Forget-Me-Now pill - the Breakup Version. Inspired by Gob Bluth from Arrested Development

In an excerpt from The No Contact Rule (2nd edition) which has just come out (Kindle available tomorrow 11th June and print on 17th June), I tackle one of my most frequently asked questions: How long is it going to take to get over him/her?


They say that time heals all wounds and while yes it does take time, it’s actually what you do and think during that time that affects the healing process. Trust me, if you think that you can break up now and that by default in a year’s time this will be a distant memory without you having to put some concerted effort into the initial cutting contact and then the grief work, you will only set yourself up for pain. There’s no hard and fast rule and grief in itself isn’t linear, so your grieving isn’t an identikit version of someone else’s. Plus you’re going to take steps forwards and then go back a little or even a lot and then make gains again. The biggest influencers of how long it’s going to take are as follows:

grief isn't linear image

Grief isn’t linear

Your self-esteem. Have an honest conversation with yourself about whether you’re neglecting or nurturing yourself. If you have low self-esteem at the start of NC, it’s going to take time especially if you don’t take on board that you’re going to have to nurture yourself during this time by treating yourself with love, care, trust and respect while talking and supporting yourself through some of the difficult decisions you make along the way. Remember that it takes more than going through the motions of life to take care of yourself – if your head is polluted with negative thoughts, this directly affects your recovery time.

Your resilience for disappointment and rejection. Take it badly, keep revisiting it, judge yourself harshly, persecute yourself, or do things to counter the sense of rejection and disappointment that only end up causing you even more pain, and this is going to take you longer than it would have done.

Your lifestyle. If you occupy your life as in you reside in it, value it, fill it up with things that meet your needs, expectations and wishes, you will feel happy and that will help your recovery. If your life comes to a standstill, you become a recluse, or you do things that basically detract from yourself like hanging out with a bad crowd, ditching work, sacking off friends and family, it will take longer.

Your experiences during the relationship. If it was particularly traumatic, you may need more time simply because you need to do some healing work to recover from the trauma.

The length of the relationship. There’s no hard and fast rule. I’ve heard from people who after two years, are still trying to recover from a relationship that never happened and people who it took several months to a year or so to get over a much longer relationship. Note that if it ends up taking you more than year to get over a relationship that didn’t start or was only a few months, it means that too much of yourself was invested in what you thought might happen or in this person’s perception of you.

Your beliefs. The fact that it may take longer for someone who never even had a relationship to recover tells you that it’s how you judge yourself and your options after the breakup that means a great deal. Every single person I’ve heard from who cannot let go even when the amount of time not letting go significantly outweighs the involvement, is struggling with beliefs and possibly shame.

Previous losses. Tying into the resilience for disappointment and rejection, it may take you longer to get over a breakup if it resurrects a previous loss.

Unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately even when we’re hurting, life goes on and sometimes that means that we can feel kicked when we’re down. If you lose your job, or you have a big fall out with a close friend or family member, there’s a bereavement, you lose confidence in your appearance, you experience a trauma, or even try to move on and experience a setback, this can affect your recovery time. You will have to put in more effort to take care of yourself and you may need to draw on your support base.

Being avoidant. If your typical response to uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and situations is to do something to limit, distract from, or avoid these, breakups will be tricky for you as you may have delayed reactions to your experiences as you may be so used to what you do that you won’t recognise your own avoidant behaviour. If this is you, I would recommend that you check in with your feelings about this breakup each day by keeping a Feelings Diary so that you can build self-awareness.

Your thoughts?

This was an excerpt from the new No Contact Rule which is double the size of the first edition. If you’re a previous purchaser, you will receive an email regarding your free update over the next few days.

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221 Responses to But Seriously, How Long Is This Going To Take? – An excerpt from The No Contact Rule (2nd edition)

  1. Sue says:

    That SOB, who I work with, told me he broke up with his girlfriend because, and I quote, “I didn’t want to raise another child.” Said gf has a 14-year-old daughter; his son was graduating high school and going off to college.

    Then he told me two months later he had throat cancer, and I started sending him notes and cards, and leaving messages. Throat cancer treatment is especially brutal, and I felt badly for him. Also, I’d asked him out (this was early April) for a theater opening in June (this month), to which he said he, depending upon how he feels.

    I heard nothing about the theater plans (thank God I am going with another friend), however the gf’s daughter posted online a card he sent to her mom for Mother’s Day indicating a gift and love. THAT SOB. How sick can he be not to at least say thank you to me for thinking about him, yet write a long card and be gushy with the ex.

    I plan to confront him in person when he does come back to work; meantime, it’s no contact for me.

    • Laurie says:

      I don’t mean to sound harsh or unsympathetic, but people don’t owe us thanks because we think about them or write them get-well cards. Of course it would be nice to receive a thank-you, but it seems to me that your response is somewhat disproportionate. I had a guy send me free cat food and think he was consequently entitled to a phone conversation and a date. He’s not. People are free to turn down our invitations. I might be wrong, but it doesn’t sound like you are in a relationship with him. If you are, then please disregard this reply with my apologies! But if you aren’t in a committed relationship with him, he doesn’t owe you anything. His relationship with his ex has nothing to do with you, although if think he was an SOB for making the comment that he did, why did you invite him out in the first place? I don’t see the need for a confrontation here. If you think he’s shady, then stay away. But it might also be a good idea to check your expectations of others–it seems to me that you might be inviting a lot of potential drama for yourself.

      • Allison says:

        I agree with Laurie.

        It seems like you are blowing this way out of proportion.

        I would look into one of Nat’s posts on fantasy relationships. It also seems like you are investing a great deal, by following his posts etc….

        Sorry, but it doesn’t seem like there is more than a work relationship, but you have huge expectations.

      • FX says:

        Excellent reply Laurie. I wasn’t even sure how Sue’s comment applied to the post. Maybe, she’s thinking BR is a forum? Your reply was both kind and true.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        I agree with Laurie, Sue. What are you worrying about him for anyway? He is not important if he doesn’t respect you, he’s an automatic flush. You contradict yourself when you say you are in NC but you plan to contact him. Just leave it alone. He is not interested in you. You’ll appear to be begging for attention from someone who is not worthy.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Also, Sue. You work at the same place. It is not a good idea at all to encourage a relationship with someone that you work with. Don’t create drama on the job. It is all the more uncomfortable when it ends and you have to see him every day. It is much wiser for you to not confront him and have little to say. He may wonder what’s up with you and then again, he may not even notice. I just don’t think his inadequate responses to you show that he cares. That’s why confrontation is a big mistake. Play it cool.

    • truth=freedom says:

      Hi Sue, I have a feeling that you have not related the whole story with the ‘SOB’. It seems to me that maybe you were investing in being or have been in a relationship with this guy but his words and actions did not match! Assclowns never reveal the true picture as if they did you would be out the door quicksmart. I, too have been fooled in the past with words and actions not matching. My ex Ac used to say really horrible things about his ex and how he would never help her with anything…turns out he was doing a bathroom makeover and taking her out for her birthday!! So your Ac comments about not raising another child, was all the usual huff and puff that they say. I think most definitely he is back with his girlfriend, and I would definitely not be confronting him at work as this could cause major problems, and he would have a lot of support from others due to his recent illness. Forget him and move on.

  2. Tired says:

    Brilliant post , i know i have come a long way and learnt from here . I have moved on a little bit , have had some sad things happen apart from the breakup but ive got stronger . Ive heard ex mm has had bad luck etc but and this is why i think im healing i dont feel anything about it . I stopped wishing him ill long time ago and the big way hey moment dont think of him as much either and thats the hardest part . It was the thinking after , but time and you have to go throught the stretch does really help . I go out to dinner with my friends and do stuff that makes me happy . I stopped myself from grabbing at the first bit if attention that came my way to as it was a bad idea and kept my feet planted in reality . I have bad days but i deal with them . :)

  3. Newbie says:

    Thanks Natalie :) I so needed this today. I fell in LOVE with a guy about a year ago and I could tell he felt the same way too. But there were circumstances that don’t allow us to pursue it. It’s been so hard to get over for many reasons, none the least of which is that he started acting like a jerk, posting pictures I himself with other girls online and flirting with girls on twitter (some of whom seem really cute and awesome). It is so heartbreaking :( I know I shouldn’t look but we’ve been no contact for a couple months and I miss him. I wish that things had been different between us but since they can’t, I wish that I could get over it and that if he has to move on with someone else, he didn’t have to do it so publicly. SO painful :(. Good luck to everyone out there dealing with breakups, etc. sending you love x

  4. Revolution says:

    Hey Nat,

    Haven’t yet read the post, but the illustration cracked me up! Keep the “Arrested Development” references coming!!! Hilarious!!!! 😉

  5. paolo says:

    It’s been nearly a year to this day that i first met someone in real life that i only ended up seeing twice in reality and spoke each day for about 8 months online prior to that. And i still don’t feel im over her..I perhaps won’t unless/until i meet someone i’m as attracted to, i don’t know. I do now know that how long you’ve been seeing someone means jack all…I have shame and guilt to get over because of the nasty things i said when it ended..All things that im sure helped her get over me all that much quicker.

  6. Kathleen says:

    I have not been rejected, but rather re-directed…

  7. Max says:

    In time Anyone who suffers a break up will look back on it and say Thank God I didn’t get stuck with that Idiot. Trust me – You will.

  8. True love 101 says:

    Very good read, thought provoking. So true, who, when, and where we spend our time after a breakup does determine the speed of recovery. I’ve learned to funnel all negative energy and thoughts to paper or into an activity that benifit a me, Thus studying for a promotional exam. I’ve also learned to go where I’m celebrated not tolerated. And it is very easy to tell the difference. We wate far too much time trying to get over people, meanwhile the minutes continue to tick away. We’re grieving; and they’re out there fucking, drinking, and enjoying their favorite food. Yes break ups are painful, but it’s as only serious as “WE” make it;)

    • FX says:

      True Love 101, This is brilliant: “I’ve also learned to go where I’m celebrated not tolerated.” And, this strikes so true: “We’re grieving; and they’re out there fucking, drinking, and enjoying their favorite food.” NML’s post really resonates with me (as always) and you articulated my thoughts related to this post.

      Today is a year NC for me but yesterday was the anniversary of the last straw when I said “no more” to myself (and his birthday) so I’m spinning more than usual. I can’t say that I haven’t thought almost daily about how much fun he is still having while I lost my looks, money, home, buoyant attitude, etc., but somehow when other’s can sum it up so succinctly, it helps some.

      • Trikywu says:

        FX, please don’t be so hard on yourself! Don’t dwell on the negatives that have occured because that loser put you in a tailspin. Perhaps that guy was placed in your life as a purge – to help you build a new and better life – with a better home, more money, and great looks. You’ll get that bouyant attitude back. I’m not trying to be Polly Anna about it, but I believe in the yin and yang of life. If things do get bad, it means that when you get out on the other side, you’ll be stronger. You’ll earn a better experience.

        When I get in this zone after a bad experience (anything – whether a family problem or BF), I always know it’s temporary. It hurts like hell, but it will pass. I always think of Joni Mitchell’s song “The Last Time I Saw Richard”, when she sings about blowing out a candle and sitting in the dark of a small cafe, not wanting to talk to anybody about anything as she thinks about the love who gave her nothing before he left, and moved on with a women with whom he gave everything. In the midst of her anger, she even knows: “Only a phase…these dark cafe days.”

        I recently flushed a guy out of my life and have the confidence to feel good about it. I wasn’t in love with him, so that helps. But he started out as a potential love interest that fizzled into nothing when I got to know him. I don’t care what he does. I feel much better without him than with him. Anyway, I’ve had some lovely support from you all here, so I wanted to give back =) It sucks to hold feelings for someone and continue “what if?”…but I will reconfirm the old adage: It does get better.

        • FX says:

          Trikywu, thank you for your compassionate and encouraging reply. Although, there are things I miss about the Ex (including sex!), I’m not pining for the AC/Narcissist. I know the woman I was before wouldn’t have given him another thought, though! I’m just hurt and angry – at him and myself.

          When I met him, I was in my mid-forties but looked 10 years younger, ran marathons and lived in a beautiful condo in one of my city’s best neighborhoods. Now, I’m entering my mid-50s and look it, live in a small rental off the beaten track and smoke cigs and drink too much. Ugh! I know I have control over my health habits but haven’t been able to face nicotine and narc withdrawal simultaneously.

          On the positive side, I am now a partner in a business that is aligned with my passion that can potentially allow me to live a decent, if not extravagant, lifestyle in the future. My biz partner is a great guy who thinks very highly of me as I do him. I also have an amazing daughter who is my best friend and she just completed a post-grad program at a top school and is launched in a lucrative career.

          I know things will continue to get better in many ways but I also know I have to process many irreversible losses, too. Perhaps, that’s actually where I’m really stuck? Somehow, I need to really, truly accept things as they are rather than as I wish them to be…

    • Little Star says:

      True Love, wow, excellent comment!
      Since middle of April all my thoughts are about AC, and he probably does not give a sh@t about me and enjoying himself and me here suffering! NO NO NO! I reached 2 months of NC, I am planning to go out tomorrow to the posh bar in London and celebrate with my best friend!!!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Little Star. THAT’S THE SPIRIT! Do you think pining and obsessing accomplishes anything? He doesn’t know what you’re putting yourself through, and how much would he care if he did. All it does is bring YOU down. Cut it out. There is joy to be found in each day if you make it so.

        • Little Star says:

          Thanks Tink! I had a wonderful time with my best friend, and only once I mentioned AC during 4 hours! What a progress:) I would not be able to do that without Natalie, BR and your lovely girls/boys x

  9. AngelFace says:

    “Remember that it takes more than going through the motions of life to take care of yourself – if your head is polluted with negative thoughts, this directly affects your recovery time”.

    I love how time helps fade the memory of him and the horrible events I endured. After learning all about EUMs and Narcissists, and about raising my standards and boundaries my healing got stronger and better. However….

    I still have a small amount of trouble with jealousy. Nat’s diagram about Grief/Expectations vs Grief/REALITY is a good diagram for me. There is a mental health tool that we all can use. It is called Cognitive Challenge. When a negative thought enters your mind – immediately “challenge” that thought with a positive thought. A thought based in REALITY. In this way we are helping/training our own brain to think correctly so we can be strong and overcome the problem/person/event/relationship…

    I vacationed last week in Maui. I had several dreams that were nearly nightmares about my X. When I woke up remembering the dreams I stayed calm and told myself that I was PURGING the relationship on an even deeper level. I did not let the dreams have a negative impact on me – or dwell in nostalgia or non-reality about the X.

    I am one of the lucky ones today, because I have been ‘serving my time’ and going through the whole emotional and logical process of the breakup and I am getting over it. This is taking over two years, and I’m good with it.

    I continue to evaluate what I need for my own self-improvement and happiness. Sometimes I write it down. It includes going out socially and meeting new people. It includes other items too, like exercise, healthy diet, talking more positively, being polite…. I got a little voice begging me to do something creative like buy a canvas and paint something (again).

    Keep the Faith all you good people on Baggage Reclaim. You will be Happy Again. Thank You Natalie, I love and appreciate YOU.

    • Marilyn says:

      I stayed calm and told myself that I was PURGING the relationship on an even deeper level.

      Fabulous way to look at those dreams! I have them, too, and they are awful.

  10. Robin says:

    Perfect timing! Haha!

    In regards to lifestyle, I did find that when I was very busy, it was easier to move on from the breakup very fast and maintain no contact. Now that I’m not quite as busy, I don’t find myself wanting to contact the ex again, BUT I’m suddenly hit with how lonely I feel and reflecting on the relationship! Time to find some activities to fill up that time now that I have a lot of it!

  11. Carrie says:

    I am a week and a few days into the NC rule. I dont really no if it applies to me and my situation because he wasnt really contacting me after the break up only responding to the text messages I sent him in the meanest most hurtful ways he could probably muster…I mean I would have never imagined such words coming from his mouth towards me! I was texting him maybe every 4 days just to see if his tone and demeaner would change and they never did…so I just stopped texting him one day. I really dont expect him to try to contact me…he is a hard core in the streets typeof character..dips and dabs in illegal things and there were only a few times that I saw a sensitive bone in his body…very arrogant too with women always around making hom feel as if he is a King..As I stated it would be a shock if contacted me for any reason especially since he broke it off after I found out he was cheating what could he possibly say? So the of NC will be me not contacting him in order for me to regain my self respect and dignity. I just refuse to allow him to make me feel bad about myself due to his own bullshit issues. However I would so much love the opportunity of seeing him on my caller id and ignoring him…I already blocked him from being able to call me but I think that may be cheating…is that in sense avoidance of dealing?

    • Allison says:


      Blocking is dealing. Good for you!

      Question: why were you repeatedly texting someone who had cheated , verbally abused you and is a thug? Sounds like a total loser to me!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Yes, Carrie. Certainly, you see now that you are better off without the creep dragging you down to his level. When we’re in love we put on blinders. Once we decide it’s over, that’s when you experience the revelation that you must have temporarily lost your mind to be so involved with such a loser. Stay strong and DO NOT contact him or respond to any feeble attempts from him to get you back for any reason. When you are so convinced they are too proud to contact you, you’re usually wrong. They want the ego stroke and adoration. Don’t give in.

  12. Tellitlikeitis says:

    It’s been a year now and I still think of him. The pseudo relationship just stopped. I called him on a Monday and said goodbye like an ordinary call. He didn’t call again. Prior to that he called me nearly everyday for 10 months. It was hard to let go yet I did! Four months after that last call he texted to say he was thinking of me. FOUR MONTHS!!! Just as Nat says they usually contact when something big is happening. His birthday was a week following the day he texted. He’s still waiting for my response! Probably is not waiting, I just like to say it that way. I read somewhere that the hardest breakups to get past are the ones where it just ends without reason or explanation.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Tellit. I agree with your last sentence. But YOU know the reason and explanation. That is all that is important.

    • Sanntay says:

      I agree with that last sentence as well, since this is exactly what I’m dealing with right now. There was no discussion of any kind, communication just stopped cold out of nowhere. Even though we were casual, we still spoke daily and were friendly, at least I thought so. I later found out from co-workers that he was on to the next. It has been extremely hurtful because I was driving myself crazy wondering what I did wrong. My answer: getting involved with him in the first place. Getting over it has been difficult, and is still ongoing. This whole ordeal has been an excrutiating experience.

    • NCC says:

      “Just as Nat says they usually contact when something big is happening. His birthday was a week following the day he texted.”
      Yep. My birthday was not too long ago, he started sending me “cute” little nostalgic messages. Get this, they included how his 3 year old daughter started randomly talking about me and that she missed me. I blocked him, then he finds another venue to get ahold of me a few days after his “sweet” bday messages. HE TOLD ME THAT CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES WOULD BE CALLING ME BECAUSE HIS EX WAS MAKING FALSE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST HIM FOR CHILD ABUSE AND WOULD I PLEASE BACK HIM UP AS I KNOW HOW MUCH HE LOVES HIS KIDS AND WOULD I DO THIS EVEN THOUGH I DON’T LIKE HIM. All his words. Unbelievable yet, believable. Manipulative bastard once again using not only me but his children to get himself out of trouble. Have I heard a peep since? Nope. Cause he doesn’t currently need anything from me. I kept silent did not respond, and still wouldn’t know what to say to child services should they call. I would either say I want nothing to do with those people, or, I would give them all the information on the ways I DID in fact see him abuse and neglect his children. How dare he even make me a part of this when his ex wife disrespected me, and his treatment of me has destroyed so many things in me that I’m working so hard to get back. S..O…B.

  13. Mister K says:

    I think I’m one of the very few men who read and love Baggage Reclaim.

    I stumbled upon this amazing blog while searching for help after a recently ended relationship, and I’m sure happy I find it.

    I am discovering a lot about myself, my past, and how to move forward in a more healthy manner, while also discovering that I’m 1) not crazy, and 2) not alone in dealing with: emotionally, physically, and spiritually unavailable partners.

    I have been, through the help of NML’s blog posts, able to identify the root of my own boundary-less life, and have already made progress in evaluating what my boundaries and values are, and further, that it is my right to enforce them, without question.

    My ex left me two months ago, and for the best. He broke things off by first disappearing for a couple of days, followed by only sending me an email with his reasons. It was obviously an excuse to leave the already deteriorating relationship, and after reading dozens of posts here, recognize so many code amber and code red behaviors that I should have used as “opt out” occasions.

    Only because I want to share with a community of similar people:

    The first code amber (red?) was when I was at home feeling very sick. He was with me, and other than him, I was alone. He told me he needed to go home to be with his Mom, and I respected that. Shortly after, he sent me a text message, letting me know that he was invited to a party, and would be taking off with his friends. Was I wrong to think 1) what was the whole Mom thing about, and 2) if your boyfriend is home alone and sick, wouldn’t you want to be sure he was okay?

    Looking back, this should have been a boundary/value issue, but I let it slide after he and I talked a couple of days later. He was defensive during the conversation, and then later sent a text saying he would be there for me in the future.

    There were other signs that I chose to look past… phone calls from an ex of his, unemployed, installing a dating app on his phone while we were dating, and then tried to hide it from me as though I were delusional. LOL

    Anyway, sorry to ramble! I just wanted to chime in and be part of the community here.

    Hugs everyone!

    • Rachel says:

      Oh no! He sounds like he can’t be trusted. Sometime we willingly put our blinders on during a relationship. I did the same with my Ex. Those selfish mannerisms and habits that should have been red flags are so important to pick up on during the early days of getting to know someone, before you are head over heels. Wish I knew that about a year ago.

      Hugs!! You’ll get over this!! Blessings and good luck in the future.

  14. FX says:

    This is so timely! It has now been a year NC today and I am so not where I thought I would be in my recovery. The person I was before the AC/NPD would have moved on because I thought I was the cat’s meow. I am not who I was before and it just plain sucks! As per the listed points, I fit many of them. I have been learning here and trying to move beyond the AC/N but the degree of betrayal combined with my loss of being who I once was/living as I did is pretty much a recipe for anger and is soul-destroying daily. Yes, absolutely, NC = No new pain. I know at this point he is not generating it, I am. I just can’t stop feeling the way I do as I wake-up to this less appealing reality (in most regards except being devalued by an AC!) every day. Yes, I don’t want to be devalued and it was hideous but there are days I think this bizarre feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop and to feel whole again is worse…

    • Tinkerbell says:

      FX. If you’ve been NC, what is “waiting for the other shoe to drop” all about?

  15. Sanntay says:

    True Love 101: Love your comment: “While we’re grieving they’re out there fucking, drinking… “etc. So true. I’m wasting my time trying to get over someone who never gave a damn about me and for what? Each day I get closer to leaving it all behind, but it’s a process, made even more difficult when you have to see that asshole at work every day.

    • Rosie says:

      Sanntay, yeah, he’s an asshole but, if I remember right, you agreed to casual and he didn’t say “I love you” or “Let’s be exclusive,” did he? The situation didn’t turn out the way you were hoping (sounds like you were betting on potential) but own what’s yours. Own your “yes” to his offer of casual sex only.

      For me, I’m not wired for casual. Every time I’ve tried, I’ve failed. I must have been blessed (cursed?) with extra high levels of oxytocin (bonding hormone). :(

      • Sanntay says:

        Rosie: I believe I have fully “owned” my part of this scenario. Indeed, I did agree to casual, and I was prepared for him to eventually break it off when he found what he was looking for (or when I finally found the courage to opt out since I was tormenting myself), but my issue was THE WAY that he ended it, especially in light of the fact that he’d have to see me each day at work. Sure, I was cool enough to get naked with for 5 months, but now he wants to act like he doesn’t even know me, like I never existed? That’s what I’m fucked up about. No, he didn’t say (or show) that he loved me, not in terms that actually meant anything, and he was clear on not wanting exclusivity. I was foolish enough to believe him when he said that he cared for me deeply, but I realize that was just more BS. I deserved more than just cold hearted avoidance, but I put myself in that predicament. So, having to deal with the agonizing results of this experience, I have further verified that No, I am not equipped for these kinds of relationships and eventually I will stop beating myself up about exercising poor judgement for the sake of mind blowing sex.

        • jewells says:

          Yes, it is the callousness of the ‘ditch’ that burns combined with the slap to forehead over our own betrayal of ourselves. I too was in your shoes, get angry, you have every right and it is understandable anger. However, vent it in a way that benefits you, exercise, hit a heavy bag, take up martial arts, anything but express it to him, as he doesn’t care.
          In an ideal world, everyone would be treated respectfully in a breakup, but most of the time it won’t happen. Eventually you will be grateful that he cleared out so you could discover what you have about yourself and those like him.

          • Sanntay says:

            Jewells: I’ve definitely been trying to expend my frustration constructively. I go to spinning classes, and also work out with a personal trainer who just happens to have one of those “Bob” punching dummies, and I go in there and let Bob have it. Admittedly, there were a few days where I didn’t feel like I could get out of bed, but I pushed myself, and although the bad feelings and sporadic breakdowns still occur, I will recover. I wouldn’t dream of ever letting him know how this has affected me as that would just further inflate his oversized ego. He has shown that he does not care, and I am opposed to communication of any kind with him. When I reached my breaking point in past relationships, I’ve always been forthcoming in saying that ‘I’m not happy’, ‘this isn’t working’, or ‘I think we should go our separate ways’, etc. , but, of course, I realize not everyone thinks/behaves this way.

            • jewells says:

              Oh Sanntay, sounds like you are on the right path alright, just need time to do it’s work while you are doing yours.

  16. susanna says:

    I’ve been going through a particularly rough time. A man who told me he loved and adored me for 40 years and for whom I’ve pined for most of my adult life, ended the relationship. This is one of those childhood love replays that got replayed more than once through many decades, marriages, children, etc. Without going into details, we reconnected after his wife died and we made plans to marry. After he abruptly ended it–citing resurrected guilt feelings about how he’d hurt his now deceased wife with our long ago affair–we remained in contact as “friends” (bad idea). Within a couple of months, I discover that he’s getting married. While he was engaged, he was communicating with me all along. I was devastated. I feel foolish and humiliated, and the worst of it is–I thought he was the love of my life. I’ve been trying to move on, treating myself with care, keeping engaged with my life, but every morning I wake up with thoughts of how he treated me and that’s been going on for several months. How could he do that to me? How could I be so wrong about someone for so long? A lifetime. I can’t seem to rewire my thinking and accept that he is not the man I thought he was…And, for me, it’s a late-in-life love, a dream of redemption and finally being together that is now hopeless. I’m just curious about your thoughts on how to chip away at these feelings. I’m worn out from crying–and the grieving is not linear–some days are good, others not-so-good. I am getting through it, but I don’t want to waste my very precious, dwindling time on this Earth getting over him. It’s infuriating. And, yes, while I’m still hurting, I also loathe him. So, there is that…I wish I had found your site earlier, Natalie! I would have been armed with valuable information and would have seen the red flags much earlier and saved myself from this agony.

    • Rachel says:

      Your comment was so raw I wanted to reply back and send some love and hugs across the blogosphere! He doesn’t sound like he has much integrity. Bless you and good luck. You’ll get through this!

      • Susanna says:

        Thank you, Rachel. I really appreciate your kind words. As for his integrity, that’s an interesting comment, because he likes to see himself as being such a good man. But, he’s not. He was seeing this other woman on the side and even though I asked him about her, he said she was more like a “sister” to him. I feel used–he just wanted his cake & eat it ,too. I trusted him over a lifetime. I know I need to stop ruminating about what happened, but I was just getting over the breakup when I learned he was getting married–a one, two punch really. Thank you, again.

    • dove says:


      I understand that some days are good, and others not so much. I have found that one thing that works for me, is to take myself out on a date…it isn’t just going out alone, its treating myself as if I were really meeting someone for a coffee, or an ice cream, or a show, and then enjoying my own company, have an imaginary conversation with your alter ego in your head (I know that sounds kind of funny but it works)…write it down if it helps make more sense. This is how I have learned to treat myself with love care trust and respect, and even though I have just begun to take myself out, it has helped greatly with being able to move on from the grieving of the loss of a relationship where I was not valued.
      The thing is to learn from our mistakes, and forgive yourself for them, not punish yourself over and over for it. We have no control over anyone elses actions but our own.

      • Susanna says:

        Thanks, Dove–that’s a good idea and I have been treating myself to spa days, lunches out alone & with girlfriends, etc. I think I’m still “processing” what happened and trying to learn from the “mistake.” I don’t even know where to start. What is there to learn when the love of your life for 40 years turns out to be an assclown? That men lie and they do it so convincingly? I know this will take time and I appreciate your advice.

    • beth d says:

      Oh Susanna We all wish we found BR earlier in the game. So sorry this happened to you. Your story is gut wrenching. I had an employee with a similar story that she told often. 40 year affair that went through marriages to others by both of them. The timing was never right and finally in their late 50’s they were both free and would finally make things right and be together. Similar circumstances came about for her as well that ended it for good. I still speak to her and she is close to 80 now and still calls her now deceased ex the asshole who almost ruined her life. She did marry again and has been happy since she ended it with him. You will get over him and it is in you to find happiness. Best wishes and hugs.

      • Susanna says:

        Beth, thank you for the encouraging words–it helps to know there’s someone you knew who went through a similar situation. I think this falls into the category of “exception to the rule” when we expect things to work out when they haven’t over many years. I know I’ll get over him–I’d be in much better shape now had I not maintained contact with him & discovered he was marrying the woman who was “just like a sister” to him. I could have dealt with that in time, but not now on top of the break up and dashed hopes. Thank you for the wishes & hugs.

        • beth d says:

          Your welcome Susanna. As you can see this is a very supportive group of women and Natalie is brilliant. Keep reading. I will add that my employee ended up marrying a younger guy who worships her to this day. As far as the years together, I was with my ex for close to 15 years including post break up nonsense. It was a real process letting go and I almost ruined my current relationship by thinking I can have contact with him. I had to go permanent NC to finally move on and embrace my life without him in it. There are some basic concepts you learn by reading these posts that help a lot. Acceptance is the one that was the roughest for me. Accepting that the best of us was over, that he wasn’t capable of being who I wanted him to be, accepting he was disordered and I couldn’t fix him nor did I want to. The hardest was accepting he wasn’t the man who I thought he was and that he never loved me in an a healthy way. You will process alot while you heal and get through it. Keep NC, keep busy, keep taking care of you.

          • susanna says:

            Beth, the story about your employee gives me hope:) That you have also come through to the other side of your relationship with the perspective you have is also something I can visualize myself doing eventually. The NC rule is so huge. Had I done that early on, I would have been further down the road without adding new pain, but I learned. After reading Nat’s “bonfire” blog, I really got the concept of letting the relationship burn down and NC is the only way to do it.

            Thank you and the other amazing, supportive women here. I can’t fully express what your words of support have meant to me in the last 24 hours. I feel like I can do this & happiness awaits on the other side.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Oh Susanna! Your story is particularly devastating. My heart goes out to you. When we are older all events in our lives weigh more heavily than they would have if we were still in our 20’s-30’s. You have lost a lot of time, but that does not mean all is lost. In addition to avidly being involved in Natalie’s blog which is so supportive and such an eye opener, I recommend that you find a good therapist. One to one therapy by a well qualified professional is essential in your case. You are older (as am I) and it is harder to bounce back from the pain and make the changes required to restore your sense of equilibrium. You will go through many phases and ask yourself a million questions, particularly related to “How could he?” That is futile and not at all helpful. You’ll need help to avoid chastising yourself for being fooled for so many years. Yet at the same time you cannot avoid what has happened. You have to face it, and deal with it. You can’t get over something when you’re sweeping it under the carpet. This is why I strongly recommend therapy. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Sending best wishes for your recovery/renewal. Hugs to you, Tink.

      • Susanna says:

        Tink, thank you for the kindness, understanding & suggestions. I think I will find a therapist to help me get through this loss. I really thought I could do it on my own, but I seem to be stuck in ruminating mode. I’m having a challenging time plugging back into my real life, so therapy would definitely help.
        Thanks and I’ll let you know how I’m doing. Thanks and hugs to you.

        • SK says:

          That is harsh….I’ve been thinking about your story on the tube on the way home from work! One comfort I can offer you is that it wouldn’t of worked anyway. Reading between the lines it looks like you never really lived together. I waited 13 years, then got my ‘dream’. The man I loved for those 13 years never existed. What I got was a nightmare! It’s especially hurtful I know for them to suddenly be able to be with you and opting not to be. In reality he done the same to me, he lied and ran away. I still don’t know his reasons for leaving, I’m not interested. At first the pain of him living with his mate, or wherever he’s shacked up, and choosing not to be with me was horrendous…after all those years! With hindsight, it’s obvious that if he lied and cheated, then my treatment would be no different, and why should it be? It doesn’t make sense, but you can only see that by NC and some time for your head to clear. I hope that helps. He would of done the same ….eventually…as he did to his wife. You are better off without him. You could of spent further years trying to make it work…that relationship insanity. As it is, you know exactly where you’re going now and can work on putting yourself first. Hope your feeling stronger very soon. Love SK x

          • Susanna says:

            SK, thank you and I know yu are right–it would not have worked out.What complicated matters is that we lived 2,000 miles apart so we had the LDR to cope with as well. (The woman he married was right there in the same town.) But, I think if two people are in a real relationship with real feelings, the distance doesn’t matter.You make it work and I know in my head it was not meant to be–it’s just getting the heart to catch up. Appreciate your good wishes–all the support I’ve gotten here is amazing and wonderful. Thanks very much. xo

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Yes, Susanna. So many women scoff at therapy for various reasons, but when you get the right professional it can be really helpful. I strongly suggest a woman. All the best and keep us posted.

    • Revolution says:


      (((BIG squeeze))) God, I wish I was there to give you a hug in person. Even though I’m a stranger, ha ha.

      I think that all of us commenting on this site, and Natalie as well (of course) can attest to the desperate attempts to understand why people do the hurtful things that they do to us. We spend SO much time and mental energy trying to figure out how a person could be so cruel. That speaks well of you that you can’t fathom that type of heartless behavior.

      Obviously I don’t know the man, but what he did was very selfish and hurtful. And though it feels like the most personal affront, it’s a testimony to the decisions he’s making in HIS OWN mind and heart and life, and not regarding you at all.

      That being said, yeah of course it hurts. And I can’t imagine having someone I’ve felt that way about for 40 years do that to me. I can imagine the hurt must be pretty overwhelming at times. Nevertheless, I think that there may also be some “fantasy” thinking going on, if I may say so. I think that reading Nat’s articles/books on fantasy relationships and also returning childhood sweethearts would be beneficial for you.

      I know you’ve been hurt and maybe even devastated, but it’s YOUR choice whether you STAY devastated. He’s made a decision to get married and move on. It’s YOUR turn now. Don’t let him waste your present and future like he wasted bits of your past. If you let him, then it’s on YOU and not him. I say that with love.

      • beth d says:

        Great post rev and you always put things into perspective in an informative yet compassionate way. I especially loved “Don’t let him waste your present and future like he wasted bits of your past. If you let him, then it’s on YOU and not him. I say that with love.” So true!!

        • Revolution says:

          Thanks so much, Beth! I’m just trying to help in any small way I can, as you and all of the rest of the lovely ladies and gents on BR do their fair share of as well. We’re all in the same boat, might as well help each other, right?

      • Susanna says:

        Revolution, I gratefully accept your virtual hug–thank you. Everyone has been so supportive and it’s made me feel so much better–it’s been a gift today when everything seemed so blue.

        I do agree about the “fantasy” thinking because we haven’t lived together & losing his wife has changed him. He’s not the man I once knew. I also read Nat’s pieces on returning childhood sweethearts and it rang true for me. Totally. Just wish I’d read it much earlier–this site has been a lifeline for me. Every time I feel down, I reread some of Nat’s blogs.

        I also appreciate your reminder that it’s now up to me to move on and live my life. I have to–I just turned 60 and I don’t have a lifetime ahead of me, so I need to get on with it and live it. I’ll get there. I’m determined–it’s the best revenge, isn’t it? Living one’s life well?

        Thank you for all the kindness, support and hugs. It’s lifted me up.

        • Revolution says:


          My heart goes out to you because (I hope to not offend), my mother is in your age range (well, a few years older) and so it pierced my heart when I read your comment, because I thought of my mother going through the same thing. Want me to hunt this guy down for you? 😉 Nah, I’m only kidding. That’s not the right thing to do and it wouldn’t help matters. But I just want you to know that, from your comments, you sound like a very lovely woman (with excellent writing skills, I may add). These guys usually want the best of the best (us), so it’s a strange form of flattery for us.

          My mother always tells me, “Do you think you’re the only one who’s had to go through heartbreaks? Look at your friends who are married. Look at the people you know. Those beautiful, kind, talented people. They have ALL had their heart broken, MULTIPLE times, before they found someone.”

          Just so you know, my mother found the love of her life in her late 50s. I know of another couple who are very happily married who met and got married in their late 60s. Life is only over when WE give up on OURSELVES, OTHERS, and most importantly, GOD. I have done that in my dark days and that road does not go anywhere. Don’t follow it. Make the firm decision RIGHT NOW to take the high road, have hope, and give and receive the love that’s around you, romantic or not. At some point, that will most likely lead you to being in the right head and heart space to find a romantic love, one who treats you with kindness and respect. I really believe that to be true in my heart of hearts. Here’s another big (((HUG))). It’s only too late to start over if you MAKE the DECISION to ACT that way. But, in reality, it’s NEVER too late. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and my heart knows that it’s true. :)

          • Allison says:


            Beautiful post!

          • beth d says:

            Rev Your momma has to be so proud of you and the remarkable woman you are. Bella sei un essere speciale?.

            • beth d says:

              rev ignore the question mark.It was a statement. it was suppose to come out like a heart LOL

              • susanna says:

                Rev, that was a beautiful & uplifting post and I agree with others who’ve said your mother has a lot to be proud of with the remarkable woman you are. It’s a funny thing–in spite of my age (and I’m not offended one bit, btw, & feel honored you’d compare me to your mom) when it comes to romance, I feel more like the age I was when I first met this man!! There is a regression of sorts to an earlier stage and I think it may be because the romance/dating pattern was set 40 years ago. At any rate, I will take your wise words to heart and be hopeful about the future. Right now, I’m appreciative of what I do have in my life & just taking one day at a time. Thanks again and a big hug right back to you ((hugs))

                • Revolution says:

                  Susanna and Beth,

                  Thank you so much for your loving words. :) I’m all warm and fuzzy now. :)

    • simple pleasures says:

      I’ve been thinking a couple of days about your post. My man (the math professor)brought me to BR. He was the “love of my life” from age 22 to age 28. I met him 40 yrs. ago! I called our relationship “The Agony and the Ecstasy”. I couldn’t take the lack of commitment and left the country, worked overseas for 6 months of no contact, and finally had the strength to end it when I returned. Of course after 6 years and breaking up is the day he sobbed in my arms telling me for the first time in 6 years he loved me!. But I’d had enough. Started dating again and had 5 decent, but not your the one I want forever boyfriends after him, then met my husband and felt like I had met my long lost best friend. He too felt that way, and we have been happily married for 30 years.
      Enter math professor who my husband and I re-encountered (32 yrs later) at a club we now both frequent. I thought, wow, maybe we can be friends after all these years. I’d like to get to know him again. And boom, never in my wildest dreams…I fell madly in love again with him. And he crying in my arms said he still loved me.
      well, I had changed and grown. I had lived a mature adult life, had a long term relationship, successful relationship. I actually thought may be in some capacity we could have a loving relationship into his old age.
      He is alone, never married, no family.
      My husband never felt threatened, and let me spend some time with mathguy not knowing the intensity of my feeling. But ex-truelove abruptly decided “he couldn’t take it”. No love (and I don’t mean just romantic)
      no old age friendship, no connection.
      He could give me nothing. And my thought was, but it’s ME, not somebody you just met, it’s ME of all those years. You don’t just bolt from ME , your friend and ally who you at age 70 just cried in my arms again and say you have nothing to offer. It’s ME. But it’s true. Now, it’s silly I thought I could have the 2 men I loved in my life at the same time, wouldn’t have endured. But boy, I sure felt like I was 23 again! But I am very lucky, I am not alone and do have a committed partner. He basically looked at my 6 month l.o.a
      as a temporary illness which I would recover from. And he was right, I suffered temporary insanity, madness
      (well I was madly in love). But I am well into recovery. Not totally there as I still come to BR.
      By the way, age is no detriment to attracting anyone. My mother remarried at age 75 and had a great partnership for 10 years. It’s not an age thing. Love is in the mind.

      • Susanna says:

        Simple Pleasures,

        Thank you for your post–I see so much of what I experienced in your story. The following especially resonated for me:

        “And my thought was, but it’s ME, not somebody you just met, it’s ME of all those years. You don’t just bolt from ME”

        That’s it right there–it’s ME of all those years. It’s as if we are strangers and the disconnect is the most painful part of it. That two people can have such a different view of reality or of the relationship–is astounding to me.

        When he and I reconnected after 20 years of not seeing each other, we met in NYC and it was like something out of a movie–incredibly romantic–and he acted (so words & actions aligning) like he was head-over-heels in love for the next 2 months. Then, bam. Over. Just like that. And, when it happened I thought–but it’s ME–what are you doing? We’re in love & getting married. It’s ME, the one you said you “loved & adored for 40 years” and you “won’t let down.” It’s our time to be together. So, I didn’t see it coming because I believed his words and actions.

        This will take me awhile to get over, but I see that this was about him. He wrote that he tried to “talk himself into it, but couldn’t.” That what we did (the affair 20 yrs ago) was “wrong & nothing will ever change that” and he’d always be my friend. But, he lied to me and used me. I wanted the validation of some attachment to him so I shifted to “friend” mode and then 2 months into that I learn he’s getting married in another month. He chose not to tell me himself, in fact, he was contemplating meeting me again in NYC. So, 4 months after the end of our relationship, he marries. It was like a dream turning into a nightmare–almost like it didn’t happen because it was so incredibly unbelievable. Like someone was playing a cruel joke on me.

        I also feel like it was temporary insanity in that he’d disappointed me before and I gave him a second chance to reject me. I knew it was risky so I made sure he did all the pursuing, but it didn’t matter. At least I followed my heart and was sincere. I’m getting over him–I don’t feel sad & anxious anymore and the crying has stopped. I feel like I’m in recovery and my days are now mostly good ones. One day at a time. This too shall pass and one day I’ll see that he was in my life to teach me something-not to love me, apparently.

        • FX says:

          “And my thought was, but it’s ME, not somebody you just met, it’s ME of all those years. You don’t just bolt from ME”

          Wow, I didn’t even realize how big a part of my cognitive dissonance this is. He even sent me an email after I went NC saying “You have to talk to me sometime after all we’ve been through.”” The problem was that his actions had recently screamed to me that he did not value me. All the history and connectedness I still felt meant nothing if he could do what he did. This was over a year ago and I recently found out he married the woman he was courting while still pursuing me. I had no choice in my mind but to go NC but I never thought he would commit to someone else… Or, at least certainly not the overlap woman and not this fast. I still feel connected to him and this has renewed so much pain. I thought I was special and his feelings for me were, too, damn it! Even with him married, I still feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m trying to accept it as it is and not as I wish it to be but, darn, it is messing with my brain and by extension my life.

          • EllyB says:

            FX: “You have to talk to me sometime after all we’ve been through.”

            Usually this translates to: “You have to talk to me sometime after all I’VE PUT YOU through. How dare you not put up with this anymore after all you’ve put up with in the past???”

          • Susanna says:


            The hardest thing to get over for me at least is that these guys could actually be so duplicitous–pursue us (& we are thinking WE are very special to them) and other women at the same time. But, I had to face the reality that what he wanted was someone on the side as he courted another woman or he was giving the two of us a test run. I knew about this other woman, by the way, and literally knew her. In fact, she asked him had he been in contact with me (before we reconnected) because she knew he’d had a long-standing “thing” for me and I think as soon as his wife died, she had her sights set on him. She was a friend to him and his deceased wife, lived close by (I was 2,000 miles away) and I did not see her as competition because they were buddies for as long as I knew him. He even told me she was like a “sister” to him. Imagine my surprise!

            So, what I’ve come to realize is that whatever we once had is gone–those good memories remain–but he is no longer the man I thought he was and we are not meant to be.

            I hope you can see that it’s not about you, it’s about him. (I’m trying) By getting married and moving on, these guys have chosen their fate and our job is to chose ours and move forward.

            I’ll end with what a mutual friend of his and mine told me and I hope you’ll embrace this idea, too–you are a beautiful, smart and classy woman and it’s his loss.

            Hugs to you–we’ll get through this girl!

  17. Lisa D says:

    If I had loved myself, I would have walked away from him at the first sign of mistreatment. Now, 5 years, A.A. step-working, and much therapy later, I finally see I should have walked away from my DAD many years ago. I finally accept that I had the right and responsibility to do that for myself. And THAT is breaking the spell for me with this guy whom I see at work. The time it took me to love myself was the amount of time it took for my pain to go away.

    • A Little Bit Stuck says:

      Lisa ‘the time it took for me to love myself was the amount of time it took for the pain to go away’ – perfect! This is so very true!

  18. runnergirl says:

    Hi Natalie, I think, in my nonlinear grief process, I didn’t get the first edition of the NC Rule. I seem to do things assbackwards sometimes. I’ll look for the Kindle edition tomorrow or the print edition on the 17th. Congratulations. This one should be a giant hit. I was just wondering if something was wrong with me as I’m headed into a second year (maybe it’s the third year) of “getting over” a two year affair that drug on long after the sell date. I’ve lost track of the time. I’m still getting “Happy Birthday” crumb emails and random emails two years later? Of course, I haven’t responded. What in the world would I say? (Other than eff off Mr. 3 legged donkey. I’m tired of beating you. I’ve already said that. I’ve told him all about himself so many times, I could crash a network.)

    In my case, all of the issues you cite apply, particularly “Being Avoidant”. Thus, it is a tricky balance between facing feelings and distracting myself from feeling as well as isolating myself from feeling.

    I’m looking forward to reading the new edition, two years later! You are the absolute best Natalie.

    • simple pleasures says:

      ok runnergirl, I read all your posts, and here are some suggestions you might try. (I say this as an expert on having gone long past the sell by date of mental ruminating).
      You say you’re still getting crumbs (emails)even though you don’t respond.
      One of the first rules of NC is to block contact and this is contact you have control over. You don’t have control of whether you run into him at the mailboxes or a conference. So you haven’t started no contact yet, which is why it has “drugged out”, as you are still trying to detox from the addiction.
      You also say you have told him everything about himself, what else is there to say? Well, whenever you think about him, which I suspect is every day, start a thought about yourself instead. Focus your thoughts on you, not him. Have an imaginary conversation with him, Hi whatsyourname. Career is going well, so
      glad I had the smarts and opportunity to go into law, because I think I’d be a good city councilor (or whatever the office is). With my education, experience and skills and concern for local affairs I’d do well. (and with Revolution as my speech writer, and Noquay developing my environmental policy) . I’ve made some good friends lately, Daughter is good, back in school, I had a nice trip to the east…My life’s good, thanks for asking. bye now.

      • Revolution says:


        You’re on, honey (re: speech writer). These days I don’t write unless I’m being paid (other than on BR), but for you I’d gladly do some pro bono work. Wishing you lovely ladies all the best. :)

      • runnergirl says:

        Thank you so much Simple Pleasures and Rev. As I thought about this post your comment, the comments from the other brave lovely souls, and the timeline, I realized I’m probably grieving the loss of my father who I NC’ed many years ago but never fully grieved the loss. The exMM, ticked all my daddy boxes like no other. Thus, the “timeline” doesn’t really apply to him. It’s a previous loss tangled up with the loss of fantasies, and coming to grips with reality.
        I really like your suggestions. He uses my work email and I can’t block him without creating a hailstrom. I know with time, his crumb texts won’t bother me. I loved the convo. How funny that somebody I’ve never met in person can so succintly summarize my life at the moment. Spot on and thank you. It may be the convo I have to have with my dad…not him!
        Oh I’ll bet Rev would be the best speech writer and Noquay’s environment policies would rock.
        You are right: “My life’s good, thanks for asking. bye now.” I’ll go to bed with that wonderful thought. That is going to be my new affirmation. How amazingly simple. Thank you, thank you. Sweet dreams Simple Pleasures.

        • simple pleasures says:

          runnergirl,in my youth I had the run of the mill casual and serious relationships, and I’ve had a wonderful 30 year marriage. One day my husband and I joined a club and there was mathman. All hell broke loose in my heart and mind. It was as if a floodgate opened up and my feelings poured out. So
          coming to BR I wondered what on earth it was about HIM that I wanted? (for goodness sakes I hate math!). And over my months here at my ripe age I realize it had nothing to do with him (or my husband) it was all about ME. So what was it about ME that I wanted him? My mind now knows he was my father figure right down to the tone of his voice. And both were emotionally incompetent but delightful in some ways. So my journey has evolved to resolving my feelings with my long deceased father and my living father representative. That is why these relationships are so powerful. I don’t think we ever “get over” our parent/parent figure. But with the kind of soul searching BR helps us employ we may eventually make peace. Fortunately my husband is not a father figure and I am lucky to have him.

  19. Lilly says:

    I was beginning to believe that there was something wrong with me because it’s taking me a long, long time to recover. Some days I’m still awash with pain, but I feel so much better after reading Nat’s post and many of the comments here. It’s ok if it’s taking time! Like many here, I’ve lost so much physically, financially and emotionally and it IS going to take time to rebuild my life. I’m going to be kinder to myself starting from today.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lilly. I am always glad to read your posts. Yes, Honey, IT WILL TAKE TIME. But, you will prevail and though you may never look back and think lightly of what you have been through, especially since you lost a child, there will be better days for you. You will recognize the progress you’ve made and that you are no longer where you are now. And, are you still where you were when it ended? No. Time marches on and you will repair the damage and really move on. I praying for you. Hugs, Tink.

    • Revolution says:


      I am amazed at how different you sound now from not long ago when you had your last contact with the jerk. It’s an obvious difference, I just want you to know. :)

      • Lilly says:

        Tink & Rev,

        You are right I’m not where I was when it ended and I do feel different in a strange sort of way. I think getting over it for me is about letting go and I’ve not completely let go yet, but I’m only hanging on by a thread. The AC just got in touch with me via my new university. I wasn’t surprised that he did because I’ve been on BR for a while now and some of them love to come back for another shot. I’m surprisingly calm about it. It brought up lots of feelings, but this time I haven’t pushed them away and I haven’t started to fantasise about what this could mean. I know what it means. He is an AC who wants to see if the door is still open, but it is firmly closed. Yes, I’m holding on a little, but to my baby, not him. There is a difference. I suspect he will disappear back into the hole he crawled out of when he doesn’t get what he wants (wow, that doesn’t even sound like me!). I hope that doesn’t sound bitter. I just don’t want to play the game anymore.

        • Revolution says:


          You don’t sound bitter, you sound grounded. Good for you. Your calmness is your entire being living in line with the truth of the matter with the AC, and the strength of your character. Enjoy the peace, dear.

  20. Late Bloomer says:

    It has been awhile since my last comment but I read regularly. Natalie as usual your blogs are right on point and so succinct to my life and internal struggles. When my thoughts and actions take me to those dark negative places. Your words of encouragement,support,care,validation,raw truth and thought provoking question as well as the BR community help me stay resilient. I’m a true work in progress….

  21. A Little Bit Stuck says:

    Another fabulous post. I know this probably sounds rather extreme but I truly belive Natalie saved me…from myself mainly! I’ve always found breakups difficult as I have some abandonment issues and a whole host of Father issues that have lead to negative beliefs around men generally. My recent breakup knocked me treamendously. I remember in the first few days not being able to drag myself out of bed to go to work. I spent days crying and when I did get back to work I spent a lot of time weeping in the toilets. I honestly thought I’d never be the same again. I thought I’d lost my one chance at happiness. People told me time was a healer and that is true, to some extent (though I didn’t want to hear it at the time). Then I found BR and everything started to make sense. Im now working on myself and my belief systems and I stopped focussing on the ‘rejection’ of the breakup and started focussing on the reality of the relationship/him…and that fact that he was actually a complete arse! In the last few months I’ve been back and forth. I’ve doubted myself, I’ve felt VERY nostalgic and empty without him. I’ve certainly had down days but Im really focussed on moving forward for MYSELF. I think one of the biggest problems with breakups is how much focus we put on the other person. I spent so much time thinking about his needs, how he was feeling, why I wasn’t good enough for him. He opted out, he’s not a part of my life and actually what he needs isn’t my concern anymore (thank goodness because he was typically selfish and dramatic and needy)! He can get on with his life and his (numerous) issues but I plan on dealing with mine.

    Im so thankful for this site, Natalie’s wise posts and all the wonderful support I’ve in these comments boxes so far. I thought I was alone in my thinking and my penchant for certain (awful) men but its been so lovely to see that none of us are alone. These men are about, there are many women who fall for them and hopefully if we learn to value ourselves more, we’ll see the signs before we get in too deep and end up getting very very hurt.

    I think I’ve turned a corner this past few weeks.I seem to have broken the ties emotionally.and its such a relief. Its been three months since we slpit, we work together and he wont stop contacting me. When it first happend I was a complete wreck, I even went to the doctors after suffering a panic attack. I thought this AC had broken me (forever) but it does pass. I turned the focus back to me, Im now working on myself and if I can do it anyone can! Honestly ladies, you will get there. Thoughts of him will fade and you’ll start to feel better day by day. x

    • meandthebump says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I too am stuck on the ‘rejection’ rather than taking off the rose-tinted glasses about the relationship and how it wasn’t meeting my needs anyway.

      I was worried that it has increased my abandonment anxiety (I burst into tears the other day when an acquaintance let me down for a social event that I’d been looking forward to, coupled with pregnancy hormones as per my story below), but I think it’s as much being able to identify these fears now, to acknowledge them and try to disconnect them from meaning anything negative about ourselves – i.e. just because my social event fell through, doesn’t mean I’m not worthy.

      You sound like you’re becoming brilliantly strong, A Little Bit Stuck, please keep sharing your inspirational progress.

      • A Little Bit Stuck says:

        Meandthebump – thanks you. Im certainly not there yet but I am starting to feel a lot better! I think YOU are actually incredibly strong,much stronger than you give yourself credit for. You are carrying this guys baby and it sounds like he’s not taking any responsibility or providing any support along the way. Thats some amazing strength in my eyes! I certainly couldn’t do it!

        I ALWAYS get upset when people cancel on me / I feel let down socially. However, I dont have the excuse of being pregnant :)

        You’re so right, identifying our fears is the first step in overcoming/understanding them. This is what Im starting with and boy do I appear to have a lot of fears motivating me.

        I really hope you’re doing well and I really hope you’re proud of yourself for handling what could have been a totally overwhelming situation for a lot of people. You’re doing so much better than you think. With the addition of hormones etc, things are bound to be tough at times. If I were you, I’d try to focus on the fact that you are bringing a child into this world as a responsble, loving, kind person. Unfortunately, your ex doesn’t seem to display any of these qualities at present. Im sure he’s not all bad and I personally hate it when people tell me my ex was a dead loss (I feel for him afterall). Everyone has their good points but it sounds to me like you need to rise above this guy and his immaturity and think about all the great things ahead for you :) x

  22. So timely! I have been questioning this obsessively for the past few weeks. It has been just over 6 months No Contact and I feel like it is taking me way too long to get over the year long “relationship” (actually relationship was 8 months).

    But I’ve started waking up to the fact that I have been setting myself up to look stupid in so many ways.

    Realising that it is taking so long, makes me so frustrated that I get angry with myself over why I can’t be stronger or heal faster. I then pile these feelings of hurt and force myself to feel shameful for being the scapegoat in the relationship and place the blame of HIS cheating on MY faults.

    I also find excuses to know more about what he is doing, and knowing that he is living his life to the full and drinking, partying, doing amazingly well at work and going around with a lot of girls makes me insanely jealous still and makes me feel like the fool who let herself be repeatedly used and abused.

    This contradicts the very first lesson of treating yourself with love and care that this post says!

    The reason it is taking so long is probably because it was my first relationship and because I had made myself completely vulnerable with him and made him the centre of my universe! And the traumatic way the relationship ended only added to the pain.

    I think it is time to take these rules and for me to realise that I can do better during the healing process.

    I really do wish there was a quick fix to this, but I guess the life lessons we learn now will be more valuable.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Wish. Don’t feel bad about it taking longer than you’d expect. I read somewhere and it has definitely been true for me that it takes twice the length of time to get over a relationshit than the time you spent in it. Now certainly, that cannot be a fact because people and circumstances vary. But in my case, the relationshit was 6.5 months long and it was 18 months later before I felt fully recovered. Keep the faith and you’ll be fine.

      • Dear Tinkerbell,

        I unfortunately read that it should take one month, or (if the relationship was traumatic) the same amount of time as the relationship. I took this very much to heart and then realised my 8 month deadline is fast approaching and I seem to have made no progress since December 1st, when I started No Contact.

        I broke NC last week when I asked to meet up to say “We should no longer be enemies.” Fool that I am, it led to him proclaiming he still loves me and there has “been no-one else” which I know is a lie.

        I’m so happy for you though. I read that you ran into your ex and didn’t feel a thing. I can’t wait to be in the same position!

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Yes. Wish. It will happen for you, too. Just be patient with yourself and really dedicated to recovering.

  23. A Little Bit Stuck says:

    Wishuponastar – your relationship sounds VERY similar to mine, same length, same feelings. He was my first love and the first guy I was vulnerable with etc. I blamed myself for opening up and for letting my guard down but thats not a bad thing. We just did it with the wrong person. You said he cheated on you, that must be a horrible thing to find out and deal with. However, him cheating reflects badly on him NOT you please remember that. It doesn’t feel like it now but you are better off without someone like that. You deserve more than that.

    Dont be so hard on yourself about the way you’re dealing with things. At least you are self aware and thats the first step to coming to terms with it all, I think. There isn’t a quick fix but you’ve made a good start by coming on here and looking to understand yourself/your relationships more in order to be happier. Do try not to look for any hints as to what he’s doing now. Remove him as a friend from FB and dont ask anyone about what he’s up to etc. Its just not worth it, it will only make you feel worse. It might sound like he’s out having fun etc but what people put out on show isn’t whats going on inside. Doesn’t sound like he treated you too well and he cheated so there are obviously issues there.He doesn’t even know how to appreciate a good thing when he has it or respect someone on a very basic level. I doubt this attitude will lead him to anything that great in life. You Just keep concentrating on you and you will get there. As NML says above, it takes people very different amounts of time to get over these things. I’ve always felt very judged for taking ‘too long’ to move on but it’s better to take your time, feel and heal, than to block things out, throw yourself into something else too quickly and repeat the same problems over again.x

    • Marianna says:

      This is such a soothing reply to all of us taking ‘our time’
      thank you

    • Dear A Little Bit Stuck,

      Your reply was incredible. In my case he was also the first person (guy or girl) who I had opened up to in about 7 years. I cut off all close friendships and then avoided becoming emotionally vulnerable after some initial hurt during my childhood.

      So his betrayal, and the cheating, just brought me to my knees and I am still struggling to get up.

      I sincerely do hope that it was just a case of the wrong person, rather than “You should never be vulnerable” which would mean that I can never trust another guy/girl again.

      Like I wrote underneath, I have been awful since I broke 6 months NC last Thursday by asking to meet up. I told him I wanted to be friends, to which he replied that he loved me still and just couldn’t be “Just Friends” with me. I have since been obsessively calling his landline (but putting it down if he picks up or it goes to voicemail).

      I know this is hindering my healing though, and I need to be strong enough to stop now. As I am typing this, I have made up my mind to stop calling him. He’s blocked on my Facebook though and his number has been deleted off my phone (though not from my memory!).

      I love your ending sentence! The only reason I haven’t tried to find a rebound (despite being approached) is because I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again. I want to learn and be stronger and wiser for my next attempt at love.

      I also read your post above and I can relate to “I spent so much time thinking about his needs, how he was feeling, why I wasn’t good enough for him.” This is all I seem to do! I wonder and wonder about HIS perspective, when I need to bring the focus back to me.

      Congratulations on breaking the emotional ties! You’re an inspiration :)

      • A Little Bit Stuck says:

        Wish – it’s funny how similar a lot of our stoires are huh…and comforting!

        I totally understand when you say you are still ‘struggling to get up’. I thought I was never going to feel the same again but I feel like myself again, finally. Keep reading Natalie’s very wise words and trust in time and yourself – you are stronger than you think.

        Dont worry, I think a lot of us have broken NC or tried to cling on by suggesting friendship. I certainly broke NC (regretfully). I knew from the start that being friends was never an option for me, I had to cut myself off. Sounds like your ex feels similarly negative about staying freinds. I dont know the situ or what happend between you but I’d take something positive form this. He’s trying to save you both from further hurt. Stay strong with NC and you will start thinking about him less, I promise.

        I’m wishing you lots of luck and look forward to hearing how you get on. I know that everyone here can and will feel better because I have and I never thought I would. Time brings perspective and perspective brings clarity and clarity allows you to focus on reality.

        Just as a little additional note, my ex has now asked to meet up. Long story short, he future faked, had AC tendancies and broke my heart TWICE. Now he wants to meet up and introduce me to the daughter that he never felt ‘ready’ to introduce me to before – WHAT! I had to laugh. I wept so hard over this guy. I wanted nothing more to hear from him in the early stages but everytime he’s said any of the things I thought I wanted to hear, it didn;t make me feel any better. In fact, I felt worse. Weird that they ALWAYS come back. These guys ALWAYS come sniffing round when they think you might have forgotten about what happened or have let go of some of the anger. Im at the clarity stage though, he has nothing to offer me but more heatache, its a no from me :) x

  24. meandthebump says:

    I had a NC relapse yesterday, and this article is helping me get over not giving myself such a hard time about it – ‘unforeseen circumstances’ and that grief doesn’t go in a straight line, those words really help me today.

    I was in a 5-month relationship with a EUM, ignoring red flags (lack of progression and emotional depth, talking about me to his ex-wife, using text messages as only contact between meeting, no phonecalls) because he chose to be with me 24/7 every weekend and I was betting on potential.

    He ditched me when I fell pregnant, reset himself with a new girlfriend immediately, and despite a couple of emails about “not leaving me in the lurch” proceeded to do exactly that and abandon me and his unborn child. The only time I got him to interact, was to attend the 12-week ultrasound scan, but he brought ‘hash cakes’ (cannabis) to consume in the hospital toilet to help him cope. And after that, whined about how he was afraid of how to tell the new gf that I was pregnant after they’d been together 6 weeks.

    After that, I wised up – this man isn’t going to ‘man up’ and change – I went NC, which of course then made him contact me more, though only by email no phonecalls.

    So here I am, now 6 months pregnant, with the love of my family and friends supporting me. Still every day, I feel angry and perplexed at how this “great guy” who seemed really into me could just dump his pregnant girlfriend also take no interest in his unborn daughter. But take no responsibility for his actions and seemingly get off scott-free (I hope he lives to regret it one day).

    Two months NC, he hasn’t even asked about the baby, and I’m starting to notice gaps in my day when I don’t think negatively about it all, and I start looking forward to being a mum at last! Thank god!

    Then I get a 4-D ultrasound scan, with a great scan pic of the little babe’s face, and she looks just like him – same nose, same shape face… that was tough to see, though good to see she is a healthy baby. So yesterday I emailed him the pic, saying “she has your nose”. I really shouldn’t expect him to change, but it’s done now. I’m human and have feelings, and still think it’s horrible what he’s done, and have to recognise there will be times when I am not strong enough to keep NC. I wish I could stop thinking about what he’s doing now and whether he thinks about us and feels bad about what he’s done.

    • meandthebump says:

      Just managed a smile, to think that I am now a red flag in the new relationship reset he was so desperate to ditch me and the baby for: as NML says in the Mr Unavailable book, “does he have an ex-girlfriend that’s pregnant?” The new gf sure hasn’t done her due diligence on that one! Maybe she’ll end up needing this website too. I should stop being jealous of why her not me.

    • beth d says:

      Bump Congrats on the impending birth of your beautiful baby girl. I think you are going through the “how could I have been so wrong about someone” syndrome that most of us here go through. He sounds like a sociopath/coward with no conscience who ran from a difficult situation. It’s ok to feel pain because you need to grieve to move on. It will get better and better for you as long as you stay NC. Good Luck

  25. 2fearce says:

    A friend told me to stop counting my time by my breakup with my ex. What a revelation! (Who is she Jesus Christ?) Yes, things are different in the wake of her but I will not mark my life by her; if anything, this is the time I go back to truly loving myself… its bn a while since I did that. Waaay too long!

  26. Genki says:

    Natalie, I’ve found your posts give me a strength I did not think I had. I’m finding joy again and realise that life is really fun and putting focus on him is detracting from the great things. Finding out your husband of 6 years is a lying cheat is gut wrenching but I’ve learnt a lot. Reality check is very important. To help myself I think of how shit he was at times, and lately I’ve been having a good life without him, enjoying my daughters company. Sometimes I just want to swear & scream at him, but I think back on Nats posts, I’ve done that and it didn’t work. Some people ate just shit and don’t deserve my attention. Thanks to all on here, and life is about fun not waiting around for these tossers! Xx

  27. Swissmiss says:

    Really happy you wrote this, meandthebump. I am so glad you and your child won’t have this man in your lives. Just a roadblock to all the joy that is ahead for you.

    The few times I broke NC, my main emotion was SHAME. Silly, really. We are human and want to have answers. Sometimes it takes a while to realize those answers won’t be new or different, and neither will he, so why bother? After a while, breaking NC was like a self-inflicted wound.

    My goal right now is to TRUST THE PROCESS. The affair was over long ago, but the issues I have to deal with in myself remain. I am on a voyage of discovery, thru therapy, and want to use the affair experience to enrich my life. All that pain! It has to pay off SOMEHOW, might as well be with me loving me.

    • A Little Bit Stuck says:

      Swissmiss – qhat a fantastic attititude. We should make all that pain pay off somehow.

  28. Tabitha says:

    Those early days were so painful, I don’t know how I would have got through it without BR. The relationshit only lasted 6 months. I am now NC for over 7 months and doing really well. I do still probably think about him every day, but I know I am missing the version of him I made up, “Fantasy Guy” that I miss, him and our “Fantasy Relationship” where he actually valued me and treated me consistently well.
    If it helps anyone else, I have noticed that If I do feel down or am thinking of him more, it is usually because I am ill/tired/bored. I tell myself it will pass and it does.
    I got a little bit of my pride and self esteem back by ignoring his attempts at contact. I really don’t think he saw that coming!

    • Tabitha,

      I’m so glad you posted this! I miss him the most when I’m ill/tired or bored too! In those moments, I need him there to care, to hold me and to just be there.

      There are some instances when I miss him when I’m out with friends and think “This would have been so much more fun if he was here.”

      And then I realise that if he WAS, I’d have to spend all the time thinking about catering to HIS wishes!

      I’ve been awful for the past two days, calling his landline non-stop and putting the phone down straight away if he picks up or if it goes to voicemail. It’s becoming an addiction, and I can’t wait to break it!

      I also miss the Masculine-Perfection-in-human-form version of him, rather than the very real Frog-who-isn’t-a-prince version. I need to keep reminding myself of what’s ‘real’.

    • kayakgirl says:

      Hi Tabitha,

      Your post really resonates with me. The ‘fantasy’ is what I miss, and like you, my really difficult days occur when I am ill, especially during PMS. That’s a VERY bad time, but I also know that it will pass and it does every time.

    • Fern leaf says:

      Hi, I totally agree. I realize I think about him when I’m bored!

  29. FX says:

    meandthebump, I’m glad you’re happy about the baby. Whether he does or doesn’t feel bad about what he’s done or want anything to do with you or the baby, he still has legal responsibility. It takes two to tango – or make a baby. I hope you plan to pursue support from him for his child. Even if you don’t think you want to now, please don’t make any emotional decisions about this. In the time it takes your child to reach adulthood, a lot can and will change. It concerns me that you wrote: “…no responsibility for his actions and seemingly get off scott-free (I hope he lives to regret it one day).”

    • Allison says:


      I agree with FX.

      You have much joy, but also many challenges ahead. I would seriously address the support issue, as he is obligated financially to his daughter- I guess he will have a little less cash to spend on his weed. Loser!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        meanthebump. YOU will decide what is best for you and your child. He has a responsibility, absolutely, but don’t allow your decision to be a revenge thing, because he should not get off scott free. That can back fire and bring you more pain and aggravation. You want to have peace, don’t you? In my case, I had suffered physical beatings. It all depends upon your personal circumstances which took place in the relationship, and how traumatic it was for you. Only YOU know that. Good luck and have a great delivery of a HEALTHY, BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      meandthebump. Yes, you are an amazing woman. You take your licks and keep on ticking. (That’s an American saying). What you decide to do about him will be very complicated, and very personal. Nobody can advise you. I’ve been in your position, somewhat. My first husband was a devil. I had to finally leave him permanently for the 4th time, and go to live with my mother. Our daughter was 18months old. I had to go back to school in order to have sufficient income to raise her by myself. I did this while living with my mother. When I look back I am unbelievably thankful that she was so helpful and generous with me. She was my backbone. She made it possible for me to cut contact with my husband who had been physically abusive, doing some horrible things to me. In my case, I did not want anything thing to do with him and was willing to sacrifice any financial help her could give. He had a menial job so it would not have been much help, anyway. I wanted to rely on myself alone and not have the ongoing situation of dealing with visitation, etc. That was me. You may feel differently. I, like, you had a supportive family which meant so much. Take your time to decide what you want to do about your child’s father. There are many children who grow up with one parent. My daughter finally met him at age 11. She did not like him at all, and I had nothing to do with it. I had never spoken negatively about him because he was not discussed period. She new zero about him but she found out because he had never changed. I know with the help of your BR education, etc. you will make the best decision for you and your child. Prayers from me to you both.

  30. A Little Bit Stuck says:

    Meandthebump – I could write you a huge message after reading your moving story but I wont bore you or everyone else on here. All I will say is, you are an AMAZING and brave woman! I hope for everyone’s sake this guy plays an active role in your daughters life and pulls himself together when she’s born. Its natural to want to reach out to him and share scan pics etc, she is a part of both of you afterall. So pleased you have the support of friends and family to help you along the way. Wishing you all the luck in the world! x

  31. Marianna says:

    Thank you for this. It has been two years since it ended and 1 year since I last had contact. But sometimes it feels as fresh in my head as if it were last month. I have felt a lot of shame and despair at myself for taking so long to get over it. Frustration and anger with myself begets more and I find myself in ever decreasing circles of Why? Why am I the slowest person in the world – ever – to get over someone! I can read advice and absorb it brilliantly on a logical level, everything Nat says makes perfect sense. Same with my therapist. But I just can’t seem to absorb it beyond my brain, I still hurt with my heart, I still yearn and hate myself for it. I sometimes feel like giving up on ever getting over this. I have been single ever since and just dont meet men I can connect with anymore. I suspect this would help but just doesn’t happen. Is it just a case of time?

    • Sunshine says:

      Marianna, I just wanted to let you know you’re certainly not the only one feeling like this. It’s taking me ages too. It’s been more than two years for me and 1.5 years of NC, and I’m still struggling. I too understand everything at a rational level, but my heart just doesn’t want to catch up! I’m getting tired of it, frankly, and maybe this is the solution: I’ll eventually get so tired of all this “getting over my ex” process that I will ginally let it go!:) I read somewhere that if it’s taking you ages to get over someone, it’s either because you still haven’t got angry enough or got tired of it enough:)

  32. noquay says:

    Your situation is a lot like mine; I think Nat should have added
    “proximity” to the list. I do When you have to see, deal with them throughout the week, then run into the latest conquest at the grocery, downtown, at meetings, it truly sucks. I will never date anyone that I have to see routinely in my region again. It’s such a relief not to have to see him per se since it is summer. It’s been two really hard years; complicated by a major project going belly up, health crises with my dad. Nat is right; while we grieve, they are f@#$ing around, moving on. I don’t know your age, but in my age range, there are far more responsible, successful, healthy, drug free, women than men out there. He will always have lots of choices, I will have very few to none. I hope you have learned a lot since your breakup, become stronger.

    • simple pleasures says:

      Noquay, I think of you and want to relate some things about your posts and this post of Nat’s.
      1. length of relationship: 2 years is substantial. 2. unforeseen circumstances: project going belly up, ill father 3. previous losses: your husband who treated you well.
      now think about 4. your lifestyle: Do you occupy your life as you reside in it, value it, fill it up with things that help your recovery? Over the months you have told us you have lost interest in your students and do not value the people where you live. There’s no future in this town, but you may be stuck there for 7 more years. and 5. your self esteem: “you may be going through the motions of life to take care of yourself (e.g.running marathons) but-if your head is polluted with negative thoughts this directly effects your recovery time”.
      Now Noquay, the 2 years has been hard for you, you have to see him, and he may be the great disappointment
      of the 21st Century, but to move on from his hold over you-
      Just a suggestion-try looking at your life like a pollution project you are studying, assessing, data collecting and write yourself a grant on how to solve it. How would you clean up the toxicity in your life? You are a professional expert at this so just do it for you!
      Many say having a positive attitude and having gratitude for what you do have will lead you to feel content.
      Let me start you off with some thoughts to say: today I am grateful I am smart, got an education, have a career in a field I care about, am able to support myself, have a place I call my own home, have survived cancer and live a healthy lifestyle, enjoy the great outdoors…(you keep going, your future will be fulfilling).

    • Sanntay says:

      Noquay: I have certainly learned a lesson regarding proximity. It’s like adding fuel to the fire. Never been one to want to rush time forward, but I am anxious for the end of this contract because I’m hoping that will be the last I ever see or hear of him. There is, unfortunately, the possibility that we could be on the same team on another project, as the construction industry is small and ever revolving.
      Some days I feel like I’m getting stronger, and other days, not so much. It bothers me that he tries to make trivial contact with me at work now and then, when clearly he could ask someone else in the office to do what he asks of me. But I continue to remain professional, even though I’m sure my facial expression is saying “Damn, can you just leave me the F alone already?”
      In my age range (40s) I haven’t run into any prospects that have their heads on straight. Granted, I don’t get out that much. Somehow, I seem to attract the players, ex-cons, and guys who think I would be interested in being the OW. Guess that’s why I was so fascinated by this AC, he seemed so different and I was really impressed by him: looks, brains, humor, and ambition. Got swept up, carried off, then dropped like a hot potato. I realize I still have a ways to go before I can even think of being bothered by anyone else. My walls have gone back up…even higher.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Sanntay. This is a long shot, but you request not to be on the same team as him, without raising suspicion as to why it’s important to you? If you think he would be told about it then that wouldn’t be a good idea if your request was refused and you did end up together. What do you think?

        • Sanntay says:

          Tink: I considered that and realize that it would definitely raise suspicion given that I’m not relocating or changing my job duties per se, AND because we were so close in the beginning, but EVERYONE sees how dramatically that dynamic has changed. I’m sure he’d catch wind of it–not that he’d care, but I don’t want to cause a shitstorm because I will get through this. Turns out the other coworker I’d suspected him of messing around with quit last week stating she didn’t want to work with him anymore (named him specifically). I don’t think anyone has told him yet, but again, he doesn’t give a damn. So, other than quitting the company altogether (not even an option after 17 years), I’m pretty much stuck.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            OK, Hon. I still hope you won’t have to put up with him when the project ends. You need some relief. But I know you will keep working on yourself and, who knows, maybe if the dreaded does happen you won’t feel bothered about it. I think he goes out of his way to talk to you because he knows he’s been a jerk, and wants to appear to be “Mr. Nice Guy”. But, it’s too late for that. Furthermore, it’s to make HIM feel better, not you. Also, even though he may be a good actor, he feels some discomfort because you’re a reminder of his poor character and if you two could be friends he’d feel better. They are so pathetic. Aren’t they? They only care what you think when it relates to them personally.

            • Sanntay says:

              Thanks Tink. I always appreciate your insight. Sadly, I believe that he’s just a cold hearted bastard who is not bothered by any of this. It’s par for the course to him, and now that he has a new fish on the hook, he doesn’t have time to consider all the bridges he’s burned along the way. I find it hard to believe that he is capable of feeling any guilt at all, so the “acting” is futile. Pathetic is one of many words I’d use to describe him.

  33. Peanut says:

    I very much enjoy Natalie’s emotionally intelligent art. And while I could not have made the strides in recovering from a toxic relationship mostly with myself without Natalie’s resources, I think my views might differ on some things.

    The relationship with my ex lasted 2.5 months. A year and a few months later I am still broken from it. I cried at my desk this morning at work recalling a sweet memory between he and I. Natalie is right to say that having a linear idea of grieving isn’t real. I did this. I was convinced that it would take exactly a year to grieve, get over and move on from the ex. And on the exact day from a year to the date we broke up I celebrated (paying for a bunch of items and services at a spa I could not afford). I was surely disappointed when it turned out that even though it had been a year, I was not over the ex. I was obsessed with that year thing. I wanted time to heal me. I didn’t want to heal me. What heals us is feeling our pain first and foremost, responding to ourselves with compassion, sharing our stories, supporting others in similar perils, shedding toxic beliefs and replacing them with beliefs more suiting for our truest desires: to love and be loved.

    I dated a man a few years before the last ex that did me in. He was most undoubtably unavailable as was I (neither of us were aware). I fantasized the entire month of the tryst. Our kids, house, travel etc. We were carving out a lifetime together in my mind. I went to study abroad for a little over a month and when I came back he had “fallen in love with someone else” but still wanted to be friends. I told him no and cut contact without knowing exactly what I was doing. I half cried that night and woke up relieved and satisfied that it was over. I wasn’t really attracted to him emotionally or physically. I think I was just bored. He even kind of repulsed me. I was over it in days.

    Fast foreward to the next guy (my ex). We only dated for a bit over two months and I am still in shambles over a year later.

    I have read books on subconscious infantile attachment, romantic relationships from many different stand points, and Natalie’s very helpful resources. But, I still can’t fully explain it. Why the pain lingers, etc. And now I’m getting to a point that it really doesn’t matter why. What matters is that I feel that pain, hurt and longing without needing an explanation for it.

    No contact was the best decision in the case with my last ex. I would never had been able to do it without Natalie and BR support. Natalie deserves nothing less than a lifetime of gratitude from me. I don’t feel I owe her anything because that’s not why she does what she does. But I have respect.

    Where our views differ is that for me isolating is yes what helped lead me into this last abusive relationship, but it’s also what’s helping me to heal. Initially after the breakup I kept busy. Now it is time for solitary reflection via some time off from work, teas outside, walks with my dog, lazy afternoons swinging solo at the park. I had to step back and reevaluate my life, actions, surroundings and behaviors. This isn’t a permante isolation, but a needed one.

    • EllyB says:

      Peanut, I agree with you regarding healthy self-isolation! I think this is crucial for many people who need to process severe childhood trauma.

      In my case, getting over that guy (whom I had dated for only a few weeks) happened pretty quickly, but now, more than two years later, I am still dealing with my deeper issues. I was raised by a psychopathic mother and as an adult, I had a best woman “friend” who was personality disordered as well. Had I gotten back in touch with any of those two toxic women after my breakup with that guy, that wouldn’t have helped me at all… it might have lead to my suicide instead. I am serious.

      I think at some point some of us need to make the choice to process it all alone… because only we can do it, and if we don’t, the risk of getting involved with another predatorial person is quite high.

  34. Lacy says:

    Hey Nat, this post is an eye opener for me.I’m doing the work, he continues to contact me private calls,and different num, I just don’t answer.

    I have no more desire to engage in his shenanigans. I still have my days when I vision if things were different how nice it would’ve been to have a life with him, but I know for that to happen he would first have to love, care and respect me.He’s not capable of loving me so I have to get that out my head.

    Nat u talked about it takes longer to get over someone if u had a previous loss.My fiance died in 06, a mth later is when the xclown and I got back in touch.I realize that just this yr I feel at peace with the loss of my fiance. I lost my brother to cancer last yr in may and at the same time xclown and I were going back and forth.The situation between us had been over for yrs I just never excepted that it was over, just kept hanging on.Being ignored,used and in a relationship on his terms for yrs.When I see I just didn’t want to be alone but I really was with him.I filled my life and consumed myself with the wrong person, and it ate away at me physically and mentally.

    So I’m hear doing the work feeling the feelings and I know I will survive, I feel good today.

    Thks baggage reclaim and all the women on this site I wish u all the best, I thought I was crazy as the x would say, I see that I have to take charge of my life, I am responsible for my own happiness and to keep engaging in the shenanigans with the x its not him hurting me its me hurting me.
    Thks you guys!!!!

  35. Carrie says:

    Tabitha and TinkerB,

    Thank you again! Tab, I was in it so I couldnt or didnt want to see the obvious…no one understands why I would have given him the time of day in the first place! I thought I could show him something different something other than the street life and that I didnt want anything but him..not money or anything material..just him. After he decided that he didnt want to deal with my emotions or expectations and ended it, I was determined ro redeem myself after I had again showed up at his house uninvited..following my gut instict…trying to make him see how much I cared for and loved him crying begging and pleading for him not to let me go. He is an ass! Now I have realized that I wasnt the full blame and it wasnt all me…I also now accept he will never be accountable for his part in the break up because he doesnt know how. He ia all about ego.

    I am proud of myself for each little step I have made. Reading BC everyday and your responses makes me dig deeper and see things more clearly. I thank my sister for sending me the blog everyday and for this situation happening to make me begin to love..honor..and respect ME and the beautiful person I already was and will once again become!

    I really cant believe the person I allowed him to make me into in 9 months…Hes really not that special!

  36. Peanut says:


    I couldn’t agree more. I need isolation. For a bit. Other than from seeing my therapist weekly, BR, seing people out and about, I need this time to myself for myself. I use being busy and projects to deflect from what I’m feeling. I need to grieve, stop conceptualizing, and just be. Then I will be strengthened and ready to move.

    One of my biggest assets that lead to my resilience is my introversion. One of my biggest downfalls that leaves me hungry for any attention is my tendency to isolate. This is where balance and discernment come into place. I honestly don’t ever want to be this lonely again. I have no one close to me. I have a belief that life inevitably throws you isolating circumstances.

    As an adult, being abandoned and feeling totally alone not having a clear picture as to what is next is my biggest fear. I am facing that.

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:

      Peanut and EllyB,

      I also agree in healthy self-isolation. Like you, I have found that I really need to process my childhood trauma alone, and that has included long walks by myself and taking time off from work, etc… and it has, truly, benefited me.

      Also, yes, I think we have to be careful not to isolate ourselves too much, etc.

      However, Peanut, I don’t think that Natalie was stating that she didn’t believe in healthy self-isolation, or spending time alone with ones-SELF, etc …at least that isn’t what I ‘got’ from what she wrote in this post, or from her other writings.

  37. jules says:

    What do you do when your “mr. Unavaiable” gives you stds anf then completely destroys your life and you find out hes with someone else whos likely the reason why you have the std to begin with. How do you even begin to deal with that painful breakup

    • jewells says:

      Jules, get yourself to the doctor to deal with the physical aspect, then get yourself to a therapist to help your healing the rest of it. Like all of us here, there is a lot in this for you to learn about life and people. You are in the right place here for additional support and information.
      One of the biggest healing aspects for me has ben the knowledge that I’m not alone in my experiences, that there is not something fundamentally wrong with me for having them. I had that erroneous belief all my life, that my bad experiences, rejections, failures, mistakes were all because there was something wrong with me. Nope, I’m just human, having a human experience, bumping into other flawed humans and summing up my worth and measuring with the wrong stick.
      I read tons now, everything from novels with strong heroines to self help books and sites and this one almost every day. A quote I read somewhere said ‘it is easier to make a good man wise than a bad man good’. This is what I’m trying to do, get wise, learn from my mistakes, especially the ones that involved shady characters and manipulators (like my last ‘epiphany’ one).
      I know it hurts like hell, been there. All you can do is feel the feelings, even when they feel like you want to double over and vomit, the only way to get the lesson and get over it is to go through it. Do it for yourself, even when it feels like hell, it will pass, but only if you feel it in it’s entirety. Give yourself time, give yourself permission to do this for yourself. One day you will look back and see it for what it is and thank goodness he went to be with her so you could heal and find what you deserve in a healthy mature relationship.
      Good luck, and welcome. He came into your life to destroy it so that you can make an even better one…

      • jewells says:

        Oh, somewhere in this thread someone wrote something that struck a chord too… that even though she’s a mess since her AC, she has something she didn’t have before: Character. Amen to that.

        • jewells says:

          Oh wait, there it is, right below: Peanut’s quote, yay peanut, so true.
          I know I’m stronger and wiser for my experience. Working out and taking care of myself like I hadn’t been for a long time. Aware of myself to a greater degree. Take even less shite. Finishing my place so that I have the dream home I wanted and not just leaving it a dream and living out of boxes perpetually – yeah, really, I got so used to being unsettled that unpacking and organizing my surroundings was low on the list of priorities. Now, I’m doing everything I can as I can to get this place in order so I have a beautiful environment to create my new life from. I am embarking on living my life true to me, I was only do so on the surface before, now it’s to the core…

          • beth d says:

            “it is easier to make a good man wise than a bad man good’. This is what I’m trying to do, get wise, learn from my mistakes, especially the ones that involved shady characters and manipulators” I love this jewells!!! I also did the same thing as you jewells! Fixed up my house beautifully, organized, and got my body in one of the best shapes it has ever been in. Tink it really is great to kick our old personas to the curb and renew!

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Jewells, everything you have said gives me a wonderful feeling, and particularly what you said to Jules is profound. You are doing so well and I am happy for you. Isn’t it great to kick that other person (your old self) to the curb and be renewed?

            • jewells says:

              Hi Tink, thankyou for your acknowledgement :) I am doing well. Not perfect, but then I no longer expect myself to be. So, setbacks and yucky feelings, when they occur, just occur, then they pass and I get on with it. I’m seeing and feeling results and accept that it’s a journey not a destination. In this I find solace. And this is what I hope for all here :)

        • Teddie says:

          Amen to Peanut the Wise One!

  38. Peanut says:


    Not that I take pleasure in you pain or misfortune but I couldn’t help but smile when I read your comment because I know how it feels in a way.

    When I met the ex a year ago, I had finally gotten my skin problems under way for a few years and had creamy, decent skin. I looked quite a bit younger than I was (27). My hair was always thoughtfully done, makeup perfect. I never drank caffeine and slept like a baby.

    Now? Hah! I swear I’m going through another adolescence as my face is like a pimply teenager’s, my hair is everywhere all the time, lines I was barely getting perhaps are deeper, a steady fix of caffeine (other than lunch) is the highlight of my day, and I’ve been suffering from a mean bout of insomnia for the past year (I know the caffeine doesn’t help).

    But if I could choose to go back in time to who I was before I met the ex, I wouldn’t. Because now I have something I didn’t before the ex: character.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Peanut. Character is so much more important than outer appearance. I think we, as women, face the ongoing challenge of being beautiful inside and out simultaneously. It’s easier when we are not overly critical of ourselves, patient, consistent and keeping our priorities in order. Your thinking, at your age, is profound and your level of maturity is astounding. All the best. Tink.

  39. Laurel says:

    Took me 7 years to get over my college boyfriend, and 5 years to get over a guy when I was in my mid-30th. I considered it a raging success when it only took me 2 years to get over somebody when I was 50 years old!

    Pain and grief is directly proportionate to denial , self blame, bargaining (fantasizing/wishing for a different outcome), lack of self-esteem, fixation on the last person never being able to be replaced, and having never gotten over loss in the first place, so that each loss adds onto the prior ones.

    God article, Nat! As usual, your writing brings up such accurate and necessary things to know and learn from – THANK YOU.

    • Marie83 says:


      “fixation on the last person never being able to be replaced”

      I am here now – I am 30 years old and my last boyfriend was the only really significant one I have had – in that I could ‘imagine’ settling down with him and thought (still think) that I won’t love anyone liked I loved him (I should point out at this point that this love was one sided and I never felt he loved me) I realise he is very very bad for me and I am his ‘fallback girl’ – he isn’t accountable to me in any way and can justify his behaviour in all kinds of wonderfully creative ways – I no longer see him as a wonderful human being and the dynamics of us being together would never work as he is essentially a very limited man but still I pine and any contact he invariable makes with me and the ‘missing you’ text messages whilst i do recognise them to be utter BS still a part of me clings to the fantasy that he may have ‘changed’

  40. Tellitlikeitis says:

    Tinkerbell, you gave me a pause. I really do. Thanks.

  41. EUM-R says:

    Final NC with exwife is going well. Just a few months ago my thinking was so twisted that I believed I had to give her sex to calm her down for son’s graduation. Thanks to BR and your helpful replies, i was able to put her in NC before the graduation and it really was the best thing i could of done. I really wanted our son to have a graduation picture of him with mom and dad on each side, but oh well I was there on my side – and i’m not responsible for the other side. It was silly of me to think that i could control her behaviour.

    It was a long term marriage and high conflict divorce so it will take a long time for me to heal.

    I’m officially SINGLE now, I eneded the benefits with FWB and now she is just a friend. She got a little upset because we went to party and right in front of her I got a girls phone number and then I had 2 more flirting up a storm ha ha.

    All kinds of wierd stuff has been happening. Girls are sandwitch dancing me and I’ll just kiss a girl on the dancefloor if i feel like it

    • Allison says:


      Thrilled to hear you ended the FWB, but I am a bit uncomfortable about the continuous mention of multiple women. It seems to be very important for you to be gaining attention from so many. Why is this so important for you? Do you really require so much validation?

      • Tinkerbell says:

        EUM. I agree with Allison. This is cause for concern. I remember very well your bragadocious comments when you first came on here, and you seem to be making good progress which is great. But you still have issues, (flirting, etc.) which need to be addressed. It’s OK in that we all have stuff we need to continually be mindful about and work on.

        • DiggingDeeper says:

          Yep, so agree with Tink and Allison. Do you really want to be that kid in the candy store right now?


          I’m so not taking you seriously right now.

          • Used says:

            you shouldn’t–he’s a loser.

            he’s on here to see the impact his type has on (stupid and/or insecure and/or loser-like-him) women.

            unless he really WANTS to change, he’ll make the same mistakes again, with the same types of women.

            so, until then, let him be.

            • EUM-R says:

              Im celibate/no sex with anyone.

              Im officially single for about a week so far.

              I went out with former FWB a couple times and had fun and kept it platonic.

              Im 6 months out of divorce and just going out and having fun meeting people and yes especially flirting up a storm!!!

              You are correct that i’m just going to “Fake it till u make it”

              havent figured it out yet, but now that i’m single/celibate i can get that out of the way and focus on the inner work

  42. Peanut says:

    On Leaving Sugarland,

    You and EllyB bring up the topic of taking time to process childhood trauma alone. It’s funny because my entire adult life has been spent trying to get someone else to do that for me.

    I like that you expressed that you did not get the conclusion that I got out of Natalie’s writings. It is certainly possible that I am isolating things she writes based on my own fears due to the fact that I resigned from my current position and mostly withdrew socially. I still think both are the right decisions for where I’m at yet I have concern for getting stuck.

    Also, part of my healing is to check my disagreements in order to make sure they come from a sound and respectful place. I am grateful for your perspective.

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:


      You are such of a beautifully, gifted soul, and I truly enjoy reading your writings; for, I continue to be amazed by your clarity, and something that can only be described as beyond self-reflection and self-expression.

      I have shared your fear of getting ‘stuck’, and I have gotten ‘stuck’ many times during my journey, thankfully, only to, later, find purpose in it, and great meaning, which has caused me to ‘get un-stuck,’ and move forward; it always feels like a different form of growth, and I pray ‘this’ for you.

      Also, if I really ‘get stuck’, I ask for help, not easy for me, but I find it doable.

      Yours in the struggle,
      ~~On Leaving Sugarland

      • Peanut says:

        Thanks On Leaving Sugarland,

        I finished a large accomplishment today as it was the last day at my job. After big life decisions I tend to sink. Thank you for your words. I will take them to heart.

  43. teachable says:

    Oh Steel, GOLD STAR for that last post! And of course yr healing is taking time, longer than some perhaps. You lost an unborn child & jerkface is STILL trying his luck (ugh). I reckon I’m taking close to the longest of anyone currently posting to recover, as damage to all domains was so great. I hate the time it’s taking as this compounds the knock on losses. Nothing I can do push through & fight not to go under though & just like you, I too am hanging on by a thread. That’s why I’m not here so much. Still fighting for mere survival. Come join me for choccie bikkies in CC’s genie bottle love. This is the retreat centre for those of us taking our time. Genie bottles are cool btw. If you rub them just right you can start to see a future where we have indeed recovered! xxx

    • Lilly says:


      There truly will come a day when we will be celebrating our recovery. We have managed to keep our heads above water so far and we are true survivors. No AC will get the better of us! I would love to come and share some bikkies in CC’s genie bottle (I’ll bring the Tims Tams). Hugs, xx.

  44. noquay says:

    Simple pleasures
    You’re right in many ways; it’s not that I don’t value folk here; its that we are in a very different place. They have their lives, I have mine. I love my students and most of my colleagues but became burned out about my field which did start when I found out AC had multiple women. I do practice gratitude, I am grateful for my job, that’s why I spent two years of my time, gratis, trying to start a very radical new program. If I had supportive community, a real family, it would be a whole different situation. Since the end of my marriage, I’ve had to deal with cancer, with barely scraping by (previous job in MT), trying hard to build some sort of life here, completely solo. We do all need meaningful relationships with other folk. I feel I have made the best decisions I could under the circumstances, even if I am lonely, down, I deal with it constructively, doing stuff, keeping active, giving rather than getting into drugs, alcohol, and other forms of anaesthesia. I have learned a lot of warning signs to heed, people that needed to be removed from my life due to their toxic issues, what I need to avoid. I have learned a lot of skills by necessity. But yep, I still want a real relationship, to be loved and respected and to be able to love and respect that person in kind. I get upset often when told to settle for someone I share no values with, am not attracted to, who have potentially dangerous lifestyle issues. Again, we women outlive men, I am sure I will have a good two decades alone again, I don’t see why I should settle for being alone now. Sorry, I am human too. Yep, this town has some very unique issues due to its past history of resource extraction and an incredible tolerance of drug/alcohol abuse. Successful women are treated very differently in the dating world than their male counterparts. We are expected to give up more, settle for less plus demographics are not in our favor. Again, I am doing the very best that I can right now. I’ll apologize right now for any typos.

    • simple pleasures says:

      Noquay, as you have revealed yourself to us is why I pay attention to what you say and care about you and your future. You have so much going for you. When the chips are down you are resilient. You are an example to US.
      I just worry you are stuck and depressed with life’s current hand dealt. I guess we all wish each other to be strong, things will improve, but I guess more importantly we just have to say, be patient, and patience is so hard.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Noquay. I know it is not the easiest thing to do but what about relocating? You mentioned previously about a bigger town with a population of 25,000 as opposed to 2500, where you are now. If you don’t have family close you need a few friends. Really. Isolation for reflection is good, but it should not be a permanent situation. Please give it more thought because you always refer to your loneliness directly or indirectly. Hugs, Tink.

  45. Sheela says:

    “The length of the relationship. There’s no hard and fast rule. I’ve heard from people who after two years, are still trying to recover from a relationship that NEVER happened and people who it took several months to a year or so to get over a much longer relationship. Note that if it ends up taking you more than year to get over a relationship that didn’t start or was only a few months, it means that too much of yourself was invested in what you thought might happen or in this person’s perception of you.”

    Thank you for the clarity,Nat.
    Timely posts-this and the 3 piggies one.Needed to read these today.

    Much Love

  46. jules says:

    thank you for your kind words.. ive been receiving treatment.. “he came into your life to destroy it so I can build a better one” is a very productive way to look at it. Thank you

    • jewells says:

      Hang in there, you will be fine. Take care of yourself, exercise, eat healthy and be kind to yourself. It’s not an easy journey, but worth it. There is always a better perspective to be found on whatever is happening, and if you can’t find it yourself, come here and we will help with what we can :). You didn’t go into detail about what happened or when or if you initiated NC, or he did, but NC is the way to go. It gives time to gain perspective without his point of view interfering with your gaining a healthy one. I still have bad moments, and the worst is when I don’t do enough for myself. Exercise has really helped a lot. Cleaning up my place, putting effort into making it better has also reinspired me. Finding new purpose is key. I know ultimately to have a fullfilling life we have to have something bigger than ourselves to live for, but first we have to begin with ourselves, then we will have that much more to offer.

  47. Teresa Search says:

    I had to dump mu guy of 11 years for misconduct with the maid and gardener. Yeah it hurts. I have been doing a lot of nice things for myself to help boost me back up. No contact is essential but hard. He wanted to meet with me Sunday at 5pm. I agreed to meet him in town. He then changed it to 7pm at his house Sunday evening. I said no. Am I wrong here or was he trying to see if he could get laid? He was always so reliable about time and dates in the past.

    • Revolution says:


      The maid AND the gardener? Shit.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Teresa. Is he worthy of your even considering meeting him? He’s a womanizer and has probably done shameful things, to boot. FLUSH HIM, NC = NO CONTACT, NADA, FINI and keep reading BR. You’ll learn a lot, trust me.

    • Allison says:


      Your focus is misdirected. Didn’t you end things to to his shady behavior.
      Focus on what’s important!

      • Teresa says:


        Thanks for kicking me in the bum and reminding me. This morning he texted and wished me a good day. I didn’t reciprocate thanks to reminders like yours.


  48. Peanut says:

    Earlier I read a comment about someone contracting stds or an std from their unavailable? I’m pretty sure I read it earlier and decided to come back to it.

    Well, anyway, when I was seventeen (about ten years ago) I went to a gynecologist for a follow up appointment from an abortion. I was diagnosed and treated for an std that I’m pretty certain I contracted from a certain fella. Sadly, I did not quick sleeping with him. It took him going to prison for there to be distance between us and even then I still talked to him on the phone (at my or should I say grandparents monetary expense). And we wrote letters.

    I cut total contact several years ago. One day it dawned on me, “I’m taking calls from an inmate.” I blocked his number, have maintained a healthy sense of fear of him and haven’t spoken to him or had any contact since.

    That said, unavailable men effect are health as women on all fronts. Let us never underestimate the damage staying with them can do.

  49. Jay says:

    After 3 months of NC i actually realised a week back that the reason it is still so difficult is that secretly im still have a fantasy of us together at a future time. The future “conversations” still plays in my head. The though of a future without her at some stage coming back into the picture is now more a reality and i can feel the invisible string that tied me to her finally disconnecting. Let go of an future fantasies. It helps.

    • Landshark says:

      Boy, this futile exercise of imagining the future resonates. My ex and I have been broken up for six months, five weeks of NC and I blew it by not going into NC in the beginning.Listen to this, we met up for a drink and she invited me to go to her graduation ceremony with her NEW BF and parents. Of course I had to drag it out of her that she was seeing this guy. Told her that I wanted nothing to do with her. Regrettably texted her five weeks ago. The feeling? Shame and Boredom…glad we’re all in the same boat…this hurts in excruciating fashion but NC is the only way to go..hang there Jay!

      • shattered says:

        Shame and boredom yes I know how that feels. I was doing fine with NC until last week -when I had 4 days of not seeing or speaking to anyone at all. Since I was widowed 3 years ago, my married ‘friends’ have melted away and I’m no longer invited to dinners, etc. My few single friends are all busy with new and old partners, so when the ex AC phoned me yesterday I was feeling pretty low and agreed to see him over the weekend. To be honest it will be nice to have some company – even though I know he’s still the same shallow person with several women on tap. I think its better to have him as just a friend than no one at all. I do feel ashamed of myself though as he didn’t treat me well – typical AC. Maybe we’ll do better as just friends.We’ll see.

        • Lilly says:


          I can’t remember who said this, but some wise person on BR once said that if they didn’t treat you well as a girlfriend then they won’t treat you well as a friend. I’m scared for you. I do understand how you feel because I’m spending a lot of time on my own and I haven’t been out anywhere since the AC left me stranded miles and miles from home last February. I’m lonely, bored and depressed, and that also means I’m vulnerable just like you are. Please be careful and try to think of other ways to improve your social life (join a club, learn something new perhaps). There are good people out there waiting for you who won’t treat you badly. Take care and don’t overlook what he did. He may hurt you again.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Shattered. Listen to Lilly. I fully condone what she repeated from another poster. I also believe that you should never forget WHY you went NC. The likelyhood that he has changed is very slim. You are treading on dangerous ground. You are lonely and so you are more vulnerable. Combat the loneliness. He is not the remedy.

            • shattered says:

              Well Lily and Tinkerbell – the AC didn’t show up! He phoned on Sunday night to say he’d been busy – seeing friends! I told him what I thought of him and he hung up on me. I feel even worse about myself now. But on the bright side – there’s no way I’ll ever speak to him again.

  50. noquay says:

    I have had the house valued, met with financial consultants, have been looking for a job for two years. Due to the recession, I cannot get even close to what I’d need to pay off the mortgage and there is just no senior level academic jobs out there.That job would a presidency of a colcollege in a remote province of Canada so I may be adding even more isolation. Not sure they would think me sufficiently qualified, but I submitted my materials anyway. I am really close-ish to retirement and it’s kind of a case of suck it up and be done with a steady job for good or take a radically new, more responsible position and leave not too long down the road which really isn’t fair to your employer. I am not interested in being in academia past 60, want to meet progressive folk, build cool alternative buildings, get enough exercise, and start being on the front lines of protests again.

  51. Tinkerbell says:

    Noquay. I so understand. You’re approaching the time in your life when you’d like less responsibility on a high pressure job. Instead, you want to focus on what you ENJOY doing for Noquay, the things that mean the most to YOU. At the same time be able to share it with that special someone, or at least more close friends. Am I right?

  52. paolo says:

    I think i just don’t want love no more..It’s too difficult.

  53. grace says:

    We just broke up. It was the age difference (i,m too old to have children) and pressure from his family. Let’s see how long it takes.
    We did really love each other, I shall miss that.

    • Mymble says:

      I am very sorry Grace, that is hard.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Grace. NO, NO, NO! I’m so sorry. I was soooo happy for you. Do you think there is any chance of reunion? Do you want that? Ironically, I read about you at a time when I’m questioning my relationship with my boyfriend. After all this time 11 months, or so, I’ve finally seen a side of him that I did not like at all. But, I know I am not the most patient person and do not handle interpersonal conflict well at all. We’ll see. He doesn’t know that I’m having second thoughts. But, I am very transparent so unless I regroup he will find out. Oh well. That’s life.Wishing you all the best, Tink.

    • Lilly says:

      Oh Grace,

      Here is a big hug from me to a wonderful, wise, beautiful person. You will be just fine.

    • Tabitha says:

      Grace – am I misreading this or have you split from your lovely boyfriend? If so then I am so sorry. You spent so much time making sure he unfolded and seemed so happy. I am really sorry for you and sending you big hugs.

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh Grace, I’m so sorry. Now is the time to take care and nurture yourself. You are still the same brilliant, funny, insightful Grace with your own life. I wish I could take you out for a juicy hamburger, french fries, and a good ale.

      Sending cyber hugs and tissues.

    • simple pleasures says:

      oh Grace, you’ve shared so much on this site for years,which I have appreciated. So sorry. So very sorry.
      When you feel like you can come to us here and debrief so we can support you, tell us, was it mutual? A slow fade and
      it didn’t feel like it was progressing? Or did he do something
      assclowny and abruptly blindside you?
      I think no contact will be a challenge since you’ll see him at church. But since you weren’t sexually intimate and he was truly your friend, perhaps in time you’ll be friends. But remember Nat’s words, that it’s broken for a reason,
      and reconciliation is usually futile.
      I suspect this will take quite some time. Stay with us.

      • grace says:

        Nothing assclowny, he was a good boyfriend to the end but said we had to break up. At least he didn’t disappear. He told me in person. I could feel the pressure brewing in him so I wasn’t blindsided but now I’m in shock.
        He will likely go back to the states in a few months so friendship isn’t an option, I would lose him twice, and I don’t see friendship as something to hold out for. It evolves naturally or doesn’t. I loved him more than anyone I had sex with. Even so, I would say it was a sexual relationship in that we were sexually attracted to each other and physically affectionate.

        • BethD says:

          Wow it is shocking to have it yanked from you. friendship may evolve naturally in this case. It sounded like you guys had a really good thing and circumstances not his actions ended it. It also sounds like he handled it like a man. So sorry grace (hugs)

    • Selkie says:

      So sorry Grace. Sometimes things just don’t work even when we are trying and doing our best. His family sounds very over bearing. They actaully staged an intervention… like he is not a grown man able to decide for himself? I’m sorry this happened. Come here and let it out if you need to…we’re listening and supporting.

  54. noquay says:

    You got it. Want to write serious eco rants without being fired or having my house burned down. Be rid of schedules, routines. Be able to meet new people and yeah, have some sort of partner/husband again. Since my students need night classes, during the school year, I have little/no chance to be “out there”, and feel very trapped. Driving is downright dangerous in winter and all you’re going to meet is the ski resort crowd which is called the “ski and screw crowd” for good reason. Yep, I am grateful for my job but will be even more grateful when I hit 60 and quit.

  55. teachable says:

    thanks lilly. x. returns to comotose state under sofa in the genie bottle…

  56. 2fearce says:


    Did you age at a super fast rate or something? Cuz otherwise that didn’t cause it. It’s an excuse. Family thing too probably. For people who really love each other that wouldn’t matter.

    You are enough as u are dear! Remember that. Hold on to that.

    Head up.

    • Revolution says:

      I’m with Fearce on this one, Grace. Sending you hugs.

      • Revolution says:

        And to add….a “cultural thing”???

        Umm….unless you got more Chinese and he got blacker, I don’t see how this is “all of a sudden” an issue. I think the family is just nuts. They want to keep their dysfunction “local.” Anyway, my two cents.

  57. grace says:

    The family thing is major, I can’t say I understand it, it’s cultural. Some of the family flew over to stage an intervention and it was around then I noticed he’d stopped reassuring me about our future. He’d also been made redundant, so it’s been hard on him (and me).
    But, yes, if I was advising myself i’d say the right person would put you first and the family would have to fall in line.
    He’s from a big family and it’s odd only one of his siblings is married. And she eloped so I guess there’s a lot of control being exerted, and I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of that. Even my bonkers family has a better marriage rate. He half joked that he will likely have an arranged marriage.
    I’m not looking to get back together or even to be friends. I have to grieve and move on. It’s galling that I have to go through it again but i gave it my best effort and so did he. Sadly, it’s not always enough. Doesn’t make it “bad”.
    At least I can stop looking at babies and welling up because he couldn’t have one with me. That was the first thing I thought when he said we had to break up. And then how very much I would miss him.

    I was so used to his company and I forget I can’t just call him up and see him. I’ve deleted his no. He won’t be calling me up for sex or an ego stroke but I want to make it more difficult for ME to impulsively contact him.

    Thanks to you all above for your kind means a lot to me that I’m not alone in this. And it helps me dial down the drama. It’s not the end of the world, it’s survivable. Can’t eat or sleep though.

    • jewells says:

      Oh Grace, you can eat or sleep… you are heartbroken. I keep writing out things, my thoughts, then erase them as each train of thought seems to go somewhere that doesn’t seem fitting in the end. So, I just want to say that I am so sorry you have to go through this.

    • Rosie says:

      Oh, Grace, I’m so very sorry!

    • simple pleasures says:

      dear grace,
      you have just told us he’s been “made redundant” tough on you and him. Job loss in a stressful worldwide competitive economy. But job loss is emasculating for a man.
      you told us “babies …because he couldn’t have one with me” but the two of you must have known this/discussed it early on-not out of the blue?
      he half joked that he will likely have an arranged marriage. Bingo! Anything said jokingly is serious. That’s the whole answer to everything you are wondering about.

      • grace says:

        I got clarification. His visa runs out if he can’t find a job soon and the arranged marriage is a suggestion from his parents if he can’t toe the line. He feels these things are pointing him to leaving the country and breaking up with me. He didn’t want to carry on with me when he knew how things were going. I guess he thinks it shouldn’t be this hard.
        I know now as much as I need to know. That’s enough, I can’t keep going back for infinite detail.I know lots of us don’t get any explanation.

        • sushi says:

          hugs for you.The situation with job, visa and family is difficult but not insurmountable but it looks like he made his decision. I feel I would do the same as you-just accept it without further questions and stay in reality.I thought about how difficult it`ll be for you in church right now…hugs.

    • Wiser says:

      Grace, you’ve shared a tremendous amount of wisdom with everyone here, so I know you have plenty on tap to help yourself through this. I remember a post of yours some months ago when you said something like, if it doesn’t work out, I will be ok. And you will be. And you are!

    • Tulipa says:

      Hi Grace,

      I am sorry to hear your news.
      Look after yourself.

    • runnergirl says:

      That’s why I suggested a juicy hamburger, french fries and a good ale.

      I know how it feels to be used to his company and that you can’t see him. I’m sorry.

      The family thing sounds like you may have dodged a bullet, cultural or whatever.

      You know we’ll all be here for you no matter how long it takes.

    • Grizelda says:

      So sorry to hear about things, Grace. Not sure what to say that hasn’t been said already, but I hope you find comfort with all that’s been written here at BR about how many families somehow feel entitled to ‘run interference’ on each others’ emotional relationships purely for the sport of it.

      Sorry but if they’re performing interventions because they’re ‘concerned’ about pissant things like someone’s appearance, someone’s nation of origin, which different variety of sky-god someone celebrates, or someone’s ability or inability to DNA replicate and provide them (yeah, them) with their own preferred flavour of grandy-ba-bas or wee-widdle-nephews… this is NOT a family you would want anything to do with anyway. This is NOT a family of quality and NOT a family of 21st century reason. If they forced your ex to choose between them and you, just imagine what other devious dilemmas they’d cook up time and time again. This is the kind of family that would not have been satisfied until they made every living moment of your life hell.

  58. 2fearce says:


    No girlfriend in town that can come over n watch movies u thought were cool (before u knew btr)… Or ones with the huge cell phones or anything neon?

    Yes, Life will go on… small speedbump but keep driving. Be kind to yourself! N ice cream!

    Okay, now I’m off to watch a movie n eat ice cream. #joinme

  59. On Leaving Sugarland says:


    I hope you just get a chance to rest and take extra good care of yourself.

    You are a kind and giving person.

    May God continue to bless and keep you,

    Sending you love and light,
    (hugs), Sugarland

  60. noquay says:

    I am so very sorry you have to deal with this. However, I am confused. He knew how old you were from the get-go right? He knew you are Asian. Why weren’t these things, if they are actual problems, an issue at the start of the relationship? You’ve been here for so many of us that I think I can safely say that we are all here for you.

    • grace says:

      It’s a problem for his family.
      But the real underlying problem is that we had different goals. His life has been mapped out and he was following that plan when we met. I was a detour and he is back on track – famiy-approved wife, children, mission.
      I understand now that love cannot overcome comflicting differences in goals. Of course, if I was ten years younger it would be different but I’m not.
      He should have known better but so should I. He said very early on that he wanted a family but I pushed it out of my mind. Hindsight is 20/20 and there’s no point beating myself up over it now. The opportunity to opt out early has long since gone.

      • FX says:

        grace, I am so sorry and I don’t know if this will help or hurt to hear, but I don’t think he was such a “great boyfriend.”

        “He said very early on that he wanted a family but I pushed it out of my mind. Hindsight is 20/20 and there’s no point beating myself up over it now. The opportunity to opt out early has long since gone.”

        It wasn’t your responsibility to read his mind when he was saying and doing things that were not consistent with his “plan,” it was his. You were “a detour?” Yet, he chose to pursue and court you to his benefit with that knowledge but ultimately not to yours? Excuse me?!!

        I really do feel so bad for you and hope you will not take responsibility for your pain that is not yours to own.

      • Diane says:

        Dear Grace, I’m so very sorry that you have to go through this. The same thing happened to me in my 20’s, so please don’t think about the age difference too much. The pressure from family can be tremendous. It’s hard to find out that love just isn’t enough to overcome that sometimes. I doubt you want to hear this right now, but think of how much you learned in this relationship. You learned how to love and trust and go slow. That is truly amazing. You have been an inspiration to us all. Big hug and keeping in you in my prayers.

  61. Allison says:


    I am so sorry! We are all here for you!!!

  62. grace says:

    Thanks that helps. I thought his parents very loving but there seems to be a lot of control there too. My mother was very controlling but too batcrazy to be focused about it. if she had more focus it would have been a lethal weapon. As it was, it still did a lot of damage. I understand how parental influence can follow you well into adult life. That makes the break up harder as it brings up all this parent stuff but it’s more muted this time, so that’s progress.
    I woke up in the middle of the night and saw your comment. I must have been thinking about the break up in my sleep and my body woke me up as though it was an emergency I had to deal with. So thank you for the thought, I will try to sleep now.

    • Diane says:

      Grace, Im so glad i was able to help you a little. Your posts have always helped me. I always read you and runnergirl’s comments. :) You have made a lot of progress. You are not bitter or blaming yourself. That’s amazing! It’s perfectly normal to be in shock right now. Be very gentle and kind to yourself. We are here for you.

    • Luisa says:

      Grace, I have also appreciated your comments and journey for a long time, and I’m so very sorry to hear about this. I also had a situation that involved Mommy dearest from another culture some years ago. This fellow said he would never go against what his mother said. His mother made it clear that although the extended family was welcoming, she would never be, in a creepy balcony scene(although she was raised in my home country and culture but later chose to go “home” and give up her car,career and independence!), and his sister, who I thought was my friend, also did an about face(although she ended up marrying outside their culture as well!but it was different as she’s a girl). that was back when I had some balls, and when his mother said some inappropriate things to me,I stood up for myself and walked.

      Some years later, he sent me an email apologizing, and saying his mother had run off his ex before me(same nationality)and that he was sorry for putting me through that, and for the things she said, he said etc. I will note, he did not say he would have stood up for me however. I will also note, supposedly he is still single, and moved back to the old country to live with mommy dearest.

      Family is a hard bond to break.People are comfortable with the known vs. the unknown.Hard to understand in today’s global society, why people cannot be with whom they want to be, and why parents don’t just want their children to be happy and loved.I understand cultural values, and religious values, but even one of my best friends told me that if she married someone from my background, it would not be accepted by her parents-her parents who I’ve known since childhood would reject me! but it’s cool as long as I’m not trying to marry into their family/culture.

      As other BR readers told me about my recent international breakup, there are difficulties, but the obstacles could be overcome if someone wanted to. It’s on him-not on you.

      You could be the right age for his family, and the right nationality, and they’d find something else wrong with you-like that they didn’t pick you out for him, that he picked you out for himself-I agree with the above-it’s about control as well as values.

      Also, I don’t mean to be personal, but my one aunt had a healthy baby at age 46-now a 13-year old, and my other aunt had a baby at 43-now a health 7-year old. And I know a lot of women who have happily adopted because they were unable to conceive or chose to, in their 20s, 30s 40s, 50s, etc.I respect that not all women want to be a parent,if that’s the case, terribly sorry to comment; but I just wanted to point out that there are different ways of being a parent if you wanted to be one,and not one way is better than another.

      Hang in there. I read somewhere, that no one should ask you for more than what your creator does-and your creator accepts you just as you are-can’t always get this into my head, but have been working on it. Would massively reduce the amount of time it takes to get over heartbreak. Easier said than done.Hugs.

      • grace says:

        Yeah, he did try to stick up for me but the job loss on top of it all knocked the stuffing out of him. When his parents realised they weren’t winning they drafted in reinforcements.I think he should stuff them but I’m not going to fight it when he has made his choice.
        His first girlfriend broke up with him because her parents wouldn’t accept him. I guess it’s not unusual.
        When he was telling me that he needs to be a good example and what is expected of him, I realised that this was bigger than the two of us. If anyone knows about pernicious parental influence it’s me. He hero worships his father. I didn’t have that in my red flag list!

  63. Kelly says:

    What do we do about setbacks? Or impending setbacks in my case?

    I have to see my ex and the woman he left me for at a work event next month. I know it’s going to rip the wound back open when I see them (after all the progress I’ve made). Any advice on how to handle this?

    I plan to avoid them at all costs, but if I have to interact with them, do so professionally and politely. Some folks say that I should go right up to them and be as friendly as possible. After the way he treated me (he was a coward when he ended it and I didn’t find out about the other woman until later from someone else), so friendly is the LAST thing I want to be. But I also want to come out of this situation smelling like a rose. And also not be completely destroyed by it.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  64. espresso says:

    Grace – I hadn’t read this thread until today when I became alarmed about your situation. On BR you have helped me many many times with your self honesty, wisdom and strength. I am very sorry you are going through this loss which is very sad because I know both you and he had built a sensitive, supportive and loving relationship. I send you my good thoughts and best wishes.

  65. jule says:

    Sorry to hear this, Grace. I haven’t been on here for a while and was looking up some things when I saw this. Really sorry.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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