asking a man out on a date -

In the past few months, I’ve received almost fifty emails regarding women asking men out. Some went on 1-2 dates and it didn’t work out, or it’s continued but they’re not sure of his interest, feel like they’re doing all the work etc. They all questioned how interested he was in the first place. Here’s the thing – I either asked or it was already volunteered, why they did the asking, and every single one mentioned variations of:

Because I thought he was too shy to ask me.

When someone asks you out, it’s not because they thought you were too shy to do it yourself. They asked because they’re interested in you enough to see if you’d be interested in going on a date, which is the start of the discovery phase of getting to know one another – remember dating doesn’t equal relationship. As women, we have to stop making up bullshit reasons for why men do and don’t do stuff.

If he’s not asking you out, he’s not asking you out. It doesn’t mean he won’t ask you out at some point, but if he ultimately doesn’t, you know he’s not interested.

I know plenty of shy men – it doesn’t get in the way of asking out women they’re interested in, having sex, getting married, calling, going to work, and I’ve known of so-called ‘shy’ guy’s to have several women on the go. Trust me – if someone is so crippled by shyness, it will affect more than their ability to ask you out.

‘Shy’ is code for ‘They weren’t asking me out even though I believe they were giving me signals and/or I was showing my interest so I figured that he’s shy’

You may get hijacked by your imagination and your feelings, and when things don’t happen you become impatient and react. Sometimes it’s that you’ve projected your interest and been unable to distinguish between the two of you.

Saying that they’re shy etc is basically treating their interest like a foregone conclusion – they’re interested, there’s just an obstacle in the way.

When women successfully ask out men or they at least don’t go into an agony over their decision to do so, it’s because the basis of the decision to ask him out is a healthy one.

They’re asking him out, not because they’ve crawled inside his head and deduced that he’s interested but needs a push, but because they’re interested, and want to know if it’s reciprocated. They’re also prepared for the possible rejection that comes with the territory.

From the moment you base decisions on the hypothetical thinking of someone you hardly know, it’s a quick slide down a very slippery slope.

Next thing you’re coming up with excuses for why he didn’t call, actions not matching words, or why he’s still not asking you out. You may think that he just needs your help and that you can drive the relationship forward.

While some of you may believe that he’s shy because he’s intimidated by your looks, money, job, or your personality, sometimes…you ask him out because you think that he’ll be flattered and grateful that you are interested which puts you on a pedestal.

You know when you’re asked out by someone and you’re flattered by their interest and you accept but you don’t always end up interested? It’s the same for guys. Just because you did the asking doesn’t mean you’re owed a date, interest, or a relationship.

Don’t give anyone qualities and characteristics that you’ve assumed.

If you do, what will follow are excuses that are irrelevant to your relationship and blind you to the truth, or a sense of rejection or even embarrassment when things don’t work out.

There can be any number of reasons why someone doesn’t make a move – It might be because they’re not interested, but equally they may be involved with someone else, contemplating getting back with an ex, recently broken up, on a dating hiatus, stressed, or even cautious about getting involved with a work colleague or a ‘friend of a friend’. If you’ve been flirting and they’ve been reciprocating and yet they’re not asking, I’d slow your roll – some people like a flirt without follow through.

If you’re going to ask a guy out, get your self-esteem and healthy relationship habits sorted out before you venture into this territory and make sure you’re on an active Bullshit Diet. Avoid asking them out if you’re an overthinker that will be riddled with worry about whether they would have asked if you hadn’t. The truth is, guys don’t concern themselves with this when they ask us out because they’re still by and large expected to do the asking.

I admire proactivity but aside from avoiding asking them out for the wrong reasons (because you’re shy or impatient), you also need to ensure that you don’t pursue blindly. It’s not attractive in men…and it’s not attractive in women either.

My last post was on why you shouldn’t make it the guy’s job to do all the calling and plan making and why aside from those first few dates, we need to be pulling our weight. When someone pursues regardless it means that they’re pursuing their own agenda and working off their own feelings without actually gauging ‘cues’ of interest. They tend to do most of the contacting and pushing arrangements and as a result, it may take a while for them to realise that it’s very one-sided. First clue comes when the other party isn’t returning calls, never initiating, palming them off, and there’s no firm date being made.

If they’re not agreeing to or suggesting to meet up and you’re not feeling a distinct sense of returned interest, back off. Let them call you. Not text – call.

I’d say what I’m about to say to a guy and I’ll say it to you – Slow down. You’re not a used car salesman. Don’t push yourself on someone – you’re worth more than that.

The worst thing is that if you pursue blindly, you actually have no idea if they were 1) interested or 2) would have asked you out if you hadn’t.

And while I’m all for women asking guys out, the same message applies: When a guy is interested, they don’t resist you. If they’re half interested and happy to soak up the attention, they may be quite passive and go on a date for the hell of it. If they’re not interested but happy to soak up the attention, they’ll pass time with you in that same passive way – they’ll keep you in their backpocket for a rainy day. If they’re not interested, they may take your calls, return your contact, but try and blow you off gently, because of the usual thing – they don’t want to be perceived as being an asshole.

Yes it would help if they were upfront about where their interest lies, but you must learn to pick up cues and you shouldn’t mix your feelings into the pot and see meaning where there is no meaning. They’re not shy, scared, busy, whatever so don’t make excuses for why someone isn’t reciprocating interest or making an effort – move onto someone that can and will.

Your thoughts?

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

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120 Responses to Dealing With..Asking Guy’s Out…and No…You Don’t Need To Do It Because You Think He’s Shy

  1. Dbear says:

    Wow Nat, I can’t believe the timing of this post. I have been debating for quite some time now as to whether I should ask this guy that I am interested out or not. We have been gently flirting for quite some time ( a few years) I know that he is not married and I have assumed that maybe he is just very shy. I think I will take your advice here and slow my roll down and just see where his interest are. I left an AC last July after an 8 month apparently casual relationship, and now I am not so sure of my judgment. Lol it definitely won’t hurt to wait this out.
    Once again your advice always seems to be spot on.
    I am very grateful for this blog!!!!

    • charla says:

      Thanks Nat. People so often fail to see, and enjoy, the nuances in their interactions.

      I actually developed a great rapport with a guy I know through work while I was dating the AC. I didn’t dare assume he felt the same way though. He could’ve been in a relationship and may be still. The good thing was I think he made me realize how unfulfilled I really was with the ex-AC.

      It was wonderful to just appreciate someone for their mind and just “be”, no agenda. And truth be told, I actually thought about him while the AC was dumping me…not as a potential airbag but as the standard to which I would hold guys going forward. Needless to say, the AC did not match up :)

      • charla says:

        I meant to answer Dbear: “I left an AC last July after an 8 month apparently casual relationship, and now I am not so sure of my judgment.”

        I hear ya. I was in what he made out to be a serious 8-month “thing” and he proceeded to dump me without warning. I too am not sure of my judgement and don’t think I will date for a long while…until someone asks me out maybe? :)

        • Dbear says:

          Charla, this statement ,
          I actually thought about him while the AC was dumping me…not as a potential airbag but as the standard to which I would hold guys going forward. Needless to say, the AC did not match up :)

          I think this is precisely what I should do with this extremely nice man, I did question myself as to whether I was interested in him for the airbag effect or if I was actually starting to be attracted to healthier men. Either way I have too decided to not rush back into dating. If he asks me out one day …..great!!! if not I will just be getting healthier with the time out :)

          • Dbear says:

            Thanks also Charla for your take on just enjoying his mind and “being” with no agenda, Its good advice for this time in my life. :)

          • charla says:

            Yup. Same here. It actually helps you to appreciate guys for who they are, and not what they “could” be for you (the whole “betting on potential” deal).

            These good guys are like guideposts on the path that NML has forged :)

          • Minky says:

            I did that too – using good guys as a standard. Mostly male friends. Sounds weird, but my flatmate’s boyfriend was one of those guys. I’m not attracted to him at all, but he’s a decent guy and i was focusing on his actions and they way he treated my flatmate, as opposed to him as a person. It reminded me what a healthy relationship looks like.

            I think it’s a great way to get yourself into the mindset of being attracted to decent guys instead of EUMs and ACs. It helps with boundaries too. The most important thing it taught me is that, if a guy is genuinely interested, he won’t resist you – as this post says. There is no game playing, no restrictions on communication and no worrying and trying to figure out behaviour. It taught me that all those things are bad signs, they are not ‘exciting’ and ‘dramatic’ as i once thought.

            It shouldn’t matter who asks who out first, if there is mutual interest then it’s the time spent that’s the main thing, not the initiation.

  2. Karen says:

    I’m curious as to know what you would say to someone that never gets asked out. I’ve only been asked out twice in my 27 years. My friends tell me I’m gorgeous, tall, slender, and dress well.

    What’s a girl to do?

    • Allison says:


      What do your friends observe? Are you flirting or more standoffish?

    • NML says:

      Hi Karen, if someone does or doesn’t ask you out, it has little to do with your looks – that will get you some, but not all the way. I’m sure you are all the things your friends say you are but what are you doing with your ‘tall, slender, well dressed, gorgeous’ self? I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your adult years so it’s very difficult to say why you don’t get asked out, but typically when I speak to people in similar situations:

      1) They don’t go out
      2) If they do go out, it’s a limited social sphere.
      3) They don’t talk with people who potentially could be of interest in a social setting
      4) Their body language is closed off
      5) If they’re around someone they are interested in, they give zero indication of it
      6) If they do pick up interest, they don’t believe it or quickly shut it down


      I can’t tell you why others don’t do things and what I can say is that you can take control of the element you can control – you – and ensure that you are putting yourself in situations to meet people. It’s not just a acase of being gorgeous, tall, slender and well dressed and men come flocking in without you having to do anything. I’m not saying that’s how you think but your friends certainly think that way and the fact is that all these things while they’re great, are not going to help you to connect with others.

      • grace says:

        i agree. i know girls who are not at all tall, slender or particularly well-dressed who get asked out/chatted up a lot. they are approachable, friendly and open. they’re happy to talk to a man at the bar while buying a round of drinks, they’ll chat to the taxi driver, they’ll even make small talk on the train.
        if all this is too much like hard work, at least smile.
        if someone is standing in the room like a beautiful cold statue only the bravest and probably the most AC/narcissistic man is going to approach her.

        • Miriam says:

          Wow! I totally relate to this! I used to never get asked out, not that I’m a super guy magnet presently, but there is a difference. I used to be super shy and akward in my youth, then I was w/a BF for 5 years, after we broke up, I used to do the things Nat says in her post. If I went out, it was a limited crowd. I felt anxious and had low self-esteem, so of course I didn’t look approachable!
          Especially #6, If a guy did show interest, I’d feel nervous or could plain not believe it!
          So I decided to work on myself, I’m fitter and more confident, I now go out a lot, different activities. I used to hang out a lot w/gay males, and as limiting as it was back then, it helped me be more social and sure of myself.
          I also started to chat anyone up, my Mom is great at it, so I always think of her. It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s how you say it! It took me a few years, but you’ll get there if you try, Karen!
          I’m not a striking gorgeous beauty, but people say I’m cute and social, so that works for me! It’s amazing how people will open up once someone breaks the ice, my favorite line is “so are you excited about (whatever is coming up, an event, trip, sports event, etc)?”. People open up quickly. I also recommend trying to meet guys not necessarily in a bar or dating sites, but in amateur sports teams, running clubs, etc. This works for me, hope you find what works for you!!

          1) They don’t go out
          2) If they do go out, it’s a limited social sphere.
          3) They don’t talk with people who potentially could be of interest in a social setting
          4) Their body language is closed off
          5) If they’re around someone they are interested in, they give zero indication of it
          6) If they do pick up interest, they don’t believe it or quickly shut it down

        • Natasha says:

          Grace – that was an awesome take on the situation! I was bemoaning to my Dad (he is 60, his advice is always correct and his dead-pan delivery is hysterical) a few weeks ago that no one approaches me when I’m out and about with my friends. He said, “Well Natasha, if you stand there in your perfect outfit like an ice queen, no one is going to talk to you except for the over-confident assholes and players. I know you get very shy, but smile! The nice ones aren’t going to bite. You have too much to offer to ruin your chances by being paranoid that everyone who talks to you is going to be a jerk.” He was right!!

          • Niki says:

            You know what though, everyone isn’t ‘open’ and ‘smiley’, so does that mean more reserved women are destined to be alone until they become something they’re not? I’ve seen for myself that the more attractive the woman, the less ‘smiley’ she has to be – men will take some bulls*** from a woman if she’s fly. But average women? Oh no, they have to go to charm school. And that pisses me off. That is all. LOL.

        • grace says:

          if you’re reserved, single and happy with it, then there’s no need to change. if you’re reserved, single but looking for a relationship, then it’s time to do something different. and that might mean going out and meeting people. if you’re already going out and meeting people, do something different again – maybe go to different places or take up a new interest. it seems unlikely to me that the different thing that will work is to stay home or not speak to people (to take it to it’s extreme). i’d been doing that for months into years and not met anyone. mind you, i’ve a deeper issue of my ambivalence towards wanting a relationship but that’s a different subject.
          of course, if a person doesn’t want to change then that’s their perogative but their results are unlikely to change either.
          beauty does garner attention (of a kind) but it doesn’t guarantee a decent relationship *cough* jennifer anniston.
          i’m sure we all know average looking people who are happily paired up. maybe they are less looks obsessed and seeking more useful qualities than a pretty face. or they didn’t lose hope cos they don’t look like a beauty queen/leading man.
          to meet someone there has to be optimism.
          anyway, i’m not criticising you, i’m more thinking aloud for my own benefit. it’s just something i’ve been thinking about a lot having been single and very very reserved for over five years, and now coming round to the idea that i could stand to meet someone.

          • Niki says:

            hey Grace,

            I do get your points, as I’ve come to realize them myself, and I am alot more engaging and chatty and go out alot more than I was/did, say 2 years ago. But after I go out, I literally feel exhausted, just keeping up with the polite conversation, maintaining focus and interest, it wears me out. I prefer one on one conversation, especially since those convos seem to have more fruitful outcome than talking to a host of people.

            My feeling is simply this – in the same way I may seek out the person at the party who isn’t talking to anyone else or seems afraid to jump in the fray, it would be nice if others were able to do the same and engage persons who didn’t seem like the obvious choice, i.e. talking, smiling widely, etc. I like the challenge of interacting with people who may not seem that welcoming and being pleasantly surprised by finding a wonderful personality on the other side of a less-than-smiley face.

            I guess what I’m saying is I find the world is now so focused on the obvious and the easy, we no longer take the time to understand more complex things and people.

            Off topic, since coming to this site, I can truly say I’ve worked on myself quite a bit, but despite me being more outgoing now, I’m still reserved at heart; and anyone who comes along will have to be okay with that part of me as well.

      • runnergirl says:

        Sorry for back-tracking a couple of days. This post and the thread of comments set me reflecting on my routine, thinking about me, and thinking about my responsibility. I also read the Feb 201o post and comments “Getting Out of Stuck”. Wow! My routine is precisely as you describe: Go to work, go to the gym, the grocery store, a hike, bbq, gardening, and painting the house. If I go out, it is within a very limited social sphere of work friends and my best girlfriends, who are married or attached and get involved with married men who are also, of course, attached. With this routine, it is no wonder the only men I have been involoved with have been EU’s through work. I did expect Mr. Perfect to drop out of the dairy aisle at the grocery store or simple show up on my couch. What fabulous comments. I’ve been thinking about this thread for days. Another fabulous comment was by Grace who said simply smile and a great post by Magnolia who blew off three twits at a social event. So, I’ve been thinking about my role in getting out of stuck and my role in being an EUW. I haven’t gone so far as to alter my routine…too scary at the moment but I will. However, at the grocery store today (I’m not making this up), a gentleman in the parking lot approached me. He was leaving and pulled his car in front of me, smiled, and rolled down the window. Normally, I would have politely nodded and continued along my way because, afterall, I’m pretty busy. (NOT…just my excuse for staying stuck.) Today, I paused and simply smiled. To be honest, I was just going to pick up a frozen pizza and head home to do some more work. Not really “that” busy and I could afford a moment to smile. His response: I had a really nice smile. (Three days ago I got my braces off after three and a half years and I was stopping by the grocery store after getting my teeth cleaned. ) We chatted for only a moment because, of course, I don’t normally stop to smile or chat. I’m pretty busy. (Code for staying stuck.) He asked if he could call me. We exhanged numbers.

        I’m posting to relay a good moment due to all of you. I don’t know if he’ll call, that’s not the point. And I won’t call him. I simply paused for a…

    • colororange says:

      I can relate A LOT to Karen. My biggest issue is talking. I’m rather shy and anxious in public. I spend more time managing my anxiety and not even knowing what to say or keep a conversation going. It does not matter a flying flip how pretty you are. I have people tell me sometimes they think I’m hot. But that does not matter if I don’t have anything to back it up.

      So the guys that do come up and talk to me usually turn out to be d-bags. Like a guy I met some years back at the mall. I was sitting out front waiting for my ride when this guy walks up to me. He told me he saw me walking through the mall looking like I was pissed off. I wasn’t. That was my facial expression. Then he proceeded to tell me he just got done drinking four beers with his buddies. I was glad to know the bit about looking pissed in public but hearing about his drinking escapade sent me running. So I continuously work on smiling and looking at people. That ignites my anxiety in itself. I don’t think I’m the hottest thing on the block and I know I can seem standoffish. So it takes a little more effort on my part to let someone know I’m interested.

      • Karen says:

        Colororange – I totally get the facial expression thing. Over the past 5 years or so I actually pay attention to the muscles in my face and how they’re situated bc I have heard that about myself.

        As for if I’m social or “open” to others, I’m very social, almost to a fault. Two of my most common comments are on how much I smile and the fact that I’m not cliquish or exclude people. I meet new guys all the time and if I like a guy, I totally make efforts. But when those efforts aren’t reciprocated in any way, I let it go. I’m willing to make efforts, but I’m not going to chase them.

        A few months ago I asked my best guy friend of 10 years who has dated (and eventually married) a lot of our mutual friends why it was that guys don’t see me as potential. Needless to say, I was disappointed when he copped out on honestly and said, “I don’t know, guys are stupid.”

        I guess I just don’t really know where I’m left with the comparison of all this information here and they way I’ve been trying to “get myself out there”.

  3. Riley says:

    Yup! We all know this deep down. It feels like you’re speaking directly to me. Thank you for confirming what my intuition has been saying all along. No matter how cute, if he isn’t making a move, then onwards and upwards!

    • Lavender says:

      … but I don’t understand why it is that men can ask us out, even though we are not making a move and it’s ok, but we can’t do the same. Isn’t that sexist?

      • grace says:

        we DO make a move by being interested and friendly.
        who asks who out is minor to me in terms of sexism but many times, women go through such agonies over whether they should, not being able to deal with the rejection etc, and then thinking the man owes them something or that they’re somehow on the back foot for asking – i think they shouldn’t have bothered. i’d say the same to men who can’t handle it either.
        if you’re happy to ask a man out and happy to accept rejection graciously without stewing about it, then i think it’s fine to do so. just don’t do it because you’re faced with someone a bit hot-cold, flip flapping, already seeing someone or generally confusing and want to get control over it.
        and while WE may have huge debates over whether we should ask men out i think 90% of men just believe that it’s their “job”, without even thinking about it. so if he’s not asking there could be a very good reason.

        • EllyB says:

          While guys sometimes ask women out without any clue whether she might be interested or not, I’m ususally put off by that. To me, it feels like: Is he conceited and thinks everyone wants him? Is he insecure/confused? Does he simply ask every woman out regardless of her personality?

          I think before a good date (not that I’m in expert), there is usually a certain amount of verbal/nonverbal communication/flirting.

  4. Lavender says:

    I agree with the basic principle, but what if the situation is complicated? I asked a guy out about one year ago, but he said no and said that we worked together and that it was against his policy to date coworkers. I thought he liked me cause he would email me non-work things all day and then texted me at night, but then when I asked him out, he said no and said his policy was that he wouldn’t even friends with people he worked with. He then started to treat me strangely and ignored me, so I got a bit upset and didn’t talk to him for months to let him have his works-space.

    Cut to twelve months later and I am not working with him anymore and haven’t for about eight months. He’s started emailing me again every day and has been for a while. I don’t want to ask him out again, because I have already been rejected by him once, what should I do? I really like him and I don’t think he will ask me out since things ended badly the last time I asked him out and he rejected me and then ignored me.

    • MaryC says:

      Lavender…I can see why you’re confused, he certainly has given you mixed messages. You know what just ask him, you’ll drive yourself crazy if you don’t and if he says no or comes up with some lame excuse then decide if he’s worth just being a friend.

      Good luck….

      • Allison says:

        I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with this.

        Please don’t ask him, as you will look desparate. If responds unfavorably, you’ll feel like a fool.
        As Nat’s article says, if he were interested he would have asked for a date, not send daily e-mails.

        • Lavender says:

          Thank you both for your advice. It is really helping, cause I have been so confused. I don’t understand why he sends me emails every day and what he wants to gain from that. I think you’re right that he just likes the attention. I have been an avid reader of Nat’s posts for a long time and you would think I would be better equipped to answer.

          • Jo says:


            Do you really want to date someone who treated you like that (ignored you)? That was the part of your story that struck me as the #1 reason to NOT ask him out. The fact that he gave you mixed messages is a red flag!

        • BRwisernow says:

          Agreed Allison!

          @Lavender – Let’s say he IS interested and just too afraid to be rejected, shy, or whatever kind of spin you want to convince yourself of. You’re reasoning for asking if you should ask him out is that you’re convinced that the restrictions are gone (no longer working together, so the “policy” has expired) AND he’s giving you attention/validation via email every day after essentially disappearing out of your life (do you think that he is SO interested in you that he suddenly realized the mistake he made in rejecting/ignoring you? NO, he’s getting an ego stroke…you’re his fallback girl or one of his harem!)

          I don’t mean to sound harsh, but let’s get real here. If he had ANY interest in dating you, he’s had plenty of opportunity to ask you out if he’s emailing you every day…uuuuh, in the email? Don’t waste any more of your beautiful energy on this clown! FLUUUUSH!

          …and heave the plunger out the bloody door, no value in pulling the sh*t back up once it’s gone! :)

          • Lavender says:

            No, it’s not harsh, this is the kind of advice I am looking for – honest. Thank you for your opinion. I guess since he emails every day he has had the opportunity to say anything, but he hasn’t.

          • Lavender says:

            It’s funny what you said about harem. I don’t know why you would think he has a harem when I never said it, but you’re actually right and perceptive. He is constantly surrounded by women and only has female friends. I have never seen him with a guy friend. I just thought he was sensitive and got on better with women.

          • BRwisernow says:

            Oh dear Lavender….I don’t know if it’s perception or the fact that I’m a “recovering fallback girl”. I WAS that girl too, ALWAYS over-thinking about their intentions, thinking that I will be the exception to the rule, blah, blah, blah. Such wisdom on this site…SO GRATEFUL that I stumbled upon it (was looking for answers to “emotionally unavailable” at the time to see if I could “fix” him, not even IN a real relationship). Once my eyes were open and not hiding behind those “rose covered glasses”, I took action for the sake of me! I remembered looking within myself and realizing that I was SO much happier just being single and loving my life, so carefree…I want that back! He was the dictionary model of EUM NARCISSISTIC ASSCLOWN! WOW…my epiphany…I need to work on MY issues…Nat’s books helped me REALLY take a look at my life…especially “Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl”.

            My very best friend said this to me once and I will never forget it, ask yourself this question: “DOES THIS BRING ANY VALUE TO MY LIFE?”

    • Allison says:


      Sounds like he likes the attention. Honestly, I would move on from this-after the way he treated you-and ignore.

      He sounds like a waste of time! Sorry, but if he were interested he would not have responded in that way, and would have asked you out when he left the company.

      Why do you want to date someone who responded to you so poorly?

      • Lavender says:

        This is so true. I wish I didn’t like him. I can just see myself asking him out again and him saying no again. It would be awful. :(

        • GTash says:


          Definately don’t ask him out again! If he was interested in dating you then he would have asked you out already. As others have said time to flush him down the toilet for good – there are tonnes of good, decent blokes out there so stop wasting time on that loser.

          That said, I don’t have any issues with asking a guy out but it is very rare that I would do so before they made a move themselves. I’ve known two self confessed “shy” guys in my life and they both made it quite clear they were interested in me so I don’t buy into the whole “he would ask me out but he’s too shy” caper. I have also been told my men friends that they love it when hot women ask them out but when probing deeper it is clear that they would treat that as a casual relationship or one night sort of thing.

        • Jo says:


          My boss’s boss asked me out…and he is in a very high level position with a lot to lose if his higher ups found out. Right/wrong smart/stupid on his part…that’s debatable. But…if they’re interested enough, they will ask…even in extreme cases like this where there is huge risk of being fired!

        • Lindsey says:

          The bigger problem I see with asking him out is that even if he is shy or whatever, do you really want a guy that is passive as a mate. You will have to drive the entire relationship. If he makes you feel anxious, uncomfortable now, that is what your relationship will most likely be like later on, too. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. There is a guy I really like right now, and we are still seeing each other, but only because when I feel anxious about the relationship, I went out and did something else and got my mind off it. He would call every time. instead of giving in to that feeling, I lean back and see what happens. When I let him make the moves, it makes me feel good that he does come around and then I know it’s because he wants to and not because I am in the driver’s seat.

      • Aimee says:

        @ Lavendar

        My first impression was “his actions don’t match his words”. He texted you and sent you “friendly” emails, but then later says he doesn’t even make friends w/ co-workers after you ask him out. Sounds like EU to me. He has also had the opportunity to ask you out and has not. My opinion – flush!!

        • Lavender says:

          @ Aimee — Yeah it is confusing, cause he was like this full on for months before I even said anything and it felt like asking him out was the next step, because we were talking all day by email at work and then all night by text, but once I asked him out I got nothing and he chastised me for asking out a colleague. When I look back on it after reading Nat’s post today, it makes me feel so stupid cause I just wish I never said anything. Maybe if I left it and never asked him out things would have developed to the point where he asked me out himself and when I asked him out I changed the whole dynamic. :(

          • NML says:

            Lavender I think you’re making this somewhat more complicated than it needs to be. You’re now blaming yourself for something he might have done in a hypothetical situation that involves you not asking him out. You’re not Cher and you can’t turn back time so blaming yourself is an exercise that keeps you invested, disempowered, and not seeing him in a real light. You have missed the glaring red flag in this which someone else has pointed out – he says he doesn’t date or make friends with coworkers and yet this dipstick was mailing and texting you after hours. Not only is that a ridiculously contradictory statement but by definition it means you were not viewed as a friend in spite of the after hours effort. You’re also actually not his friend because you want to be with him. However with his clever wording he’s implied the obstacle is work – the obstacle is him. Stop fanning this man’s ego. From the moment he turned you down for those reasons it was a major warning about him. He is the equivalent of the guy that says he’s not interested in a relationship while shagging you and calling you up. He’s passing time with you because you have no limit to your attention. It’s just emails and texts – lazy communication alert.

          • Lavender says:

            Thank you so much for your advice Nat. I find you scary sometimes because you’re so spot on with everything you say.

            I think you’re right. I have been having this problem with him for one year now and I guess I was just in denial. I actually read what you just wrote about five times already cause I need to hear it. I need that clarity.

            You know for months after he first rejected me I felt so bad, not just cause he rejected me, but the way he spoke to me made me feel so unprofessional for asking him out and I felt like the biggest loser, but I also realise now that he wasn’t being so professional himself. He made me feel like I had imagined it all in my head, when I really hadn’t at all.

            You’re also right about the lazy communication. He never once called and spoke to me, just texted all night and he’s in his late thirties and I’m in my late 20s, so it’s not like we are teenagers who are used to texting everyone. I never even texted people before he started texting me. I would see him on the subway on the way home and we would sit near each other cause he didn’t sit with colleagues and he would be texting me furiously, but never actually speak to me in person on those trips. Then he would get off and say goodbye as though he never texted me 30 times in the last hour on the subway ride. It really did my head in. So finally the way I asked him out is I said to him – I like you and I would like to know you outside the texts and to go on a date and talk properly and that’s when he said he didn’t date colleagues.

            It’s all becoming a lot clearer now…

            Thank you so much for your advice. I am really going to try get it into my head.

            BTW I love your page so much I can’t begin to tell you. Everything you say rings so true with my past relationships, I often re-read your posts many times because it’s learning experience.

            • NML says:

              Yeah it’s becoming a lot clearer to me too – this guy is an asshole. Don’t send this man another word. His behaviour isn’t attractive – it’s downright creepy. I told my brother and he said this guy is getting his kicks from getting attention from you but that no normal man would sit away from you on the train, text you 30 times, and then get off. He’s socially inept. You mustn’t view this behaviour as an indicator of interest – if he *was* interested there is no way he’d be doing any of this. He’s just managing a harem by text. Flush!

              • Movedup says:

                I was thinking potential stalker – back away quickly!!!!!

                • Lavender says:

                  I never thought of it that way, but it sounds suspicious I know! Really weird. Also texting is time consuming and I felt like why don’t you just get up and come over and talk to me. I tried to sit next to him once on the train when this first started, thinking he wanted to talk, but he put his bag on the spare seat next to him and looked out the window when I approached. Then I sat down in my old spot and he was texting again.

                  • NML says:

                    I have told the boyf your story and he says not only is it downright outrageous but that this guy is involved with someone and that when guys seemingly flirt with you/maintain an ego stroke but nothing happens it’s because they’re enjoying it but don’t want to progress it but don’t want you to know that they don’t want to progress it.

                    • grace says:

                      men- and women, to be fair – can enjoy flirting, attraction and the buzz of seduction without actually wanting to see it through. i know i’ve done it though not to the ridiculous extremes of lavender’s case.
                      we need to keep our feet in reality and not go attributing to the person all kinds of qualities (shyness, fear of rejection, all kinds of complicated feelings) to explain why they don’t want to take the next step. just accept that they don’t want it and move along.
                      a more worthwhile question is why we burn up our time and energy on someone who is messing us about. what is it about that dynamic which is attractive to us? cos i think a person with good boundaries and solid self-esteem wouldn’t give these jackasses the time of day. do we even recognise when we’re being jerked around?

                  • Allison says:

                    What a WEIRDO!!!! This guy really has some issues!!!!

              • Lavender says:

                Thanks Nat, you’re so spot on. What’s funny about life is that you can live through it and not see your own situation clearly. I think your brother is right too. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said it would be about 30 texts on the way home, sometimes more and he would sit about one or two metres away and be texting me. I would look up and see him staring at me it see the reaction on my face when I got the text message. I found it a bit sweet at the time, but after a while I felt like he couldn’t even be bothered to speak to me in person and it was a huge game. You are so right about managing the harem, cause in the times he wasn’t texting me, I would see him still texting, probably others. I think he does have social issues, cause I would see him places like around town and he would basically ignore me and just look at me when we passed like at the market and then I would get a text from him 5 min after I had seen him, with him saying something. I don’t know why he couldn’t say it to my face.

                You are so right. I need to flush this guy. The reason this post really struck me and made me comment, even though I have been reading for a long time, is that you refer to the excuse that we think he’s shy, which I think a lot of women do. I figured with this guy that cause he was always texting, even when I was in the same room, he was just shy and not good at talking, but when I made the effort to ask him to talk on a date he shot me down, so I guess that wasn’t it.

          • colororange says:


            I was in a situation similar to yours. Age range is right on and he relied mostly on text messaging. The first time he asked me out was over email. I did not like the idea of texting the majority of the time but I followed what he wanted to do. So it was endless/meaningless emails and texts that formed most the relationship. And we saw each other when he wanted to and on his timetable.

            Needless to say I fed into his BS. Because I did not feel good about myself, was still getting over an ex, wanted the attention and yeah he had a couple qualities I liked. Plus, being alone bothered me. It really sounds like this dude you’re messing with is a big clown. A big stupid clown that you’re just showing that it is ok that he treats you like poo. I’m telling you this is Nowhereville.

          • Used says:

            I have to chime in.

            How you take things from here: YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN RESPOND TO ANYTHING HE WRITES TO YOU!

            What Nat’s boyf says is correct: this guys HAS someone already. And I will also add my 2 cents: he PLAYS other women, including you at work, along with (I’d bet) OTHERS at work. He uses that same line on women he works with. If they buy into the line, like you, then fine: the women communicate with him, on his terms, and assume their own risk (the risk being LOWERING OF YOUR SELF ESTEEM, FEELING BADLY ABOUT YOURSELF–even if you have HIGH self esteem, a jerk like this will help to, or will in fact, lower it); if the women don’t buy into the line, they don’t communicate with him, and he “saves face.”

            MAJOR MAJOR jerk. Selfish little prick. WITH A LOT OF NERVE.

            I say this ESPECIALLY b/c I now recall how the ex-EUM I had a “tryst” with did the exact same thing on one occasion–he ignored me AND another woman he dated once when we were all ijn the same room with his then-ex, now-wife.

            Guess which woman he had the real intentions for, and was then trying to win back?

  5. Tara Croft says:

    This is so true: “When a guy is interested, they don’t resist you.”

    I suspected that a guy was interested in me, so I invited him on a group outing. He was new in town, so I said it might be a good opportunity to meet people. He came out, and, by the end of the night, he’d asked me out.

    I’m not a big fan of asking guys out, but if there’s a way that just looks friendly, it’s a good!

    • Irina says:

      Ok, girls, it’s my first time here. So Hi to all. I have the eternally-stuck syndrome and some stupid people started a rumour that I might be lesbian since there isn’t a guy in the picture. My family and closest friends don’t understand why I’m alone. Secretly, I think that they believe that I have flings or boyfriends and keep them hidden in the shadows. I wish that was true! Two days ago, I asked a guy out, a colleague nonetheless, because I thought that there was a spark but some obstacle was stopping him from taking the next step. I know, right? Big red flag but until now I had never read anything as enlightening as Nat’s post. Thanks, Nat!
      I text messaged him, deep down I think I knew that I’d be rejected up front, and he answered that he might have college work to do on a Sunday afternoon but he would confirm later, then, he wrote something that screamed a big NO for me, he said “thanks for the invitation ;)”…my friend says that since he’s finishing his degree, the teachers tend to overload the students with presentations and papers so there is still hope but I’m not THAT optimistic.
      What do you, girls, think? ^_^

  6. Flower White says:

    @Lavender it sounds like he’s toying with you.
    It’s been a year. Move on, wash that man right out of your hair. If he’s emailing you and not asking you for a date it’s cause he doesn’t want to date you.

    Nat, thanks for your post you are right on! Late last year I met a guy at a fashion show, he came near me making small talk and was very handsome. He didn’t ask for my phone number. At the end of the night I saw him waiting for the valet and gave him my card. He emailed me and we went on one date and a whole lot of ‘I’m glad you called, I’m busy’ but he keep trying to string me along with text and very brief phone calls.

    I ended it (by text, EUM favored way of communicating), vowing never again to approach a man that way.

    • Lavender says:

      Maybe he is. :( Oh I feel so sad. When we worked together he would text me all the time at night and about funny things and then he had the gall to say that it was unprofessional to date your colleagues when I asked him out. I think it was unprofessional to text and email me so much. I would get sometimes 4-5 texts at night, and then a few during the day and 10 or so non-work emails. I think he liked flirting with me in secret and then when others were there he would go to being really professional it was a big strange.

      Your guy sounds not great at all. Maybe he was gay though. Not that you have to be gay to be into fashion, but you never know.

      • Flower White says:

        @Lavender, the guy I met at the fashion show, he’s not gay he’s EUM and a ladies man, looking to add a link to his chain of foolish booty calls. VP of a bio tech company, used to women lining up like ducks cause he is rich. I didn’t know that when I met him but anyway, he’s history just another guy trying to waste time.

        • Movedup says:


          Memorize this – Don’t give anyone qualities and characteristics that you’ve assumed.

          Sounds like alot of assuming going on. Why waste your time with it. If he wants to ask – he will. If he doesn’t he won’t. If he does you might not like him all that much after all. Again read above statement. Personally – flush! No one should get that many opportunities to kick you in the ass. Once is enough. He is showing you who he is – believe it – don’t assume – it makes an ass of you and me – ass-u-me.

          • Lavender says:

            @Movedup – You are so right. I love it on this site, with so many wise women, it’s great. I feel like I am so naive. In my last relationship I projected a lot of great qualities onto a guy who was none of those things. With the texting guy I projected onto him being this sweet guy who couldn’t talk and was a professional guy worried about work, when really he’s a dodgy guy sitting on the train texting me and sending me inappropriate emails all day long at work cause I guess he’s bored.

  7. Lynda from L. says:

    I ‘ve found that some guys use ‘are you shy?’ ploy to continue with the delusion that you are actually giving them the green light even although you’re being unresponsive. This is swiftly followed up by the old chestnut ‘It’s okay.. I don’t bite’.
    In my younger days I can see how I sometimes went along with this and ended up chatting to guys I had nothing in common with,didn’t fancy remotely etc. My feeling was that I had to allow them to pigeon-hole me to avoid been seeing as rude.
    Nowadays, at the ripe old age of 45, I think I ‘d probably say ‘ No I’m not shy in the least’ and move on.

    • allie says:


      I have been told “you are shy”.. “you seem bassfull” ..”do I intimidate you?”

      It came from a guy 10 years younger that me that wants to date me and I have explicitly but nicely say no to him in account of the age and that I have a problem with it. He has been texting me for the last 2 years, which I haven”t texted him or ackknoledge him at all for the las 1.5 years, until lately I felt I needed a second chance so I decided that I needed to give a second chance to this guy. So I talked to him and he gave me the speech that I am shy and I flat told him that I am not shy and that he did not intimidated me at all, so that was it. I am done with his second chance, flush. If he is not listening to what I have to say and no pickinup any clue , then flush.

  8. Excellent post! I agree with previous posters that this was excellent timing and we always could use reinforcement for this issue. I totally needed to hear this, and I understand that many of my mistakes are driven by my impatience for the man to make the move. But if he were into me, I wouldn’t need to wait…he would calling, texting, arranging dates, etc. etc. Thank you always for you keeping it real Nat!

  9. Christina says:

    Thank you for this. In my youth, I had a standoffish vibe which apparently kept guys from asking me out. So I started doing it myself. I was rejected a lot before I was successful, but I figured that guys had to deal with that as well. I’m not an aggressive person, so I never really had to worry about coming off as too pushy. Making the first move was cool, but if a guy was interested, he’d reciprocate and I wouldn’t keep “chasing” him.

    The key is to not overthink it. If you’re interested ask, and if he says no, that’s it. If he says yes, then be sure you’re not doing all of the work going forward.

    It’s hard to find the right balance, because as women we’ve really been conditioned to be passive. But, we go after other opportunities in life when it relates to our work and our hobbies- why shouldn’t we be willing to at least make the first move when it comes to our love lives?

  10. Gina says:

    Good Point! If I am going to ask a guy out for any reason it has to be off of a healthy basis, in the present, here and now, in reality bc I think he is interesting, I am putting myself out there. I know what you mean for us to think just because we are doing the asking we think the guy should be flattered and put us on a pedestal and if we are doing it for those reasons we shouldn’t be asking him out in the first place! And making excuses as to why he isn’t asking us out is telling us that we might not be in the right mindset to be dating because if we cant take responsibility, and be in reality instead of illusions for example: “he is way to shy, but if he wasn’t I would be the woman of his dreams and all’s I got to do is ask him out and we are going to live happily ever after because that’s the push he has been waiting for!” … then we find ourselves disappointed because he didn’t meet our fantasy… and repeat the same dysfunctional patterns, rinse and repeat.

  11. Shay Banks says:

    “Slow down, you’re not a used car salesman.” Truer words were never spoken. You know, I tell women all the time, if he’s interested, you’ll know. Sometimes men just flirt and have no intentions of taking the next step. But, as women, we can read into things and hope and wish that his flirting was actually something more. Every woman that is dating needs to read this blog post.

  12. Raibow Brite says:

    I have been a long time reader of BR. I would like to thank you, Nat, for sharing your knowledge with us. :) I want to know what everyone thinks of guys who, instead of asking for a girl’s number, would give his out instead?

    • NML says:

      Rainbow Brite – love the name btw – if someone wants to ask you out, they ask for your number. Who does he think he is? A celeb? A model scout?

      • Movedup says:

        Ha ha Nat – way to spot a red flag – thou back in the day – I never gave out my digits – I got theirs.

      • Rainbow Brite says:

        His excuse was that he knows how busy I am so he was leaving it up to me to call him whenever I’m free to have dinner with him. Misleading and sneaky. Tsk. Tsk. I was not convinced and did not call him but his persistent pursuit did, eventually, reel me in. The initial contact really set the tone for the 6 months I was involved with him — he made it seem like I was in control but, in reality, he was the one calling the shots.

    • Audrey says:

      Rainbow Brite – Good question! I’d think a guy that loves an ego stroke and loves having women pursuing him! And possibly, he must be a fairly confident good looking guy I would think. He may be so good looking, in fact, that he may be too busy admiring himself that he won’t see you!

      • Rainbow Brite says:

        My friends thought he was probably insecure, afraid of rejection and was ‘playing it safe’ and cautioned me about calling him. Although I was intrigued by him, I did not call him as I also felt uneasy about the approach, that calling him would be like begging him for dinner. But he pursued and pursued and pursued. I was flattered by his persistence and lost my mind and myself in the process. I ignored my intuition, my BS meter and got involved with my very first (and hopefully last!) EUM/AC. He delivered all the usual goods: blowing hot and cold, flakiness, actions not matching words, regressing instead of progressing, future faking, lazy communication, mixed messages etc. And you’re right, Audrey, he was a bit of a narc, too. I was the perfect enabler of such behaviour as I am naturally appreciative/affirmative and generous with my compliments. Great for healthy/balanced relationships but not for parasitic ones like the one I had with him.

        I am out of that pseudo-relationship now, a bit burned, a bit scratched up but a whole lot wiser and self-aware. I am currently on NC, currently in the process of forgiving him and myself. I still have some anger towards him but I cannot be bitter about the whole experience because it did teach me a lot about myself. I believe I met him just so I can be exposed to the cracks on my wall, so I can fix those cracks and, therefore, be better. It sounds Pollyanna-ish but it’s what helps me deal with that experience without turning into a prune. Plus, if I didn’t go thru that experience I wouldn’t have stumbled upon BR and Nat’s spot-on articles — great for avoiding a repeat of that glitch in my judgement.

  13. debra says:

    It never ceases to amaze me the excuses, rationalizing and fantasies I can come up with to justify bad relationships. This post is spot on. My problem is that I am rarely asked out. Virtually every single one of my relationships has been with guys I know – either through work or through friends – that just one day change. I have been on very few things I would call dates, where I am asked out by someone I have recently met and am trying to get to know better. With my ex husband, we worked together and one day he just kissed me. I was shocked but went with it and we were together for 13 years. Then, a series of long or short relationships, some living together, all ultimately unsuccessful. All with guys who I saw regularly for some reason and one day it changed. With the last narc/AC, we worked together and I was renovating my house. He began showing up to help and literally the first day, walked in the door and started acting like a boyfriend. Suddenly very physical, suddenly lots of talk about the future. That’s not dating, that’s skipping the dating, fast forwarding into a “relationship”. Even as I type it, I can see why they all crashed and burned. It’s also no wonder my Hollywood fantasies and delusions run riot in these relationships. People don’t really just wake up one day and decide they love you after seeing you at work for a month or so. That really only happens in movies and extremely dysfunctional relationships.

    As you say in the post, if someone is interested, they don’t hide from it. If they do, there is something wrong. My problem was not that they weren’t interested – they all were, at least in the beginning. Even the narc,who in the early days I honestly believed seemed very interested, very sweet, very present. I know now he was just trying to secure a supply source and that’s part of the confusion. There are people who seem very interested and even put in a fair amount of time and effort, but not for the reasons I assumed. I did a lot of asuming and that’s why that relationship worked for him, at least initially. It’s why it very much didn’t work for me in the end.

    So not healthy. So not the way it should be. I am embarrassed to be learning these…

    • Elle says:

      Hey Debra, I am answering to your comment because I believe we had our asses kicked by AC’s at around the same time. To the extent that it’s possible, I would try not to feel shame. In the big picture, you are doing more self-examination, and undergoing more growth than most people, I am sure of it, and becoming more wise and wonderful as a result. So try not to take something lovely and turn it into something mortifying. You’re a really strong person, learning a lot.

      For what it’s worth, I did the same thing with the AC – and to some extent with other men – rushed, wanted to lock everything in so as to skip the potentially difficult (but obviously crucial) discovery phase, the phase where, in fact, real, reciprocal bonds are formed, when people show their real selves. Learnt lesson the hard way. Geez, I felt like I had my front teeth kicked in, and a wooden plank struck across my head.

      Like many of the posters here, I then felt terribly unconfident about the rules of dating post-AC. I hadn’t really had to do date as an adult before, and, truth be told (and with respect), I found/find the American style of dating multiple people very uncomfortable and confusing, probably very transactional. But it might be a cultural thing. NML is right, for many people (myself, to some degree included) dating is a way to pass time, and to feel good. In fact, one of my exes said that he is dating right now just for the company, but not really to meet anyone. Be warned.

      As for who asks who, I hate to think that it’s all so gendered, but I suspect that – due to a combo of social and biological reasons (real and perceived) – it’s, on balance, better for the man to do most of the pursuing at the start, but not in a childish way – I think if you’re worried about making a misstep and calling him, you’re probably not ready to date (ie skin is not thick enough yet to handle the sometimes-brutal world of dating) or else he’s just not the guy for you (ie you’ve picked up that he’s one of those ‘one false move and she’s discarded’ types and you’re being tentative for a reason). Good guys aren’t so rigid about who calls who, especially after a certain time. If they’re into you, they want you to call. It’s a…

      • debra says:

        Elle – I think the impatience point Natalie raised in the post is relevant, a lot more so than I originally thought. I can honestly say that patience is not one of my virtues, particularly in relationships. I think the reason we fast forward through the dating phase is not just fear but impatience. After a certain age, I figured I knew what I wanted, thought I knew what I had to offer and didn’t see the point in playing games or dating. Now, of course, I see the value of it -it is critical in getting to know someone. What the last AC taught me was that there might be alot of reasons why someone is acting interested that have nothing to do with their actual interest in being in a relationship. I also learned the extent to which I project and live in delusion. I just plain gave him credit for a lot of positive traits he didn’t have. Slowing down is crucial. Anyone who is serious won’t go away and anyone who is full of crap will likely get frustrated and run. I wanted to blame it all on the AC and say he hurt me but the truth is I hurt me by rushing and living in delusion. I used the “he’s shy” excuse and about a thousand others, but it was all in vain. I wanted it so much I didn’t take even the one minute it took everyone else who knows him to see something wasn’t right.
        Patience is key. If its real, its not going anywhere.

        • Irina says:

          Debra – I agree 100% with you! “Patience is the key!”
          I asked a guy out, a guy that 3 years ago was going to ask me out when I overheard him asking his female friend for advice and she expressly told him NOT to do it because I am not white and he is. What hurt more then was that he was coward enough to follow her advice, now, I’m back to the same, and stupid little-me decided to ask HIM out. In my defense, I’ll say that I’ve reached my bottom of patience and I had to know, it would either evolve into something or I’d have to move on with my life…I’m choosing the second. I’m too valuable to sit around and wait for a guy!
          Plenty more fish in the see, after all.. if only I wasn’t so shy.

  14. SunshineSoul says:

    I have a friend. We’ve known each other for a very long time. I was in a relationship for the majority of the time we’ve been friends. After my relationship ended, my friend revealed he has feelings for me – and said he has for a long time. Yet, what’s odd is we haven’t seen each other or hung out in a long, long time. He also hasn’t asked me out. Yet, he says his feelings are real and he’s waiting for my response. It’s flattering, yet confusing. I’ve been out of the dating world for a while and after reading this, I’m wondering if this applies to the scenario NML wrote about or if anyone has any similar insight?

    • Minky says:

      Hey SunshineSoul,
      Yes, i have had the exact same experience and am now in a relationship with my friend. He told me he had feelings for me after we’d known each other for a few months, we’d hung out quite a lot, but we were both initialy seeing EU people, long distance (we had many, many frustrated chats about that before we got together). After our respective EU disasters were over, he told me he liked me and i reciprocated. We started off very slowly, just taking our time to get to know each other and, thanks to this site, i watched out for all the flags, evaluated everything, decided whether i wanted to continue etc and adjusted my expectations accordingly. He did the same and we’re now in a happy, healthy relationship. I was very cautious and cynical and panicy and had many freakouts because of my EUM experience, which NML guided me through with stellar advice. i got there eventually!

      Only you know how you feel about this guy, whether he’s decent and whether you want to pursue anything. If you do, tell him and see what he does. Acutally the rule ‘watch and see what he does’ is the main thing about starting anything romantic with someone. Don’t have any preconceived ideas, go in with your eyes open and your feet on the ground and see how it goes. Be willing to back out and end things if his interest is half hearted or red flags begin to appear.

      Best of luck to you! :)

  15. Melanie says:

    Hi Natalie, great post and great points! Some of this is similar to the last guy I was dating because he pretended to be shy and I actually now beleive that is his ‘ruse’ or ‘shtick’ that he uses to deceive women into thinking, ‘Gee that’s so sweet, aww, he’s probably too shy, I’ll just go ahead and do a bit extra work in this…” So you figure he ‘cant’ use the phone or something, that’s why he can only text, maybe I should phone him… Worked on me like a charm!

    Well, soon I found out about all his female ‘friends’. Well, not sure how he can have that many women he’s chatting up via texting, or taking for rides on his motorcycle, etc etc if he’s sooo shy and quiet… Just a fake!

    More than one time at clubs, myself or a girlfriend is approached by a man saying his friend likes one of us but is too ‘shy’ to come ask us to dance, can we go ask him (pointing to some slick looking guy trying to ‘look’ like a loner over in the corner, while giving us the eye). I never fall for that ruse, really it doesn’t add up and no thanks I need a man not a mouse.

  16. msophy says:

    Great post! I am one of those people that overthink things that is why i generally dont ask guys out. If it doesnt work out I would be the one obsessing about me mixing up my signals & him not being interested anyways. ugh. or I may find myself giving them the side eyes for not acting how I thought they should be acting.ugh. next thing u know im the car sales man pushing myself on them because of a scenario i made up in my mind.ugh. Im learning though.

  17. Marvy Marv says:

    Hey Natalie,

    Great blog here, I’ve read a few of your posts from a distance and a lot of what you offer here is of great value and fresh perspective.

    As for this post, reading it I found myself nodding with agreement with many of the points and suggestions u mentioned.

    It’s a fatal mistake when a woman assumes a man being shy so feels compelled to assume to leadership role and try and take any dating or pre-dating experience forward. A man with his wits about him or one with not-so honest intentions will usually manipulate these types of situations and go along with them (more time, it’s passively) until the process has lost steam, which then many women feel duped. Truth is they have, they just never saw it coming because of the story they started off the process with ; “I asked him because he must be shy” this prevents from really seeing the truth.

    I can also validate what you said about shy men having no problem asking a woman if they’re interested, organising a date, initiating sex etc etc. In my younger days I was extremely shy but it never stopped me from doing my “male” thing. Which regardless of what some women may feel about asking a man out (and yes most of us like it and would encourage more it) , a man still wants to be a man in that process and have some element of control (yes, men love control just a much as many women do ) of where the dating is going and the pace of which it goes. So, yeah as you rightly say Natalie, “Don’t give anyone qualities and characteristics that you’ve assumed.” it’s a dangerous move that inevitably ends up with feelings getting hurt.

  18. Sandra81 says:

    100% correct! And, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you do the asking, keep it casual! Just like you were asking any of your friends, without making a big deal out of it, and without giving it a romantic connotation. And then, you can watch his behaviour and draw the conclusions regarding his interest or lack of it.
    But, believe it or not, a male friend of mine once told me that he prefers being asked out as opposed to do the asking. “Because that way I know that the girl is really interested, and I’m not making a fool of myself with girls who aren’t!” Yes, there are guys who think like that! And he was in his early 30s at the time, so hardly a teenager! 😀

  19. done as dinner says:

    Nat – Thanks so much for this post. I’m not one for asking someone out – never have been. But, what I found so helpful about it is it made me realize how much progress I have made in the past few months. There is a fellow at work with whom I had to speak to etc. daily for a project we were on. It went to professional to very friendly and we discovered we have tonnes of interests in common (not sure about values), anyway, I wasn’t necessarily thinking of it as a prospective romance, but it was lovely to have a male friend again. Then suddenly he seemed to cool towards me, mentioned he had a gf, and our interaction became more reserved/professional. It was never unprofessional or even skirting into flirting territory – more like genuine delight and interest at having met a kindred spirit. At first, I fell back into my old habit of ruminating over what I had said/done/not said/not done wrong to put off this prospective friend… and then I thought, I haven’t said or done anything. Whatever is going on in his head is going on in his head and isn’t my problem. I’d never make a move on someone who was otherwise committed, I just wanted a friend. But whatever, so be it. That to me was HUGE progress. Acceptance – YAY. It is what it is, but whatever it is, it is not about me. It seems like a small thing, but I am the type of person who will rake myself over the coals if someone looks at me sideways), I can only attribute this progress to Nat’s blog and therapy. Combined they have really opened my eyes to a much simpler world. One final thought… I was never the type to have guys ask me out much etc. like other posters have mentioned here, but in the past few months I’ve just felt so much happier and relaxed, and suddenly I find guys striking up conversations in the grocery store, drug store, coffee shop etc. So I think it really does have more to do with the energy one gives off. Thanks tonnes Nat. xo

    • grace says:

      yes it’s an internal energy thing. my friend got asked out by her current boyfriend while waiting for the bus.
      and even though i haven’t been asked out as such, lately i definitely have more conversations with men at the pub, at networking events etc. i’ve never let it get to the date stage as i don’t want a relationship. yeah, i’m being ambiguous but it’s a step up from my previous position of not wanting a relationship yet .. being in one!

  20. Pirouette says:

    This is timely advice. I’ve been digging my coworker for sometime, but he has a girlfriend. Lately, he and I have been having some good conversations about a topic that truly interests me. He kind of flirts with me and he even friended me on FB. But I have had to tell myself that if I ever go out with him, he’s has to be free of the girlfriend first. And I refuse to ask him out. He needs to do the asking. Asking the guy out never works out for me, so I gave up that practice.

  21. Magnolia says:

    My last two non-keepers both ‘asked me out’ on the pretext of having shared work interests, but the ‘meetings’ felt charged to me. (I ignored that yellow flag.) In hindsight, they did this weird thing of making it about work but talking to me in ways that were outside of that, and I took the bait because I thought, hey, maybe these are real dates we’re on – they keep discussing personal stuff and asking me personal stuff – so I eventually just started responding as though they were trying to date me. Then they knew I was interested and rolled along with it. But after that I always thought, gee, is every woman that they have a work meeting with experiencing this weird ‘mixed-message’ vibe where they feel like they’re being interacted with on a personal, intimate level? Does that mean every time my bf asks a woman for a work meeting, that woman will be left wondering if he wanted to take her home (or to a hotel) if she had just indicated willingness?

    I just want to put out there, echoing some comments here, that sometimes the ‘shy’ act is, for some men, a covert way of not being accountable for the way in which they are approaching a woman. They want sex but don’t want to ask for it, then later when they get it no one can say they pursued or ‘promised anything.’

    As for getting asked out, I do believe in self-fulfilling prophecies and I have stopped telling myself “I never get asked out.” I don’t get hit on every time I leave the house, like some BR ladies, but I do okay. Interestingly, I’ve been in New York state the past week or so and am amazed at the difference: I feel way more attractive, and it is creating some kind of loop that builds on itself.

    More men here look at me. At least seems this way. Because I’m more relaxed because on a trip? because I’m ‘in America’? because I’m in a place that isn’t almost all white folks? Or am I imagining it? Who knows. I think, hey, more men find me attractive here. I smile more. It’s easier to say hi. And, perhaps, because I’m away from home, I feel like I’m just chatting up the locals, so I chit chat with practically everyone.

    I did it this weekend at the coop, standing in front of a shelf of bottles of castile soap. “Holy,…

  22. TeaTime says:

    This post really spoke to me. As I said here before, I had asked out my xEUM thinking that I was picking up signals and he was too shy to do the asking. Though I was attracted to him and I did want to get to know him better even before I thought he was throwing me signals, I think the real motivation came out of impatience for his side of things and a desperate need to have something good going for me at that point in my life. His ‘shyness’ became the first of many excuses I made for him to explain the differences between his actions and words. Definitely not a good foot to start on.

    This post also made me realize that once again I had placed someone else ahead of myself. “Oh, he’s shy? Here, let me do him a favour… Oh, he’s not making much effort? Well, it must be because he’s busy, poor thing I’ll help him out by doing most (all) of the asking” If I had really been asking him out with my own interests in mind, I wouldn’t have been blind to the lies and lack of effort on his end. Unfortunately, while I wasn’t aware of my own absent-mindedness, he was fully aware of it and took advantage to get his nice ego-stroke.

    Thank you SO, so much Natalie. As I tell my friends and family everyday, finding your blog back in December was the best thing to happen to me as I get over this xEUM, learn about myself and finally live the life I want to live. xo

    • Cam says:

      “This post also made me realize that once again I had placed someone else ahead of myself. ”

      @ Tea Time – this post spoke to me in the same way. Learning how not to put myself second with other people is a hard lesson.

  23. EllyB says:

    I’m starting to realize that my idea of a relationship looks exactly like my relationship with my emotionally abusive mother (probably a full-blown malignant narcissist). That means, a “healthy” relationship in my book is constantly humiliating, inflicts endless self-hatred, requires constant ego-boosting of my partner and forces me to morph into a different person every day, trying to meet my partner’s needs. I started to have suicidal thoughts when I was 8 years old, but until recently, never understood why.

    I don’t want a relationship that looks like this, but I keep thinking it’s my “duty” to have one, if I don’t want to end up as a disgusting, rotten, selfish bitch. I somehow still think that a woman is a “waste of resources”, until we allow a man to use our bodies and lives entirely for his own needs.Yeah, I’m feminist on the surface, but deep inside I still seem to believe this kind of crap.

    I guess it’s no surprise that while socializing with guys comes rather easily to me, I usually back off whenever a date might be on the horizon. I only occasionally date EUM, probably as an excuse, allowing me to tell myself that I “made an effort”, but was just “not good enough for him”. In especially weak moments, I end up with AC (I guess this is because they remind me of my mother).

    To be honest, I was probably a nightmare for all guys who were honestly interested in me.

  24. Sam says:

    I am currently in a relationship with a SHY guy. This is how it worked when we started dating: He called and asked me out. He paid for every date and insisted on this up until I started insisting I pay or we split the tab after a month of our datin (note: this doesn’t mean this is how it’s supossed to be, it was just something I appreciated personally) He was kind and respectful and kept up with communication. He was a bit nervous and sheepish when I would take him out to meet new friends but he would continue to come out and be an all around lovely guy. He took a while to get around to planting a kiss on my lips but again, he was shy, and nervous.
    So YES, even the guy I’ve found – who is one of the most shy guys I’ve ever met or known – still found it within himself to pursue and initiate contact and the idea of dating. If he can do it….any guy can! :) No excuse.

  25. Workshy Joe says:

    Should women make the first move?

    There are tactical and strategic considerations here. As a tactic, it can work. As an overall strategy, its a disaster:

  26. colororange says:

    You know Natalie, I was sitting here thinking how I admire you. To be able to take the crap you went through, learn from it and use it to your benefit absolutely amazes me. I’m not brown nosing. It has sunk in how I’ve been asleep it seems like. Just going through life hiding.

    I took on the garbage from childhood, from my parents (not knowing any different) and went out into the world with it. Got mixed up with any guy that would pay attention to me. Luckily, I was never beaten but some of those situations did have me scared. I know better now. That is not to say it is easy. My self-esteem is still shaky at times. I still have difficulty even going out in public. Social anxiety, etc. But, and maybe you’re just naturally more outspoken and confident, I REALLY want to figure this out. Thank you for your courage and ability to say what you think and not worry about what others think. I hope to be there someday.

  27. The Hopeful Romantic says:

    Wow, Natalie *looks around* – are you in the room with me? I have been having exactly…and I do mean exactly this same comversation with a good friend of mine. I’ve made this a rule of mine since my early 20s – believe me – I will give the correct ‘Go’ signals but after that, it’s for him to ‘man up’

  28. shiky says:

    Wonderful post, Nat! been reading your blog for a while now. really an eye opener..

    anyway, there’s this guy at work. i flirt with him and he reciprocates but he ever told me that he dont really want to get invovled with a colleague. he’s ever had a ‘thing’ with another colleague of mine for a short while and he didnt work out. is it possibly that he’s scared to try it again? he teases me alot at work and the flirting, but it stops there. but thinking abt it, i think he’s not interested or like what nat said “some people like a flirt without follow through.”

    earlier on, when i first worked there, he made lotsa effort to initiate conversations, and also gave hints about how “we should do something togther/check out this place together”. but at that time, i may have appeared to be standoffish and did not reciprocate to his efforts. so after a while, he stopped. still talking but its not the same as before. so am i right to say he’s not interested and should set my sail?

    • grace says:

      he’s not interested, set sail.
      your scenario is almost identical to lavender’s – do you work in the same place? just kidding, it’s hilarious how these guys operate in such a similar way. if you read through lavender’s posts, most of the advice applies to your situation too.
      a date includes a place and a time, not “let’s do something”.
      you don’t know that he’s intimidated or scared or that he saw you as standoffish. don’t make the classic mistake of finding excuses for them! i know it’s more palatable than “he’s not interested” but at least you won’t be chasing phantoms.

      • Allison says:


        Agree with Grace.

        He’s looking for attention. Period!
        Grace, you are so right when you say we make excuses for the behavior, than accept that they may not be interested. Guess that’s why we remained in worthless relationships as long as we did.

  29. colororange says:

    Hmm, I’m probably reading more into this then need be but I wanted to flush it out of my system. And imagine if a friend told me about it what would I tell her. I get to decide what it means if anything.

    Anyway, I arrived at work and noticed a wrapped up baked good sitting on my desk. I knew right away it was from the EUM…..or whatever he is/was. He’s done this before but last time he handed it to me. We’ve hardly spoken in weeks unless it’s work related. Course my thoughts were does this mean something, is he trying to get me to talk to him, is he up to something. But I think it boils down to him just being “nice”. I enjoyed it yet it left me a bit confused. He did not have to do that for me, but for whatever reason he did. My problem is it gets s$it stirred up in my head, making me doubt my decision to stop contact, etc. So how do I put a period on it and not go over and over his behavior and what it might mean? I did say a simple thank you to him and left it at that.

    • NML says:

      Colororange Truthfully…it’s just cake. It means, he could have come and spoken to you but felt it was easier to leave out a cake. It’s a nice gesture but that’s really all it is. The gesture could also be called ‘He’s trying to creep his way back in with a cake sized olive branch’. He might be trying to get you to contact him, to get you to clear the air. It doesn’t mean he’s changed. It doesn’t mean he wants you. It doesn’t even mean that he’ll talk to you the next time he sees you. As women, we can often see meaning where there is no meaning. It’s just cake. A cake appearing on your table doesn’t really tell you very much about the person and it’s certainly not a gateway to stopping NC. What does this cake tell you about the relationship or the reasons why you’re NC? Yep, nothing. If a cake is all it takes, you’ll be an easy wobbler.

      • colororange says:

        Yeah you confirmed what I was leaning toward: that it doesn’t mean anything. It usually didn’t take much to get me to “wobble” but I feel like I’m worth more. At least I want to believe that and act accordingly.

      • Jo says:

        Natalie, I have to tell you I read your response to colororange twice and I giggled both times I saw your “it’s just cake” comment. I can see if from now on whenever one of us ladies starts reading more into a man’s actions we all say “it’s just cake” and it becomes a stock phrase. In my head I’m already using it as such!

        • colororange says:

          LOL Jo, that is so awesome.

          It’s just cake!! I think Natalie may’ve started something revolutionary here. :) See, all of our heartache and bologna can be used for good. Now I’m giggling.

    • ICanDoBetter says:

      Yes, it does stir things up when they do stuff like that, doesn’t it? After my ex-AC and I had a falling out, I would repeatedly hear that he was asking about me from mutual friends. He wasn’t speaking to me, but I took that as a sign that if only I made an effort to repair the rift, we would be “friends” again. I made the effort, and nothing changed. (This was before I found BR.)

      Since then, we have not been friends,but he has tried on a few occasions to make nice by offering to do things for me. (This was after I found BR.) I politely declined his offers of help, because I didn’t want to get sucked down that black hole again. He was a future faker when I was on good terms with him, and I didn’t want to put ANY kind of hope in him actually following through on these favors.

      What I am saying is that he had never been someone I could rely on in the past, so why would he now? I chose to use his past behavior (and the nuggets I learned on BR) as my reminder not to engage.

      These little random acts, to me, may be nothing more than them trying to ease a guilty conscience, to end the story on a note that lets them come out looking like something other than an AC/EUM.

    • EllyB says:

      Sounds a little bit as if he is trying to manipulate you again. How about saying “Sorry, I’m not hungry” and offering the cake to one of your colleagues? I don’t think he needs to know, and I don’t think you owe him a “thank you” either. It’s mainly about making yourself feel better by not taking his gift.

      • grace says:

        I would just eat the silly cake and forget him. Was it chocolate?

      • colororange says:

        Well, it was left on my desk and I ate the damn thing. I’m not passing up chocolate cake!! Later in the day I did a quick drop in and said thank you……because……well……….why not?? I didn’t go licking his ass or asking him to go hang out. It was a quick in and a quick out. The end. Can’t much give it to anyone else because most the people there are on diets. I chose to thank him because it felt good to me. Anything else would have been overkill. It’s just cake….who gives a flyin flip. :)

  30. Lily says:

    grace – totally agree with your 2nd paragraph. I think the reason why we’re more likely to attribute qualities, not accept they don’t want to take the next step and why we don’t move along, is answered in part by your 3rd paragraph: because so few of us know how to have good boundaries and how to have good self-esteem. When we don’t have those things, it’s so easy to get caught up in the chase, because if we can get attention, or noticed, then it’s confirmation that we’re beautiful, desirable, etc. That’s why we burn time, energy, find the dynamic attractive, and can’t recognize we’re being jerked around. A lot of people wouldn’t know a healthy relationship if it hit them in the face, and actually reject interest from well-adjusted people because subconsciously, they don’t believe they’re worthy of it. Being loved as who you are, and not having to chase for it, is something that’s so foreign to people, even if it’s what we really want. So then people feel that they have to chase it… And there’s no better people to chase after it than from an EUM/AC! It’s a never ending battle that we’ll never win, yet we WANT so badly to win it, because by doing so, it will finally prove our worth. It’s sad, really.

  31. Lily says:

    Thinking “he was too shy to ask me” is basically rescuing someone from doing something that they should be doing, if they have shown interest/have been flirting. I find it interesting that in the 50 emails you received, Nat, that no one said, “Because I was interested in him, or I wanted to, or Why not?” I think it’s totally legit to ask a guy out, for the right reasons, of course.

    This is how I think it goes: Man (M) shows Woman (W) potential interest by flirting and being suggestive. W is flattered, interested, excited. M doesn’t ask W out. W gets frustrated: “I thought he was interested! Why isn’t he asking me out?” Instead of just letting it go and moving on, W comes up with excuses: “He must be shy.” At this point, the W is emotionally invested and wants a relationship with the guy. It’s hard to turn off those feelings, let go, move on. So she prolongs them with the overthinking, maneovering and game-playing. And so the chase begins, and the entanglement with what would now be revealed as an EUM (but this may not be evident to the W at that point).

    • NML says:

      Lily I think that’s the point – of course it is totally legit to ask a man out. However if someone doesn’t believe it is legit to ask someone out and then decides to do it because of variations of believing that the person is shy, they are obviously going to question doing it in the first place. If they believed it was legit or asked for the right reasons, they wouldn’t be emailing in the first place

  32. Judy says:

    I recently asked a guy out. We have a date for next Friday night. My reasons for asking weren’t because he was too shy or anything like that; it just seemed right.

    We both teach at a local college. He teaches writing classes; I teach politics. We’ve gradually spent the past few weeks getting to know each other. We have an hour break between classes together, so we’ve been having these real long conversations about our students, books, pop culture, politics, family, pets, even a bit of ex-girlfriend/boyfriend talk.

    On Monday, he suggested I download this Scrabble game to my phone, so I can play against him. I thought it was a bit of wacky suggestion, but also cute, because it showed he was thinking about me when we weren’t at school. I promptly stomped him in our first game. When we met up again on Monday, I decided to throw in a wager- loser of the next Scrabble game buys dinner. He thought about it a second, then said yes. I think it just took a playful suggestion on my end, letting him know that I was interested enough to want to meet outside school. As another colleague said, “sometimes men can be dense.”

    Even though I did the asking for the date, he asked for my number and has been texting me. He seems as excited about our date as I am (looks like I might be buying dinner, due to a very narrow, 5 point loss in Scrabble). We couldn’t go out last night due to a family obligation on his end, but he made sure to pin me down for next Friday. I can’t wait.

    Just thought I’d share a success story…

  33. Niki says:

    you know what this site’s articles and your (ladies’) comments have helped me realize? The more you have to analyze a man’s behaviour, the bigger the red flag. Relationships are not supposed to be like the main floor at the UN, where you have to interpret and process and analyze everything! What’s more evident, especially with this article’s comments, is that you shouldn’t have to figure out if a man is interested – he makes it clear. He doesn’t resist, he states his case, he’s sincere in his communication and his efforts. For me, that’s one of the major lessons I’ve learning from Baggage Reclaim, thinking and rethinking what he’s said, done or hasn’t said and hasn’t done is a red flag in and of itself.

  34. gala says:

    I think that illusions keep us attached and maybe denial (we don’t want to admit we’re being fooled because we’d then have to take responsibility for letting it happen in spite of knowing it’s a fools game).
    @lavender: what I’m surprised about is that you answered his texts when he treated you so disrespectfully when face to face, not saying hello and so forth.

  35. Posy says:

    To the lady who is having problems with the “emailer” who will not ask her out in person – there is one simple expedient! Block him! I did this a few months ago and am on NC ever since – I am ashamed of myself as he was an old University flame, who I found on a social networking site last year, and who was married. I blocked him, having become very frustrated with “lazy communication” via email, Facebook and texts, and his refusal to meet me in person for coffee, despite living less than 40 miles away. I wrote to him, saying exactly what was on my mind, telling him what I was going to do. He has other contact details apart from email, but has not contacted me, and I have not contacted him.

    I hope I have set myself free for someone better, but have just discovered that someone I am interested in has embarked on a relationship. I am not too bothered by this, as we were just chatting and getting to know one another, and I’m really busy, so our paths won’t cross for a few weeks, which will give me time to get used to the idea. Anyway, I had not told anyone, or let it be shown by my demeanour that I was interested, so I have retained my self-respect. NOTHING in this area of my life has ever gone the way I wanted it to, but this site is helping me so much! My motto, “Respect yourself, Protect yourself!”

  36. ph2072 says:

    This is interesting to me for 2 reasons:

    1. When I was a teenager, I asked a guy out. I can’t remember his exact words, but he pretty much said No. I never asked a guy out again, and I seriously doubt that I ever will.

    2. Looking back, my longest relationship (in college – 3.5 years) was initiated by me. I didn’t ask him out OUTRIGHT, but I did all the work. He never expressed real interest until I told him (via instant messenger *slaps forehead*) that I thought he was cute. He probably got a kick out of the age difference (I’m 2 yrs. & 3 months older than him) and he once said (disguised as a joke) that he only got with me because he was a hormy freshman. I can’t believe that I didn’t catch that until now. Sigh. I feel like such an ass. 😐

    Needless to say, I’ll never ask a man out again. My self-esteem was/is in the toilet because of those 2 reasons, and in some twisted way, I have too much pride to drop my self-esteem any lower. :-\

    • Irina says:

      I agree with you. It’s like shame on you, if you full me once but it’s definitely a shame for US if they fool us a second time. We’re in XXI century and men are still a huge topic between women, especially about the things that they never do, or the ones that they do then pretend they didn’t….centuries of existence and somethings will never change. :(

  37. ph2072 says:

    Niki – are we related or something? 😐 Seriously, you sound just like me. Each of your comments (especially re: personality) expressed my sentiments exactly.

  38. Layla says:

    Ive had affair with married man for 7 years and I broke it off 6 weeks ago with no contact in that time. Ive tried to break it off many times but ive always gone back. The problem is he was always very decent to me as I saw him almost daily, he phoned and was there when he said he would be and was always very kind and respectful. He gave me a lot of emotional support and its actually the most intimate loving relationship Ive ever had and I adored him and yes I admit it I built my life around him. He said his wife and he basically led seperate lives and were good friends but as their finances were bound together he wouldnt leave her, theyre both retired now.I told him finally I wanted more but he wouldnt answer and only said he didnt want to loose me. I got angry and said that this time he had to give me closure or I would email his wife . He sent a text straight back and said ‘ok youve got closure. No wonder Im ill’. A week later I asked him to meet me for a coffee but he hasnt replied and that was 6 weeks ago. I feel I frightened him and put his back against the wall to give me closure. At the time I knew hed made his choice and it was time for me to move on. My rational mind sees that. Emotionally though Im going through hell and Im in physical and emotional pain daily. I feel like Im loosing it. Just how bad does it have to get. I still keep hoping he will realize he cant live without me and will get in touch. I read youre blog and many self help books and Ive had counselling for a year and a half and Im still in love with him its a s if he’s in my bloodstream. I try to keep busy but Music , films. etc etc all remind me of him. Is this normal ? Is there a cure ?

    • Minky says:

      Hey Layla,

      Well done for finally getting out!

      The only cure is time and perseverance. You have genuine affection for this man, but you also built your life around him. You are used to him being in your life and it will be painful for a while because of this. I always compare it to coming off hard drugs. The initial withdrawl is torture, but you have to go through it to come out the other side and make a better life for yourself.

      Keep reminding yourself that you left for a reason. You were not happy with the situation. He may be wonderful, supportive, reliable etc, but the bad obviously outweighted the good, otherwise you would not have pushed for an ultimatum from him. You would still be there. There will be times when you say to yourself ‘surely being back with him is better than this pain’ but it isn’t. This pain is temporary – being with him for the rest of your life, on the other hand, is sentencing yourself to a limited existence, where you are never truly happy.

      Give yourself time to grieve this loss. It needs to be done. Then try to distract yourself with things that don’t remind you of him. This site is wonderful, so keep coming back and reading articles.

      We have all been there. I never thought i would get over my ex, but i have and now i am happier than ever. You can do it!! :) (HUGS!!!)

    • Allison says:


      Keep yourself busy! Take classes, join groups, volunteer, anything. It’s up to you to make your life full, not another.

      I guess you see that all his words were lies and it was a waste of seven years. If he really wanted to leave his wife he would. The finances are an excuse.

      Try to understand why you would settle for a relationship where you always came in second, then maybe you can find a healthy partner who is not committed to another.

      Married men are a no-win!

    • grace says:

      someone who respects you doesn’t expect you to play second fiddle for seven years. he would either find a way to be with you or end it. someone who is kind doesn’t dump you by text and ignore you for six weeks. When it suited him he was nice to you. He was nice to you while you were meeting his needs. As soon as you put your foot down, he’s gone. To be fair to him, it seems he always maintained he wouldn’t leave so by continuing the affair you were showing him that you were okay with it. Well, now you’re no longer okay with it so there’s nothing he can do for you. In a way, him leaving you alone for six weeks is probably the best thing he’s ever done.
      You didn’t force him to make a choice at that particular time. Every day for those seven years he made the choice to stay married.
      He’s frightened? What’s he got to be frightened about? He’s got his wife, his life and his finances. He’s doing just fine. And as for him and his wife leading separate lives, they ALL say that! Could come as news to her while she’s sorting his laundry!
      Decide for yourself that it’s over. Don’t wait for him to get in touch. If he does, tell him to clear off! Too little too bl00dy late! You’ve got too much self respect for that.

      • runnergirl says:


        I would like to join the others and offer my support. I’m 4 months in NC (with two minor slips…phone conservations) and I vividly remember the first 6 weeks. It must have been like what folks go through when they detox. I felt exactly like you describe. We spent two years at my house because he was married and everything that was “mine” before I met him became “ours”. It was difficult. With NC and BR and the support from BR posters, slowly the fog started to clear. Don’t put him on a pedestal and deify him was a good piece of advice I recieved from Allison. (Thanks Allison.) Additionally, I started a journal, another great piece of advice from Magnolia and Natalie. Although I couldn’t write much in the beginning, I forced myself to sit and write. It’s amazing what a difference only 4 months can make. When I started, my journal enteries contained a ton of anger, directed at him, about always being number two and how miserable I was. Then, I realized that I needed to be accountable and I directed the anger at myself for living a decietful and dishonest life. In order to be involoved with a married man, I had to lie to everybody, including myself. Arrgh…that still makes me mad!

        Go with your rational mind right now and your emotions will follow with time, at least it did for me. I am committed to never, ever being the other woman again. For me, the pain of being without him has been tremendous but the pain of being the other woman was unspeakable. It sounds like maybe you may be at that point now. Write about the pain you’ve experienced as the other woman. When I’m feeling nostalgic and missing him, I re-read my journal and remember how miserable I was sitting at home on a rainy night, alone, crying by the fire while he was out with his wife. I remember sitting at home, alone on a beautiful summer evening, crying in my backyard while he was out with his wife. Those miserable memories, that darkness, and despair far outweigh the fun times we had together.

        It really does get better. It really can be better. You can be number 1.

        • runnergirl says:

          One more thing Layla, something else that helped me was reading Natalie’s articles generally, but specifically, on healthy relationships. Since I’ve never really experienced a healthy relationship, I wouldn’t and couldn’t know the difference. Being involved in a healthy relationship sounds so much better than being involved with a married man, hoping that one day he’ll wake up and leave his wife and I’ll be the exception to the rule. You haven’t frightened or cornered your married man. As Grace said, he is choosing to be with her, not you. I’m so sorry. My ex MM chose his wife too.

          There is a cure. Stay NC, focus on yourself, be good to yourself, grieve, and heal. And read BR everysingleday!

  39. Amanda says:

    A great article to read at the most definite perfect timing. I always enjoy reading your articles/posts. Thank you. =D

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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