When you’re confronted with a potential situation where you will need to express your concern or upset about something that’s been said or done, you can feel caught between a rock and a hard place. The fact that you’re both adults may cause you to question whether you need to explain but on the flip side, the other party may have the attitude that unless you state it, that there isn’t an issue, which of course will mean that their actions towards you will not reflect your perceptions of things.

Surely they should know…., thinks many a baffled person who feels slighted or even wounded by the actions of someone who appears to be unphased.

How can they not realise that I’m 1) pissed off and 2) why that is? If it were me, I’d know, and I’d be apologising or at the very least not carrying on as if nothing happened.

The truth of the matter is, that while some people really don’t give a eff about what they do and who they hurt, more often than not, lack of awareness about how our actions have impacted another, stems from genuinely not realising that we’ve done something, or not registering the impact level. Some people get a bit confused on the whole empathy front because they feel that it wouldn’t bother them if someone said or did that certain something.

“I just wouldn’t see that as a big deal”, a guy explained to me recently. The trouble is that the person who they hurt, did, and the fact that he was unwilling to empathise with their position meant that it turned into something much bigger than it would have done if he’d just acknowledged where she was coming from.

It’s also easy to claim that we wouldn’t be bothered by something when we either don’t have the experience of being bothered by it, yet. In fact, for some people, it’s easy to make claims of not being bothered because they’re always the one in the driving seat, or because they don’t actually have the capacity to empathise…

There can be a reluctance on our part to be vulnerable and explain what’s bothering us and often, because it’s hogging up our emotional and mental resources, it’s near unfathomable that the other person couldn’t know. This is how so many people end up storing up anger and resentment; they decide not to broach something because ‘Surely they should know if they’re an adult or they care about / love me’, and then of course when they don’t appear to know about it or they don’t seem suitably bothered enough, they take this very personally and feel short-changed, particularly if they’re already a people pleaser and have been compromising themselves in some way.

When something is an open and shut case of assholery, it’s a lot easier to take the ‘I don’t need to explain’ stance. Particularly when the person has form for this kind of thing and has actually previously crossed and even busted up our boundaries, why this has occurred is self-evident. Of course we can explain our position but it’s likely to come from a place of telling this person all about themselves and/or hoping that what we say will influence them to amend their feelings and behaviour.

We may be explaining because we are someone who uses talking and thinking too much, to mask inaction. In these situations, we may be opting to keep explaining rather than addressing the reason why we don’t want to accept the truth of someone’s behaviour or the situation.

When we express concern and raise an issue, what we have to be careful of is hoping that we will be able to influence that person to change so that we can feel better about the fact that we’re engaging with them and have even let stuff slide by in the past.

For most other situations however, especially if what happened is getting merged in with the past or we want to be able to potentially move on from the incident with this person (if it’s not a shady interaction), or they are continuing to do things that compound the original offence, speaking up is key because remaining silent, even with ourselves, and suppressing our truth and the facts, isn’t good for our sense of self. It deeply wounds us and lack of even explanation to the self keeps unhealthy beliefs in play.

We’re all bothered by many of the same things but for different reasons, and a person cannot know our specific reason or our perception of the facts if we don’t voice it.

If you’re bothered by something but aren’t going to raise the issue with the person in question, make sure you raise the issue with you so that you get to a balanced perspective on it (no blaming and shaming you), acknowledge your feelings, and take any appropriate actions that are needed.

You can’t always raise an issue at the time but that doesn’t stop you from learning from the insights that you stand to gain by doing a little reflection on it, plus you quite simply know for next time.

Of course sometimes when you do take the time to raise an issue with someone, you may be met with the whole, “Well, I didn’t know it was an issue until now” and even, “You should have said”, as if there was some sort of expiration date on the option to broach the subject of what they’d done. The potential issue of my actions will self-destruct in thirty minutes. Failure to raise the issue within that time will result in pressing the reset button or denial of responsibility.

Then you say, “I am saying so, now” and they still want to talk about what you ‘should’ have done or analyse the feelings you’re mentioning. The thing is, it’s all very well that they’re pulling you up on not raising an issue at breakneck speed or your response, but the actual issue is what they said or did.


This is where it’s key to ensure that you broach the subject with facts – what happened, what was was said and done. People will argue against or analyse your feelings – “too sensitive” or even “dramatic” – but explaining the facts is difficult to wiggle out of. It becomes about statement as opposed to judgement of you or them. Sometimes we skip over the facts and go to feelings, but feelings aren’t facts and on their own without the facts of the events, what we say about our feelings can also give the impression that we’ve reached a conclusion and aren’t open to an explanation on their end.

Broach with facts and they can hopefully clarify their intent plus you are being assertive – representing you, not to force people to be and do as you want, but to make sure your needs, expectations, feelings, and opinions, are out there too. You matter.

Your thoughts?

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106 Responses to Do we really need to explain why someone’s actions bothered us? Yes, sometimes….even if it’s just to ourselves

  1. rachael says:


    “Do we really need to explain why someone’s actions bothered us? Yes, sometimes….even if it’s just to ourselves”

    I would say ESPECIALLY to ourselves. We really only have control over ourselves and how we respond to others. Of course letting people know where you stand or your perception/feelings is being assertive. This can be done with courtesy and questions can be asked tentatively. If people are going to really hear us, it is important that their position is given equal value. Whether they change is up to them. What I do is up to me.
    It is not another persons actions that bothers me, rather HOW I VIEW their actions – the emotions that arise from MY perception is what ‘bothers me’. Of course I am not talking about abuse here.

  2. Nigella says:


    I make it point not to squander this precious phrase but after reading this article all I have to you is this: I love you.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom. My life has been enriched by your thoughtful & timely posts. Such a blessing to have found BR last year. This one is getting filed as one of top-five articles by you.

    Thank you.

    • Nigella says:

      P.S. I am over-working. I can barely string together grammatically correct sentences. Declare my feelings for the brilliant lady in a sentence riddled with mistakes. Tired. Need rest. Orange juice. Rest.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Hahaha! Not to worry. We all make typos, omissions, etc. At least you read over what you wrote. You’ll be fine, girl! Go ‘head with your bad self. LOL!

  3. Catherine says:

    OMG, this is SUCH a hot button in relationships!! You really hit the nail on the head when you said it makes you vulnerable to share with someone when they have hurt your feelings. This has been so hard for me to do, but I got better at it over the years. Especially once I learned to just sit on my feelings for a while until I calmed down, processed it and then could discuss it without all the drama. But then there is always the Jackass that will tell you you don’t have the right to feel “that” way-like they’re the emotion police. They aren’t that explicit, but they will say something like that doesn’t make any sense, you’re being irrational, anything to minimize ME. In retrospect I realize that is very disrespectful. Ugh!! I hate that!
    On the flip side, I have been guilty of being clueless and hurting other’s feelings, and I hate that as well. I get so frustrated with myself. How can you stop doing something you are totally clueless you’re doing? All I can say is “I’m sorry, I wish I was more sensitive.”
    My all time favorite was when me and my ex-husband, newly married, and we’re out… and his best friend’s girlfriend literally laid across his lap, made physical contact with her torso to his lap, to say something to me. My ex was totally clueless as to why that made me mad?!! I guess that’s why he’s my ex. LOL

    • ScottH says:

      Catherine said: “the Jackass that will tell you you don’t have the right to feel “that” way”
      Natalie said that feelings aren’t always facts. Sometimes you really DON’T have the right to feel “that” way.
      Like Evan Katz also said, “So while I’ll never tell you that you’re not entitled to feel what you feel, if what you feel (anxiety, fear, insecurity) becomes your boyfriend’s problem – when he hasn’t done anything wrong – it’s really on you to deal in a healthier fashion.”
      Sorry but this is a hot button for me. My last gf used to get mad when I would ask her to do something that I wanted (like a backrub)and all because she felt that she should have known to do it without me asking. I was like HUH?!?!
      Just because you have a feeling doesn’t make it the law.

      • Catherine says:

        Hey Scott!
        This really is a hot button in all relationships, how we deal with conflict and communication. You’re right that feeling does not equal fact. I was talking more about when you get minimized because your feelings were hurt or something. A counselor told me once that if I did something that bothered my ex or he did something that bothered me, it didn’t matter if we agreed with each other that it SHOULD bother us, what was important was that we treat each other with respect and that if we were doing something to each that that caused a problem, we should have respect for the other and stop doing it. This of course does not include over-controlling behavior, or abusive behavior, etc. It sounds to me like your ex gf was upset with you because she couldn’t read your mind! That is really silly.

    • rachael says:

      I tend to agree with Scott.
      “the Jackass that will tell you you don’t have the right to feel “that” way-like they’re the emotion police. They aren’t that explicit, but they will say something like that doesn’t make any sense, you’re being irrational, anything to minimize ME.”
      Possibly what is happening here is that ‘he’ is taking your feelings expressions as attacks on him and what he is really saying is it’s not HIS fault.
      You then, see his words as minimising YOU, but maybe they are just a defense?

  4. espresso says:

    My ex would always say that he didn’t agree with me when I expressed a feeling of hurt, sadness, disappointment or anger. He made a big point of saying it didn’t bother him so it “shouldn’t” bother me. As well as lacking empathy it always got him off the hook for taking responsibility for anything he said and did.

    I think people who do and say this also have few boundaries and are usually people pleasers but because I was brainwashed I sort of accepted his rationale even though my gut was telling me it was all wrong.
    It is sometimes really hard to express what you feel because of what you get back…that isn’t good and is a reason for leaving a relationship – he made it impossible – but it is really important that people never bs themselves.

    • oregon girl says:

      Espresso: The key thing you just said is “gut.” If your gut is telling you that another person is hurting you, not owning up to it, and not showing any signs of caring about how they hurt you, you feel a knife poking into your stomach. Listen to that feeling. Your body knows more than you do.

      For two years my (separated) MM kept telling me that it “shouldn’t” bother me that he was married and that he sometimes spent time with her and didn’t call me for days. Well, it did hurt me. He refused to acknowledge his role in this scenario, so I decided to make it my scenario. It hurt me, so I left him. My stomach aches stopped immediately.

      I did feel lonely and blue for a while, but the knife pain in my stomach was truly gone, once and for all.

  5. Pauline says:

    I find I’m guilty of not saying anything at the time when something has bothered me and I need to speak up more often.
    My communications skills need a lot of work, I’m fine in a work situation where it’s all facts and not emotions. When it comes to personal relations I find it hard to tell someone early enough if something bothers me. I haven’t said anything, they don’t know I’m upset and continue on their way until I’ve had enough and then I leave or cut them off and I STILL don’t tell them why. I always thought they should somehow know, how silly is that when I think about it rationally.
    Thanks so much for this post Nat, a great reminder that I need to work on finding my voice and how I communicate with family and friends.

    • rachael says:


      Maybe part of why its so hard to tell people how we feel is that when we do this, we are letting them know we have ‘buttons’ that are being pushed and this is seen by society as a ‘weakness’

      • Pauline says:


        There’s a big element of being seen as weak or needy when we do become open and vulnerable to someone who doesn’t really have our best interests at heart … as we find out to our own cost.
        These days I know I’m very careful of who I confide in if it’s anything important or personal. After having my ex husband throw any & all confidences I told him back in my face when we were having an argument, I’m extremely reluctant of confiding anything to anyone in case it gets brought up at a later date & used against me.

        • rachael says:


          Sadistic, controlling or ‘wanting to be right’ behaviours are something we might wanna know about before we give a man the time of day :)

  6. Claire says:

    This very issue has been an absolute emotional drain on me of late. Last month I told my mum exactly what I felt about a few things, one of which was to help me deal with my rejection issues. All I managed to do initially was kick up a storm, but now, I think, we’re coming out the otherside of it. Its been an all-consuming experience though. Explaining to her how her actions have hurt have been a revelation to her. She was totally emotionally unaware. I think she’s trying now. This relationship has been the most exhausting I have ever had.

  7. Nicole says:

    I went through being pursued heavily by a guy, things seemed to be going great, then poof, 3 months later disappeared….then a month later resurfaced saying he didn’t want to hurt me, that he cared for me and wanted to take things slow. Hardly heard from him. He seemed drastically different than the man that I had first known….not wanting to even call me, say g he wanted to text to take things “slow”. Then he tried to pull the “we need to be friends first” after fast forwarding me in the beginning. I told him did he not understand how hurtful his actions were, didn’t he know the crap he put me through, etc etc…his response “whatever….I don’t understand you”.
    ??? Clueless

    • Stephanie says:


      He is a prime candidate for a flushing!! To disappear and comeback acting like things are okay and then not having the insight into your insensitive behavior is a big red flag!! “we need to be friends first” is a sign that he is wishy washy and that is not behavior you want to start of with in a relationship. Also, why do they seem to act up at the 3 month mark? LOL

      • Nicole says:

        Oh he’s definitely not relationship material. I’m not sure if this guy is emotionally unavailable or an assclown lol
        He tries to contact me once a month I notice.

        3 months….good question lol

        • Pauline says:

          After about 3 months they suddenly realise that things are getting serious, you’re a real person with wants and expectations.
          In their eyes it’s been casual and lots of fun, sex and good times and then … reality hits, they notice you really like them and are getting somewhat comfortable, making forward plans, getting together with family and friends just like a real relationship.
          They panic and run.

          Have you ever done that yourself, gone out with a guy who likes you a whole lot more than you like him? You don’t feel the same way so you say goodbye because you know you are never going to feel about him the way he feels about you. I have. Best to just leave than cause more pain and heartache down the track when they get even more invested the longer it continues.

          • Nicole says:

            I’ve actually never done that to any man. My thing is…if the reality hits after 3 months…why make contact once every month? Why not move on for good?
            Makes no sense to me

            • Pauline says:

              As Nat says, he’s not worth the steam off your pee! Assclown & general wanker at large!

              Block his number in your phone or if your phone is a bit old like mine & you can’t block texts but can block calls, send him the two little magic words …

              PISS OFF

              He’ll understand that, I’ll bet he’s heard it plenty of times before.

        • Catherine says:

          My vote is for “assclown”. Isn’t that behavior what Natalie refers to as pressing the reset button?

          • Nicole says:

            Total assclown this guy is. The only good thing about him is that he resembles Tom Hardy lol

            • ThreeDLife says:

              Nicole, I had an AC that had a 3-month threshhold for ANY relationship. He pressed the reset button with me 3 times. Guess how long the reset lasted? You got it – 3 months! I think this is the magic timeline that means they have to deliver in actions matching words or retreat/disappear/cause trouble. If they are EU they don’t do “long-term.” Three months must differentiate short from long term LOL.

              • Nicole says:

                This guy would text me, then I would go days without hearing from him…he did it once a month like clockwork. No clue why.

  8. Gina says:

    This post really resonated with me as it seems that we live in a world in which more and more people seem to be suffering from some type of personality disorder due to a co.bination of genetics and negative chilhood experiences. If one encounters this type of person and we choose to express how this person’s behavior makes us feel, it is often an exercise in futility to expect that when confronting this person, they will show empathy towards you. I have learned to say my piece (i.e. stand up for myself firmly and politely) and then, for my own sanity and peace of mind, disassociate myself from what I perceived to be a toxic relationship. Since recently undergoing an EKG test which showed that I had a mild heart attack (follow up tests showed that my heart and arteries were fine) I came to the conclusion that my chest pains were caused by stress and anxiety. In looking after my own best interest it became imperative that I accept the reality of the situation and flee from toxic and emotionally draining people as quickly as I possibly could.

    • oregon girl says:

      I’m glad you dealt with that, Gina. I had the same thing. My last relationship was so stressful it was affecting my heart. Literally. It was a good thing I broke it off with him before any permanent damage was done. Even now, my phone buzz still gets me antsy and a bit scared.

  9. Rewind says:

    I did send something right before I went NC after a four year relationship where I was constantly humiliated and disrespected. I just snapped after he sent me a ridiculous text. It was honest and I finally got all my feelings out on how he treats women. It was pretty harsh and I felt guilty for sending it, yet it gave me the closure I would never have gotten from him. I just knew he would be furious but guess what….two days later I get a text saying “good morning.” Really?

    I didn’t respond…time to quit the drama on both our parts and move on. I know people say not to send such emails, but I feel better and it obviously didn’t bother his inflated ego.

    • Nicole says:

      Isn’t it funny how they come back, especially with a lazy ass text, and act as if everything is fine?

      • Pauline says:

        I told a girlfriend about the AC leaving the country to live in the UK and I told her, that’s it, I’ll never hear from him again, after all the UK is 12000 miles away.
        She just laughed and said he’ll never go away, he’s an assclown, he thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread, is incapable of seeing himself in a bad light and will keep popping in and out of my life as it suits him.
        Last year I thought he was gone forever after 7 months of not hearing a peep from him, I was wrong.
        Do these dudes eventually go away for good?

        • ThreeDLife says:

          Pauline, I think they CAN go away for good, but only if they see it in THEIR best interest. They have no empathy, so don’t care if their hot/cold actions impact you or not. It’s all about them.

        • Mephista says:

          They definitely do go away, when you tell them to eff off and REALLY mean it. They disappear without one single additional word. The fact that he can contact you after months means you haven’t cut all the lines of communication with him? Blocking?

          • oregon girl says:

            If you have a man who continually and perpetually pursues you even after you have BROKEN UP WITH HIM, one way to get rid of him is to tell him you have a new boyfriend. My counselor told me that some men will NOT accept that it is over until they see with their own eyes that you have moved on to another man. Then they don’t want you any more.

            • EllyB says:

              @oregon girl: “If you have a man who continually and perpetually pursues you even after you have BROKEN UP WITH HIM, one way to get rid of him is to tell him you have a new boyfriend.”

              I think there is a much better way: “No contact” (blocking all means of communication!)! This way they couldn’t bother us anymore no matter whether there is a new guy in our life or not.

              Some of those exes will turn into stalkers, and stalkers are dangerous. We shouldn’t rely upon another partner only to (possibly) get rid of them!

            • Pauline says:

              Oregon girl

              I know you will probably not get this reply but thanks for the tip. If he contacts me again by text as that’s the only way he can (have an older phone won’t block texts) everything else is blocked, I’ll tell him I’m seeing someone else, even get a photo taken with a good looking dude who he won’t know and send it to him. He knows I’m not going out with anyone.
              You know that might just do the trick.

    • rachael says:

      He probably felt flattered that his behaviour was still triggering you

      • oregon girl says:

        Elly. I agree with you totally! Thanks for the comment! But there are some men who refuse to be blocked. Let me explain. With my EUM, when I blocked him from my cell, he would borrow a phone and call me from a different number. I got a new number, and somehow (I do not know how!!!) he go it. I blocked his email, and he would invent new accounts like “” etc. He would show up at my work with flowers. He would create fake profiles and go to dating sites to look for me there. Seriously!!! But after I told him I had a new boyfriend, he called me one more time (angry), and then finally left me alone. In my case, it was the only way to get him to stop.

  10. Clare says:

    I have an ex who used to block me from that particular means of communication whenever I raised an issue with his behaviour that concerned or upset me.

    So if we were talking in person, he’d get in his car and leave, or go to his room and lock the door. If we were talking on the phone he’d hang up, if on Skype, he’d block me and so on. His capacity for addressing something which bothered me was almost zero. And by the way, I took pains to express myself in as non-blaming and gentle a way as possible. He just had absolutely no ability or desire for self-reflection or change.

    Sometimes he would change a behaviour somewhat to please me, but he always liked to make it very clear that he was in control of this. He giveth, but he could also taketh away. And he never changed any behaviour without world-ending levels of drama and tantrums first. It was maddening and crazy-making.

    Have no idea how I managed that for four years, but I did.

    • rachael says:

      “HIS capacity for addressing SOMETHING WHICH BOTHERED ME was almost zero…”
      With all due respect, Clare, is it HIS responsibility to fix how YOU feel?

      “I took pains to express myself in as non-blaming and gentle a way as possible. He just had absolutely no ability or desire for self-reflection or change.”
      That you clearly thought he SHOULD change, belies the fact that you ARE blaming him, no matter how much you tiptoe.

      • Clare says:


        No, I didn’t think he needed to fix how I felt, but I did expect him to care. When I raised something which concerned me, he was always, always dismissive. He would shut the conversation down. I don’t think I was expecting him to take responsibility for how I felt, with all due respect, I was just expecting him to communicate with me.

        Yes, I suppose I did feel he should change. I don’t find the traits of selfishness, anger, moodiness and emotional coldness to be very endearing or conducive to a relationship. Which is why I’m not in it any more.

    • ThreeDLife says:

      I can relate. I also had a relationship partner who would get in his car and leave whenever he had to deal with an issue I brought up. I decided I had to bring it up. I could no longer “suffer in silence.” It was very disconcerting. If someone won’t stay to talk through an issue or try to come to a mutual understanding, what hope is there for the relationship? Basically people that do this are escaping into their own world. I agree, sometimes these guys have “no ability or desire for self-reflection or change.” They think they are always “right.” It is also a control mechanism. If I encounter this behavior in the future, I am going to call them on it. There isn’t much room for a true relationship if one of you is always retreating from conflict. It takes teamwork to have a good MUTUAL relationship!

      • Clare says:


        How right you are. If someone is not willing to even attempt to talk about or try to resolve a legitimate concern, what hope is there for a relationship?

        How can you become intimate with someone who gets in their car and leaves whenever something is the smallest bit not to their liking (and by that I mean you trying to talk to them)?

  11. Stephanie says:

    When the ex-AC/EUM tried to comeback after treating me poorly and running off with another women, I never asked him not one question about where he had been or why he did what he did. Why? Because why have someone explain the unexplainable? I already knew he had a ready made explanation for me just in case I asked, so why bother asking someone to explain why they hurt me and treated me bad is pointless. It didn’t matter because I knew I was done! I let him wonder WHY I never asked him and he soon figured it out when I didn’t want to have anything else to do with him. Sometimes not allowing people to sit and justify their bad behavior drives them crazy! Because no matter what they will continue to believe that they did nothing wrong (even when deep down they know they hurt you). The best thing you can do is walk away and let them be.

    • Nicole says:

      I notice when I did ask the guy I was involved with question, I got answers that were even reminiscent to what a little boy would give me (eg. I don’t know, maybe, I’m sorry,)
      Sometimes it is pointless to even ask the why’s and how’s I notice.

    • oona says:

      I agree – if you are NOT wishing to have a relationship with them.

    • rachael says:


      I am gonna get to know their values before I let them ‘know’ me.

    • Mephista says:

      I agree with both Nat and you, Stephanie. With normal people you certainly need to communicate if something needs to be said. But not with EUMs, it’s lost on them as they have little empathy and even less interest. I need to communicate that cheating on me/ disappearing without a word for weeks or months isn’t a good thing to do??? Please! You’re right to flush without an explanation.

  12. Lucy says:

    I resolved some time ago that I would either address an issue / behaviour that bothers me, or consciously decide not to address it – but then I would let it go. There is noing worse than not saying something and getting all passive-aggressive instead (my mother is great at that) or bottling up so much anger / disappointment that at some point you will explode over a thing that might seem fairly trivial from the outside.

    I think we owe it to ourselves and to other people to speak up. Because in many cases people are not even aware of the effect their actions have. (I have just seen that again at work where I addressed an “issue” with a colleague and it turned out to be a complete misunderstanding)We tend to think that everyone has same perception of the “truth” or of what is right or fair, but I have seen so often that perspectives can be so different – and that is even with people who love and know you. I also never liked the “if you really love me you should know what I want or what hurts me” thing. That kind of assumes we all have exactly the same thoughts, feelings and reactions all the time – which obviously is bull.

    And in the other cases where people are intentionally negligent or hurtful they need to see the boundaries.

    I just wish I had practised what I preached when seeing the EUM, but speaking up seems to be much more difficult when I have the feeling I don’t have the “right” to ask for something, or when I deep inside know that addressing a point will just flash out the unwanted truth… All the time I wanted to tell him that I am not up for being treated casually, for disappearing and then pressing the reset button, for communication only via text – but I said nothing, not wanting to seem needy, difficult, or insecure (what a laugh). Little did I want to see, that I probably communicated exactly the opposite. Because he either thought I really was so “cool” about it as I pretended to be, or he saw me as someone with no self-confidence whom he could just use as he pleased. Either way not good.

    And when I finally had enough I just went NC and never heard from him again. Not even at that point I told him what bothered me and why I didn’t want to see him again. Why? Because i didn’t want to give him the ego boost to see what I felt for him. I thought I would be better just to disappear and leave him in the dark about my feelings for him, then making myself vulnerable. Thinking a bout it now, what crap! Why should I have been afraid to show him some boundaries! Even if he would have seen it as a confirmation that he is the Hottest Guy on EarthTM, why should that have hindered me showing am that I don’t want to be treated in a less than manner.

    As it is, he just had the fun and got out very easily, no hard words, no drama, nothing. I felt and sometimes still feel like something he had used and discarded without an afterthought, even though it had been my decision to go NC, and it really hurt. And I am still regretting that I never spoke up. Butafter a year of NC it is bothering less and I am trying to see it as a learning experience. One step more towards self-confidence an boundaries.

    • oona says:

      OO yes this resonates with me – to make yourself vulnerable is really really hard….especially with someone you are SAFE with.

      Are you sure you didn’t sense you were NOT actually safe with this man hense the defense of not making yourself vulnerable/exposing that he needed to buck up or buck out?
      If so, please don’t be so hard on yourself – if the man was authentic, why did he not find a gentle loving way to communicate with you, when you went non contact? Wouldn’t you have done so if the shoe was on the other foot? I would clearly see it as a sign I’d upset someone.
      Non contact is a form of communication in itself – that says you are respecting yourself first and foremost. Non communication isn’t. Don’t feel bad about your choice of ending – that was the good bit – now you have a new beginning….

    • Stephanie says:


      At the end of the day — Who cares what he thinks or feels? Because no matter what you would have said to him, he would have either denied it or minimized how he treated you. My view is this–there wouldn’t been enough time or words to tell the ex-AC/EUM about himself! You have to ask yourself – Is it worth it to tell them about themselves if you not going to deal with them anymore? I explain to the ex-EUM why I didn’t want to be with him anymore and that’s all I needed to do. No further explanation. I didn’t need to hear him justifying why he treated me the way he did. Its was over and there was nothing else left to say, but goodbye.

    • rachael says:

      “… the feeling I don’t have the “right” to ask for something…”
      I think you can ask… just not helpful to EXPECT.

    • Tee Tee says:

      I know that feeling. It happened to me.
      It is best to gleam some learning from it for next time. It hurts for sure, but, at least it is no longer happening now! It gets better

  13. Lauren says:

    This is a very important issue. For a long time I thought I was learning that it was best not to express my feelings because people didn’t care how I felt anyway or they would respond badly to it. I thought there was something wrong with me for feeling the way I did. I’ve come to the conclusion now that my feelings are valid and I don’t need anyone else to agree with them. However, I do need to let people know when I’m upset with them and they are important to me and leave their response with them.

    In all honesty I suspect I haven’t reacted very well to people trying to tell me that they were unhappy with something I had done. This was because I felt so badly about myself and I couldn’t take it. I’ve tried not to give myself such a beating for things now and resolve things as best I can. I certainly do care when I’ve upset someone though and always acknowledge them.

    Sometimes people are surprised when you confront them about something because they are just being how they have always been and they don’t understand why you suddenly have a problem with it. Recently I pulled a friend up on something – I explained myself calmly and made it clear that I wasn’t blaming her for being different from me etc. She initially said she didn’t want to lose my friendship blah blah blah, then carried on doing what I was upset about. Then I was angry and told her so…so she accuses me of attacking her and if I had talked to her about it then things would have been different???!!! People come out with all sorts of crap. If you are true to yourself and express yourself calmly, then you know you are doing the right thing. It can be hurtful when people respond in a way that shows they don’t care about you but you have to care about you more.

    • rachael says:


      ‘Don’t cast your pearls before swine’ comes to mind. At some point you must decide whether that person is someone you want to be around. Good on you for your communication efforts :)

  14. oona says:

    As a child I can easily remember my fear of being associated with the ‘bad traits’ of my (secretly alone EU) mother and… not loved – by speaking up and pointing out the things people don’t want to hear.
    And so thy will be done…for the next 40 odd years. Like mother like daughter.
    As an adult I began to feel I was highly radical, in that it should be felt to be an honour to receive the truth from me (I thought this was a change from my mothers behaviour!) – unfortunately the people I was giving my truth to – nice and not nice – did not agree and either passive aggressively or directly, I would be attacked for it (shoot the messenger) – and I provoked it, with the excuse that I was trying to connect with them and it was they who were not connecting with me.
    I felt I was rescuing them (preachy and sacrificing) and they should be grateful to me for my sacrifice, my honesty. They felt demoralized and attacked by me, and on their guard defensive, not letting up on anything. I thought I was connecting and that they were rejecting me.
    I have just realized that I spoke the truth about what I perceived THEIR issues were – not MY own actual issues about how they were actually interacting with me! – ie that they were using me to solve their problems, using me to get rid of their own anger or guilt and that we were not in a caring safe reciprocal relationship.
    All my relationships were co-dependancy from doing maths homework for the primary school playground bully to any services required for my ex EUM….
    I have often told myself ‘If I were them I would never treat anyone like that’ ‘they know what they have done to me’ ‘they know that they shouldn’t take advantage of people’ and took the moral high ground and sat in silence surpressing yet more pain inside whilst allowing yet another person trample me down and treated me like dirt, never to be seen of again…until they want some more ego love or to be made to feel like a God.
    I have learned a new sentence through therapy, it goes like this – you fill the gaps in for your own personal issue…

    When you do this….
    it makes me feel…
    and the consequences are……

    This week I had to listen to my adored Dad wax lyrical about his prospective new daughter-in-law who has a PHD in electrical engineering(his field of work), is wonderfully exotic/cultured from Mexico, has money of her own, is expecting twins with my brother (also successful with his own home, career, well travelled) and ‘there is nothing not to like about her’…
    That was it I barely heard anything of the rest of the conversation – unless it was negative, and I was in agreement with everything including stuff I actually didn’t agree with. I signed up to everything.
    This is all from a man who has never ever said well done to me for anything – even though I achieved some things. He has never ever congratulated me on my appearance – unless he’d chosen it, my degrees, my friends, never told me he was proud of me, empathized with me, only ever told me I was wrong, wrong, wrong, being petty or baring a grudge like my (alone EU)Grandma – on the few occasions I raised an issue. I mean he couldn’t possibly be wrong could he? Look, he is successful family man with one successful son, so who am I to disagree?
    Apparently I have the worst parts of himself and my mother’s personality – and this was told to me while I was recovering from serious illness in a hospital bed, like it was good that my Brother and Himself actually recognised I was sadly lacking – unlike them. And they are right I was sadly lacking…. from a reality check.
    This 18 months I have fought near death, survived 7 operations, I am now disabled after relying all my life on peak physical fitness, had to relearn to walk – I am now up to 1/2 a mile :-), unable to work with serious anxiety issues/PTSD and have been told its highly unlikely I could physically ever conceive – one of the few things in life I think I would have actually have liked to do – and that is even if I could find a man who didn’t beat ten bells out of me and run a full community smear campaign knowing exactly what he was doing to me psychologically or in fact allow any man or friend, anywhere near me, ever again.
    I have restled with this conversation for a week – my usual MO. Surpressing MY pain – I thought that was actually allowing myself to feel the pain!?! It has slowly dawned on me from working through the other posts that my repetitive reaction is – to not actually say anything about how someone else makes me feel – bad or good. I show no truth of myself.
    He/they have no boundaries with me at all. As I remain hidden. None.
    So I wonder what is it that stops me expressing my pain? The anticipation that it will be worse for me if I rock the boat…Could it really be any worse than what I’ve actually had so far? I think this is it, I always believe it could and focus on the – what ifs? instead of the – what if not’s? of my actions.
    Thank you Natalie and the others on this site, you have filled holes that therapy hasn’t so far. I hope you have a really connected good life where you feel safe, valued and loved and can healthily grow.
    If anyone has some stories about how they overcame their silence, please can you share them… I have a birthday and family wedding to go through – alone, disabled, beaten and unemployed –
    when you share
    it makes me feel that I’m not alone
    and the consequences are, I feel it is possible to feel a healthy love.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      *tears* *HUGS*

      I don’t know if it’s of any use but for me in the end I simply opted out of the toxic parts of my family and kept the halfway decent ones.

      People assume that because I am articulate and can speak up for others then I must be able to speak up for myself but I’ve always found it difficult. Loking back with BR eyes I’ve worked out that I find it most difficult when I am depending on someone for something or I have disempowered myself. I think that’s why it’s so important to make loving and looking after me number one priority. I am getting better at working out when I need to speak up and when I need to walk.

      You are never alone, someone here, or out there has experienced, or knows, or understands at least a part of your experience. I am constantly blown away by the stories of suffering and strength and recovery shared by BR posters. And very grateful for their sharing.

      *more hugs*

    • Tee Tee says:

      I’m sending a gigantic hug!
      This big ((((((( xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxooxoxo )))))))
      That is a lot to put up with and stifle yourself with. Glad you are releasing slowly. What if not indeed! Take care of you. Be gentle with yourself most of all.

  15. oona says:

    oo the last bit should be…
    and the consequences are, I feel it is possible to feel a healthy love… for myself.

  16. Tired says:

    I have been learning all the time i got over a big mistake with a mm and have got stronger and im quite proud of that . I was bobbing along at work but stupidly grew to like a ac who was in the last stages of his marraige . His wife left him and he started to pusue me . I knew it was rebound so kept well away . Didnt do the Florence night gale bit and set boundaries . He worked where i did but walked out to have his kids as his wife went off with someone eles . I understood he was debased by his wife leaving so stood far away from it . Months went by and i was okay and he caught me off quard one night by turning up where i was drinking . Well he reeled me in good and proper and spat me back out two days later . Im up off my arse , dusted myself down and carrying on but cant help but feel stupid. He came in the shop three times in the week after he dumped me and i wanted to say stay away you have hurt me . But i just turned my back on him as i just couldn’t see the point . Tbh i dont think hed give a toss .

    • rachael says:

      I think we speak up for our own sake, rather than to change HIM. It lets it out, but we cannot know how the other may respond. It could make matters worse!

      • Catherine says:

        “I think we speak up for our own sake, rather than to change HIM”

        I think this statement is full of wisdom and an integral part of having self-respect.

        There is a lot of wisdom in these responses to Natalie’s posts. I’m cutting and pasting some of the comments that resonate with me for future contemplation. Thanks to all of you!

  17. Tinkerbell says:

    Well, I recently had this situation come up. Mr. Special and I have grown apart. I was still wanting to continue the relationship in spite of it not meeting certain needs, because he was such a great guy. But, he changed. He’s always been honest about his feelings so I can’t say he was deceptive at any time. But I think his inability to please me sexually d/t ED has gotten the best of him and he doesn’t want to deal with it any longer. He knows I’ve always held out hope for a very close love affair in spite of this factor and he’s been gradually pulling away for a couple of weeks. The other day we had a phone convo. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile and so I said to him, “Don’t you want to SEE me?” His answer was, “I have your picture”. I was highly insulted and could not believe he had actually said that. I didn’t call him on it because I could not imagine how he would not realize how that sounded to me and that I would feel hurt. After a few days he telephoned me and asked if I was angry because I got off the phone so quickly. I still didn’t tell him that I felt he’d been callous and that I was hurt because my feeling was that he should have known this without my having to mention it. Still, I tried to take the high road, and mailed him an Easter card. When he received it he called and in thanking me for the card he said that “Easter snuck up on him all of a sudden”. Now this man attends church every Sunday without fail so that was not even logical that he would not to realize Easter was approaching. He just had no intention of sending me a card, like he did last year. As soon as he received my card he went out and bought one and mailed it to me, however, it arrived on Monday after Easter, “a day late and a dollar short”, as we say here in the states. I have not responded to his phone call nor have I called to thank him for the card because as far as I’m concerned I would not have even gotten one if I hadn’t sent him one. Since he has changed and has been making it clear that he only wants a phone buddy, I’ve ended things and have gone NC. It hurts, because as I said, it was a good relationship, but then again, the crucial element of sex was practically absent. We wanted different things. I probably should have spoken up and given him a piece of my mind when I had the chance but I felt that it should not have been necessary and that if he couldn’t see the damage he did then the hell with it. Anyway, I’m back out here looking for a replacement. It’s hard for me not to have a man in my life, so I’m going to dally around on, just for fun. I know there will be no more love affairs for me. But one thing is for sure, next time I will tell whoever where he can go if I feel insulted or disrespected.

    • oona says:

      I’m sorry to hear that Tinkerbell – you usually sound much more upbeat and pro-active. But what have you really got when you have no communication with someone?
      As for never having another lover… never say never….besides that – love yourself – you are great and worth more than a relationship with no real connection in it.
      Isn’t Easter about rebirth?

    • rachael says:


      d/t ED???

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Tink,

      Sorry to hear you and Mr. Special have broken up. It sounds like his medical condition and dealing with it has got the better of him. That was always going to be a tough issue to deal with for both of you.
      You’re wise to go no contact and let it go, some things just can’t be fixed and love isn’t always enough.
      My heart goes out to you, I know how much this man meant to you and you to him.
      Take care hugs.

    • Nigella says:


      Sorry to hear things did not improve with him – and that he chose not to exit as gracefully as he could have by directly & gently *telling* you that at best he can offer you a friendship but not a passionate relationship. Pulling a slow-fade especially at his age is not classy. Managing down expectations to phone calls is not classy. Cowardly? Yes. Fortunately, you see things as they are. This takes guts.

      Mr. Special did care about you. He is not a jerk – as you already know. But one can play hide-&-seek or ‘guess-what-I’m-thinking’ only for so long before it gets tiresome. I hope you take comfort in knowing that you gave him enough time & opportunities to get closer to you. His condition is unfortunate but it’s not your millstone to bear.

      If I could, I’d send you a stud with large, lust-arousing loins with whom you could create plenty of fireworks. Sadly, my powers are limited, so for now I’m sending my best wishes – sooner or later, I hope you find someone capable of satisfying you sexually, intellectually, and emotionally. You deserve to be loved and fulfilled.

    • simple pleasures says:

      Tink, as I posted a long time ago, I don’t think it has anything to do with you, or his physical limitations, I think from what you have said about his prior relationships and your
      involvement he was always emotionally unavailable. He is incapable of a sustaining relationship, no matter what. Even though he is a great guy, he can’t give beyond a certain point.

    • Alice says:


      His response to you was sarcastic, and in this situation, it’s hostility disguised as humor.
      So, it isn’t funny; it’s hurtful because he was being callous because he was being insensitive, uncaring, etc.

      I can see why you feel disrespected.

      You have written many times about how this guy uses sarcastic responses to avoid directly answering your questions, and resolving issues, etc.

      He unfolded. You know who he is. You’ve gone NC before, and you’ve broken it under the guise of friendship. You keep circling back to this <b?relationship, but he hasn’t changed; he wants a relationship on his terms, which includes you settling for no sex (which clearly YOU both want and need), and you must agree to being his phone buddy when he can’t handle whatever the heck issue he has that prevents him from sustaining a real relationship.

      Top line data: he’s emotionally unavailable; he has poor communication skills; he can be thoughtful, but he
      can also be thoughtLESS, and when he is thoughtless, he HURTS you, and he is probably negatively impacting your self-esteem.

      So, I say cut your losses this time for good. And as you tell us, NC means NC, Tinkerbell–not I’ll keep him as a ‘friend’ because ….

      Yes, you have to be careful about how you allow other people to treat you!

      I’m NOT sorry: I don’t think this guy is a great guy. I don’t think he is special. I don’t think he is a monster; I think he was a ‘better’ relationship than the ACMM you were involved with before him.

      Your situation reminds me of Natalie’s article with the ‘footprints’…er, on one relationship leading to better relationship…, etc.

      I can imagine it might be difficult to end a promising relationship, or a ‘better’ relationship, but you are still betting on potential when, presently, he isn’t meeting your needs.

      I’d take the good from this relationship, recognize it was good while it lasted, do what you said you plan to do in your next relationship to avoid similar problems, and as we also say in the states, “bounce.”

      You are a kickass chick Tinkerbell! You deserve so much better, and there are truly great guys out there.

      I wonder sometimes if you are afraid of being alone. I can’t understand why a kickass chick like you, wouldn’t want to spend more time with a kickass chick like you.

      But, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you want and need a man in your life–fine, nothing ‘wrong’ with that…. Men are scrumptious…you know what I mean … ;)

      Good luck :)

      • Alice says:

        You keep circling back to this relationship.

      • Furry White Dogs says:

        Well put! *cue applause*

      • Mymble says:

        I so agree.
        ED does not prevent him from being warm, loving, kind and present in your life. You were right not to remonstrate with him about his comment, or the card, because these things are symptomatic of deeper issues that he clearly has no intention of addressing. He will do this kind of stuff over and over and indeed he will get worse if you let him back. You deserve better. He’s not that special

        • Tinkerbell says:


          I agree that ED should not have prevented him from being warm, loving and kind. He was just that for a long time. I think that no matter how much I tried to reassure him that I loved him AS A PERSON he could not stop putting the sexual spin on our relationship. He told me quite awhile ago when he first realized that there was no remedy that he felt less than a man. I was surprised that he would verbally admit to me that he felt that way, but he did. And, apparently as time has passed he has felt increasingly pressured because of his impotence even though the pressure has not been coming from me. But, hell I couldn’t turn myself into a different person who was totally asexual. It is his problem and his alone. The more tolerant I was he began to not only pull away but become callous. I will not give him another chance to hurt me. He was fortunate to have me as long as he did. But, I have to live my own life and be who I am. He’s a confirmed introvert and I am not. So it never would have worked out forever, anyway.

  18. HappyAgain says:


    I read about your experiences. I can relate to some of your feelings. That was very mean to say some of what they’ve said. You obviously have the positive trait of empathy which they lack. We have to keep choosing us. Here’s to you choosing you and I wish you the very best. :-) I hope you feel better soon.

    • Tee Tee says:

      Phew! I experienced some crappy things this year. And though i voiced to those involved the whys and wherefores, they didn’t really see the entire depth of why i was upset etc.
      I have been doing some talks with me and some chants, and one of them ends with i choose me. The others are varied and around knowing that all i need and seek for peace is within me. It’s amazing what choosing to focus on you does for the self.

      Reading ‘we have to keep choosing us’ triggered a smile here :) I know. If in doubt choose you, always choose you. Here’s to choosing ourselves and acting in congruence with core being. Easier said than done, but let’s try and do and do again!

  19. Rosie says:

    Tinkerbell- I don’t post much anymore but still read regularly, still look forward to updates on how you’re doing. I’m sorry to know that you and Mr. Special broke up. Please be good to yourself during this time, please don’t blame yourself for the break-up just because you enjoy sex. You were willing to stick it out with him no matter what. Remember that.

  20. ThreeDLife says:

    As Natalie states, “Surely they should know…., thinks many a baffled person who feels slighted or even wounded by the actions of someone who appears to be unphased.”

    I am still astounded that some people cannot phathom their actions have had hurtful consequences.

    “Oh, you set up an x-rated “adult” dating site, well excuse me, but I am hurt!”

    How can someone not know if they are in an exclusive relationship, it would hurt the other person to setup an “adult” dating profile “just to see what’s out there.”???

    Sometimes I find it hard to believe these situations can occur!

    In the past, I would have “stuffed” my feelings and not said anything, but thanks to this blog, I no longer “suffer in silence.” I speak my mind and try to understand. I have come a long way, but still have a ways to go.

    • A says:


      This is on a different level. Also, a lot of AC’s will pretend as though they have done nothing wrong or don’t see the problem as a sort of mindf*ck.

      Obviously, it’s not okay to set up a dating profile when you’re in a relationship. Obviously, this means that he is trying to cheat. This isn’t a circumstance of explaining to someone how they have hurt you – it’s time to get the hell away from this guy ASAP.

    • Tee Tee says:

      ThreeD life – please run **takes off own trainers** here – run and get away from this person! For your own sanity!

  21. Tinkerbell says:

    To All My Wonderful BR Friends,

    Words cannot express how much you’ve made we feel better. Your words are so insightful and wise. Why is it that we can be so wise with other people’s situations but with our own, not so much? I’ve been functioning really well, keeping busy seeing my friends a lot and staying busy. I’ve been involving myself in more activities to get out of the house. I know this is best for me especially right now. I miss him, but I know I’ve done the right thing. I’m beating myself up a bit because he told me a year ago that he didn’t think he could make me happy. I didn’t believe it. Yeah, I know better. “When they tell you who they are, believe it.” I was on BR BEFORE I met him. But, I was stubborn and thought I had so much love for him and that I was so great and wonderful I could win him over. As I write this now it sounds so stupid. I’m not a school girl any more, jaysus! I will be okay. No, there is nothing he can offer me even if he were to try to make a comeback. And, I know it’s his issue. I think he has probably always been EU but he was able to camoflage it when he was sexually active. Now, it would be impossible for any sensible woman not to realize something is terribly wrong, OTHER THAN the fact of his inability to perform. I know now, for sure, that I cannot be his “friend”. It has to be NC. I have to heal my battered heart and move on. I’ve always said to myself that no body(man) is indispensable. I have too much to give to be downgraded to phone buddy after the relationship(?) we had. And, I’m determined to get as much as I give or chalk it up.

    Girls, thanks again to each one of you for your kindness. It’s very much appreciated. Hugs all around, Tink.

    • Sandy says:


      I agree with Alice and as I have said before you did kind of put him on a pedestal…I do wonder whether you actually just like the thought of having a man in your life in anyway you can just so you know you have someone there. Why is it that you can’t just be by yourself? I truly don’t think going straight out looking for a replacement is a good thing to do but it is your life. And as you have advised me to so often NO CONTACT is NO CONTACT. I am sorry it didn’t work out for you though, but to be honest sex, intimacy is a huge part of a relationship, yes I know it’s not the be all and end all but it is still important.
      Big hugs to you Tink.

    • Little Star says:

      Dear Tink, I can’t give you much advise, as you such a wise lady and you will find a way;) I just want to say we are here for you, whatever you need to “talk” to…ALL the best to you xxx

  22. Sandy says:

    Needy, too sensitive, grow a harder shell, bury it deep..all things I was told when every I wanted to bring up issues with the boundary busting assclown.

  23. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Sandy,

    See? I’m no more invincible than anyone else. I think this has happened for a reason. Yes, I did put him on a pedestal but I thought there were valid reasons to do so as I compared him to other men I’d been with. He told me I was very sensitive also. But, that’s me. I realize now that I should have considered his past much more seriously before becoming so enthralled. At least I can FEEL THINGS AND LOVE which some people, including him, are incapable of doing. So many of Natalie’s writings, and phrases are running through my mind, i.e, betting on potential, thinking you’ll be the exception, and on and on. I don’t feel as regretful as it may sound. For some strange reason I’m trying to take this outcome harder than I really feel. I think it’s because I have had so much drama in my life that I don’t know how to relax and be happy when things are smooth and uncomplicated. I have always “needed” to have a man in my life to make me feel complete. Now that I’ve been drawing closer to God and deepening my faith I think I’m getting certain messages. The main message is to learn to be happy with myself, and not continue believing that I need a man to do that for me. Or, simply, I need to learn the lessons and I will not be satisfied in a relationship until I can be truly satisfied with myself ALONE. You’re right, I should stay away from involving myself for awhile. I’m too fragile right now. I am so fortunate to have several tried and true friends who really know me well and love me in spite of my flaws.
    Thanks, Sandy for your input. I will be ok. Live and learn. Life is not a bed of roses. We continually learn and evolve. I have to be more resilient and be able to get back up and carry on after the knock downs. Hugs, Tink.

    • Sandy says:

      Lol never thought you were invincible Tink, you are human just like me, with all the human foibles that come with it. I too never felt complete without a man in my life but the last 15 months have been quite an eye opener (in a good way), apparently I am okay by myself, apparently I do enjoy my own company and can fulfill the hole that was left after breaking up with the AC quite comfortably by myself…ha who knew?!!! Certainly not me until I gave it a really good shot.
      You are a strong woman Tink and I have finally realised that I am as well, no, life is not a bed of roses, but it is what you make of it and I am making a fulfilling, comfortable, happy life for myself by myself, don’t get me wrong I am not saying I never get lonely for that special someone in my life but for the first time ever I am prepared to look to myself first.

  24. Noquay says:

    I am sorry about the break up. It does suck for us chix who try to be the absolute best we can be, really yearn for a functional (in many ways) male companion and have to put up with what you are describing. Like my version of your Mr. (Not so much) Special, your dude put himself out there under false pretenses. My ex husband had ED due to botched prostate cancer surgery.Guess what; afterward, he was as
    loving as ever though his issue bothered him a lot. Your dude’s problems are above, not below the belt. You don’t need a functioning wiinag to be a loving, available, man. Please met new guys IRL, POF is a veritable @#$%hole of problem children.

    • MaryW says:

      Hi Tink

      I haven’t been around as much as I should be. I am sorry to read that things have ended with Mr “Special” (ahem, maybe time for him to have a new name), but I think it’s for the best.

      Just wanted to echo what Noquay has said about PoF. It is a cesspit of horrors. I was recently told by a guy that he uses PoF for a “quick fix” (he is also on two other dating websites that are a bit more reputable); he is “charming” (remember Nat’s post on charming men?) and utterly, utterly dangerous.

      I know you can look after yourself but perhaps browsing PoF isn’t quite the right thing to do at this time? I get that it might give you some instant validation, but it might also hurt you.

      Anyway, thinking of you and wishing you all the best.

      MaryW x

      • Tinkerbell says:


        As I told Noquay POF is out. I don’t need to deal with any AC’s. I think I am on the road to having a very good heterosexual relationship, again, none at all. I’ve acquired a huge amount of knowledge before this last man came along and now, after its demise. I will be fine. Thanks for your post.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Thanks for writing. POF.Com is out. My gf who told me about it the other day has changed her mind and I was unable to register because the site would not let me on because I have been on another site in the past and was using the same email address. It’s okay. I do believe everything happens for a reason and often for the best whether we see it at the time or not. I’ll be okay. I think I need to spend more time focusing on ME becoming a stronger woman who is at peace with herself. Thanks, Noguay.

  25. Antsy says:

    Wayyyy too much information for me to absorb – in a good way!

    For years, I always thought if I don’t speak my mind and say what’s wrong, I won’t appear needy or weak. The opposite is true! I WAS needy and weak! I was too afraid to speak up because I thought I would lose something, even if that something was bad.

    I’m writing very simply because this brings me back to childhood. I was sooo afraid of losing my parents and my family even though I was mentally abused and neglected. I was treated in ways they would never tolerate coming from me. My behavior made sense as a child- what choice did I really have? I had no other family. However, I never learned to stop that behavior.

    It’s been only over the past 2 years that I’ve cut contact with most of my family over their boundary-busting behavior. If I did what they did to me, I would’ve been flushed. But my teenager said, “Why do you keep these a$$holes in your life?” I raised my child not to put up, and she learned well, but when I tolerate my parents’ and siblings behavior, my child ends up getting slighted in terms of time and energy I can spend with her.

    I don’t know how long ago, but I had finally gone total NC with an MM. It’s nice that I can’t remember when I stopped, but I had posted on here about it. It was hard. I had never told him why he was hurting me, not that it mattered ’cause he was hurting his wife more & I was participating in it. I put up because I thought it was the best I could do – half a loaf. The truth is that he treated me better than my family had & at least we had a good shag! So, how else could I have felt.

    And yet, I’ve been treated considerably better by other people in my life and always thought that was an anomaly. That was because I was told (yes, I was actually told) that I should learn to accept bad behavior because it shouldn’t matter to me. For years! That’s because my family needed one scapegoat, one pressure valve to take their frustrations on. Once I removed myself, I was the bad guy.

    It’s really mystifying that my family would put the blame for my mistreatment firmly on me.

    I think it’s akin to being in a theatre production. All the good roles are taken by the other actors (family members) and they no longer have that one crucial person to play the role of the person who gets beaten and spat upon. How can they continue their play? The show won’t go on without me after the sold tickets. I don’t need to be in that play anymore.

  26. MaryW says:

    I was never able to express my feelings and concerns, and this begins with my relationship with my mother, who would (still does) get incredibly defensive. I learnt the passive aggressive reaction – storming off, sulking, going silent etc. Well that doesn’t really work either in childhood and certainly not in adult life.

    I am getting better at articulating myself with friends and colleagues but it’s still a problem area with men who I’m interested in. If I am in pre-relationship mode with a guy and it’s becoming clear I don’t like him, I am fine with articulating myself (perhaps a bit too much at times, to put them off, again a bit passive aggressive instead of just saying “Sorry John, I’m not interested”). But if I’m dating someone and I LIKE them then I’m pretty much doomed.

    I recall the EU AC from last summer saying something really quite misogynistic during a date, and I didn’t say anything. It was a red/amber flag, and I sat quietly on the train on the way home (not responding to his texts), reflected and then I STILL didn’t say anything. He unfolded in a horrible way, very quickly (I still somehow managed to become horribly attached), and I look back at to this conversation and my inability to either say something at the time or truly recognise the red/amber flag. Same happened as the “relationship” was ending, and he referred to his wife from whom he was separated finding photos and texts from other women (note plural) on his phone – and not only did I not say anything, I had another glass of wine and went back to his place… for the last time, at least. When that info sunk in, that he’d cheated several times at the end of his marrige, I finally bowed out.

    This is something I *must* address in the future; being assertive and not burying my head in the sand.

    Thanks Natalie!

  27. Camillah says:


    “Say Something”

    Say something, I’m giving up on you
    I’ll be the one, if you want me to
    Anywhere I would’ve followed you
    Say something, I’m giving up on you

    And I am feeling so small
    It was over my head
    I know nothing at all

    And I will stumble and fall
    I’m still learning to love
    Just starting to crawl

    Say something, I’m giving up on you
    I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
    Anywhere I would’ve followed you
    Say something, I’m giving up on you

    And I will swallow my pride
    You’re the one that I love
    And I’m saying goodbye

    Say something, I’m giving up on you
    And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
    And anywhere I would’ve followed you (Oh-oh-oh-oh)
    Say something, I’m giving up on you

    Say something, I’m giving up on you
    Say something… .

  28. Had Enough says:

    I’ve been casually dating a man for the past several months. He is still married, but has not lived with his wife for 2 years. This is a casual arrangement, and I was ok with that because things were rolling along nicely, and I wasn’t looking for anything serious, but when we did begin having issues, I noticed he shuts me down and will not discuss them with me, or pretend like they never happened. I also noticed he would get irritated with me for something, but instead of saying something, would act nasty or demeaning in some way to get back at me. He apologized once, but it happened again last week.
    This time he called to talk all about himself, asked nothing about me, and when he asked me to go out, and I told him the night I was available, he said he had to work out that night so it wouldn’t work for him. This made me feel very insulted and angry and realized, why am I wasting my time with a guy who’s becoming more disrespectful as time goes on?
    I sent him a quick email saying I didn’t like how he was treating me and then blocked him from my phone to start up NC. I have the bad habit of responding to any text that comes my way, and I have ignored him before and he just kept texting or calling until I gave in. I also told him once I had lost interest and he ignored that.
    Do you think I overreacted? I will be forced to see him in a month or so, which is fine, I was not in love with this man and am not sitting here crying over him at all. I just felt like he was slowly cutting into my self-esteem and found myself wondering when he was going to call, when I would see him again, etc. But sometimes I feel silly because we were not in a relationship and I blocked him. I didn’t do it to punish him for being an assclown, I did it for myself. Did I do the right thing?

    • simple pleasures says:

      You’ve been having a casual relationship with a (still) married man that you don’t love. You are upset that he is treating you casually. What do the two of you want from each other?

  29. Goldie says:

    It’s a tough call. I’ve been on all sides of the issue in my last relationship. Meaning, I’ve had my then BF voice what I thought was unreasonable complaints and demands – some I brushed off, others I tried to meet, but it took a lot out of me to do so; I eventually had him break up with me out of the blue, when I had no idea anything was wrong; I had him brush me off and tell me I was overreacting or imagining things (or my personal favorite, “I don’t know why this is such a problem for you, it never bothered my ex-wife” – oh, you mean the ex-wife that left you? why did she leave if it never bothered her, hmmm I wonder); and I had vague complaints that I never voiced because I was never able to really spell out what was bothering me, even to myself.

    Interestingly enough, every one of these issues occurred in just this one particular relationship. Never happened on that scale with my other exes.

    I think the answer to the problem depends on one’s particular situation. If all of these issues happen to rear their ugly head just in one specific relationship, then there is something deeply flawed about the way you two connect and communicate, and maybe it’s time to call it a day. OTOH, if every person in your life misunderstands you, doesn’t meet your needs, doesn’t read your mind correctly, tells you you’re being oversensitive and blow things out of proportion etc. then maybe it is you after all, and some therapy and self-searching might be in order before you get involved with anyone new again. Or, it might be that you keep bringing people into your life (both friends and partners) that you don’t connect well enough with, which again would require some therapy and self-searching on your end to find out why you keep surrounding yourself with people that are bad for you.

    ““I just wouldn’t see that as a big deal”, a guy explained to me recently. The trouble is that the person who they hurt, did, and the fact that he was unwilling to empathise with their position meant that it turned into something much bigger than it would have done if he’d just acknowledged where she was coming from.” (NML)

    See, I have an issue with this. If my partner is offended by pretty much everything I am and do (again, last relationship), I can empathize till I’m blue in the face, walk on eggshells, turn myself inside out trying to be the person they want me to be, whatever that is… but I will still not be good enough for them, and not only that but I will destroy my own identity in the process. A bit of give and take once in a while is fine, but when the other side is bothered by the majority of what we do, we’ve got to walk. (I didn’t, and it did almost destroy me.)

  30. Tinkerbell says:

    Had enough.

    Why would you think you may have overreacted, when you state that he has been increasingly disrespectful of you? Don’t doubt yourself. It wasn’t your imagination. It will get worse. Even though he may have been living alone (?) for 2 years, he is not a suitable prospect for you. He is still married. If I were you, I would not waste my time over-thinking any situation with this guy. Save your brainpower and your heart for someone eligible.

  31. Had Enough says:

    Tinker…thanks for the positive affirmation. I realize I need more than what he is willing to give me. Casual can only last so long before things get weird. He told me he loved me last time we were in bed together which kind of freaked me out too.

    I removed the bloc. Next time I hear from him I will tell him our situation isn’t working for me and I can’t see him again.

  32. Shyner says:

    I have been seeing someone for a month, spent a few nights together, talked for hours – all that kind of stuff. He went on holiday a couple of weeks ago, sent me a text a day or so later saying he’d arrived and missed me. I replied a few hours later and heard…nothing. Texted again a few days later ‘hope you’re having a brilliant time’ – nothing. Sent a FB message last week (he friend-requested me the day he went) ‘hope you’re having an amazing time’ – nothing. So, today I did something I wouldn’t have dared do before now. Sent him another FB message ‘Pretty crap of you to not bother getting in touch’ (literally, that was it), de-friended him and met up with friends for drinks. I cannot begin to tell you the ways I’ve been duped in the past – everything from disappearing dad, husband leaving, being amazingly badly treated by a narcissist. So, have I kick backed against all that, or am I actually doing the right thing by myself? It all feels so unfamiliar, that I’m not quite sure…any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  33. […] mine, which is why *this* (not making me – and the care of me – a priority) is such a big deal to me, and no small […]

  34. Shyner says:

    Well, I feel like I’ve done the right thing. Just because it feels uncomfortable, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. All I know, is that I don’t want a relationship with someone who says they miss me, and then disappears off the face of the earth for two weeks. It makes no difference to me that he’s on holiday – I’ve been to that island, too, and if he’d wanted to, he could’ve nipped to an internet cafe if his phone wasn’t working. But he obviously didn’t want to – and that’s the thing I’ve acted on.

  35. Shyner says:

    …except now I’m doubting myself. Any thoughts gratefully received.

    • rachael says:


      This man, I do not think wants a relationship with you. In my experience, men will go after a woman if they want more. They love that! They are natural hunters. I know it is hard when they do not want a relationship when you have feelings for him, but maybe try next time to keep your dignity intact by…
      A. Only sleeping with a man if he IS into you
      B. If he backs off, DO NOT get the sh_its, cause players love that
      C. Trust your gut

  36. Shyner says:

    Thanks for your reply. He actually seemed very into me. It’s only by his disappearing that he has shown that he isn’t, so I don’t feel I have been particularly undignified in any of the ways you’ve mentioned, though I agree with the first part totally. He cooked dinner, took me out, said all the right things and seemed to behave accordingly. Got to chalk it up to experience, I guess. He’d recently lost his job, so I wonder if I was a bit of a distraction. Holidays are great distractions, too!

  37. Shyner says:

    Although, on reflection, you’re right about C. Trusting your gut is an important part of keeping dignity. X

  38. Annette says:

    After a 7 year relationship with a “long time” friend who turned out to be a controlling jerk, I have finally thrown in the towel. I stuck by him while he went to recovery, rehab and begged the medical board to reinstate his medical license that he lost due to alcohol and drug addiction. When he finally got his license back and started making big bucks, he moved 2 hours away to practice medicine so I commuted 2x’s a week to see him and stayed Wed thru Monday morning. I had hoped his arrogant, selfish attitude would change when he was successful again. He was good to buy me gifts, we bought a nice home and furnishings, went on nice trips, etc., but he always made sure I knew exactly what everything costs. If I ever tried to say something bothered me or when I pointed out that in the last year I didn’t like the relationship he had with his office manager as they were always texting personal info, she had a key to the house, and I heard him make a sexual innuendo to her, I sure got cussed with every other word telling me to get my f…stuff and get the f…out, etc., He always told me that I didn’t appreciate a f…thing he did for me. He said his office manager was married, had 3 kids and I was totally crazy and out of my mind. I was 2 hours away so there was no way I knew what was going on when I wasn’t there and he never wanted to talk about engagement or marriage so of course I felt insecure. If I pointed out the years he was with me for support he would change the subject to my insecure issues. He told me I was psychotic, delusional, my insecurities were ruining our relationship and I needed psychiatric counseling. I finally left him 7 weeks ago on a Thursday morning after he went to work – right after a horrendous cussing because I didn’t know if I was leaving on Sunday or Monday. He called that evening when he got home from work and left a message saying “honey, I am sorry I got so mad I can’t believe you left me.” Two days later, I heard he was on and was in contact with his ex girlfriend before me. He has contacted me wanting to get counseling but says he will not be alone if I am not with him. He is rich enough now he will have no trouble getting women even though he has a weight problem and is testing weekly for drug/alcohol so the medical board will let him keep his license. I am so sad and really mad at myself for wasting 7 years of my life. I wish I could quit beating myself up mentally. I am 53 years old and can’t believe I have been so dumb. This has all been so overwhelming and depressing but I know in my gut I have done the right thing.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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