Can you make and stick to a decision? If you can’t decide whether you’re in or out, that means you’re uncommitted, whether it’s to your relationship or to yourself.

If when you make the decision to leave, you then spend the time outside the relationship ruminating on the decision and contemplating whether you should go back, you actually haven’t made a decision!

If when you go back to the relationship, you then spend the time ruminating on the relationship, its problems that you probably should have resolved before you went back or have had a clear plan of joint action, pondering whether you should leave, whether you were wrong to give another chance etc, you haven’t made a decision either.

A decision is the conclusion or resolution reached after consideration. [source Oxford English Dictionary]. It’s also the process of answering a question, which in itself means using knowledge and feedback to draw a conclusion.

If you’re experiencing problems with making decisions and commitment within your relationships it’s because you make decisions either without consideration, or without consideration of the appropriate things. Or you don’t reach a conclusion or make a resolution but you still go ahead with the decision.

Next thing, you’re agreeing to get back with an ex but neither of you have truly considered the factors that broke the relationship in the first place and resolved the issues. You’re often going back because it’s easier than the alternative – change. You’re taking the path of least resistance, or at least what seems like it in the short-term. Then you’re back together and the fever, rejection and anxiety of being apart temporarily passes, until they piss you off again or the fear and gut feeling that nothing’s really changed or that you’re in danger of being hurt again returns. Then you’re thinking about an exit strategy or thinking about the problems and may even be talking the crappola out of them, but you’re not doing anything and you’re not actually committed to your relationship.

What we often don’t realise is indecision or actually choosing not to make a decision (essentially having your cake and eating it) is a decision in itself. It’s an active choice and in fact, everything we do and don’t do is an ongoing sequence of choices.

It’s important if you ever want to have a remotely healthy relationship or you ever want to actually trust your judgement, or you ever want to move on and get over a breakup, that you recognise that commitment is about action is about decision.

Commitment requires you to make the decision to commit, which is being absolute in binding yourself to another person and the relationship. If you’re not absolute in your decision, you’re not committed. It’s like saying YES, and then crossing your fingers behind your back. Once you make that decision, every day is acts of commitment that further cement that decision. If you don’t behave committed, guess what? You’re in an uncommitted relationship.

When you make a decision of any kind, you’re faced with a choice between taking the path of least resistance or change.

Will I drag my bum to the shop and get the milk? The easy route at the moment is putting it off or waiting for the boyf to get it on his way home. Or it requires me to get up, adjust my plans in the immediacy to accommodate this task and basically quit procrastinating.

Will you end your relationship for the umpteenth time? The path of least resistance is to go back because it’s the familiar uncomfortable and will give you validation, a shag, some temporary hope etc. Most of all, you get to avoid making change and being alone with yourself and having to be responsible and get out of your comfort zone. Or you consider your relationship in context and think “Jeez! I’ve only given them ten chances over the past two fecking years. What am I? A glutton for frickin’ punishment! I know the score! I’ve got to stop being lazy and deal with my issues and move on. It will feel good to go back now, and shite in about two weeks.”

Will I flog the cheating donkey till it collapses again and be the Other Woman? The path of least resistance is playing the waiting game and listening to someone essentially bend over and talk out of their arse. You’ll get to avoid answering the question of why you’d be in a faux relationship in the first place and you can temporarily fill up on a crumb diet of hollow promises and get to avoid real commitment. Or you could accept that attached means unavailable and that while you may have been that woman before, you’re not that woman now plus insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

A relationship should never be about being stuck in an ongoing decision making process of basically wondering “Will I stay or will I go? Is this it? Or is it not?” Why? Remember how you hated when you were with someone that had you waiting around for them to make up their mind about you? Yep, it’s the same thing.

Make up your mind! Commit to being in the relationship (if it’s worth committing to), give it 100% (relationships are 100:100) and if it doesn’t work, accept the feedback from the relationship and commit to letting it go. If you’ve never truly been out of a relationship and accepted it’s over, you’re actually never in a truly objective and honest position to go back, because you don’t process the reasons why your relationship didn’t work and actually go back out of habit and avoidance of dealing with uncomfortable feelings brought about by the loss.

If you, as an individual entity that’s always responsible for yourself anyway are emotionally available and authentic, when you’re your best self operating on full throttle and the other person isn’t, you’ll recognise the discrepancy and address the situation, draw a conclusion or reach a resolution – yep, you’ll make a decision.

Have you considered all important factors?

Is there code amber or red behaviour?

Are you both being genuinely honest about the reasons that your relationship floundered or broke? What have you both agreed is the way to move forward and resolve? What have you both individually done to address your own parts?

If you haven’t got a concrete plan of resolution and think you can love away the problems, think again.

What is your gut telling you?

Is there anything you’re ignoring? If so, bring it out into the open and acknowledge it. Remember, a decision based on denial is a BS decision.

Is your decision based on short-term factors or have you considered medium and long-term implications? Unless your decision is about something that’s only for a short time, you must weight the decision with the medium and long-term factors.

Have you been here before? Is your decision rooted in insanity – doing the same thing and expecting different results?

List the reasons (in full) for why you’re going back (or leaving) so you can validate your decision.

What are you afraid of? Make sure you differentiate between internal (fears from within) and external, fears exacerbated by real external factors that you should be considering.

Most of all, after you make a decision, support yourself and the decision you’ve made because if you don’t, you’ll feel insecure and then doubt your decision. Either way, make it and remember that if you keep backtracking and flipping back and forth, you’re never committed enough to the decision for you to ever experience your own judgement.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

176 Responses to Can You Make (& Stick To) a Decision? If You Can’t, You Have Commitment Issues

  1. Magnolia says:

    The price of not learning how to make decisions is huge. I began to make the connection between my dissatisfaction with my work and my dissatisfaction with the men I have chosen when I realized that I had a torturous “should I stay, should I go” habit in both areas of my life.

    I kept trying to solve this by simply pushing down my ambivalence and “committing” to the situation at hand, be it my current boyfriend or my work. I understood at some level that I was the one with commitment issues, but this grit-my-teeth-and-just-stick-to-it approach never worked for me.

    What I hadn’t understood was how much not loving myself was impeding being able to make choices for the right reasons. I did not know how to give myself true pleasure, how to ask myself what felt good, or make my own happiness a priority. I was a mess inside, full of all kinds of self criticism, and “not being happy enough” just felt like another area where I was falling short. My main validation came from visible achievements at work, so I chose activities that had an opportunity for glory. I sought out men who I unconsciously hoped would raise me out of having to sort out my unhappiness. I was committed to ‘winning’ which is a precarious thing to be committed to.

    Only after the last relationship, and coming to BR for the past nine months, has it gotten through my thick defenses that “loving myself” is the ONLY way forward. That decision, to believe that I must love myself, gave me purpose. Even though I didn’t know how to do it at first, the sense of a goal, loving myself, gave me enough clarity and focus to begin to make decisions with my best interests truly at heart.

    I’ve stripped everything back to only the one commitment. Loving me. All the decisions I made before that seem shaky because they weren’t grounded in a commitment to me. And only once I’m solid with myself, and know that I trust myself (still working on it, but I have gained a lot of ground this past year) will I try to transform my current work and relationship attachments into true, principle-led commitments.

    For what it’s worth, that choice has led to valuing different things about the job I currently have, and I’m much calmer in it these days, experiencing the job as much more satisfying, and having a greater sense that “escaping” into a new career will just bring the same ambivalences if I don’t first establish that my own sense of good judgment is in place.

    I also am starting to let myself feel that I am JUST fine without a relationship. I often prefer my solitude and freedom to what I envision as the compromise and commitment of a partnership with someone who rightfully expects my full participation. It feels healthier, and more honest, to say I don’t want to commit to anyone before I’m solid with my commitment to myself.

    • CD says:

      Thank you for sharing, Magnolia – your comment is a wake up call for me. It really hits home and reminds me it’s time for me to seriously think about me – at a time when neither work nor relationships are going well partially due to my own indecisiveness.

      • runnergirl says:

        Nicely stated Magnolia. I’m becoming aware (through BR) of how my fear of being alone kept me in so many “should I stay or should I go now” shody relationships. He couldn’t commit or make a decision, I couldn’t leave or make a decision. I did make a decision by not making a decision to continue flogging the cheating donkey, only I collapsed before the I got the donkey to stand. I took what I thought was the path of least resistance and met with tremendous resistance from whatever him was in my life and me.

        I’ve just turned the corner, I think, and it is okay to be without a relationship. You are so right: “It feels healthier, and more honest, to say I don’t want to commit to anyone before I’m solid with my commitment to myself.” It feels so calm to finally make a decision to commit to me. I should stay, with me.

    • Fearless says:

      Great comment Mag – am so with you on that; this sums it up:

      “I’ve stripped everything back to only the one commitment. Loving me. All the decisions I made before that seem shaky because they weren’t grounded in a commitment to me.”

      That’s exactly how I feel and you have just put it into words for me. Thanks! I too am convinced that ‘love yourself’ is the single most important decision you can make that will ensure, as well as can be, that all decisions following on from that will be the right ones for us. Not loving myself is just not an option – not anymore!

      • Magnolia says:

        @cd: thanks!
        @runner: funny how you say it feels like the path of least resistance. so true. right now the path-of-least-resistance leads to the refrigerator. but at least when I get wise and want to dump the extra weight, it’s easier than dumping an ill-chosen bf. glad you’re feeling calmer.
        @fearless: thank you – it’s good to feel on the same positive page as others!

        I have simply been deeply ambivalent about me. Not liking myself on one hand, and wanting to like myself on the other. That’s a pretty fundamental indecisiveness from the one person who should be sure she likes Magnolia! No wonder I was drawn to that ambivalence in guys: we all like to hang out with folks that think the same as we do!

        • Jasmine says:

          Thanks for sharing. I have only begun to realize how living a life not committed to my best interests has hurt me. I have made alot of progress these last couple of years but I occasionally experience rough spots when I waffle on whether I have made the right choices for myself or not. Really its just me wavering on the commitment to look out for me. One thing that has been incredibly helpful, and suprisingly easy is staying away from a relationship until I am ready. I focus now on just being authetically me, and coincidentaly I now seem to draw healthier people to myself … less drama. Shadier, ambivilant, rules-dont-apply types no longer come around, or if they do, they q I have also found new contentment in my career, and no longer feel so restless in many ways.

      • RadioGirl says:

        Thank you Natalie for this excellent blog, and also to Magnolia for a superb opening comment. Wonderful stuff, which really emphasises the simple point that loving, caring for, trusting and respecting *yourself* is truly at the heart of *all* relationship matters. No matter what I wake up thinking, I’m going to make sure this is the one thing I will consciously put into my thoughts and actions every single day for the rest of my life, until it becomes an entirely subconscious way of living.

    • Carrie says:

      “I also am starting to let myself feel that I am JUST fine without a relationship. ”

      I am feeling you on this one Magnolia! After being in a relationship for 6 years, frantically dating for 7 months before that, and in another unsatisfying relationship for the 9 years before that, I had decided to give myself at least 6 months to work on myself before I even *think* about dating again. But as I read your comment it occurred to me something that’s been coming forward in my mind the past couple days. Now that I’ve let my anger go for my ex and am moving forward and actually feeling the whole process do it’s thing, I’m no longer in a hurry to get to that point where I can look for another relationship again. That used to be my goal.. to get healthy enough to find a healthy relationship.. and long term I would still like to see that happen. BUT lately I’ve been kinda thinking “What’s the rush? I’m not even sure I want a relationship where I have to think about someone other than me on a regular basis anytime soon.”. And that’s pretty big for me who used to be terrified in high school that no one would ever want to marry me. Well been there done that and having a significant other is not all rainbows and sunshine like the romance books I’ve read all my life had led me to believe. The book may end when the 2 main characters finally get together, but real life keeps going. And there’s always going to be compromises to be made, problems to work out and communication to be had every single day. Maybe I just want a break from all that and maybe it’ll take me longer than the 6 months I was giving myself before I’m ready for that again. And darn it I’m okay with that!

      • Gina says:


        “I’m no longer in a hurry to get to that point where I can look for another relationship again. That used to be my goal.. to get healthy enough to find a healthy relationship.. and long term I would still like to see that happen. BUT lately I’ve been kinda thinking “What’s the rush? I’m not even sure I want a relationship where I have to think about someone other than me on a regular basis anytime soon.”

        I am SO right there with you, girl!!!!! It’s like you took my EXACT thoughts out of my head and put them in print! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

    • Mango says:

      Really lovely, Magnolia. Thank you.

  2. AngelFace says:

    I recently made the commitment & put him into NC. I was (willingly) tortured by his abuse for exactly one year, and the anniversary of meeting him gave me courage to make it the END-Date also. I’ve been gradually distancing myself from him prior to NC – throwing away all mementos, deleting his voice messages (& I loved his voice). I blocked him from my phone, don’t have texting……

    I feel a relief. off the roller coaster. and I’m not obsessing over him too much – thank goodness. But I do have some moments still where I miss him a bit – or my eyes feel heavy and sad… I’m toughing it out and keeping my NC commitment!

    Like I mentioned a few times in other posts, I’ve been going to gym and this has really helped to clear my mind and not ruminate & obsess. I’m so grateful. Today in honor of my NC, I bought a new digital bathroom scale and a pak of new gym socks. This gift to myself feels great! Reinforces my focus back into myself. I plan to purchase Nat’s Ebook about mreum & the FallBack GIRL. Thanks everyone. All of your comments makes me stronger. Thanks Natalie, you are a special angel.

    • Fearless says:

      Thanks for this post Nat. It’s a good reminder to all of us who have finally made a decision to truly support ourselves in that decision and to be pleased with ourselves (dare I say proud?) to have left all the flip-flapping behind and realised that our greatest error was not so much in making the wrong decision (which may be true as well) but, more to our detriment, in failing to make any decision at all, and (like me) hoping that someone else (aka Mr EUM) would turn into a magician and pull a decision out of his hat (he didn’t even have a hat!)

      There’s a kind of cowardice attached to it all I think; at least I felt pretty bad about myself the whole time with the EUM because I knew I was avoiding the hard thing: deciding for myself that this was no good, walk away. It seemed easier to hang around and take the good with the bad, but it wasn’t, not really. What I have now is actually easier; I feel more peaceful, more hopeful, more at ease with myself and with the world; I like myself more as I don’t have my non-decision making conscience nagging at me the whole time.

      And yes, I do think that decision avoidance is a kind of decision in itself. Mostly when I look at the kind of hurdles and problems my parents, family and other people around me have had to face, and are facing, it’s all down to no decision making – failure to take action of any kind rather than down to any action that is actually taken. Inaction is at the root of many of our problems; sometimes it just feels easier to do nothing (in case we make a bad decision!) but the worst decision is not to make one.

      I think ex EUM would readily admit that he failed to make a decision but not that he decided not to make one. The odd time I actually got him to say anything about his lack of action he most often used the same word: “fear”. On the one hand this infuriated me, on the other I knew that it was also “fear” that kept me from deciding to walk away, so I was aware that somewhere in the whole sorry mess we were not entirely unalike. I now see him mostly as a coward for not deciding to himself get in or get himself out. He decided to sit on the fence from the start – he impailed himself on it! He’s stilll there now!

      For me, I need to keep right behind myself and continue to support me and the decision I made. It was the right one; I know it. And I have you to thank Natalie, for helpng me get here, so here’s a (((hug)))!

  3. Kristen says:

    What if your decision is to try and win him back? What if, because certain moments with “him” are so powerful that they are worth a lifetime of moments with those other guys that, while wonderful, we just don’t like them that much? If we choose to fight for love, then why should we respect the “no contact” rule. It would be the end of seduction. Isn’t all fair in love and war? Sometimes, love is simply irrational and guided by chemicals in our brains. I read your column, and respect your views, but I sometimes see them as unsympathetic to the physiological effect of love. We are evolved to become attached. And sometimes that attachment feels wonderful, and is worth fighting for, because, in bed, as a woman, you are theirs – a sexual possession, and it is erotic. Have you never felt passion like that?

    • Allison says:


      Personally, “certain moments” are not enough for me. I am looking at a package that includes, love, honor, integrity and respect. Nothing less.

    • Fearless says:

      “Isn’t all fair in love and war?”… errr, no I don’t think it is. That’s why we have the Geneva Convention.

      In my view if you need to “fight” a man for his love, Kirsten, that battle is already lost. A guy who wants to be won does not need to be won. Beware that what you see as a strength (fighting for him) he does not perceIve as a weakness. What you think you are communciating to him is not always the message he takes from it.

      We would all like to find love and attachment and passion… that’s why we stop “fighting” to get it from guys who do not have it and who are not offering it – and who, by the way, are not fighting for it like you are. So be careful you’re not fighting for love all by yourself, riding solo to Miseryville and dipping your bucket looking for the water of love in an empty well while he is just dipping his errr..well… his bucket?

      • Allison says:

        “So be careful you’re not fighting for love all by yourself, riding solo to Miseryville and dipping your bucket looking for the water of love in an empty well while he is just dipping his errr..well… his bucket?.”

        Love this!!!!!!!

      • Kristen says:

        What if, the reason you are fighting, is because of certain behaviors that are your fault, that caused the relationship to disintegrate. Now, I know this sounds pathetic, or maybe I have been duped into believing that certain situations were my fault. Don’t know, just don’t believe in the unrequited love deal. I mean, if there is passion and lust, it is mutual, and attachment (due to rising dopamine levels in orgasm) is imminent. Just think that men are able to manage attachment better than women.

        • Fearless says:

          I have a few years on you on this earth… and I can assure you of this: unrequited love is out there!

          You “Just think that men are able to manage attachment better than women.”

          I think men are able to manage “sex” much better than women. It’s easy for a man to manage attachment when he is not experiencing attachment! The difficulty for “him” is mangaging *your* attachment.

    • MaryC says:

      I’m sorry Kristen it doesn’t sound like you’re fighting for love it sounds like you just want to be right or have him make you the exception.

      Actually I read alot of pain in your post, it seems to be all about him and not really you. Lots of excuses why you can’t let go and move on. Hey I understand that as I’ve said many times before I was the Fall Back Girl for 18months, willing to do ANYTHING to get him back and all that got me was degraded and humiliated, great sex but degraded and humiliated never the less and he’s still with her.

      • runnergirl says:


        “And sometimes that attachment feels wonderful, and is worth fighting for, because, in bed, as a woman, you are theirs – a sexual possession, and it is erotic.” Your comment has me confused. Is being a sexual possession based on love, trust, and respect? Are you fighting to become a sexual possession? If so, why do you need to fight to become his sexual possession? What are you fighting for?

        I’m with MaryC. There is a lot of pain in your post. Please stay with us on BR. Welcome and keep reading. It is an amazing group of totally fabulous folks and Natalie is the best. Hang in there. I’ve felt the passion you describe too many times to discuss here. There is life after being a sexual possesion and life after the sexual passion, actually there is much more to life than “the physiological effect of love”. Come back to BR. It’s amazing.

    • grace says:

      we’ve all felt the chemical rush and I’ve no doubt nat has felt it.
      But, it doesn’t last! Even if you did “win” this man back (what exactly are you competing against – I hope it’s not his wife or his reluctance!) after ten years of marriage, kids, housework, groceries, budgeting, sickness, you’re heart is NOT going to skip a beat everytime you see him in his underpants.
      Yes, this INITIAL chemical rush is nature’s way of bonding us, but there had better be more than that or trouble awaits.
      If you’re still feeling chemically attracted to him after a couple of years, I reckon that you’re either a) very fortunate or b) in something similar to an affair or c) he’s a super exciting criminal/mafia conman type. a) is too ephemeral to pin your hopes on b) disaster c) is okay if you like that sort of thing and will enjoy visiting him in prison

    • jennynic says:

      Hi Kristen, If irrational love is what you are fighting for, that is what you will get. Being evolved to allow healthy attachment is designed for survival of the human race, but that doesn’t include unhealthy, risky, immoral, or one sided attachment… an alcoholic is attached to whiskey, a meth addict to meth, a child molester to children, a serial killer to killing, or a battered woman to her abusive mate, they have fleeting moments of fulfilment despite these things but they are not something we should fight for just because we are attached, nor does it make it right. NC is a choice we make for ourselves if we are tired of suffering and want to cut unhealthy attachments and get on with a better life, which includes being loved and not having to fight for it. Fight for it once or twice, see what happens….if you find you are still no further or are being fed crumbs as reward for your fight…(we call it suck it and see), then decide if suffering and not being treated like you are good enough is true happiness or just bad choices and dysfunction. We have all made these bad choices and have loved our suffering (hurt so good) but one day you wake up and see that stress, pain and heartache just aren’t worth ‘moments’ of chemistry. Chemistry is important, falling in love is wonderful, I agree but not if continued involvement is resulting in pain. All of us here have been round that corner and have or are trying to make our lives better. You are the captain of your ship….if you like stormy seas then stay on course, if not then make some changes.

  4. Natasha says:

    “Commit to being in the relationship (if it’s worth committing to), give it 100% (relationships are 100:100) and if it doesn’t work, accept the feedback from the relationship and commit to letting it go. ”

    This was such an interesting post Nat! It’s funny, because the above is exactly what I decided (there’s that word again!) to do in the last go-around with my ex-AC. Though I spent some time blaming myself for what happened because my self esteem wasn’t at 100% and I desperately needed the BS Diet, I knew I was committed to it being over for good. I made a firm decision to give it a fresh shot when he said he finally wanted a relationship with me and was fine with owning the decision that it was never going to work. Yes, it hurt like hell, but I knew I’d put both my feet in. Too bad I wasted the first month of NC wondering if I’d worn the wrong shoes or my pedicure color wasn’t flattering enough!

    I’d done the ol’ faux-NC many a time, because I couldn’t decide whether it was him being a jerk or if I just hadn’t done the “right things” to make him respect me. I’d BS myself by telling myself, “Oh! He did blah-blah. That’s it! I’m done!”, but because I didn’t have any confidence in my own feelings and judgment, as soon as he’d come back, I’d do “what if?!” I realize now that if I’d REALLY been “done”…I wouldn’t have kept going back and that what I was actually doing was “voting with my feet” to try and force the relationship I wanted. Yes, he’d pull disappearing acts, but did I say “Disappeared, huh? Not waiting for you!”? Nope, I’d patiently wait for his return a few weeks later just so I could tell him off. The funny thing is I’d yammer on about how hurt I was (and believe me, I was), but there I’d be in a few months, right back with him. What a shocker that this asshole is still calling me after about 8 months of NC.

    Part of this whole process for me is accepting that the decisions I made in the past have consequences in the now. I’m okay with forgiving myself and moving forward, which is the best decision I can think of to make!

    • Cinnamon says:

      “What a shocker that this asshole is still calling me after about 8 months of NC.”

      They are unbelieveable aren’t they ? My ex-N slimed out of hiding to leave his “calling card” last week after 2.5 years of NC!

      I made the decision to go NC properly after a few months of faux-NC. I have changed my email address, personal website (which he’d stalked), and deleted his phone numbers as all the good advice suggests. I also refused to give him our home address when he was trying to deliver something 2nd hand just prior to my proper NC.

      I didn’t expect him to pay me a ‘visit’ after such a long time (very creepy). He’s got plenty of N-supply from his usual harem (saw them all at the same festival we went to recently). So having him sniffing around ‘me’ a few days later was a bit shocking and a little unsettling (playing mind games ?).

      I made the right decision to go NC and stick to it.
      But why can’t he stick to his decision of dumping me and NC me after all this time ?! WTF.

      • Natasha says:

        Cinnamon, I would have been shocked to receive a calling card (WTF is that? Is the year 1890 and no one told me?) after 2.5 freakin’ years! I remember when my ex-AC made his first return (ahem, like 5 years ago) – we hadn’t spoken in over a year and I assumed he’d forgotten that I existed haha! I thought, “Aha! He must have really liked me to remember me and everything about me after all this time.” Oh. Girl. Commitment phobic people, much like elephants, apparently never forget!

        • Cinnamon says:

          Natasha (thanks for the laughs). “we hadn’t spoken in over a year and I assumed he’d forgotten that I existed haha!”
          Exactly, I was rather hoping the ex had forgotten about me ‘cos it’s safer that way, hey ho.

          I’m not on FB, but I do have another forum account where we met (alas). He hadn’t *visibly* visited my account for 2.5 years until now.

          Much like the Pink Panther leaving his white glove as evidence of his visitation, the ex-N’s “calling card” was in the form of his face avatar, ugh.

          It made me anxious because his type are only out to make trouble which gives him a twisted buzz.

          It’s odd he’s showing his face again because he used to do this anonymously. He can’t glean anything from it ‘cos my account is inactive and private. He’s tried to get mutual ‘friends’ to fish for info too, which I ignored. I’m guessing this elephant may have seen me at the festival the other week (his mate did) and remembered x, y, z (?)

          I’m pondering whether to write the “unsent letter” ?

          • Natasha says:

            Oh heck yes, the unsent letter is awesome :) Nat’s ebook comes with a worksheet for writing one – it’s been the best thing I’ve treated myself to all year (and believe me, I buy a lot of shoes…this was still better). It’s very cathartic! I think he prob didn’t forget about anything – some of these types like to disappear for long enough that they hope YOU forget how much they suck and reappear (In avatar form? Oy.) hoping you’ll have gone Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Assclown in the meantime. That’s too funny that he had his friends trying to fish for info…I tell you, these types have no shame!

  5. JMC says:

    I love this blog(and post) but, confused.How do you commit to the relationship ending when you aren’t sure of why.We had a great relationship for almost 1 year…both of us agreed the best we have ever had and looked forward to the future.2 arguments and he felt differently…loves me but, not in love with me.I move forward.He contacts my kids,text me, and finally calls to say his life is a disaster without me.I’m his “soulmate” and when he comes back,he is back for life.I thought it was odd that he “loves” me but, he is scared.He wanted to work on it slowly..we have been apart for 5 wks…I had anxiety.Today after having a b ad day…he says I was the best GF ever…wants to live his life with me but, he is not in love with me…loves me but, not in love with me and turns his phone off.lI need to commit to the NC…but, the relationship was great .I don’t know how to commit to understanding why it didn’t work.Help!!

    • grace says:

      when someone says a sentence with BUT in it, what comes after the BUT is what really matters:
      – you auditioned really well but WE’VE CHOSEN SOMEONE ELSE
      – it was a good interview but I DIDN’T GET THE JOB
      – it was a difficult decision but YOU’RE BEING MADE REDUNDANT
      – i love you but I’M NOT IN LOVE WITH YOU
      You’re not the one, but he’ll keep you around until such time as something better comes along. I’ve done, it you may have done it, and plenty of women here ARE doing it!

    • Christina says:

      Maybe it’s easier to see from the outside, but to me it’s pretty clear that the “why” is that he isn’t committing to you completely. Digging deeper might be an exercise in futility, because from what you’ve written, it sounds like HE doesn’t know what he’s doing. The whole “love you but not in love” is one of those cop-outs similar to “it’s not you, it’s me.” He’s giving you excuses so he can cover himself ahead of time for being completely inadequate as a boyfriend. He enjoys the benefits of having you in his life, but doesn’t want any of the responsibilities.

      If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that “why” doesn’t matter and usually is just an excuse for not letting go. You can analyze until the cows come home and you might never know what’s going on in his head. Let it be enough that he’s jerking you around and not treating you the way he ought to.

    • Allison says:


      This man is not in love with you; therefore, it will never work. Please do not waste any more energy trying to figure things out, because it is not worth it.

      Find someone who loves you, and keeps the lines of communication open.

  6. Beth D says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. After my 10 year relationship ended I went into no contact and then tried to be friends after much begging from him. He wanted to repair the relationship. I wouldn’t committ and every time we started talking he would do or say one thing wrong and I went into NC again. Kristen alluded to the fact that love isn’t always rational. We do all the things we are suppose to do to gain respect and we dump them clean when they screw up. I did that at the end after alot of good years. When he pulled a distancing act I refused to forgive him. He treated me well alot of the time but had this tendency to withdraw when things got rough in his life. I moved on to a very good man and healing relationship. But….. I still love my ex. It never goes away after three years. I am shocked since when I am done….I am done. Not with this guy. I am slowly talking to him again and we are trying to decide what we are going to do. I am considering throwing caution to the wind. I miss him that badly and I don’t want to settle for less than that passion I had with him. I know I either have to committ or not. I can’t go into it looking for him to do something wrong so I can dump him again and go into NC. I love him and he loves me so we both have to decide what didn’t work and how to proceed from here. If it doesn’t work this time….I am off the roller coaster for good.

    • grace says:

      I agree that love is not rational but it’s not irrational either. Some things are cut and dried. If someone disrespects you repeatedly (I’m not talking about the occasional mistake)then you have two choices
      1. put up with it or 2. leave them
      option 3 is a faux option: argue/ discuss/ go back and forth/ sulk/ dump them/ take them back / dump them/ tell them to leave you alone / more discussion etc until they’ve learned to respect you. Seriously ask yourself, would YOU respect someone who behaves like that?

      • Natasha says:

        Love it Grace! They have options too, i.e.
        1. Decide they want a relationship with the woman and put both their feet it.
        2. Decide they do not want a relationship with the woman and go find someone that they do want a relationship with.
        3. The good ol’ faux option: Date her, decide she’s not for them, meet someone else, that doesn’t work out so call up the first woman, romance her, decide that “whooops! I don’t actually want to be with her”, disappear, let a few months go by and call her up again. Start up with her again, while keeping all options open, disappear again, come back, pretend to listen to what she’s saying, still keep all options open, disappear again, hear she’s moving on, call her up again, start up again, disappear…

        I think we can clearly see that, in cut and dried terms:


        • Fearless says:

          Grace / Natasha: Great comments. Love it.

          Why do people always think there is a “third” as yet to be identified option and NEVER just decide!? Some people close to me drive me mad with the perpetual back and forth and the big discussion about how they want to do x thing but they can’t, how they have this or that problem and when you offer a solution the solution itself presents another problem so they go back to the first problem and round and round in endelss circles it goes Arrgghhhh!! I had one of these today with a close family member; it always goes something like this:

          Them: Am having this problem, (let’s call it x)… yak… yak all about the x problem.

          Me: Well, why don’t you do y solution and that should sort our the x problem

          Them: Well, if I do the y solution then z problem would happen

          Me: Okay then, so whichever you do there will be either x problem or z problem. Maybe you need to decide which problem is worse (x or z) and go with the lesser of the problems?

          But they decide on neither of the options (as if a third will magically appear), whcih is fine with me except that next time I see them they tell me about the whole x problem ALL over again! Arrggghh! You have two options: just DECIDE!!

      • Beth D says:

        Thats the decision that is tormenting me. When he was good there was no better and we had a really good run for alot of years. His business took a turn for the worse and there were some external pressures. He withdrew and put me into a compartment which is in his nature btw. I need to decide if I can handle that since there is a good chance it can happen again. We have been apart as lovers for almost three years. Off and on friendship. I can’t do the friendship thing with him. I am pretty good at no contact but after 4 or 5 months I weaken when he calls. I just plain miss him and the fact that he isn’t forgetting about me somehow validates my feelings. I made a decision that the first discussion we have is…..what are both of our fears? We obviously have them. 2 What is going to change to make this work this time around? I am an avid reader of this blog and it has gotten me through alot of hard times. I almost always agree with natalie and alot of the commenters. We are just in the phone stage and are planning to meet. I will know my decision when I bring both of these subjects to the table. I don’t want to do it by phone plus I do want to see how I feel when I see him. My fear is that I may be holding on to those unbelievable good times. Maybe I won’t even feel the same?

        • Allison says:


          How many years have you known this man?

          Did you say you are waiting for him to make up his mind three years later?

          • Beth D says:

            I have known him 13 years. Intense connection from the beginning and never laughed so hard with anyone I met. We just flowed. First three years tumultuos due to some disrespectful behavior on his part. Much of what has been discussed on here…ie disappearing for few days at a time, not making the effort I thought he should make blah blah I must have broken up with him no fewer than 8 times. Kept coming back with more and more. Jewelry, vacations, 5 star restaurants, regular contact….and the best sex of my life. Finally had a bad breakup where I cut him off for three months. When he begged me back….i had a different man. The next 6 years were a dream and he treated me like a queen most of that time. I have to say he dug in deep to make me happy. I will tell you I have no interest in remarrying anyone and did make that clear to him. He did at one point want to move towards that but been there done that and he seemed to accept that. Our last year he was very self absorbed and pulled a disappearing act on me at the end. Went through a series of emails and I ended it. Few months later he claimed temporary insanity, depression, pressures etc….wanted to press reset. I hated him and couldn’t forgive and moved on….last three have been a vicious chess game. Once I wouldn’t take him back…the chess game began. Confusing situation….Cant get him out of my mind and have actually been obsessing about him…..Finding out recently that he feels the same way doesn’t help. I initially told him I think we are just addicted to each other, LOL Not sure it is a good addiction though…..I feel like throwing caution to the wind cause I miss him so much but……I won’t kid myself into thinking it won’t hurt just as much or more if it doesn’t work out this time around. Starting from scratch in getting over him isn’t too appealing….missing out on the love of my life might be worth a try….ughhhh I need to committ one way or another.

        • grace says:

          NC is about cutting them out of your life completely. We’ve all experienced them coming back after a month, or three, or six, or YEARS later for another go. That’s where it’s make or break. MAYBE, if he was a decent boyfriend, after six months or more it’s possible to be friends IF neither party wants more and you happily accept that he may disappear when he meets someone else. I don’t get that here.
          Whatever, NC is not about teaching him a lesson and turning him into a decent partner. You’ve taken him back twice and you always weaken. What he’s learned is that you will always be around.
          You can’t make decisions for him. You can’t decide what he will discuss with you. I don’t think he wants to discuss his fears (does any man?) or how he will improve (does anyone?). You’re trying to control the uncontrollable. I don’t know this man but if someone wanted to get me by the ear and tell me all about myself I’m not going to be happy! Nevertheless, I’m going to take a stab at what these men are afraid of: He’s afraid of your expectations because he doesn’t love you (saying “I love you” doesn’t count as love).
          You seem to be driving this all by yourself. That’s not what a relationship is. It shouldn’t be you sitting at home “deciding” what he has to do. You are either both in this or you aren’t.
          You need to put the relationship control stick down, assess what you really have here (I see an on-off relationship with a man who bolts at trouble – and there is always trouble or “pressure”), and whether you can live with it. Or end it. For good. Which is a lot longer than five months.

          • Beth D says:

            Interesting assessment. I do always respect your assessments Grace. The reason it is so long is that he did come after me within 4 weeks admitting he mishandled things blah blah. I was the one who would not forgive him for the three years. His attempts did get more feeble as time went on and made it easier for me to maintain nc for longer and longer times. I guess in a way I am second guessing myself? I met the new guy I am with within a month of our breakup and he made it easier for me . Just one of those things that fell into my lap and he made me strong so I would never take my ex back. I was deeply wounded by my ex’s behavior. Shocked actually…. Probably affected more than any other man I have been with. My fear I guess is that I read these articles and sometimes think it is me and not the guy. Am I weak now because I want to validate myself? I need the ego boost that he still loves me? We had the most amazing sex and a great friendship. He declares with conviction that he loves me and always will. Yet something was always painful about this relationship and it was the most intense relationship I have ever had. A comment made on one of the blogs was….not feeling on steady ground and feeling like you can go in shark infested waters. It doesn’t feel safe anymore to me. There were many years that I did feel safe and dealt with the quirks. He treated me like a queen alot of the time. It’s a hard call. Not sure I can overcome it. Not even sure now if I should meet him. Grace you have me totally confused now. Caution to the wind vs moving on for good and not ever trusting him again.

          • Minky says:

            Too true Grace,

            You can’t change someone, all you can do is get them to say they will change. If they are actually going to be different, this decision has to come from them.

            Beth – if you are going to try again, you have to do it assuming he is going to be the same as he was before, because there is a very good chance that this is what you’ll be getting. People can say they’ll change, but you have to have a contingency plan too. It is very, very hard to change one’s fundamental nature, even if you sincerely want to. What does spending the rest of your life with someone who can’t handle pressure mean to you? What will it be like in practice? What if it is you who is going through hardship and in need of his support, will he be able to give it to you? Life is not all abut passion and good times – what is more important is how someone acts during the bad times – illness, financial hardship, trauma, loss of loved ones etc. How can you have a life with someone who is of no use during the bad times? It’s easy to be happy and reliable when life is going well.

            You also need to ask yourself if the reason you can’t forget this guy is because he is ‘unforgettable’, or whether you just want to ‘win’. This is the guy who never lived up to your expectiations, who never gave you 100% of what you wanted. Do you really want him, or do you just want what you think you are owed?

            Best of luck with whatever decision you make.

          • Beth D says:

            Minky, Thanks for your words. Your comment on me wanting to win got to me and I forgot to give you credit for that comment in a previous post but you have a valid point! You pretty much summed up my dilemma. Can I accept that this is pretty much who he is. Even though during my hard times he is always there it puts you on shaky ground to know that he can run at the first sign of big trouble. Not easy to trust that will not happen again. Thanks for the good luck wish. I will need it. Beth

        • PJM says:

          Beth, it sounds like you’ve already talked the living daylights out of the whole thing. You will simply be kept hanging on on and on and on.

          I know exactly what you’re going through, and I have stood in your shoes and walked a mile in them myself. 10 years is a long time, and I can totally understand that you want to see some ‘return’ on your ‘investment’ of that time.

          But in doing that, you may also be cutting off your nose to spite your face – condemning yourself to further years of unhappiness, all for the sake of ‘being the exception’.

          Is it really worth it? Aren’t you worth more than that? Are there children involved? You don’t mention them – they’d be the only reason I’d even give this thing another go; if there were children and he was their natural father, because kids do best in a relationship that endures, even with problems.

          But if there’s no kids, then I think you deserve every chance to be really happy, not just ‘settling’ like this.

          • Beth D says:

            Pjm, You hit a nerve with me when you said hoping to be the exception. He has always told me he has never loved anyone like he loves me nor treated anyone as well. I think I liked that. Ego? An even bigger nerve you hit was with me wanting to win. Damn it’s hard to face these facts. Yea I liked being the exception. I always tell my friends he is my punishment in life for all the guys I have hurt. If I choose to go back with him I will hurt someone again. I have felt more pain with this guy than all the others put together. I have always been treated very well by men. I could have written the book “why men love bitches” It does work I guess but sometimes you don’t want it to work. I have had alot of self confidence and know I am worthwhile. What is confusing about this situation is the fact that I had the most amazing chemistry of my life with this guy and this was from day One!! I don’t understand it since I have dated guys much better looking, with similar qualities ie smart, good personality. He drew me into his web immediately and you know I think it was the fact that he didnt chase after me like others would. If I think about it he withdrew from the first meet and kept me off balance waiting for that first phone call so I was scratching my head from the beginning. Me and my friends can write a book about the analyzing we did of him in those beginning years and the last year, lol I guess him making the changes for me and digging deep made me feel like I was winning. Then those middle years were just amazing. I don’t think two people could have possibly been more in love and I don’t think any man has treated me better. Yet I read your words, natalies and graces words and know you speak the truth. One thing I disagree with grace is that I know he loves me and probably as much as he is capable of loving anyone. Low capacity love? Probably and I am even thinking he may have some narcissistic tendencies. It would be so much easier for me if I didn’t know that he loved me. Trust me I would walk without looking back as I have always been the type of person for whom unrequitted love is impossible . I always felt his love strongly in all that he did for me, the way he looked at me and how I felt when we were together. He did hurt me more than once. Devasated is more an explanation for the last time we broke up and I heard…

          • Allison says:


            He may love you in his special way but, it does not sound like it is enough for you.

            Is this man’s form of love enough to sustain you? If you’re not happy and he is unable to provide you with the emotional stability you need, you need to question why you’re sticking around. Isn’t it time to start loving yourself by finding someone who can provide more?

            Your post said a great deal, when you mentioned that you were not interested in men who didn’t bring a lot of drama and instability; it sounds like you were incapable of letting anyone in, and choose someone who was safe.

            Please do not settle any longer. Find someone who is deserving of you.

          • Beth D says:

            Allison you are right. I came back to this website because I was truly confused. Reading the comments has me reconsidering. I am going through a bit of a hard time and he is being a really good friend to me right now. I really don’t think I would be here reading if I was sure he could come to the table on a long term basis. I do need to take a look at myself and wonder if I miss the drama or something. I have been so peaceful without him. I am now seriously questioning the wisdom of letting him into my life as anything other than a friend. I am romantic enough to want the good of what we had but I really don’t think it is possible when I put all the variables together :(

  7. Boston_Yardie_Gyal says:

    OMG, I really needed to read this!! Baggage Reclaim has been a Godsend, I prayed for God to open up my eyes and the very night I did so I stumbled upon this site and have been hooked and enlightened ever since!!

    On August 5, 2011 I decided for many reasons to end a 19 month
    long distance “relationship” (for lack of a better term) with an EUM/AC for however, I was sooo tempted to make contact this week.

    I actually took what some would think of as drastic measures to ensure my success with no contact via disappearing by CHANGING MY PHONE NUMBER a month ago and deleting my Facebook page months ago. It was the hardest but best thing I could have done but I do have my moments where I want to contact him.

    The reason I did so was because I was tormenting myself hoping, praying, and waiting for him to contact me via text of course because he never called . I could no longer go through this. You see I was strong enough not to initiate contact with him, but I wasn’t strong enough to reply to his texts.

    But anyways I digress, Reading this has given me the stregnth to keep going on with the no contact. It would be very foolish of me to open the wound that is slowly beginning to heal.

    I have made a decision and I am sticking to it. “Fool me once shame one you, Fool me twice shame on me”….I refuse to consciously be anyone’s fool.


    • PJM says:

      Oh well done – well DONE, Boston Yardie Gal! Facebook so ISN’T worth it.

      And if you really need Facebook because you have lots of genuine friends and you use it to keep up with them, you can always set up a profile under a psuedonym and make sure only the real friends know where you are.

      You should be this month’s Baggage Reclaim Pin Up Girl and Role Model: I read so many posts from women who complain about not being able to go NC, because they ‘can’t’ change their phone number or get off Facebook. But you show that it can actually be done, and in many cases SHOULD be done.

      I also like the way you have taken responsibility and been really honest about your weakness – and then set up appropriate strategies to deal with your particular situation.

      ATTA GIRL.

    • SM says:

      Boston, I have the same problem, I am always strong enough not to initiate contact with them but if they contact me I cant resist. I would also in the back of my mind be hoping that they contact me, which they always did. I found this website by complete accident the day after I last spoke with my ‘last’ eum and that was 7 weeks ago. It gave me the strength to delete all his contact info, numbers, emails, photos etc…which is something I havent been able to do in the past. See I never knew I was a fallback girl, I knew I was attracted to EU’s, but I just thought they kept contacting me because I was irresistible :-). BR has not only given me the tools that I so desperately needed but has also opened my eyes to the fact that these eu’s are doing this stuff to everyone, its up to us to stop the madness and get off the crazy train. I’m going to pray really had for both you and I that we will have the strength and clarity to resist those phone calls when they come.

  8. I am VERY decisive. I decided on all the wrong men:)

    And I definiteyl was committment phobic myself, or the above wouldn’t have been the case.

  9. Ria says:

    I belive that someone, who is worth our commitment, is someone, who is seriously having two feet in the relationship.
    Those, who are leading us on, taking a change, playing around, or doing all the other emo ac stuff, should not even be entitled to any *commitment*, or serioous consideration, cos its a false ground in a first place. How can you put such an effort in desicions and seriousness into someone, who has treated you badly in a first place. Indeed, commitment should be where its worth it.

  10. Cat Nils says:

    I have been married and divorced four times, I was always the one leaving, and I don’t regret having done so. Today, I do better with men who do not commit forever, because now I’ve changed, and I prefer friendships. However a few years ago, I decided not to divorce, we both agreed to live seperately and stay married. We spend every weekend together. When we want space, we don’t visit. This has given us freedom to be ourselves, not get bored or take the other for granted. We do not share resentments, because we don’t have any. We do have differences of opinion once in a while. We live for today, enjoy what we have, accepting that if it all comes to an end, we will always be friends just the same. I’ve taken out the decision of staying or leaving. When we get older, we don’t have time for BS anymore.

    • grace says:

      But Cat you ARE in a lifetime commitment. Certainly in law if not in your heart. By all means, live your life as you choose, however unconventional it is. But it’s best if we know what we’re doing and it comes from a positive place. Not because we think that lifelong love is BS.

  11. Tulipa says:

    Can you make and stick to a decision? If you can’t decide whether you’re in or out, that means you’re uncommitted, whether it’s to your relationship or to yourself.
    I couldn’t believe it when I came home and here was this post. I was having a go at myself in the car as to why is it when the light goes on and I make a decision I can not stand behind it. That I debate myself and basically drive myself crazy with indecision.
    It is horrible to be in limbo, but obviously I choose to be here to not stand behind anything I say or decide in regards to the ex eum.
    Going back a few weeks when he rang me and we got into a debate he said he had to go now I said “Don’t you just want this to end are we done now?”
    his reply of course was no he liked speaking to me and wanted to remain friends. Just another example of my indecision, of my laziness and not loving myself enough to do the right thing by me.
    I can say in all honesty that the light did go on when I read the post about ‘It’s Not About You’ and realised I was making his b’day all about me as though a text from me would make his day or ruin his day if I said nothing. I don’t have that kind of power over him and his feelings nor do I influence his choices I so get it and would go as far as to say I feel liberated by this and decided to say nothing and be in no contact.
    BUT alls I have done since making that decision is debate it in my head.
    I have to agree with all what you wrote about the path of least resistence it is easier (as much as I complain about it) to NOT change, to stay stuck and to wait around, but the time has come to make that final decision to stay stuck and stop complaining or to move forward and face my fears.
    I can see I have not reached a conclusion about this area of my life. I can see the effect it is having on my life not making a decision, I know not moving forward is not healthy.
    I get I really do but have I got the actions to back in my decisions?

    • grace says:

      I don’t see that anything has happened apart from him phoning you (which often sets us back) and his birthday (again, it can make you nostalgic). Are you a worrier? I’ve had spells of anxiety where I would worry about ridiculous things. It’s something that can be tackled, there’s a lot of resources out there. Problems around decision making are because we don’t trust ourselves – am I doing the right thing? Are my feelings going to sabotage me? What will x think? Is what I think right? Are my feelings wrong? Do I even know what I feel? Am I making a mistake? What does God think? What about my parents? etc.
      It really does come down to self-esteem. Just a few years ago I was very uncertain about what I think, what I feel and my opinions. I’d always be trying to see everyone else’s point of view. As you may have noticed, I don’t have that problem anymore! What’s helped me most is – boundaries and cutting off all exes. Regarding boundaries, I feel a definite cut-off between ME and OTHERS. What they do doesn’t affect me unless I choose to be affected. And most people can’t be bothered with what I’m doing so I’ve relaxed about that. I don’t know what your core issues are but it’s just one or two things that can be tackled, it’s not as big as you fear. As for cutting off the exes, I can’t stress enough how much they can hurt us when we are vulnerable and have poor boundaries. It’s best to cut them off and put a line under it. I did accept an ex onto facebook recently and it’s been fine. But I only did it because I knew I was strong enough to handle anything dodgy (and there hasn’t been anything).
      Decisions aren’t about right or wrong. You decide on a job, you decide on a house, you decide on a pet, a haircut, shoes, a handbag, what to eat – these aren’t loaded with doubts and moral concerns (if they are, definitely get help). You decided you can do better than your ex. That’s fine. It’s not a big deal.

      • Tulipa says:

        Thank you, Grace, for your reply. I think where I am struggling is sticking to my decision. I decided to go no contact but I don’t stick to it because I doubt myself.
        Then I am affected by his actions still that is why I should be in no contact.
        You are right it is all about boundaries having them keeping them etc. knowing whats good for you and whats not.
        All other exes I have felt that final cut off but not with this one yet.
        You decided you can do better than your ex. That’s fine. It’s not a big deal.
        I need to stop making it a big and turning into something all about me.

        • Beth D says:

          I have the same problem with this ex. Usually when I am done with a man I am done. I move on. My motto has always been NEXT esp for the men who have messed up with me. This breakup tortured me and I second guessed myself the whole time. I know I was right to end it because his behavior at the end was so disrespectful and I cut him off clean. I finally have reconciled two facts. I have forgiven him but I won’t forget. I was right and justified in what I did. He deserved it for his behavior esp after so many years.

        • Allison says:


          I don’t recall your history.
          Whys did you break up? And, how long has it been?

          • Tulipa says:

            @BethD thank you for your reply it is good to see you made a decision and have stuck to it.

            @Allison it is not an unusual story. I dated an EUM and he ended it with me a year ago now, we had mutual no contact for a period of time but decided we would be friends. This friendship has not gone well in my opinion and his behaviour seems worse than when we were together. I was doing no contact and going very well but then he sent a text to say he is down etc etc so I cut him some slack. But I am undecided and to and froing with my decision to cut him off completely or flog the friendship donkey some more. Things are changing due to people’s posts and NML’s articles and all the advice that has gone before. I just need to get off the fence and DO no contact or accept he is the way he is and continue the ‘friendship.”

          • Allison says:


            I too, choose a friendship after the break up. Biggest mistake of my life!!! My self-esteem was crap after the break up but, was further depleted with the ‘friendship.’

            Hon, if he treats you poorly, then why are you hanging on to this? What are you getting from the contact, with the exception of misery?

            This man will not look out for your best interests. Isn’t it time you did?

  12. Jane says:

    This post is so helpful – this whole site is! I was in a relationship that was forever too-ing and fro-ing – over three years, straight out of my abusive marriage. By comparison to my marriage I was getting attention, getting some good times but they would be followed by withdrawal, silences, anger – a lot of anger – directed at me with judgements of who I was – harsh, controlling, judgmental, game playing, secretive….lots of shouting and storming away and then ‘can’t you see how much I love you’ – I couldn’t – he only replied to my texts when he felt like it, never called me, never came to me, never paid for anything but he kept telling me he love dme so it must have been true. And sex was great but I see now that after 10 years of sex being abusive ANYONE would have been great! And I have done the ‘its all about me’ thinking – omg I see that now! What did I do to cause him to get angry? What did I do to cause him to ignore me? What did I do to cause him not to want to come see me? It wasn’t about me. None of it. I was good enough. I am good enough. They were his issues and nothing will change without him owning that and doing something about it – which he won’t so nothing will change! And so I ummed and ahhd about leaving – knew it was wrong, knew I felt rubbish staying in it, kept wanting to talk, wanting to sort things and nothing ever changed. So, after the final angry outburst – I was f-ing this and f-ing that and him storming away form me ‘don’t talk to me woman I’ve had enough of you’ I couldn’t even end it then….I asked for space for a couple of months…..just so I’d have that way back in maybe?? But a few weeks in I already realise its me I have to love, so much abuse that I have allowed so I have to find my boundaries, who I am and love myself, love myself enough to never let this happen again – or at least if it starts to recognise it and stop it immediately. I am worthy of being treated well and nothing less. Its not about me. I’m ok. So – I’m not contacting him , its over. My only thought now is if he contacts me in a months time when the 2 months is up do I tell him its over or just not reply? I want to commit to my decision, not run away anymore – I guess I’ll know the answer to that when it/if it comes. Thank you BR for these posts.

    • grace says:

      If he contacts you, tell him you’ve decided it’s best you go your separate ways.
      No meetings, no discussions, no booty calls, no sex, no drama, no crying, no one-more-email, no facebook stalking etc.
      And please don’t get too stressed about it, they really aren’t that bothered so just take care of yourself.

      • Fearless says:

        I agree totally with Grace. This guy (any guy) can say they love you till the cows come home but you must start hearing the opposing message from his actions which, even from where I am sitting, tells a whole different story: abusing user out for himself. He is a no go for you now. Get your boundaries sorted out; you sound like you realise this already. You’ve made a decision. Good for you. It’s the right one. Get behind it and get behind yourself and commit now to *you* and your best interests in the short and the long term. Don’t be the first to make contact. Don’t concern yourself about how he feels or what he might want or what he thinks (he is all about him, so he’s sorted!)… and he is not your problem – you are! If he contacts you do exactly as Grace says – by text if possible! Then delete and block him and get on with looking after *you*. Good luck.

  13. Lessie says:

    Hi Magnolia,

    Wow, what great insights you have, this in particular captured me:

    “Even though I didn’t know how to do it at first, the sense of a goal, loving myself, gave me enough clarity and focus to begin to make decisions with my best interests truly at heart”…this is exactly how I have been feeling as of late and I am trying to become comfortable with allowing myself to love and care for myself…what a concept for me!

    Thank you as always, for sharing.

  14. Lessie says:


    Your words resonated with me because I also did the same thing: changing my cell phone number which my ex had asked me not to do. And, just as you say here, it was one of the most difficult things I have had to do.

    I also sent back his housewarming gifts to me ((I had recently moved when he visited and broke up with me all in the same visit)…and even now, I still wonder, when checking my regular mail, if he will have sent me something (I know, its awful, I don’t like myself for feeling that way).

    As I also blocked his email too…because I knew myself well enough to know that I would be obsessively checking and hoping, waiting and wondering, all of that internal anxiety that can be so debilitating.

    It is all very difficult and each day is a struggle but with doing this I do feel as if I am putting ME first, whereas before I don’t think I did, as so much of our relationship seemed to be about him, his wants, his needs, etc.

    My best thoughts are with you, stay strong.

    • Michelle L says:

      I am responding to this and your other post about sending your ex a letter. I too am healing from an MM. We had four weeks of literally living together and it was wonderful. Everything he said and did indicated that he was going to leave his wife (the marriage was in real trouble). Then he went on a planned trip with her for business and came back having decided to recommit. It was very difficult to lose the relationship, very painful. The worst part is he deceived me about what he had decided and initiated sex right after he came back. When I found out the truth I initiated NC.

      The point I want to make is that the resolution you seek by writing a letter is not likely to come. I had the chance to say what I wanted to say to him when he emailed me about being friends (I declined). I communicated what I had felt and learned. I felt better for a few days, but then the questions started creeping back in. Did I say enough? Did I let him off the hook somehow? (I was taking responsibility for my part, but I will never know if he took responsibility for his).

      Read this post on decisions and take it to heart. Stick with complete NC. You will only get resolution on this from yourself. What you write in the letter will never quite be enough. The thing that helps is time, time and NC to heal.


      • Lessie says:

        Michelle L,

        And I send you hugs as well.

        It never ceases to amaze me how, when reading the various postings on here from all these incredible ladies how very similar the stories are, at least with the EUM and MM types.

        I am sorry for what you went through. My own experience was somewhat similar in that: my married but separated man and his wife went on a safari together, back in May (they had made the reservations a year ago and decided to keep them)…he emailed and phoned me while there (in S. Africa) and said to me, “It would have been so romantic if you had been here with me, that has been wasted on ( ) and I”…and yet, it was not long after that, he told me that he no longer felt himself to be in love with me and that there were so many things that were “right” about me and he “should” feel that way, but he just didn’t…and…ouch, that hurt A LOT.

        In retrospect now, I realize that as another poster stated, “Many people emphatically believe they are ready for a relationship when they are not” and I think, perhaps, this was the case. I also had issues of my own to work out too (we were both complicit in what took place) and so it’s important to me and to my being able to move forward and truly put all this behind me that I not only admit that to myself, but to him, as well…at least, it feels that way right now, but I am going to have a good long think about this before I actually “do” anything…I need to reflect about it all.

        Sometimes, more than anything, it just feels as if the timing for everything with us was not in our favor, but, whatever it was, I agree, the ultimate resolution does need to come from myself.

        Thank you so much though, for taking the time to share.

        • grace says:

          Do be careful with your reflecting that you don’t gloss over the facts. It’s not bad timing and it’s not about readiness. He’s married. Yes men will leave wives for other women. But they do it quickly. And then what do you have? A man who, you know, will turn to someone else when he’s bored/ feeling old/ wanting attention/ under stress etc.
          For a moment I wondered what it would have been like if I’d married the ex. I would have been in our home, putting our child to bed while he texted another woman that he should have married HER instead. What they do is what they do. When he’s done with cheating with you, he’ll be cheating on you. Or you’ll be wondering if he is, which is just as destructive.
          He has a right to go on holiday with his wife, and he has a right to have sex with her on said holiday. His wife has a right to expect her husband to be around in a year’s time. That’s not what you should be getting angry about.

  15. Lessie says:

    Hi Kristen,

    I read with great interest your post (I’m a recent “newbie” here myself).

    I think I get what you’re saying and it reminded me of a book I read this past year about the relationship of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton called “Mad Love” and I was enthralled by it because…the excerpts of love letters they sent each other showed such great passion and love and perhaps like many women, I have always been very desirous of such things in my own life: ie., that great kind of breathtaking love.

    And I remember thinking at the time, while reading this book, “Gosh, most people nowadays would probably say, ‘They had a very dysfunctional relationship with one another’…they began as an affair, they were both married with children, heavy drinking, fighting, infidelity, and yet, always, even when they had divorced (twice) and remarried others, they still remained the great love of each others life.

    Towards the end of the book, there is a letter included that Burton wrote to Taylor, very shortly before he died (while he was married to someone else yet again) and in it, he says to her: “You are my home. May I please come home”…and it was very poignant to me.

    I myself am somewhat in the middle on all this…I often feel cursed by my intense romanticism yet it is a very real part of who I am. Yet, at the same time, the mental and emotional heartache and energy this has cost me is so painful that I find myself thinking, “Perhaps less romanticism, more realism is in order”…I would like to think there is a happy balance but I have yet to find it myself. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • grace says:

      I think this is a case of “don’t try this at home” (credit to one of the posters on this blog). I THINK if you’re a hollywood superstar, and fabulously beautiful, with no financial worries AT ALL, and hordes of staff to clean up after you, it may all be good fun. Otherwise, when you’re trying to pay the mortgage, bring up kids, take the dog to the vets, it would be entirely too much and you’d just wish you had a man who’d be there, where he said he would, on time and sober. I’m also looking at you DYLAN THOMAS. Turning up for parents’ evening late, off your head and with bedhair because you’ve just been having hot sex with your beloved will probably make your children hate you.
      By the way, I’ve HAD those steamy letters, and he even wrote a book with me as the main character. Still turned out to be, essentially, just another EUM. I cut him off. I can’t even get nostalgic about it. Twenty years later, all I can think is – huh?
      It’s not about a happy balance. True love that lasts is a whole other country.
      Here’s a poem by Stevie Smith, apologies if I misquote:
      “Honour and magnify this man of men
      who keeps a wife and five children on 2d 10
      paid weekly in an envelope
      but still has never given up hope”
      Ordinary can be beautiful too.

      • Fearless says:

        I think most peope have the idea of love that you describe when they are young; experience teaches us differently – maybe the universe is yet to send you your one last ass and ask you, ‘are you done now?’

        Burton’s quote, ‘You are my home. May I please come home now?’ is poignant and very sad I think because he finally, as many do on their death beds, realised that he had been knocking himself out and knocking himself over (so was Taylor) all his life struggling for that indescribable, ungraspable, slippery something that was right under his nose the whole time: ‘the beautiful ordinary’.

        Your Burton quote reminded me of this: My father admired Burton – he wasn’t unlike him: volatile, tempestuous, never happy; found life wanting – and he drank, horribly. Very ill with terminal cancer, he said to my mother (whom he would have been lost without): ‘remember you asked me about ten years ago to please let us climb the mountain together and just thank God for what we have and I told you to stop talking such rubbish. You were right. You have always been right. I want to climb that mountain with you now, Louise, and thank God for what we have’. He was dead the next day. He finally got it: ‘the beautiful ordinary’. Too late.

        (The mountain was metaphorical).

        You put that very well Grace. Ordinary can be beautiful, nae is beautiful. Taylor and Burton could have had a wonderful life together (if they had gone for the ‘ordinary’ as opposed to the tempestuous and volatile) but the fact is, they didn’t.

        To try to be relevant (sorry Nat), we must all decide what is really important to us, or perhaps what is really important, and try to realise it before it’s too late. Sorry to have digressed off topic.

        • Lessie says:


          I think its so lovely what you wrote here about your parents and yes, I think this happens so very often, sad to say…people only realize what “could” have been, and how much time was wasted, often when it is too late. I think what Taylor and Burton shared was incredible and they obviously never really “let go” of each other, no matter “who” they were “with” in their other lives, apart from one another.

          Some people do make the decision to live with such intensity and become very aware of the heavy emotional and physical toll it takes. One of my very favorite writers is Anais Nin, and in following her many passions, at one point in her life, she became a bigamist, remaining married to her original husband, Hugo, and their life together, first in France and then later in NY, on the east coast of the US, and then, later in life, marrying another man, Rupert, with whom she lived on the west coast of the US, in California…and, the two men never met each other until after her death! Can you imagine?!

          But, she made the choice to be “bi-coastal” in her two marriages and perhaps later, she regretted it or wished she had done it differently, I don’t know. For me, I think, as much as I want and desire passion, as I get older (over 40) I just don’t have as much energy anymore, to be honest. I think, I hope, at least, I’ve had my share of “drama” and now just want some peace.

          With the occasional passion and romance too :)

          • Fearless says:


            I’ve heard of these bigamy type situations before when the two partners only learn of the other’s existence after the bigamist’s death. You make it sound so romantic; I don’t know if that is intended or I am mis-reading, but I don’t see it as romantic nor do I see it as “love” (other than astonishingly self-serving self-love); I see it as incredibly and cruelly deceitful, which is one of the things that is so crushing when you have been deceived in relationships – you feel that you have been disempowered, that you have been robbed of the right to make an informed decision for yourself about your own life; that you have been unwittingly living someone else’s lie. It’s one of the worst things you can do to another human being in a relationship, I think, to rob them of their own power over their own lives and of their right to make informed choices.

            Aside from that – you seem to excuse your ‘man’ taking a holiday with his ‘estranged’ wife because it was pre-arranged; like you were the new employer who was duty bound to honour his holiday plans? If he had been serious about you he would have cancelled the trip. Plainly he had not come to any decision about ending his marriage. It’s like ‘I have decided to go NC with my ex but I have to break it cos we had already booked a holiday. Maybe, according to your own apparent take on things, this wife is his Elizabeth Taylor… so we’d have to say it is so romantic and passionate and incredible and wonderful – for them. For me he just sounds like trouble.
            I hope things work out for you.

        • runnergirl says:

          Fearless, Lessie, Michelle, and Grace,

          This is a moving thread. Thank you for sharing and welcome Lessie and Michelle. Congratulations on your decision not to be that woman anymore, the other woman. I’m a recent ex OW too. It’s a tough road to hoe deciding to get out and sticking with with that decision but it’s got to be better on the other side, right? I’ve now made the decision and I’m sticking with it come hell or high water. Let’s hope the universe sent us our one last ass, borrowing Blaise Parker’s metaphor.

          Fearless, the story of your parents is very touching and, in my opinion, relevant. You’re father finally made a decision.

          Grace and Fearless, I love the “beautiful ordinary”. I was raised on lit and loved the mad, passionate, romance stuff that the great novelists wrote about. The ex MM was a lit major (like daddy) and we often talked about how fortunate we were to have finally experienced the great love we had read about. Of course now I realize how dysfunctional that great love actually was. Lessie, your English prof’s comment about Healthcliffe and Cathy going to the grocery store made me bust a gut laughing. It also reminded me of how, when my denial would crack, I would cry and scream at him about just wanting to be “normal”…the “beautiful ordinary”. Do fix-it chores around the house, go to the grocery store (TOGETHER), sleep-in and read the paper on a lazy Sunday morning. I didn’t realize I could make the decision to have the beautiful ordinary or I didn’t want to face the ugly fact I couldn’t have the beautiful ordinary with a MM. Thus, I hung in the limbo land of indecision which as Nat points out is a decision. Oh and then I blamed him and myself for my indecision decision. I wish he would have told me: Woman, when I asked you if you were “in” and you responded “I’m in”; we decided to have a tempestuous, volatile, mad, passionate, crazy-in-love affair like we’ve read about, not the beautiful ordinary. I have that with my wife.

          Also for the record Lessie and Michelle, the ex MM went on a ten day anniversary cruise with his wife 90 days after the affair with me started. I got texts and emails and calls as well as the same line: “I got on that boat with the wrong woman”. Three years later he is still made the decision to be with the “wrong woman”. Is there nothing sacred about these affairs?

          I decided tonight that I want the beautiful ordinary and that can be with just me or maybe someone at some point. If I need my crazy-in-love fix, I’ll pick up a novel.

          • Lessie says:

            Runner Girl,

            Wow, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with the MM, I can’t even begin to tell you how strangely reassuring it is to know that others have experienced similar emotional upheavals and the the resulting confusion, hurt, anger and disappointment that results from the decision to become involved with a man who, for all intents and purposes, was never really “there” for the taking to begin with, because he was already “taken” by another (ie., marriage, children, a whole other life).

            I appreciate so much the strength I am gaining daily from reading these posts and realizing that I am not the only one to have this happen to me. I wanted to recommend to the lovely ladies here a book I’ve been reading recently that resonates with me on so many levels in different ways:

            The Merry Recluse by the late gifted writer, Caroline Knapp. This book is a collection of somber, funny, and ” a ha yes, I KNOW that feeling” type essays that has helped me to feel an emotional connection to a gifted writer.

            Have a lovely holiday weekend everyone :)

          • bella says:

            @runnergirl “the ex MM went on a ten day anniversary cruise with his wife 90 days after the affair with me started. I got texts and emails and calls as well as the same line: “I got on that boat with the wrong woman”. Three years later he is still made the decision to be with the “wrong woman”. Is there nothing sacred about these affairs?”

            How about: “is there nothing sacred about these MARRIAGES.” Of course, there’s nothing whatsoever sacred about these affairs. The emails/texts/calls that he’s vacationing with the wrong woman, while on vacation with the wife, are simply obscene. It’s unbelievably degrading to both her and you. What’s the attraction to a guy with such low, piss-poor character?

            @Lessie “he emailed and phoned me while there (in S. Africa) and said to me, “It would have been so romantic if you had been here with me, that has been wasted on ( ) and I”

            Ditto: obscene. Nothing romantic here.

          • runnergirl says:

            Hey Bella,

            For me, everysinglething about being an OW was unbelievably degrading and obscene. I guess I used the word “sacred” when I meant unique. I thought I was the only OW to sit at home getting texts, emails, and phone calls from the MM while on vaca with their wife.

            For me, I’m still sifting through the rubble of my life regarding the attraction to a MM with such a piss poor character. A few nuggets I’ve been able to gleen include zero self-esteem coupled with a heavy dose of daddy hunting and the complete inability to make a decision and stick with it. I made a decision to get out on the average of once a month for two years and in typical FBG fashion, got back up to the table the next morning to place my bet on potential. That said, my complicity in the deception was of piss poor character too. You’ll hear NO excuses from me. I am accountable and hold myself responsible for my role. I chose the path of least resistance and went back because it was the familiar uncomfortable. “Most of all, you get to avoid making change and being alone with yourself and having to be responsible and get out of your comfort zone.” I got to avoid the responsibility of dealing with me and being alone with me, AGAIN. I’m dealing now, big time.

          • cavewoman says:

            Hello Lessie, and hi Runner, Grace, Fearless – thank you for the phrase ‘the beautiful ordinary’. I cherished this little sub-thread… though I don’t post much here any more, I’m still reading regularly… I’ve been simply living. A more quiet life, with some ups and downs, but feeling a growing sense of calm and appreciation. Kristen’s original post with “all is fair in love and war” reminded me of what it used to be like to be tormented by my own desires and doubts… I’ve finally stopped fighting (my better judgment; for unattainable love; against reality, etc.). I don’t have time for that. Nothing particularly romantic about it any more. I’d rather watch my children play, eat, sleep, laugh, cry… and be there. I’d rather work hard and be proud of my accomplishments, than chase after the dubious accomplishment of gaining attention and validation from another… Just living life as it happens and not resisting it is actually simple. Not always easy, but a lot less boring than the passionate romantic in me used to think. Being alive is very romantic. Right now as I type this, the crickets outside my window, summer breeze, stars, sweet children all tucked in, me staying up late in my room is plenty romantic. Peace and love to all you BR readers and Natalie! You are all on an amazing journey.

          • runnergirl says:

            @Cavewoman I’m glad you are still reading, although I do miss your posts. It is wonderful to hear that you are living a quiet life with a growing sense of calm and appreciation. Could that be what happens when we make a decision in our best interest and stick to it? If so congratulations, albeit there are some ups and downs. Thank you for sharing the beautiful ordinary of crickets, warm summer breezes, and the kids slumbering peacefully. It does sound truly romantic. Wishing you peace and the beautiful ordinary that comes with making a decison in your best interest.

            @Bella, I’m sorry about your 20’s-30’s with EU’s. It is inspiring to hear that you’ve gotten to the other side though. I look back at my involvement with a MM with a ton of horror and cringe at my self-centeredness. I’m in a daily, almost hourly, struggle between getting stuck in self-blame and attempting to accept responsibility and accountability, and attempting to forgive myself for not sticking with the decision I knew was the right decision. Moreover, it has been difficult coming to grips with making such a wrong decision in the first place. Thinking about his betrayed wife, who didn’t have the opportunity to make a decision (until she found out in July), is overwhelming.

            Thank you for the wonderful words of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. I have asked everybody and everything, including myself, for forgiveness. I will now ask the birds.

        • Allison says:


          The bit about your folks was very touching.
          Thanks for sharing.

          I’m sorry, about the loss of your father.

        • Magnolia says:

          Fearless, your story of your father’s 12th hour words to your mother have stayed with me even as I go about my day away from the computer. Thank you so much.

          • bella says:

            I wouldn’t be here if BR didn’t resonate with me. I wasted a good part of my 20s and 30s on a string of EUMs and checked all the boxes: low self-esteem, reverted to the familiar comfort zone of pain (EU parents), followed the negative behavior patterns and dynamics presented here. Now in my mid-40s, I look back with a mixture of relief tinged with some horror. Relief because I finally got to the “other side” although I’m a work in progress and always will be. Horror that I was so wrapped up in my own selfish desires and self-manufactured pain and was often very callous towards others. Here’s something to reflect upon from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (in keeping with the evoking here of great art!): “My brother, a dying youth, asked the birds to forgive him. That may sound absurd, but when you think of it, it makes sense. For everything is like the ocean, all things flow and are indirectly linked together, and if you push here, something will move at the other end of the world. It may be madness to beg the birds for forgiveness, but things would be easier for the birds, for the child, and for every animal if you were nobler than you are—yes, they would be easier, even if only by a little . . .” I think that this is beautiful; it’s helped me.

      • Lessie says:


        Thank you so much and yes, I think you are right…I’m thinking Angelina and Brad for the “Hollywood” types…I have often thought, even with regards to my own marriage (I recently divorced though my ex and I are still very best friends and love each other dearly) that “If only passion AND marriage could co-exist together” and I’m sure that (maybe) it does, for some couples but it has not been my experience thus far.

        Seduction, romance and passion seem to somehow be separate from marriage, children and responsibilities…and yet maybe it is possible to have BOTH within one relationship. I would like to think so anyway! And wow, the Dylan Thomas thing, yikes!

        How true is that?! And let’s not even mention Picasso and the many women he managed to (literally) drive insane (I always think of Dora Maar with regards to this)…my ex is an artist actually and I can say that the “artistic self absorption” bit is very true (or was in his case, anyway)…I often think too that…so much of the great literature, poetry, music, books, and films that we know and love (Rhett and Scarlett, anyone?) seem to almost lend themselves to this idea of passion and romance, and living every day in a state of fevered emotion and heightened sexual tension.

        I remember an English professor of mine once saying, with regards Wuthering Heights, “Can you imagine Heathcliffe and Cathy going to the grocery store”…enough said :) So very true.

        • bella says:

          The conflation of great art/literature/music with the tedious MM narrative is disturbing. What moves most people about great art is the inherent, inspired beauty and genius, apart from the sometimes steamy storyline, or chaotic, passion-filled life of the artist. Let’s leave the MM story where it belongs – in the gutter – and not elevate it to the heights of great art. Let’s be real: other than the rare exception, the MM is slumming. Nothing beautiful, inspired, romantic, or uplifting about this. Any correlation between the typical MM story and great art would make any true student or lover of the arts cringe. Ah yes, the MM who, while on vacation with the wife tells the OW that he’s on vacation with the “wrong woman” evokes feelings similar to those inspired by reading Yeats and looking at Botticelli’s paintings!

          • Beth D says:

            I had a friend who had a 24 year affair with a married man. Started when she was 20. Highs and lows for all those years. He was good looking and wealthy and made sure every other man who came into her life looked bad. She use to play that song by the brooklyn bridge Your husband my wife. It would justify and romanticize the whole sordid affair I guess. She ended up not having children which was a high price to pay IMO. She looks back and asks herself “what was I thinking?” But at the time there was nothing you could say to her to see how destructive this was to both her and the wife. Thankfully she finally let go of him even when he offered her the world at the end. She has met a wonderful man and has been happily married for 5 years and looking forward to growing old with her new love. Something that wouldn’t have happened with her ex MM.

        • grace says:

          i agree,reading those comments made me feel incredibly sad for their wives.
          maybe that’s progess – these days i identify much more with the wife’s position than the OW’s.

          • Beth D says:

            I know grace. I think about how me and my friend would always be looking to talk trash about the wife. We were young and hadn’t lived life. Now I feel guilty when I think about that. I can’t imagine the pain that wife felt for all those years with a partial husband. She did catch him a few times but with three children she took him back. I even understand that now when before we would say….oh why doesn’t she just leave him. Of course when you are with a MM they never tell u a thing about what is going on at home. I suspect he treated her pretty well even though my gf would swear there was nothing there.

        • grace says:

          lessie (and others struggling with MMs)
          i’ve been thinking about the brangelina and the burton-taylor thing. I don’t think they’re a template of a what we should be doing BUT, even so, there are some marked differences between them and what we experience. Burton/Taylor is a hot mess to me BUT he did marry her (twice) and give her amazing gifts that she wore in public and everyone knew about their relationship. Brad and Angelina toughed it out publicly. He left JA very quickly (poor JA, her head must have been spinning). I wasn’t a fly on the wall but AJ must have said something along the lines of “choose – her or me. and do it quick. because I am NOT playing second fiddle”. The time for you to put that ultimatum on the table is long long gone.
          Everyone knows about these relationships. No super-injunctions. If a man keeps you a secret from his nearest and dearest, from his friends, from his colleagues, from his wife, from his kids it’s because … he’s ashamed. Of you. Ouch.
          Yes, it’s harsh but sometimes you have to get your head out of the clouds and see what it is you’re really dealing with. That’s the basis of making a sound decision.

          • mirelle says:

            Indeed, Grace!
            A man who is crazy about a woman will make her feel she is a priority.
            When a man truly loves the OW, he will make her #1 and won’t keep her a secret.
            When I was with the MM I had a friend who was with a MM, too, but their relationship was totally different.He had not spoke to his wife for 2 years before my friend met him. Although she is still an OW(because she does not want to marry him), she knows all his friends, family(his son), relatives, they spend ALL evenings, weekends, holidays, New Year’s, Easters, etc together. Everybody thinks they are married! She is really happy and OK with being the OW.
            So, not all MM are unavailable.Not all relationships with MM are based on lies, there is no hidden agenda of none of them. Not all OW have low self esteem.
            The real problem is when you feel you have to “win” him, when you wait for him to “make up his mind”. They DID make the decision when they started to hide the “relationship”. A very painful one.
            When I compared the two relationships,I realized that I did not have a problem with his marital status. The problem was that he did not make the decision to make me #1, he would not have done it even if he was single. Our problem was not that he was married. The ugly truth was that he did not love me. And another truth was that I did not truly loved him either.

    • Minky says:

      Whenever i think of Hollywood romances i think of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward – and that immortal line ‘Why fool around with hamburger when you can have steak at home?’. Beautiful but not ordinary :).

      • bella says:


        “So, not all MM are unavailable.Not all relationships with MM are based on lies, there is no hidden agenda of none of them.”

        Sorry to disappoint, but the very definition of MM means unavailable. To spell it out: he’s married, legally committed to Someone Else, NOT AVAILABLE. Furthermore, the very nature of the MM relationship necessitates lying, deception, dishonesty (unless you are totally disregarding the wife, which sadly, seems to be the general inclination among the OW faction here). As for “no hidden agenda,” unless the wife embraces the OW as part of some happy threesome, how do you get to no hidden agenda? (i.e. MM obviously has to deceive the wife; ergo, hidden agenda. Unless, of course, the wife is conveniently disregarded).

        “I realized that I did not have a problem with his marital status.”

        How nice for you. Perhaps the wife did, or would have had a problem with the creeping around behind her back. The wife counts too; she’s just as important as the rest of us. With the MM scenario, there generally seems to be a sizable blind spot and a real cold-blooded attitude re. the wife.

        • bella says:

          final thought @ mirelle: as for your friend’s messy sounding MM situation (are they now hiding the affair or not? I’m confused), this secondhand account of a supposed exception to the classic MM scenario hardly constitutes convincing evidence that the MM route can work out happily. The abundance of posts here on the topic indicates otherwise.

        • mirelle says:

          I was not talking about my relationship with my EUM/MM, I gave an example of another relationship, a couple I know that have a committed and open relationship, although he is still legally married to someone else. He is married to a woman he has not spoken to for years. He and my friend ( the OW) live together and their relationship is not a secret for anybody. That’s why I said that not all MM are unavailable.
          The idea was that it is not the marital status that counts, it is his availability. I know a lot of married couples that sleep in different rooms, or live separate life for years.
          And no, they don’t care about his wife because she has her own life , too. It’s just an example.

          • NML says:

            Mirelle, I’m conscious of the comments going off topic so I’ll say this – I’m not sure where you’re headed with the direction of these comments but he is separated. And actually his marital status does count, it just doesn’t count to you. Their relationship is their relationship and just like the couple who chuck their keys into a goldfish bowl with 10 other people and shag each other at a swingers party, this is what they’re comfortable with. Fact is, he is never free to marry her as long as he is married and as long as she never wants this and is happy for him to legally be with someone else, that’s her prerogative but I hardly think it’s worth promoting. We have two friends in exactly the same situation and they’ve even had a child together. The wife refuses to sign the divorce papers although by UK law it will happen without her once the timeframe passes. Your friend will find the same thing likely exists for her to…

            Also if being showponied about is your litmus test of unavailability, it’s a bit weak. Many OWs are known to entire families, colleagues etc. Also if two people are married and live separate lives for years, they’re not available either.

        • Fearless says:


          Sounds like the MM who hadn’t spoken to his wife for two years before he met your friend would be one of the few who actually meant it when he said he was separated. I have an uncle who has been seperated for 20 years. Has had same girlfriend for ten+ years. Has no intention of divorce from wife (doesn’t believe in it), but I wouldn’t call his girl/f an “OW” cos she’s not cos there isn’t an ‘official’ except on paper.

          I don’t think it’s “marital status” per se that’s the issue for most people, it is whether or not they are trying to have a relationship with someone who is already having a whole life and relationship with someone else! And when that is the case, sorry to disagree, but they are all similar, they do all pretty much play out in exactly the same way and the result is the same: the marriage trundles on, the OW comes on BR to cry :( and then get better :)

        • right on says:

          I agree with you Bella, I’m getting a bit fed up of reading about
          the suffering of the OW. My ex husband of 20 yrs left me and our 4 lovely children after a secret affair and I can’t really put into words the pain we all went through.
          My theory is that alot of these OW can’t compete with other single woman out there, when they’re after a married man they are only competing with a tired, hard working mother and wife!

          • Natasha says:

            Righton, my grandmother was in a similar situation – my grandfather (I never met him) left her and her four children for another woman, who he’d managed to both impregnate and bring around to dinner parties, introducing her as his wife. When he eventually married this other woman, he basically carried on like his other four children didn’t exist. I know how immense and long-lasting the suffering that results from these situations is and I’ll admit that I have a hard time reading “Why won’t he leave his wife and children for me?” as well. I don’t want to judge anyone, especially considering that no one judged me over my longtime boomerang debacle with an unmarried, but complete and utter assclown. I think hearing the wife’s perspective is incredibly important and hopefully hearing it will cause people to think twice. A few years ago I was on a first date and the guy admitted to be “separated” with two small children. I got up and left him right there before the waiter even came to take the entree order. Here’s hoping more women start doing the same!!

        • SM says:

          Bella, I was ‘the wife’ and yes my eum husband had an agenda where the ow was concerned. After I found out, he did everything he could to try to keep me from divorcing him and I can guarantee you that is what happens in the majority of these situations. And no, we didnt have kids and I had as much money to lose as he did, so there was no ‘ulterior’ motive for staying with me other than he wanted to. But that is not what he told his ow, she got a load of crap. I know because she wrote me a letter telling me all the sordid details and no, I wasnt grateful for the info. I’ve never dated anyones husband but I do have a history of dating eum/ac’s so I cant throw any stones. But I can tell you while my eu’s ow was living in a fantasy world, my ‘real’ world fell apart.

          • right on says:

            Thanks Natasha, good for you, you did absolutely the right thing, that guy probably went on to find another woman who was willing to play games of drama and excitement while his children were being deprived of a “present” father.
            I didn’t mean to sound judgemental in my previous comment, sorry. My 3 daughters were late teens when their father left them for a girl not much older than them, they were so shocked and i still worry about how it has affected them psychologically. My son is now going out with a girl older than his fathers girlfriend!
            Affairs etc really mess with everyones heads and have long and deep repurcussions for innocent children who deserve better.
            Sorry this is off topic but in a way it’s relevant in that if we all made a decision to only date SINGLE men, we will avoid hurting people. Fairly simple really.

          • Natasha says:

            Righton, I think considering what you went through it would be incredibly difficult to “remain impartial”! If I was a mother and someone was party to upsetting my children, I wouldn’t be looking too kindly upon them either. That being said, I think your daughters and your son are going to be just fine – they obviously have a fantastic mother that loves them! My grandmother’s four children were of course appalled, but went on to very happy and emotionally healthy lives. I think in their case it made them determined to be better parents themselves, having witnessed how much their father frankly sucked. Just keep loving them and I’m sure everything will turn out fine! *Hugs*

      • Tulipa says:

        I’d just like to comment on the Paul Newman Joanne Woodward situation.
        It is good that their marriage lasted, but it still started off with Paul Newman already married with three children. It is rumoured that Joanne Woodward pretended to be engaged to another man just to get his attention, and it wasn’t like Paul Newman was keeping his marriage a secret.
        He divorced his first wife and married Joanne within the same year their situation reminds me of the Brad, Jenniefer and Angelina situation (except Jennifer had no children) so will we be amazed in X amount of years because Brad and Angelina have made their relationship last?

        • Minky says:

          I am aware that he was married etc. Not all relationships spring out of ideal situations. Paul Newman made the decision to leave his wife, (she refused to give him a divorce initially) and marry someone else. He made the decision, he stuck to it and was a loving husband and father for decades.

          I’m not condoning leaving a wife and family – not in the least. I know how painful it can be when your partner is unfaithful, let alone if you’re married and have kids with the guy. However, coming from a home where the parents stayed together ‘for the kids’ i can definitely say that this causes more harm than good and i’ve often wished that my folks had divorced. At least that would have taught me that, if you’re unhappy, you get out, you don’t stay in a doomed relationship and martyr yourself.

          • NML says:

            Minky, I agree. I *wish* my mother and stepfather had got divorced far sooner. Trust me when I say they weren’t doing us any big favours by staying together and playing Ike & Tina, Bobby & Whitney, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and the list goes on…

          • Tulipa says:

            The point I was making was Joanne Woodward seemed to be in the picture for quite a while before Paul Newman left his wife and I guess not been there we don’t know all that went on.
            To me there is no ideal his son suffered horribly and blamed Joanne for his suffering in that his dad left his mum.
            So he wanted them to stay together.
            I’m from a home where I wished my mum and stepfather would have divorced too.
            But I also know the pain of having divorced parents where my dad left for the other woman. (but as an adult I know if he’d stayed married to my mum this wouldn’t have worked either )
            There always seem to be a price to pay when someone leaves their marriage for someone else and even Paul paid a price but I guess he thought Joanne was worth it.

    • ICanDoBetter says:

      I have to wonder, though, as poignant as Burton’s final letter was, what would have happened had he miraculously recovered and lived longer?
      It’s like having a revelation due to a near-death experience, feeling like it has changed you forever, then, as time goes by, life goes back to normal. People revert to what they were before.
      Call me cynical, but it’s just too easy to finally “commit” when there is no chance of having to follow through on it, or when something dear is about to be lost.
      I have no doubt that those moments of realization are real and true, and can be very powerful, but a change in one’s character takes actual time and hard work, because those powerful feelings cannot be sustained for the rest of a person’s life to keep them to their new course.

  16. Fedup says:

    I was waiting for this topic to be brought up. I have this problem with being indecisive. I guess maybe subconsciously I like knowing that I have options. Especially knowing from experience that you can love someone, but they can still leave you out of the blue and rip your heart out and throw it On the floor. Anyway I have been procrastinating for months about someone. After a summer fling, the guy said he realized how much he felt about me. He asked me to move in with him. Problem is he lives interstate. I’ve been indecisive as I can’t work out how I feel. How do you decide when the person is long distance? Should I go there to see what it’s like? A summer fling and actually living together are very different. I tend to Lose myself in relationships and if I go, I don’t know anyone else but him. How do toy work out a decision?

    • Natasha says:

      FedUp, I wouldn’t jump right into moving in with him straight away. How far apart do you guys live? I think you should try visiting each other first and see how that goes. If he’s in it for the right reasons, he should totally understand why uprooting your life is something that you’re not comfortable jumping into quickly. Hope it works out! :)

    • grace says:

      is he still waiting? why not just pop over there for a weekend? no, get him to come to you. it’s always the women who end up travelling.
      normally, i’d be highly sceptical about true love after a summer fling but I guess it’s possible and if you’re going to spending weeks thinking about it, you might as well do something and see what happens.

    • LostEnergy says:

      Hi there, my first question would be … what’s the rush? if you dont know him that well enough to feel comfotable in moving in then …don’t move. 2nd question -why doesnt he move for you…if he’s the one who ‘definitely knows how he feels’?
      Moving to a place where you know no-one and the area is new to you can be very disorientating and as a human you will be very emotionally relaint on him to help you through that big life change.
      Whilst moving is not marriage – I think it it helps to look at it with similar commitment effort.
      To my mind the fact that you dont know means no. Sometimes this phrase is useful: ‘If in doubt…leave it out’.
      We’ve all pretty much realised here on BR that living for today -is just that today and picking up the pieces, heartbreak, consequences and pain is much harder and far reaching negative impact than maybe we all bargained for when we made an ‘in the heat of the moment/on the spur’ decision.
      I speak from experience in terms of moving …just be aware it send out the message to him “I value you that much that I’m prepared to move my whole life for you”, perhaps have a think about where you value yourself in all this…?
      What would you think of a guy you’d not known that long decied he wanted to move in with you or to your town and leave behind quite a chunk of his life… one might think. It’s not a drop of the hat decision. Sounds like youre stalling because you dont know him well enough, what does your gut say?
      How about give it time and let him show his commitment to you some more until you feel alot more confident with a 1 choice.
      Good luck :)

  17. Tasha says:

    For myself personnally, my inability to make a decision about relationships was a way of holding out hope that people will change and finally do right by me. Who the eff am I fooling?? Obviously only myself. Denial. What a cozy security blanket! I am facing my fears: rejection, abandonment, vulnerability… And beginning to act like the adult I am. MY bottom line is that I would rather be content by myself, than to be in a relationship of any sort under false pretenses, where I am the only vulnerable one, where my need to be accepted and liked causes me to do more self-harm than good. I treat myself and others with kindness, respect, honesty, and care. And I deserve the same in return! There is no compromising on these basics! Not any more. I am changing. Because I cannot afford NOT to. Being an indecisive doormat contributed to my negative self-esteem levels and caused me to really hate myself. I cannot live like that another day.

    • Namaste says:

      Tasha, I procrastinate too and it did ’cause me to do more self harm than good. ‘Who DID I think I was fooling?’
      “There is no compromising on these basics! Not any more. I am changing. Because I cannot afford NOT to. Being an indecisive doormat contributed to my negative self-esteem levels and caused me to really hate myself. I cannot live like that another day.”
      Your comment sums up my feelings exactly. An affirmation I will use to light the fire under myself when I need to take action. Thank-you :)

    • Fearless says:

      I concur! :)

    • Mango says:

      Also concurring, Tasha! :-)

    • Mango says:

      Also concurring! :-)

  18. Gina says:

    Great article! I HATE indecisiveness. Therefore, once I make up my mind to do something (such as leave a relationship that isn’t working), I tend to be very decisive and do not go back. I’m not in currently in a relationship right now, and have decided to take responsibility for my own happiness rather than looking for a man to fulfill me or make me happy. I have my lonely moments from time-to-time, but overall I am very happy with my decision and feel very much at peace with myself. I also feel empowered and in control of my own destiny, which is such a great feeling!

  19. Kristen says:

    Wow ladies, you are one pool of intelligent women over here at BR. I think I need to get my suit on, and jump right in, because I have a lot of laps to do before I catch up with all of you.

    You are right. Fighting is dysfunctional. And this man is leaving the country to go to Canada to be further away from me, and I still got a hotel room with him two nights ago. Even worse, when I phoned him this morning to say goodbye, he seemed bothered that I was calling him, reminded me that he was moving, and hung up on me, curtly. And then I cried.

    This, after making passionate love all night two days ago. And he and I were even considering my going to visit him in Canada. Am I insane? I don’t want to live my life, or waste anymore time a la Burton and Taylor. It is anxiety-provoking, and I think that I need to come to terms with the fact that, maybe he was the best sex I will ever have, but who cares? At my age (38), I really don’t think sex should be such a top priority.

    And it is so much effort to continue a relationship that someone else doesn’t seem to want. When I move on, or meet someone, he pops up. And I have thus far wasted three years of my life, trying to win back someone who continually hurts me, again, and again, and again.

    I spend my evening combing websites, and sometimes checking his email accounts (I know his passwords), to see what he is doing. I waste countless hours in this useless endeavor of internet spying, when I could be reading a good book, or spending time with my children.

    So yes, I played devil’s advocate yesterday, and spoke of the passion. But after reading your responses, I concede. I am an obsessed woman, that is allowing herself to be mistreated, instead of looking to the sky, and smiling at the sun and stars.

    I must try this NC. And I must stop snooping in his email and violating his privacy. I am a smart woman (goodness), and university professor, and I am so ashamed at how I have spent these past years.

    Ironically, I have a voice mail full of unanswered messages from other men, that I am not even willing to consider, because I have remained true to a person that cannot commit, and cannot get along with my children.

    Now is the time for action, I think. And instead of trolling around his websites at night, maybe I should read and post to this blog instead. Thank you so much. I am really, just so…

    • grace says:

      The curt phone calls, the disappearing acts, the passionate sex followed by rejection … not so romantic.
      We’ve all experienced it, that’s why we’re here. It can be grating to know that everyone else has felt the “great unique” love that you are feeling, but also good to know you’re not the only one.
      Picking up on what fearless said: what you think is not what he thinks. You think – passion, love, eternal connection. He thinks -beautiful woman who will jump through hoops pleasing me in bed for no commitment. In fact, the worse I treat her the better the sex is!
      Yes to NC. Do more than try. Commit to it.

    • Fearless says:

      It’s all the sitting on the fence that causes these problems you are having.
      I can’t begin to count the points of advice and blogs and pearls of wisdom I have read here on BR that have helped me unload the misery of a similar relationship, but here’s one on the topic of this blog I’d offer:

      For a relationship to work both parties have to be either ‘in’ or ‘out’. Decide. You know what the relationship is and he has shown you who he is many, many times – you’ve had three years of it; what you have seen is what you are getting – this is it; this is as good as it gets with this man.

      So what are you? “In” or “out”? Decide. If you are in, you know what you are deciding to be in on, so you then must own your decision and own your contribution to your own unhappiness.

      Same goes for him. You don’t need to accept his flip-flapping, blowing hot and cold Harry Houdini acts. He is either in or he’s out. And we can all see quite clearly that he is neither one or the other. He is a fence sitter using you as an option and a fall-back girl. And he has never needed to be “in” or “out” cos you already offered him the “fence” as an option. He took it.

      If you are “out” – well get out and stay out. Don’t give NC a try. That’s not what it’s for. Decide. And get behind yourself and your decision. NC will give you a chance to heal, get off the drug, get out of the fog, get some clarity and to love and validate yourself.

      You have enough information about him and what he is offering you to make a fully informed choice. So if you decide to keep going as you are with this flip-flapping man then you must also own that decision too and so own the consequences for your life and your happiness. It’s down to you.

      Read Natalie’s e-book “Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl”.You won’t regret it.

      Welcome to BR.

    • Allison says:


      What are you getting from this ‘relationship?’ When I answered that question, it was easy to make the final decision.

      You situation sounds like it is filled with much anxiety, mistrust and drama. Is this how you want to live out your years?

      • Fearless says:

        “What are you getting from this ‘relationship?’ When I answered that question, it was easy to make the final decision.”

        Me too. I am beginning to think that it’s not making the decision that is really so hard, it’s the deciding to make it – it’s all the anxiety of procrastination, self-doubt, second guessing…. once the decision is made and you know you are truly (not faux) behind it, it is like you have shrugged a monkey off your back. Finally. Phew! Freedom!

      • Beth D says:

        allison, great points….even when I think I can gain back the trust the anxiety and drama are the things that scare me the most! Peace is starting to look real good. I am glad I came back here :)

    • Lessie says:


      Acceptance is the hardest part of it all…and you are to be commended for having the inner strength and emotional courage to begin this process, I am sending the very best thoughts to you.

      I wanted to share something I am ashamed of having done but…

      For the last couple of months, off and on, in my weaker moments, I have searched online for pictures of his wife. I know she is a yoga instructor and I even know the name of the yoga studio she teaches at and for some insane reason at times like this, I find myself, thinking, “If only I could SEE what she looks like” as if, somehow, in my messed up way of thinking and trying to work my way through all of this emotional dross, knowing what she looks like will somehow make me feel…better, worse, indifferent?

      I honestly don’t know. And I even have the self awareness of the insanity of what I am doing as I am doing it! Having those internal moments of realization and then expressing externally out loud to myself, “Stop it, you’re being ridiculous, just stop it, go outside”

      I abhor myself for moments like this when I indulge, which thankfully, seem to be (somewhat) lessening but still…I can understand and empathize with you about this. And just to hopefully make you feel a bit better too: I am also a part time university professor and have often thought the same thing:

      “Okay, so I’m supposed to be kind of smart, I guess but why don’t I FEEL like it when it comes to men, love and relationships”…you are not alone. Please know that. Take good care and I hope to “see” you here and continue to read your comments.

      • runnergirl says:

        Congratulations and welcome to the pool Kristen. It can get crowded in here but it keeps the water warm. The brilliance of Natalie’s articles and the brilliant folks who comment is what struck me too.

        At some point relatively soon as the fog lifts, you may be grateful he is moving to Canada. There are so many that have to do NC while continuing to work with their ex. My ex got a new job about the time we broke up and is out of town most of the week. At first, I was sad but now I am relieved I no longer have to see him at work. Also having learned the hard way, like Fearless said, you can’t “try” NC. You have to “do” NC.

        I’d like to second Fearless’ suggestion to download Natalie’s book, Mr U and the FBG as well as the NC Rule. Great, great, great reading and it will give you something to do at night.

        BTW, Lessie I’m a community college prof and I’ve snooped on the internet to see what his wife looked like too. I had to attend one event where she was also in attendance. It ended up it didn’t much matter what she looked like.

    • cavewoman says:

      You know, Kristen, it crossed my mind when I read your initial posts that it was gutsy of you, as you put it, to play devil’s advocate, especially if you were conflicted about what you wrote… Good for you – you tested us first :)
      Welcome to BR!
      Michelle and Lessie, welcome to you too. P.S. Lessie I cyberstalked my ex-EU and his love-of-his-life ex, too. Beside the fact that it was a waste of time, even determining that I’m more beautiful, righteous, etc. did NOTHING for me. Nothing to gain from the stalking and yearning and comparing and contrasting and wishing and empathizing… It took me months to learn that all of this really only exists in my head and my thoughts are my choice; and I’m choosing only to continue to hurt myself long after the actual flesh and blood source of my pain was out of my life. I’m that dense!

  20. Bernie says:

    Thank you so much the article was written in perfect timing I have hang on to a relationship for the past 10 years because I thought my love for my partner could keep it together but instead the lack of love of myself blew it apart today I am on my journey to love me first because I can not give away what I have not got

  21. Fedup says:

    Its been several months, he’s probably given up by now. Hes about an hour plane trip from me. He can’t visit me as he went back to studying. I worry that there isn’t much chemistry between us. He’s not the usual type that I go for. I also worry as I haven’t had the “college experience”. He used to say thT we were too different. After he left he changed his tune.

    • grace says:

      I’ve change my mind in the light of further information. I think you should forget it. For crying out loud, students – of all people – have time for a one-hour plane trip. Trust me, they DO NOT spend ten hours a day in the library (ha ha). And you can read on a plane. He’s already done the flip – flap “I love you. No, we’re too different. But we should be together. Move in. But I can’t visit you”.
      I am going to let you into something that I’ve learned from observing myself and others over decades”I don’t have time” = “I don’t want to”.
      Unless you’re an heiress who loafs around at home all day with a private jet, he has as much time as you do. He thinks his time is more important than yours = He thinks he’s more imp0rtant than you. I’ve got a sneaky feeling YOU think he’s more important than you. He doesn’t need to be there for you to make a decision. I think you have enough information.
      And it’s not about right or wrong/life or death – if you say no to him, life goes on and both of you will meet someone else. Maybe it’s just too difficult to have a relationship with someone who can’t be arsed to get on a plane. No drama, no big deal.
      You may be thinking “but why shouldn’t I be the one to get on the plane?”. Because men should make a bl**dy effort! And they KNOW that ! If they aren’t making an effort, it’s because in an passive aggressive way they are trying to tell you “Don’t depend on me”. If a man likes you, he will show you with actions. Maybe even jewelry. Not a bucketful of excuses.

      • Fearless says:

        Amazing Grace:
        “If a man likes you, he will show you with actions. Maybe even jewelry. Not a bucketful of excuses.” :) Lol! Your posts are gems, Grace.

        So true. So obvious. So ashamed. How the hell did I ever manage to contort all “his” excuses into reasons? I was (not) with the busiest man who ever walked the surface of the earth. EVER.

        • Mango says:

          I feel the same way, Fearless, feeling so stupid at all my excuse contorting, just so it would assemblage some sort of sense in my mind.

          A crazy visual just popped in my head:

          Him: Hey, lovely, I’ve got something for you. A gift….. in a bucket!

          Me: Ooooh, what could it be? Fresh berries? Yum. Wildflowers that you picked just for me from the side of the road? Awww….. I know, beach glass, weathered into the shape of hearts!

          Him: No, better! It’s all my excuses! See, I figured just one or three, on their own, might seem completely lame. Yet all together….surely you can make something wonderful from them?

          Me: Yes! Why, I’ll string them all together and make a pretty necklace!

          A bucketful of excuses indeed. Good grief. I want an ‘ass-free’ tee shirt.

        • Lisa says:

          so true…the guy I was involved with could only see me 3-4x a month tops but suddenly when he was in his next relationship, he was seeing her 4-5x a week…amazing how easy it was to clear his calender…unless she was a potential customer and he was just ‘networking’…total bs.

      • Natasha says:

        “He thinks his time is more important than yours = He thinks he’s more imp0rtant than you.”

        So true Grace! I took a psychology course in college and the professor did an entire lecture about how time is one of the biggest non-verbal indicators of respect and intention. For example, if someone is constantly showing up late, they don’t respect you or your time/are passive aggressively trying to show that they don’t want to be there.

        I think this double applies to those of us that have been involved in boomerang debacles with an assclown. Essentially, when someone keeps showing up to a relationship to get what they want with no intention of it progressing, they are wasting your time. Wasting your time while getting what he wants = he thinks he’s more important than you.

  22. Fedup says:

    The whole thing goes around and around in circles and doesn’t get resolved. I feel like a hypocrite but how do you make such a decision after only s few months? And he isn’t even here which doesn’t help at all.

    • Allison says:


      How can this relationship work if it is long distance??? I too, used to choose long distance relationships (very EU) as they were safe. How can I have a healthy relationship with a man if I see him several times a year. I think you really need to address why you’re not choosing to be with someone local. Are you still in the EU bubble?

      This does not stand a chance.

  23. LostEnergy says:

    Well ladies… i am still reading BR:) And pleased to say I am so much better along the road now feeling much more ‘over’ my ex EUM A/C than I was even 1 month ago… when I saw some photos and got very nostalgic.
    However now I have managed to find myself in a new situation with another EUM (has a g/f)… classic! this flirtation has been brewing for quite a while an recently culminated in some more tactile flirting and recently he tried to kiss me. Why is it i have allowed this to happen? Yes it’c coz I find him very attractive and thing is its coz i like his personality too and feel comfortable around him… or is that just the hormones… I havent been cuddled, found attractive by a man i like in 9 months (which is nothing but added up with previous years of singledome -it gets pretty disheartening and embaressing) or just plain wanting attention from a man. Its nice being close to someone, feel like all my friends are letting me down at the moment too. Feels like most people cant even commit to giving a set time to meet up (female friends) and then expect you to drop all for them or get pissy with you if you cant suddenly jump! (sorry having a bit of a whinge). Anyhow I must stay strong with a decision not to get involved again with an EUM, as I could feel myself getting in emotionally deeper with this guy, must stop that now and put it all in perspective… no excuses.
    Is this a test? it feels like a test, like life only offers me either guys I’m not interested in (who if truth be known arent really interested in me either methinks, other wise they’d make more effort) or guys who are eum. It is like we’ve got to show you all these men who are no good for you… where are the guys that are good for me …
    BTW the phrase ‘you’ll find him when you’re not looking’ surely that means that you made the decision you didnt really want someone -so why on earth would that be a good time to meet the right one?? It doesnt seem to matter whether I look or dont look I’ve obviously never met the right one.
    Hoping I keep on track with staying true to me, I must admit the more i do it the more confident I get. it’s true Nat about believing in your decisions. Sometimes it feels like a decision for self against a decision that ‘others’ think you should be making.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi LostEnergy,

      Congratulations on your progress with the ex EUM. I would like to lend you some support in sticking to your decision not to get involved with an attached guy, another EUM. If you’ve been reading BR, you’ve no doubt encountered the heart wrenching stories we former OW’s have posted. OWs have to settle for crumbs and while that may seem like a loaf in the beginning, there comes a day when you realize you deserve more than crumbs but is all you are going to get are more crumbs. While you are feeling woozy from the crumb flirting, who is he spending the weekend with?

      Also, I’m wondering if you are seeking exernal validation from a male? It’s nice to feel close to someone, I agree. But If they are EU (and an attached person is by definition EU), what is the cost? I’m not the best in the world at sticking to my decisions as I spent the first 5-6 months in faux NC because I couldn’t stick to my decision. It cost me big time.

      I believe this may a test alright! When I lamented in the previous comment thread on blame as to how I was stuck blaming myself for spending two years involved with a MM when I knew better after 5 years of therapy, Blaise Parker commented that the universe may continue to send me the same lesson until I really get it. And as Blaise suggested, I still may have to encounter my “one lass ass”. Perhaps, this attractive guy with a good personality that you feel “comfortable” with (oh, oh), could be your one last ass?

      Getting involved with an attached EU is really lost energy, not to mention lost time! Keep focused on yourself. You first, then a HIM, maybe. My best to you. Stay strong. You’ve made the right decision. Stick with it.

    • EllyB says:

      @LostEnergy: I’m not sure whether I’m ready for my “last ass” (or even already over it), but I’ve met at least one of those guys during the last 6 months. Nice, smart, somewhat handsome, definitely interested… and in a long-distance-relationship. I felt some zsa zsa zsu… and then, luckily, I flushed!

      I think those experiences are just natural and can even be explained statistically. As those guys need a never-ending supply of women, they are constantly hunting. No wonder we encounter them sooner or later!

      Healthy single guys are certainly more rare and more difficult to find. But the good news is: You only need to find one! Whenever I become too pessimistic, I remind myself of that.

  24. LostEnergy says:

    Another decision… although this isn’t specifically about relationships, it is about decision making. I’m wandering whether I go for some time away as a single woman either in UK or abroad for a much needed holiday (had a load of family illness and stress amongst other c**p this last year). I dont really have enough money and should really commit to making myself off better financially. But I could pay for the holiday and get by.. though it might make the next few months quite a bit tougher. I do want to move as well asnd should really be saving up the deposit etc for that too, so I can move out of current place sooner rather than later. Part of me doesnt want a week of and stay in my current accommodation, part of me wants to say to others look I had a holiday and I’m intersting and look what ive done, part of me definitely needs a break, as work is stressfull too, part of me doesn’t want to be going to places all by myself as a single woman … being looked at funny coz I’m on my own, and feeling lonely on holiday -which there is a risk of.
    Then I feel like well I shouldnt let being a single woman impede my decisions but it does …coz no-one wants to feel the odd one out or lonely.
    As you can see decisions have not always been a strong point of mine!
    I guess maybe I should concentrate more on my long term goals rather than the short term gain. … as I guess is a similar method for dealing with relationship decisions too? …

    • Mango says:

      Ah, travel. A topic that is a huge passion of mine. When I was 24 I backpacked solo around Europe for 6 months. To date, at 49 years of age, this is the wisest thing I’ve done in my life. Granted, I met my EUM on that trip all those decades ago, so be careful who you talk to; they’re everywhere!

      I caution you to not look upon travel as an escape from your world, looking for a way out of your pain, loneliness and/or financial obligations. As the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are”. So, so true.

      As far as the financial aspect, only you know your situation, and what your comfort zone is. I had a good job, and people thought I was NUTS to take myself off the corporate ladder. Also, I didn’t have a pile of money to cushion myself. Yet, I believed in myself and had faith I would land on my feet.

      The irony of traveling alone, is that you’re never really alone, unless you want to be. If you want to meet other travelers you can, at your hotel/hostel, museums, cafes, walking/cycling tours, cooking lessons, etc. It really is up to you.

      That being said, of course there were many times I felt lonely, and there wasn’t always someone around to share a meal, or a bed with. These moments can be gifts. While traveling, I used those moments of loneliness to journal, to get clearer on my goals in life. While in Asia, I started doing volunteer work. I found it so gratifying I ‘decided’ to volunteer in other countries. It got me off Planet Mango, and that is one of the many gifts of travel. Not the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Though they are indeed magnificent structures, nothing compares to meeting others from other nations, and experiencing the world through a different lens.

      Ultimately, there is no right or wrong choice. Build the confidence you may need to believe in yourself, get clear on your goals, trust the process, and enjoy the outcome. You never know where a choice may lead…be open to the possibilities…..

    • Mango says:

      I also wanted to address this portion of your post:

      “…part of me wants to say to others look I had a holiday and I’m intersting and look what ive done,…”

      It’s not about the other people. It never is. It certainly isn’t a good reason to go forth and travel. If you want to be interesting, do interesting things, and do them for YOU. If you want to be proud of what of you’ve done, focus on what’s important to YOU, what makes YOU happy, and gives YOU a sense of pride. Trust me, THAT feels awesome. If you’re not sure what that is, take steps, as many of us, myself included, are taking to continue to discover that truth for ourselves.

      Doing something for the approval of others is pretty much guaranteeing you a one way ticket to Misery Land, a trip I highly recommend you don’t take. Best of luck to you on your life journey.

  25. Lessie says:

    Hi Fearless,

    I absolutely agree with you about the bigamy thing and I hope I did not come across as endorsing any such thing as I certainly do not condone it.

    I was just trying to make the point that some people, such as Anais Nin, seemed to be aware on some level, that what she gained in love and passion (to her mind, at least) was ultimately offset by the terrible strain, both mentally and physically, of all the “lying” involved in having to do so

    Unfortunately, many (but certainly not all) artistic creative types tend to be very self involved people. I admire and love her writing and feel a real connection with her work and life but I myself do not want to live that way

    And, yes, “mea culpa” you are absolutely correct about the MM’ “safari” trip with his wife. I didn’t like it then, when he first told me about it and I can now see that, for me, from that time on, I began to feel VERY uncomfortable about the relationship with him and all the doubts that I had been having that I had been, up till that time, trying to push back, then began to assert themselves more strongly with regards to this.

    I did express this later by saying, “I wanted you to say ‘I won’t go because I don’t want to put Lessie through this’ or more simply, ‘I won’t go until I can go with you instead’…I had the realization I just wasn’t ready to fully accept the truth of what was (and had been) occurring thus far with us.

    I hoped for the best which, in retrospect now, seems a bit ludicrous. But “hope” as Emily Dickinson wrote, is “the thing with feathers” and I think most of us here can attest to this: we can “survive”, perhaps barely, on hope itself but after awhile, you need more sustenance to exist on.

    Thank you for sharing.

  26. brokenhearted in LA says:

    Thank you Natalie for this great insight.
    And Magnolia for your post, I love what you say :
    ““loving myself” is the ONLY way forward. That decision, to believe that I must love myself, gave me purpose. Even though I didn’t know how to do it at first, the sense of a goal, loving myself, gave me enough clarity and focus to begin to make decisions with my best interests truly at heart.”
    That and this article are a great guide in my choices from now on.
    Yesterday the ex, with whom I broke up 3 weeks ago and kept no contact with since, called me about getting back together.
    I’ve been on and off with him for 7 years and I’m off that merry-go-round of insanity now. My choices are now guided by LOVING MYSELF FIRST.
    So when faced with a choice of what to do, all I need to ask myself now is “Would that choice be loving myself?”, and bingo: clarity.
    I still feel grief about the loss of this relationship.
    This is a man I have loved profoundly and I have given my all to this relationship. It has been the main or only thing in my life for the last 7 years. And even though for 7 years it has brought me mostly pain, it is nevertheless a loss, something that died.
    I am grateful that at this point, when I start getting nostalgic or missing him, I mostly see how miserable I was in the relationship, rather than hear the violins play. This website has been and continues to be so helpful in teaching myself to stay the course, to stick to my decision of moving on and NOT CONTACT HIM NO MATTER WHAT.
    I get urges to contact him to say this or that, but only now I realize how crucial it has been to keep no contact these last 3 weeks. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have helped sever the connection I felt with him, and without that taking place, yesterday I would have probably fallen once again for his empty promises and decided to once again get back together for another round.
    Thank you Natalie, and thank you all for your sharing with such candor and wisdom, it is incredibly helpful, inspiring, and it is making such a difference in my life.

    • Magnolia says:

      Hi BHinLA,

      7 years is a very long time – it took great courage to get to the point of NC. Good for you.

      Did you take his call or did he leave a message? Any way to block him completely? I ask because 3 weeks, compared to 7 years, is very little, and it is imperative that NC be NC. My ex tried to be in touch for 3 months after we split, and I didn’t really start dealing with not hoping for a call until after he really stopped sniffing around. Now as the anniversary of our split rolls around, even though I haven’t heard from him for nine months, I find I’m still expecting/hoping for a phone call. (F*cking hell!! Anyway, I’ve found new strategies to deal with this.)

      It may well take over a year of NC for you to get this guy totally out of your system. Best that you’re not hearing his voice, or seeing messages, from him at all.

      • brokenhearted in LA says:

        Oh God, I am forgiving myself but I did fall off the NC wagon.
        Yes, I did take his call Saturday and said no thanks to going back together.
        Yet that had its after effects because despite all, today I picked up the phone and called him.
        This is very dangerous behavior on my part. I really need to recommit to NC seriously again because I could see myself listening to and actually contemplating his proposal – which is insane.
        Although he was very loving and has great qualities, he wasn’t fully committed and has a sex addiction problem. I was mostly miserable with him. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth, I had him on a pedestal and I felt less than him and not good enough, I abandoned myself, my life, my friends, my interests, I lost myself completely to the point I lost sight of who I was.

        I love him and wish him the best, but I know I will never be happy with him.
        I need all the help and support I can get to focus on NC and on moving on. I need to ACCEPT IT’S OVER and move on. Which I had started doing, now I need to pick myself up and keep going.

  27. Elle says:

    A lot of my indecision comes from having so many domineering and critical people in my house growing up. I am often second-guessing myself, and justifying myself to a silent critic. Add to this a natural tendency towards weighing up or trying to weight up the unknowns. It all leads to and reflects low-level anxiety, which, to relate more to this site, can make relationships challenging (and sometimes scary). But I am practising making decisions – using my intution, being OK with two or more right options, realising that most decisions are not going to influence the whole chain of my life, and that decisions are very healthy and make life a lot simpler and calmer. Making decisions and sticking to them (unless they’re bad for you – that’s another problem I have – being tenacious for the sake of it/avoiding other decisions!) builds confidence.

    • Minky says:

      Elle – similar childhood, similar challenges! I’m finding it hard not to second guess as well. To make decisions and requests without feeling the need to apologise or feel guilty. To not be passive agressive in order to keep the peace. I am now trying to gauge what is a reasonable demand and act in line with my values and boundaries without that familiar feeling of anxiety. I’ve got the hang of not giving a monkeys what unworthy people think, it’s the people i care for that get me anxious.

      Did manage to get through a whole weekend where the boyfriend was a bit riled up about various things, but i didn’t feel the need to take responsibility for it or feel it was directed at me. Partly due to my new state of mind but also a credit to him for being a fab bloke and being annoyed ‘near’ me rather than taking anything out on me.

      We’ll get there! :) Onwards!!

  28. Fedup says:

    Allison- Coz originally we were just a summer fling. Now thefuy has changed his mind

  29. Minky says:

    So true! I thought that all my problems would be solved if i found a guy who wanted to commit, i didn’t relaise that i would have to want to commit too! Or that i had problems in this area. If we don’t commit the situation is simply reversed and we end up being the one messing someone about and being the AC. It’s easily done – you find yourself sabbotaging the situation by being mistrustful, but i didn’t realise until this article that not making a decision is part of it too.

    When i first got together with the boyfriend, i *did* want a relationship, but i noticed that, especially in the beginning, my old habits did resurface and i started doing what i usually do if i know someone is available to me: i kept thinking that i wanted to keep my options open. I kept thinking about all the things i would be ‘missing’ (i’m such a dumb-arse sometimes! :/). I had to make the conscious decision to be with him properly. It would have been so easy to keep him on ice and not make a decision to really be with him. To get all the fringe benefits but not actually commit myself to him properly. If i hadn’t found this website, doubtless that’s exactly what i would have done. It’s funny that the guys who are unavailable are the ones we say we would ‘devote our lives to’, but offer us the chance to be with an available guy and we start making all sorts of excuses out of fear. It’s the relationship exquivalent of re-organising your wardrobe when you have an important deadline coming up.

  30. E says:

    I wondered if, due to personal experience, that the ‘path of least resistance’ could also be defined as someone finding another guy to leave you for before leaving. In other words, figuring out a way to not be single after breaking up.
    Every time I have been through a breakup I have spent a long time alone, in self reflection, figuring out what was wrong, considering any personal improvements I could make. As my exes have gone, this has been quite the opposite, every one of them has had some guy waiting on the side before they broke it off. I also have to note that, although I have learned a lot and changed a lot in my times, from even breakups and relationships I have had, any time I hear any word (which I honestly do try to avoid hearing) on how my exes are doing, they’re still living the same kind of life, acting the same, having the same kind of problems in their relationships, and repeating the same patterns in their life as they had when and before they were with me. In short I suppose, it seems they never grow up.
    Also I noted that although it can be the most introspective thing to be alone, to break it off and take time to figure yourself out, could it also be possible to do that while still committed to the other person? In other words, does all good change have to happen in a vacuum? Personally I have changed and reflected a lot on myself while still solidly committed to someone. At least I think I have.
    I thank you for your perspective, it made me think.

  31. AdrienneBytheSea says:

    “You’re often going back because it’s easier than the alternative – change….If you, as an individual entity that’s always responsible for yourself anyway are emotionally available and authentic, when you’re your best self operating on full throttle and the other person isn’t, you’ll recognise the discrepancy and address the situation, draw a conclusion or reach a resolution – yep, you’ll make a decision.”

    A month ago, during my second counseling session after I went NC with the MM I was with for six years, I shared with my counselor this realization of how I could actively break the pattern and change the way I had let myself make decisions:

    1. Realize that I am worthy, that my needs are important
    2. Take time to get clear on what MY needs are and not go on auto-pilot of putting the other person’s needs first (because they are NOT more important than me/mine)
    3. Get clear on if the situation in question is pushing any of my self-validation buttons.
    4. Speak up about my needs
    5. Nip any unhealthy, boundary busting situation in the bud BEFORE it becomes a crisis and leads to unnecessary suffering.

    After I shared these steps with her, she very wisely said how they are not linear, but circular. And so I have drawn them into a circle with arrows leading one into another.

    The “emotionally available” and “authentic” part of this posting resonates with me big time. When I am there for myself, when I am totally tuned in and act upon what is good for me, I make decisions I can live with and that bring peace. Since this realization, I check with myself to see if there is one ounce of resentment or lack of ease (dis-ease) in even the most minor of decisions (like if I should go to dinner with my father, clean the bathroom when I’d rather be reading, or call a friend). The world doesn’t fall apart if I say no, for example.

    I have learned that when I say “yes” from a centered part of me that follows the five steps above, good things happen–most importantly, peace of heart and mind and soul. And a good night’s sleep–which is definitely what NC has brought me! All those nights in the time of the MM when I tossed and turned and felt guilty — all because I kept going back because it was easier than owning my stuff and initiating change.

  32. Spinster says:

    I read an article yesterday about reasons for feeling blue. One of the things listed was “too many choices”. Speaking for myself, my house can get cluttered easily. That leads to me being overwhelmed, wondering what I should tackle first – the laundry that needs to be folded & put away, the dishes, the bathroom, the bedroom, the carpet, the sweeping & mopping & vacuuming….. 😐 I then have to stop myself, slow down, and come back to it another time (whether in a few moments or a few hours or even a few days), when things aren’t so overwhelming. Then I tackle things one by one. This weekend, I folded & put away most of my laundry, got rid of some things in my bedroom, and placed them either in the garbage or the bathroom (where they should’ve been ages ago). I even figured out a way to store my make-up (that I rarely use). I didn’t finish everything, but at least I broke it down into simpler parts and accomplished quite a lot. I took responsibility for myself & my surroundings, and started decluttering the house. I’ll continue throughout the week and especially over the weekend, when I have even more time.

    While I’m not in a relationship, I think that this can apply to relationships too. If a man is being a jackass, ruminating on the “what ifs?” & “what are my choices?” & “where do I/we go from here?” is making a simple thing more complicated than it should be. Slow yourself down. If he’s a jackass, take responsibility for yourself, remember all of the jackass things that he did, and just leave.

  33. Fedup says:

    I also find the sheer number of choices in general, make me stuck. Like in my grandparents generation all you were supposed to do was get married young. Then stay home and be a housewife and look after the kids. These days the options are endless. As someone put it analysis paralysis? I am Aldo indecisive career wise. Urgh!

  34. PJM says:

    Ladies, I don’t know if this helps, but it appeared yesterday in the Spectator magazine, and I thought it was really relevant, especially given we’ve been discussing star-crossed lovers, ‘passion’, Burton-Taylor, Brangelina, etc.

    It’s Melanie McDonagh’s trenchant criticism of the movie ‘One Day’, and it could have been written by a BR junkie …

    • grace says:

      Just the trailer made me want to throw things at the tv!

    • Minky says:

      Great article! It reminds me of the comedian Tim Minchin – he has a song called ‘If I didn’t have you’, about what would happen if he and his wife ever split up, or had never got together. He doesn’t believe in ‘the one’ either. It’s a hilarious song and uncomfortably honest. Youtube it if you get the chance. :)

    • AdrienneBytheSea says:

      Thanks for the great reading with my morning coffee, PJM, and a nice start to my week. I enjoyed the common sense cheekiness of the article and was wondering: Did our own BR Grace write it? :) Cheers!

    • EllyB says:

      She’s certainly right!

      However, the one thing I did not like about the article was the line “Hardly less marvellous is Emma’s willingness to hanker after him all that time rather than finding a better offer while she still looks fabulous (not every woman actually improves with age, as Anne Hathaway does here).”

      That fear of not finding anybody before I got old and wrinkled bothered me even when I was 20, and even more so at 25 (I honestly believed guys all ages were dreaming of a 17 years old!). Therefore, I forced myself to stick it out with abusive guys much longer than I should have. I didn’t even romanticize it. I thought hanging out with guys who put me down and humiliated me was horrible, but I told myself this was what I deserved, and that I had an obligation (!!!) to live like this. God wanted me to be abused, basically, or so I believed. For a long time, I actually believed “to settle” meant “to settle for abuse” (because that was all I knew from my childhood).

      Truth told, now in my thirties I probably look better than ever before. But I wasted so many years thinking “I have to act today, because I’m going to be UGLY tomorrow, and since I’m such an awful person inside anyway, who would want me once I’m ugly from the outside too???”.

    • runnergirl says:

      Excellent, loved it, not that I’d ever pay to see the movie after having paid to live it. I cringe whenever someone mentions s***mate!

      Funny thing though, I am re-reading Sense and Sensibility.

      Thanks for sharing.

  35. Hopeful says:

    Thank you Natalie! Your blogs are always right on time, just what I needed to hear!
    The last two have really hit home for some reason, maybe because I can’t keep lying to myself anymore. When you get really, really honest with yourself, and read ALL of these blogs…. Then you get to this part about choices, decisions and commitment….
    You have to make a decision, it would be the only logical choice to make and then stick to it in everyway possible! NC all the way, each and everyday will be a victory!

  36. runnergirl says:

    Apparently making and sticking to a decision is a universal issue. Just wanted to share the lyrics to Ziggy Marley’s “Got to Be True to Myself”. The music is totally cool and the message is spot on, I think.

    “Eh, life has come along way since yesterday. I say.
    And it’s not the same old thing over again. I say.
    Just do what you feel
    And don’t fool yourself.
    Cos I can’t make you happy
    Unless I am.
    I say, I say, I say.
    Got to be true to myself, got to be true to myself, got to be true to myself.
    Day in day out, I’ve asked many questions.
    I say.
    Only to find the truth never changes.
    I say.
    If you don’t deal with it, it keeps killing you a little by little.
    I say.
    Call me selfish.
    My life alone I can live.
    Got to be true to myself, got to be true to myself, got to be true to myself.
    I don’t care if it hurts. I’m tired of lies & all these games. I’ve reached a point in life where no longer can I be this way.
    Don’t come crying to me. I too have shed my shore of tears.
    I’m moving on. Yes, I’m grooving on.
    Eh well, I’m finally free.
    Got to be true, got to be true, got to be true to myself.
    Anyway you all, got to be true to my self.

    • AdrienneBytheSea says:

      Runner, I wrote in a posting to Lessie that I need to change the soundtrack to my life, having previously wallowed in the Smiths. This Ziggy Marley tune rocks it and I nominate it for the BR Anthem for all those women who are not *that* woman anymore. Thanks for sharing it! It’s going to be the start of my new iPod playlist entitled “True to Myself.” Yes! :)

      • runnergirl says:

        Great Adrienne I’m glad it helped. That”s how I know I’m moving on, I can listen to “my” Reggae again even the songs we used to listen too as well as “his” classical music. I like the steps you outlined with your therapist. It does feel nice to make a decision from a centered place. Good luck with your new play list. Have a nice day.

  37. Lessie says:

    Grace, Cavewoman, Mirelle, Bella, and all the lovely ladies herewith,

    Wow, as always, I continue to be impressed, amazed and humbled by the many insights contained in these postings. Thank you for all you share!

    Mirelle, I agree with what you wrote here…not all situations are exactly the same and we need to be careful to not make generalizations and assume that all MM and OW are having the same “storyline” play out as it were, tho it does seem to often be the case, but not always. With my own situation, the MM’s wife did know about me and they spoke of me, with her pointing out to him that, apart from their own relationship, his relationship with me had been the longest of his life, thus far. Also, she was the one who initiated the separation, not him (which in retrospect should have been yet another red flag for me)…she told him that she expected him to find someone else, and then, when he did, and when he told her about me (they had an agreement between them that should either of them meet someone else, they would tell the other person) only then did she begin to talk to him about perhaps trying to reconcile once more and give their marriage another try.

    They have three children and he told me that when they informed the children of their decision the youngest, a little girl, cried and said, “Can’t you try harder”…he told me this broke his heart. I think there were many factors at play here, and much confusion on both of our parts. We both share the responsibility and complicity and in seeking my own resolution with this I have come to cherish so much the shared wisdom that you and the other ladies have contributed to my understanding and thoughts.

    Cavewoman: I am SO glad to know I am not alone in this, with having spent needless time doing such things, which only served to make me feel even worse. And I still never could find a picture either! Oh well.

    Grace: yes, you are right, I think. There is a delicate balance between too much rumination, but for me, right now, this is helpful, because in doing so, what I am really seeking is a better understanding of MYSELF.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing! I am inspired by your words on a daily basis now :)

  38. Lessie says:

    Hello Everyone,

    One of the posters here mentioned Paul Newman and it reminded me of something that happened to my friend years ago when she was in CT (where he lived). She had gone out jogging, and after wards, as a “reward” for her workout, she had gone into the local coffee shop to buy herself an ice cream cone, and as she walked in, she noticed, much to her surprise, that the only other person in the shop, was Paul Newman himself, sitting in the corner, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper!

    She said she was incredibly flustered and as she realized who it was, she found herself staring at him and she said he looked up, smiled and nodded his head at her and then went back to reading his paper. And as she was telling me this story, she said, “And his eyes really ARE that beautiful blue and he really IS even more gorgeous in person”…she paid for her ice cream cone and left. As she was walking back to her car, she realized that, she did not have her ice cream cone with her and she couldn’t understand.

    It wasn’t in her hand, she hadn’t remembered dropping it so she walked back to the coffee shop, trying to be inconspicuous and thinking perhaps she had left it on the counter maybe. She was standing there, looking confused, and sure enough, Paul Newman is still there, sitting in the corner and they locked eyes, and she said it was as if time stopped and then he smiled and said, “It’s in your purse” meaning…the ice cream cone!

    My friend looked down in amazement and sure enough, there, in her purse, was the ice cream cone, which had of course melted! She mumbled a polite, “Oh thank you” to Mr Newman, and, she said, left the shop with her cheeks burning and returned to her car and just sat there, thinking, “I just had Paul Newman speak to me and I don’t even care about my ice cream cone”…I’ve always thought this such a cute sweet story and wanted to share it with everyone here, hope it makes you smile a bit :)

  39. Off Track says:

    This past Sat I made a decision to end things with someone who was EU. I have been visiting this site for a couple of years now and wow, I really thought I had this down packed. I met this guy online and i went it to it if anything, very cautious, very weary. Little by little he started to warm up my heart. It felt so good because I hadn’t felt this in such a long time!! At first, just like a typical EUM, he was saying all the right things, he really “seemed” to be sincere, genuine, honest, knew what he wanted etc….. I said to myself: “you do have to put some walls down and give love a chance. You do have to be willing to trust a little and take a risk if you want to ever find love again”. And so I did. And when i starting recipracating, little by little he started to turn into “NOT” the person I was so convinced he was. Excuses as to why he didnt text back or call. But all the while confirming and saying that he indeed wanted and was looking for a “relationship”. Something just seemed “off”. This is after “HE” was the one that was so sure he wanted this to be a “monogomous/serious. I mean why, he didnt need to make it that serious right away (it had only been like one month when he already wanted it to be “serious”). I swear that I just followed his lead!!! I swear that I didnt push nor want a committment from him but when I saw how serious “he seemed” to be, I said, ok maybe this is real.

    I’m so disappointed and devastated. Why o Why do men do this? I am so stuck on these wonderful feelings i had with him when we first met (this only lasted 3 months) and I feel like im mourning and trying to get over someone who never ever really existed. It has seriously thrown me off track. I feel like i have lost my balance and my bearings. DO these types of men/relationships cause this? Because I’ll tell you, I’m scared… of myself. They are soo hard to spot. Its like you want to have some trust because not all men are like this, but i feel like i cant even trust my judgement because here i fell for this. I mean 3months isnt a lot and it does take some time to see who these clowns really are. Its like they are great actors or something for awhile, and then boom….. you see their true colors but by then its too late, you’re already invested emotionally. Are they even aware of what theyre doing?

    Did he ever really care for me? Did he ever really “want” a relationship or is this just about “the chase” and if so, WHY??? Are we supposed to remain in “chase” mode all the time and never relax into the relationship and recipricate and “feel” what we feel for them? Someone please help me to understand. :*(

    • grace says:

      Internet dalliances are tricky because you don’t know who you’re dealing with and anyone can pretend to be romantic etc, even to themselves. It’s more like roleplay than real life.
      Three months isn’t a long time. I would chalk this up to experience and not let it embitter all your future interactions.
      You did have an early warning. Next time, heed it: “And when i starting reciprocating, little by little he started to turn into “NOT” the person I was so convinced he was. Excuses as to why he didnt text back or call”.
      EVERY SINGLE EUM I’ve been involved with has given me that early warning.

  40. jennynic says:

    I get tired of outside sources questioning or doubting my decisions. I hear ” are you sure?” or “let me show you a better way to do that.” I find it condescending and belittling. If my Mother said it, it would be okay as I know she is well intentioned and cares, but from others it feels like a passive aggressive form of under estimating me. This is usually about decisions in my life that don’t involve men but I get doubted in those areas too. Like when I decided to go NC from a verbally abusive ex and someone will questioned my decision with ” well maybe you should try and talk to him instead and tell him how you feel”. (what…invite more abuse, like I haven’t tried talking to him already for 4 freakin years?) Or, “he doesn’t seem that bad, maybe you are overreacting.” (you try dating him!) These kinds of statements are like little needles that poke holes in your confidence. Sometimes I just want to stick my middle finger up at these people. It is challenging to have confidence in your decision when many people around you are poking holes in it. I have tried to cut these people out of my life. What is ironic is when I am making good decisions for my own well being, my judgement gets questioned the most, like I am stepping out of line. This makes it harder for me when some of these decisions were really hard to make, even though they were the right ones…..for me. I was recently asked if I am hard on men by a male neighbor of mine (questioning why I was still single,like it’s a crime). I said, No, but I have standards. (boundaries) Isn’t it funny how we get questioned when we no longer display doormat behavior. This same male neighbor, who is married, hit on me when I moved in. ( I completely shut him down). I guess that equates to being hard on men.

    • Fearless says:


      “Isn’t it funny how we get questioned when we no longer display doormat behavior.”

      Yes. It is. Agreed. You stick to your guns and take care of yourself.

      Thing that always pissed me off about guys who would come on to me (when I was younger, I mean and out and about pubbing and clubbing) is that no matter how thick they painly were they always assumed I must be thicker, by dint of being female. It seemed to me that it never occurred to guys that they might actually be talking to someone (a woman) with a brain bigger than their own. That really annoyed me and no-one else could see why it did!

      That’s why I did a lot of growling at them and adopted a ‘piss off – not interested look’, it got my hackles rising that I was expected to act dafter than I was (doormat essentially) or they’d complain (under breath) that I was a snooty cow – well, I guess I came across that way! It always seemed to me that I had to pretend to be something I wasn’t – do a lot of ego stroking – if I wanted to ‘get a man’. So I liked the Mr EUM cos he was actually very clever and I actually did feel “thick” next to him, so, with him, everyone was in their right places, so to speak! (I don’t mean to imply that I think I’m dead smart; I don’t think that – just that I always found that men talked down to me, even the really daft ones!)

    • Spinster says:


      Your comment came right on time. Dealing with the same thing right now. Sick & tired of people doing this. Thank goodness for thousands of miles of distance.

  41. chloe says:

    This is for Beth,

    Beth, if after 4 or 5 months of no contact, you still feel weak at the knees, there is something real there. Generally, after 6 months of NC, you would feel different, gotten over it (maybe that only goes for shorter relationships) but it sounds like you are still in love and do love him, but don;t like the circumstances around him, failing business, withdrawal. Perhaps you need to look at what this is bringing up for you from your childhood, who was withdrawn? How did that make you feel? This is your stuff, deal with it and things may shift….with him, or his withdrawal won;t be such a big thing for you. We need to understand that relationships are not rose gardens, and if they are, the thorns exist. Your reasons for leaving may not be the right reasons…..

  42. Beth D says:

    Chloe, Good observation There is something real for sure there. When I spoke to him and realized he felt the exact same way it blew my mind. I have been reading all the comments carefully and there have been some terrific points made. Such intelligent women who have experienced alot. Of course the ultimate decision rests on my shoulders. I decided that I will take this very slowly. If I jump right into bed with him my judgement will be clouded. Our chemistry is amazing so I will try to build this slowly and see what happens. I am evaluating my issues as well to see if I can accept him for who he is. I cannot accept how he handle things the last time around I can tell you that much, lol I really missed my friendship with him even more than the sex so if somehow the friendship part goes well then I will proceed. This is one time I cannot committ either way until I do some soul searching and observing. Thanks for your thoughts Bth

  43. chloe says:

    You are welcome Beth.

    I too am going through something similar. I dated someone for a year and he’s going through too much, messy divorce, financial problems and an unstable income. All of which make me want to run and probably I should. I did break up with him, but the friendship part is hard to let go of and the affection, companionship etc. I didn’t have the best sex life with him, so don;t miss that as much as the affection. In many ways, I should let go, but am going through a hard time myself with unemployment and having too much time on my hands which I prefer to spend with someone who I connect with and we do connect. We are being friends now, but I am finding that very confusing. Yet, I know if I go back to him the way it was, all the old issues will bother me. Guess I’m doing the yo yo with him. Plain old ‘don’t want to be alone anymore’ been alone most of my life.

  44. Happy Soul says:

    Dear Natalie, thank you for the great work you do! I love every article you write and they helped me so much!
    Finally, after three years of suffering I dumped my AC this January and I started a new life! I am happy as I had 9 months of “men free” time and now I am ready to meet someone new!

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.