relationship all because I “had my faith out there” and made it an issue of faith instead of an issue of my own unresolved emotional unavailability, lack of wholeness and not fully knowing who I was in as a Beloved child of God, discounting my own value and “working” and “proving how wonderful I am” (again something God never demands from us – God loves me unconditionally , created me beautiful and loved me enough to beat my heart daily and die for my sins so how come I feel like I got to huff and puff for the love of a mere undone EUM or AC?)

    In my particular situation, six years ago, I met a pastor of a church whose wife had died about a 1 ½ after I met him and I was divorced for almost the length of time. A very long story short, this grief stricken man had MAJOR issues. Now I realize that he had issues before his wife passed and a lot of overall mess in his closet. In hindsight in our relationship he did the following things and in my naivete at the time I did not realize it until things started going sour: 1) Fast Forwarding –meeting each others kids, talking marriage, ministry together, I love you’s, praying together, talking about the things of God. This was a BIGGIE. Nothing captures a woman more than a man who can be “spiritual” with her. 2) Future Faking: He asked my dad for my hand in marriage, I started making “plans” that never fully materialized. He gave me his deceased wife’s ring until he had money to get me a real one. My dumb desparate butt was so thrilled and desparate to think that I would be married to a preacher accepted the ring genuinely thinking I would have my own ring in about 6 months. Found myself self still wearing the dead wife’s ring six years later like a pure fool. Then I got holy and wanted to do the right thing and did not want to have sex within the first year after our “engagement”. I compromised myself about 4 times in the early part of the relationship . Downturn! Mr. Holy Preacher turned AC! He began to run lukewarm, then cold. Then He turned in to Rev. Shuck and Jive. His past starting catching up with him. I saw evidence of his cheating and lack of honesty. I began to not trust him. I even confronted him and tried to break it off twice. But he did the old predatory 6th sense that these type of men have and knew how to lay it on thick. The second time he did the Crocodile Tears routine. Bear in mind that this man is a preacher. He knows the Word! He knows how to talk really, really, really, smooth. He is used to desparate women chasing for him because women like preachers because they look clean and holy. His raggly bootleg finances began to fall apart. He deacons and trustees voted to kick him out the church. So he resigned on his own. He was a hot stank mess all around and lacked overall integrity and the ability to deal with his stuff in a healthy way instead of putting on band-aids and still trying to act like some in charge Big Dog all the time when he was messy. So here I am because now I am embarrassed and shamed of this mess, still trying to hang on, still trying to help my “broken” man of God. Little Miss Florence Nightengale. But this mess don’t work! I helped him re-build his life thinking that standing by him, once we got over this mess, we would be together finally, but not! Once he started getting on his feet and smelling himself – ego rising, he started treating me badly. He got a job as a mental health counselor working with troubled youth- ironically. He is very dangerous and scary to me the more I think about it. A preacher/mental health therapist/AC/EUM/Shuck, Jiver & Cheater. He never would show up for holidays. He always had 900 reasons. But he managed to show up for my Grandma and Dad’s funerals! I kept hanging on to the few good times. The few small stank crumbs. As a matter of fact, I think I got addicted to what few measly crumbs I did manage to salvage.

    Once I made the decision to do right by me and end this sorry relationship, the issues I ran into were the feelings of general stupidity, shame, embarrassment for allowing myself to stay in this situation for so long! Why? I wanted to prove to my family and the church that were called by God and that God meant for us to be together. I had sincerely repented of the mess all of the things I did wrong. I read books, obsessed and analyzed and thoroughly examined my heart issues asked for forgiveness. This was very helpful and good for me and enabled me to eventually have the strength to cut it loose but not until after I had spent a few more years and waiting patiently and endlessly for God to step in and zap this Rev. Pastor EUM/AC/ShuckNJive, but alas, God did not! I learned the hard long jacked up way that Galations 6:7 is really true! “Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows.” I mad stupid choices, made life altering choices following my fickle, unhealed heart and hormones, made compromises contrary to what I knew in my heart to be right and I have reapt the consequences. God does not withhold consequences. God did, however, take care of me during this six year detour filled with the consequences of pain, embarrassment, loneliness and looking stupid waiting to be married. He kept gently working on my heart and opening my understanding. I found out that God was not beating me up, judging me and banging me over the head. He simply loves me where I am. I was beating my own self up, judgment myself, getting all bitter towards Ricky and I was just as much at fault as he was for allowing myself to rot in this spot for so long. I had God’s love all along and it took dealing with Rev EUM/AC to get it from my head knowledge to my heart.

    I would like to end my very long post with these words from one of my favorite authors, Michelle McKinney Hammond who says in her book “What Women Don’t Know and Men Don’t Tell You:

    “You cannot have a complete relationship with an incomplete man, and you usually can’t recognize his brokenness until you are fixed. Until you are whole, you will find yourself actually attracted to his neediness. You will feel compelled to take on his wholeness as your assignment and then internalize the shame when you fail. Because you will fail. The truth is that, when you take on his lack of wholeness, you are superimposing your own brokenness onto him. You are really trying to fix yourself. Instead, your healing must begin with allowing God to free you from your fantasy and change your life from the inside out.”

    That is my testimony in a nutshell. This is part of my Letting Go Process. You are a blessing!

    P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts on women who get too spiritual and don’t use their brains.

    Sincerely,

    Maria

    • Ellie says:

      Maria, I am not a religious person, but your post absolutely touched my heart. Thank you for sharing your story and, most of all, thanks for taking care of yourself and making yourself complete so that you can help others do the same. You are truly bringing faith to others, and I wanted you to know you did that for me today!

    • grace says:

      Maria
      Yes Christian men can be messed up. They can be hypocrites, porn addicts, cheaters judgemental, abusive, commitment phobic. Christian women too, though probably fewer of us are addicted to porn. We do gossip though. It,s not that we should approach christian men in a state of hyper alert but we are still looking for consistency between what they believe, profess and practise. It doesn’t say anywhere in the bible that women should be nurturing their men through their issues. If anything,the role of protector and guardian falls on men, not that they should be nursing our issues either.
      I loved talking the bible with my boyfriend. i hear you there, but what helped us become closer is when we let the other see we aren’t perfect. If he seems perfect he,s hiding something or you are not seeing something.

      He never fastforwarded me, doesn’t push for sex (we don,t have sex), is consistent, respectful, solvent. What we should expect from any man, regardless of religion. In addition to that, it was months before we kissed, months before we spent much time alone together. We still don’t pray together very often one to one. It,s slow but it,s steady progress. I,m not saying this is right pacing for everyone, but it is right for us.

      it is a big and common mistake to assume that God has chosen the relationship and we can give up the challenging, difficult and uncertain decision making process. He gave us the faculties to make wise decisions and doesn’t take away our choice. At the beginning of our relationship I wanted a heavenly sign to go on ahead. I had anxiety and wanted a cast iron guarantee from God. There is not going to be a sign. I,m sure all the godly Christian couples i know who have been married for decades didn,t get one either. Even Joseph and Mary had already met each other under their own steam before the angels showed up.

      A preacher said something i like. “God,s will and our will go out together”. God is interested and he is with us but isn,t driving us around like remote controlled cars. We don,t expect him to choose our job, house, friends, car or cereal. Why expect him to choose our spouse? Within the boundaries of what,s proper, we decide.

      As far as the east is from the west you have removed my transgressions from me. David wrote that after one of the biggest f@ ups in the bible, of which there are many. It is never God,s intention that we continue to live in regret.

      Press on!

      • Tulipa says:

        I fell into this trap with AC number one.
        He showed up in church and sang and played guitar and could preach knew his Bible.
        I thought he was sent by God just for me.
        I didn’t listen to what the AC was saying he was telling me I was not for him there would be nothing long term. I had too many issues blah blah.
        But with God on my side how could I fail. I stuck it out and stuck it out becoming more and more miserable and angry so angry at God. I forgot that God isn’t controlling us and I had choices which I failed to use. I could have dumped him as soon as the words you aren’t the one for me came out of his mouth.
        I was incomplete looking for him to fix me while I was trying to fix him. So true what you wrote.
        It goes for everyone are your words and actions matching?
        Thank you for sharing your story, Maria.
        This AC so called christian caused me more pain than anyone else ever in my life. And blinded me to the faults of the next guy because I would compare him to AC number one and there were vast differences but the guy I was simply calling him EUM was in fact also an AC.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Maria,

      Beautiful post. You are a great writer. I loved the quote you included too. I am finding it so difficult to let go of the longing to be needed. I want to be needed to ensure that I don’t get left/discarded. Though, this approach has never worked for me.

  24. Maria says:

    I meant to say his wife died 1 1/2 years BEFORE i met him!

  25. Little Star says:

    Natalie, thank you for another wonderful post, everything you said makes sense! I don’t know why but I am NC with current AC (who I knew for 8 months) and I don’t have any intention to break NC, I AM DONE for good:) BUT with EX AC I cant (even I blocked him), I have “soft spot” for him. I wasn’t perfect myself when I was with him, I was mean to him (sometimes he provoked me) and plus I had my own EU issues to deal with. IF I only knew he is with someone (he vows he is still single), it would be easy for ME to move on in the right direction! I love myself and I would never allow AC to play games with me:)

  26. Atrophy says:

    I thought I had learned everything BR had to teach me, but no.

    ex-EUM #1: I thought I could remain friends with with him after a year of BR and 6+ yrs of a bs “casual relationship”, I truly let go of him emotionally but my ego didn’t fully. Over xmas, we met for lunch and he tried to initiate a hookup that I quickly shutdown.

    It was a close call, and that was NC day 1 all over again (it’s been 2 weeks now). It was the wake up call. I didn’t want to invite any more pain. I remembered what a loser he was, how he was willing to cheat on his current girlfriend and still didn’t have any boundaries or care about anyone but himself.

    EUM #2: Friends w/ benefits situation that is currently blowing up in my face. I thought we were dating, he said we weren’t on NYE. He has repeatedly stepped all over me. He’s the first future faker I’ve met, I can’t believe how easily lies roll off his tongue.

    Time to let go, today is NC day 1 and it’s my birthday today so I will consider it a present to myself.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Happy birthday, Atrophy! Enjoy your day and the wonderful gift you’ve given yourself…NC with men who mean you no good.

    • beth d says:

      Happy Birthday Atrophy Hope you have a nice day and this is a good year for you. Your story reminds me of when I met my ex after 6 months NC. Thought I was totally over him and looked forward to a very cool controlled meeting. Gave him a chance to throw BS out, pretend to be my bestie but then with a few drinks next thing I know we were kissing passionately like some ridiculous love story movie. When I got home I couldn’t sleep a wink especially when I got sober. I was so disgusted I let him back in even for a bit. Ughh I tortured myself for a few months holding on to the “pretend” friendship and cut him off again. I can’t figure out if it was ego, validation, or just plain old “physical attraction” enhanced by booze..i just knew I had to run. I think I would have done better if we met for coffee lol…better yet if we didn’t meet at all!

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        Don’t beat yourself us BethD. We all do it at least once. New rule:

        AC + alcohol = Regret Hangovers + Literal Headache
        Just say NO. :-D

        • beth d says:

          La Pintura Love it Just say No!!! Exactly. I just thank God I didn’t tumble into bed with him. Ughh that would have been real bad LOL I beelined to my car and slammed the door fast. Holding strong and I feel there is no chance of breaking. I know he will try again but I am resolved. He will come up against a brick wall and I mean brick!!

  27. Sheela Nandini says:

    Great thoughts there,Natalie.The box quote so resonates with me today.

    Love your clarity.And vulnerability.

    A big thank you for this post<3

    Hugs
    sheela

  28. Alibi says:

    Yet again, a post that seems to be the very issue that I am fighting with.
    I am about ten weeks NC with my ex who (thanks to BR) I can see love-bombed and future-faked to the extent that I moved in with him. He then started criticising me, what I did, what I said, what I wore, what I didn’t wear, how much washing up liquid I used, how long I was in the shower, how long I wasn’t in the shower, the list of crimes was bloody endless. Every day he would either want a chat with me about some domestic crime, or he would just look disapproving,like when my friends rang and he would clatter around in the background. On the one hand, he would tell me to make myself at home, on the other he would make me feel stifled, like he was tolerating me. Having been all over my family and friends during love-bombing, he then made it clear that he looked down on them. In fact, he looked down on everybody. Especially me, once he had decided that I was not perfect. The harder I tried to learn all the rules and become 1950s housewife, the more rules there became. I began to feel so uneasy, particularly when I tried to tell him how I felt, and he just sneered at me and accused me of assaulting him verbally! Guess who ended up apologising. He had told me that he had left his wife many years ago because she was a control freak!!! And then at the beginning of October, he woke up, shagged me, then said it wasn’t working and I should move out. I had rented my own property out long term, so was homeless. He was exceedingly callous, and treated me like a business project, saying I was no longer a long term viable proposition!!! Awful.

    After living with friends for a while, I now have somewhere to live where I am not monitored all the time and that is good. I have maintained NC …. But he never even tried to see how I am! That is where I fall down and this post and other people’s were very helpful. I feel so sad when I think of the man I thought he was, and have to force myself to recognise what he was. But he did a good number on my self esteem, because of the laundry list (literally) of reasons why I did not meet his standards, that I almost accepted that it was all my fault because I couldn’t make him happy. He texted after the break up: if you want to know why, at first it was brilliant, then less, so then not at all!” No empathy, no compassion.

    So, although I am proud that I have not caved in and broken NC, it is a daily struggle thinking that he could just throw me away and skip around with his hat at a jaunty angle when I was homeless. I am prepared to struggle because I want to heal. This insightful post will make me focus on not missing who I thought he was: kind, loving, genuine, thoughtful, generous, honest, caring, supportive, funny … And concentrate on who he was: arrogant, self-obsessed, mean-spirited, controlling, callous, critical, spiteful with as much empathy as a rock.

    Thanks. Onwards …. But it is hard!

    • Little Star says:

      I am so sorry Alibi, God, what a jackass your ex was:( I cant get it, how one human being can be SO cruel towards another human being?! Be happy that this loser is no longer in your life. I bet Karma will punish him one day…x

    • Anon says:

      Alibi, this treatment is REALLY COMMON- textbook actually, they are all the same- for sociopaths. Google lovefraud blog + “use and discard”, you’ll see hundreds of stories just like yours- they lovebomb and get you to sign leases, buy furniture, get pregnant etc. PURPOSELY bring you up to heaven- just to dump you into hell, on their terms, and watch your face. Strategy. True. Read away.

    • runnergirl says:

      Alibi,
      I found myself in a similar situation years ago to a tee. The list of my domesticate crimes was similar. I cooked white rice not brown rice. Then, I cooked brown rice not black rice. I could do absolutely nothing right. The list of crimes were endless. I had to wake up to cook breakfast but I couldn’t wake him up. Then, I got in trouble cos I didn’t wake him up. It was like being caught in a ball of yarn. I always ended up apologizing.
      Like you, I moved me and my daughter into his house and ended up apartment shopping within 60 days. Swear to god, I had no idea. With these total pathological types, there doesn’t seem to be any red flags until it is too late. In any event, I’m sending you warm wishes. You are NOT alone. I was in therapy for five years after this guy.
      I still have to work with this ex sociopath and he is awful. Now, 50 or so lbs overweight, despite his strict vegan diet, balding stringy unkempt gray hair, long gray ugly beard, and bitter old 60-something who lives with his mother and a cat. There are moments like this where I believe in a god. He is a gray, bald fat, diabetic, angry, lonely, old effed up coot who lives with his 85 yro mum and an old cat, who may be 85 as well.
      Whatever you do, stay completely NC. Your ex sounds totally pathological.

      • Mymble says:

        Runnergirl
        LOL! What a great guy, not! If you’d stayed with him you’d probably be feeling like 85 and wishing you were dead already!

    • MJ says:

      Alibi, be grateful that you dodged a bullet. Those seriously controlling behaviors are a good indication that he could have started to become extremely abusive. In my situation with an AC, I have been reading up a lot on all forms of abuse and all of that nonsense he put you through are major warning signs in the beginning! Karma will indeed come his way and knock that hat-at-a-jaunty-angle (I loved that!) right off of his stupid head. :)

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Alibi,

      This man is nothing short of vile. You did not deserve this treatment. I admire your attitude and courage.

    • Alibi says:

      Thanks so much to those who replied here. I have some good days now, and some bad … But your input there did give me a bit of a reality check because I don’t understand how someone so lovely to start with became so awful. I have never seen such a cruel face in my life. Why would I want that? I am struggling with knowing that I don’t want it, but not knowing how not to want it (country and western song!). Today a friend!s sister showed us some holiday photos, and they were taken very near to where I was on holiday with him in that remote cottage when he accused me of verbally assaulting him, so it has all come flooding back. WTF is wrong that he can have moved on already (also found out from a mutual acquaintance who just didn’t realise what she was saying)… It has only been a couple of months and I suppose I do think that someone else will be able to make him happy by doing things right and not be a buffoon. And I know I shouldn’t care, but it is so hard. Thank you again for your support, it brings comfort and clarity. I love this place.

  29. Victorious says:

    I am NC for 12 weeks now. Some days are better than others and I have resisted text and phone hoovers. However, there is still this tiny little part of me that hasn’t actually let go. I don’t know why. I know he was a textbook narc with loads of personal issues that I really do not want to have to deal with long term. I guess I am STILL missing Fantasy Man who showed up the first few months and made me feel like a GODDESS. Really, who wouldn’t miss that?
    I have also woken up to my own unavailability in this relationship and this has been quite hard for me to own up to. The relationship was perfect for me because it was mid distance so we only could see each other about once a week, which was ideal. I never wanted things to go any further than they had. I just wanted to see him, have great fun dates, have sex, have someone worshipping me (from afar mostly) and sending me lovely texts and calls about how gorgeous and sexy I was. I didn’t want him sitting round my dinner table with my kids, actually being PART OF MY REAL LIFE. Hell no! So, his emotional unavailablility suited me in a weird way.
    I miss the first three months and all the wonderful feelings, and yes, if I could call him up now and guarantee that is what I would get, I would do it in a flash. This is just fantasy thinking though. The reality is he is a coke using, lying, mindfucking, impotent, manipulative narc.
    I guess I still have a lot more work to do.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Victorious:

      Would you have wanted this arrangement with any man you got involved with? Or did you perhaps pick up on something not being quite right with him in particular and were reacting unconsciously to stay safe?

    • runnergirl says:

      Congrats Victorious on 12 weeks of NC. “Missing Fantasy Man” sounds like a good title for a chapter in Nat’s next book. I miss that guy too. Too bad he only existed in my head.
      I hear you totally about waking up to my own unavailability. The situation with the exMM suited me because, of course, he couldn’t actually be here which was fine in the beginning. I didn’t want anyone messing up my perfect life, being in my house or taking my then 20-something daughter to D-land. Just wanted some fun, some sex, some text worship from afar. So yes…his emotional unavailability suited my emotional unavailability perfectly. It’s the inevitable dance of Mr. and Ms. EU.
      Then there’s the reality. He’s a lying, cheating, married man. Dang.
      I guess I still have a lot more work to do too. We can do it.

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Victorious, I love your honesty! I was the same way. I wanted it to be all about *me*. I loved the attention he gave me, the compliments that made me feel sexy and hot, the feelings and the sexual tension. I didn’t want any conversation with him to interfere with the fantasy because the more i got to know him, the less i felt. The more he talked about himself and his problems, the more real he became, the less I liked him. Really, I was just as selfish as he was, self-centered as he was, and used him as much as he used me. It was facing *that* reality that finally gave me back control of my life.

      • Victorious says:

        Thanks ladies. Yes, I have been holding a pity party because it didn’t workout the way I wanted to. But seriously, a real relationship doesn’t just stand still like that does it? I have to remind myself that I finished it with him, not the otehr way round. Even though I feel I only finished it because he had become so unavailable but refused to let me go, kept promising he could “fix it” and to “give him another chance/more time.” Then, when I fell off the NC wagon ( he was incredibly persistent and charming) it was again me who dumped his friendship ass and went totally NC on him. He has called and texted and I ignore him. So why am I still treating myself like the victim here? If he had stayed and been a genuine bloke, he would have got fed up with me limiting his access to my real life.
        Coming to realize this, largely through reading Nats site and book, has been a bit of a turning point for me. It doesn’t change what he was. He is a cold hearted narc. But I now have to face up to what I am and that is harder as I am stuck with me forever.

  30. Trina Morgan says:

    Excellent post, Natalie. The forgiving part is the most resonant to me. I can’t forgive him until I forgive myself, and it’s hard to forgive myself when I feel like such a fool.

  31. Sophia says:

    Great article.

    I have had 3 significant breavements in my life, all of whom I still ache for but now accept that they are gone. They were family members who left their essence and sense of life purpose with me in order to assist me in my life journey.

    I mention the above because it has dawned on me that in life I spent way too much time lamenting people who were not special, did not love or care for me. Would lie and cheat and yet I coul/would not let them go. In 2012 I made the decision to let them all go, even the ghosts from the past (I have been practicing doing this for approx 10 years before that date)as I was determined to begin 2013 without them. You see I can no longer afford for any of them to live rent free in my head. I needed to do this because it can be too easy to live in your head and re create fantacies about what the real motivation might be for the way a person treated you (he was cruel, she was mean, they were bad, he is sad…). I no longer have the time for that. My observations so far are that some have tried to comeback (as predicted)I stood in the doorway so they could not pass, others have gone as I hoped. Sad, hell no!! I’m finally letting go.

  32. Grizelda says:

    If you’re going to miss him/her, at least have the good grace to miss them for who they were and are…

    Right here. This is such an amazingly wise point. I say this because it’s the very thing that caused me to let go, not to miss him in sepia-toned contentedness. The more I processed the ‘who they were and are’ because I missed him and wanted to spend the time with him mentally since I couldn’t do so physically… I found (hang on a minute, what’s going on?) I started moving in the opposite direction away from him rather than towards. I woke up sharpish to the truth about who he was and is based not on his lies and deceptions but on what his objective behaviour actually meant, what it indicated, and how dangerous and destructive and depraved he really is.

    Miss him? Like missing having cancer.

  33. MaryC says:

    Great post Nat as usual. Its been awhile since I’ve visited here but I know I can always count on you to keep my head and my heart on the straight and narrow path of my journey.

    Broke NC & lived to regret it deeply. But as I said its a journey.

  34. Gina says:

    Revs,

    I want to thank you for your words of encouragement in response to my previous post. God bless!!

    XO

  35. Tinkerbell says:

    Griz,

    That’s how I got over the MM. When I looked back I would think about all the lies, manipulation, mental/emotional battering I put up with at his whim. We don’t move on continuing to reminisce about the good times, or asking ourselves how we could have accepted what they were offering. It’s DONE, OVER, KAPUT, FINI!!! It was the worst mistake of my life and I paid dearly. But I am so thankful that with my loving friends and family, my weekly therapy sessions, my own determination to overcome the low self-esteem, and of course Natalie and all of you, I am no longer that person. I am using all that I have learned, the bad and the good, to put myself first, and grow in self-love and esteem. I have always, ever since I can remember, felt that I was not living, nor was I whole unless I had a man’s love. It’s almost funny now because the love I was craving I had along. I just wasn’t giving it to myself. I wasted so much of my kindness, compassion, sincerity, trust etc. on a pathetic excuse for a man. My relationship now is so much better than I ever dreamed at this point in my life. One big change (among many) is that I’ve FINALLY learned not to rush head-long into a relationship with a man. I am satisfied with taking my time (Is this ME talking?) I still have to be careful, take it slow, and not fast-forward. When I first met him I was about to do that again. But I stopped myself. I realized that commitments made quickly and prematurely are bound to be erroneous. No more. I am happy and content with how I am running my life. I WANT him. I do not want, nor do I need to be rescued from the plight of not having romantic love. I have ME. I do not need a man to “fix” all of my issues. It is a wonderful feeling to be at peace with oneself. My work is not over, though. It may never be over and that’s okay. We learn and grow more and more everyday. At least we SHOULD. Our quality of life is the result of our own insight, wisdom, reactions and behavior. Handing it over to someone to tell us how high to jump, when to go to the restroom or anything else is very unwise and possibly traumatic. It is my wish that more women will be able to make this transition. It takes time, but is so worth the journey.

    • Grizelda says:

      Brilliantly put, Tinkerbell.

      Once you’ve secured your clear airspace, and you’re no longer allowing all this noisy input from him — the kind of noisy input that persuaded you to get involved in the loser’s game to begin with — your own natural processes of thought, clear logic, good discernment, and solid judgement can take over. But you can’t even START to do that until you’ve shut down their propagandist radio station that’s been blaring out all the communications that underpin and support their selfish (and in so many cases, abusive) objectives. You can’t even think properly when Radio Assclown is blaring away, least of all make the best decisions you can make.

      Note: doubly so for MMs or ‘taken/cohabiting’ guys. Because they don’t have quite as much opportunity to roam/acquire as solo guys do, it’s obvious they have to work more intensely at getting and maintaning the other women they want and making no mistakes about it. What comes out of the mouths of these guys and the behaviour they exhibit when they’re ‘preparing the grounds’ to commence their affairs, luring and securing their OW-targets physically and emotionally, ‘making it more than okay’ for the OW-target to participate, and smoothing over the cracks and restoring the OWs who want to break away from them– would work on any woman to some extent or other. Remember how the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) pursued Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Dangerous Liaisons and that’s a pretty textbook depiction of the extents to which these husbands will go. Any of ‘em. All of ‘em. It’s how it all happens.

      Anyway, my point is — only NC shuts that shit down once it’s started. And going forwards, if I ever hear any man switch on his Radio Assclown Light Entertainment Hour Featuring Top Ten Hits again, I’m kicking him and his flippin radio right down the nearest set of stairs.

      • Ms Determined says:

        Grizelda, you are the master of metaphors. Love Radio Assclown! They broadcast on a frequency only we can hear. BR teaches us how to JAM IT GOOD!

        You are so right too, how’s THIS for ‘What comes out of their mouths’. My ex AC had a pattern of ‘grooming’ potentials but not with sob stories (although he did this too). His strategy was telling them how his girl was the most “amazing” and “beautiful” woman he’d ever met. He was the luckiest guy in the world. The girl would obviously think, “Wow, so SWEET and this guy can so obviously do commitment!” (Nat’s aforementioned social proof in action. He was a MASTER.) If they weren’t the kind of girl to rise to a challenge and chase HIM, he would then submit them to a blistering charm offensive leaving them in no doubt that he was up for whatever. The ones who took the bait would at this point feel so flattered by his attentions when he supposedly was so ‘in love’ that they would be putty in his hands (I imagine there were girls who told him to go fuck himself too, it would be depressing to think he had a 100% success rate with this).

        There are approximately 3.5 billion women in the world. I used to wonder whether I was in ‘competition’ with every single one of them.

        If anyone out there is desperate (and I mean desperate) for a shag, I’m pretty sure he’d be up for it. But lean in just a little so I can whisper something you need to know first…just between you and me. Don’t go there girlfriend. THE GUY IS A FUCKING MONUMENTAL ASSCLOWN.

  36. Arlena says:

    This made me think of the word “BLESSON” coined by Karen Salmansohn who defines it as follows:

    “It’s when you’re able to view a painful LESSON as a BLESSING.In other words… a BLESSON is what happens when you see the BLESSING in the LESSON that your challenge taught you.”

  37. Stephanie says:

    I like to think that I have let go because I no longer feel sad and fed up over a player that future faked and swept me up into a whirlwind for a couple of months then disappeared but I don’t think I have totally. I confessed to my counsellor the other day that I still think about what I may have done wrong to cause him to just drop me without any explanation. I haven’t had the desire to contact him for a long time until this week. My counsellor said it was like I was testing myself to see if I was really over him. Which is true, because there isn’t anything to say its been a little over a year since he disappeared. Like someone mentioned earlier I was also taken in by the fact that he was God fearing. He isn’t a full practising Christian but like myself comes from a strict Christian background and has good knowledge of the Bible. I assumed this meant he would be a decent person. Natalie said in a previous post (something along the lines of) sometimes “you think its your heart stopping you from letting go but its not, it your imagination”. In my case its my imagination that keeps my wondering what if and wishing that I saw him coming so that I could have dealt with it better and called him up on his behaviour before he disappeared. However I’m working on myself and continue to put myself out there, not just to meet someone new but also to socialise and communicate with people more rather than sitting at home on the laptop waiting for love to happen.:-)

  38. Demke says:

    Lisalamb- I’m going to assume the bff was a roomate when u lived w the ex? And stayed after u left? If that’s the case, if it was me, I’d distance myself from her and spend time w other friends. That’s a tough situation for you to deal with, understandable why it’s been harder to let go. You’d be further along I’m sure if it wasn’t for that. So maybe just recognizing that it’s the situation, and not really ‘feelings’ about him that’s keeping you stuck… Is a step.

    If they are ‘together’, NC w the both of them. Be around those who make you happy, and get out there and start enjoying your life… Onward and upward! Be glad he didn’t chase you… You’re meant to have better…

  39. Tex says:

    I hooked up with a notorious player after an amicable divorce and being celibate for almost a year. I’m a really confident and positive person with strict boundaries who has always been in committed relationships and never done anything wild in my life so I thought I’d break free, ignore all the red flags and have some fun with this super hot guy who swept me off my feet and flattered my ego. Knowledge is power so he couldn’t “play” me, right? WRONG! He played me over a 9 month period. Full court press to begin with, sexting shortly afterwards, hot and cold when he had me hooked, future faking till I almost called out the BS for what it was but thought that might be “rude”. I tried to bail after a few months when red flags where all I could see on the horizon but he made me feel bad, I needed to ‘relax’. And there were times when he was so much fun it seemed worth the risk. Like a drug you get used to the highs and lows even as your self-esteem is taking a beating. Worse still, this supremely fit looker who dazzled me with his charisma and charm when we were hanging out, was NOT Ryan Gosling from ‘Crazy Stupid Love’ in the bedroom but turned out to be the worst sex I’d ever had!!! It was dark, impersonal and degrading – “Fifty Shades of Meh!”. But by then I was in denial. I kept trying to justify his behavior and held on to the delusion that he was a nice guy because he called his mom every day! I just needed to give him another chance. This ‘chance’ resulted in him giving me 10 minutes of his precious time and taking a photo, without permission, during the act. Wrong on so many levels but even then, I was speechless and just ran off instead of breaking his iphone and kicking his ass. Afterwards I texted about getting together to air my concerns but he didn’t respond and when I texted again, he ignored my suggestion of a meet up and texted, ‘Have a good week’. Aw hell no. I got so angry I wrote a letter outlining his many failings in bed and posted it through his door. It was couched in the most diplomatic language ie “you’re generally a great guy – charming, interesting, punctual, always look and smell good, but your technique in the bedroom needs some reflection…” Then I outlined a list of tips to “keep the ladies keen”! (and to highlight the things he did to me which made me feel so used and disrespected) Tips like,
    “1. Remember your manners: A girl may act like a ho but that doesn’t mean she wants to be treated like any nameless ho. Say her name, kiss her, maybe even stroke her hair before you tell her to get on her knees…” or “3. Make sure she’s satisfied. You got your rocks off you’re done. Cheers. That doesn’t work unless a girl’s getting paid so man up and make sure she’s happy before you go clean up!” He blew up my phone with messages, even apologised at one point for hurting me, but I didn’t respond for 24 hours and when I finally did, he was pretty angry and the ‘relationship’ ended. I wasn’t too sorry about that but felt bad about the letter. I also felt physically sick at the thought of running into him again (we’re members of the same club) so I wrote an apology letter, not for what I’d written, but for how I handled the situation. He acknowledged the note straight away and said it meant a lot and I texted ‘Take care’ and that was that. I have avoided all potential encounters but know inevitably, our paths may cross again. I know I can hold my head up high and he is too vain to let on to anyone what happened but I have been plaguing myself with regret over this ‘relationship’! I regret my arrogance and igorance. Every instinct told me to head for the exit but I stayed, to be disrespected some more. I’ve been stuck on regret and reliving my actions. Why didn’t I speak out? I’m a strong person, why did I let him dominate me? I finally had a session with a therapist who said from my description of him that he is probably a narc. I am slowly getting to the stage where I’m thinking about it less and trying to move on. This article has helped me so much. Thank you.

    • courtney says:

      UGH, sounds like a gross narc and asshat! Don’t feel bad about writing the letter, but remember that he is unlikely to change (although I am sure you gave his ego a kick or two, which was needed). Sometimes our criticisms of narcissists simply stroke their ego even more because they get super defensive and to protect their ego they create even stronger defenses so they don’t have to face the truth about themselves. Love your description of “Fifty Shades of Meh…” isn’t it ironic how the men who have the largest egos are usually lacking in the skills department?

      I am also sorry to hear about him taking a photo of you. That’s totally unacceptable and I really hope he deleted it as well. Strong women can still be “dominated” unfortunately by these AC’s and narcs and EUM’s because of their mindeffery and hot-cold patterns.

      I also think that maybe you decided to take a chance on this person because it was something out of the ordinary, out of your comfort zone and you wanted to explore that and see if it worked. I’ve done that before (and got burned badly) when I tried hooking up once…but with the absolutely worse person…a narc, monster and abuser. There’s nothing wrong about being curious and wanting to have your ego stroked as well (why should the AC’s have all the fun?) But I think I was also chasing that excitement that I felt had been lacking in my longer term relationships, that elusive physical chemistry that I’ve always sought. But as many readers and Natalie has attested to, sometimes those sparks are an indication of something deeply unhealthy, a rush of adrenaline from not knowing what’s next…which is not always a positive thing.

      Keep going strong on NC, attending therapy, journaling, and take this time to really explore why you allowed your boundaries to be broken and continue to chase this person. Hugs!

      • Tex says:

        Courteny, thanks for the support and encouragement. Lessons have definitely been learned and I think I’ll be heeding those warning signals in the future! xx

  40. Tired says:

    Thats the only thing i struggle with . I get on with day to day things , im not sad all time , i go out , laugh carry on . But knowing hes moved on with someone eles and happy and here i am thinking why cant that happen for me . He seems never to have paid price , lands on his feet . I am hoping that the old fashion way of abspulute nc in any shape or form will work . I dont want to be here in a yrs time x

    • Chrysalis says:

      Oh Tired. I have days when I’ve felt like that too. But please challenge your thinking. He may be with someone else, but you don’t KNOW he hasn’t paid a price. You don’t KNOW he’s happy. You don’t KNOW he’s landed on his feet. He may be with someone else but that doesn’t mean squat. In fact why should you CARE what he is doing or who he is with? Put the focus back on you. He lost the privilege of being part of your life. He’s the one that’s lost out.

  41. ssmith says:

    Natalie!
    You have done it again – put my thoughts where they need to be! “Either they are blessing or a lesson!” Letting go is hard, but doing well on No Contact. “Be done”……… So glad I have this website – it keeps me going strong.

    Thanks Natalie!!!

  42. lo j says:

    Lilly … nope. The pig’s ear is not going to turn into a silk purse. Never ever. But that has NOTHING to do with your worth. Take that energy, focus it on you …YOUR OWN STEPS TOWARD ADVANCING YOUR CAREER, your own interests/hobbies/likes, your appearance for what makes YOU feel good. Cut contact COMPLETELY and focus on you. Really, that pig’s ear does not go well with your outfit. Just sayin’. Toss him.

  43. Feistywoman says:

    Ladies and gents. Remember one thing. These EUACs may have moved on and appear to be happy only because they are on the love high i.e. the relationship crack and that the poor unfortunates they are with have had a clock ticking from day 1 or even the first encounter. I know of 2 women who are tolerating poor behaviour from men that beggars belief yet they don’t give them the push as they don’t want to be alone.

    When I was going through my divorce I didn’t actively try to problem solve, instead ideas came to me in a bath, shower or when stuck in traffic. I learnt to free my mind and be open to thinking outside the box and then the solutions came freely. Letting go was about going back to a childhood past time when I dropped something into a flowing stream and watched it float away. I visualised the people or situations I needed to let go as little boats with sails that I saw floating down the stream. I told my EU ex that once the divorce was over that was it, no contact and he even had the audacity to say he hadn’t decided to which my response was that I had. When I enforced that boundary and told him not to contact me again once we were divorced, he was abusive in a text. My last two words to him were eff of!

    I had years in a cold, sexless marriage and when I found out about his adultery it forced me to make a decision. The future scares me due to financial and health problems. Sometimes the pain and fear I feel overwhelms me, but I do move on as tomorrow is another day. I occasionally think about what I had in terms of lifestyle and the good times but these memories are then put aside. What I do know is that I’d rather be single, poor but above all believing in me and finding my happiness within. I am not religious (some of the most religious people I’ve met have been the biggest hypocrites) but have boundaries that I live my life by. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you is what I believe in. That and karma as what goes around comes around. If I can move on after a failed marriage in my early 50s then so can all of you.

    • Fearless says:

      Fiesty – good for you. Stay strong! Your story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

    • Grizelda says:

      Feistywoman, you have excellent character. You saw things clearly for what they were, you called it correctly, and you held your head high.

      Your mention of the EU/ACs appearing to have gone off and moved on with ‘much better’ women, and who are all happy and everything, reminded me of something. Lots of women maintain that their ex left them for billionairess supermodel-types, and it hurts them even more knowing this. But in the majority of cases, they don’t ‘know’ this at all! There’s no proof! Many of them think they ‘know’ this because… brace yourself… their exes told them so. Yeah, these Princes Among Men not only dumped them but had the gall to mock them when they’re down by claiming that their precious new girlfriends had all these world-class qualities that, needless to say, they’d never have. Um, excuse me? These men do nothing but shovel piles and piles of lies and bullshit at these GFs/wives for months or even years, and yet these over-empathic, hurt and damaged women are going to choose to believe that Mr Wonderful snagged Gisele Bundchen to top it all off? *forehead/keyboard* Yes, there are Facebook photos that can be posted, but since when did everything on Facebook become Universal Truth? There’s no ‘lie filter’ on Facebook. There’s no sad and lonely workaholic moderator in some corner of a massive sea of desks in Mumbai trawling Facebook and deleting photos, comments, ‘statuses’ and so forth that he discerns aren’t true. And happy-looking photographs, and happy-sounding comments, do not a happy relationship make. Of course they’re flipping happy-looking! It’s flipping FACEBOOK, the personal-ego-PR shopfront of the planet. Gah. Just another reason NOT to Facebook-stalk. Because it’s filled with lies.

  44. Amy says:

    Another timely post! I’m struggling right now with letting go of the rage that I’m feeling right now at myself, as well as the AC who had to tell me via EMAIL (after vanishing into his own universe for 2 weeks) that he “thinks of (an) ex every morning, but does not think of me the same way” and that we’d only be so-so lovers but “great friends”. Oh… and reminding me of the time that I said I felt “butterflies” when he kissed me, but that he never felt the same way. What the HECK?! Was he thinking of HER too when we slept together? Oh man… this is just CRAZY MAKING. Now he’s back to his usual clogging up Facebook, posting to my profile, as if NOTHING HAPPENED and everything is hunky dory. No more Facebook for me. Delete all email from him. He called and left a VM for me yesterday but I just deleted it.

    I’m angry at myself for ever believing his crap in the first place. I always had a gut feeling that he would get “bored” and run off, but I didn’t want to believe my gut and now I’m angry at myself for getting pulled into this mess and letting my heart rule my head.

    Revisiting my own vomit, indeed!!! Time to stop the madness. Mop up the slop and flush repeatedly. Thank you thank you for this blog Natalie!

    • Victorious says:

      Oh Amy what a pig! I hope he spontaneously combusts up his own arsehole! He is not worth one more second of your time. Bored! He is the one who is a patronising boring fuckwit. I bet he wasn’t even all that anyway. Please go totally Nc with him. Block him everywhere. He’s just not that special.

      • courtney says:

        LMAO victorious! I really love that phrase, “spontaneously combusts up his own arsehole”! hilarious :)

        amy, that guy is one big fat jerkface and good for you for deleting his messages. keep going NC…he is not worth your time and you should NEVER be an option to anyone, ever. he has some nerve showing interest and then denying that it was ever there–so many of these AC’s are full of shit, but be grateful that you’re rid of him.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Oh Amy that is awful. I swear it makes ME want to email him and say “So. rubbing shit in your ex’s face…does it make you feel powerful, studly, important? What is the motivation for the narc desperation?”

        I get a mean streak with men who mess over women I know. I guess because I can see them so clearly. I have a freind who had the biggest narc for a boyfriend. He would dump her, then lure her back by stalking her, just to immediately dump her again. I kept begging her to call him a “loser” and “a bad lover” but she never would…I am so mean;( (well at least I never said it myself!)

        It just feels good to stick up for the other ladies sometimes!

  45. Erin says:

    This post really hit hard for me as this very thing has been on my mind all day. I have two different EUs that I have been back & forth over for years. At this point in time, both relationships are over. But, my mind keeps taking me back there, just when I feel like I’m moving on. Errrggg! Saying goodbye & really letting go is hard!

  46. courtney says:

    In the process of letting go without seeking any more bullshit answers. Restarted NC after the New Year, happy to say 10 days NC with the narcissist multiple dater.

    And with my other EUM, two months and a half NC ;) Aww yea!

    Of course, narcissist multiple dater fits the description of seeming “happier” (has an exclusive relationship with the other girl) but again, reminding myself that I don’t envy that girl, and that…this is the type of person who doesn’t *wish* to focus on any feelings or doubt himself or his choices, so of course he would be happier in a short-term and shallow way.

    I am meditating, journaling, meeting new people. Recently went to a great Meetup event and met some cool people and had a great time. At one point we all connected so well, we even shared our experiences with AC’s…yep, it was THAT type of cool event ;)

    At the same event, I also encountered an AC who was arrogant and critical.

    In the past, I would’ve tried to hang around, engage in witty banter, try to “impress”…What did I do?

    I gave him the cold shoulder after his rude remarks, hung out with the nicer guys and girls, AND at the end of the night, other people also told me how “rude” they found him and what an asshole he is. AGAIN, a clear example of how we think we inspire the assholery of these AC’s but chances are they are AC’s to a lot of people, not just you.

    At the end of the event, he tried to move towards me/hint at saying goodbye, I totally ignored him. HA! These assholes are so used to getting what they want after they shit over you.

    Ladies, it’s time to stop rewarding these mofos with our time and start ignoring them completely – even the little mofos who we encounter in small, seemingly insubstantial ways. I think I am going to make it a life goal to always present consequences for every arrogant AC I encounter on this planet–the biggest consequence being that they do not EVER get to cross my boundaries or enjoy my presence for one more precious moment.

    For everyone who’s ever experienced an abusive environment and find themselves attracting/chasing people who attract that…Guess what this means – I know I can sniff an AC a mile away, take my gorgeous, loveable, worthy-of-respect self and GTFO right away, BEFORE any investment takes place. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal because this is a complete stranger I am walking away from and because a lot of people do that naturally, but for me and perhaps some others, it means…PRACTICE AND PROGRESS!!! It took me a long time to walk away from assholes because they reflected the negative thoughts, behavior and patterns I experienced in childhood…but now I know I am fully capable of it and this is just the beginning. :)

  47. Emerldeyz says:

    Victorious,
    I had to sit here and think about my own unavailability after I read your post and knowing that I thought about it in my relationship too. But I was available at the very beginning, I moved 1200 miles based on his lies that I believed were true, because in the very beginning they were true, but the truth was I didn’t know what he was doing when I was apart from him. I trusted and believed. And then the last month I began to feel uncomfortable about some things I was seeing and at that point I had already committed to move , found a job, and was moving ahead. until it came to a screeching halt, when I moved out here. and i then spent a year chasing the dream, the fantasy, and he wasn’t there, he was unavailable for a multitude of reasons. And I am not going to go into his inventory. I just know today, there are no longer any benefits for me. Being with his, was more pain then pleasure. And that’s not what it is about. I have to let go. I need a peace of mind. I want a healthy relationship, so the focus is on me to get better. Not him..

    Believe me, anyone using drugs is in love with their drug, not a person. And they need to be clean and sober before they can ever be in a real relationship. Which is absolutely nothing about you. You are a wonderful person. Until someone stops using, they can’t be in a relationship. So heal yourself. Remain no contact. It is hard I know, but for your partner it is a consequence of his use, and god has a plan for him. And he has a plan for you.

    • Victorious says:

      Thanks Em for your very kind and thoughtful words. Yes I am having a much better day today and am glad to be NC. I am sure God has a planf or you too and that it will being you all the happiness and peace you deserve.

  48. Mrwriter says:

    The residual regret hangover or hung up is the disappointment towards myself. I knew better and that keeps me from complete healing. I’m still working on forgiving me for putting up and accepting so little for the hope of potentially more. None of the other EUM/ACs bothered me like the one I bolted from last July. I don’t miss him, I don’t want him and I’m proud that I left even if it should’ve been sooner. I guess it’s an ego thing…how somebody like him could treat me like he was doing me any favors. It boggles my mind. I know I’m better off with him in my dust but sometimes I feel like Lot’s wife by wanting to look over my shoulder – turning into a pillar of salt. There are more good days than bad but the low days still creep in. I’m sad for what have been (had he been a good man instead of a selfish, cheap, hypocritical narc) but sadder that I elected to be his supply, ego stroke, lover and confidante. In return I got drained, marginalized, manipulated, hollow sex, and used. It’s hard to swallow a bad investment and I’m trying to not throw more good emotional energy into a black hole by revisiting the past…yet, I can’t shake off the incredulity. At myself, at him, and the wastefulness of it all. Sad.

    • Naz says:

      Mrwriter, I felt when I read your post a mixture of feelings I have bad moments like yours..sad days where I beat myself up.
      For the life of me on paper I fully understand why I have NC in place, other times I don’t know why I miss the AC so much.
      He has long gone yet I am sad, he is living it up and I’m still coming to terms with me.
      I wish for the day I am free from self blame..
      I am struggling today to keep myself from going back.

  49. Emerldeyz says:

    Feistywoman,
    Good for you! I’m older than you and right there with you. A man is not about my happiness. I am. A relationship does not make the woman! I am by myself, happy, true to myself, and I know what I attract into my life is a manifestation of who I am, and where I am at. So flush the EUM because I want a healthy relationship and have to be willing to be alone and like it to get it!

  50. Demke says:

    Tired- Your ex AC may have moved on to another piece, but see this man for what he truly is… He’s married, repeatedly cheats on his wife… It’s all about him. He doesn’t care about making anyone else happy. A man like that truly isn’t worth a damn, let alone a thought. And unfortunately, they’re a dime a dozen. Really. nothing special about him.

    He found an easy target, that’s all. I’m sure we could all go walk into a bar, and find an easy target to give us some ego stroking too. But, that’s not what you want. And that is why he found someone (a piece), and you haven’t… Yet. Be choosy, take your time. Be happy taking this time to focus on you, give it another month, 2-3 months… And try getting out there again. There’s no fire. I’ve been 3 months NC, my ex AC has a GF, and I’m actually happy I’m taking my time. I don’t care about him, if he’s happy, etc. It’s not a competition… Cause when it comes down to it, I learned a hard lesson, which was also a blessing, cause I will never settle for less again, only the best for me will do. And I get that the ‘best’ may take a little time, or may not… I dunno. But I’m not ‘focused’ on it. It will happen. Right place, right time.

    And if you are on here a year from now, it’ll be because you’ll be telling us your experience, and how you got over what’s his name, and found happiness :). Have faith. It will happen.

  51. GetSmartyr says:

    NC is definitely working for me. I did this with my ex-husband, who was an alcoholic and probably addicted to sex. He went ballistic because I wouldn’t return texts or calls, but would only communicate with him by email ccd to my lawyer. He still heaped abuse for awhile, but eventually, he figured out that it would not look good for him if these documents turned up in court. After we divorced, he still tried to contact me periodically, but because ignoring him made me feel so much better I stuck with it.

    I broke up with a future-faker about 2 months ago and NC is the only way to go. I had to block him after he contacted me twice more after I asked him to stop. But I think having to “slam” the virtual door in such a fashion actually helped me to heal a little faster. It’s like Nat says, doing the right thing may feel rotten at first, but when you are doing right for your own sake, ultimately it builds up self-esteem because you are showing yourself love. I think it’s actually causing me to feel even better about myself to know that I wasn’t going to tolerate being knocked down a peg by someone who didn’t feel good about himself. While I do miss the company, I don’t miss the feeling “less than” because of his cold spells. I don’t miss feeling like my attractiveness must be flagging; I don’t miss feeling confused, mystified, worried and pissed off. Nothing to worry about. The future looked bright, briefly, but Mr. Unavailable really isn’t going anywhere. He’s treading water, repeating the same moves again and again. Not me! I’m so glad I found this blog.

  52. Jennifer Tiffany says:

    Wholly Shit. I am so damned mad/disappointed in myself. I can’t seem to get over this ex. I thought I had and nope all of the sudden I am flooded with tears, memories and longing. Our dalliance lasted 3 months. It’s been 9 months since the breakup. I feel so defective.

    He had planned on moving and dropped some bullshit that he wanted to “take me with him.” All the while he was making plans to get a place with his best friend. He moved but not before admitting he didn’t want me to go with him. I was crushed. Devastated. He was slightly miffed at my initiating NC. That’s all. I think. In no time he was back with his ex, seeing shows, and carrying on while I struggled to bathe myself and keep my job in between crying. I wanted to die. My self care was so atrocious (truthfully it’s not much better) I nearly could have. This man. This relationship or whatever, it crushed me. I feel irreparable. I mean it really tore me to shreds. And him…like nothing ever happened. So these men. How??? How do they do this??? Lie and carry on??? I.Don’t.Get.IT. Where’s the justice? I mean some people actually get to not feel pain and merrily live their lives using people without experiencing any consequences???!!! It just doesn’t make sense to me. I feel the weight of my actions ten fold and these men feel nothing. I’m furious.

    I am unsatisfied with my work life, have ZERO friends, live with my sick grandparents (This stresses me out beyond belief. I spend so much time in tears as there is nothing I can do for them.) and my ex gets to live it up in a beautiful city (jobless I’m sure) with his best friends all the while sampling the local females with one on backorder nonetheless (not me, though I don’t trust myself if he were to want me back, as I still desperately want him).

    And if that doesn’t work out he has his fucking mom to come home to who makes him perfectly fitting plaid shirts that outline his beautiful frame. She makes him fucking shirts. My mom shot herself in the head when I was twelve and he has a mom to make him fucking shirts. And all the while he alluded to suicide while in seriousness saying, “I’d rather die than work a nine to five.” Well, fucker, I work an 8 to 5 to fucking survive and my mother did die you idiot. No sensibility, no shame this man.

    And he also has a bevy of ready and willing females if he ever so chooses to come back to this town. It’s. Not. Fair. I hate him yet still long for him and cry over him near every fucking day. I don’t know how to stop this. I have worked insanely hard to get over this ahole and yet here I am, crying, writhing in pain alone over him. Again.

    I want him to want me back. He doesn’t. I want him to be as devastated over us ending as I am. He’s not. I don’t know how to end this madness of not moving on. I don’t know how to stop this obsessing.

    Good thing I’m signed up for Natalie’s Pattern
    Breaker course. God knows I of all fucking need it.

    • MSA says:

      Jennifer Tiffany, I hear your pain. My ex AC (now “best friend” Bleh!) broke things off with me over a one-line email because he “didn’t mean to fall in love with someone else, but it happened”. We always took things slow. Guess what!!! He moved cross-border to her city a week after telling me. God only knows how long they were together before that, while I was in my lala land of giving him “Space” to grieve the loss of a relative. WTF!!! I know where you’re at. To make long story short, things didn’t work out with them, he found his way back to me as “friends” much to my convenience. I wasn’t ready to trust him but I was/am still in love with him. Now, he’s back to his hot/cold pattern, no contact for a week now.. and I’m back to my rollercoaster of when I was with him added to it millions of images of him with someone else because of the last incident.
      Trust me when I say, I felt better about myself when I was as angry as you are. Yes, the pain was hundred-fold, but I owned my life to some extent. Now, I’m hanging on to when he shows up, my mood depends on his, I’m so caught up in his web and it is paralyzing me. I am trying to re-live the BU in my mind now, maybe the anger would give me strength to actually see him for what he did even if it isn’t who he is and help me “let go”. I feel trapped.
      Hang in there! Keep telling yourself you’re better off without him. Brain-wash yourself with that, because it’s the truth. You’re a better person and you deserve better than that loser. Does his mom spoon-feed him and change his diapers after he soaks it with his BS too??!!!
      If you need more on how and why they can move on like that; men has the ability to “compartmentalize”, put a certain memory or pain in a box and hide it under their beds. Sometimes, not always, these boxes explode in their faces and the memories and pain all surface. It needs a lot of growing up on their side to know how to manage this and face it. Of course I don’t need to say here how often do men really really grow up. I read an article called “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of a Man’s Ability to Compartmentalize” look it up if interested. It was an eye-opener for me as I was going nuts about HOW ON EARTH COULD THEY DO THIS while I’m that close to pulling out my hair over the BU?

      Stay strong and believe in yourself!!

      • sushi says:

        MSA,
        I remember going through the same.
        Trouble is, when that box of pain from under his bed explodes in his face…..it`s not pain of losing you, it`s a pain of not having anyone feeding their ego.He panics….and sends you a lousy, meaningless text. You are the one ending up in pain, he gets better. Your pain is a plaster for his ego, and when he throws it out, he doesn`t give it a second thought.

      • Jennifer Tiffany says:

        MSA, Thank you for your words of encouragement. I felt just as you with this last ex, I felt trapped, paralyzed and helpless. And you mention “millions of images of him with someone else.” God, can I relate. This has haunted me. Thinking of him and his ex. I deeply feel for you and your situation. It is a tough and painful plight. Deep down I know we deserve better than this. Hugs and Take Care.

    • natashya says:

      jennifer tiffany,

      “I am unsatisfied with my work life, have ZERO friends, live with my sick grandparents (This stresses me out beyond belief. I spend so much time in tears as there is nothing I can do for them.)”

      being in a somewhat similar situation myself and also coming out of a short-lived dalliance that’s taking me more time to get over than it lasted, i think the paragraph before this one holds the key.

      i, too, get furious when i think about the future faking EUM doing the cool things alone or with a new gf that we were supposed to do this winter and spring. i get furious when i think about how this break up affected me to the core of my being that i thought i was going to die and i couldn’t even work for months as i was barely functioning at all.

      i seriously doubt he even ever thinks about me at all. not that it really matters. what those ACs and EUMs think and do is really none of our business and it really does not matter as their story in our lives is done.

      however, when we don’t engage ourselves in self harm (and yes, ruminating is self harm) then we are left with what exactly? mmmm our crappy lives. i am in a country where i haven’t lived in over a decade, i have ONE friend (and god bless her, i doubt i’d be here if she had not been such a rock for me), no job, a rapidly dwindling bank account, a broken heart… nothing to get too excited about (except for the friend). so yes, when i get really anxious about the future, all the grief and anger about the ex EUM comes back with a vengeance, too.

      what does that tell me? i need to stop building my life around others. perhaps that’s the same for you. you caring for your sick grandparents (and bless you for doing that) is probably not something you can change, but you could look for more satisfying employment and find friends. the trick is, when your self esteem is low, it seems like an impossible thing to do.

      so glad you signed up for the pattern breaker course. i am starting the self esteem course tomorrow. i can’t wait!

      • Jennifer Tiffany says:

        natashya,

        Thank you so much for your reply. You are so right. I DO need to STOP building my life around others. Thank you for you sage advice. I really identify with your situation. I did take Natalie’s self esteem course and can assure you it is wonderful and I am exited to start her pattern breaker course. Stay strong and take care. (Also, I’m glad you at least have that one friend. Sounds like a gem in a world of pebbles. We all need/deserve those :)

    • ATN says:

      Dear Jennifer Tiffany,

      I am very sorry for your suffering. I understand because I’ve been there. I was in a relationship with a man who treated me like dirt for 18 months, and then discarded me when I started to press for small things (like not dropping contact for a week, like introducing me to family and friends, like being interested in my life just a little, instead of both of us always focused on his). We broke up less than a year ago, and I just found out he is engaged to someone who is not even from the same country.

      I had the same reaction you are having, and have spent the last 9 months in therapy because I felt like I was not moving on at all. Through therapy I realized that the abandonment and despair I felt by my ex who humiliated me, was actually pent up anger from a traumatic childhood. I was never into psycho-babble, but I see now so clearly the truth that we do try to repeat bad relationships from the past, in the hope of finding healing for that past relationship Have you thought that this guy is evoking the pain of your mother’s suicide, and that is why your reaction is so strong? Have you tried going to talk to someone?

      • Jennifer Tiffany says:

        ATN
        Sheesh BR women are brilliant and spot on! Yes, this man had been suicidal about three months prior to our dalliance. I was terrified throughout our “relationship” of setting him off. The guilt was crushing. I had wanted out about three weeks into it but felt too much guilt to call him on his deplorable behavior. He was an alcoholic like my father (who I’ve recently cut contact with as well) and had suicidal tendencies like my mother. This one was a doozie and triggered me like none other. I am in therapy and have been for a few years. It is something I definitely have needed and most likely will for a while. Take care and thank you for sharing :) I really appreciate it.

    • Little Star says:

      Jennifer, I wish I was there to hug you… Have you ever consider counselling? Maybe it worth to go and talk to someone about your painful experiences?

      • Jennifer Tiffany says:

        Awh, thank you Little Star (((HUGS))). I am in therapy and have been for a few years. I’ve really had to work on talking about and sorting out the pain from my past. My therapist and I have been discussing how I tend to deviate from the most painful issues that need to be worked on. But it has helped. Had I not found BR and been in therapy I might still be in this vicious cycle with this dangerous man.

        • Rosie says:

          Jennifer Tiffany, I can relate to what you write. I’ll share a little of my experience, don’t know if it will be useful to you but here goes: I spent many years without friends. Being a EUW, I would not only choose men who wouldn’t/couldn’t love me (still doing that one), I would also choose jobs/careers that didn’t allow for much interaction with others. I chose (unconsciously) to live in a place that didn’t have much to offer singles nor did it have many older singles anyway. None of this was conscious. I made choices based on my character, values (at the time), and emotional injuries. I tried to make friends but, being an EUW, the friends I made were like me because like attracts like. Through therapy, I learned boundaries, got in touch with my emotions, and, through boundaries, learned to own my emotions, which allowed me to express them without judging them. The natural sweet fruit of this is the ability to emotionally connect with others so that real bonds could form.

          However, I still found it difficult to make friends. As I worked at my therapy and changed, the few people I knew personally I had to let go. On the one hand, it meant being all alone again. On the other hand, since I was beginning to operate out of a different paradigm, I couldn’t stay in those relationships either. I spent so many years, not only alone, but lonely! This was even after going to therapy for a couple years.

          Yet, all the therapy and boundary work is paying off. I’m learning to take healthy risks, moved to a huge city that offers much for meeting people, have genuine friends who know how immature I can be and like me anyway! :) They’re healthy and treat me as an adult. They let me express my feelings, don’t offer unsolicited advice, let me solve my own problems, offer resources that will help me help myself. I appreciate them! In fact, if I have plans with them, I haven’t changed plans just because a man asks me out on a date on the same night I have plans with them. So, even though I’m still choosing poorly who I’m attracted to (Each post of Natalie’s that I read, I cry still, didn’t know that I still need so much healing.), I’m getting stronger in how I handle myself in the dating world.

          I need to change jobs too. For me, my job is extremely satisfying! The problem is that it isn’t paying the bills, still learning how to make my own life a priority, not “there” yet.

          Well, anyway, this whole post is to encourage you to hang in there! Continue in your healing process and things will get better! :)

          Oh! Also, what I’m learning is that a lot of the men I’m attracted to are in fields I wish I had a talent for but don’t. Due to previous immaturity and irresponsibility, I won’t qualify for student loans so can’t go to graduate school like I’d love to do. Thus, I’m also choosing men who are not only quite intelligent but well-educated. Intelligence is important to me; I’m not about to date a nice man who can’t think logically or critically but I’m realizing that I’m attempting to live vicariously through these men. In other words, I’m using them emotionally without realizing it. I’m stopping my nonsense.

          I’m also learning that the more time I spend with my friends, developing hobbies, volunteer work, etc, the less I miss the AC. I miss him when I’m feeling desperate for change in my life. Of course, I’m still lonely for a man (let’s be honest here) but I’m not comromising myself anymore nor am I willing to use anybody for my own emotional gratification. He’s a person too. Yes, I’m getting stronger. Hang in there, Jennifer Tiffany! Keep on healing! Things will get better! :)

    • dancingqueen says:

      Jennifer sweetie; Look the reason he is the way he is, is because partially he has never had a problem in his life. His mother makes his shirts; that says everything of what she has set him up to expect from a woman.

      As someone who lost her mom at a very early age and dealt with an ass of a dad, I feel your pain. I don’t know how old you are but I assume in your 20′s. When I was in my 20′s I was a mess; I struggled with forming attachments veering from lust and codependency with jerks, to sudden lack of interest and coldness to anyone who was kind to me. I felt so alone and I just feel how you feel; I swear what you are saying I was saying 20 years ago.

      It gets better. I am not saying that it does quickly, but honestly, something heals in life as you heal from those childhood traumas. You need a good therapist, to get over your mom, a therapist would also help with your caregiver stress. Please call a local clinic to see if maybe they have interns or something. I know in my 20′s I got a lot of help from a sliding scale therapy center. I had very little money, but it was like 15 bucks a visit.

      It gets better. You probably have some PTSD from your mom killing herself. It clouds your whole life and makes you feel unsafe.

      It does get better, I promise you.I was a mess in my 20′s, I even ended up threatening to kill myself at one point (stupidly, trying to “explain” to someone how I felt)and got locked up for three days for observation…taught me never to be histrionic again;) *rueful smile*. Please trust me, it gets better. These jerks aren’t worth it. The guy who I wanted to “kill” myself over looks like an overweight donut shop owner now ( yeah I had to look him up on FB years later, lol). (((Big hugs))))

    • anna says:

      Hey Jennifer,
      I just had to send you some love and support from cyberspace. For all I know you are now well on your way to recovery!! If not (yet!)try to slowly work towards doing something for yourself – whether it be walking in the spring weather, picking up an old hobby you used to like to do (no matter how silly and stupid you think it is…) or go hang at a museum or library. I know that there is really nothing that anyone can say when we feel like this, but please know that I am pulling for you. And that I hear you. And that there is definitely an eventual end to this nightmare.
      I am really rough too, but I wish you so much luck.
      Anna

  53. Hopeful says:

    It hasbeen 16 years, yes sixteen years, yep, that’s me. I have cried wolf so many times, done each and everything Nat has said not to do. He said, “just friends, don’t fall in love”. He meant it, nothing has ever changed in all these years except me. Doing things I am ashamed to admit to, hoping to gain his love. Hoping that He would love me. I have spent my whole life trying to right the wrongs of my past in everything I’ve done. I believe, still do, that friends open their arms, not their legs. But I did, compromised my feelings and beliefs. All the while hoping, even knowing for many, many years that it was futile. Ok, so I have regretted him and what he DID NOT have to offer. But it feels horrible, I feel horrible. My whole life is in shambles! I am disabled now, no income, no meds, no insurance, no support and no help. The pain is excruciating and I don’t know which is worse the physical or the emotional. They seem one in the same. I am no longer hopeful and cannot see past a regret hangover…

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Hopeful,

      First off: (((HUGS))). I am so sorry you are in such a painful situation. You do not deserve these bad things that are happening to you. You deserve love. I can promise you that.

      I spent near twenty-eight years trying to get my alcoholic, abusive and non feeling/unable to experience empathy father to love me and it never worked.

      I dated a meth dealer, a violent pot head and most recently a very emotionally disturbed alcoholic. As messed up as these men are, they can be very captivating, charming and manipulative. I developed physical ailments I’m still getting over due to the stress of sticking around these men.

      BUT: It is never too late to start loving ourselves. It is never too late to love you and distance yourself from this man. Take care. Again I feel deeply for you and I am so sorry you are hurting.

      • Hopeful says:

        Jennifer Tiffany, thank you for your kind words. I suppose you are right about it’s never too late. I just don’t know how to being at an all emotional low. None of us deserve to experience these things.

  54. MSA says:

    Of the 133 comments I read here, I could relate to like 99.99%; mostly BethD, Alibi, Natashya, Maria and Victorious
    My ex-husband was a rebound off an AC. The irony!! He turned out to be worse, he fast fwded and bam! we got married and 2 boys. I was working like an octopus with 8 arms at the house so his critical eyes wouldn’t see any fault. It surely did though! But moreover, I needed 8 heads to deal with his narcissistic manipulative behaviour that always proved me wrong in every situation, that sometimes I needed to apologize for being upset at his a-hollery. We’re not divorced yet. He, too, wears the mask of a “Church guy”. I’m a Christian and I know the Bible doesn’t tell a man to emotionally abuse and blackmail his wife, yet he even tailors the verses to his own convenience, it makes me sick. He uses the same techniques with our children, that sometimes I think he’s not even aware of what he’s doing. His dad is another narcissist and he’s living under the dad’s supervision and guidance. Naturally, I had to too when I was with him!!! It was a totally effed up situation, I felt like I was living in one of those Mafia movies where the Big Boss had everything in control; money, decisions, even what schools the children go to. I had to opt out of such a sick arrangement.
    I met someone online and Oh, it’s a whole new series of effing up that up to this moment I am not sure of whether I should Flush or not. That’s how mind-effed I am atm. It’s been going on for like 2.5 yrs. As I was telling Jennifer Tiffany, I am now friends with this ex who dumped me for his totally twisted high-school sweetheart. He then left her and crawled back to his Florence’s arms as a best friend (Me, of course) because turns out he doesn’t love her and still has strong feelings for me. @BethD; sounds familiar? To not so much my surprise, he is still acting in the same way, so so sweet, loving and chivalrous, writing me poems and giving me roses, then like smoke in the air, just vanished for a week now. I’m on the verge of letting it all go and moving on, but still hanging on to that barbed wire thinking he’s getting counselling to deal with his issues and will be back to normal again sooner or later, waiting for answers he’ll never give and changes that will never happen *sigh*. I’ve been getting more strength reading Nat’s posts and everyone’s replies, but still can’t get myself to NC. I know I’ll probably regret this especially if he comes telling me he’s dating or something.

  55. uselessthinking says:

    I went through a very difficult time with an AC but everyday gets better with NC
    I met this amazing man just after I ended an engagement. I was weak and vulnerable and thought he was amazing but I was just not ready for comitment though we were intimate. Eventually I gave in to be with him and he kept on blaming me for my past mistakes and the way I treated him when I wasn’t ready. He kept on breaking up with me. Eventually he lost his job and I was there for him and
    helped him find a new job. He got his confidence back and starting enjoying time with his friends and not me. We were still intimate.Since Dec he has rejected and abandoned me. Said we can’t be together and it will never work. I went to surprise him at home to give him a christmas gift and wanted to take him to the airport. He said I was acting like a psycho and stalker.then he deleted me from all his facebook and bbm. I can’t get over how ungrateful he is and can delete me so easily and break up with me constantly. Is it really me or does he have a mental problem. Need advice

    • Fearless says:

      Useless thinking,

      I guess if he’d said “we can’t be together and it will never work” you should not have thought then that it’d be a good idea to “surprise him at home to give him a christmas gift and take him to the airport.” Hear what he is saying – process the information you are getting.

      Take time to get over a relationship before going into another. Though this guy does sound like he blew hot and cold – time to move on.

    • Desition says:

      Wow, girl!! This story reminds me of somebody I know. It sounds so familiar and I know the people involved. How crazy it’d be if this was the same group of people.!! She helped him get the job in a different city and now he is dating somebody from that job. What a sad situation. I hope you realize that you are better off withouth this guy!

  56. grace says:

    Useless thinking
    The red flag I see is “amazing” and ” ended an engagement”. you were on the rebound and made too much of this man,s potential.
    I don,t see anything amazing there myself.
    What,s really you is that you think being dumped constantly is amazing. What,s him is, well, you know if you open your eyes to it.

  57. K says:

    Great post!

    I come from a different situation with regards to assclowns. My life has been full of them from childhood. I’m a survivor of a psychopathic father, three psychopathic long term relationshits, and I have a disordered son.
    The dynamics of these relationshits are far different than the ordinary EUM, even though some of the tactics appear the same, but a lack of empathy has been the foundation for all of them.
    The healing process is much of what you’ve shared Natalie, with a couple of differences (incidentally, this is why I advocate for my readers to come HERE in their aftermath too). Understanding the label of a disorder and the content, I have found are critical in understanding her/his experience. But they can only learn so much unless psychology is going to be a career choice. Secondly, the healing process takes a lot longer for most, because they’re purging a lot of garbage from the past that made them vulnerable in the first place,that led them to not having any boundaries, their values skewed, basically they’re a mess. Because of the deviancy associated with these particular assclowns (asshat ala extreme), it is soul destroying and survivors have to literally rebuild from the bottom up. That takes a long time. A really long time.
    I think the key (and where I agree with you wholeheartedly) is being ALONE for awhile, without distractions. When people are in pain, they tend to distract and this can be on a subconscious level too, not aware that even a good, but mindless thing they’re doing can be used to avoid feelings.
    The only way to heal is to FEEL. And such strong emotions can be very frightening!I say feel the anger. Feel the sadness. Cry, beat your pillow, however long it takes, just DO IT when it comes. Trying to stuff emotions, is like taking a virus and putting it in helium and blowing you up. You will get SICK if you do not feel your emotions.

    There is no set time to heal. There are so many factors involved, the point is just to do it without calling, texting, writing to an assclown who has no capability to save you or make it right. Letting go also means working hard not to hang on in our minds too. He can be long gone, but still as fresh in our minds as yesterday. That IS distraction, that IS holding on.

    Nice job, Nat.

  58. Sanntay says:

    Thank you Jennifer Tiffany for your kind words. I am so grateful for the support and encouragement on this site.

  59. Feistywoman says:

    It is interesting that in one date I got the one time in band camp story (health issues), the crocodile tears, him feeling like teenager/nervous and I reckon he bailed, because I didn’t give him the reaction he expected and stroke his ego plus his prostate problems meant he would be a bad bet. After the ball when I set boundaries for friendship I bust his BS so he knew as I also told him at the ball that I’d sussed him out. I played a game with him, his own game and he didn’t like it.

    This man hadn’t got over his divorce 20 years ago and still called her his wife. He also didn’t want to face up to his actions in the marriage breaking down as she left him and we all know that if a woman leaves for another man it must be bad. I reckon he was EU with her and as Nat said he rolls from one woman to another, dating site etc.

    • Allison says:

      Feisty,

      It seems like you are putting a lot of energy into someone you had one date with. I don’t understand why you are/were wasting your time? It was one date!

      • Feistywoman says:

        Err no I’m not Alison so please don’t give me a hard time as I don’t need it. I’m sharing my experience as others do, so that they can spot a player when they see one and I am relating the red flags to Nat’s posts. Things are starting to click with me now as I read more of Nat’s posts. If we can’t share and warn others then what can we do? I don’t invest in anyone but myself first and foremost so that I am happy in myself as you can’t welcome someone else into your life otherwise.

        • Allison says:

          Feisty,

          I’m sorry, but I thought the text and the games that were played at the gala showed you had over invested – He’s a waste of time, why put more time into this. The fact the you wanted to be friends with this guy, much less having an involved convo after the text, indicated you were very invested.

          The guy is mixed up and incapable of having a relationship. Consider yourself lucky that you found out early.

          • Allison says:

            Feisty,

            I am not trying to give you a hard time. Please recognize that this is coming from a good place.

            There has also been a lot detail re. this clown – in several posts – which is why I have made the point I have.

            Please take this point as a positive.

  60. Tired says:

    Demeke he was married , he was unhappy and starting seeing this ow , and he left for her. Or i think wife found out and didnt want him back . So wife left i left as soon as i found out bout ow , he left with this ow , so options three down to one . But i dont care anymore , im doing fine ive nc and still not looking at his fb page , hes actually blicked me off his band page , its as a friend thing and a month after me requesting him to do it and him saying he didnt know how he has . Now the old me would have got upset , palpatations that hed done etc , but i dont care , i dont want to know , he must have got arse im getting on with life and i had the audicity to actually block him and not relent and go back . I seriously think he thought id come crawling back begging for his friendship even tho hes in a new relationship . Erhhh no not this time , you werent a nice man , you were even worser shite friend , i dont want shite in my life . I feel happy , ive been singing and laughing and flirting and just flirting and thats all up a storm . X this year is gonna be free of sadness and anxiety and crap :) xx

  61. espresso says:

    Wow…what a post. I just spent an hour reading and re-reading it. Maria – although I am not a Christian, I like many women had a set of “principles” that actually worked against me in my long term marriage and that I see many of us have. We are taught to actually ignore what what we really feel so that we can be “understanding” fair-minded and in my case this led to my making excuses for my ex, even though I was so angry a lot of the time(that was my true voice speaking). I was such a cheerleader when he said he was “trying to change,” I was so “concerned” about his lack of self-esteem blah blah blah. I think that women are taught to downplay or ignore their needs and boundaries and men are taught that they are entitled to push past them routinely. It is up to US to determine and demonstrate what we want and need (I am speaking for myself here…I didn’t do this effectively).

    I think I even blamed myself for our cold sexless marriage, never really facing up to the fact that his lack of emotional trustworthiness, and his underdevelopment as a person, the fact that I did practically everything in the marriage was the real reason (I understood this all “intellectually” but I always took things to heart. My body had the wisdom here. I chose to intellectually override it.

    BUT I have to report some progress. For those of you who know my story…after my calling it quits my ex stated that building a good post relationship and working on himself were his two key priorities. On that basis I agreed to spend some time hiking with him and our daughter and was on my way to meet them ….12 hours after he left for the vacation place he fell into an emotional airbag on a plane and started love bombing her…12 hours! That must be a record. She being EU and well whatever hereself (because I think all he did was talk about me and how “well” our break had gone (is that irresistable to women or what?) the relationship moved on by email pretty fast. And I saw many of the emails because they were sent on our shared business account. I was so incredibly traumatized NOT because I loved him and wanted him back because in one clear blinding flash of light I saw that he had no boundaries, didn’t have any insight about the consequences of his behaviour, was going to have this in my FACE while I was with him and our adult daughter, didn’t give a rat’s ass about me and didn’t even KNOW how this would affect me. He was stupid and naive and he was dangerous. And don’t get me started about how he compartmentalized everything so that he just wrote off how the kids might react if they found out….(oh and that was another thing, I was with my youngest when I saw the emails and protected him even though I was practically vomiting at dinner with her). I can’t even explain the depth of my trauma and I do not use those words lightly. I spent weeks with a counsellor while he did (in his words) emotional first aid with me while I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t even process what all this meant to me but of course it is pretty humbling to think one has wasted so much time on a person who doesn’t have a clue about himself or anybody else. And then it didn’t escape me that the cold hard reality is that he could just walk out (12 hours) and there would be a woman all over him whereas at my age….well, that just does not happen (but then I don’t actually encourage it!)

    Anyway, my point is that I was really really badly off for about 5 months as I dealt with this. Yet I worked (over-worked), went to the gym, hit the treadmill, went to my French class (a passion), talked to friends, was loving to my grown up kids – I still functioned. My counsellor said I WAS making progress but honestly I never saw it. I read BR and tried to focus on comforting myself and the reassuring words and I started looking much more at my own behaviour and the part I had played. I still haven’t finished that part yet.

    My ex did “end” the emotional email relationship with the plane air bag woman in late summer after three months but he did it in such a way as to not take responsibility for his decision by saying that it was hurting ME too much and then went on ad nauseum about how much he would “miss” not knowing her more. Talk about being screwed up…it makes me sick still to think of his lack of boundaries here. And she wrote back dripping all over him about how she would never ever forget him, she didn’t see the reason why blah blah blah. And ending by recommending he read a story about two strangers who meet and go on to have an intense love affair. Even through my pain I could see that the pair of them were really really screwed up!!! (And even now I think wow..I should have just let them go at it because it would have been a disaster – except I did not want to expose my children to this chaos). See, taking care again!!!!
    Of course, reading BR I knew that she would write again…and it would be around New Years – such a great excuse for this EUW and up popped an email from her a few days ago with a little loving poem to him and a hundred thousand wishes for a wonderful new year. Poor ex – he was shocked (lol) and was running around figuring out how to block her…..ha ha ha.

    But the amazing thing is that when I observed the email I didn’t feel very much at all. I could see that she had been led on by him and that she is screwed up, reckless, careless, and needy but who cares. My main thought was damn, I sure hope I don’t have to process this much because it will interfere with my getting my report done and my French essay. And then I realized that despite not seeing it at the time – all the processing, reading, and learning I have been doing has really helped. I know that my ex is emotionally untrustworthy and if he makes headway on that for himself someday that is fine – but it isn’t really my affair. I have been clarifying with my counsellor how I can communicate with him and the areas where communication can’t happen and how I still need to NOT make him a central thinking point (I realize I am doing it here but I have cut down on that). I made the mistake about a month ago of leaking out a feeling to him about my day and of course he didn’t hear and didn’t respond and she reminded me that this was a painful reminder that I cannot and will never get any emotional understanding from him. So I don’t go there….is this workable? I still don’t know. I

    So I just want to say that if you are in the midst of grief and pain…try to keep going forward with your understanding and learning…keep investing in YOUR life in whatever way works for you, even though sometimes you feel you are “just going through the motions.”

  62. Rosie says:

    Ms. Determined talked about how regret can be our friend. Well…yes…but I haven’t been much of a friend to regret. What I mean is that I fall into the “One False Move Mentality” (blaming oneself for others’ bad behavior and what is beyond one’s control). I’m making a lot of progress in this area, though, thanks to boundaries.

    In spite of my not being a good friend to regret, I’ve learned a lot from regret. What I’ve learned is that the men I’ve dated weren’t the only ones with red flags dangling from their foreheads (why didn’t I see them??); I’ve had a few red flags of my own. For example, I’m angry at being used for sex and then being strung along. But then, I had to face the reality that I was using him emotionally while stringing along a couple other men for my own ego. So…regret lead to self-reflection which lead to using the situation with the last AC as a catalyst to up the bar on my own morality. I’m done using people. Period. I told the two men to stop calling me and I even apologized to them.

    This was a while ago. No one has asked me on a date lately so I don’t know how I’ll respond should I get duped/rejected again as I’m missing the “resiliency gene” that everybody else seems to have. But I am making progress.

  63. miskwa says:

    @Jennifer T
    Nope, often there isn’t justice unless karma catches up with him (and it will) which doesn’t happen nearly fast enough. Addicts, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, food tend to physically and mentally fall apart by middle age; then it gets worse. I am getting the feeling that you took up with this deadbeat because YOU feel as though there’s no options for you either. You feel trapped by obligations in a place that isn’t working for you. There may be care options for your grandparents to take some of the pressure off of you. I am dealing with a similar situation with my dad, but long distance. You do need to talk to multiple someones. This may sound cruel, but your grandparents aren’t going to be around forever: now is the time to figure out plan B.

  64. dancingqueen says:

    I think what broke my heart in the post was Nat talking about the need to feel your heartbreak; I have a hard time doing that.

    My dad never mourned my mom when she died; he literally took her pics and hid them away, got married 3 months later and we never talked about it again until almost 25 years later. It gave me the impression that, when people leave, it is too painful to bear. You just have to pretend that it did not happen.

    I have a really hard time crying. I know that sounds dumb because some people do it so well, but I cry when I am angry and pmsing, and over dumb things, but when something hurts it is like my tear ducts dry up. I can’t feel anything but anger or just dead.

    I don’t know how to mourn. I am so afraid that that will be the big thing in my next relationship ( if I ever have one lol). I honestly have such a hard time feeling anything when things get rough in a relationship but fear or just nothing.

    • dancingqueen says:

      oops I mean to say that I can’t feel anything but fear, not anger. I have a hard time feeling sad or angry in relationships at least in front of men; I freeze or/and just feel nervous. SO easy to mess with me when I am like that.

  65. sushi says:

    this post Natalie smacked me in the gut, in a good way. it has been in my head the whole weekend. i think that I need to think of not letting go of the AC`s, the hurt and the disappointment. I need to let go of not feeling good enough and when I make that happen the rest will fall into place.
    I sat down this morning and wrote in my journal about one of the AC`s ( one before last) that destroyed my already low self esteem. He was the worst of them, and they were all the lowest of the low.Into illegal porn, with pedofile interests, among other things. I was molested in childhood by my grandfather, finding out about this man I was with was the worst trauma of my life. The psych I was seeing at the time said he deserved a relationship and due to my past we were incompatible! I can`t seem to squash the psych`s voice of authority in my head,I guess because I was in no state to validate my own feelings about it and whatever he said was gospel to me. It made me feel it was my fault and if that AC, the lowest of forms of life made me an exception to his rule it would then right the wrongs of the past. WTF? Was my psych and AC too? A profesional I turned to for help that I trusted ? I feel I need to write him an unsent letter as well! I feel like I have such a long road still ahead of me and it`s daunting, but determined to continue. I truly bless the day I found you Natalie.

    • malaise says:

      I have a similar story sushi. I couldn’t ignore the parallels between my ex and the other abusers in my life anymore. It was making me sick, but one day I saw the light. Expecting the very person who was making me sick to be the solution to my problems was so backwards and insane. I was poisoning myself, and the only way to get better, was to get away from the poison! We should be running as fast and as far away from these disgusting men, not clinging to them hoping they’ll change! Even if they did miraculously change like we wanted, that wouldn’t erase the damage and pain they already caused. It’s a losing game.

      I don’t think your psych knew what he was saying entirely. He was right that you were incompatible, well DUH, because the guy is a sick, twisted vile poor excuse of a human being! His words just had more of an effect as you were so vulnerable and looking for external validation. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. You know what happened- YOU ARE THE AUTHORITY ON YOUR EXPERIENCES, not your psychologist, or anyone else. Don’t undermine yourself

      • sushi says:

        malaise, it was insane and back to front. I now know that I had no parameters for healthy. I went through life like I was still the abused and mistreated child. In constant internal conflict and as if I had no right/means to say no to the wrongs.Thank you, your words are very empowering.

  66. Hopelessly incorrigible says:

    What a great post…I’ve needed someone to talk to me like this for years. But perhaps the timing was perfect because I have recently told myself that I need to change. my ex and I reunited after he had a failed marriage. Our first go around was in college…10 years prior to that. He made it clear that we would never be due to his culture…I heard that and knew it…and was reminded harshly of it when he got married. When he was married, I unknowingly invoked the NC rule and I jumped into another impossible, yet emotionally satisfying relationship. I didn’t have any contact with him for 3 years, which was hard because we had a strong friendship. Mind you, he had accepted that we would never be, I did not. Those 3 years were hard. I feel like the majority of it was still about him: me weening myself off the familiarity, then a relationship in the middle, then wondering what He’s doing. In my heart, I did wish him well, figured he was happily married and had children. Well, one day a mutual friend told me that she heard he was divorced…it took me a few days and I contacted him. I knew that a lot of heartache could enter again. After we reunited, it really was like our friendship had never ended. I was happy with rekindling our friendship, I was ok with hearing about how he wanted to get married again. Then within 6 months, we got physical again and that spiraled into us playing house. It’s now 5 years later…we’ve both been through a relationship in this time, but my heart just wishes we could be. But my head knows we can’t…I need to focus, but I want to keep my friend. I need to accept what we discussed years ago and stop hurting myself.

  67. leelow says:

    This spoke to me. I am grieving the loss of a 3.5 year relationship with whom I thought was my soulmate. November 21 I told him to leave my house because he called my 14 year old son a “effer” (the real word!!) for eating a cookie that was meant for him. He doesn’t have any children and has never been married. We are both mid 40′s. He is a sagitarius, brutally honest x2. We never had infidelity issues. We enjoyed the same things. We went to elementary school together. He was the popular guy in the neighborhood, I was the shy, not so confident girl. I think I’m still not that confident. It was an on again, off again relationship for the past 3.5 years. I was always there for him no matter what. I knew I made the right decision for my son when I told my bf to leave my house. I didn’t want to show my son that I validated bf’s actions and words to my son. Since then, I don’t know how to move on. I have not been happy and I cry alot and think of him constantly. I tried NC and broke it twice. I texted him Merry Christmas and he texted back “Merry Christmas to you and the boys and a Happy and Healthy New year to Come”. I said to him “that’s it, do you love me still?” . He texted back “Is that it???” LOL you’re funny. Not getting into this right now. Thanks for the wishes”. The last time I texted and basically asked where he stood with us getting together. He basically said that he doesn’t see a future between us right now because of the way I act with him when he says something to me or the kids. UGH!! I can’t stop thinking about him. The mind is the devils playground and I am getting kicked off of the swing every two seconds. Please help.

    • yoghurt says:

      “He basically said that he doesn’t see a future between us right now because of the way I act with him when he says something to me or the kids.”

      WHHAAAATT??!! He basically just said that he can’t be with you because he doesn’t let you do or say just as he pleases to you and your children whenever he pleases it. I should jolly well think so! Now there’s the statement of a man who clearly got stuck at the age of seven.

      The man sounds like a toadstool. He’s not ‘brutally honest’, he’s just mega-rude. And it’s not because he’s a Sagittarius (I know lots of lovely, polite and unsweary Sags), it’s because he’s a toadstool and cba to learn to relate to others appropriately because he doesn’t think he should have to. And because he’s God, obviously.

      Sticking on my cod psychologist hat for a second, I wonder if part of the reason you’re having trouble letting him go is because you’ve looked to him to ‘solve’ the problem of your low self-confidence and prove that you aren’t that shy little girl any more? If so, try to remember that you’re not – you’re obviously a strong mother who wants her children to grow up with good values and a good sense of what to expect for relationships. That’s fabulous, and better than being the ‘popular’ (spoilt, inappropriate, unkind and self-serving) kid (/emotionally undeveloped adult) any day of the week.

      It will get better, I promise, but don’t text him again – it’ll only make you feel bad and ill. I remember Natalie saying to me once “Stop pumping him up – turn the pump on yourself instead”. You’re way too grown-up for such a donkey.

    • Fearless says:

      leelow, you need to get off the swing. Let it be over.

    • truth=freedom says:

      Dear Leelow, you absolutely did the right thing. I would not ever allow him to swear at my children. Over a cookie….and dont let him guilt trip you into apologising…never ever. My ex AC went on a trip with myself and my two kids who were 8 and 12 at the time. We were at a camp site. He asked my son to take the garbage out. My son said he would after his shower…not good enough for the AC. He was annoyed the whole day about the fact he took a shower before he took the garbage out. We went to many places that day and I asked my ex AC to take a couple of photos of me and the kids as being a single parent its difficult to get good pics. When I got the pics developed…..he had taken the pics in such a way that my son was either deleted or off edge of photo!! The AC said he was taking the ‘scenic route’ home knowing that my son gets car sick ++++, round and round windy roads, my son was slowly alternating between shades of grey and green. Kept reminding him he better not vomit on his leather upholstery!! We never went anywhere with him ever again!!!! Total mind-effery!
      You must go total no contact with him.Its hard at first, you think you will never manage it but stay strong, and remember all the little digs and twists that you have put up with, it does get easier as time goes on.

  68. Bob72 says:

    Really, really great post.. I was antsy all day yesterday on and off and this morning until I read this.. and it reaffirmed I am doing ok and doing the right thing by making a conscious effort to “let go” and move on with my life, even though it hurts like hell about half the time still.

    I wish I could hug all of you posters I really do – my story and what brought me here really pales in comparision to many of yours. All I can say is I do understand your pain because I feel it too. I have learned that many, many times the pain isn’t from what is happening now though – obviously all of you can see that these people who crapped all over you aren’t worth a minute of your time. My pain, and I am sure alot of your pain, comes from the past. Either bad relationship building on top of bad relationship every time they go south and you burying yourself in the next one to keep from dealing with it, making every next hurt worse… or a crappy childhood. For me its both. I tell myself that when I am feeling really bad and want to reach out and make an ass of myself to someone who has decided she doesn’t want me. I know she wasn’t that great anyway, everyone tells me that. Sure, friendly to a fault, socialable, fairly attractive, fun… but completely unstable, all over the place, dramatic, too concerned about how she looks to others, superficial, self absorbed, and flaky. Not a good match for me at all… it doesn’t make it hurt less, because I never felt so wanted and adored by anyone in my life, but a bad fit in all the things that count. Feel the pain, but know by their behavior it would’ve sucked sooner or later (or already sucked)… and let them go and never ever chase them for their affection. THERE IS SOMEONE BETTER…

    I can’t rebound easy either, I have a hell of a time letting go of anything. I stay in fantasy land and only look at the good. I want her back so bad it hurts like hell sometimes. I am not resilient at all. But I AM not chasing her, I AM having no contact with her (37 days, a couple texts, and now 26 more days), I AM moving forward and forcing myself to be productive at work, feeding myself, working out, hanging out with my very very few friends and family, getting out as much as I can, and most of all I AM positive that I will eventually break out of this feeling and I will find someone again… I always have in the past and God did not bring me all the way here to abandon me now. The road does not just end, and the sun still rises. I am telling you, if I can do this all of you can – no one takes rejection and abandonment harder than me lol..

    You wont be able to get them out of your head if you are like me.. so don’t try to fight it all the time just go with it. But push on, keep going, dont give up. I still think about her ALOT… and I cried a couple days ago over it for only like the third time (I feel void of tears alot too, dead inside just the dull ache of rejection) and we’ve been apart since Sep 29 – almost half the length of our 8 month relationship and I am still sorting it out, finding ways to cope, and still feeling pain to the point of crying. She is not – I feel it in my heart she doesn’t care a bit. She gets through things in her way, and that is her. I, and YOU, will get through it too, in our ways. If you are on here it will most likely be a much healthier way, and your next relationship might just be the last one you have to worry about being in :)

    Let them go as best you can, don’t chase, don’t sell yourself out to someone who really doesn’t care enough to stick around or who does shitty things to you. You’ll cry, you’ll lose sleep, you’ll feel like dying or wonder what the hell you are doing wrong, but you will get better. Its been going on 4 months – I will think about her every single day, for hours, but I am learning how to live again, and not thinking about her every minute anymore, and I actually smile sometimes. I know it will continue getting better, ever so slowly. As long as I don’t do things to find more pain about it it will leave me. Don’t hang on, don’t decide to seek validation or to dig around in their lives, just keep your memories you have and process through them and keep going, even while you are so afraid to let go and afraid to move on in case they come back… they made their choice and its not fair for them to have no risk you may actually get better and find someone amazing while they are dragging your heart and self esteem through the mud. F – em. I still love her, still want her so bad, miss her like hell, but F-her I am not falling apart over anyone. Dont you fall apart either, because its not over until you cease to draw another breath. Maybe you will get your validation from a better source, and maybe even a better version when down the road they try to come back and you aren’t really interested anymore.

    • storm says:

      This reply is extremely late, but this is one of the best posts I’ve read on this site. Plus, it mirrors my situation exactly. Thank you so much for showing me that someone else is going thru the same thing that I am (I am not crazy) and that, with time, I will make it through to the other side.

      NC is tough. I was doing well with it; then I slipped and sent a text abt 2 weeks ago (after one month of NC) and was sent right back down the rabbit hole of grief, regret and longing. Now, I have to pick myself back up again and resume NC. I (and we all) can do this and reclaim our lives and joy!

    • anna says:

      To Bob72,
      (Storm – this is so funny bc I came on this site the SAME DAY as you and was going to comment the same thing about Bob’s post!!!?? weird, huh?)
      Bob, this post IS one of the best posts I have read and it has really inspired me. It is so strange that there are other people out there that can just move on from relationships, even when they themselves say they are in love, like it is no problem at all.
      AND, that there are so many of us that find them attractive – so attractive in so many ways that we choose to not put ourselves first.
      I’ve only come to a full realization in the past few days that I have to completely let him go. It’s very hard when you are both relatively nice people and that you both are still in love with each other. Yet, it JUST DOESN’T MATTER (ala meatballs)if the one you love is not mentally able to be in a relationship. As we all know, it takes a certain amount of trust and work to be in a healthy relationship. and it can’t be one sided.
      grrrrrrrr. I’m just so frustrated. I am trying to do all the things I am supposed to do, but I still feel completely sad/alone/hopeless/like a failure. And Bob, I.HEAR.YOU. Loud and clear – about not being able to get them out of your head. It is unreal, but I am trying. Trying Trying Trying. That’s all I can do.
      Thanks for your inspiration and all of my good luck to you,
      Anna

  69. grace says:

    I feel I have to recommend Nat’s Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship Book to many of you (I won’t embarrass you by saying who you are).
    It helped me when I started seeing my boyfriend. Even though I knew my thinking was wacky, I felt like he was the one, this one my big chance after years of no-dating, that he was so much better than me.
    Six months later, we are still together. The relationship does not seem to be as amazing as many of your imaginary ones but I do see him a few times a week in real life and he is consistently good to me. there is more to be had from life than imagining that someone who let you down badly will morph into a different person. That doesn’t happen.
    And if it does, I’ve said it a gazillion times, he will be moving onto pastures new with no bad associations.
    Which YOU can do.
    I let go every AC, ex, and hanger on. It made room for better things, not just a new man. They drag you down these selfish, whingey, boundary-busting show offs. And you get into a horrible dynamic of looking to them (yes THEM) for validation, and praise.
    I think the penny dropped when the returning childhood sweetheart (hah) texted me a porn picture at three in the morning. As I sat looking at it I wondered “Is this what it’s come to?”
    Nah, not for me. And not for you either.

  70. natashya says:

    grace, nothing embarrassing about it. i think ‘the dreamer’ was written for me :)

    fantasy relationships are ‘great’ while they last. and when they shatter, is it ever hard to let go of the illusion. i am pretty sure i am over the ex EUM, but the illusion is still there…. though it’s cracking all over the place and hopefully will dissolve soon where it belongs: in fantasy land.

    one thing i’ve learnt from this whole break up saga is that at the end of the day it’s about your self esteem. you can ‘fix’ a broken heart in many ways: hop into a new relationship, drown yourself in alcohol or mind numbing shows on the telly. doing this will only set you up for repeat experience. the lesson just won’t go away til you learn.

    i have been observing happy, solid couples lately (ah, yes they sure do exist) and there’s 1 thing they all have in common: they are all healthy and stable individuals with healthy self esteem and boundaries who do not seek validation from somebody else. 2 happy and healthy people can make a good relationship. a relationship with 1 healthy and 1 unhealthy person is a recipe for disaster. nevermind a relationship with 2 unhealthy people.

    i thought i was healthy when i got involved with the ex EUM, but i completely realise now that i was anything but. i was grasping at straws, looking to fall into his life, as i didn’t like my own. i’ve been having trouble letting go because without the fantasy, what is left? a not so healthy me with a not so great life.

    having realised that might not sound like a big deal, but it is to me. i feel like i’ve cracked the code. i can only be in a happy and healthy relationship if i’m a happy and healthy person. i’m working on that now. i’m shifting the focus back onto me.

  71. Tinkerbell says:

    Bob.
    What you have written is so encouraging, heartfelt and beautiful. I’m sure it is a reflection of who you are. An AC/EUM or any other emotionally challenged individual could never have written anything near what you have. You will continue through this triumphantly and have so much more insight and wisdom. She did not deserve you and now she will never know the fine person who she trampled all over. Wish you much luck and personal fulfillment.

  72. K says:

    I read these posts and my heart just aches for all of you in pain.

    I see patterns here and I can’t help but notice it, and now I’m wondering if my presence here is appropriate. No, I’m not that “special”, it’s just hard not to want to jump in and fix it, when I still have a lot of recovery work to do, but at the same time working in support for survivors of personality disordered people.
    I see a lot of lack of empathy in these men that you all have been with. It’s no different than my having been with them too. I see a deep and distorted perception that comes with the notion that you can have a soul mate connection with someone only after just a few months or several of dating and be so devastated. That doesn’t scream real love to me in the healthy sense, it screams childhood wounds. It screams wounds of familiarity. I know those so very well, I really do and have participated in the moment of being swept off my feet. It seems the sooner it happens with attachment, the less real it could possibly be. A distraction, an escape from me, from childhood pain, or a running to my daddy issues for resolution. There just isn’t another explanation for how twisted that thinking was for me. How the hell do you get so twisted up after only a few or several months? Given the outcome of my relationships (disastrous) it’s pretty clear what it was. It was unhealthy and the men I was with, all psychopath/narcissists, were a reflection of how I felt about myself, or were dead on familiar with my childhood. I knew nothing else. I sat in therapy for years going NO WHERE. I wasn’t willing to part with my dysfunctional comfort zone. I was in my last relationship as an OW for ten years and I was terrified to give it up because I knew when I did I had nothing else to hang onto. I would bein free fall because I did not have myself either.My identity was tied up in my abusers and never in me. Always tied up into a “man”. Expecting Prince Charming instead of the Prince of Darkness that I got, showed me just how special I was not.
    I have done a lot of recovery work this past year and a half. Not half assed, but hard core which includes tons of changes to my life. I am 49 years old and 46 of those years were spent fighting with myself in very sick, very twisted, very distorted relationships. When I got out of the last one, that was it for me. I am still grieving it, but not grieving him, I am grieving me. I am grieving all the loss, from childhood forward. It isn’t about them and it never, ever was. They were all a reflection of my pain. They were a reflection of disorder that was so familiar.
    I had to let go of many, many people from my life. All were pathological and all were those I shared unhealthy values with. This included my pathological family too. Two of whom are my children, one is disordered and one is in a relationship with a psychopath. Go figure. Given their example, and their genetics, it is not a surprise, but yet still painful and an outcome of my choices.
    Somehow, taking responsibility for my choices has helped to move me from victim to survivor. When both of my ex’s were hurting me, I knew they were. I can’t justify that except to say that it was familiar and I knew how to operate in that dynamic. I never knew a healthy relationship in my entire life. And even so, I still knew they were hurting me and I cannot sit here and say that I didn’t know I wasn’t being hurt, being abused. Being in those relationships, allowed me to stay in my victim comfort zone. I didn’t have to work to get out of them and I was justified because I could scream to whomever would listen that THEY were causing me pain. I’m not responsible for their abuse. They were who they were and they always will be. Just like my father. They will never change, so to invest more energy into them at all is a remarkable waste of time. Having said that, there is energy and major stress going into the grieving process. It hurts. A lot. The losses are monumental, overwhelming and feeling so much sadness, can at times, feel as if I will suffocate under the weight of it.
    I have been totally alone, and pretty much isolated for the better part of two years. Not totally isolated, but enough. My therapist does not consider the survivor support and writing, networking and the relationships with my children to be “isolating” but compared to what it was before the last ex, it is now,I have made new friends and my relationships with them are healthy. I find catharsis in writing and supporting. There is no abuse in my life, and this is cause for great anxiety at times for me. At first the BOREDOM from not having drama, chaos and abuse nearly drove me insane, but it made me realize how unhealthy my life had truly been when compared to the depth of boredom I was feeling. I was willing to sit with this. I don’t know how I know this is right, but I feel it because when I consider opting out and into another relationship, I just can’t bring myself to do it and that is a good sign for me. I don’t know that I want to have another relationship. I don’t hate men and have friends, but I just have no energy or desire to waste more time in chaos and drama. I want to get to know me better now, alone with me, instead of trying to find out about me through a “man”. Been there done that. It didn’t turn out too well. This is okay with me though. the simpler things in life that I couldn’t appreciate before, I can now. The time to be young to marry and to have children is over. I wasted all those years too. Now I have grandchildren and saw them just yesterday. They bring light to me. I’ll take that for now and it’s an energy worth my investment. They are precious, their little hearts….
    I do find myself in a quandry now, actually in a state of terror. I have been very ill, but am working on that with my doctors. I’m better than I was, but not quite there yet. While doing my emotional process I started my blog. It has been growing and growing. It has helped me to tap into more recovery work, more self discovery, more support and into my creativity. At times I feel like this could go somewhere for me, at others not so much. I have writer friends and positive feedback from people who write to me after reading. My writer friends encourage me to keep going, but I feel stuck. I’m not sure if this is what I need to be doing. I feel that my motives and intentions need to be clear. I don’t feel gifted in it, but it’s nice to hear that it helps others. I don’t want to use my writing or a potential business adventure as a crutch and excuse for not getting out into the world, yet at the same time, I have to be mindful of my health, as well as the reality that I need a job. I have not worked in twenty years, but was instead going to school for a psych degree when I got sick. I can’t access anymore funds for school because I took so long to get where I was. I only have less than a year for my bachelor’s and three accelerated altogether for both. But that is now out of the question.
    So I face the world with no skills. I have vocational rehab and yet I feel so drawn to writing to supporting. I’m trying to find meaning in a lifetime of experiences. Perhaps it’s right in front of me but I’m missing it.
    I’m feeling so sad about the losses. Time, youth and tons of mistakes. All things I cannot take back, cannot replay. All things that I cannot now drown out in the noise of an abusive relationship.
    I guess I’m scared because I really don’t know what to do. I feel as if in a weird holding pattern right now. I’m working on getting past yet another element of fear in recovery, no wait, terror! Anyway….
    Having said that, as I read these posts, one thing is so clear to me, so ridiculously obvious. There is way, way way too much child abuse. Way too much and some of us are the outcome of that abuse. I see what it has done to lives everyday and find it repulsive that it seems to be largely unaddressed in our society. We keep cranking out survivors and women keep procreating with disorders, which puts more pathology into the world. I wish there were more supports for children who have been so hurt and adults who are living the outcome.

    I hope you all will recover. Just the reality that you’re here and talking about it, is progress.

    Great blog. Thanks for the vent

  73. lo j says:

    Sushi … your comment made me sick at my stomach. I go back in time and tell you your ex was disgusting, filthy, I hope there are legal charges brought against him and I am so sorry for what he put you through!
    Did you write your letter? How’d it go?

    • sushi says:

      lo j, thank you, hug .Thing is, he did not put me through all that, I did it myself by staying with him for a few excruciating months after I found out;by chance, and then he confessed the rest while trying to stop me from leaving. I told him all about himself believing ( what was I thinking)that once I point out the wrongs he would want to right them. I effectively taught him how to be extra careful and secretive.He was an upstanding citizen and a religious man, active member of his church,appeared to worship the ground I walked on, was desperate for a commited relationship with me and was devastated when I left him, then went online dating two days later.Married someone very quickly and appeared to worship the ground she walked on ( last time I cybersnooped, but don`t know now).I cybersnooped to put more salt on my wounds and also because I wanted to see the justice done, and yes, him getting in trouble but I had to let it go for my sanity, I was recycling that vomit. I was even tempted to report him but he has children who`s mum ( his first wife) died and they`ve been through enough pain already.
      I wrote an unsent letter to him but it came out more like me justyfying my reasons to him. This article of Natalies has been sinking into me slowly and I want to write new letters which are going to be very short, I haven`t got a lot to say to those bastard AC`S and also I feel like I begrudge them my time.I am going to have a little burning ceremony, must wait for kids to go out !

  74. Monique K says:

    It took me so many years to get over my divorce. Sometimes we cling onto the fantasy we created in our minds instead of the reality of the actual situation. Once I truly let go, a whole new world opened up to me. But it was definitely a choice. It just took me a little longer to get there.

  75. lo j says:

    Sushi … maybe an unsent letter to you? You are really taking lots of responsibility for a grown man’s behavior, especially when you take into consideration what you went through as a little girl.

    • sushi says:

      lo j,
      unsent letter to me is a great idea and will do this. I felt that I HAD to make him change as it it would wipe out what happened to me as a child and an absolute agony that he didn`t and translated it as me being not good enough. Then went on to blame myself for thinking and expecting that ( more or less like shouting at myself: “you are unforgivably stupid!” My dad is a shouter, how fitting. But now I`m just separating his and mine behaviour and responsibility, and my responsibility to myself was to dump his sorry arse and not blame me. I think that this is how I feel.

  76. miskwa says:

    Dancingqueen
    Two summers ago, I had the misfortune of spending a week in northern Texas at a conference so I REALLY feel for you. I did, however, rescue a couple of awesome cats from death row. Nope, the rent I’d need to get for my house is far above the means of most folks here and the vacation rental market here is already saturated. Nope, AC is not worth my spending my old age in poverty for. A previous friend left precipitously in part due to him, has tried to rent out her much smaller home; it aint working and she is in deep trouble. Wherever I go, I’d need to buy a place because I have many animals; they’re all I have now. A shame, this is a cool place; I am watching the sun hit the two highest peaks in the state; too bad the community is sooo damaged but that’s what happens when a place historically is centered around resource extraction rather than ties to the land coupled with waaay too much tolerance for drugs and alcohol abuse. I always thought that there would by a supply of retired professional folk from the arid urban/suburban metastasis down the hill that would be glad to escape the place and live a more sane life in the mountains but I was wrong. Right now, I am just biding my time as AC may not be around much longer which would improve the work situation. Meanwhile I check the jobs weekly but theres not much out there for an older senior level academic.

  77. nayia says:

    Natalie,

    I feel humbled by what I have read in your articles particularly this one.

    It’s 8 months on from a 7 month relationship where i was his rebound and then he went back to his alcoholic ex who was the love of his life from the get-go.

    I have moved on but i was so badly hurt and damaged by him that I still find it hard to let go because i dont know how to.

    But, reading this, fingers crossed, i hope that it might help me because obsessing/ruminating and all the what-ifs etc can make a person go a little crazy! thank you xxx

  78. Brenda says:

    Love this its something to live by.

  79. Sam says:

    I had been in a long distance, long term relationship with my boyfriend for almost 3 years. He lives in england for his profession and I live in NY. We had made plans for me to move there and for us to eventually get married. We had, what i thought at least, a healthy, happy and loving relationship. He was my world and I thought he felt the same way about me. I spent ten days with him at the end of November, the visit was amazing. Nothing out of the ordinary what so ever. He fly back to the states before the christmas holidays to spend them with me and his family. I call him the day before christmas eve to see what time his train gets in and he says “I’m not coming, im breaking up with you” and hangs up and shuts off his phone. Now im freaking out and he wont respond to me for five days. Eventually he sends me an email with some bullshit excuses like “we’re in different places in our lives” ect. I have been contacting him asking him to have a conversation with me so I can ask questions and understand. I had my life on hold for three years for this man. We had planned a future together. He refuses to answer me. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m completely lost and every time I think of him or the situation I am thrown into a panic attack. I just want closure.

  80. Dee says:

    What about if it was me? I pushed him away. I had several opportunities where things could’ve turned around and I just did it again. It’s been two years now, and he’s moved on and I made it disastrious in the end so he probably doesn’t even like the sound of my name, not that I would interefere because I wouldn’t. How do I move on?

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!