wake up you've got a life to live - stopping the pursuit of fantasy relationshipsImagine an existence with…

No responsibility.
No accountability.
No conflict.
No problems.
No rejection.
No mistakes.
No risk.
No failure.
No fear.
No ‘abandonment’.
No disappointment.

No uncomfortable feelings.
Permanent fluffy clouds, joy, and cuddles.
Complete control of everything.

For some, what I’ve just described would be a perfect existence. However, if you want a life without all of these things, it doesn’t exist… unless you’re in a fantasy relationship, which to be fair, doesn’t exist either.

In reality, the very things that you desire in a fantasy relationship, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously, mean this:

No responsibility —> No achievement, no stake in anything whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, no remorse.
No accountability —> No ownership (you can’t just own the convenient and good stuff), no honest account of your experiences, no growth.
No conflict —> No voice, no resolution, no judgement which may simply come down to judging the situation and making a decision, no growth.
No problems —> No opportunities, no differentiation, no stretching, no opportunity to deal with a problem and be proud of having made yourself a part of the solution and come out the other side.
No rejection —> No acceptance, no limits, no deciding what you say YES and NO to.
No mistakes —> No feedback, no learning, no awareness.
No risk —> No stretching, no gains, no pushing, no ambition, no trust, no common sense, no managed risks through intelligence, awareness, observation and action.
No failure —> No success, no joy.
No fear —> No drive, no ambition, no healthy fear, no vulnerability, no new experiences.
No ‘abandonment’ —> No personal security or security with another discovered through mutual trust, no strength, no thriving and surviving, no being in control of whether you stay or leave. And no, you don’t need abandonment in your life, but yes, sometimes people will decide to leave a relationship.
No disappointment —> No surprises, including the very pleasant and wonderful ones.

No uncomfortable feelings –> No outstanding feelings – it would be like having static, flatlining feelings.
Permanent fluffy clouds, joy, and cuddles —> No contrast, no seasons, no down time to rise up again.
Complete control of everything —> No-one else has responsibility, accountability, or free will – it would just be you at the controls and dials. Yep…it would all be on you.

This right here is what fantasy relationships and fantasising are about – avoidance, except for the only thing is that you end up avoiding life itself, which means that you miss out on the wonderful aspects of life that come along with being present and accountable. With the exception of abandonment, everything else are necessary parts of life.


You may not even recognise that you’re in a fantasy relationship but if you tend to build sandcastles in the sky, are cloaked in illusions, and are very comfortable living off a diet of denial, rationalising, minimising, and excuses, you’re at the very least dabbling, if not knee deep in spending too much time out of reality.

In truth, you’re pursuing perfection and the relationship you claim to want, out of crumbs. Nirvana for you may equal getting love against the odds – putting a dodgy relationship through the fantasy oven and pulling out what you want – the fantasy.

Whatever type of relationship you’re in, as an individual you have to be responsible, accountable, deal with mistakes, conflict etc – you can’t cherry pick a rosy life, although you can lessen stuff like rejection and the impact of it, plus the results of unhealthy relationships by ensuring that you hold your own.

You may recognise that there are things that you really want, but you’d rather skip over the possibility of going by Junction Conflict on the M Dating Motorway or Junction Mistake, or Junction Rejection. What we all fail to remember sometimes, is that conflict is unavoidable even when we attempt to compromise ourselves to keep the peace, mistakes are unavoidable end of, and yes, you might have to come off at Junction Rejection sometimes, but you might not.

If you’re not out there in the first place, how will you know what you stand to miss or gain? Yes, you have been hurt before, but it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to pursue the same route or variations of it, or set out a new route – you could be out there with your eyes and ears open with your boundaries, values, and awareness of when to fold packed into your ‘life kit’.

You get to choose. You can be in control of what you want to be part of – this can’t happen if you’re immersed in LaLa Land.

The other thing that’s often forgotten is that yes, sometimes the other party will take you off at Junction Rejection, but actually, you’re a person with choices and rights too – you might want to take yourself off there because you are not a passenger waiting for people to choose you even when you don’t really want them.

It is a fantasy to persist in believing that you can scrape around on the fringes of life avoiding anything that represents the more uncomfortable aspects of life. It’s also a fantasy to persist in pursuing a relationship that you know represents unhealthy in the hopes that by putting it all on them to make it right, or putting it all on you to be the match that spontaneously combusts them into someone else, that they’ll change. It’s also a fantasy to go with variations of the same type of person – like gradients of the same issue, convincing yourself that ‘this’ is better than the last person and that you can ‘handle it’.

All this fantasising gives the illusion of feeling and being certain things, however by not participating in and nourishing your life, you’re creating problems and pain for yourself as a consequence of choices directly related to your fantasising and refusal to take action in reality, which is self-rejection.

I went to a meditation workshop this past weekend and the teacher explained how mindfulness is about not trying to anticipate what’s next and not worrying about what might happen or isn’t happening. This makes sense to me because people in fantasy relationships can’t handle the ‘now’ that represents reality.

What are you so afraid of facing? What are you so desperate to avoid in real life that you’d mentally check yourself into an unavailable relationship that gives you enough free time to fill up your imagination with the relationship you’re not getting in the real world?

Interestingly, when you go to the trouble of avoiding reality, you have the illusion of being in with a chance of winning the long-shot relationship, but the very real problems that happen in your life are not caused by reality – they’re caused by the effect of you acting in sync with your fantasising which can have you engaging in some very self-destructive behaviour.

Think about it: Which one is causing you more problems – pursuing the fantasy or the reality that you’re going to painstaking lengths to avoid but is continuing to happen anyway?

It’s time to re-engage with yourself and your life, and yes, initially, because you’ve left your life unattended, there are some uncomfortable things to face and feel, and it’s going to hurt, possibly a lot. Don’t fear it – grab it, face it, grieve it, deal with what has brought you to this juncture – something has.

Aside from taking steps to distance yourself from anything or anyone that acts as a ‘prop’ to your fantasising and where needed seeking professional support, what you should invest in, is spending some time learning how to deal with the very things that you avoid.

Let.Go. This will allow you to focus your energies positively on you instead of fighting so hard for something, that doesn’t exist. With distance comes objectivity comes reality. With boundaries, those you give yourself and others, also comes reality.

Your thoughts?

Also check out my posts on Letting Go of a Relationship That Didn’t Exist and Dropping The Illusions To Be Action Focused

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.

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157 Responses to Chasing Crumbs & Perfection: In Pursuit of The Fantasy

  1. Crystal says:

    When your heart has more hope for then we must accept that our heart is feeling a longing for. Love being received and given doesn’t feel like a loss, it feels like a float, then turns into a boat and then between two people becomes a ship. Be it a friendship or partnership. When your feeling longing in a relationship the other is not in the ship floating with you or putting effort in. In some really awful experiences i read on hear and experiences I’ve known the other will even jump ship till it almost capsizes on you and you may think you will drown without them. That longing for isn’t love. Is not care, is not support, is not a joint purpose floating on a tide of emotions for which we are all apart of. We have our own ship and its time we all took ownership of ourselves and enjoyed all of the best bits of us and not put that in the hands of someone else. You can love because you are love, you can dream of all of the best because that flows from you, just make sure that the one you dream of dreams of you xxx

  2. MA Moore says:

    In my opinion, emotionally unavailable men are like relationship diseases. They continue to reap negativity into your life, and like any disease it is not healthy or good for you.

    • Sonya says:

      Completely agree!!

    • dancingqueen says:

      well I am no expert about this because my fantasy relationshp was really short but this is what I have to say to Bri and anyone whose “man” says the kind of crazy crap that hers does…use sentence stems. Write “I love and cannot get over this man because he is so special and I feel so great when he says ——–” and then fill in exactly what he said. You can also do it with actions that he did” I will never find another man who—–and I am so sad.” I did that in my journal for the ac that brought me to this site and reading them back almost made me pee with laughter it just made no sense…none at all:)

  3. brokenhearted in LA says:

    Wow, as usual…!
    Yes, it is painful to deal with the reconstruction (on construction from scratch, in my case) of a life, but even though I am still, after 6 months, sitting on my hands to stay NC, I am starting to feel the beginning of an aliveness and purpose that I never felt while waiting for that relationship to become what it never would…
    In my case what I’ve been avoiding is the responsibility for steering my life, for coming out and playing instead of sitting on the bleachers…
    I won’t say “I can’t believe I still miss him” because I do and I’d rather accept where I’m at instead of fighting it, except it’s not that I *really* miss what we had – it’s like missing drugs when you’re trying to quit or something, except drugs are ALL BAD and people have good things right along with all the bad…
    There’s days when I come SO CLOSE, like A HAIR from saying fuck it and contacting him, but I thank whatever in me and in the Universe has stopped me thus far, because I know this budding beauty that is starting to emerge in me would not have a chance to come out if I had.
    I feel a REAL ME is starting to grow, and a little bit of self-respect and self-esteem, I’m starting to like me and my life little by little.
    I’m starting to put my energies into way more positive and rewarding things than worrying and obsessing about him and the relationship.
    I beg myself to stay the course and let the page really turn all the way this time!!! 7 years is enough time invested into a fantasy relationship that would never get anywhere good…

    • RML says:

      brokenhearted in LA, oh how I want to encourage to press into that new budding beauty that you are starting to see and feel. 6 months is where I was when I felt I was still in limbo…to be honest, I felt I was in an uncomfortable limbo until about 3 weeks ago. I celebrate 8 months of freedom??? I’ve actuall lost count now!! Keep moving forward, don’t look back! You have no idea how great it is up ahead!!

    • LostAndLonely says:

      LA, I admire your strength! Yay for you on maintaining NC when, as you say, like a drug it calls out to us, luring us back. There is nowhere to go with these fantasy relationships…it’s all denial of who we are as a person. I feel as if I’m hiding from myownself. Going into three years with this stagnant relationship which hasn’t moved one inch in all that time! Stay strong. I hope to one day be right where you are…sitting on my hands, sweating it out, but for now I keep saying fuck it….

    • lyndol says:

      Natalie.. this is soo odd! what you said about facing reality… this is exactly what i was writing about in my journal this morning. Facing reality.. and having used the AC as an escape from it. :) I like it better now… I see that i was escaping from A LOT of things in life.

    • yoghurt says:

      “I won’t say “I can’t believe I still miss him” because I do and I’d rather accept where I’m at instead of fighting it”

      I like this. I think that when you deny your feelings they sneak off with all of your other denied feelings and gang up on you en masse down an alley.

      Thinking like this helped me too. Now, instead of beating myself up for being a wuss and getting upset, I think “Of course it hurts. It’s rejection and that’s never nice.” Or “Of course I don’t want to see him and his girlfriend together. What am I, sort sort of masochist?”

      It’s far better to be able to isolate that emotion and deal with it on its own. And it hurts a lot less than saying “I should not be hurt… After all REJECTION is all I have even known and all I deserve and all I shalt ever know. Woe. Woe” or similar.

      In the same vein, if he’s been kicking around for seven years then OF COURSE you’ll miss him, it’s perfectly natural and it’s sad. But it’s better than thinking “I shouldn’t miss him but I do. Therefore he has a supernatural power over me that I cannot possibly ignore indefinitely”. Which, incidentally, is another delightful little ambush that my mind walked into.

  4. Lostagain says:

    It’s been 2 1/2 months since I broke up with the EUM. I soon after regretted my choice to leave him and engaged in some embarrassing behavior – begging, pleading, being overly nice and professing my love for him. Three weeks after the break up he told me to just move on because he wasn’t going to take me back (originally he said we should just take time apart and see how things go). That’s when I found this website and went NC for a month and a half. The site helped a lot. It helped me validate my reasons for leaving him to Begin with. He was blowing sooo hot at the start when he was wooing me and as soon as we had made it official he pretty much turned into someone I did not recognize at all. For 5 1/2 months he made almost no effort to make our relationship work. I knew very early on that something was wrong, but I pushed it aside because in my head i had already made all these plans for us – plans which include us working out and not breaking up after just 6 months. In my fantasy he was the prince charming I had been looking for since my last relationship 4 years ago. i was tired of waiting for love to come my way and when he showed up, that was it. In my fantasy he was the one and my search was over….even though we had not even know each other very long. He never opened up to me and basically made me feel like an unappreciated option a majority of the time. I was doing so well until this past week where I broke NC 2x. I texted that I missed him. He responded and engaged me in some text conversation. This then led to me emailing a week later. I was in no way asking him to get back together or even be friends (I stated this to him). i just wanted to know what happened with our relationship. i know the reason I believe ended us, but I was curious to know his side of the story. there’s always 3 sides to every story – yours, theirs, and the truth. The question is, why am I feeling so weak all of the sudden? Why do I feel the need to ask him anything or telling him anything?! Why am I only able to think of the things that I liked about him and wish I had those things again. Its like my mind refuses to remember the pain I felt in the relationship when I was mistreat and he brought out the worst in me. I feel like again my willing my creating another fantasy version of what went down. I’m back to the start. I’ve only been in 2 relationships, but this…

    • S says:

      Lostagain, reading your story, I felt absolutely compelled to reach out to you. What you just wrote is exactly what happened to me with my most-recent ex a few months ago. I was exactly in the same place you were – I hadn’t had a serious relationship in 3 years, was tired of waiting and just wanted love – at any cost. And in waltzed this guy, swept me off my feet. And then when things started to go wrong, I was so far along in my head of the fantasy I had built of us and the amazing life we were *supposed* to have together that I was incapable of letting go of that fantasy and assessing the reality of the relationship I was in. I did come to my senses after two months of him acting like a jerk and we ended things in Nov. Thankfully I got enough of my self-respect back to cut him out of my life completely.

      My mssg to you: be strong and be happy that this non-relationship is over and out of your life. It happened for a reason – most likely to help you learn, change and grow, so you are ready for the relationship that will stand the test of time and won’t be built in fantasy. I don’t know how things ended between you two, but talking it out to get the necessary closure is important. I know I needed that. And, finally, I think you are stuck on the good parts of the relationship/him because you are still stuck on the fantasy. If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that you miss the fantasy more than you miss him. Because realistically, how could you miss someone that mistreated you, treated you like an unwelcome option.

      Take some time right now to focus on you and love yourself fiercely first!

    • grace says:

      Lostagain
      Don’t go back for an explanation. I disagree – I don’t believe that there is a “truth” in these situations. It’s just a mashup that you need to move on from. Though what you’ve said sounds a very plausible explanation for why you broke up. Why does he need to endorse it? Does it really have to be signed and sealed mutually by all parties, with witnesses just to be on the safe side? It’s done. Time to recover not drag it out.
      If you are having problems moving on (and I think you are doing well despite this blip), it’s not the solution to go back for him to help you. I’ve been BURNED doing that.
      I know we shouldn’t care what they think but, if you return after he so bluntly told you he’s not taking you back, he’s going to think that you’re weak,been pining for him and that he’s oh-so-great. Don’t give him the satisfaction. Worse than that, you could end up being some booty call or faux friend thing. I ended up flippin married and had to instigate divorce proceedings less than a year later. I really hate having that blot in my copybook. I wish I had never picked up the phone and got back in touch for whatever jacked up validation I wanted from him.
      Keep walking (in the opposite direction).
      You ask a lot of whys. The answer is simple. It’s because you opened the door to him again. NC all the way.
      And he’s not your friend.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        He is not your friend!
        Friends and Sex do not mix!
        Friends ans screwing your mind do not mix!

        If you are having problems moving on (and I think you are doing well despite this blip), it’s not the solution to go back for him to help you. I’ve been BURNED doing that.

        I agree with Grace. My AC and I spent the night together and then after that the cold tap came on and they disappeared for a short while. By the end of the week they were texting me again. So I let them in for second chance draw, despite me thinking that maybe I should flush them. Well! They hit the reset button and then the mindf*ckery began and ALL the damage was done in that ‘return phase’. DON’T let them in for stage 2 – HUGE levels of damage will occur.

        • grace says:

          tired
          You’re so right. Stage TWO (or three or four if you’re a real glutton for punishment) is when you really get shafted. A line has been crossed and they no longer have to make even the small amount of effort they were making before. And we cross a line too – we start to accept anything.
          It’s like a dog that comes back after being kicked. The kicker thinks “Are you kidding?!” and treats the poor dog even worse.
          If I had only let my previous crap relationships end after STAGE ONE, I could have got all the crapola out of my system 10 years earlier.
          Never mind, no regrets (much).

          • Bethd says:

            Grace is right as usual. We tend to let these toxic wastes back into our life because we are still searching for the good in them. They don’t have good in them and there is no figuring them out except to classify them as selfish narcisissists who don’t mean you well. It kills me that my ex continues to call and text from time to time. I won’t answer of course. I want to scream “wtf do you think has changed since the last time you tried!” They say you are scarred by an experience with an eum or narcissist which is why it is so hard to get over them. The soon you love yourself more and get out and into NC, the sooner you can start living your life.

    • Dawn says:

      Lostagain..

      I know that feeling, it’s a feeling that I was unfortunately all too familiar with for a long time. In my experience, it was when I was feeling lonely, missing him, and I guess just wasn’t ready to be done yet. I always broke up with him though. Never contacted him after… I didn’t need to, because somehow, he’d get in touch with me, pursue me (validation), which would make me feel wanted, loved, special and right back into the vicious cycle. It’s a game to them. We take it waaayyy too seriously! and give them way too much credit. Step outside your boxes box, lol.. there’s a whole world out there… but as long as you keep the blinders on.. and focus on him, and the toxic relationship, you’ll never see what’s out there and get back to YOU. Please. Keep reading Natalie’s advice.. and a lot of smart women on this site have, and are going through similiar situations. When you feel like you want to contact him.. come to this site and you will change your mind. READ the books/articles. It definately helped me finally kick a 7 year bad habit.

      It’s a game. A sick one. And please don’t blame yourself, or feel guilty about anything. His side of the story, your side…. It doesn’t matter. What matters is YOU. Make a better story for yourself… excluding him. You feel like contacting him to find out what happened. Why? you know what happened. You said it. He wasn’t open to you, didn’t make you feel appreciated. What’s there to figure out? What you need to figure out is how to one day at a time, get back to YOU. What happened is what brought you to this site…

      I went NC a few times in the past, way before I found this site. Last time I did NC (after this site), it was for almost 2 months. He pursued. I recluctantly gave in. BUT. I paid close attention to his actions, acted on my BEST behavior (kind of like an experiment), and guess what? NOTHING CHANGED. Oh wait.. yes, something did change… he got worse. The treatment was worse. It lasted almost a month.

      In the end, we had a falling out. He said he never wanted to talk to me again. It was different this time. He was rejecting me. But.. weeks later, did a teeny-tiny attention getting stunt. My response? ..like water off a ducks back. Do I feel rejected? NOPE. Do I miss him? sometimes, but in seconds…and within seconds, realizing…

      • grace says:

        *pointing at Dawn’s comment*
        It only gets worse. Cut your losses everyone and run.

        • Polly says:

          Once in my early days of challenging my AC’s ridiculous behaviour and trying to get a relationship out of him I said to my friend ‘ if in three weeks time I am still here being really grateful for getting less than I am now, please shoot me! If only I had listened to myself I could have avoided 12 added months of pain….IT ONLY GETS WORSE!!

          • ixnay says:

            Yup. I found an email from his ex of 5 years ago fishing in a nostalgic “are you okay?” way for contact from him, and read his tossed-off reply that he was super-busy but thinking of her. And I wrote an email to myself: “Do not be her, abjectly hoping for crumbs from this man 5 years from now.” But did I listen to myself???

            • Lostagain says:

              My ex told me in the begining of of relationship that his ex of 2 years was still in love with him, still in contact with him and basically still waiting for him to come back to her despite the fact that she was already with someone else. I never wanted to be “that girl.” The one that hangs around forever hoping for some crumbs and unable to move forward. I swore up and down that will never be me. Fast forward 3 months after the breakup and here I am as “that girl.” It ends now.

      • ladyjane says:

        Me too! I actually dont think my guy is a terrible person, I do care about him but I think I actually got over him to a large degree during the last NC. I took him back when he said things had changed but I was watching him very closely, and what a surprise, not alot had changed. Its a pity in a way because theres a part of me that wanted it to work out with him because the me of 2 years ago wanted it so so badly, and that poor girl suffered so much she deserves a reward! My feelings in the present for him and the situation are quite detached though, its like hearing about someone elses love life, not something my own personal feelings are all that affected by.

    • Loastagain says:

      Thanks people. I’m really regretting these little detours I’ve taken off the NC path which has created a desperate desire to “get clean” again. I was fine before him and I’ll be fine again without him. I’m actually hoping now he doesn’t respond. It will be one of the biggest favors he can do for me. I dont need to sit and disect more information. Thanks for the encouragment

      • Bethd says:

        Many of us have fallen off the NC wagon. In my case I have at least three different times. Taking him back would result in my dream man for a bit and then back to the same ole same ole. One thing I noticed. Each time I broke down….the “special” treatment lasted shorter and shorter. They lose respect for us taking them back. We no longer are a good supply of narcissistic fill for these vampires that suck the life out of you. Forget the good times…we have all had them and that is what keeps us in this ugly game. We have paid way too high of a price for the good sex and times. Run!!!

        • ixnay says:

          Yup. 2 weeks of the special treatment and then the snarky comments, the put-downs, and there’s not a damn thing you can do right.

          Interestingly, I found today a site where men post who’ve been involved with unstable, demanding, screaming-abuse women. And these men stay with them, try to understand and placate them, and get told they’re not doing enough.

          I thought, that’s so strange because the women on BR in large part seem kind, consistent, employed, compassionate, likable, bright and insightful, and tolerant. Yet we are devalued and abandoned while these patient, understanding guys are faithful for years to mean nutcases. What’s up with that?

          • Blindsided says:

            I have a feeling we’re the mean nutcases, Ixnay. The guys on that site are probably bitching about women like us who seem “crazy and demanding” because we want the trappings of a normal relationship and actually have expectations of the men we’re with. They’re UA, so they take our pleas for attention and love as us being “unstable.” I’ll bet half the reason they’re still involved with the women they’re talking about is because the women are just like us, hanging on by the skin of their teeth to the relationship instead of bailing.

            • ixnay says:

              I hear what you’re saying, but this was a site for men who feel they’ve been emotionally abused, and the behavior they experience is more about women who cheat on them, take money from them, lie to them, tell them that they’re worthless, have drug problems, steal their property, threaten suicide, etc. And there are guys who try to “understand” and “help” these women and get despised for it.

              Our EUMs wouldn’t put up with that for a second, let alone post on a website because they’re in distress about us.

              • yoghurt says:

                That’s interesting, but by the same token I do wonder if it’s just the other side of the EU coin – men who (like lots of us) are too insecure and ungrounded in themselves to make a firm commitment to someone and instead flog themselves into the ground trying to make an unworkable situation work out.

                I guess that two ‘passengers’ wouldn’t really be interested in getting into the same car together – it wouldn’t go anywhere – which maybe explains why these lovely lovely men aren’t with lovely lovely us.

                I did read somewhere once (maybe the Single Trap?) that people with unhealthy patterns of relating sometimes find themselves on different sides of the same scenario… I have to admit that I can’t think of any occasions where I’ve seen it in action, though.

                • Blindsided says:

                  Here’s my experience: Before my most recent EUM, I lived with one man for 5 years and was married to another for 5 years (but together 13.). I’m ashamed of it now, but I completely and utterly walked all over both of them, even though they were nice men and put up with everything I’d dish out (which was quite considerable: cheating, lying, yelling, berating, etc.) Then I met my MM/EUM and fell madly in love with him and thought he was my reason for becoming a better person, blah, blah, blah. When everything went tits up, I found this site and tried to figure out what had gone wrong. The best I can come up with, for myself, is that I’m unavailable, and have hooked my star to one available man and ruined that because I pursued an EUM who put up with me because he was also unavailable, but since he wasn’t an AC, he *thought* he was trying everything to make it work. He’d be one of those guys posting on the site you mentioned complaining about evil women. Ah… payback’s a b*tch. I think I’m finally getting the comeuppance I never thought I’d have to endure.

  5. yoghurt says:

    I was contemplating my old ideas about Unconditional Love the other day and I realised that it’s a bit of a depressing concept – yep, there are people who sometimes need a bit of grace in their lives when they’re desperate, but overall who wants to be loved because the other person is loving? I’d personally prefer to be loved because I am personally brilliant, not because the other person is wafting about looking for something to dispense love indiscriminately on.

    So there’s another one of my fantasies gone bang. Good job too.

    I also realised that it’s always been a whole lot easier and more pleasant having imaginary conversations with son’s father than actual factual real ones. And it was easier having conversations with him drunk-and-in-the-middle-of-the-night than sober as well, because he tended to say what I wanted to hear and then forget about them totally (which, it occurs to me, is moreorless the same thing as an imaginary conversation!)

    I feel like I’ve come a long way over the last few days (at least in my head). I’ve had my son’s father and his girlfriend take my son to the park together and to visit his friends – a scenario that is potentially horribly painful for me for a number of VERY VALID reasons… but I made a rational decision not to mind and didn’t. I’ve started telling myself that he has no responsibility when it comes to my emotions, and believing it. And I’ve faced up to the fact that I don’t know what I want from my future now, family-wise, and that that’s okay. I don’t need to fall back on fantasizing about him to avoid it anymore, I can just accept that I’m not sure where my life’s heading in the long-term.

    Then, last night, as I was falling asleep, I had one of those very very clear pictures pop into my head – you know the ones that are almost like a vision? I saw myself three years ago, on a frozen river that was cracking up, bouncing about from foot to foot, arms windmilling as I tried to balance on the breaking ice to avoid falling in. And then I saw myself now, feet firmly planted on the ground, walking in the right direction, sometimes able just stand and enjoy the scenery. Sure of where I am. Safe. Less exciting, sometimes hard work, sometimes dull… but feels a whole helluva lot better.

    And less wet.

    • Shiv says:

      I can relate to that feeling of progress. Congratulations.
      “I’d personally prefer to be loved because I am personally brilliant, not because the other person is wafting about looking for something to dispense love indiscriminately on.” – I’ve actually been thinking about this today. I’ve been having this odd friendship with a guy I met while traveling over Christmas. We obviously don’t know each other that well yet but he’s already talking about the future, kids, how special I am. And yes, I think I’m special but how do YOU know that? It was the same with the ex. Built me up so damn quick without actually getting to know me. A younger me used to be flattered by this kind of fawning. Now I realise that, yeah, it’s got nothing to do with me at all. If it wasn’t me, it’d just be some other false princess.

    • Spinster says:

      “I’d personally prefer to be loved because I am personally brilliant, not because the other person is wafting about looking for something to dispense love indiscriminately on.”

      Never thought of it this way. More food for thought. Thanks.

  6. makara says:

    Another timely post Natalie! I feel as if I can’t hear any of these words enough. This is where I am right now “It’s time to re-engage with yourself and your life…” Im taking it one day at a time and hope that I can overcome this disease of taking crumbs all the time.

  7. I am notorious for living in LaLa Land. Using drugs was a BIG help in my quest to live there (I am a recovering addict).

    It was only AFTER I made the choice to face my sh*t, that I realized the only way out is through.

    I’ve also been addicted to Love (it’s not just a song, people!), only going after AssHats and Mr. Unavailables. Still working through re-wiring my brain with the help of my therapist.

    Thank you for another thought provoking post.

    Love from California,
    Christine

  8. Clay says:

    I agree that a lot of people try to force their relationship to be one way or the other and completely lose sight of what is right in front of them. They get so bent out of shape when things fail to live up to their romantic and idealized expectations.

    It’s something that I believe everyone struggles with from time to time, but I feel that it really helps to remember that your partner is an actual human being (shocking, I know!) and not just a pleasure toy who only lives to make you happy, feel loved, etc.

    They have their own struggles and challenges too. And it’s when you let go of what you “need” them to be for you that you can actually open yourself to relating to a real person and having authentic interactions.

    Great post :)
    -Clay

  9. Christina says:

    So very true! I think sometimes we don’t realize what we’re wishing for when we want the perfect fantasy. The things that make life truly full and interesting are the push and pull, the good and the bad.

    I’m pretty sure that the joy I feel in my relationship now is enhanced and brightened because it came at the end of a very dark period in my life. When you come from a place of believing things will never be okay again, you really do appreciate the good all the more when it comes around again!

  10. jennynic says:

    Thank you Natalie. An open heart brings opportunities, a fearful heart brings hard lessons. I’ve been choosing hard lessons too long. I have made an effort (yes, real action. I’ve been a busy bee) to start changing the direction of my life, that involves only me and in this short time, already doors are opening. Letting. Go. Now…..exhale.

  11. brenda says:

    Nat and Girls…
    I decided that this life I was living was a lot like this Post…I was holding myself up in avoidance of a ton of things..
    I would not even think about dating,fear of abdonment,I would not be accountable for things I have done wrong,that would mean I would actually have to look at my insides…So,I kept stagnant..It was the men I was choosing….All wrong,insanity!!!
    Because of you and Nat,My God my life is getting better every day..
    I actually went on a date on sunday,with what seems to be a nice man…I have put each lesson I have learnt here,and you know I walked away feeling good about it,Not anxious,not anything but being my authentuc self….
    He called and asked me out for thursday night,,A movie….Hell yes!!!
    I am having my boundaries in place,and going to enjoy the moment,and not worry about the after wards…
    My hugs are around all of you!!
    Brenda

    • Stephanie says:

      Good on you Brenda! Like you said just enjoy yourself and don’t forget your boundaries. I’m still waiting for the day I can report that I’m going on a date. :-)

  12. metsgirl says:

    Amazing as always. Little bit o tough love in there…

    I find healthy doses of truth and reality to be quite refreshing sometimes (as is this article). After about 5 years on here I finally “feel” what is now my life =). You’re a true blessing NML! Much love your way.

  13. Lynda from L says:

    Brilliant. One of the best pieces of advice I got on site was from Nat saying to me’ Sometimes you have to lean back in order to tip yourself forward’.
    I was stuck being extra hard with myself, trying to harness emotions, avoid pain. I see that now as the last death struggles of my chronic Florencing… I had to give up control of myself.Face reality.
    The reality was that I was on my own again, immense pain, regret, donning of dressing gown, sleeping for twelve hours and I was incredibly angry. It lasted for a long time.Thought I’d be effed up for years!
    At first, this would be six months ago now… I had to work to be authentic, to actually check with myself what I was feeling. With the EUM, I had accepted a part. I was out of touch with my real core feelings. I would laugh but not feel happy.There would be times when I felt like tearing out his jugular but I was hooding my eyes from him and agreeing with what he was saying.
    I believe, if I’d stayed then I would be in a starring role in a Fantasy Drama. The part would have literally killed me off.
    I hate hypocrisy. It’s one of my best qualities and part of my moral code.
    Yet I was saying one thing to myself, feeling another and then acting in a different way still. On site, we frequently berate Men, the EUM’s and Future Fakers who do this to us.
    I think, if we pursue or remain in a fantasy relationship endlessly then we are actually modelling the behaviour we say we despise.
    We are better than this.
    I wanted to say to a work friend who sometimes reads BR, how grateful I am that she was immensely tough with me during my breakup.She listened but read me the riot act when I spoke the ‘Fantasy Drivel’ I was spouting. It may seem strange but I needed harshness…not agreement. It got me through.
    Sympathy would have kept me where I was and I needed pulled up short. Thanks BR and D(you know who you are xxx)

  14. Chloe says:

    I absolutely adore Natalie and this site and all the wonderful people who bare their souls here. I have found the path to healing and a new sense of self here, just in the past three months….when you have convinced yourself that you are crazy and the only person going through such pain and that there is something SO VERY wrong with you….here is a place to find kinship and comfort and the truth. The truth being that you are well and lovable and are on the road to embracing and loving your authentic, beautiful self. I just want to share my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Natalie and everyone who is sharing their journey. It is such a blessing to be a part of something I thought I had to endure alone.

  15. Blindsided says:

    Natalie, you hit the nail on the head when you said we have too much free time on our hands (due to the fact that we aren’t in proper day-to-day relationships), so we spend that time blowing up these fantasy relationships into something far more meaningful than our EUM would recognize.

    I know I’ve spent over a year dissecting every text/email/conversation, reading into and clinging to every sweet line my MM fed me. I’ve also minimized and rationalized his crappy treatment of me until the cows came home. It got to the point where I ignored the looks of pity on the faces of my family and friends when I would parrot back the excuses he’d give me for why he wasn’t divorced. “Oh, but really! He was weeks from filing and then [insert lame excuse] happened and now he can’t file/move here/tell his family/spend more time with me.” Ugh.

    So, now I’m trying to turn the focus back on myself to figure out why I was so willing to accept the excuses and bet on the potential of the relationship when all the facts were staring me in the face. And I have to figure out, too, why I still want him back when I know he lied and misled me. I feel like I’m still making excuses for him in my head. I’m only in NC with him because he’s NC with me since our situation came to light. I feel like I’m biding my time, when I know in the teensy tiny rational part of my head that this is very unhealthy and I should be so angry with him for lying that I should cut him off forever, even though he’ll probably never try to see me again anyway. Is it normal to resist the reality of the situation? Ha ha… I guess so if we’re living in fantasy relationships, no?

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I know I’ve spent over a year dissecting every text/email/conversation, reading into and clinging to every sweet line my MM fed me. I’ve been there too! What did I learn – nothing new really, but I was able to piece together a timeline and see how the dynamic played out – a bit like air crash investigation. That’s the last time I’ll need to do that.

      What I found out in the years after I broke it off with many unavailables and assclowns, was that years later, they would still be single, still on the dating site, or I would see their phone number (blocked! yes really) in someone I was seeing’s phone! One person’s EU/assclown really really is another person’s EU/ assclown!

      And I have to figure out, too, why I still want him back when I know he lied and misled me It is validation crack and you can only imagine HIM rather than life WITHOUT HIM and being happy.

      You need to find CONFRONTING EVIDENCE to crack the fantasy. My confronting evidence was actually seeing the AC with someone else! Put a nice big crack in the mirror that did!

      I feel like I’m biding my time, when I know in the teensy tiny rational part of my head that this is very unhealthy and I should be so angry with him for lying that I should cut him off forever, even though he’ll probably never try to see me again anyway. Is it normal to resist the reality of the situation? Ha ha… I guess so if we’re living in fantasy relationships, no?

      I felt a similar way because after I went NC, I went into lockdown and banned dating which caused this very big gap in my life. I could have kept dating but I knew that was too dangerous and would probably result in me grabbing a florence or a buffer. I went to the psych instead and reconciling reality, my beliefs (my belief system collapsed too) and the situation was so damn difficult. It was like ‘HOW did this happen?’ and ‘WHY are they walking around unscathed without a care in the world’. It was like I was a prisoner in my own mind, it was hard to tell what was real and what was fake.

      It takes time. Try and remember a LTR (a real one) where someone DID treat you well and use that as evidence against the fantasy.

      • Emma says:

        Yes tired,

        The whole them walking away unscathed thing troubles me. I don’t know how they do it. It’s taken me months..he was looking for a replacement within days.

        I’m not sure seeing the ex with someone else would put a crack in my fantasy though. It would probably instead put a crack in my sanity! :)

        I think more than anything distance works. Well I’m hoping it will work. Like Nat said “With distance comes objectivity comes reality”.

      • Loastagain says:

        “It takes time. Try and remember a LTR (a real one) where someone DID treat you well and use that as evidence against the fantasy.”

        That’s a very good idea. I am glad to have at least one very good relationship to look back on. It has actually created a standard that needs to be met. It allows me to see when a crappy relationship is put in front of me. That crappy relationship doesnt last long because I know its not “as good as it gets.” I now have to work on the part about accepting the fact that I was in a less than ideal situation, move on and not cling to it hoping it will change into a good one!

        BTW seeing an ex with someone new is the most painful thing ever but for me its the quickest way to get over someone (or at least stay no contact FOREVER)

  16. Tyla says:

    Wow. This is so me right now. After a long-term relationship with an EUM, who I ended it with over a year ago I feel like ever since I’ve beennomsyong it very “safe”, in my confort zone. It’s been confusing bc I feel happy and serene, finally… But I do realize, especially after reading this, that I haven’t been letting potential good guys in bc I’m totally avoiding being hurt/vulnerable/rejection/taking risks etc. I’m doing what I’ve always done, waiting for something great to fall into my lap whilst not taking a single risk, and expecting guys who like me to continue pursuing even though I’m not giving them much to go on! I’m doing the same thing and expecting different results. Thanks so much for this post! I clearly need to move forward in doing things differently, actually taking a risk here n’ there, being willing to be open, vulnerable etc.

  17. Kerry says:

    Dear Brokenhearted in L.A.,
    I could have written those very words. It’s been six months of NC for me, too. Although he was emotionally abusive and completely unavailable (lots of putdowns, running hot and cold, stringing me along with enough future faking to keep me buying it for two years), I too have had brief thoughts of calling him. Thank God I haven’t. It ended badly, in a very unreal way — I walked up to him at a party he had not invited me to and informed him very calmly that we were done. Of course, I never heard from him. I knew inside that once I cut the cord, that that would be it. End of the illusion. Although I was crushed that he never cared enough to contact me again, and that, basically, he did not love me, (like I had fantasized), I too have begun to see little glimmers of a healthier self-esteem. I have done daily work by reading this blog, reading self-help books, going to therapy, talking to friends — doing whatever I can to stay the course. It’s like there’s something deep inside me driving me to do it, too. Some power inside me has taken charge of the controls. It’s strange, because I was so addicted to the guy, but I feel like I have no choice but to move forward, and you as well. You know what we did? We said, “I choose me.” We said “no” to the crumbs we were being served. Remember, you’re not alone. We’ve come this far. And one day, when we are lounging in the arms of someone who truly, deeply loves us, we are going to be oh so grateful. But first, we must learn to love ourselves.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      It takes a long time to recover from fantasy relationships. About six months to a year in my experience.

      • EllieMae says:

        I wish I could say 6 months to a year to heal but I’m embarrassed to say I’m working on 19 months recovering from being involved in a fantasy with a former (15 yrs ago) co-worker of 10 years thanks to f-ing Fakebook. I knew this person well & always thought we had (platonic) care & respect for eachother but after his year of future-faking & fairytale spinning, he just couldn’t keep up the illusion any longer & truly showed his arse (in every way possible). I don’t know if I’m heartbroken because I truly trusted him, because I thought we had been good friends in the past, or because I’m too old to get over this, but one thing that I know is that he was my epiphany relationshit. I’ve tried dating since, but I didn’t enjoy it at all so am sticking with my dating detox & hopefully if someone authentic comes along, I’ll be able to recognize it & try again. I think I’ve been faked by people all my life, so I have a lot to learn but I think I have made progress from reading this blog for about a year. Thanks Nat & everyone!

        • grace says:

          EllieM
          Six months to a year to heal with NO CONTACT. It drags out indefinitely if you keep picking at it, including FB.
          If you’ve genuinely not had any contact in 19 months and not moved on, it’s time to seek professional help. Widows and widowers frequently mention 2 years to get over the death of a spouse. You’re close to that two year mark. Please don’t tell me that your relationship is as significant as theirs. You’re in fantasy land, and you need to stop fuelling it and get with reality. Stop telling yourself that relationship was SO GREAT that you CAN’T get over it.
          Though, of course, dead people don’t post on FB or text you for sex.

          • tired_of_assanova says:

            I actually got a transfer from my workplace (we didn’t work together) to somewhere else for 2 months just so the AC and I were not in the same city!

            The funny thing was the moment I stopped chasing the wrong things, I made new friends, more people came into my life, which was just amazing. I couldn’t believe that people were being nice to me and treating me properly as friends. Proper friends too. I began to recover, extremely slowly, some days I’d go backwards, but it happened.

          • Bethd says:

            Exactly!!! If you break NC you have to literally start over. I learned that lesson! It goes get easy to do it again but you end up with alot of emotional healing all over again. My EUM doesn’t give up. It was over a 10 yr relationship and it is three years since the breakup but by letting him in off and on even to just talk to him put me into a weird limbo. I was curious to see what he would say. Of course all the same shyte. I will always love you , miss u blah blah blah I even made it to NC 5 months once and let him back in. I actually thought I missed the friendship. Of course they pretend to be your best friend and advisor so you think you need them. I employed holiday relationship insanity by talking and meeting him before the holidays. I did cut him off after New Year. I am reading every day to keep strong especially when he starts the phone call/texting routine. I am determined to do it this time. I want my life back and peace.

        • cavewoman says:

          Ellie, tired — yeah, 6-12-18 months, when the enemy is within. It’s one thing to go cold turkey on a substance or a person, because you can make it so that they’re not within reach. But when you’re quitting something that’s wired into your own mind, you can’t exactly surgically remove those neural circuits… It took me one full year of NC. It’s hard exactly because fantasy relationships are so unreal, you need very little real-life input to keep them going and so when you’re ready to quit, your actual real life as you’re living it is still pretty much the same as before: it’s NOT primarily about making external arrangements to go without. One year is a longass time. But in hindsight, it was so well worth it, and darn enlightening! My insecurities that had me escaping into the fantasy are still here, but I’m finally able to experience that aspect of myself, so I can do something about it. Like Nat said, after I’d left my life unattended, I discovered a bit of a mess when I checked back in :P

          Wish me luck, everyone, I am in the process of getting to know a real, decent, authentic, honest, imperfect human being. Oh, I mean a man, but I guess I could have meant myself as well!

          • ixnay says:

            “It’s hard exactly because fantasy relationships are so unreal, you need very little real-life input to keep them going”

            That’s it in a nutshell. The less there is, the less it needs to fuel it.

            I got a text today. That’s the relationship.

            And I’ve got to be real with myself, because I thought, what if that text actually means something. Like what if he rang my doorbell right now and was like, “It’s you I want, I finally have both feet in.” (Which itself is a fantasy because he would never put himself on the line like that.)

            I would panic. Holy shit, this is it, now, wait I’m not ready, I’ve got to get my shit together first, I don’t really trust you, this could go bad in so many ways. The longing and the just-out-of-reach are so much safer. I know from experience he’s difficult and confusing to actually be with day to day. My happiness would be undercut by panic and foreboding. And if things didn’t go well I’d be in for another round of self-reproach and regret.

            Aren’t the wistful texts safer in some way? We can fill in the blanks with the relationship they can never deliver.

            • Mellemel says:

              Hi Ixnay,
              Your comments ring true for me in many ways.
              Yesterday I received a few texts , Oh and an email !!!
              He MUST be thinking about me, after all he is at work, and very busy (isn’t he always !)
              What I’m omitting here, to myself, is how many messages did I send to receive a reply ?

            • tired_of_assanova says:

              Ugh. Texting.

              Ugh x 1000

              I have NEVER EVER been texted so much in my dating life by the last AC. EVER.

              I always thought that if someone wasn’t interesting the texting would stop. Not so !

              Texting is the Assclown’s achillies heel!

  18. Magnolia says:

    This post certainly speaks to the dreamy girl / dissociative angry girl in me. One of the most sobering realizations over the past couple years has been that despite carrying around anger at my father for his incompetence and the dream-house-he’ll-build-one-day stories he told for years (which of course never materialized) is that I relied on very similar ways of avoiding and coping (or should I say *not* coping). I had lots of arguments with absent targets, then enjoyed lots of imaginary reconciliations, clung to superior visions of future stardom to avoid present regular work and low self-esteem, etc.

    I tie the flying-off-to-la-la-land habit to having normalized stress, which Natalie wrote about here. My here-and-now reality was a constant mid-level anxiety, a mind flitting about: what should I do now? did I just mess that up? did I just seem weird there? is that person faking friendliness? i’m such an eff-up etc., etc. So no wonder my attention would wander down any path with an ego stroke at the end of it.

    Decreasing the self-doubt and self-condemnation has made it easier to stay in the here and now. I’ve even experienced it as *relief* to notice when my mind is racing and to be able to come back down to the moment, to just breathing, sit on the couch and notice the light and the sounds around me.

    Most of my life I equated finding The One with a sense of rescue from, or at least transformation of, my crappy emotional life. I never realized what a fantasy I was chasing!

    • Elle says:

      Can relate to your post, Mags. I now smile thinking about my childhood as a series of revenge/’I will prove you all wrong’ fantasies, infused with the disassociation tendencies you describe. I still do it, sometimes, when I am stressed – often simply from reading too much on the computer or hearing too much about the accomplishments of colleagues (real or not). My mind wanders to some future glory or dream house.

      What I used to do a lot, but don’t as much anymore, is imagine the glory of the fantasy man in my life, some super-human (kind-but-powerful, smart-but-sensitive, successful-but-attentive), who would allow me to ride on the back of his carpet. I now realise he was my back-up plan, just in case I never achieved this scenario of countless success and praise; at least then I would be vindicated by association! I still find it hard to resist the charm of a certain type of powerful man (even though I know that we’re relating on an inauthentic level, more like rivals who want to own the enemy.)

      Now I do what you do: check where I actually am, calm down, recognise what the desire or fear is, allow myself to buy that bunch of flowers or luxurious candle (instead of a piece of art!), write or perform something on a small scale, laugh at myself, relax for the evening. I know, in a real way, now that if I scramble up the hill, I won’t just not appreciate the view (more hills, more hills!), there won’t be a throng of admirers cheering from the valley (and even if there were, it’s not enough)! You have to truly want to go where you’re going and like where you are.

  19. Stephanie says:

    I’m the ultimate fantasy chaser, always have been since a child and so I’ve found it difficult to cope when I thought the ideal man came along. When I met him I was actually in a good place but I allowed my imagination to just run wild. When things didn’t work out I was crushed. Occasionally I get the urge to break NC but I know it’s not worth it and I’m mindful of how it will make me feel afterwards. Since finding BR a lot more things have become clear to me and it’s comforting to know that there are ladies/men that have experienced the same thing.

    • brenda says:

      Yes Steph You are not alone..
      I never knew what a good relationship was.I kept going in circles,dating the same man,but a different Body.
      I always wondered why I was never married,never really long term with anyone.Nothing lasted for breif periods of time…

      I too had the fantasies,the white picket fence,someone to love me,accept me for who I am,Not my potential…
      I know why now It never happened for me….I never knew enough about me,and my worth…Finding Nat and you ladies have forced me to see things for what they are,I have a definition for the illness I was feeling all these years..I am so grateful for all of you.

  20. grace says:

    I’m spending a fair amount of time fantasizing about how I am going to end a relationship that hasn’t even started. I’m practising being hurt.
    I’ve cast myself in the leading role of a Doomed Love movie. Well, not so much a movie, more of a mini-episode/trailer.
    The guy is going about his life as normal yet I’ve written this whole script for him.
    Thankfully, when I’m actually speaking to him it’s all very normal. It’s afterwards that I start catastophising.
    Not sure what to do about it other than GET A GRIP. And be honest with myself and with him, should the situation demand it. I’m stopping there before I start exploring all the WHAT IFs. Reality is enough to deal with. There’s no need to start making up problems.

    • allie says:

      Grace,
      I am sooo with you. It amaze me and comfort me to know that I am not the only fantizy addict here. I am like you I need to GET A GRIP! but in the outside I look normal and everybody wonders why am I still single. I was married before buy had been single for the las years in a community where most man think I am atractive but of course none wants to commit.

    • katy says:

      Grace, you are always so rational, I hope you see what good advice you give others and are able to follow!We are always evolving!

    • Natasha says:

      Grace, I was just doing the same thing. I was recently introduced to someone that I like and have a date with him this weekend. However, I was literally lying in bed last night running through scenarios of how I would get dumped and how I would handle being dissed so as not to embarass myself/look pathetic (we have many mutual friends). I think the positive to take out of this is that we know we’re being irrational and I think it’s pretty normal considering that neither of us has dated in some time. I’m going to remind myself that making up problems is counterproductive – thank you so much for sharing!

      • Lynda from L says:

        Aw Grace,trust yourself and you’ll get there. You give so much to others on this site that it’s ok to concentrate on your own stuff for a while.
        I’m with you in how we hamper ourselves before the start line. I have a lunch date with a guy on Saturday and I keep on saying’ It’s just Lunch’ over and over again. I should be saying ‘ I have a date and I’m looking forward to it’
        I know you’ll find the love you’re looking for and wholly deserve.

    • Magnolia says:

      Grace and Natasha,

      So interesting that one of you fantasizes about doing the dumping and the other fantasizes about being dumped. I think this can be a case of trying to self-protect and sabotaging ourselves through a glitch in the imagine-the-worst-case-scenario switch.

      I too always envision being the one to have to bail, and guess what, all the short-term and long-term relationships I’ve had, and even dating scenarios, I’m the one who has ended it! (I’m not counting the one-date times when neither of us followed up.)

      I just went on a second date last night with the producer fellow and knew from the first five minutes in that I wasn’t going to want a third date. But we went to the movie, had coffee afterward, and even though when he said, “Let’s do this again,” I said, “Let’s connect by phone and we’ll see,” (as per learning from the last guy I told I wasn’t ready), he still leaned in for the kiss when he dropped me off. Another nose-meets-cheek moment!

      As I was coming up the elevator, I was picturing how I would let him know I wouldn’t continue with him, and then suddenly thought: “That’s it. I’m wasting my own time. Usually within the first ten minutes, I can kind of see myself dropping these guys, and then it ends up happening. No more guys that I picture myself dumping.” Or at least, no more picturing dumping them. I must be subconsciously still picking guys that allow me the safe out.

      I only want to go in now if I’m going to put my heart in it a bit and risk getting thwacked. I did it a bit with the three-kids guy, and it felt different, to picture various futures and test them for feasibility. I want to pick guys who make me want to risk trying to envision a future.

      • Elle says:

        Grace – sorry for any repeat, don’t have time to read all the other comments right now – but, I assure you, I spent at least year doing the exact same thing (as concentrated versions of what I had done for 15 years, when I got the high out of leaving my first meanie-cheater boyfriend). I realised I liked the impossibility of it all, I liked, on some level, the unhappy ending, that I could not be touched or controlled or commented upon, that I could be a fantasy to others as well. This sounds all very hideous, and it was not conscious (like I did not look in the mirror and plan this whole script), but I saw it, especially in how I would talk to myself about the first guys who wanted to date me post-AC. But I also realised that this was precisely how the AC operated. He loved the ‘I am too damaged, I will hurt you’ narrative. It was at a level more than I could muster, but still. It’s the same sh*t really. What I am going with current guy I am seeing is choosing not to allow myself that option. I am giving myself the option of leaving him, if, after relating to him honestly, light-heartedly and openly, I decide we are simply not compatible or that my real values are not respected. But I am just not giving myself the opt-out on the basis of wanting the tragic outcome. It’s self-harmy and just not on anymore.

      • Natasha says:

        “I want to pick guys who make me want to risk trying to envision a future.”

        Oh, hell yes Mag! That’s it, right there in a nutshell. Love it :)

    • cavewoman says:

      Grace,
      I had about a good week’s worth of anguish from exactly this type of thinking. It gets easier, because you’re so much better now at distinguishing the script from what’s in front of you! Remember if this has potential, you would be progressing and getting to know the actual person and getting better and better reality checks. You can own your stuff so you won’t be acting it out. Good luck dear! Sounds like I’m in a similar boat as you. The first week or so I was murdering myself with doubt, but I had the safety of knowing that I was ready to either call it quits because it’s simply too soon for me, or break it off in the face of real evidence that this isn’t a good match. So far so good. 1 month of healthily paced ‘dating’ mutual interest, etc. and you bet I keep repeating my mantra that dating is a discovery phase, dating is a discovery phase, dating is a discovery phase – I read that somewhere online -* wink

  21. tired_of_assanova says:

    I have a number of fantasy relationships under my belt, which I now notice are fantasy relationships. It’s nice to now have a title to call them by. In the previous post NML talked about putting away the choose me stick. Well, I have a *projector* which I always used to have crumbs in front of which would then cast a massive shadow – “Look, the crumb is GIGANTIC!”

    Fantasy relationships are a lot like scams really – it is always coming tomorrow and never today. There is always JUST ONE MORE THING standing in the way of them, and it incrementally extends like that. Rarely is it just 100 % total fantasy either- the fantasy is kept alive be crumb communications such as instant messenger, texting, occasional visits and maybe even the odd phone call.

    Most of the time the other person is FULLY AWARE of this and uses this to strip off benefits like a shoulder to moan on, money, chit chat (ugh), sex and cuddles. You may even be relegated to the “friend” category. The fantasy is driven by hope, fear, denial, avoidance, and an “it’s almost there/I’ve almost got it” feeling.

    Breaking the fantasy can be really really hard because the inputs to begin with are so low / crumby. No Contact as well as a general ban on lazy communication (facebook/IM/texting/online dating sites) is good. It is coming up to a year on the dating ban and I’ve healed with a few scars still there.

    Danger signs:

    1. They fail the touch test – you can’t physically touch them for more than 3 times per week, consistently.

    2. Main communication is crumb communication – texting, IM, facebook, e-mail, twitter, skype, dating sites

    3. There are time restrictions of some kind (weekend only / after work only / some other reason)

    4. There is a distance involved / you are not living together

    5. There is usually ONE LAST OBSTACLE / ONE THING standing in the way – it could be they live an hour away or they’re going overseas, or they’re kept secret.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Another way to prevent fantasies from developing and taking hold is to have boundaries:

      1. Friends and Sex do not mix
      2. No benefits without commitment to a date (an explicitly titled one, not a friends hangout thingy) or a relationship.
      3. No-one is in a relationship without a mutual EXPLICIT agreement.

      They have to have signed a deal. No signature = no deal!

      It is also a bit rude I think to put else into a relationship and not tell them. I have to remember to tell myself this. It’s like being signed up to a job without being told you got a job or even applied in the first place!

    • Stephanie says:

      tired of assanova

      Hmmm, these points sound so familiar to me. I encountered:-

      1. The touch test – could only physically touch him once a week
      2. Main communication was via text, I made majority of the phone call.
      3. Never, ever saw him at the weekend! He was always busy
      4. Always said his work may need to carry him abroad, so he may not be around much
      5. Wasn’t allowed to be around his two children
      5. One last thing, he told his friends about me, but none of his family (with whom he seemed very close with) knew I existed!

      Writing these points out actually make me feel sad, because I can’t believe I allowed myself to be handled this way. Despite this I fell for him badly, I believed the future faking so much. Its only now that the depression and denial have worn off that I can see how badly I was played. He was a professional at it, but I take a very small portion of the blame because I fantasied way toooo much :-(

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        Oh dear. Yes, be very very cautious when they keep you in relationship quarantine!

        Another assclown I has seen many years ago told me ALL about their 21st birthday party. Like how there would be this tent, and all these seats and a photo montage, and it would be so elaborate, and how it would cost a fortune…blah..blah..blah

        Me: “So, am I invited?”
        Them: “Er, I don’t want to be rude, but it’s only for close family and friends, so no, sorry”
        Me thinking ‘What the? I thought we were together!’

        They pulled a disappearing act too after spending the night. I noticed that they spent years on the dating site as well after that. To this day I can see why I liked them – and that is the thing, we get too focused on who they are, and what we think they are, their personality, looks, mannerisms, habits, and we don’t look at the fact that they treat us like sh*t.

        My latest AC (and myself) did the whole “let’s be friends” garbage and then when I said I would be out of town for a month, started blowing really really hot. What the hell were the doing for the four weeks in the lead up to that while I had “friend” status. I never had a title either.

        That will be the LAST time I get sucked into the fantasy. I’ve never been with a future faker, narcissist or abuser yet, and I shudder to think what people go through chasing them.

        • Loastagain says:

          Relationship quarantine: check!

          Time around his friends was very limited(unless I complained) . Time around his family very limited (unless I complained).

          All while he was welcomed with open arms to all aspects of my life without thought.

          NOWWW i’m remembering the reality of my relationship again and not just the fantasy part!!

        • brenda says:

          Tired…I need your advice!!
          I went out on a date Sunday with what seemed to be a nice enough guy.
          He asked me out for Thursday to which I said yes too.
          He called me On monday and we talked for a bit,and his call dropped on his cell,No worries,I understand that…He said he was going to come in to see me at work,but never quite made it,again I was not to concerned.
          I decided I would give him a shout today to see if all was ok,and never heard back from him at all????
          I dont want to be chasing crumbs here,so I am thinking this is a flush situation…I Guess I just need some advice as I am just starting to get back out there,ans sonetimes my judgements suck!!
          Am I being to harsh or unrealistic,I get this man owes me nothing,But if a guy cant call back I get a BAD feeling!!
          Brenda

          • tired_of_assanova says:

            Brenda,
            If you need advice, I’d read NML’s posts.

            It sounds like your ‘fantasy meter’ has been activated – the guy is obviously doing some kind of withdrawal manouvre and so you’ve increased your pumping. Nobody has signed any deal either… no deal = no deal.

            Failure is the safest thing I think – even if he’s Mr Perfect, you can find another one!

            *FLUSH*

            • brenda says:

              Tired…I always love what you say…Thats why I came to you!!
              My love meter has been out of whack for ALONG time…I guess mabye I needed some reassurance,But You know I knew….
              Anyway he did call,and stopped in at work tonight,But you know..I am just not ready,I have not done enough work on me to see this thru..
              I just Received Nats Book in the mail..And I cantput it down…But I realized something…I am still Miss Unavailable..Then and until I work on me, I am NOT dating…I have to keep telling myself this obviously..I am totally seeking an ego stroke,or validation that I still can attract a man,God I am no better than the very thing I loath….But today at least I can see it and embrace it..
              Tired,You are simply awesome..:)
              HUgs from Canada

  22. SM says:

    Natalie thank you so much for reminding us that we have a choice in these relationships too. We dont have to wait for some guy whom we already know is not right for us and we dont want anyway, to reject us. You know us all so well. I’ve just started dating a guy after months of nc with the last eum. So far so good but its in the early stages so I dont know where its going or if it is the right situation for me or not. But I think its perfectly normal to not know at this point. I love the line you wrote about the meditation and “mindfulness is about not trying to anticipate what’s next and not worrying about what might happen or isn’t happening.” I’m trying to be present in this new possibility, I’m not fantasizing about long term possibilities with this guy and what that might look like, I’m just trying to get to know him. I am also being mindful of him as a person and someone with his own wants and needs.

    • allie says:

      “I’m trying to be present in this new possibility, I’m not fantasizing about long term possibilities with this guy and what that might look like, I’m just trying to get to know him.”

      So well presented. This is something I NEED to work on, just go a day at a time and get to know the person without over commiting.
      Excellent!

  23. Spinster says:

    “I went to a meditation workshop this past weekend and the teacher explained how mindfulness is about not trying to anticipate what’s next and not worrying about what might happen or isn’t happening. This makes sense to me because people in fantasy relationships can’t handle the ‘now’ that represents reality.”

    Wow. Never thought of it this way but it makes perfect sense, and it goes for all types of relationships.

    “What are you so afraid of facing? What are you so desperate to avoid in real life that you’d mentally check yourself into an unavailable relationship that gives you enough free time to fill up your imagination with the relationship you’re not getting in the real world?”

    I have a relative who went back to her “first love” very recently and didn’t tell me that she was back with him until after the fact. Her “first love” was the 1st person that she ever had sex with, and apparently that gave him license to put her through absolute hell during their on-and-off relationship that has gone on for years, including (among countless other things) stealing money from her bank account. She sent me messages complaining about being unable to trust him & trying to keep the past in the past and I’m SURE that he is just 1 cause of her health problems, but she won’t stop dealing with him, nor has she ever dealt with a healthy relationship/man. The above questions make me wonder about her now; unfortunately, she’s nowhere NEAR ready for this website and she may never be, and she keeps choosing these dubious relationships/men. Maybe one day I can talk to her & (finally) get things through her thick skull, but in the meantime, I love her & wish her the best from afar.

  24. Bri says:

    Last week my MM semi-broke up with me (yes, you read that right). He told me I was asking too much by wanting him to text me on weekends or give me words of encouragement when I was having a hard time with things. He told me he doesn’t know if we’re broken up or not, but right now he doesn’t have the energy to give me anything more, and that I’m “more than welcome to try and carry the relationship on my own.” When I asked him if we still had a chance (yes, I realize how pathetic this is) he said, “We’ll always have a chance, but right now I’m empty and I have nothing to give you.” Just him saying we’ll always have a chance awakens the fighter in me and I feel like I have to keep trying, like I can’t give up on someone I love so much. But I’m also miserable – I feel like I’ve cried over this relationship almost every day for the past two years and I’m constantly anxious/jealous/worried/stressed.
     
    But, as always, NML is right – I’m comfortable here and I’m scared of the pain I’ll have to face by finally surrendering and accepting this is over, and also the possibility I’ll be replaced with a new girl. However, I’m in pain as it is and I don’t glean anything positive from this relationship anymore. He’s refused to even see me outside of work for three months now. I feel rejected and unwanted and worthless. I think I’m scared that by letting this go, I’ve failed. I’m scared of the grieving I’ll have to do. I’m scared of breaking the routine of talking to him every day. I’m scared that if we don’t end up together, it will mean I wasn’t good enough and I lost the fight. The long-shot mentality, the Why Don’t They Want Me Syndrome, the fantasizing, the subsisting on crumbs – all of these apply to me, and it’s a hard cycle to break out of in your own head.
     
    I’m scared I won’t be able to move on, that I won’t be able to forget him. I’m scared I won’t be able to handle it if he finds another “me.” I’m scared I won’t recover from this. I surrendered my power to him a long time ago and I’ve lost myself. I can’t give up on hoping he’ll be the man I fell in love with two years ago again.

    • grace says:

      Bri
      Please, I’m begging you, see sense. He’s married.
      He can’t be your boyfriend, or your friend, or your part-time texter. He can’t even break up with you because you’re not in a relationship. He’s married.
      Two years ago when you met him he was married. He’s married now and in two years tine he’ll still be married.
      He won’t choose you because he’s married and he won’t put you first because he is married. You’re not even second or third.
      What you gonna do about that?

      • Owl says:

        Bri:

        He told you to carry the relationship on your own? I think that says it all.

        Walk away now, please, for the sake of your own self-respect and sanity.

      • Tulipa says:

        Bri,

        I strongly suspect if you ‘won’ this man and he fronted up at your door ready for a realationship. You wouldn’t want it anyway and your thoughts would turn to how could I have I wanted him so badly and desperately?
        If you had him in reality you would be searching for a new fantasy because him in reality with all his faults bad habits etc etc would be too much reality for you.

        Have you read the book ‘Women Who Love Too Much’ by Robin Norwood?
        You remind me of the woman in there who hung in for years and years and finally did win her man and lo and behold she didn’t want him and it was seperate bedrooms etc for them. Because she didn’t know what to do with the ‘reality’ of him actually being there up front and present.
        Until you face yourself and your own unavailability and see it isn’t really about this man at all and is about you and your fears you will remain stuck.

        • Used says:

          reminds me of scarlett o’hara in gone with the wind: she only wanted ashley, a married man, b/c she couldn’t have him. once he was available (due to his saintly wife’s death), she (finally realized that she didn’t really) want him! she didn’t even want validation if he was ready to give it to her. she. just. didn’t. want. him.

          of course, if you read the book, you will see/know about how she was raised in a dysfunctional family–and that her fantasizing about him was something of an escape (and not just from the dysfunctional family).

    • imfree says:

      You honestly will get over it. I’ve been there an heard similar kinds of things from my ex AC yet still hung on to the (totally misplaced) hope. Looking back over all of my 36 years I can say that without a shaddow of a doubt that holding on to him for 5 odd years has been the biggest regret of my life. Seriously – The. Biggest. Regret. Ever. And trust me when I say there were some pretty big contenders for that title. Looking back I can’t believe i wasted my precious energy and time. Your energy and time are precious too.

      Can you try and get angry with him rather than internalise your feelings which turn into self hatred or low self esteem. You *should* hate him as when I read that comment “you can try and carry on without me” I was so shocked my blood ran cold. What type of person says that? Seriously?

      What helped me was – take him out of the equation. Look around at the good relationships around you? How do they work? Do the men give more than the little he gives you? What do you want a relationship to look like – how far short does he fall?

      Yes it hurts like hell now – but where do you want to be in the next two years? I told myself that two years from my breakup, If I actually stayed clear of him, I would be much happier than I was with him. I assumed that the during those two years I would be miserable as hell – but you know what? I wasn’t. I felt awful for about 6 months, ,but at least it wasn’t that awful up and down – at the mercy of someone else, type of feeling badly. Then I just started to get on with my life.

      If you cling on to him, you can bet your bottom dollar in two years time you will feel even worse than you do now.
      You are worth more. You just need to start that long road by making the first few steps, then you will slowly rebuild your self esteem. You wont find that self esteem staying with such a AC!!

      • allie says:

        Very good advice, I also was in a very bad and abusive relationship, my first bf and it lasted 7 years. 7 years wasted, i regret it now, but there is no way i can get the years back, i feel this relationship took my best years, my youth, what for?

        You know what help the most, it was seeing other couples and thinking why he doesn’t treat me like that?, always wishing he will realize how good i was and finally treat me nice. It never happened. He was an AC abusive and lier. And yes, i passed good opportunities to be with him.

        It happened again with my las EUM. there was this guy showing some interest, and i passed and next thing i know he marry another woman and now they have a son together. how stupid is that?

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      You have a below – zero ‘relationship’. Like NML says, relationships are 100 : 100. This guy is not even putting in 1% ! In fact it is negative 100 %, so you have to put 200% so you can make up for his half.

      If you do this, you will have to get a MASSIVE pump airblower deluxe and pump, pump, pump. Like pumping a car tyre with a bicycle pump – huge resistance and backflow.

      Don’t do it. You are under a spell and have been disarmed. You have the right to leave. Go NC and then go see a psych, sign up to NC mail. This is a very dangerous situation when they can’t even commit to being with you or NOT being with you. He is EUM!!
      RUN!! And he is MARRIED, OMG!!! *ALARMS* *SIRENS*

    • Spinster says:

      Read up to this part and stopped:

      “He told me he doesn’t know if we’re broken up or not, but right now he doesn’t have the energy to give me anything more, and that I’m “more than welcome to try and carry the relationship on my own.””

      Excuse me? What more do you need to know? These aren’t even bread crumbs or cake crumbs or cupcake crumbs. These are SHIT crumbs from a baby’s diaper, skid marks in a nasty man’s underpants.

      It’s WELL past time for you to get a grip & face reality. Seriously. Good luck with everything.

      • yoghurt says:

        You’re so right, Spinster

        This annoys me fiercely about EUMs and the like, though. “You can carry on the relationship on your own” is really as near as dammit as saying “I don’t want to be in a relationship with you”, isn’t it? So why can’t they just come out and bloody SAY it?

        Oh, cos it’d involve a teeny weeny little tiny bit of effort, discomfort and self-control on their part, that’s why. Heaven forbloodybid when they are so fwagile and sensitive. grrrrrrrrrr!

        bri, you are SO MUCH BETTER than this bloke, I know it may not seem that way to you right now, but you are. He isn’t offering you a relationship, he’s offering you all the hassle of one without a single one of the rewards. Carrying on with it’d be like accepting a demanding and soul-destroying job and agreeing to do it indefinitely. FOR FREE! Whilst the bailiffs come round and carrying off your interests, your energy and your self-esteem because you haven’t invested enough into them.

        Don’t be a sucker! You wouldn’t pay any attention to emails from Zimbabwean ‘lawyers’ asking you for £800 so that they can release a non-existant legacy, don’t pay attention to this. It’s like tired_of_assanova said earlier on – it’s just a scam. Stop throwing good money after bad, you’re too good for this. And too clever.

      • Elle says:

        Tis true, Bri. You’re not just being offered nothing, you’re being asked to hold still in a pose, while he gets on with life. It’s cruel.

      • Polly says:

        Bri,

        You CAN do it. I was in a very similar situation where my MM decided he wanted to be ‘just friend’s but that he’ might change his mind in future’ – and also then went on to find another ‘me’ or rather to say he was thinking about it but hadn’t decided! The time has to come when YOU have to decide enough is enough. Believe me you will hurt but will be very glad you did. I flushed and have been NC for 3 months now. There is so much satisfaction to getting these scumbags out of your life.

        Good luck!

    • grace says:

      Bri
      I re-read your post. I think he HAS broken up with you. You’ve managed to fantasize a break up into a semi-breakup. That sure is a lot of effort to get not very much, even in fantasyland.
      You haven’t seen him outside work in three months. I hope to God you’ve stopped having sex and aren’t doing it at work. He’s refused to keep up even the most minimal contact. He won’t put anything further into your “relationship”. You’re crying and missing him, and feeling rejected.
      How is that not a break up?
      Oh yeah, he said there is “a chance” after you (metaphorically) had him up against the wall. There’s a chance I’ll win the lottery but we all know that I won’t. Especially since I won’t buy a ticket.
      Give it up girl, give it up.
      And, this last point, which I’m only saying because I’m not sure anything is actually getting past the Fantasy Haze – I think he’s had enough. He wanted a compliant young girl who wouldn’t expect anything. Now you want more, he wants out. Have some dignity and stop chasing him.
      Honestly, I’d rather you cried every day on the floor for six months and lost your job than speak to this ASSHAT again. He’s a complete and utter ***** (words fail me and that doesn’t happen very often).
      None of this surprises me. I knew he would keep doing this. He’s not that unique or special.
      Please, Bri, Please, wake up – this is your LIFE.

      • Elle says:

        Deffo. This guy has given up – He has realised he can’t do both, fulfill the needs of two women (esp now that both want what might be a real relationship) and hold his decaying sense of himself together. But he’s a wuss and a victim-minded sod, so he can’t tell you directly that he has well and truly checked out, emotionally. He’s actually looking out for himself, madly trying to gain some order and sense of self. It’s not an admirable way he’s doing this, but he is, as he very well should. Leave him to it, and fight for your own sense of self. You’re allowing it to fragment and depend on another, which is very, very harmful. FIGHT for your-self, Bri!

      • Magnolia says:

        grace, you called it.

    • Magnolia says:

      Bri – if you’re comfortable where you are, why complain?

      If you want to do yourself a favour, start by being more honest in your language. How about:

      “I don’t want to let this go, or feel I’ve failed. I don’t want to do grieving I’ll have to do. I don’t want to break the routine of talking to him every day. It’s clear we won’t end up together, and I choose to make it mean I wasn’t good enough. I choose to see this a relationship as a fight; one I want to win.

      I don’t want to move on; I don’t want to forget him. It’s likely he’ll find another “me” – i.e. another FBG – and I don’t want to see that because I like to have him validate me and I don’t want to see that I’m replaceable to him. I tell myself I wont recover from this to avoid taking action.”

      You must be telling yourself some pretty big porkies, no? How can someone break up with you when you haven’t seen them outside of work for three months? Was there something magical about the office air that turned you into his girlfriend?

      I agree with the others. “…more than welcome to try and carry the relationship on my own”??!!!? That’s a very disrespectful thing to say to you. It shows he doesn’t think much of you, Bri.”We’ll always have a chance…”??!!? Sorry, I just threw up a little in my mouth.

      You deserve better.

      • Skyscraper says:

        If we had an award for assclown of the year, I think Bri’s guy would be a strong contender … and it’s only February. “Carry on on your own” is massively disrespectful … it’s also a coward’s way of saying that he’s done and she’s not getting it.

    • Limerence says:

      You’ll move on. You will. I can’t believe how different my feelings are today than they were at the beginning of January. Yeah, I still have bad days but emotionally I feel so much better. I didn’t think I could ever move on when I ended it the first time in August. I literally walked around moping and hurting for three months, going back on my decision, begging him for contact (he went NC w/ me at that point) and didn’t feel like I could breathe until he contacted me again three months later. I didn’t have BR or a therapist back then, though, so I didn’t now WTF was wrong with me.

      My MM/AC said there was no way we’d ever be together and no way he could ever say he loved me. This was at my third go around w/ him when I went all in, all or nothing, go for broke, didn’t even really care about him at this point, just wanted to win. I actually LISTENED this time, though when he said this. You have the opportunity to actually LISTEN to this time. Yeah, it hurt. My ego hurt. My heart hurt. It STILL HURTS. But I’m breathing and living and going out and having fun! I’m seeing a therapist! I’m laughing! I feel free. I’m not angry anymore and I FINALLY actually feel that words Nat says… I opt out when someone doesn’t want me! I can actually FEEL that and it feels really good. But I had to feel really bad to get there.

      It doesn’t get much clearer than what he is telling you. These guys just want what they want, and that’s NO EFFORT attention for nothing. He has a wife, a life partner. He doesn’t need that or want that from you. He IS done with you because there really wasn’t anything ever there not to be done with.

  25. Australia says:

    amazing post.

  26. Hannah says:

    My exAC and I have been off and in NC for some time now..although on my part it’s a lazy NC (website snooping, looking at the narcisstic harem of girls that coo over him and wonder which one(s) he’s involved with). I know I need to stop this. I keep holding onto this illusion even though he treated me like rubbish and disappeared via the slow fade after Fast Forwarding and Future Faking me. I find it hard to separate the illusion and the reality and come to my final conclusions so I can move on.

    I want to move on with my life desperately..I’m desperate! I wonder am I just using thinking about the past as an avoidance tactic. I’m afraid of what else is out there and getting my heart broken again. I feel weakened and unsure of whether I could handle it if another AC crossed my path. I have a whole life waiting out there for me but in a way I’ve opted out to be on my own. I’m not living, just existing.

    Does anyone have any tips on how they finally moved on, faced their fears and let go?? What did you do to make this happen?

    • allie says:

      Hanna, you said he treated you like rubish, what part of that you want to experience again? We all have had AC experiences, in my case, i put up with lies, him not answering his phone when i called him but answering for everyone else, hot and cold, etc. Then after him declaring he wasn’t going to take his ex-wife back, that there was a reason she was an ex (in his own words), she got evicted and he took her back, he tried to say that they were roomates (my b@dd). That was the breaking point for me, I am not going to be the other woman, second fiddle, ….etc. It was hard, and I did broke the NC rule several times for the 6 first months of NC, now it has been a year and a half since we broke up, but I saw him and he tried to put his puppy eyes, ex has left him again and married someone else, and you know what, I couldn’t care less, he is handsome, can be fun to be with, etc. but the drama that came with him what just not worthed. Yes I am single now, I want a relationship but i am working on getting myself healthy to be in a healthy relationship. IT seem impossible but it is doable, with heartaches and tears too, but i am much better now.

    • Natasha says:

      Hannah, I boomeranged with a dude for six years that I thought I was madly in love with (I wasn’t). He was a total assclown with the attendant harem/mind games/Future Faking/Fast Fowarding/total uselessness/disappearance-reappearance tendencies and…I got over him. 100%. For real! Here’s the short answer of what it takes: time and discipline.

      It takes time to get over any relationship, but in this case you have to take the time to (a) reconcile who you thought he was vs. the reality of who he actually was and (b) have a serious think about what’s going on with you that you actually care what he’s up to/spent time with him in the first place. Not so bad, right? For the discipline part it means not responding to any texts/emails/Facebook messages/love notes delivered via carrier pigeon (I made that last one up. Assclowns are lazy.). It also means turning your mind to you and what makes you happy as often as you can, even when you’re hurting. Lastly, when you want to tell yourself its hopeless and you won’t get over it…snap the rubber band and say, “HELL NO! I can and will do better.”

      Hope this helps! *Big Hugs*

      • EllieMae says:

        Natasha that is great advice. My situation sounds so much like yours. It’s encouraging to hear that you made it out of the BS! I’ve tried to do what you’ve described, but I need to try HARDER! I haven’t contacted him at all in at least the last 6 months, but he keeps popping back up into my life. Time to say “HELL NO! I can and will do better.” And then do the most important part….DO IT!!!!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Here’s how I did it. It did take a while and required huge effort. I felt like crap for a while and walking around in a daze for many months.

      1. Go NC
      2. Delete their contacts, block their facebook etcetera.
      3. Go into lockdown – I suggest no sex for a month or three and ban dating until you are better. In the short term it will feel like your life just got blanked out.
      4. Psych
      5. NC Mail (treat it like a standard break up)
      6. Find an activity to spend time on – I went on a few random walks feeling shell shocked or angry, but I went to a new place each weekend.
      7. Music such as an iPod can override any whirring thoughts if you have them all day and they are loud.

      I also had a piece of paper in my bag and in my desk to remind me:
      * It’s never going to be anything
      * It’s never going to do anything
      * It’s never going to go anywhere

      To remind me.

      • grace says:

        tired
        I like this Sergeant Major approach.
        I’m a thinker and an analyser (you don’t say!) and while that ‘s important there’s something very refreshing and freeing and NECESSARY in just DOING something. Especially when you know it will work (and it will ladies, it will).
        I was a BASKET CASE after my last break up but look at me now, still alive! No-one died! It took me three years to get over the playa (shooting myself in the foot all the way with texts and hookups and stalking and fantasizing) but I still made it. No BR in those days, sadly.
        Even if you have to (metaphorically) crawl out of the wreck with broken arms and legs, in agony all the way, at least you’ll be out. It’s still worth it.

        • EllieMae says:

          Yeah, I’m a big-time analyzer also….guess that’s why I’m a Systems Analyst LOL. In that line of work, it’s easy to get caught up in analysis paralysis and I think the same thing applies here…only it’s assclown analysis paralysis and they aren’t worth us using our valuable brain power to try to figure them out!

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback :),

      I’m going to give a go at what you have advised. I’m at my wits end, I really am. I am ruminated out. My brain has exhausted every nook, cranny and corner of that relationship. There is nothing more to be achieved. I’m just finding it hard to make the final cut in my head.

      One thing that is really holding me back is the website/Facebook thing. It’s so easy to hold onto an illusion when you view it all the time. I’m going to stay off of it. Treat is as a standard NC as you advised tired of assonova. I’m going to start now.

      I’m just really upset over it all. I never expect any of this to happen. This is the longest it’s ever taken me (this is probably down to the Fast Forwarding and Future Faking..I REALLY wanted the life he was offering me). I need to try harder.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        Hang in there and have someone – psych – to help you when you ruminate. I had a delay in getting to a psych (booked out) so as a result I ruminated all over my friends which spread the damage further!

        One of the booby traps is trying to figure whether a break up with a friend should be treated the same way as a break up with a partner. Treat it the same way!

        Facebook is a distance thing. It isn’t real. If you can’t touch them, its not real. It’s like trying to have a relationship with someone on TV, over the internet or on CCTV. There is a screen in the way.

        I recently attended a friends’s housemates pity party. She met this great guy for just sex, but it turned into something more where he was calling her every day, talking for hours (my ears pricked up – why does he need to call all the time when he could just be there), turns out he already had a girlfriend, finally admitted it and dumped her.

        It’s hard not to imagine better – the main thing is to get all the contradictory evidence on paper so you can read it when nostalgia or you are floating off into ‘they were so nice’ or ‘I love them’ etc. Focus on what they did and didn’t deliver.

        • Hannah says:

          I have things written down but almost feel like my head is refusing to acknowledge the reality of how he treated me vs. the illusion I created based on the brief puff of hot air he treated me to. It just seems unreal that the two are the same person. I do wonder was it all just me and whether he will be different with the next woman..it seems like he has a large amount to select from.

          The reality of him is that I was chosen because I was an easy target to get what he wanted at the time without having to make much of an effort.

          I’m not going to talk about it with my friends anymore, you are right tired of assonova. I feel like I am becoming defined by him and my low self esteem and fear and it’s apparent that my friends are saddened and disappointed by this transformation. So am I.

          Pysch is probably the route.

          • tired_of_assanova says:

            I have things written down but almost feel like my head is refusing to acknowledge the reality of how he treated me vs. the illusion I created based on the brief puff of hot air he treated me to. It just seems unreal that the two are the same person.

            I experienced the same thing for 8 months. I just could not believe the rug got pulled (and I went back) and this happened. What happened? Why did it happen? How did it happen? Could I have said/did something to divert course?

            But it was part of a larger pattern, the latest manifestation of something deeper. I even had trouble reading this site and understanding the posts (especially the fantasy one) because I thought ‘is that my situation – no, it couldn’t be..?’

            I do wonder was it all just me and whether he will be different with the next woman..it seems like he has a large amount to select from.

            We all like to fantasise that they did change and then will come riding back to us and choose us AND and LTR will come of it. Except when the AC saw me, they completely ignored me! And even though they were with someone else, a week later, they were still on the dating site!

            I’ve even found blocked numbers for AC’s I’ve had previously in the phones of people I’ve seen. I’ve seen others on the dating site for years. And others have the town bicycle as a ‘friend’ on their Facebook added while they are in an LTR with someone else. They’re not thinking about you…

            THEY’RE JUST NOT THAT SPECIAL.

            • Hannah says:

              :) Thank you.

              A final question to everyone and this baffles me (hopefully it’s still in line with the subject matter),

              Why when faced with reality, when faced with a whole table of evidence of who they are, having experience disrespectful, obnoxious and selfish behavior, behavior that would rile up any normal individual and have them walking..

              How is it that they still hold a place in our hearts and we can still find a way to idealize even fantasize? It concerns me that I still care, it’s not logical.

              • tired_of_assanova says:

                Hannah,

                It is because deep down we really do care about them, even if they don’t care about us. We care. The AC even told me that I was kind and caring. By definition, if they were on board, it wouldn’t be a fantasy, it would be real.

                Most people do have feelings or care about someone, they are trying to have an LTR with. So I’m not surprised that you care. It is a fantasy only because the other person doesn’t also have the same feelings as you – if they did have feelings, they wouldn’t be capable of doing such crappy behaviour.

                It takes time for the feelings to wear off and emotions to catch up with our thoughts. Sometimes the thoughts in our mind can extend that lovey feeling, particularly if we fantasize about sleeping with them…

                I always thought that my AC had a special place in their heart for me and that it was just bad timing or whatever. But when I saw them with someone else, and saw the town bicycle on their facebook, I lost ALL lovey dovey illusions. Who was I kidding?

                • Hannah says:

                  Thank you for all your advice tired of assonova and thanks NML,

                  I am going to start a full no wimpy, no Internet snooping or anything NC today and follow everything here. I hope I am strong enough this time to fully pull myself out of it. Sick of the tears and the constant anxiety.

                  I think NML brought to light a very important issue here about fantasy and how it can be so destructive sometimes. Reality has been smacking me in the face for some time now even long before the relationship ended. Have to stop being such a masochist and move on.

                  • Miranda says:

                    ‘I feel weakened and unsure of whether I could handle it if another AC crossed my path.’

                    Hannah, although you have been through a bad experience with your ex EUM/AC, think of all the lessons learnt. You will handle it if another crossed your path because this time you know the signs. Stop looking backwards, start looking forwards. NC is a truly empowering experience, I’m now on Day 24 and it’s been surprisingly easy so far, but I expect to face my weaker moments. Just ask yourself this….if one of his harem has now taken your place, would you really want to be her, now you know what he is truly like and what kind of behaviour he is capable of?? Surely not. They may be blowing smoke up his ass, but they don’t know him as you do….they may not know the truth. This is what I am telling myself everytime the thought of my ex EUM’s girlfriend comes into my head…trade places with her…NO THANKS!!
                    You need to get off Fakebook…remember it’s a virtual world on there, anyone can make their lives look bloody wonderful, but that may not necessarily be the truth. Fakebook is the devil in my opinion, especially for people like us who may be feeling vunerable and in need of answers and validation.
                    Stay strong Girl, you can do it…..come on here for support, it’s been my second home for nearly a year now!!!
                    Mx

              • Blindsided says:

                I feel exactly the same way and keep wondering the same thing. I think it has to do with still needing their love or affection to validate us. We need to stop thinking that if they would just “see their mistakes” and come running back to us, we’d be good enough or lovable enough.

  27. Starlight says:

    Ahhh- the fantasy relationship. I’ve found that that is really what is hurting. My fantasy- my Prince- didn’t materalize. I thought it was he who hurt me. But in actuality, it was my own fantasy of what things should/could be, but wasn’t, that hurt. So he never really hurt me. He showed me in his actions and talk who he is. It was me that hurt myself in this fantasy world I was in. My own expectations is what hurt me, not him. Do I want to go back to that? NO! The fog finally rose and I can see it clearly now. Thanks so much for your wise words Nat.

  28. Nat says:

    “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality”

    I think this is your most important blog, Nat.

  29. runnergirlno1 says:

    Wow Natalie,
    This one has made me dig even deeper. I can tick off all the boxes of avoidance. I was all about avoidance. I’m digging slowly out of the avoidance hole, although I’m kicking and screaming. I thought I owned my EUW’ness but I have more to work through. May I say thank you to you and all the wonderful folks who post. More work to do for me..

    • Nat says:

      I’m in exactly the same boat, Runner. It’s lead me on a journey of getting really serious with myself about my own feelings and emotions. It has not been easy at all, but i’d rather face myself than continuing to face the effects of avoiding reality like I have done for so long now.

  30. FedUp says:

    Talking of avoidance. I self sabotaged a while ago. My friend invited me to see a cheesy band from the 90s. I ended up self sabotaging coz I didn’t want to run into ex AC. I’ve joined meetup [I wisj I had heard of this YEARS ago] to see live music. But the venue is once again the ex AC’s hang out. Should I go? I want the fantasy of my ex begging for me back etc. At least that he made a mistake, was a downright AC. I’d love to see him looking like shyte. I feel nervous enough as it would be my first meetup and don’t know anyone. I’d like the validation that he really F- d up. But it isn’t like him to ever apologise or admit faults. I haven’t seen or spoken to my ex, since he dumped and insulted me by text over a year ago. I feel like I need to read the Little Engine that Could or something.

    • Outergirl says:

      FedUp, If you truly do want some opinions on whether or not to go..Don’t! Don’t put yourself in that position. From what you wrote, about how he dumped you and insulted you, [by text no less?!] and how he never admits mistakes..what are you basing your odds on that suddenly he’s seen the light? If there was any chance at all [and w/these users, there isn't] he would have made some gesture. I have passed up several situations for the remotest chance that my human garbage might show up. He ambushed me once [deliberately] at a show and I have been gun shy ever since. Better to pass on the evening. I wasn’t right for WEEKS after he showed up. Just showed up because he knew it would be an e-z, no effort, gate crashing opportunity to see me. It HURT to send him away, but when I saw he was annoyed[!] by my reaction [see Nat's 'hurry up and accept my apology] and I wasn’t unkind, just told him this was not a good idea, it helped me see how self-centered and self-serving his motives were. But go to the other Meet-ups for sure.

  31. Bri says:

    Thank you all for your responses; you ladies are truly the only people in my life who understand how I’m feeling.
     
    I recognize that I don’t like him as a person anymore. My therapist tells me I don’t love him, I’m just co-dependent upon him, and she may be right. The way he acts and the things he says (or doesn’t say) are deplorable, but I make excuses for him and tell myself that I can be the exception, I can get him to change. But I know that at his core, he is a selfish, inconsiderate, and often times mean person. Skyscraper said it best when she said he’s cowardly – it seems he’s been that way his whole life. For some reason my view of him has always been clouded and everyone else seems to think he’s worse than I do, because I can’t let go of the good I saw in him in the beginning of our “relationship.”
     
    Working with him is making everything 10x harder, especially when there’s a particular girl in the office I’m especially jealous of and he certainly doesn’t do anything to ease my fears. I have to get out of this place but I can’t find anything else right now. I know I’d be happier if I could just move on once and for all, but I’m so scared. I feel I’m just not strong enough to start the process, even if it means I could be happier in the long run; it’s become a routine I’m afraid to break. However, although the fantasy fog is still present, I do feel I’m slowly starting to see him for who he really is instead of who I thought he was/want him to be. He used to make me feel beautiful and special, but now he makes me feel worthless and rejected (childhood feelings). I just can’t seem to reconcile these logical facts with my feelings. I hate that I’m stuck here – I hate feeling so weak and pathetic. I especially hate feeling so sad.

    • grace says:

      Bri
      You are so passive. You agree with him, you agree with us, you agree with your therapist. We’ve been quite hard on you, yet you waft back with “yes, all of you are right” and then meander off to consider some more irrelevant stuff (such as other girls in the office), as if we had said nothing at all.
      You’ve got to do something. At this stage it may even be worth switching therapist if all you’re doing is going round in circles. Or maybe your therapist deserves a medal, I’m not sure.
      How about karate or soccer? Something where you have to be present and aggressive (in a controlled environment).
      No one can live your life for you, or make the decisions for you. Not any man, or woman, or therapist. You can keep trying to hand it over to other people but the responsibility is still yours.
      You’re not responsible for the childhood pain that’s been caused you, but only you can get the life you want. And that takes action. Not sitting around making excuses for why you can’t help yourself.
      I’ve been there myself. You never feel ready. You just have to do it. Do it now. It’s out of context but here’s a biblical quote for ya:
      “Now is the time of God’s favour … today is the day of salvation”.

  32. Rachel says:

    I love this site, and I especially love this particular article because it describes me (in the past, thank God) and it also describes my sister, as she is now, and she recently turned 50-years-old.
    Firstly, I feel the need to say to anyone (esp Bri) that fearing all the vile, mixed-up and scary feelings of ending a shitty rellie that’s left you feeling hopeful, exhausted, amazing and morbidly depressed, you absolutely can do it.
    In fact, you must. Everything you need to do and everything you were meant to be, starts there.
    It’s horribly painful, and you’ll feel like a wreck. But you already do a lot of the time anyway. At least once you’ve finished it, you’ll start to experience a return of your self esteem, and you’ll begin to experience ‘hope’. For what may be and for what you can achieve.
    I ended up in a psychiatric unit. I had therapy and I took anti depressants.
    Two years on, and I honestly am so much healthier in my head.
    If I can do it, you can too.
    My hair started falling out, I developed nervous twitches, my skin broke out in weird rashes and I contemplated suicide.
    And here I am. And I look back and wonder what the hell for.
    In my book now, anyone who makes you feel bad, and knows it, needs kicking out of your life immediately.
    Married men who sleep around or have affairs, will probably continue to for as long as they can.
    You’re not ever going to be the exception to the rule.
    Go for what you deserve, not for the trashy, soul destroying relationships that are so easy to find.

    As for my lovely sister, she is still with the man who will never commit to her, beats her and controls her. I pray that she read this site, but she’s avoiding reading it in case it tells what she already knows.
    Chin up ladies. You can control how your life turns out. But you need to get out of the swamp first. xx

  33. dancingqueen says:

    Bri I am eeally sorry that you are stuck working with him but dont be jealous of that woman at your office…she will be in your place soon as he will move on to another victim…now the question you need to ask yourself is why is it so frightening to you to admit that this man does not love you nor feel protective of your feelings…the answer is probably somewhere in your childhood and expecting anyone even an AC to heal you from that is not their job. Good luck…put your energy into looking for a new job NOW!

  34. Bri says:

    Grace – I guess I’ve been waiting to just BE READY and since I’m not, I hold on. I was hoping it was just a process ad eventually I’d get there but clearly I haven’t and it’s as bad as it ever has been so something has to change…and according to all these posts, the only thing that’s going to change is me and my actions. Not him.

    I do tend to be agreeable, probably because I’m so vulnerable and desperate to be liked. Also probably because I’m desperate for answers and a fix.

    That’s why I’m stuck – I want it to just happen instead of making it happen. I’m scared of regret.

    • Mymble says:

      Bri
      As Natalie already pointed out (did you read her message to you? Maybe it is in the previous post) it has already happened, he ended the affair long ago. The only thing that needs to be ended is the imaginary relationship you are still in. How could ending that be a source of regret?

    • Polly says:

      Bri, you will only regret hanging around and waiting to be kicked again. You won’t regret kicking him in to touch, getting better and moving on. Promise!

    • grace says:

      Bri
      You may as well take action rather than continuing to imagine all the things that you’re scared of – which seems to be infinite. You’re scared of everything.
      Say I’m scared of leaving the house. The sky could fall in. I could get struck by lightning. It might rain. I could get heatstroke. A dog could bite me. Or a cat. I might get mugged. I could be hit by a bus, car, taxi, runaway horse. A seagull could poop on me. I could fall over. I could get arrested. I could be mistaken for a terrorist. i could forget my keys and be locked out.
      Best just to leave the house and deal with the consequences than sit home and list all the things that could go wrong.

    • Fearless says:

      Bri
      I don’t think it looks like you have to ‘wait to be ready’. Events have overtaken you. Act V is in full swing, playing out to its final tragic conclusion while you act out your part ‘waiting to be ready’. You are the proverbial Nero – playing the fiddle while Rome burns.

      The MM has told you and is showing you that this affair has become too much like hard work for him. These guys are in it for a good time on their own terms with no responsibility and no consequences. You have become a liability. If you don’t walk away, what are you going to do? Sit and suck your thumb waiting for your next kick in the teeth? The only regrets you are going to have are the decisions you have made that got you into this mess and the ones you are making right now in doormatting yourself to this man who can’t now even be bothered to wipe his feet on you.

      Bri, I don’t think you are desperate for answers at all, or you would be absorbing some – any! – of the feedback you’ve had from Nat and on BR and presumably that which you get from your therapist. You are desperate to avoid answers in fact. You do not want to accept that your answer lies with you and that you actually have to DO something with the good advice that you get; not just hear it, agree with it, pick up your fiddle and continue as you were.

      I have a horrible feeling that if you do not wake up to the reality of your situation and take charge of what happens now that you will end up stalking this guy and this girl in the office and get yourself into a whole lot of trouble that you WILL bitterly regret. This is only going to get worse for you if you don’t take control – take charge – of what happens now. Walk away Bri. Get off the crazy train. That’s the answer in the short term. And not only “according to these posts” but according to the least modicum of sanity and sense anywhere on this planet.

      • Magnolia says:

        Argh! Bri, you’re agreeing about being too agreeable!!!! I’m tearing my hair out over here!

        One day, one day (maybe in MY fantasy, Bri) you will write a sentence that starts:

        I WILL ________________________.

        And then maybe, in the second part of this fantasy, you come back here and write

        I _____________ED and then I ______________ED and it felt like ______________. And now I WILL ___________________.

        But I am having my own little moment of trying to change someone.

        You’re inspiring me to get off my butt and do a few things I keep saying I have to do “when I have time.” Watching you stagnate is both horrifying and kind of motivating.

        I will do my backtaxes and my MSP form This.Fricking.Evening. I will not check BR (one of my favorite distractions!!) until done.

        Thanks Bri.

        • Magdalena says:

          Magnolia,

          Your fill in the blank sentences made me smile, as they reminded me of the first few horrifying minutes (hours, days, weeks, months…) without the ex-EUM. He made most of the decisions in my life, from how I felt about myself to what I would or would not do on any given day and what plans I made for the future. Without him, I felt insanely lost.

          When I found myself unable to decide if I should even bother getting out of bed one day after the breakup, I knew things were bad. I started playing a game that I dubbed, “I have decided…” Which is exactly what it sounds like. Everything I did, I prefaced with “I have decided…” It was amazing how much more in control of my life I felt when I was actually deciding things, even if they were small and insignificant. (I have decided to make a sandwich! Heady stuff! :P) The decisions got much bigger as I kept making them and as time went on, I found that I could start making decisions like, “I have decided not to let anyone into my life that doesn’t add value to it,” and “I have decided to make a conscious decision to try to love and like myself,” all the way up to, “I have decided that I have ten core values that serve as my personal code of ethics and I will not deviate from them.”

          Its empowering to make decisions and act in one’s best interest, but one has to start where one is.

          I have now decided to end this comment! :)

          Cheers!

          • Bri says:

            I decided to move his name on my IM list into a group labeled “You deserve better” so there’s at least some affirmation every time I look at it.

            I decided not to message him today, and so far so good.

            I also decided to work from home today so I didn’t have to see him.

            I know these things probably seem minuscule but I realized I need to take it day by day rather than go cold turkey – I have to visualize each step before I can look at the mountain. I just hope I can keep it up, and that it starts to get easier.

            • Magdalena says:

              Bri,

              Of course you need to take it day by day and step by step. That’s how people quit smoking, quit drinking, quit doing drugs, quit bad relationships, start making better choices, and finally climb mountains. Just focus on you in the here, now, and today and you’ll get there.

              Sending you good thoughts. I’m keeping you in my prayers to the universe.
              Cheers.

            • Magnolia says:

              Yay Bri!

            • Fearless says:

              Bri

              if you are beginning to see that this ‘thing’ with this effed up MM is very bad for you, your health and your future then that is all to the good!

              I found that in the end I had to just trust my gut (that was telling me I was very unhappy in this relationshit!) and as hard as I found it to stay away from my ex EUM I knew that I had to trust what others were saying to me cos I was at least able to appreciate that I was in a very muddled and confused place where I had to trust the judgement of sensible women like Nat and others here rather than continue to be led further into the misery pit by my my own confusion, delusions and pig-headedness.

              The only way to get clear vision and objectivity is to STAY AWAY from him. That is what needs to be done for you to see this mess for what it is: a big horrible mess that badly needs to be cleaned up.

              The more you stay away from him the more sensible and rational you will become! Start to understand that there is a direct causal relationship between your grief, your confusion, your misery and your interactions with him. Your continued interactions with him are the CAUSE of your pain and delusions. Cut the interactions and you will get better, you will get happier. Stop “hoping” things will just get better by somehow, while you keep going back to another dose of the poison. Start trusting the process of NC. There is not a single woman here who has enforced it who says it doesn’t work. Not one. It works. Trust it. Do it. Don’t rename his ‘group’ – just nuke him, do it for one reason and one reason only: your own sake.

          • Izzybell says:

            This is a great comment, Magdalena! It made me laugh out loud at work (luckily, no one’s around to think I’m crazy : )

            I’ve been learning that deciding things for myself isn’t always as difficult and painful as I thought it would be- it can actually be kind of fun, if I look at it the right way. I have decided not to eat desserts for a week. This has thus far given me the space to eat more fruits/veggies and to see what it feels like not to have a daily sugar high/crash. When, in the middle of the week, I decided to eat some ice cream, I went for it, owned it, and enjoyed that too!

            Lately, I’ve decided to make decisions based on my long-term well being and happiness, instead of short term gratification. Not always easy, but it’s great to know that it’s MY choice either way!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I have been in a similar position. Being stuck sucks.

      Even after the AC TOLD ME to move on, I cut contact but 2 weeks later I fell of the NC wagon with a text. They didn’t respond but I felt soooo stuck. Months went by where my mind was stuck in the gap between two buildings with thoughts bouncing at high speed.

      It took a huge effort and multiple sources of effort to try and extricate myself. I grew seriously concerned that the entire world and my entire life might never ever move on from it. While I wouldn’t go so far to say ‘I thought I would never love again’, it *did* feel like someone had cut out a vital organ and I was rushing around in a heady state of disbelief and denial and panic trying to find a transplant. Some days I would go backwards and forwards and I think I said ‘I’m over it’ multiple times; my friends got sick of me saying ‘I think I’m over it’ (But you said that last week, didn’t you?!).

      Whatever you do Bri, DO NOT CONTACT THEM or seek any attention whatsoever. You may need to move or get another job.

  35. MA Moore says:

    As I’ve said before, emotionally unavailbale men are like diseases, spreading negativity and hopelessness into your relationship. The best way to approach EUs is to show them how if feels to BE emotionally available. Always keep your distance, both physically and emotionally. It is your absense, not your presence, that will effect them the most. Love to all my girls :)

  36. Dody says:

    Ladies you rock! Love the insightful comments. The giant has been awaken.

    NEVER MAKE SOMEONE THE PRIORITY, WHEN THEY MAKE YOU THE OPTION.

  37. NCC says:

    Just taking this all in right now. What a POWERFUL post Natalie. Actually crying a bit. Gonna go back and re-read so I can post something more meaningful to contribute than just this comment! Sometimes I feel like I can’t possibly get out what I want to say, you ladies are so articulate and SPOT ON I just keep reading and nodding and reading and nodding YES!!! Now for me to follow that with action. Thank you all.

  38. Realism says:

    There aren’t enough character spaces available here for me to truly express my gratitude and thanks that Baggagereclaim exists. Your articles are helping me understand why it’s not wise for me to date and why dating hasn’t worked for me after a 13 year marriage … because I haven’t, funnily enough, worked on myself (and that little date with my fantasy relationship closet doesn’t help either!). Thank you x

  39. Lo J says:

    Blindsided – absolutely. They are.

  40. Mr. Q says:

    You have pretty adequately defined the “perfect fantasy.” The major problem is that it is ONLY A FANTASY. Unfortunately, most of us live in “the real world.”(whatever that ‘reality’ may be for each of us).
    You have also pretty adequately demonstrated the drawbacks to this fantasy.
    KUDOS for this zephyr of sanity.

  41. lisseylou says:

    Oh, but how much does this cost us? I am trying to be the person who knows best for me but in the last week it has cost my assclown and two best friends.
    This man was all over me like a rash last summer, dissapeared when I could’t sleep with him due to surgery. Started texting me again in october (OK I texted first) took me out a couple of times and then did another vanishing act. In January I was assaulted at work and he came round to “see if I was OK” and I ended up sleeping with him. I got pregnant. At 43 from a one night stand. I told him and he said he didn’t know if he wanted to be in the child’s life as he “didn’t know what the future held”. I then misscaried and he told me that lots of women had said that to him to try and get his attention.
    I have tried to go no contact but I have now lost my two best friends as I told them I was considering termination (before I lost it obviously). I am trying to do what is right for me but I feel so alone. I think that following what you know is right is a lonely path.

    • grace says:

      lisseylou
      you’re not lonely because you’ve ” lost” this AC (good riddance I say). You’re lonely because you’ve had him in your life and lost yourself in the process.
      Your ex friends don’t sound much better.
      Don’t try to NC him, NC him.
      Only way is up. Unless you let him back in then it’s down, down, down.

    • yoghurt says:

      Better to be lonely than to be in the company of leeches who suck out all of your energy and your ability to build up other relationships in your life.

      I made the decision to move away to somewhere isolated to get my EUM out of my life. I also made the decision to oust a number of ‘friends’ and yeah, I was lonely and it wasn’t nice. Difficult things are difficult. But in that time, I’ve been able to renew my old good friendships, make a couple of new ones and keep up with my job.

      If I’d stuck around, forever trying to keep him/them happy I would’ve probably alienated my old friends totally, because I would’ve ignored their needs – for those of people who didn’t care about me – all the time. I wouldn’t have been able to make new ones because I’d’ve been creeping around with my arms crossed and my eyes on the floor all the time. I would certainly have compromised my ability to do my job and lost the respect of my colleagues.

      Although the sum balance of Company and Intimacy in my life is probably the same as it was before I moved away, the quality’s better and the difference is that I feel GOOD about myself now and my life is EXPANDING (admittedly slowly) rather than contracting. The difference is my future, which is a whole lot brighter than it would’ve been otherwise.

      Your future is brighter now than when it potentially contained a man who’d dump you for not sleeping with him while you were ill and friends who abandoned you in a crisis. They may have left a gap but it’ll be filled, by-and-by, by people who ARE worth having. It’s not a quick or easy solution, admittedly, but to be honest if you hadn’t made the decision then you’d be facing the same situation sooner or later anyway, it’d just be after many more wasted years of false investment.

    • Bri says:

      I’m sorry to hear you’re hurting, Lissey. No one deserves the pain so many of us feel from these “relationships.”

      There’s a quote I keep coming back to when I’m pushing myself to move on and not cling to the disease that this faux-relationship (or whatever you call it) of mine has become. I hope you can find some solace in it, too:

      Though thou loved her as thyself,
      As a self of purer clay,
      Tho’ her parting dims the day,
      Stealing grace from all alive,
      Heartily know,
      When half-gods go,
      The gods arrive.
      -Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Everyone wants love, but some of us hold onto toxic love for too long; we fell for the “purer clay” versions of them, but now they’ve turned into mud and it’s hard to let go of that original vision – but as Nat would say, that’s the fantasy version of them. These men are the half-gods (though they don’t even deserve that title), and staying stuck on them prevents the real gods from surfacing. It’s maddening to think we’re letting so much pass us by because of these sick individuals. But although we feel like their absence sucks all the light out of the world, I hope that in the end it’s a blessing in disguise and it will make way for something much more beautiful.

      At the very least I can tell you you’re not alone.

    • Sam says:

      Hi Lisseylou

      I was in a similar position as you, though I didn’t lose the pregnancy I decided to terminate. It was the hardest decision and thing I have ever gone through. I had already decided that he was a no good user before I found out I was pregnant, though when I did discover I was pregnant it left me in a state of shock. I coudn’t tell him as I didn’t trust him, but decided I had to tell him after the event so that he was aware of his actions and in the hope he would be more responsible in the future. I didn’t want some other poor cow going through this. I don’t know what possessed me to get involved with him in the first place as I had an inclination he was an AC but unfortunately didn’t trust my own judgement. This has been one of the biggest lessons for me and my wake up call. It had made me very depressed and in alot of internal pain and turmoil, but I’m over the worst of it and geting better day by day. No-one has the right to judge you and the decision you were going to make, you have to do what’s right for you. I know in my heart I didn’t want a baby by this so called man or a life long connection. I have found my values and boundaries admist all the pain and trauma. I do believe in hope for the future. Message to all sent with love x

  42. Lo J says:

    Ixnay- they would. The roles reverse. If these guys had a woman who was there for a relationship and good to them, they’d run for the hills. They SAY they want a good woman, just like we SAY we want a “good” man … that is before we get healthy, or emotionally available. If these guys were healthy, they wouldn’t have gotten involved with those ladies to begin with… let alone give continuous thought of them and lamentings on a website. Hopefully they’re getting insight and guidance into what the real issue is.

  43. Lo J says:

    Or shall I say these guys had a woman who was “seemingly” there for a relationship. (That would be us BR gals.) A healthy woman wouldn’t waste much time with one of these men.

  44. Tinkerbell says:

    Bri, and anyone else who is stuck trying to get over and out of an unhealthy relationship. First, Bri, you have to want the misery to be over. You have to want it so bad that you can taste it, and just as you “loved (love)” him you ‘ve got to feel an all consuming preoccupation with getting the MF out of your life PERMANENTLY. I was in a VERY bad way and was plain out incapable of getting out of an affair with a MM. I hated myself for being so weak and desperate. I even came to realize that I was nothing more to him than a ” booty call” but I still couldn’t do anything about it. I’m going to say something that nobody has mentioned. PRAY TO GOD. I was at church and at the end of the service when the pastor called anyone to the altar that had a special need or prayer that they wanted help with, I went to the altar. As the pastor anointed my forehead with oil, I said “Please, Pastor, ask God to give me the strength to resist this terrible temptation that I’m unable to resist on my own.” To my amazement, within 2 weeks after that I had the strength to go NC. Not only that, but with the Lord’s help I’ve maintained NC for almost 6 months now with absolutely no inclination to go back. Of course, I think of him at times, but not nearly as often and he has no power over me anymore for me to want him back. When I went back and told the pastor that my prayer had been answered and how much happier I was, he said, “That was the work of the Holy Spirit.” Now, if you do not believe in God, forget this. However, if you do, and you really want out of your pitiful situation and you are as desperate as I was, it is worth a try. “You can do all things through Christ.” But, like anything else you have to BELIEVE in yourself and that it is possible.

  45. marie says:

    The fantasy relationship is the worst. It’s because we are making it out to be good in our heads when it is so bad in reality. I stayed in my fantasy relationship for 18 months and have now been no contact for 5 months.Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We also work together and I just found out that he was in a relationship with another coworker from a different office the entire time we were together. This from the man who told me he just needed time to get over his 30 year marriage and could not jump into a relationship. He needed to take things slowly. Right! He even took the real girlfriend to Mexico while with me. The fog is lifting and I now know I’m the lucky one who walked away from this man and she is stuck with him cheating on her. I wish there was no more hurt but I’m not there yet. It does get better with time. I heard a saying recently that “when someone shows you who they are believe them” Pay attention ladies, they always show you who they are.

  46. Cat says:

    Hi, i’m having trouble deciding if my ex is unavailable or it’s just me..can you help?
    I met him online, he was only looking for sex so he told me a few weeks after we met, but he wasn’t expecting to fall in love…it was an instant connection, something neither of us had had before had 4 months of bliss never had someone so attentive. He made me feel so wonderful.
    He then started to pull away,and i found out why. he found out that his ex wife had cheated, even tho she had blamed him for cheating. She had given him an immense amount of hell after he left and he didn’t know how to process it, and buried his head in the sand. Things were never the same after we had a 5 week break from each other everything was perfect again for a few weeks, new year came, tax bills, and him buying a new house and the divorce came thru..a year to the date he left.(I helped him get thru all that, even unpacked everything the w/e he moved in while he worked)Struggling for money, he had to work the weekends we would normally spend together, i travelled to his, so we could spend the evenings together
    We live an hour away from each other, i don’t drive. So when we got back after our break he said he wouldn’t be able to keep coming to see me cos he can’t afford it (was every other day)went down to every other w/e, cos he sees his kids the other..it was ok, was still getting attention from him but it slowly just went down to no phone calls unless i asked, and just texts, and they slowly became more like he was texting a mate. I hung onto every honey, and gorgeous he sent cos they became very rare went into myself, and tried to give him space, but it didn’t help valentines he came over, but was tired, and seemed like he didn’t want to be there, so i brought up never really hearing from him properly he didn’t say much, we went to bed, we were fine, kissed me goodbye in the morning, and didn’t hear from him for 5 days when I finally called him, he said he was too selfish to be in a relationship, and was very cold told me i always wanted his undivided attention(yes, when i never got any inbetween seeing him)and he just wants to do his own thing, which isn’t much! Haven’t heard from him since it’s killing me when we almost broke up before, he was still in touch trying to make it known it wasnt me it was him,this time nothing! I did text last week, but he was cold, and he was telling me all about what he was upto, even tho he asked how I was, he never seemed interested, and replied with more about himself. my self esteem has gone, haven’t smiled since, this blog has helped, but only when i’m reading it! lol
    Was it me? or is he EU?? It’s been only 3.5 weeks since we split, will the pain ever go away we were so perfect together it’s wierd how someone can go from more than you could imagine and so in love to stone cold in such a short time. Also he readded a woman on facebook, that tried to split us up when we started seeing each other (she’s in another country and they used to have phone sex)… I know this isnt a forum but i’m confused about what EU means.

    • grace says:

      Cat
      He’s EU:
      only looking for sex
      not over the Ex
      letting you do all the heavy lifting (eg travel)
      pulling away
      disappearing
      other women
      blowing hot in the beginning
      You’re EU:
      Overvaluing blowing hot
      Refusing to read the signs
      Making excuses for him
      Having no boundaries
      Doing too much for him
      You’re both EU:
      instant connection
      unable to commit to being together or to breaking up
      managing the status quo by text
      NC him, grieve the loss of this relationship and move forward. Don’t look back.

      • Cat says:

        Thanx for ur reply Grace

        Want to defend myself somewhat! i hadn’t been in a relationship for years before i met him…threw myself into raising my daughter… so to be honest, I was committed to the relationship, I didn’t want to things by text, he said he hated the phone! lol i didn’t know what signs to read, and didn’t know i was allowed/should have boundries…as sad as that sounds…

        i do now after reading this blog! yeah, i did do too much for him, but that’s who i am, same with everyone i know, have been a doormat to most people in my life! i give so much to people, didn’t think i was EU.

        Hurts to think i am EU…how do i not be???

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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