Ball: 'The one' is someone you don't even need to get to know. Get thee to a dating site right now!

Picture this: You go on a dating website, you start scanning through photos or looking through suggested ‘matches’, and you rule out some or even a lot based on not feeling an instant attraction. You might read through some profiles and even though they appear to have similar values, you don’t feel that ‘spark’ and so dismiss them.

With other profiles, they say stuff about themselves that rings your ‘hook’ bellthey mention being a churchgoer, or that they earn six figures, or that they’re educated at an elite university, or that they have a dog, are a family person, have loads of degrees, are supertastic intelligent, are a green campaigner, or quote from an obscure book that you love too. You fire off an email to them or if they’ve already made contact with you, you eagerly reply, feeling excited at possibly meeting just the type of person you’re looking for.

Out in the real world, you go on first dates and if you don’t feel a ‘spark’ and a ‘connection’, are immediately or by the end of the date, mentally saying “Sayonara” and bracing yourself to continue your quest. Or you feel disheartened that you still haven’t met that ‘someone’ with that ‘spark’…that you can also actually manage to have a relationship with.

It is fascinating that so many people are hung up on instant attraction, instant chemistry, instant spark, and basically this illusion of instant knowledge about a person that they either haven’t even met in the flesh or don’t even know.

  • These people feel spark with a one-dimensional photograph.
  • These people feel spark with words and even promises which in the cold light of day and in hindsight seem ridiculous to be made by someone they hardly knew.
  • These people feel spark with what their sexual organs or their imagination tells them.

These very same people will protest that they ‘can’t’ go on a date with someone and will find it unlikely that their attraction and interest will grow, if they don’t feel it immediately. For them, attraction, love, chemistry and the whole kit and caboodle have a foundation in something of nothing. There seems to be an absence of spark with action.

What you don’t realise if you’re relying on ‘instant’ or very quick attraction, is that you’re saying that you can be attracted to and even fall in love with someone that you don’t know, but that you couldn’t become attracted to and fall in love with someone that you grew to know. Isn’t there something very odd about that? You can fall in love with the promise, but you couldn’t fall for the reality?

And here’s where it becomes very interesting: When you experience that instant/very quick attraction, what follows after is the discovery phase, where you hopefully get to know them in reality. What I’ve seen happen time and again, is that people who rely on this whole ‘instant’ thing, don’t adjust their view of the person, their level of trust, their ideas about a possible relationship, as they get to know them. They stick with their initial perception and they don’t reconcile it with reality.

When the person does things that directly contradict the image you have of them, you keep going back to the initial feelings and perceptions you had, as if this is ‘right’. It then means that aside from not feeling attracted to people who you don’t feel it ‘instantly’ with, you also won’t reduce your attraction to someone you felt it with immediately, even as you get to ‘know’ them and they’re not meeting your vision, hope, and expectations.

This puts you into a bit of a ‘no judgement’ quagmire where you will only rely on the immediate ‘information’ that you think you’ve gleaned, and won’t trust yourself to go through discovery and get to know someone, or to evaluate actions and situations, make a judgement, and ultimately make a decision. This is a very tricky place for you to be in. Don’t you want to have to use your eyes and ears? Don’t you want to have the option to choose healthily? Don’t you want to actually know someone in reality?

instant attraction photo

What you can immediately learn here if you’re doing this, is that in spite of the fact that you won’t do any ‘discovery’ and make healthy judgements, you actually give yourself far too much credit for your power of ‘instant’ judgement. What you glean in a moment or in a date, isn’t ‘all’ that you know.

This is the same issue that arises when you meet someone who possesses certain physical characteristics that float your boat along with other qualities, characteristics and apparent values and you over-correlate the information and assume that they not only possess other characteristics, qualities, and values that you like, but that they’ll also give you the relationship you want. It’s such an enormous assumption leap, it leaves a rather painful chasm between you both that will come back to bite you in the arse when you wonder “But we have so much in common so why the hell isn’t this relationship working?”

That’s why there are so many perplexed people wondering how someone who looks just how they’d like, or has an IQ off the Richter scale, or is Very Important In The Community, or Is Very Good At Their Job…either doesn’t have the ’emotional skills’ that are needed…or just isn’t interested in a mutual relationship.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling instantly attracted to someone…it’s just that you might want to take the meaning and the weighting that you apply to it down from a 20/10 to about a 5. There’s also such a thing as relationship insanity – if all you’ve ever done is go out with people who you feel the instant zsa zsa zu with and all it’s done is give you a proverbial ball or boob ache, there’s a message in there. It’s saying:

“Molly…[insert your name], slow your roll. Your mentality is that of someone who thinks they’re a love psychic. Now tell me, does your relationship history look like the fruits of telepathy? Just like the person who thinks that love is about having the power to change someone, you are giving yourself far greater powers to assess a person than you possess.”

If you don’t think you can grow attracted to someone, you’ll find that you won’t be that interested in truly getting to know someone whether you feel the attraction instantly or after knowing them for a while. That is a problem. This is why so many people struggle to get over a relationship where there were a lot of illusions.

And before anyone asks, no it’s not about forcing yourself to date someone that you have no interest in, but it is about making sure that you’re not setting yourself up to fail and/or repeating unhealthy patterns. If it feels familiar and you’ve had your fair share of dodgy experiences, it’s a warning sign, not excitement or ‘spark’.

Spend some time in group settings getting to know people (in reality not your imagination) without the pressure of ‘dating’. Address your beliefs about what you think being instantly attracted tells you and compare it with the reality of previous experiences and ask yourself if that is true. Particularly if you have a habit of dates, short flings, or being ‘hooked’ on your image of someone, I would also address how truly available you are – relying on instant attraction is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself out of a relationship.

What I can tell you, is that love, care, trust and respect are not something that’s gained immediately – they need time and action.

Your thoughts?

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl which is perfect for anyone who keeps sticking with that ‘instant attraction’ and winding up in trouble, in my bookshop.

Photo credit: Guy Connalee SXC and crystal ball also SXC

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206 Responses to Do You HAVE To Feel Instant Attraction? Why It’s Time To Stop Acting Like You’re A Love Psychic

  1. EllyB says:

    I’m currently wondering how much of a sneaky coward this new colleague of mine really is (hint: way more than I initially believed). Sounds a bit OT, I know. But I remember how taken I was with him when I first met him in another function years ago. Plus, many other people seem to consider him a “nice guy” too.

    This reminds me why a loooong discovery period is necessary in dating and relationships. Why did this never occur to me until about a year ago (with the discovery of this blog?).

    NML’s advice “Spend some time in group settings getting to know people (in reality not your imagination) without the pressure of ‘dating’” seems spot on to me. And I might like to add: Pay attention to how people REALLY act, because there are often very telling patterns in their behavior. I used to spend a lot of time in groups, but I willfully IGNORED such clues. Bad idea.

  2. SM says:

    Yes NML you are right. That happened to me in my last ac/eu relationship,
    ‘I did not adjust my original instant attraction once I got to know them and some serious ac behavior started showing up’. Even when after the second week I got a nagging feeling that stayed with me for 2 days that I should not continue. The guy I was seeing for 8 weeks just broke it off over the phone 10 minutes ago. This is the first time I didnt want to talk or manipulate someone into not breaking up with me. It hurts because I felt he was good to me, but I also have been feeling that his interest in me was waning a bit the last few weeks. I confronted him about it this morning to which he protested but then called me this afternoon to say I was right about it and that he didnt want to string me along. Amazing, with his diminishing interest, my interest or ‘longing’ to be with him diminished as well. Does this mean that I am turning a corner in the ‘EU’ territory? Before I would have wanted to turn my world upside down to keep them, now I just want to hang onto to myself and my self worth for everything there is. I would like to say that he said he lost interest because I told him about a few instances where he told something personal about me in a group of people that embarrassed me and I felt he should have known better. Usually I would have beat myself up over whether I should have said something or not but I honestly feel that not saying something would have not been honoring myself. Then there was another instance he mentioned where he threw my plate of food in the garbage before I was finished eating. I had gotten up to use the restroom and when I came back my plate was gone, he had thrown it out without asking me.

    NML is this what it feels like to finally become ‘healthy’ or there abouts?

  3. Sabrina says:

    I do think chemistry can be determined quickly, but I’ve learned that chemistry is SO MUCH MORE than just about looks. I’ve had strong chemistry with men I’d never find traditionally attractive, and glad I kept an open mind with them (even if it didn’t work out in the end). Personality really brings out someone’s attractiveness – how they smile, the way they gesture, carry themselves, laugh, etc.

  4. Sarah T says:

    Dating sites can be tricky, like any form of catalogue shopping.
    You fall in ‘love’ with the item, you believe the hype about what it can do or how it could change your life and you imagine yourself with it.
    Its only when you can check out the fit, design, purpose etc that you know the reality and we will, time and time again, convince ourselves that its ok or that we can change something about ourselves to make it work.

    I met dozens of EUM/AC types online when i got sucked into the superficial aspects. It was only after I became an honest, savvy shopper, that i found my true fit!

  5. Dublin says:

    True. I’m 53 and men my age just don’t look all that attractive. So I MUST look at them in a different way. Look for morals, values, if he is a gentleman to everyone, if he can carry a conversation, if he speaks well of his ex-wife, if he has a good relationship with his children. If he even is on the same path I’m on. While I’m not ready to date at this time, only ended the relationship 3 months ago. I do go out with friends in group settings. And YES it is important to really see HOW people act with others. A month ago I was asked out by a man my age, but I seen how he acted. Prior to asking me out he was going after every 25-30 year old women in the pub. Of course these women shot him down…too old. So then he asked me out towards the end of the evening. I politely declined. He had the balls to say to me…you should be glad I’m even asking you out at your age. Wow really, I look 10 years younger than my age, and I’m physically fit. My reply to him was..I’m looking for a man that doesn’t have a huge beer gut, who’s not bald, and who isn’t a complete jackhole. The bartender was laughing his butt off at him. Now I didn’t want to embarrass the man, but he brought it on himself. But last weekend friends and I went to a comedy club, met a man that is my age, so no Brad Pitt. But a very nice man, I watched him in action, complete opposite of the previous jackhole. We talked a great deal that night (not about my ex EUM/AC). When he asked me out I said no I’m not dating at this time. He gave me his number and me when your ready, your worth waiting for. My friends said, what are you waiting for..GO OUT WITH HIM. How do you know when your ready? How do I know I can handle another relationship? Maybe I’m all out of relationship emotions, and effort. Sometimes I think at my age I gave all I had, and I just don’t have anymore to give. I’m feeling ok with being alone forever. I don’t seem to care anymore. Is this normal? Or could it be a age thing? Sorry for babbling…

    • EllyB says:

      “You should be glad I’m even asking you out”. Such a remark would be a glaring red flag to me even if he happened to be a supermodel while I was Quasimodo. Yuck. You can’t expect anything good from a man who acts like that right from the beginning. I’m glad you heeded the message and flushed him. Well done.

      I think the rest is going to fall into place somehow. If you don’t feel like dating that other guy, don’t go there. It’s ok to say no no matter what your friends say.

    • grace says:

      You’re not being asked to handle a relationship. You’re being asked to handle a date.

    • Tanzanite says:


      “Maybe I’m all out of relationship emotions,and effort.Sometimes at my age I feel I gave all I had,and I don’t have any thing left to give.I’m feeling OK with being alone forever.I don’t seem to care any more.”

      Is this normal ?

      It is for me.

      Or is it an age thing ?

      Possibly,because I’m 46 and I feel the same.

      I also think it’s a good position to be in as long as you haven’t lost hope for other great things to happen in your life.It doesn’t mean you will never love again.Finding a decent man is a bonus and not the main focus.

      Good luck x

      • Anon says:

        Jeez, it could be an age thing. I have never tried online dating as I hear so much negative feedback, even from young people. The over 40s report dwindling or no interest from men which further depresses them, so I am nervous to try. And nervous not to try-been reading these blogs about middle age no kids and it seems better to settle (marginal attraction or not)… read away;

        • grace says:

          That was hard to read, the women there sound so deeply unhappy and lonely. But it’s too simplistic to say that a good man would have made them happy because – and it’s a kicker -when it was on the table, we didn’t want it. It’s really hard to grasp, as it was for me, that we can sabotage what we profess to want. It’s not our age, society, our circumstances, or the men. It’s us.When I was 14 I wrote a valentine card for a boy I really liked. I left it in his locker. He came and asked me I’d sent it (it was obviously me, in those days I wrote poetry) and I said WHO WOULD SEND YOU A VALENTINE CARD?! We stopped being friends after that, when he used to always sit close to me and we’d have a laugh. I’ve been playing a variation of that mishap for years with my emotional unavailability.He had red hair and to this day I have a soft spot for redheads.
          I’ve been single/celibate/no dating for six years. I’ve been largely happy, and way happier than when I was in relationships. But the other night, when I was talking to the man our hands accidentally touched a few times. I’m sure he thought nothing of it. He’s African and it’s not a big deal for him to be touchy feely. I’m Chinese and it really is a big deal. Those skin-on-skin moments went right through me. I had his phone and I gave it back to him by holding it up against his chest while he was standing next to me. So I could touch him. I’m saying no more about him for now because we’re not dating (it was a group event) and I’m trying really hard not to analyse or project.
          It’s all right to want someone to love and to be loved. It’s okay to look for it. Quite actively if necessary.
          Get happy in your own skin first. There’s a lot less to be nervous about from that position. You’ll always know you’ve got yourself to fall back on . And will you still get hurt? Possibly, even probably, it’s certainly more likely than if you carry on with business as usual but – if you don’t risk it – you won’t get your redheaded boy.
          I.m 47 by the way and it boggles my mind that women in their 20s and 30s are giving up. Please, you’ve still got it all to play for.

          • Anon says:

            Grace, I’m not too far behind you- twenties and almost all of my thirties are gone . I wish my ‘rock bottom’ would have hit years ago, Yes, I have been EU most of that time, stopped two years ago, but it takes more than being healthy- since it’s not a decision you make by yourself. Besides, the healthy guys that grew up in really good families weren’t into me. I just never found a place to call home. I can’t stop reading that blog, like a morbid curiosity. Was reading three hours yesterday. Couldn’t get out of bed.

          • Eloise says:

            Grace, I totally relate to the experience you had aged 14. While I was at school I had something similar happen with a boy with pale skin and black hair. That look became my ‘type’. And this early rejection combined with early difficulties I had had with my father meant that up until the age of 39 I lived the story ‘Men Always Reject Me’. As life has a habit of obliging our expectations – all men I liked did reject me up until age 39. The last EUM (yes, dark hair, pale skin) was the first man that I rejected (mainly thanks to finding this site on google!). So it’s taken the best part of 40 years to step outside my story and to no longer be defined by it and yes, I still have a little bit of a soft spot for dark hair and pale skin! However, like you, I am now aware of it and the issues behind it.

            • grace says:

              To clarify, he didn’t reject me, I rejected him. When it came down to it, I couldn’t even commit to following through on a valentine card. I could not let myself be that vulnerable so I got my retaliation in first and laughed at him.
              It FEELS to me that men always reject me but the hard facts would suggest otherwise. I think we reject ourselves. That’s what gets us into a pickle.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          “The over 40s report dwindling or no interest from men….”

          Please excuse me for a moment while I go bang my head against the wall.


          Ok, there, I feel much better now. 😀

          (Anon, what follows isn’t directed at you personally at all, so indulge me if you will.)

          What is it going to take for this Over 40s OH MY GOD THERE ARE NO MEN!!! hysteria to die, already? Augh, it’s killing me, here. Thank Zeus I’m almost 50 and can escape from the dread slough of despond of the 40s!

          Ok, all ranting aside, I would suggest women “of a certain age” trust the evidence of their own senses, and not psych themselves out based on blogs, powder room gossip, women’s magazines, or your Great Aunt Millie’s tut-tutting. Get out there and see for yourself (when you’re ready, of course…there’s no rush). Give it the ol’ Reality Test!

          As a data point: I’m forty-friggin’-nine, I’m not “all that”, yet I’m able to meet engaging AVAILABLE men my age. Yes, online dating requires keeping your wits about you, but it’s not entirely the freak-fest and AC-o-rama some seem to imagine it to be. It really needn’t be a big huge dramatic OMG deal, this dating-after-40 thing.

          I do understand that circumstances will vary — options will be more limited for those in rural towns, etc. But I know enough women who had great loves after 40…50…and 60. Including one gal who met the love of her life while living in the middle of the desert, at age 60-something. You just never know what life holds for you.

    • Louisa in Los Angeles says:

      Oh goodness! I’m 47 and I think the same thing when I’m feeling low – that I am “empty” and henceforth incapable of love. Take some time off, focus on you and your friends, your work, your forgotten hobbies or whatever. You’ll recover and find that love is a self-renewing commodity.

      I find I am more resilient – and wiser in my choices – than I was even 5 yrs ago. You’ll recover if you want to, and be back out there at the perfect time for you.

    • chloe says:

      Hello Dublin,

      It’s not an age thing, it’s an attitude thing. You are not old, unless you feel it, especially if you look 10 years younger, I’m almost 50 and I don’t feel like you at all. I also think there are a lot of men who look good in their 50’s, even 60’s, I’m dating one now. I’d say fix your attitude.

  6. yoghurt says:

    I dunno, I feel in such a mess with this issue right now.

    I want to meet someone, I would like at least to be out there and feeling as though I COULD start looking but at the same time I also know that I’m pretty lonely, I don’t want to feel like a loser anymore and I’d like something to stop me having to fight against obsessing about Son’s father, none of which are good places to start fishing around to meet someone.

    I wrote on the last thread about realising that I’ve only really ever met people whilst drunk – in fact I associate drinking with meeting someone – and that has TERRIFIED me, partly because it’s such an unhealthy and stupid habit and partly because the thought of pursuing an attraction whilst sober is way too scary to contemplate.

    Also, I now have Son to think about, which means that a) I can’t get into unhealthy situations or run silly risks b) I don’t have a lot of free time or people to knock about with – I’m trying to organise to do more with nice friends, but it’s a bit like wading through treacle and c) whilst I know that it shouldn’t define me, the fact that I couldn’t get a relationship together while I was pregnant and then spent a year hiding at home and feeling sad feels like a pretty big hole on my relationship CV.

    As far as finding someone attractive goes, generally I don’t think that’s a problem – I’ve started feeling interested in and attracted to the odd person recently (ones without massive and obvious personality flaws! Hurrah!), which I guess is a good sign. But the thought of being attracted to someone and THEN having to be interesting and fun and attractive and baggage-free enough to secure their interest? That feels impossible and overwhelming.

    I hope that this isn’t subverting the thread too much, but I don’t even know where to begin and I don’t know if it’s a case of getting back on the horse and pushing out of my comfort zone (testing my shiny new boundaries and healthy attitudes and thus building up self-esteem etc), or hiding a bit more. My instinct is to Hide, but then I’ve done that for the last year and I think I might end up doing so indefinitely if I don’t get a grip.

    • Izzybell says:

      Hi Yoghurt,

      Go easy on yourself- if you feel freaked out by the thought of dating the alternative doesn’t have to be hiding. You can continue to focus on you, work on building yourself up from the inside out, and practice your new boundaries, healthy attitudes, etc.with your colleagues, family members, strangers you meet, and your Son’s dad too.

      For me, the more I practice with people who don’t feel “high stakes”, the more confident I’ve become. Now dating (while sober) has begun not to seem so terrifying because I trust myself more and have built up ample evidence that no matter what happens– I’ll choose me.

      • yoghurt says:

        Yea thanks :)

        I think I got myself wound up and upset last night over the fact that it isn’t even really an option for me at the moment, in a ‘what’s wrong with me? Am I a freak? I haven’t even got as far as wondering if they’re attractive!’ sort of a way.

        Whereas really it’s just a combination of circumstance and the fact that self-esteem issues of 22 years standing (I think) aren’t rooted out in a couple of days. Especially when you’ve only just realised the extent of the problem.

        I should add that it’s a killer article! Once I’m back on the horse (so to speak) I’m going to come back and read it obsessively.

        • Izzybell says:

          I know what you mean– it felt overwhelming to me too to “realize the extent of the problem” and know that it was up to me to do something about it.

          anyway, now that we do, we can test the waters little by little, check it out, and see– whether we’re ready or not, when we’re getting sucked up in old negative patterns and beliefs, how we can take better care of ourselves, and what it’s like to make different decisions about who we let in and how we let ourselves be treated.

  7. Karina says:

    This is just what I needed to read!!! OMG…I was just discussing this with my therapist and we agreed that I just need to focus on me and what it is that I truly want in life. Not only in a man, but in life in general and this applies to so many things. I mean don’t we usually go for things that we see only once without even knowing if the price is worth it or not. I think that’s how I’m going to approach men from now on…kind of like buying a new pair of jeans. Shop around, try them on (and I don’t mean sleep with them), see if they fit and don’t tighten you in the wrong places and wear them enough for them to feel good and comfortable on you! =)

  8. mumsthwd says:

    This I can relate to and have been trying not to do anymore. Good read. Thanks

  9. cavewoman says:

    Just a quick note on *instant* physical attraction: it really is NOT necessary. I am so thankful to heavens that I gave my date a chance throughout our online ‘vetting’ process and then for three full dates (about a month total) for the attraction to develop. Sure enough, in due time it did, along with some reality-based trust, affection, and a rudimentary understanding that we are looking for similar things. Now there’s more passion that I ever could have imagined looking at his photos. Who cares about photos.

  10. Yolanda says:

    Great article. I am so very much a person who needs to feel that instant click. I have finally realised this, but am having trouble being interested in men that I am not attracted to. I did try to go on a few dates with men who I normally would never consider as they did not “spark” my interest right away. The result was dates that had me just treating them like a friend and I knew that I could not take it to the next level no matter how many dates we went on. I am trying, but doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe I’m rushing it. The longest relationship I had was with someone I was friends with first for over a year before we noticed each other in a relationship way. I’ll keep working on it. Thanks Natalie.

  11. Tyla says:

    Wow. Ironic timing, this post! So I dated an EUM for years who I based most of my interest on physical attraction, common interests, immediate feelings/attraction and the illusion of what I created in my own mind, and I chased this illusion for years until I finally realized years later he just wasn’t who I’d hoped he would be. I was fixated for years on him turning into what I wanted him to be. Now, I’m single. I ran into a guy at a social club who I immediately felt a STRONG physical attraction too, and again I was fixated on this physical attraction – didn’t know this guy from a hole in the wall. It appeared the attraction was mutual, however he never made a move…which lead me to believe he may have had a girlfriend. I began to feel that familiar feeling of me chasing something that just
    wasn’t happening. Recently, I’ve gotten to know someone who is not a guy I’d even consider dating! Not my physical type AT ALL, not even remotely. However the more I’ve gotten to know him (yes, I’m actually getting to know this one!) the more he’s actually intrigued me! And I still have issues thinking he’s not my “type” but am realizing how unhealthy having “types” actually is. I mean, having a type hasn’t exactly brought me success. Anyway, we’ll see what happens but it’s interesting what you can actually feel if you invest the time and effort in getting to know someone you’d never consider and let go of “types” and just be open.

  12. Natasha says:

    “If it feels familiar and you’ve had your fair share of dodgy experiences, it’s a warning sign, not excitement or ‘spark’.”

    Oh, that is so true! Last weekend I was out and about with some girlfriends and met a super good-looking, very confident dude while waiting for a drink. I thought, “Oh. Hello. Yum. Is this my next boyfriend?”, followed immediately by, “Oh crap. When I have these thoughts, an assclownery strike is not far off. His ‘confidence’ is actually clearly cockiness and he’s staring at my boobs. Blatantly. Take the needle off the record homegirl.”

    Also, “Now tell me, does your relationship history look like the fruits of telepathy?” made my night…no, my MONTH. Classic! The fruits of my “telepathy” of yore read like something Acclaimed Bootleg Psychic Miss Cleo would have come out with…aka, full of crap.

    • Karina says:

      “Take the needle off the record girl”….LOL…I had to grin at this line because it seems that we are broken records and not the kind that repeats the song we catually like!

      I’m with you on that one Natasha and like every other lady here writing. My sister says I need to step out of my comfort zone and stop looking for a guy who’s “hot” and just a guy who’s decent and treats me right. Albeit there will eventually be chemistry and attraction if I give myself the chance to know him and viceversa.

      • Natasha says:

        I love the broken record analogy! You know, as I’ve said before, we’re all attracted to good looking people. If I pass by Idris Elba on the street, I am going to swoon. Done deal. When it’s the main thing you’re looking for though, something’s off. It’s interesting, because they only times in my life when I’ve been determined to get a really good looking dude (frankly, at this point, it’s like, “WHO CARES?!”) was when I was feeling really insecure about how I looked myself! It was like, “Aha! If I get this guy, I can’t be unattractive.” Jacked up, but true. I think now that you’re going to be taking your time getting to know them, it’s going to be the personality that does it for you. As I am now fond of saying, a pretty face will turn my head, but it’s a beautiful soul that’s going to keep my feet planted.

  13. Blaise Parker says:

    “And before anyone asks, no it’s not about forcing yourself to date someone that you have no interest in, but it is about making sure that you’re not setting yourself up to fail and/or repeating unhealthy patterns. If it feels familiar and you’ve had your fair share of dodgy experiences, it’s a warning sign, not excitement or ‘spark’.”

    So true. One of the things I said to myself when I began my healing process was “My attraction button is broken. If he feels right to me right now, then he is definitely wrong – at least until I learn better.”

    That kept me from some really dodgy experiences and from getting reinjured.

    • ThoughtItWasLove says:

      Blaise.. I love this: “My attraction button is broken. If he feels right to me right now, then he is definitely wrong – at least until I learn better.” I am going to use this one for sure!

      NML this post is me to a “t”! This is actually something I’ve been thinking about and working on with my therapist lately. That if I do not feel *instantly* attracted to or have *instant* chemistry, then I have absolutely no interest in getting to know him. This also brings me neatly to the MM I was seeing. It was instant sexual attraction on both ends, and all the wonderful things HE told me about himself, I believed and thought WOW, he is the most wonderful man that ever walked planet earth! But HELLO?! He is MARRIED, cheating on his wife and lying to his children when he leaves the house to meet me (or other such women). So, I had a hard time adjusting my view of what I wanted him to be and what actually was REALITY! My original *attraction* superceded all of the HUGE red flags and negative attributes that I am currently trying to get away from! The craziest thing is I am currently divorcing someone for being a cheater & liar!! But because this new man (who is also a married, lying cheat) is SO attractive to me, nothing else mattered!? SMH! I am slowly getting to the point where I am actually able to not only SEE reality but FEEL and LIVE it as well. Thank GOD for this site! I truly don’t know where my head would be at if it wasn’t for reading this blog and everyone’s similar stories!

    • Louisa in Los Angeles says:

      Hi Blaise,

      I’ve gone through that stage of “If I like him, he must be wrong for me in some vital way.” I’ve gone through the “If I think he’s handsome, or sexy, he’s probably either a player or toxic in some other way.” I’ve gone with the “My hormones should decide, because ‘the body never lies’.” And I’ve tried the “This issue can be resolved with logic. Man A is a better choice logically than Man B, therefore I will invest in Man A.”

      My newest summary: let it ride. Wait a long, long, long time to pass judgment on them. Write down the little doubts that creep up AND write down the “Oh, he’s so sweet!” things. After 6-8 weeks, you’ll have a more rational picture and hot looking or not, you’ll finally be able to make a clear-headed decision. I’m nuts about someone right now, but it’s only been 9 days – I know my pattern, so I’m tracking the things he does/says that make me swoon and those that make me pause or feel bad inside. (So far, he’s a positive, but I’ve learned not to trust my first 30 days of judgment!)

  14. Magnolia says:

    I’m now mistrustful of my ‘spark’. Maybe some people use the word ‘spark’ to describe a healthy interest but I think many people are describing what you call a ‘hook.’ I’ve noticed how my whole body perks up at the mention of a good job or good salary, with immediate senses of anxiety (why put that up front? then, what’s wrong with saying how much you make?) I’ve slowed my roll with those profiles or people in the flesh because I notice when they lead with the bankroll, there isn’t often much else to follow behind it except “a love of fine wine, and snorkelling.” Hannibal Lecter could probably snorkel.

    I’ve been off wheat, dairy and sugar for the past couple of weeks and reading up a bit about food. One statement stuck with me, about foods that are ‘seductive’, the ones you can’t break away from, that you think about, crave etc. and those that are healthy, which generally don’t cause you to get all crazy for them. Cheese, chips and chocolate: attraction, desire, guilt, rationalization. Leafy greens, lentils, brown rice, apples: wholesomeness, health, but generally, you’re not going to go and drive in the middle of the night to the corner store cause you’re dying for a lentil.

    I’ve noticed I don’t anticipate my meals with the same thrill but I’m also so much calmer, sleep better, have more energy and actually feel a deep peace. I’ve also had to invest more in making my meals satisfying: I cook good stuff to suit my taste within those bounds, I feel like I’m treating myself with love and I’m filled up in ways I never was by a quick three slices of deep dish pizza, snarfed down in front of the computer.

    I’m assuming this is how it goes for changing one’s taste in relationships. Always said I LOVE chocolate chip muffins, but I have had to admit the ill wisdom of making a daily diet of them. But isn’t true love going to be like a chocolate chip muffin every day? I can always get a spark from a chocolate chip muffin. It’s somewhat like the spark I feel when I think about marrying ‘up.’

    I’m not never having a muffin again, but I feel the desire to stay outside the cycle of craving. I like the sense of peace I get from choosing the wholesome thing I can have every day over the sugar sweetness that thrills the tastebuds and the nerves.

    So, if a guy has a good job, fine, but that’s not the aspect of him that has to be there in the relationship, day after day. Never before would I have have dreamt of finding a man attractive as a bowl of kale and tamari tofu! I’m not the same person! Look at what all this self-love business is doing to me, NML!!

    • EllyB says:

      @Magnolia: Love your comment!

      Btw, have you tried cucumber salad? I have learned to love that stuff lately. Maybe a good relationship is like a bowl of nice fresh cucumber salad after a long workday. Food for thought…

    • Oldenoughtoknowbetter says:

      Magnolia, your analogy totally cracked me up!

      “Leafy greens, lentils, brown rice, apples: wholesomeness, health, but generally, you’re not going to go and drive in the middle of the night to the corner store cause you’re dying for a lentil.”

      Right now I am dating what my friends would call a lentil, he is not my typical fit CEO type, he actually doesn’t even have a job right now and it wouldn’t kill him to lose 30 lbs! But the way I FEEL around him, not the way he looks or his image, keeps me coming back for more…that would be loved, cared for, and respected. I am completely at peace in his arms as I know he loves me very much. But I also know I did not settle, I just changed my “type”. There was always a spark, but it has fanned into a huge fire. Yea for learning to love lentils!!! :-)

    • rosenfire says:

      “…cause you’re dying for a lentil” Hahaha…Great comment! So many wise words! Thanks!

    • Kmac says:

      I’m not sure Hannibal Lecter COULD actually snorkel with that funky mask he already has to wear, but I had fun with the image. Just be aware, Magnolia, while you’re high on root vegetables, that life tends to bite us in the ass hardest when we’re not paying attention, and we can be lulled to sleep just as much from a sense that we’ve got the world by the balls as we can from chasing a guy to make us feel whole. That expressed, your path feels positive, and I, for one, have got your back.

    • Broadsided says:

      Magnolia, well written post! I am going to keep that food analogy in mind. I want a healthy, lentils-and-greens guy.

      • Magnolia says:

        @EllyB: I have a cuke in my fridge that is going to get the salad treatment – I’ve never made a cucumber salad that didn’t just involve dumping a bunch of premade dressing on some unsuspecting green rounds.

        @oldenough: you sound “full”filled!

        @Kmac: *sigh* I am doing my best not to make my diet changes the latest salvation trip, if you know what I mean. I really want to be done with looking for the next thing that is going to “fix” a broken me, or make me perfect, or perfectly healthy, or whatever. I’m finished the initial two-week program that had me cut out a bunch of things and now am free to integrate whatever I want back into my diet. I’m confident that I can do that in a balanced way, and that confidence is what’s precious to me. What I hate is feeling like I can’t trust myself: the past year and half, BR, etc have taught me that.

        In any case life has got its teeth firmly in each buttcheek right now as I have lots going on that even the most perfect diet, perfect body, or even perfect relationship wouldn’t fix. The diet changes are still new, but the self-trust and confidence are at least 18 months in the making, so I focus on that. Glad you’re with me!

  15. broadsided says:

    Excellent article and perfect timing right now. oooh do I love that heady and all consuming feeling of attraction – the magic – the instant surrender – the fireworks – the “you are the one” rush. Trouble is, this hormone induced state obliterates judgment and is as shallow as any drug. Last time it played me neatly into the hands of a shallow future faker and to an ending as
    painful as the beginning was high. It’s led me down other negative paths too. Nope it doesn’t work. This part of me is being reigned in from here on out. How much sweeter to allow someone into your heart slowly, carefully, authentically….learning the person’s substance, earning your trust over time. Thanks.

  16. Jen says:

    I started reading this blog about a year an a half ago. A month after I had started, I met this guy. He was tall, dark and handsome, smart, gave blood regularly, good sense of humor, good career, seemingly popular.But I was reading this blog, and it made sense to me. I decided that although I had an instant attraction to this guy, although we clearly connected on another level, that I would get to know him and see if he actually was too good to be true. Low and behold, he was. Two weeks into knowing him, I had hard proof that he was a womanizer and a game player, and just completely EU. And I’m not going to lie, it stung a little. There aren’t too many cute guys my age who speak my language where I’m living. We flirted until May, but I never gave in to his advances because I knew he was not able to give me what I want. By May, he was still chasing me. He is still chasing me in his own twisted little way, along with many others (who he regularly “gets” and treats like crap). I have moved so beyond lusting after him though… I hang out with him when it suits me, usually with our mutual friends, but also one-on-one. I enjoy his company, but I see him for what and who he is, and that person is just not boyfriend material for me, or even casual fun material. I don’t know if this makes sense, because I am aware that I still have a lot of EU issues to work through, but because I never gave in to very, VERY strong chemistry, I passed through it and friendzoned this guy completely. And it feels really good. Like, way better than ever actually getting with him. He respects me because we’re friends, and he knows I won’t waste my time with him if he acts like a jerk. I feel like if he turned into the friend version of a disrespectful assclown, I can just laugh and do something else with someone else. I don’t know why we had such intense chemistry for that little while, but I do know that by getting to know him instead of jumping his bones, and by playing by my rules of respect first and foremost, I have at best a college buddy and at worst a friendly potential future colleague. I still haven’t found the one or even anything close to what I want in a relationship, but by sticking to my guns I got something better out of this guy than I could have ever gotten by sleeping or dating him, and I feel more positive about my ability to discern a suitable partner for myself.

    • S says:

      Well done Jen! This is definitely something to be proud of. I’m working on not getting sucked into the crazy, electric chemistry and attraction. I’m still a work in progress :)

    • Louisa in Los Angeles says:

      Nice job, Jen. Got any tips on how to NOT act on chemistry?

  17. KLM says:

    This is the first post in a while with which I’ve strongly disagreed. I once tried becoming involved with someone I didn’t feel attracted to because friends convinced me not to be “shallow” or obsessed with instant “spark”. Nothing ever quite clicked, and despite my good intentions of giving a nice guy a chance I ended up hurting someone very much.

    Now I believe strongly that attraction matters. It really does. No one wants to feel shallow, and no one wants to admit to ruling people out instantly based on factors such as age or body shape. But let’s face it, for true intimacy you have to want to be physically intimate with the other person, to feel their body against yours, to be close and look them deep in the eyes. If the idea of doing this makes your skin crawl and stomach twist, move on. Don’t be ashamed, just move on – you’re simply not compatible.

    I believe we do a great disservice to young people by pretending that decision-making based on physical attraction is just for silly, shallow people. Not always, but often lack of attraction can be a real serious and insurmountable problem for mature, grounded, complex adults. Relationships sometimes can’t take off because of it. Marriages can crumble after decades because attraction fades.

    Attraction is instinctual and lack of attraction cannot be over-ridden by re-orienting thought processes. To suggest otherwise is misguided and certainly any homosexual person can tell you such efforts are in vain. Insisting on attraction is therefore different from insisting that a partner enjoy skiing or have an interest in collecting antique cigar tins. The “magic” of the “spark” is not entirely factitious in this respect; physical desire does have a truly precious quality to it.

    There is an important piece of truth in this article: attraction isn’t everything. It is certainly not the end all and should not be muddled in with compatibility of values, lifestyles or psyches. However, it is something, and whether or not we want to acknowledge it we must accept that attraction is fully part of the overall spectre of compatibility.

    • There’s a programme here in the UK that’s been shown about disfigurement on Channel 4. I think it might have been called Katie’s Friends or something similar. You should watch it.

      Anyway, it fascinates me KLM that you talk about people in terms of physical revulsion. There’s plenty of people I haven’t been *attracted* to whether it was immediately or after knowing them for a while, but physical revulsion at people’s appearance or kissing them? Wow.

      I remember one of the women in the programme saying that people display their revulsion on the street. She’s happily married to a non-disfigured man that she’s been with for a long time.

      As Grace pointed out, if men spoke about women in some of these ways, there would be outrage. There’s such a thing as beauty only being skin deep. I’ve previously said to another reader that I take exception to people, especially women talking about other women, talking about people in terms of numbers. Looks fade, character doesn’t.

      This is a post about instant attraction and making assumptions off the back of it and relying on it as our chief barometer. At no point is there a suggestion of attraction not being needed or not being important – attraction and chemistry is what distinguishes a friendship from a romantic relationship. That said, if you have attraction and chemistry but no relationship, it’s casual. You’ll also note that I specifically said to take the weighting from a 20/10 to a 5…. That means that it goes from being blinding and overvalued to being *half* of your decision giving the other half to substance to back it up. If that’s patronising young people, that’s just damn frightening. Seriously frightening. Especially in a world where 13 year old girls are sending pornographic images of themselves and videos by mobile phone and there are an increasing number of anorexic and bulimic children of both sexes. I fear for my daughters – they don’t have the privilege of growing up in a world that is less instant and image obsessed.

      But what you are saying is legitimate – there are lots of people who think and act like this. There are lots of people who don’t though as well. That doesn’t make you ‘wrong’ – you will find your like-minded match – but it also doesn’t make it ‘wrong’ for others not to think or be like you either.

    • Lynda from L says:

      It’s the first post where I felt I sat between two varying opinions. Legitimately. I think my opinion is valid and bridges.
      Nat, people do experience physical revulsion at appearance. End of. We live in a society that stipulates an ideal and some people cannot(sadly) get beyond that. I wish you could protect your daughters from society, you will do your best. It’s insidious out there tho’.
      Not everyone puts in the work to get beyond this, we often speak of people who don’t do this… on this site. Some people want the package of looks,ability, ambition that is linked to success.
      I have watched the Katy programmes.
      I actually feel she doesn’t fully appreciate the wonderful worth she brings. But here is the bit that may sting others….she was a beautiful beautiful girl, we feel the loss all the more because of that? She was changed physically and we recognize and respond. She is also an encouraging, clever, remarkable, articulate individual. This is what I hope we will eventually respond to.

      • I agree with you Lynda and this ultimately is nothing to do with making yours or KLM’s view illegitimate. Contextually though, and I mean in the context of this site and the wider desire of readers who want to have a better relationship with themselves and with others, using unhealthy beliefs and habits, including relying on instant attraction to *unhealthy* partners and then sticking with them regardless, is going to deepen what is already a poor pattern. Someone who is primarily appearance driven wouldn’t really have a great deal of interest in this site!

        I know that there are people who think and behave like this. I have been judged for my appearance just on the colour of my skin. Do I like it? No, but it’s just how life is. That said, I don’t involve myself with such people.

        I agree about Katie, but to be fair, if I had been a beautiful woman who had acid thrown in her face by her assclown ex and his mate, I might struggle somewhat to reconcile who I truly am irrespective of my looks, with who I used to be. It is a terrible experience that she’s been through and I suspect that *before* the incident, having to try recognise her all round value wasn’t high on her agenda. I would imagine that coming to terms even with her involvement with him in the first place, is playing a large part too.

        Her story is compelling because she had what society deems as it ‘all’ – that said, whatever it is that people do see, there is much to be learned from it.

      • Eloise says:

        If I feel instantly repulsed by someone now (yes, I do from time to time) I know it can teach me something about myself (in the same way instant attraction can). I believe there’s a lot of projection that goes along with instant revulsion (physical or otherwise) or instant attraction. Revulsion is not so dissimilar to attraction – it is a strong feeling reaction. So its the total opposite to feeling indifferent. If you don’t find someone attractive – surely you just feel indifference/lack of interest. Love and hate are two sides of the same coin. I know a couple who once were madly in love and now are physically repulsed by each other.

        • SM says:

          The only time I’ve been physically repulsed by someone I used to love is because we both or either treated the other in a very bad way that eventually destroyed the love. That’s why as a previous poster said, a married couple comes to lose attraction for each other. It’s not appearance as she implied, its the loss of care and respect as NML continuously points out on this blog.

          Once I met a guy on a dating website, talked to him for 3 weeks before meeting and thought he was the most handsome, personality attractive guy I had met. Before I met him, I told my friend ‘I’m going to marry this guy’. Upon meeting, he was still handsome but when he talked, the way he moved his mouth reminded me of my father and I could not even bring myself to kiss him. I wasnt ‘repulsed’ by him, I was repulsed by the thoughts in my head.

    • Jules says:

      I don’t think the article is saying attraction isn’t necessary. More instant attraction is something to be wary of, as it blinds you from forming a more objective opinion.
      All the men I’ve been with who’ve ended up being relationship material have been growers, and all the instant slap you in the face with chemistry candidates have always ended up being nobs. Just my experience, but I have noticed that the butterfly feeling is usually fear, and sensing a familiar dynamic, which in my case has in the past meant my instincts are going ooh, challenging man, who is witholding and not in touch with his feelings – let’s see if I can get him to love me so I can validate myself. Gross, but true.
      My capacity to be attracted to dick waddery is quite strong. I’m aware of this, so now I go so far as to see instant attraction as a red flag. All I can say is my life has improved dramatically since this adjustment in thinking, and my capacity to love a decent chap and slowly build a real attraction with trust, intimacy and the whole shebang wouldn’t have been realised if I’d kept chasing butterflies.

      • I missed this earlier Jules but that is pretty much what I experienced. And I’m glad you feel the benefit – to have continued your normal pattern would have been like bashing your head off a brick wall. I was raised with this notion that instant attraction told you how suitable someone was for you – have you seen my relationship resume? Turned out I needed to question what I was attracted to and not assume that my body was telling me all of the information I needed to know – it turned out, like you, it was a red flag.

      • Stephanie says:


        “Just my experience, but I have noticed that the butterfly feeling is usually fear, and sensing a familiar dynamic, which in my case has in the past meant my instincts are going ooh, challenging man, who is witholding and not in touch with his feelings – let’s see if I can get him to love me so I can validate myself. Gross, but true.”

        This is exactly what I experienced. From the moment I saw the ACs profile online I had a butterflies, I thought initially he wouldn’t fancy/like me because he was that fine (1st mistake). Then throughout our so called short relationship I carried on with fear in my belly the whole time but tried to mask it because I had already convinced myself he was the one. Simply because he looked the part, spoke the part (rushed me and future faked), had a good job etc, etc. I didn’t ignore the red flags I tried to work round them in the hope I could make him mine, again because I thought he looked the part.

        Quickly on another note, this AC disappeared on me without a word or warning and made me look like a total prat, only to send me a text this week after nearly 4 months “Hey how are you”. I have to be honest, when I first saw the text I got that funny feeling in my stomach and my thought was “omg he has realised he made a mistake and wants me back” . Thank God I found BR because there is no way I can jump back into that fire, I nearly ending up on anti depressants because of this guy and the cruel way he just ended it with me. Had he texted me 3 months ago I would have been trying every way possible to get back with him. This guy is just a good looking typical AC/player who still happens to be dating online, which I think says a lot.

    • NCC says:

      I don’t think Natalie is saying a relationship without initial attraction should or HAS to happen (and she has written that a healthy relationship does in fact need physical attraction), but rather that it CAN happen. We can relax, we can put aside the insistance on and the pressure of the “I immediately have to want to jump his or her bones or it’ll never work” mentality.
      What you seem to be taking from this is that we should all date the good on paper person who we have no physical feelings towards because it’s the “right” thing to do, and in the extreme scenario you talk about, be with someone who makes your stomach turn? That it’s NOT ok to NOT be attracted to someone, and not continue a relationship because of it. It’s defintetely Ok to not be attracted to someone and end the relationship, date or whatever (with couth of course.) In fact it is respectful not to lead someone on. It seems equally unhealthy to be with someone who is of poor character and morals but you are physically attracted to as being with someone just because they are “nice” or make a lot of money, or you’re trying to talk yourself into being with to prove you take some moral high ground but who you aren’t being honest with about your TOTAL feelings about the pairing. I don’t think Natalie condones that at all either.
      There’s no need to deny that physical attraction is important and part of human nature. Keep in mind too that NO ONE on this earth has the clearance or authority to say out and out right what is attractive and what is not. Oh, and I’ve been with men who I was very physically attracted to but who made my stomach turn because of the ugly person they were on the inside. Why didn’t I run? Because of their looks? The pain of kissing them knowing how much I truly despised them…I pretty much wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. I’d much rather try to get to know someone I wouldn’t traditionally think was what I’m attracted to then go through that pain again.

    • Tracy says:

      I have to say I disagree and here’s why…

      I’ve been doing OLD on and off for a few years, EUM territory galore. Often I was “approached” by guys who I didn’t think were terribly handsome, but they seemed nice enough, and through the initial emails I could tell that we would at least have enough to talk about if I went out with them, I still would not pursue actually dating them. In the meantime, I was lusting for the ‘bad boys’, being constantly rejected, and when I did date them, they treated me like crap.

      The last time I was on, I did the “George Costanza”…whatever you were doing, do the opposite. Four months ago when I was on Match I was sent a match of the guy I ‘ve been with ever since. His picture was hard to discern, it wasn’t very good, I read his profile and was smitten with the way he wrote about himself…I’m a sucker for a sense of humor. Looking at the likes, dislikes and all those lists on the match profiles, we have NOTHING in common, and he didn’t fit many of my “qualifications”, he’s short, overweight, losing his hair, our politics are different, he talked about how he sends his kids to church regularly (I’m an atheist). As I said, his picture did nothing for me. But we met, and again, I wasn’t floored by his looks, but there was something to how kind he is, that he does have an awesome sense of humor, our values are the same, he listened when I spoke, remembered things I said. A perfect gentleman. When he kissed me goodnight on our first date I was FLOORED by the chemistry.

      After ages of chasing AC/EUM’s who I thought, on initial meeting, were hot, they made me laugh, we liked the same music, tv shows, polititians, but who acted like I was “lucky” to be with them (like they were lowering their standards to be with me), I see what the difference is. If you had told me six months ago I would be falling all over a guy who looked like the one I am with now, I would have told you no f’ing way. When we aren’t talking nonstop for 6 hours at a clip I can’t keep my hands off him.

    • Louisa in Los Angeles says:

      You are exactly right in the concept of “revulsion”. I’ve felt that feeling too and a few times gone so far as to force myself to “do it” with my eyes shut because the guy was wonderful, although homely to the point of distasteful to me.

      I suspect that what she means is neutral – not ugly or hideous. If a man is wonderful in so many ways but I am ambivalent about his physicality when I meet him, it is possible in time to reconsider and perhaps even find him attractive because of who he is. Do you agree?

  18. Hilda H says:

    You hit the nail on the head with “…people who rely on this whole ‘instant’ thing, don’t adjust their view of the person, their level of trust, their ideas about a possible relationship, as they get to know them. They stick with their initial perception and they don’t reconcile it with reality.”
    I’ve been guilty of letting my guard down and ignoring every colour of flag because my online ‘match’ seemed to be everything I was looking for. And he was, for a while. But I ended up marrying a psychopath, who played the role of my perfect match based on the information I had shared with him online. Once ‘captured’ though, life went one-way (downhill) and the emotional abuse was horrific. I know now that I stayed in the relationship longer than I should have because I just could not reconcile what was actually happening with my initial perceptions. I did the denial thing and made all the excuses for his behaviour that I could dream up. I eventually got out when I gave up making excuses and ‘understanding where he came from’ (very troubled past). Irrespective of the fact or fiction, his intention was to cause distress and hurt. My message to others is please, please, please be careful online and don’t give people like my ex husband (who are out there and looking for potential victims) the ammunition they need to get their kicks.

  19. Helsbels says:

    Yeah, guilty as charged I guess! I have a problem with meeting men my age as most of them don’t look after themselves. I am physically fit and eat healthily, don’t drink much or smoke and am therefore attracted to younger men for a start.
    They at least have to look good, no beer gut, urgh.
    It’s difficult, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. I’ve been on a few dates with men who i’ve not felt any spark with and after 3 dates feel it’s time to give up, especially as they can tell i’m not feeling it with them.
    I do wish I was less fussy but how the hell do I force it?!

    • grace says:

      It’s not about forcing yourself to feel attraction. I don’t THINK that’s what Nat is saying.
      I may be completely off base here, but I hope that when we lose the desperation and negativity (I’m too old, men my age are too fat, men younger than me are too shallow, I’m in the last chance saloon, I have to settle for someone repulsive, I’m too divorced/damaged I’ve dated x no. of men and it’s not happening, I’m not beautiful anymore, I still only feel “it” for EUMs and ACs) then we will meet someone. Or maybe not. I haven’t dated in over six years so what do I know.
      But if we flipped this and a man said “Women my age are menopausal and a bit saggy. I keep fit and go to the gym. I am therefore attracted to younger ones” we wouldn’t be too impressed.

      • P. says:

        maybe we are not impressed, but when I check Craigslist in my town that is exactly what they say. Oh, and some of them post a picture and they do not always look like they go tot he gym, either.

      • Louisa in Los Angeles says:

        Yep. P’s right. That’s EXACTLY what they do. I’m 47 – I can find men my age who look 10 yrs older, balding, paunchy belly, flaccid skin, burned out by life; and I can find my age who are the hot still-jocks who care what they look like and how they appear to women.

        The challenge I’ve found is that BOTH groups of men tend to think they can date girls my daughter’s age – 20. Eventually, reality teaches the former group this is NOT likely, and the latter group that it is.

        • yoghurt says:

          D’you know, there’s a lot of “Women! Get to know a man before judging him and stop being so shallow!” advice kicking about out there – I’d come across the idea a long time ago before this post. In fact, it was quite a big theme for a while in British newspapers a few years ago when someone-or-other published a book about it (although obviously she didn’t argue it as well as Nat does!)

          However, as far as I can gather, men are simultaneously told the opposite. There seem to be an awful lot of scientific studies about What Men Find Biologically Attractive (cavemen without brains that they apparently are) and anything in the media that’s aimed specifically at them tends to feature big bare bosoms for them to look at, because they’re so ‘visually stimulated’ yadiyadiya vomit.

          This always put me off following the advice to women (as sensible as it is) because it seemed like such a ridiculous double-standard.

          I still don’t think it’s fair and it certainly makes OUR life much more difficult, but then realistically, I think that “is grounded enough to ignore silly newspapers and magazines and to make up his own mind sensibly” is one of the core qualities that I’d look for in a man and if I want it, then I should probably be living it myself… which means following the standards and advice that *I* think are the most sensible for *me*, regardless of what silly men who read silly magazines think.

          • Your comments are on fire recently Yoghurt. On the whole men being visually stimulated, this is a myth and a lie that we perpetuate that is contradicted all the time. If in the end, all it came down to is how visually stimulating women are or even how well you shag them, Fallback Girls would be nabbing and keeping men left right and centre. Visually stimulating women struggle with love all the time, so really, all this is showing is that appearance is not the all important factor that we claim it is.

            There are lots of women who are appearance driven (have you seen some of the recent comments?) just as there are lots of men who are too. Conversely there are plenty that aren’t. I don’t think that many men are looking to be with robots with real vaginas and breasts that say and do all that they want. They’re not.

            Again, many Fallback Girls have literally tried to be that robot – it doesn’t work.

            At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the media says because you wouldn’t want a sheep man that could be so easily led anyway. You also only need one man, and if you want substance and you seek a man that wants substance, you will meet. Equally if you value insubstantial things and seek those too, there’s plenty of men to tick that box too, as there are plenty of women. With 7 billion people on the planet and falling consumption of all of this media, that power can only dwindle.

            • yoghurt says:

              Thankyou *dances round room*

              Today I feel – for the first time in three or so years – whole again and happy and excited about the future and as though I see clearly and understand everything that’s happened. AND I can accept it, even the sad bits.

              (It might disappear again – check with me tomorrow – but it’s nice while it’s lasting!)

              That really is thanks, in a large part, to your blog – without it I think I’d either still be sitting in dire misery or trying to be ‘that robot’ in an even worse relationship, I am so very very grateful to you and all the lovely and wise people who comment on it.

          • P. says:


            have you tried searching on Amazon for “dating”? A book for men I remember the title of was: “Ignore & Score”! No kidding; you are so right on the double standard. Other titles were similar, but this one caught my attention. For women it was more like: why the bitches win and how to be one… I do like to read; any advice on what to pick?

  20. Lynda from L says:

    You know, what is ‘Instant Attraction’ anyway? You feel that you could shag him….instantly. He’s your type. He looks at you in a certain way. He tells you that you are vvvvvvv attractive. He has nice legs, good pair of shoulders…whatever!
    This is where projection is at it’s worst. Its a veritable demon.
    It’s entirely possible that this same guy who got you hoping, will say something or do something that will make you think Eurgggh! He may be more interested in himself than you, sexist, racist or just a silly bugger.
    Ignore instant attraction. At the very least, mark it as interesting and go in and look for more. By more, I mean not that he reads the same bo0ks as you(my past great folly)..but does he treat people well in general, does he speak honestly about what he wants in a relationship, is he consistent in his behaviour, is he kind, do you miss his ways, does he have a history you can check and of which he will ask you understand?
    Here’s the rub, if he wasn’t a man you fancy…would you like him as a person?
    In general, in any social context. That’s the key. Most of us are not shapeshifters. Nor should we be.

    • Karina says:

      I think your response has resonated the most with me. Thinking about the ex who’s dating the es friend, man when I met him it was an instant gut feeling and I didn’t listen to it. It was like me getting what I found so hard to achieve and in the end I ended up pretty much devastated, not to mention recently heartbroken because he’s dating someone who I thought I trusted.

      All in all thats teaching me to go beyond gut feeling and now when I meet a man who gives me the same sensation, I look, gag and move on. I’m finally starting to feel comfy single and there’s much more to life than just romance…for now.

  21. Nancy says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear! I’m always saying to my friends: “If I don’t feel a ‘spark’ after the first date, I pretty much know it’s not going to work.” This puts a whole new perspective on what I’ve been doing. I just found this site and already it has been a tremendous help to me!

  22. miskwa says:

    NML and others: Interesting about the program on disfigurement; a disfigured or disabled person is just that; they could be perfectly healthy and have great character too. However, this is not the same as being overweight whuch often is a serious health issue and often a sign of issues with using food as a crutch. I agree with you Nat about the anorexia and bulemia epidemics; wouldnt it be great if our young people just got out, exercised, became strong, and made themselves the best they could be instead? That means their parents have to lead by example. I did try to have a relationship with a sweet, kind, overweight man and it just didnt work. Not only was it extremely repulsive to feel his body, but he would not so much as walk around the block with me, preferring to watch movies and sit around. He knew I was a serious runner when we got together so my activity level was not a surprize. He wanted me to gain weight so I would have larger breasts. At this time, I was also wearing out the carpets in various hospital waiting rooms because my dad was undergoing multiple surgeries for issues related to his obesity and other poor lifestyle choices. People need to practice good self care or they begin to fall apart big time as they age. Should we women or men have to invest our time, emotional energy, and perhaps retirement savings to tend to someone suffering the consequences of poor lifestyle decisions made decades before one met them? This is why overweight guys are a big turnoff to me and to many of us older women who keep ourselves in shape. Yep, I am strongly attracted to tall, fit guys; but if their character sucks, they are druggies, deadbeats, racists, players etc. they are gone, pronto. Unfortunately here in the US, poor health habits are now an epidemic which leaves us older chicks with very few choices.

  23. pinkpanther says:

    This is pretty much how I”ve conducted my whole life. Lucky for me, I found this site. The last date was an instant connection. And thanks to you all, I had the guts to see it for what it really was (another version of the AC). It would have been a nightmare if I’d pursued this woman. I saw her a few weeks later at a party, and she was laying it on thick flunting her boobs for the next sucker.

  24. grace says:

    I’m baffled.
    The post says attraction doesn’t have to be instant and it’s being interpreted as “I must date fat/repulsive/unattractive men”. Ladies, you are making that leap of logic yourself. Why would you choose to have a relationship with someone who repels you? Is that really a step up from dating EUMs/ACs? You’ve just set yourself up for failure. Again! And, again, not owning the choice – before it was the power of attraction which rendered us helpless, now it’s our age/society/MacDonalds.
    Go for broke – go for someone who is decent and you find attractive – just don’t expect that attraction to be the same kind of instant EU fireworks that had you throwing caution to the wind. If you don’t think there are decent attractive men out there – don’t date.
    Re: “I like tall, fit men”. Welcome to the overcrowed club. I’m not saying date spherical blokes, but maybe try to be more flexible on height if not fitness. I do know a 65yo man who scuba dives, goes mountaineering and rock climbs. He can’t be the only one.
    Just because there are a lot of fat men around, doesn’t mean they all are and it doesn’t mean we have to force ourselves to have sex with them. It’s not necessary.
    I know a woman in her 50s who married an overweight man. She calls him “my cuddly Father Christmas”. The fat man doesn’t need our favours. Leave him to a woman who can appreciate him.

    • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasaaafrickinmen!

    • Natasha says:

      Cosign! My Dad (and he is a fabulous Dad and a great husband at that) is on the rounder side and my mother says that he’s gotten even more attractive to her over the years.

      • Yep, totally true. I see it every day around me – people who don’t fit ‘standards’ of beauty, which to be fair, the majority of people don’t but they seem to forget this, who are happy in substantial relationships.

        I was out once and an acquaintance looked at a good looking colleague with what she called a “plain Jane” wondering why the hell he would bother with her when he could do so much better, while complaining about how hard it was to find men with the whole package, especially when they were being snapped up by women like “her”. She’s still single. The ex colleague is still with the same “plain Jane” and happy. I’ve previously had readers say that “10 men” should be with “10 women” or that “very intelligent men” should be with “very intelligent women” etc. It’s just damn scary.

        • Mymble says:

          Absolutely. I have seen posts here where women complain about men who “settle” for dull, unattractive, “low value” short women, and I think three cheers. Good for him. Maybe, just maybe, he is someone who sees past superficial appearances and has chosen on the basis of deeper qualities and has thought about the kind of person they want grow old with, when all the physical charms have fallen away, as they do for everyone no matter how much healthy food we eat and exercise we take. ( and I speak as one who controls her weight, exercises, and eats healthily)

          • Tanzanite says:


            “Dull ,unattractive ,”low value”,short women”

            It’s a good job you didn’t say old as well or I might have thought you were talking about me.

            You made me laugh and there’s hope for me too.

        • Natasha says:

          Oh Nat, it makes me cringe when I hear women saying, “What’s he doing with her?!” It is scary. Agreed. I admit I chuckled a little (a lot) when it came to light that this woman was still single! I’m sure as sh*t not a 10, so when I hear someone say this, I think, “Oh, so if I date someone really good looking…this is what you’ll be saying about me?”

          My parents are really an excellent example of looks don’t matter in the long run – my mother is really ridiculously good looking and my Dad isn’t tall or a muscle-man haha! They’ve been married for over 30 years. My Mom says she married him because he made her laugh. I always remember that, because eventually we’re all going to get older and stuff is going to sag and really it would be nice to have someone to make me do my snort-laugh in our shared room at the retirement home 😉

      • NCC says:

        I’ve had those firework feelings for EUMs who weren’t on the “top 10 list” in the looks dept., and, at first, didnt mind because I had that strong attraction (for all the reasons we do for EUMs). But….when i got to know the real them and saw how unattractive they were on the INSIDE, their physical “flaws” became more apparent. In a snarky way….it helped me move on to be able to “poke fun” at those things to myself, as a way to distance myself from the attraction.
        Such as…one EUM/AC…NOT well endowed…. 😉 Again, yes it’s snarky, but hey i’m only human. 😉 In all seriousness, if he had actually been the man in reality that he was in my fantasy, that kind of thing would not have defined him for me, I would have loved him for all he was. I would ask the same of my partner. I’m in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM a 10, I’ve actually been pretty scared (literally and figuratively) by skin problems my whole life, and I”m 30 and still dealing with it, as if I was a 15 year old going through puberty! But…I digress…I’m trying to learn to love myself, flaws and all, because again, that’s what I would want from a partner, but i’m learning too that I can’t look to “him” to validate my looks, when I can’t even do it for myself. Workin on it…

        Then there’s times I’ve become attracted to someone I wouldn’t think right away was for me, but after getting to know them and seeing what a lovely person they were, found myself attracted. I didn’t plan it, I didn’t think about it, it just happened. Even if some of these people I never dated, it still felt good when this happened! Kinda nice, right? It CAN happen. :)

        • Sunshine says:

          >>>”In all seriousness, if he had actually been the man in reality that he was in my fantasy, that kind of thing would not have defined him for me, I would have loved him for all he was. I would ask the same from my partner.”<<

          What the wha? Essentially this is condemning the guy for being HIM and not your FANTASY. You can't love someone for who they are if they aren't your FANTASY? And you ask the same from your partner? Are you hearing yourself on this point?

          • NCC says:


            I had a tough time writing what I was thinking at that point. No, didn’t mean to say I can’t love someone unless they are my fantasy, I was talking about my illusion based obsession with him. I wanted him to be sweet, and kind, and EA, but he wasn’t. So I decided I’d comment on his physical attributes (never to him directly) as a way to feel better about him being a jerk….but maybe I’ll leave it to try and makes sense in my head. :) I meant in terms of an AC. I get what you are saying…and it’s important for me to understand that I most likely was not in love with this person because I didn’t respect them, because he was an AC and I knew it. I was just trying to say that I guess it’s easier to poke “fun” at an AC after being hurt..but I do understand it’s childish.

        • Allison says:

          “I’ve had those firework feelings for EUMs who weren’t on the “top 10 list” in the looks dept., and, at first, didnt mind because I had that strong attraction (for all the reasons we do for EUMs). But….when i got to know the real them and saw how unattractive they were on the INSIDE, their physical “flaws” became more apparent. In a snarky way….it helped me move on.”

          I hear you!!!!!

      • Karina says:

        Both my parents have gained weight as they’ve gotten older and I find it incredibly cute how they look and how my mom loves my dad’s big belly and gray hair!

        That’s something that I’ve been nserting in my mind…looks eventually fade, but as Nat says, character is essential!

        • Roz says:

          I don’t think there is anything shocking at all saying you might be repulsed or revolted by being intimate with someone. I know I have. Most often it has to do with grooming and self -care (or lack thereof) rather than just physical qualities. Do you want to make out with someone with horrible halitosis or rotten teeth? No. Even further, there just may be something in your psychology that loathes skinny or fat or gray hair or blond hair or whatever else it is (the example of being gay or not is the clearest. I think of plenty of gay people might say it repulses them to think of being with the opposite sex.) There are plenty of reasons you might find a person repellant physically when you could still be friends and find them a wonderful person, etc. It isn’t “scary” at all, it is totally natural. Obviously, I’m not talking about some dickwd who is “repulsed” by any woman who is 5 lbs overweight or some ridiculous thing. I just agree that there is an irrational, instinctual element to attraction that cannot be denied. It doesn’t have to imply judgment or meanness.

          • Ladies, I want you to look at the definition of ‘repulsion’ and ‘revolting’.

            Repulsion – ” a sense of disgust and loathing”
            Revolting – ” to feel disgust or to feel strong disgust”

            And for Roz repellent – ” causing disgust or distaste”

            When I’m not attracted to someone, I don’t feel anything. It can easily be called indifference. I might feel something stronger if they were trying to bust my boundaries or something, but just for passing me in the street, speaking to me, or asking me out? Er, no.

            I’m also somewhat uncomfortable with the generalisations being made about gay people. Just because you’re gay, it doesn’t mean that you feel repulsed or revolted by the opposite sex. I don’t want to have sex with other women. I don’t feel disgust, loathing, or distaste – I’m just not interested and I’ve actually been asked out by quite a few women. If I was silly enough to proceed with an involvement with another woman and ignore my lack of interest and then found myself naked and us both trying to sleep with one another, I would be incredibly uncomfortable, and who knows, maybe even repulsed, although it may even be at myself for silencing my own needs.

            I remember feeling repulsed by two exes – one ex who was quite sexually deviant and who also had race issues tried to sleep with me again and was mauling me and the other who was trying to sleep with me because he felt that we should until I left (we’d broken up and I was leaving the country – actually funny enough, that was the same for both situations).

            But in my day to day, whether now or in my dating past, was a I feeling repulsed and revolted by all of those who I didn’t feel attracted to? No.

            This is not about denying what does or doesn’t attract people – I would just appreciate it if some of you would stop with this bullshit attacking of people’s exteriors and calling it “natural”. I am actually appalled at the way that some of you speak of others and I hope that you never have people speak about and regard you in the same way, and that if you do, that you accept it in it’s “naturalness”. How lucky people must be to be with you or even be your friend even if you find them “repellent” or “revolting”. I hope that if anyone feels that way about me, that they don’t throw me a bone of their attention…

            And you know what’s ironic about this whole situation? Aside from the fact that this is a post about instant attraction which some of you have used to get very defensive about your various pet peeves on people’s appearances, every day I hear from people on this site who are unable to handle another person’s choice…which is natural. It is their right. It might not be what you like and their choice to not want to have a relationship or to end things or whatever may be “irrational”, but it’s their choice. Yet some of you hate other people’s choices and call it rejection, or tell them about themselves, or keep chasing them and burn up oodles of brainpower and your lives fighting against it.

            You are double-standarding and if this is how some of you truly feel about other people’s appearances and what you do and don’t like, it’s about time you accepted the choices of your ex’s (or current partner’s who don’t want a mutual relationship) and moved on, gracefully, just as you expect people to expect the naturalness of your disgust and loathing for them.

  25. Gina says:

    I love you Nat!! I think that men are guilty of doing this as well as women…perhaps even morseso. My current boyfriend is wonderful, but the one before him (he was the reason I came to this website) told me that he did not see a future with me–even though he said that I was the best girlfriend that he’d ever had– because he did not feel the level of intensity for me that he felt for his ex that dumped him, and with whom he said he had a toxic relationship with.

    I truly believe that some people choose to pursue toxic relationships because they derive some type of twisted pleasure from the drama.

    If I would have had a crystal ball to see the amazing man that was looking for someone like me, I would have dumped the messed up ex sooner.

  26. Sarah T says:

    Oooh, is it a good time to mention that I’m facially disfigured. Doesn’t define me, never has and never will. My poor choice in men nearly did though!!

    • And there you have it Sarah T. The wonderful thing is that you’ve knocked your habit on the head – now you’re free to not only continue not holding yourself back based on appearance, but to be your best you inside as well.

      It also goes to show though, that when we make judgements here on BR about appearance, we may be judging fellow readers.

      • squeezey says:

        I have a facial disfigurement too, i’m 50 now and have had lots of nice boyfriends (some tossers too) but i’ve had to put up with lots of awful comments and sneers from lots of girls and women all my life. I feel that this has held me back in life, but at my age now things are easier as i know looks aren’t everything.

  27. Empowered says:

    Okay, I can see the cages are rattled on this one and everyone is quick to jump to the “do i have to date an ugly dude??” conclusion. But I think the most interesting and perhaps subtle part of Nat’s article hasn’t been mentioned at all. That is our tendency to stick with our original assessment, whether good, bad or indifferent! Ummm…Aha moment!! I am so guilty of this, I will judge on physical characteristics immediately and then find myself unconsciously looking for signs to support my initial label. I have spent years looking for the “perfect” in the perfect guy I found in 5 minutes. Guess what?? It was never there! Likewise I have attempted to give less ‘fireworky’ guys a chance but it’s like they don’t stand a hope in hell because I am analysing the poor guys to death in order to be able to say “aha! I knew it, we’re just not compatible!! Arrghhh!! I frustrate myself! I get it Nat, and I will continue to attempt to be a little more patient with my judgements in an effort to learn, grow & find a SUITABLE match!!

    • Thank God for That says:

      Yeah, that was the take-away comment for me as well!!

      I have this belief about myself that I know everything I need to know about someone in 5 minutes. And it’s kind of true to an extent – it’s just I discard most of the information! I always get that feeling that this person is damaged in some way, and then somehow interpret that in a way that makes me want to help them and bring out the good in them (I know…this is very narcissistic of me), rather than see we’re not going to do any good to each other. Do this with men and with friends. And then *anything* good that they do, I’ll tell myself “see!! That’s the good in them – I’m giving them the opportunity to be their best selves!! *I* bring out the good in them!” and then I’ll just use these examples to build my impression of them, instead of the 80% of the time when they’re being their not-so-best selves.

      Mostly it’s the people who when I meet them, I don’t come away with a particularly strong impression of anything (“yeah they seem okay”), nothing too dramatic or exciting, that turn out to be really solid, trustworthy characters as I get to know them more. Growers not show-ers!

      • Allison says:

        Thank God,

        I don’t believe the behavior to be “narcissistic,” but co-dependent.

      • yoghurt says:

        “I always get that feeling that this person is damaged in some way, and then somehow interpret that in a way that makes me want to help them and bring out the good in them (I know…this is very narcissistic of me), rather than see we’re not going to do any good to each other. Do this with men and with friends. And then *anything* good that they do, I’ll tell myself “see!! That’s the good in them – I’m giving them the opportunity to be their best selves!! *I* bring out the good in them!” and then I’ll just use these examples to build my impression of them, instead of the 80% of the time when they’re being their not-so-best selves.”

        Meeeeeeee! I did this! Exactly this! This is meeeeeeeeeeee too!

        I don’t think it’s narcissistic either, though, in my case it was the result of epically low self-esteem and the need to find a value in some ‘role’ or behaviour that didn’t involve actually just being myself.

  28. blueberry girl says:

    At the risk of generalizing, I’ve sometimes found that very good-looking people have lousy personalities because they haven’t been forced to cultivate those qualities of integrity, empathy, kindness, etc. that create a well-rounded person.
    Case in point:
    I met Michael, an actor and model from LA, in a karaoke bar a few months ago. I was immediately struck by his rock-star good looks. His first words to me were, “Are we the only people in this place who can hold a tune?”He bragged that he had studied voice with some of the most famous musicians in the industry. Eagerly, I waited to hear him sing and was surprised to discover he was pretty bad. Really bad, in fact.
    By the end of the night, he was being booed from the karaoke stage for rudely stealing the mike and hogging the limelight while other singers had their turns, a lack of courtesy he seemed oblivious to. He literally had men at the bar screaming and threatening to beat him up!
    Michael reminded me of someone who has received privileges and attention primarily for his good looks and hasn’t had to rely on the beauty and strength of his personality. Which is just further proof that one should watch and wait to get to know someone, and look beyond physical attributes to the person within.

    • Allison says:


      The guy sounds like an ass!!!!!

      I don’t think it is fair to categorize attractive people either! There is good and bad everywhere, no matter the looks.

  29. yoghurt says:

    I don’t think that you have to be unattracted to someone per se, but that judging on attraction alone just isn’t a great way to meet a good partner

    I think I’ve made this point before… I have no intention of ever being with someone that I find unattractive. But, the happier I am with myself and the less I feel I have to prove, the wider the range of people that I find attractive. And the more focused I am on internal qualities and character, and the less focused on external qualities that’ll help me ‘prove my worth’, the longer I take about making a judgement call on someone else’s attractiveness.

    So I think it’s like anything else – it starts with you and the happier you are in yourself, the better you are at choosing a partner.

    Incidentally, what Nat calls ‘attraction’ I think I’ve called a ‘connection’ in the past… when I started talking to someone and there was that “ZINNGG!” moment. Usually it was the sound of their self-obsession and need to talk about their problems meeting my low-esteem and belief that I was only worth anything to anyone if I could *help* them – generally not such a great connection to have!

    I talked to !!!the father of Son!!! today – basically trying to set some boundaries and be more authentic and honest in my dealings with him.
    We’re both a whole lot better and more sorted and less EU than when we last talked. The conversation went well and we reached a level of agreement and understanding that we’ve REALLY been lacking before, but my word it was awkward and actually quite unpleasantly uncomfortable to have. We used to have the zingiest connection in the whole world. Now that we don’t have our mutually-compatible issues to fall back on we’ve lost that, but I can see that he’s a much nicer and more likeable character for it. And so am I, I think.

    • Thank God for That says:

      “Incidentally, what Nat calls ‘attraction’ I think I’ve called a ‘connection’ in the past… when I started talking to someone and there was that “ZINNGG!” moment. Usually it was the sound of their self-obsession and need to talk about their problems meeting my low-esteem and belief that I was only worth anything to anyone if I could *help* them – generally not such a great connection to have!”

      You’ve just put into words what I’ve been gradually coming to terms with in my head for the last week. I’m a sucker for this very specific type of connection…now I’m aware of it, I hope I’ll be able to avoid its trappings.

      I’ve read a few of your posts and I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to have been through what you have. And you sound so strong…well done. And sounds from what you’ve just written that you and the EUM are starting to communicate with each other in “reality”. A lot more uncomfortable I bet, but whatever reality you are able to share will be good for your kid I think. Best wishes :)

      • yoghurt says:

        Thanks – those are lovely things to say and have just made my day :)
        “You’ve just put into words what I’ve been gradually coming to terms with in my head for the last week. I’m a sucker for this very specific type of connection…now I’m aware of it, I hope I’ll be able to avoid its trappings.”

        I’ve been thinking about this today. Long story short: one of the things that came out of the conversation yesterday was that FomC busted my behaviour and our dynamic as unhealthy a long long time ago, and what I thought was our ‘romance’ was actually some weird sort of battle of wills, with both of us trying to ‘prove’ our unhealthy behaviours ‘right’ and forcing the other to drop theirs.

        This was very very weird to hear, especially as I’ve only really just figured it all out for myself. And yes, OF COURSE he told me at the time (with words! he actually said it!) and OF COURSE I just thought that he was justifying his own – clearly wrong – behaviour, because mine was so perfect and above reproach!

        That was a prevarication, but with thinking about it today I realised how insidious and difficult to recognise the whole Florence Nightingale/martyred/overly-supportive act is (and please excuse me for a second while I get down on my knees and say a prayer of thanks for Natalie and BR, because I would’ve NEVER worked it out on my own). Choosing someone because they’re troubled is way way more foolish than choosing someone because they’re good-looking (although if they’re good-looking and troubled then you’re really screwed!) and yet, when you’re trying to do the ‘right thing’, it’s so hard to take into account that meeting your own needs is a part of that, especially if you’ve spent a large part of your life believing that your own needs can be overcome with a dose of discipline and/or repression.

        The thing that *finally* made me address it, by the way, was imagining the sort of life that I wanted with any future partner/husband… did I want a relationship that only ever involved sitting there and talking about/making allowances for his troubles and feelings? What if he got better? Would we have anything to talk about? I mean, I do want to be able to support a partner if something goes wrong, but at the same time I don’t want it to be my whole life and the purpose of my existence.

        This is a bit of an extended ramble, but I suppose that I really wanted to say Good Luck, now that you’ve recognised it (it was a HORRIBLE feeling when I twigged on, so I sympathise, like “well who the hell am I supposed to be now, then?”). But life is a whole lot more comfortable and hopeful now that I’ve realised that I’m allowed to spend time with people who are HAPPY and GOOD FUN…

  30. Ashamed says:

    I think the key is that there has to be *some* physical qualities that you find attractive. For example, my loverboy ac was in my building for many years and I would say hi, talk briefly but *never* looked at him sexually. There are other men in my building that I find much more attractive. Once we started to spend more time together, I found that I liked him, found him comforting and wanted to kiss him. After the kiss, something changed. I think the great kiss combined with his personality made me see more closely his gorgeous green eyes, his nice teeth, his height, his full lips, in a way that I just didn’t notice before. So, he did have appealing features – I just didn’t see them right away when I looked at him as strictly a co-worker. The more I got to know him, the more attractive he became. This was actually unfortunate for me because he is a playa and an ac and I should have just ignored him during his initial chase! However, had he had long nose hairs or be completely bald (sorry, not to offend anyone) I’m pretty certain I would have never entertained it.

    I also have to say that I think more men are guilty of this. They are extremely visual and weigh physical attraction heavier, in my opinion, although I’m sure there is a study that would back this up. My loverboy ac was obsessed with my legs. Ya know what they say – there are boob guys, ass guys and leg guys. When you think about it, it really is so shallow.

  31. runnergirlno1 says:

    I’m really confused on this one. Thus, I know it is a stumbling block I need to address. Any assistance would be appreciated. I met the 3 exes, an emotionally abusive b/f as well as ex MM#1 and exMM#2 in a work group setting and did not see any of them as romantic partners. We worked together and hung out after work. No initial butterflies or instant that I can remember. From my perspective, they were all “growers” as someone else described. As they described it, they spent a great deal of time getting my attention. I really didn’t notice them “in that way” but eventually did mostly cos they said they did. Physical appearance is so subjective, I don’t have a clue in that regard. I’m thinking the common characteristic or “my type” has more to do with what Natalie describes as other qualities, “…characteristics and apparent values and you over-correlate the information and assume that they not only possess other characteristics, qualities, and values that you like, but that they’ll also give you the relationship you want.” Mostly, they are leaders, very important, good at their job, very well respected at work, intelligent, can write, read novels (like War & Peace), and are arrogant. I like ’em arrogant. Maybe I’ve done what EllyB describes and simply ignored tremendous red flags and what Natalie describes as over-correlating characteristics with other qualities.
    The only one that sent me into heart palpitations, wobbly knees, and swooning like a school girl was exMM#2. Phew, just the memory of the physical effects leaves me knowing something was wrong. I don’t know if I’m making any sense because I’m having a hard time with this issue.

    • Magnolia says:

      Um, I’m thinking about the guy who conned me out of my virginity and how he told me he’d seen me x time earlier and had been interested for a while, etc. Bullshit, I think now. When he decided he wanted to make a move, he turned it on.

      Could it be possible that these exMMs might have been – gasp! – lying when they told you they’d been trying to get your attention for so long? It’s flattering to think of this hotshot leader guy trying to get you to notice him, it inverts the power structure, he’s making you think you had all this power over him …

      Maybe you’re not “clueless” and they really didn’t give a rat’s about you for a long time and then when they decided they might get something from you they went into pursuit mode, and simply were successful in securing your interest? So you not feeling any interest in them at first was because you, personally, never found them attractive (because they are cheating MMs, right? maybe you instinctively just didn’t like them!), but once they showed interest in YOU, suddenly you couldn’t get them out of your head?

    • Ashamed says:

      You and I have a lot in common when it cones to men. I definitely have a thing for men in leadership positions that are successful at their jobs and appear very confident (translation: cocky and arrogant). I’m athletic, and also run a lot too and I find that these type of men also are athletic. Here we go again – tall and fit – my weakness… Ughh. Most of the time I don’t see them as attractive until they start with the comments or if someone tells me things they say about me. Most of them are younger than me plus I’m married (albeit unhappily) but they don’t care. I learned from my lover boy AC never to enter that arena again so I won’t -ever. Yet, I find it interesting how your perception of someone can change just by hearing things through the grapevine. I’m still like a little schoolgirl when I see my AC.

      Question for you- was your father a leader? My father had a strong personality and led a large company. In fact, he could be arrogant (although a great, loving father). I think that is why I tend to admire
      and fall for these types like my AC.

      • Mymble says:

        I’ve yet to hear anyone say they don’t like successful men.
        Money, status, power, what’s not to like? There’s no mystery in it.
        The question is how far are you prepared to lay down your values in order to “get” one of them, and how much humiliation you would be willing to endure to stay with them. Instead of focussing on why and how you need to get a man like daddy, why don’t you be a woman like daddy yourself, ie a high achiever and a leader?

        • Ashamed says:

          Funny thing is I’m a high achiever (great job, masters degree, etc.) but I don’t see myself as a leader. I think it’s b/c I’m the one used to being led. Im just starting to realize that now and am trying to change my mindset and fix the lack of confidence I have to lead. Many people at work see me as a good leader but I am still working on it. I also need to come to grips that I will probably leave my husband and be alone for awhile. It’s very scary for me but I’m getting used to the idea. Being alone has a lot pros – I won’t have to run everything by someone- ie. to spend money or take a trip. I know this may sound odd but the men in my life have controlled a lot of that aspect in my life.

      • Tea Cozy says:


        The reason those guys don’t care if you’re married is because they’re emotionally unavailable. You’re a PERFECT target for them — you have a built-in limitation that is a perfect match for the limited love they have on offer.

        When they start with the comments, knowing you’re married, they are treating you with gross disrespect. Do you not shut them down on the spot? Unhappily married or no, isn’t it terribly insulting that these guys think they can break a piece off with you, just because they’re tall-alpha-arrogant-whatever?

        Now, I may be the odd one out in this thread, but I really dislike those type of men. I find their air of entitlement very obnoxious. They’re used to getting their way, to being the guy on top. It bodes poorly for a relationship of equals.

        Bottom line, though: is giving these guys the time of day (in your thoughts, or in real life) a productive exercise, given your marital status? It’s not clear to me if you’re trying to think through why you got involved with the “lover boy” AC in the first place, in order to not do so again; or if you’re trying to figure out how to choose a better heist-partner in the future.

        • Ashamed says:

          Very valid question. For many years in my marriage I was going through the motions. My husband is not emotional and not very social but not a total dud either. He’s a good guy. When I started with AC my life became fun. This is nothing new. Bored wife finds fun boy toy. What am I doing here on this site? Trying to find answers … Is my husband ever going to fulfill me emotionally and sexually? Are the majority of men like my AC? How strange will it be to date after all these years? I might be married and although I wouldn’t call my husband an AC but he is definitely an
          EUM. So, what to do? Stay in it and feel nothing or take the risk on finding someone more compatible that could end up with me being alone.

          • Tea Cozy says:

            Ashamed, I really appreciate your response. And I can relate to being in a longterm relationship with someone who just doesn’t give the emotional connection you crave, but is basically a decent guy. Been there more than once, and it was very hard to know what to do — stay or go? Devil you know vs. the devil you don’t?

            Bonus points if the people around you (your friends, family) think you’re nuts to walk away from a good guy. It’s hard to know what to think or do.

            I will admit, I took the low road out: I lined up a new fling before I made my exit. My ex wasn’t aware of it — I lied about it — and it has left me all these years later feeling that I disrespected him and myself, by going against my code of conduct.

            Anyway, you have my sympathy, and I hope you find clarity and direction. Living in limbo is very hard.

            • Ashamed says:

              Thanks for the support. I’ve been reading a book “too good to leave, too bad to stay” hoping it might give me *some* clarity.
              I’ve been gaining a lot of insight from Natalie and the others. We are strong women yet sometimes we feel that being in a relationship defines who we are…. So not true.

              • Aurora says:

                I used that book when I was figuring out if I wanted to divorce. It’s decent, but what it came down to for me was that I kept remembering a line from the intro that boiled down to… If you’re gonna stay you have to be all in and truly committed to making it work. That really stuck out to me because at the time, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around that and say.. If I stay, I’m going to commit to the work needed to turn the marriage around. I had put an icy wall up as a coping mechanism by then, and was just too withdrawn. I’ve had moments of regret over my decision, moments when I wished I had given therapy a chance etc. Its hard when I look at my daughter sometimes, imaging what its like for her living in two houses (50/50 custody) and wondering about if I should have done it differently.But I’ve come to accept that that’s where I was at the time, and either way, change/action was needed. I was so withdrawn it effected my parenting, and I couldnt see self improvement from inside the marriage. At least now I’m a better mom.

                • Ashamed says:

                  I can relate. I’m so withdrawn and feel I am already one foot out. I went to the park today alone (a very large one with tons of people) and I wanted cry watching the happy couples just lying on the grass “talking”. I don’t think I ever had that with my husband… He doesn’t like to talk details and is quite rigid. Great father to my kids though. So ladies, even EU men get married. If you do marry one you have to realize they don’t change. In fact, it only gets worse. I think I was able to cope all these years b/c I have great friends and family that fulfilled some of my needs (like fun). If I leave, I know I will have some regrets… we always do.

                • Mymble says:

                  The “icy wall”, that kind of describes exactly how I feel, it is almost physically present inside me. It’s a horrible feeling.
                  My husband is neither EUM nor AC yet I don’t think any amount of therapy can fix this, but I am finding it hard to get the guts to finish it. Relating it to the topic, I married someone I felt no attraction whatsoever for – bizarre but true- I thought his good character would be enough. It wasnt.
                  Off topic, sorry.

                  • EllyB says:

                    When I broke up with my one long-term boyfriend more than a decade ago, I wondered why I couldn’t live with that “very nice guy” anymore. I kept wondering for many years, secretly hoping therapy could “fix” me and make me love a guy like him, but for some reasons, I didn’t want to get therapy.

                    Now it’s dawning to me what an AC he was. He pushed for sex, he belittled me, he ridiculed me, he called me a nuisance and a nutcase, he said I made him “look like a fool” with his friends, he refused to commit. I thought his behavior was perfectly normal considering what a “creep” I was. After all, he was rather plain and doing poorly academically. Didn’t all this lack of superficial qualities mean he was a really good guy? That’s what I thought back then… Plus, he reminded me of my narcissistic mother and invoked all those “cozy, warm” feelings from my childhood which I couldn’t stand anymore (back then I believed abuse was perfectly normal and only my reactions to it were wrong).

          • Polly says:


            I’m grappling with exactly the same issue. Was bored and unfulfilled in LTR with a decent but EU man and ended up having an exciting and damaging affair with an AC. Question for me isn’t do I stay and feel nothing, it’s can I get to feel something with my man if I start to jump in with both feet and deal with my own EU. I don’t know the answer yet….good luck to us both finding out though x

            • Ashamed says:

              Good luck. I am going to wait it out myself. The irony is that my husband’s emotional unavailability has turned me into a EUW. I used to be so open emotionally and physically -showered him with affection even though it wasn’t reciprocated. Now he asks me why I don’t do that anymore … Hello – you have to ask? it’s b/c he turned me into an EUW (with him) by not giving back. I showered my AC with affection too and he totally reciprocated (while we were together) and it felt great. Ha! Then he wouldn’t contact me for days, sometimes weeks. Which is worse? I can sure pick them.
              Keep us all posted. Would love to know how things work
              out. Good luck.

              • NCC says:

                Ashamed and related posts-
                I can totally relate to that icy wall you talk about, and me becoming more and more closed off emotionally and with my affections after dating only EUMs and ACs. I now feel like a fool if I give, because I felt such rejection when I didn’t get it back, and when/if I did it was only a momentary high. These men either gave those things incosistantly, leaving me always questioning and guessing if I would get more, or if i had suddently done something and they no longer desired me, and then others didnt give either, ever. I feel like now I hold back my desire to be affectionate and giving and thoughtful because of the fear and resentment I feel towards not getting those things back. I feel i’ve lost this part of me I used to love, but I only ever tried to cultivate it by giving to men who I guess didn’t want it or appreciate it. This has added tremendously to my depression. I feel sick when I realize what I’ve thrown away and how I’ve given up on who I really am to try and get love from another person. Sometimes I feel like maybe this IS all I am, and I will spend a lifetime trying to get this. I guess if I choose to then yes, that will happen. I keep hearing that voice inside me saying, “get up! get out! if they don’t want what you give and they don’t want to give what you want, its time to leave! End of story, quit being afraid and realize it’s just the way it is!!” I am begging myself not to choose that life. Like you say Mymble, it’s a horrible feeling.

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Hi Ashamed,
        I followed in my father’s professional footsteps to a T. He was a faculty union leader and I have spent my professional life as a faculty leader as well. But my father wasn’t loving or available. In fact, he is a pedophile and voyeur (aka a peeping Tom). I’m not him and I’m releasing the shame but it’s been difficult separating his illegal and illicit behavior from my life.
        I’d like to lend my support to you as you focus on your husband and your marriage. That’s the focus. Leadership roles at work and Lover Boy AC’s may be a diversion from the task at hand, YOU. I used my work, my daughter, and MM’s to divert my attention from me. To bring this back on track, somehow, it just isn’t about an instant attraction. It’s about what is underlying the instant attraction or even a growing attraction.
        On the upside, I bought my own home without running it buy a male, other than the broker guys and bank guys. That was cool. Even better, I remember the day I bought my own patio furniture without running it by a male. I still love my patio furniture and it has lasted longer than most of my marriages! Still kind of regret spending a ton of money on a Cancun trip with my daughter rather than getting limestone tile. Oh well. Get in touch with you.

        • Ashamed says:

          Sounds like you are doing great. I’m sorry your father was not a very good man but don’t let that get in the way of your life.

          It is true-people have so many varying experiences as children-which impacts how we interpret things later in life. Including who we are attracted to, whether instantly or over time. I know why I’m overly emotional and why my husband is emotionally unavailable – you just have to look at our upbringings. It really is that plain and simple – at least in our situation.
          That cancun trip will be a memory you will always have!

        • Tea Cozy says:

          Oh, runner, I feel you on the dad issue. I’m in the same boat. :-/

          I’m finding it very challenging to draw the internal boundaries to not feel tainted by association. It definitely colors my relationships with men.

          I was thinking about this in regards to some of the discussion in this thread about revulsion/repulsion. I have to be so mindful to watch my kneejerk scared-angry reaction to men who remind me of my dad. It’s a daily thing. And it impacts my dating life because I’m now at the age, and am dating men of the age, that my dad was when he began his creepy behavior. Seeing online profiles of guys who look vaguely like him triggers feelings of, yes, revulsion. So I skip on over those guys. Am I possibly missing out on someone great for me? Perhaps. But at this point, I’m not willing to hop back on the therapist’s couch and dig into my psyche to fix that — I don’t have it in me to re-open that wound. I just try to be mindful that I have an extra duty of care to draw safe, healthy, normalizing boundaries with men.

          One thing I love so much about Nat’s writing, and the responses here, is that it really helps me think through what “normal” is. I think those of us who grew up in Little House of Horrors households sometimes simply don’t know what is healthy and normal. Boundaries are such a revelation to me.

          • EllyB says:

            @Tea Cozy: “Seeing online profiles of guys who look vaguely like him triggers feelings of, yes, revulsion. ”

            A word of caution: I think many of us used to believe we were doing that – avoiding people who reminded us of our toxic parents. And anyway, more often than not we found ourselves with partners who were…EXACTLY like them.

            I think I’ve even read that in a book about dealing with childhood trauma (can’t remember which).

            Maybe it’s because we focused on our parents’ superficial qualities or flaws while ignoring their (way more painful) personalities? After all, it’s easy to run into the same trap over and over again if we’re desperately trying to forget what that trap (our parents’ toxic personalities) looked like!

            This is why it might be dangerous to brush our childhood issues aside. Not because we might skip some “good” guys, but because we might end up with the wrong ones over and over again.

    • grace says:

      – Any woman who gets involved with not one MM, but two, is scared of relationships. You don’t want someone of your own to whom you are accountable 100% of the time. And he to you. You don’t feel up to it.
      – You can’t hand over your heart to another person because you’re afraid.
      – You’re scared that relationship = boredom, stagnation, the end of runner’s life as you know it
      – Abusive man = low self-esteem. You either had low self-esteem to get involved with him in the first place. Or the relationship destroyed your self-esteem
      – Low self -esteem = fear of relationships = hooking up with men who are not offering a relationship = MM
      – You like arrogant men because you’d like some of that (apparent) self-belief for yourself
      – You like men who are difficult to get because if a man were to just love you, you’d think he was an idiot
      – You’d think he was an idiot because you don’t feel lovable
      Since you are smart and like to read, you might enjoy “The situation is hopeless, but not serious. The Pursuit of Unhappiness”. It’s a wry look at how our beliefs sabotage our lives.

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Loved the title of the book. Sounds like the title of my life.
        Yes, EUW, Low Self-Esteem was/is my middle name. I have a history of abusive ex’s dating back to my teens. However, after realizing in my early 40’s the b/f was emotionally abusive, I ran. It took about 60 days and another year to get totally out. But it did destroy my self-esteem.
        Then, I got involved with consecutive MM’s throughout my 40’s to avoid getting married a fourth time by the time I was 40-something. I clearly remember thinking that since he was married, it wouldn’t end up in another failed marriage or relationship. Totally EUW thinking. And I wasn’t up to anything in terms of a committed relationship which is precisely why I got involved with MM’s. In retrospect, I should have taken a total men-0-pause and focused on me rather than being unavailable and engaging in such hurtful behavior.
        “You like arrogant men because you’d like some of that (apparent) self-belief for yourself- You like men who are difficult to get because if a man were to just love you, you’d think he was an idiot”
        Ouch, but spot on. Actually, I’m getting to the point where I’d just like someone to love me and maybe that would start first with me? Sorry Natalie, we’ve strayed off the original instant attraction post. But maybe not? It’s so not about “instant attraction” or “growers”. It’s about honesty, integrity, respect, and love for myself. Grace, you are wonderful and thank you for an afternoon of deep reflection and growth.

  32. Intotouch says:

    I would like to add a warning to this post.

    I have had relationships with men that I instantly fancied and I have had relationships with men where the attraction grew over time from nothing. They were each commitment phobes. Gradually becoming attracted to someone may be a change in approach for some of us to how we normally get involved but it doesn’t mean that this person is not a nightmare to date!

    Dating different ways and different types sounds like something worth trying but still be careful. I kept thinking this next one is better. I know what to watch out for now. I’m doing it differently this time. I still should have been more careful, asked more questions, vetted them out. I still got burned.

    • SM says:

      You hit the nail on the head, ‘just because you grow to know them, doesnt mean they wont be an azzclown’. Has happened to me more than once. I think we still need to keep basic guidelines in the forefront.

      1. No, we will not be an exception to the rule (any rule).
      2. a persons character should always be at forefront.
      3. Morals and common decency are universal, and not just for those who choose to follow them ( it pissed me off in the last post when someone suggested otherwise about marriage).
      4. Pay attention to our past patterns of unhealthy behavior and be aware of signs we may be ‘going there’ again.
      5. Instant attraction can be about much more than ‘looks’.
      6. Stick with your values.
      7. Stick with your values.
      8. “Slow your roll” get to know someone before you decide to ‘put them on a throne and blow smoke up their backside’

  33. Christina says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was contemplating a writing a blog post in this vein, but you beat me to it, and said it much better. In the past few weeks, I’ve come across several instances of people- both male and female- saying they bypassed an online dating profile because they weren’t attracted to it. I guess I can see being put off by something on a profile, but how can you be attracted, or not, to a picture and some words?

    Real chemistry is about more than just physical attraction, and those other things just can’t be determined until you meet in person. I’m glad my husband didn’t make those judgments when he first saw my profile. He mistook my blonde highlights for grey and figured I was too old for him! (and by extension, that I was lying about my age on my profile. Ouch!) Fortunately, he still decided to take a chance on meeting me and was pleasantly surprised by my youthfulness.

    He, by the way, is a big, “cuddly” guy. Sure, I worry about his health a bit, but he is making an effort to be healthier, and that’s what counts. He’s also got all the qualities that make a great husband. While I was dating, I met a lot of fit, hunky guys who were nice enough, but were obviously not good relationship material. It’s definitely worth taking the time to get to know someone a little better.

  34. Broadsided says:

    I never took the post to say one should date people “unappealing” to them. But attraction should be in 3-D – not just “looks”, whatever floats your boat in that department, but it’s about smile, approach, friendliness and warmth, intelligence. And most importantly as I’ve learned – it takes quite awhile to learn the more substantive stuff …..stuff which is going to take the relationship the long haul, and which just is not immediately apparent. I loved the post above from the gal who met an attractive man but laid back to get to know his M.O. and ended up morphing him into a platonic friend based on how things unfolded. I have a feeling I can meet a guy that I have chemistry with and attraction to, but reign back my feelings and assumptions to see if those subtle character things that make the a good relationship bet. Who someone is, is transformative in the looks department. I’m beginning to think I won’t know someone until I see how they face stress and challenges in life – the last two guys have just imploded.

  35. headache says:

    I think I would like a man who is brown lentils and not a great big chocolate cake to go back to Magnolia’s wonderful analogy!

    Seriously I have always gone for personality and not for looks but then having said that I think it is always possible to find something deeply attractive about another person if you look closely. I agree with the poster who says that typically “beautiful people” often lack the personality of mere mortals as they have not had the need to develop such a rounded one.

    Despite looking for the inner beauty I have still met my fair share of ACs though.

  36. Snowboard says:

    Suddenly I’m in a “Molly, You’re In Danger, Girl,” type of situation. I just moved into a new apartment two weeks ago, and me and my new neighbor (I’ll call him, “Tom”) immediately got along, and we went out that first night together with a couple of his friends. We have hung out regularly since then and kissed for the first time last night and then again today (though I wouldn’t sleep over).

    I can see that Tom cannot give me the kind of healthy relationship I’m looking for. He has openly characterized himself to me as a “lady’s man,” and has said that he tends to get really excited about girls for about two weeks and then finds himself bored. He also seems to talk non-stop about other girls he has dated, hooked up with, etc., and he seems to have at least one other girl in the background – she rang two times one night when I was over there after 2am (he said, “oh, she is probably trying to make a booty call”), but he didn’t pick up. Last night, he sat me down to try to talk to me ‘seriously,’ and told me that he wants to try to be with me seriously – but it’s hard not to believe this doesn’t have something to do with the fact that I have been keeping him at a distance, and he is just trying to tell me what he thinks I want to hear.

    I am very physically attracted to him (to the point where if he just reaches to hold my hand, I feel like the wind is knocked out of me from excitement), but I know that this isn’t what I want for myself. I want a grown-up relationship, which has the potential of turning into marriage, kids, etc. So I need to find the strength to tell him honestly that I don’t want to date. It’s hard because he is literally the only friend I have on campus (we’re both grad students), and it’s been really nice finally having someone to go to lunch with, someone to drink a glass of wine with after a long day of studying, etc. But I know myself too well to go down this path again… I want to be with a man who respects me, and whom I respect. I just find myself nervous because he seems very stubborn (his words: “Whenever I want something, I always get it”), and I suspect that if I try to push him away, he’ll just keep trying to pull me back. Plus, in my past experience, when you try to just be ‘friends’ with someone when there is a mutual attraction, it’s nearly impossible to avoid continually hooking up again…

    • Magnolia says:

      Snowboard – you KNOW the answer to this one. The fact that he’s your ‘only friend’ should make you very wary of over investing – who else will be your support group if you go down this road of putting your need for community in the hands of a dude who has already shown you who he is?

      You’re “afraid” he’ll try to get with you? Just expect it and decide you won’t take the bait. It’s “impossible” to avoid someone with whom there’s a mutual attraction? No, it isn’t, and if you want a committed relationship, you want to learn that it is not only possible but often necessary. What if when you are in a good relationship – or married – you find yourself attracted to some other guy? Will it be “impossible” then?

      What I’m most struck by is your recklessness, and that you haven’t yet learned the lesson of not sh*tting where you eat, if you’ll pardon the crudeness. How could it be wise to start making out with a neighbor, after less than two weeks? The chances of anything serious working out with anyone take far longer than that to ascertain, and yet you’re willing to risk having awkwardness on your doorstep for the whole time you live there, practically from the start.

      We all know it’s a big risk to date someone from work, for this reason. I’ve heard of guys who won’t date anyone from their gym, just because they really like their gym and don’t want to mess it up having to constantly run into women they dated with whom it didn’t work out. You’re willing to do this with your new home.

    • grace says:

      Your problem isn’t him but the fact you have no other friends. Make other friends. Go to every single boring stupid event. I’d rather you sat watching paint dry than spend another minute alone with this predator.
      Could he have spelled it out more clearly? He uses women for sex.
      It IS possible for men and women to be friends, even with an attraction there, (I’ve done a complete 180 on that) but both of you have to respect boundaries. So no kissing, no seduction and probably not much that time spent one on one. What do we do with boundary busters? Toss them.
      Don’t have sex with him. I would avoid him as much as possible for at least a month and tell him to stop contacting you as you’re not interested. Then just ignore him.

      • EllyB says:

        @Grace: “It IS possible for men and women to be friends, even with an attraction there, (I’ve done a complete 180 on that) but both of you have to respect boundaries.”

        That’s an interesting remark, because there is that business contact I mentioned a while ago whom I was interested in (NOT the married top manager – I flushed that one!!!). However, the other one, well, he’s quite an important business contact, and I’ve realized dating him might not be the best idea due to that.

        Ironically, he has become an even better business contact during the past weeks, because I’ve called im often. It seems like… we’ve grown to trust each other way more than we used to during all those years when we didn’t talk as much. Thus, he’s become way more helpful. Btw, whenever he sees my number on his caller list, he calls back very quickly. It’s just business, but it’s still nice to know I can rely on someone.

        For I moment I considered “flushing” him because I guess I shouldn’t become romantically interested in him, but then I wondered: Why??? Both of us have acted perfectly businesslike, there is nothing out of place, no brain-fuck, no game-playing, no taking unfair advantage of one another as far as I can see. “Flushing” is something we need to do when something is out of place, but not in a (as far as I can see) perfectly healthy business relationship.

        Of course, we might STILL start dating someday. It’s not impossible. It’s just not a good idea trying to rush anything due to circumstances (is it ever a good idea to rush anything anyway?).

        It’s odd. I’ve never appreciated healthy BUSINESS relationships (built on trust and growing over time) that way before. It never occured to me there might be such a thing.

    • blueberry girl says:

      @ Snowboard
      “Last night, he sat me down to try to talk to me ‘seriously,’ and told me that he wants to try to be with me seriously – but it’s hard not to believe this doesn’t have something to do with the fact that I have been keeping him at a distance, and he is just trying to tell me what he thinks I want to hear.”
      Uh, after two weeks he’s ready to get “serious” with you? Danger, Snowboard. He has a clear agenda: “Challenge ahead. Must conquer (a.k.a get her horizontal). Initiate ploys, strategies and mind f***ery to convince her to give it up.”
      It’s straight out of the playa’s handbook.
      Decline membership in his “two-weekers” club. Make other friends and don’t allow him to use and discard you.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Hi Snowboard,

      You’re doing well in not getting involved with this guy. If you ever get tempted, just think through how awful it would be, living so nearby to him, to be subjected to him parading other women in and out, right under your nose. Yikes!

      This is a great time to expand your social network. Tap into activities at school; go to and find likeminded people to do activities with; build connections with your faculty. Those are all investments in your well-being, quality of life, and career, that will pay off. And you may very well meet a legit partner (erm, not on the faculty, though…beware beware!).

      Getting sexed up by the charmer next door might be fun for the short term, but could really throw you off your studies. (Been there — I gutted my own academic career back in the day mooning over a guy…unwise!)

    • Snowboard says:

      Hey everyone! Thanks so much for responding. I wanted to post to get some feedback from people in this community who understand girls like me who have struggled with EUMs and ACs. I’m going to tell him on Monday that I only want to be friends, because that is sincerely all I want, and I’m allowed to choose for myself who I will be romantically involved with and who not. I told myself when I started graduate school (Fall 2010) that I was turning over a new leaf with men – only dating emotionally available guys who make me happy and with whom I can imagine a future – and so far I have held true to that. Now Tom offers a test to my resolve. :) I’m ready to prove to myself that I’ve been a good Baggage Reclaim student.

      Also, Magnolia, I just wanted to add that I’ll only be living in this apartment for two months, so my decision wasn’t as horrifically misguided as it probably sounded at first. :)

      And thanks, Grace, for the comment about me needing to make some friends. I appreciate that insight, and I definitely think it’s true.

      Thanks again, everyone, and I’ll let you all know how it turns out! *hugs*

      • grace says:

        okay but be careful. i don’t doubt for one second he’s heard the “let’s be friends” speech before and still had sex with the woman. In fact, it may even clear his conscience “Great, she only wants to be friends. I don’t even have to (pretend to) be in a relationship with her!”
        I’m not even sure he wants to be your friend.
        Watch out for yourself and don’t fall for any blowing hot/cold tactics. Time and again women on this blog have thought they could handle these men, and found out they couldn’t. Who wants to be an EU-whisperer anyway?
        Just be careful – don’t shave your legs and wear embarrassing underwear if need be.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          “Just be careful – don’t shave your legs and wear embarrassing underwear if need be.”

          Oh, grace. I am cracking up here. Granny panties and furry legs are even better than an olde tyme chastity belt!

      • Snowboard says:

        Hahaha Grace, you crack me up. (Sounds like excellent advice though.)

        Well, here is the update:

        I told Tom today that we could not be together. He looked very hurt, and wanted to know if it was really just that I wasn’t attracted to him, or if I was genuinely afraid he would be a bad boyfriend; I explained it really was the latter.

        He then went on to tell me that he had just the day before (Sunday) gone over to see that girl who had called after 2am (whom he says he was never dating) to tell him that he had met someone else and only wanted to be friends with her. Then, he proved he was telling me the truth by showing me a texting conversation he had had with the girl, and it was true (she had literally said, “So we’re just friends now right?,” he had said, “I thought I stated it yesterday,” she had said, “Okay well I just wanted to be clear. Did you ask out your neighbor yet?,” etc.).

        He also said that, while, yes, he has hooked up with a lot of girls (though no one he claims since early January), he has also had serious relationships before (one for a year, one for nine months), and that he had been telling people for a couple months he wanted to find a real relationship, but had not yet met anyone. He also said that his female friend, with whom we had gone out a couple weeks ago, took him aside and, because she knew he wanted a girlfriend, had told him that he should be with me. He said that he likes me very much, and doesn’t want to hurt me, and is looking for a serious relationship. He sounds very sincere.

        Any advice? Is it possible I misjudged him? (I agreed to let him take me out tomorrow for lunch.)

        I should add that he is 24 (about to be 25), and from a country with a very difficult culture, only having come to my country on his own two years ago.

        • Mymble says:

          It does strike me that by telling him why you wouldn’t go out with him, you gave him the script for what he needed to say in order to get you. He knows now all he has to do is say “I want a relationship” over and over again, till you believe it.
          Why did he need to go to that girls house to tell her that were just friends? Sounds more like it was a booty call which ended with him reminding her that she was only a FWB and she’d have to go on the back burner for a wee while. But, note, he is keeping her as a “friend” so options are still there.
          He might be genuine but he told you from the off he was a playa who shagged around, his sudden change is hard to believe.

        • grace says:

          this is a disaster waiting to happen.
          it doesn’t matter what his female friend says or his ex-FWB or his culture. you called it right the first time.
          And 2 weeks it’s too soon for either of you to say you want to be in a relationship. i’m not sure what you both are trying to prove. look at the title of the post. instant attraction is not significant – whether you feel it for him or he feels it for you.
          But feel free to come back and tell me if I’m wrong.

        • Snowboard says:

          Thanks, Mymble and Grace. I’m still worried y’all might be right, and I’m also just worried that I don’t even like him that much anyway.

          The thing is, even if he does sincerely want a relationship, he will need to re-wire his mindset in a lot of ways, and I don’t want to be training him in how to be a ‘good boyfriend’ – I’m pretty sure I’ve engaged in enough such training to last a lifetime (and given the way ACs and EUMs have treated me nonetheless, evidently I’m not very good at it!)

          Also, Grace, while I definitely agree that instant attraction is not important, it does make a difference if the person is looking for a hook-up or a relationship, and he’s trying to say that he is looking for a relationship, but of course, we would still have to get to know each other to see if we’re compatible.

          I talked to my OCD counselor today about the situation and she thought I should at least give him a chance, keep talking to him for a week or two and see how I feel. That’s what my mom said too. So I guess that is what I am going to do.

          He did take me on a really really sweet date today (lunch & then walking through a butterfly garden).

          Thanks again **

          • Snowboard says:

            Well, I’m still dating Mr. Walking Red Flags. He is actually unbelievably sweet to me, calls me his girlfriend, cooks delicious meals for me every day, always calls and texts me, and kind of seems like he is falling head over heels in love. I’m not, though. In fact, what Natalie talks about, how you can listen to your body to see if you’re in a healthy relationship, my whole body is shouting out to me that it is not happy. I can’t even explain why. He is just VERY sexual and aggressive, wants to have sex all the time, and it takes him a really long time, somewhere between 1 and 2 hours every time. At the same time he is a very big/strong person, so I feel kind of suffocated. I’m not happy. I have tried to break things off with him two different times but both times he persuaded me to stay. But now he is always sad, and saying that he feels like I don’t really love him. :( (Last night, he said, very sadly, “It seems like you don’t really love me, but you just want me to stay with you, because I’m in your life.” He is moving away to another city a few hours away in a month or so, so I was thinking that maybe I’ll just stay with him until then, but he wants us to stay together even then, so I’m scared that even then I won’t have the strength to break up with him. :(

  37. Sophia says:

    Grrr! I have had one of those days when I feel like I am being swamped by other’s concern for me being “single”. I now have this genuine fear that I am not going to find someone or have children because for the better part of a year people have been so worried for me. Initially I brushed it off but now I find it really oppressive. I have started a new job and I was telling my group of attached friends about this guy’s desperate antics at work – basically dropping every 2 seconds he is single, “wants people to know it” and needs a woman to start doing “some of his work at home”. My friends’ responded with what’s he like and why don’t you go out with him if he is available. That may seem little but I was soooo offended and hurt bc I just feel like they have given up hope for me and were saying hey nothing else is on your horizon- take what you can get. Maybe it is arrogant for me to say, but I feel confident that this guy is not for me. I am most definitely not a shallow person motivated by money or looks, but I have unwisely remained in rships which began with an amazing chemistry which I see as that feeling of getting each other and buzzing happily when you are around them. I get what you are saying but resent “friends” suggesting you ignore any sense of dignity or gut instinct because at least you’d be with someone. Sorry to babble… just feel like there has been an onslaught of it this week and I genuinely feel hopeless about the future if it does not entail meeting someone I truly love and care about and having children with them. And…omg if I hear one more freaking condescending news report on why women need to have children by 35 and the insinuation we are all being too picky……. Sorry I am a positive person genuinely just feel swamped and overwhelmed and frankly a little lost

    • grace says:

      I’m wary of dating someone at work, especially since you’ve only started there. Take heart – someone you hardly know finds you attractive, you’re still young, broaden your horizons. I went to a church social last night which I really didn’t want to go to but I had the greatest fun. There’s evening classes (in wine tasting – you don’t even have to study!), agencies that arrange social evenings for singles – and will make THE PHONECALL on your behalf should you meet someone you’re interested in, church, volunteer work, singles holidays. You’ve no right to despair until you’ve tried at least three of these things for at least six month! And at least it gets you out of the house.
      As for your friends – if you can’t bear their well-meaning advice do as I do – don’t tell them. If you want a second opinion, by all means ask, but don’t expect it to be same as your opinion (that’s why it’s a second opinion).

  38. Kmac says:

    Dearest Sophia…you are not alone. I was where you are. I am 48 years old. I have no husband, nor any children. I wanted both. When I was 30, I met a dashing attorney. He was a client at a health club where I was employed as a personal trainer. After a tw0-year courtship, we were married. And ten months later, he left, telling me he never really loved me. I cried for two years, which brought me to 34, feeling exactly the way you do now. And then, 15 years and several men who were not able to love me later, I am alone and too old to have children. Please, everyone, save your well-meaning It’s not too late for this or that’s and that’s so awful’s, Kmac. That is not what this is about, and would mean you are inferring I’m not at peace. Peace for me, these days, is about something far different, and much better, than always feeling happy, and peppy, and bursting with love. This is about you, Sophia, and what I know because I have been where you are. And I notice that your happiness seems totally and utterly dependent upon things beyond your control: Meeting the One. Having his babies. Other people’s opinions of you and thoughts of how your life should turn out. That’s a risky game to play. This is what I know: You need to begin to call off the search. For a mate. For kids. For people who will think and say the things you want. Stop searching and your life will begin. When you call off the search, you allow life to become what it should for you. It takes trust, practice, oh and did I mention inner strength like you’ve never ever summonsed it before? You could start right now, at this very moment. My heart will be right there with you.

    • Mymble says:

      That was very moving, and something I too needed to hear.
      I took a “wrong turn” at age 34 by marrying a random guy just in order to follow the script of what I thought my life should be – married, kids, house etc. I thought i would be a failure if i didnt have kids. I can’t believe I ever thought that. Now am trying to unpick that mess and all the hurt being caused to everyone.

    • EllyB says:

      I was very moved by your post, too. I often think: Well, I’m in my mid-thirties, known to be a “nice” person and all that – so it might still be possible to have husband and kids and all, no? Shouldn’t I try very hard to make it happen before it’s too late?

      The problem is, I’m not sure I even want it. Or to be really honest, I don’t want it. I don’t want kids. I am so ashamed to admit it. I always think not wanting kids means I’m horribly unhealthy. I think it means I’m a monster.

      Many people seem to believe “I don’t want kids” is the most horrible thing a woman could ever say.

      I loathe the moment I would have to tell a date “I don’t want kids”, because I keep believing all healthy men want a woman who wants kids.

      I keep telling myself. I have to make myself want kids before it’s too late. How can I heal more quickly so that I would want kids?

      Or maybe I don’t have to?

      But then, what if I commit now to a man who doesn’t want kids either, and then at age 40 or so I change my mind and suddenly want children?

      Well, maybe that’s just another excuse of mine for being emotionally unavailable. A very powerful one, as it seems.

      • Mymble says:

        A monster for not wanting kids? I never heard anyone say that before. I know a few women who have chosen (for different reasons in each case) to remain childfree albeit they are in long term relationships. Just like you can choose not to be in a sexual relationship – doesnt mean you are EU. My mother has been single since her late 30s, (now late 60s) although she is attractive and men do try it on from time to time. She has a full life and isn’t bothered, which is fine.
        If you arent absolutely sure, just put it in the ” undecided” pile and leave it there to cook. It’s a decision that is better made situationally anyway. It’s better not to have a mad urge to breed/biological ticking clock thing going on, anyway, that can lead to bad decision making.

        • EllyB says:

          Well, in our newspapers and magazines, there are quite a few articles that blame all our demographic problems on us “selfish bitches” who want to pursue our careers instead of staying home and breeding. And then those authors (always guys) predict us a ghastly old age.

          I also had a former coworker tell me I should stop pursuing my career and instead get husband+kids quickly because otherwise I would turn into a “horrible bitch” like [another female childless coworker].

          I got really obsessed about this. It has bothered me for over 15 years, I think. I keep thinking the main goal of my healing process should be that I would want kids in the end. Even if I didn’t want kids since…ever. While I was in my twenties, I’ve often been told I would be desperate for kids as soon as I turned 30, but that was years ago, and absolutely nothing has changed so far.

          It might sound crazy, but I was secretly longing for my 45th birthday, when all this would more or less be over and I could stop feeling guilty for not trying to start a family. Only about a decade to go… But maybe that would be a horrible waste of time? Maybe I can accept myself the way I am (as a woman who doesn’t want kids) earlier?

          To imagine I could have a relationship without the end goal of having kids… that sounds almost too good to be true to me.

          • Tea Cozy says:

            Holy cow, EllyB, those articles all sound so regressive and out of touch with current times. I know some regions / cities are more family-focused than others, but it sounds like you are in a very repressive culture.

            I’m one of those selfish bitches who knew early on she didn’t want to have kids. It really hasn’t been any sort of big deal. At the most, new acquaintances will ask if I have any kids, and express surprise when I say nope, never wanted ’em. And that’s the end of the convo.

            And there have never been a shortage of guys who were thrilled that I wasn’t trying to make them a baby-daddy! It’s no longer the default mode — there are more and more people just saying, nope, not my thing.

            Again, this may very well be a regional/cultural difference, but I just wanted to encourage you NOT to feel like you are weird or freakish or selfish. Stay true to yourself, and let the haters go suck a bowl of rocks. And maybe put aside those magazines and newspapers, and seek out other news sources that aren’t so sexist and creepy!

      • Natasha says:

        EllyB, there’s nothing wrong or unhealthy about not wanting kids at all. There are men who feel the same way, so it’s not hopeless by a long shot. In fact, my sister was just telling me about a very eligible bachelor in his 40’s who doesn’t want children and that’s been the roadblock to him getting married. He’s had all stable relationships and the exes having nothing but nice things to say about him – they just differed on the kids issue. Now, I’ve never met him myself, but does that sound like an unhealthy individual? I think not! You just have to find someone that feels the same way – they are out there, not to worry!

        • Mymble says:

          Yes, there are many men who aren’t bothered too much or actually don’t want kids. For them your feelings would be a plus. I have a relative who was born without the physical equipment to have kids. She has known that from a young age. She is married to a fantastic guy who is devoted to her, and she is happy and well adjusted. And they are not going to adopt.

      • grace says:

        Plenty of men don’t want children. My brother and his wife don’t. I know a woman of 60 who has been married for decades – they didn’t want children. And there are all the divorced dads who don’t fancy starting another family. Indeed, I’ve read plenty of letters from disgruntled second wives complaining that the husband doesn’t want kids (even though he spelled it out before remarrying).

    • Magnolia says:

      Kmac: Very moving. Thanks for this. At 38, and with a bunch of uterine issues that have ramped up over the past four months, I am smack in the middle of facing that the ‘search’ that was to lead me to have a family may not end with a joyful finding of “the one.” Thankfully, I can now hold the impulse to blame myself for all the turns of events that lead me to where I am, which includes being childless at this age. Thank goodness and all you ladies that I found a bit of self-esteem and peace before encountering this emotional challenge. Your words suggest what I believe: whatever happens, if my focus is loving myself first and extending that out to include others, I will know peace and fulfillment, even if it doesn’t come in the package I always dreamed of.

      • Tanya Z. says:

        It’s interesting to read others’ thoughts on having children. For much of my adult life, I was ambivalent about this. I have lesbian friends who have children. Some married men, and had the babies that they wanted, though the marriages did not last. Others adopted kids on their own. Younger lesbians that I know talk about getting insemination and skipping marriage altogether. I DID actually have options, I just didn’t like them! I didn’t want to marry a man. I didn’t want to be a single mother. I guess I just didn’t want children badly enough. I think that the women who really want kids, do whatever they have to to have them. I had to have a hysterectomy in my early forties because of a large fibroid tumor. Afterwards, I had the greatest feeling of relief — I did not have to think about, or worry about having kids. That door was permanently closed — and I could just get on with my life.

        I’m in my fifties, and I will age without children to help me, or grandchildren. I’m okay with that. Even if I’d gone the traditional route and had a husband and children, most older women outlive their husbands, or have been through a divorce. Adult children have their own lives, and often can’t provide as much help and attention as the parent wants. Since I am used to being on my own, maybe I’ll make out better than many older ladies do.

      • Kmac says:

        Newspapers and magazines and monsters for wanting what we want….oh my! (my Wizard of Oz impersonation). I almost did not write to Sophia out of respect for Natalie and her site, as I was off-topic, but I also have experienced, as a teacher, some amazing moments in the classroom that came from allowing things to veer off course. The thing is, I think, based on some responses, that my point was missed. Several continued to weigh in on external responses to either their choices (and I try not to “good” or “bad” them…we do what we know at the time) or their circumstances (sometimes shitty things happen to good people). I think of something I read many years ago by Elizabeth Khubler Ross, an expert on dying: Life does not always turn out the way you want it to, but often, especially without your interference, it turns out the way it should. I like what Magnolia wrote about ‘holding the impulse to blame myself.’ That’s what it’s about. Hold the feeling, stop giving it so much effing power, and then try to let it go and allow life to happen a bit, instead of always wishing, wanting, hunting, strategizing, and most of all, worrying about what the newspapers, media, society, monsters in your head…fill in the blank…think of it all. Magnolia…for what it’s worth…I think you’re going to be just fine, girl. I’ve got your back.

    • Sophia says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and support with such honesty and sincerity. I know Natalie’s words to be very true and it is only by reading her posts that it has actually dawned on me “I have a pattern”. I made the mistake of staying with someone for 5 years based on the magic of instant attraction, chemistry and what I naively believed to be a ‘destined’ love. In reality, although lip service was paid to it, our core values were conflicting. My parents and grandparents had partnerships I admired and aspired to have. The only good to come from my father’s early passing was I finally saw the truth and left our relationship. It was immensely difficult. My Dad used to say “The 1st time I saw your mum I thought whoever ends up with her will be a very lucky man.” He pursued her and loved her with great admiration and respect for over 48 yrs. I naively thought that bc my meeting with my ex was so similar that we were destined for the same happiness despite the MAJOR SIGNS indicating otherwise. The difference was my parents’ partnership was based on mutual respect, honesty, faith and a consistent commitment to their partnership. Never did they feel the need to console themselves with the “magic of their moment of meeting” or revive the relationship based on ‘heartfelt’ sentiment expressed in moments of desperation. My rship lasted bc I did the latter and justified its existence based on our first 6 months together.
      Kmac, I appreciate hearing from someone who has come through this experience and feels happy, satisfied and comfortable in their own skin. I hear what you are saying – these things are out of my control. I suppose I just can’t help but feel genuine heartache and question the reality of future happiness for me if these things are not a part of my life. I know that statement will infuriate many people and I don’t for one second pretend that it is everyone’s dream or I want it at any cost. In fact, it is a pride swallowing experience to admit that in print. I present confidently and I can “defend” the “current state of my life” to friends as one I am very content with, but its a lie. The condescending pity for me is tangible and I feel like I am DROWNING in it. I have distanced myself from these people and it does help BUT now I feel a little isolated and vulnerable. I feel squeamish at…

      • Sophia, I think you will find that women of all ages, from preschoolers right through to one hundred, experience comments about their lives. I had the comments and behaviour you referred to in my twenties and my mother and some aunts have it in their 50s and 60s. You will find that when you get the man, you will have people pester you about when you’re getting married or when you’re having a child or when you’re going to have another, plus the media writes more stories about failing relationships and marriages, cheating etc than it does about getting knocked up by 35. Then there will be stories about menopause and how we’ll all be old and broke.

        Sophia, if you’re going to be bothered by media and friends, you’re in for a long bumpy ride so it would be better to get yourself sorted now.

        The difference between you and someone who is largely unaffected is that they don’t give a shit and they don’t pity themselves or make judgements about themselves.

        You do. It would be good to assess where your disappointments are coming from – if all of your success and definition as a person rests on the species with a penis and a relationship, then yeah, you’re bound to be frustrated. That said, if this is the only way you’re going to be happy, it’s time to adapt what you do. A man isn’t going to fall out of the sky into your lap and as you’ve already discovered, being with an unavailable man for five years is like working at McD’s when you really want to be working at Apple.

        There is no way in hell that you could react so strongly to your friend’s numpty comments if you weren’t so unhappy with your yourself and your life. You are disappointed that your life has not met your hopes and expectations – anything that remotely sounds like acknowledgement of that whether it’s from the media or from peers, is going to piss you off.

        You give away your power – to media that has its own agenda and to friends who don’t realise just how badly you feel about you. How would they know? You are probably not saying how you really feel. You will also find that what people say has absolutely nothing to do with you – it is about themselves. They project their insecurity about being in the same situation.

        There’s also a lesson in here: if you don’t want to handle feedback that isn’t your own, don’t share the information.

        My friends, readers and family have made comments about my life in the past – you either get your own house in order and then talk, or don’t give out information that you’re vulnerable on.

        You will find that as soon as you have a rock solid relationship with yourself and aren’t disliking or even hating the current life you have or even ruminating over the past and running yourself down, you wouldn’t give a rats about what the media has to say and you wouldn’t be spiralling over your friends and feeling that they are hurting you with their comments – or you’d tell them to button it. I’m sure they’d be horrified if they knew what this latest comment has caused.

        People challenge your reality all the time. One of my best friends who was with Mr Unavailable for a decade and then finally moved on, is pregnant at 40 and happy. She could have thrown in the towel on her life and I bet she’s thankful that she didn’t. Her life did not go as she planned (and she is one of the most rigid, ‘planny’, stubborn people I know) but when she let go of how she felt things ‘should’ be done and got on with what she can and could do, life is better than she expected.

        You will meet someone – believe it.

  39. miskwa says:

    Nat: You are right; others have the right not to be attracted to us based upon what they deem to be attractive or not. If they are not attracted, they have no business pursuing us in the first place. Or perhaps they need to have an understanding of what they want before pursuing a woman saving us all a lot of pain and wasted emotional energy. And no, I do not hate overweight men; I just feel that along with acting with love, care, integrity, and respect, caring for ones health needs to be there too. I think a lot of us are getting really defensive because we are trying hard to heal, to find a partner that works for us and are simultaneously under tremendous pressure to settle or accept being alone for good. As one ages, that “last chance saloon” mentality really does rear its ugly head though one knows its illogical. BTW; I have had friends that are both gay and lesbian; neither are/were repelled by the opposite sex.

  40. Reality says:

    I am so thankful to have learned the lessons I am learning. I am identifying the patterns of my attraction behavior. Just recently noticed myself getting tangled up with a man that has started showing dodgy behavior and the minute the red flags went up, I addressed them and moved on. I know it might take a while to instantly recognize the wrong guy, however I am grateful that it is becoming easier the minute I do to let them go. One step at a time ladies!

    • Broadsided says:

      Reality – this is my lesson. How long did it take you to identify this behavior? My last guy took 2-1/2 months to show dodgy behavior. Were you able to keep an emotional distance? I am interested in learning from other’s experience, too. For attraction goes way beyond “looks”, it can be “personality”, my last guy even SAID he was looking for a serious relationship. (Well, he really wasn’t – he “dumped” me in a cloud of BS reasons, but I think the bottom line is, once he “catches” someone, relationship A.D.D. kicks in.) Think I need to hit the dating sections of this site……

      • Sophia says:

        Experience taught me that CONSISTENCY is the biggest thing to watch out for. It is sooooo easy to make excuses and justify behaviour based on an amazing grand gesture they made in the past or your first few honeymoon months together or moving expressions of love they make. Consistency is the best measure of sincerity and respect – well that is what I think. No one’s perfect, everyone messes up every now and then, does something thoughtless or inconsiderate – but really I think experience has consistently taught me that if they are messing up in the first few weeks or those little pangs of disappointment you feel – it gets worse, not better. Best lesson I have learnt – If he runs hot and cold – start running. Consistency! Consistency! Consistency! :)

  41. Reality says:

    Broadsided… it has only been a month actually. I just noticed / realized that the guys I am usually attracted to tend to move really fast in the beginning, seem to fall in love with me quickly. Everything moves at like 90mph and I get all swept away thinking this is the one, look how crazy he is about me and then WHAM they flip it and I’m left standing there holding the bag. So really my first indication was that he was moving really fast w/o even really knowing me or taking the time to know me. How can you love me when you don’t even know me? And why is everything instantly sexual? And why is it that he is saying to me one minute that he really wants to show me his respect for me and the next minute he’s texting me that he wants to take my clothes off. I was smart enough to keep my distance the entire time, nothing physical ever happened and I called him on the need for actual respect and consistency for him. Needless to say, the “attraction” died down and he realized I wasn’t just playing a game, I actually meant what I said. I believe the key to learning who someone is, is to play it veryyyy slow. The guys who are really interested in you will be patient and won’t mind. The ones trying to pull the wool over your eyes will start to show their inconsistencies and get frustrated, eventually taking off. Don’t get caught up in the smooth talk, wait to see if it materializes into something real before you let yourself jump in.

    • Stephanie says:

      Here, here, I second that. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get caught up in smooth talk and fantasises. I know I did. But not any more. I thought at 37 years old and years of practice it wouldn’t happen to me but I met an AC who knew his shit and pulled the wool over my eyes.

      Despite this I now know I need to take responsibility for my actions or rather my lack of boundaries, I had none when I met him. I thought he was the one when I met him and that was all I focused on.

      By the way, I received Nat’s book in the post yesterday. Why didn’t I purchase it earlier?

  42. Anne says:

    Natalie hit it out of the ballpark yet again! HOW does she do it?! It’s like she knows me very, very well – right down to my chromosomes, yet I’ve never interacted with her. :) Having said that, I don’t require instant spark to give the guy a chance at getting to know him and his getting to know me. The only thing I require is not being physically turned off by the guy, e.g., he smells, he’s unkempt, he looks dirty, his clothes look like he took them out of the dirty clothes hamper, he’s got hair coming out of his ears and/or his nose, he has dirty teeth, he has body odor, he has bad breath, he has acne (it’s pretty gross having to stare and pimples full of blood and pus), and the one giant no-no: he has facial hair (facial hair gets me sick to my stomach and after they eat, that disgusting fuzz smells…yuck!). I think that my turnoffs are understandable and reasonable! If I feel at least neutral about the guy and I think that there is a chance that he might be a decent guy, I’m OK with that. I’ve dated fat guys, in-shape guys, short guys, tall guys, bald guys, guys with beautiful hair, etc., so for me, it’s not about the looks. However, I do have to say that there is nothing better than being highly sensually (I said “sensually,” not sexually – although that too :)) attracted to the guy, liking who he is as a person, and enjoying spending time with him, as well as being in love with him.

    The combination of being in-like, in-lust, in-sensual attraction, in-love, as well as loving the guy is very powerful and gives me that feeling that can best be described as magic and sublime. Nothing is better than that floating-on-a-cloud feeling. Feeling that with someone that you can actually have a relationship with is marvelous…and I haven’t found it yet. A few years ago I thought I had, but he turned out to be just another hybrid between a sewer rat and a sewer cockroach. I’ve stopped looking and took myself off the dating rat race. If I’m going to meet someone, he’d better fly down from heaven and walk right up to me. :)

  43. Anne says:

    I don’t believe that males care about looks. They are not looking for a beautiful woman who is also a nice and loving person to have a loving and lasting relationship with her. I know this from many personal experiences. They’re just looking for any woman they can get their thing into. The truth is that many guys prefer going out with the less attractive women; my guess is that guys think that those women are desperate for attention, assuming that they don’t get asked out. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s the more beautiful women who are the loneliest because the other ones get asked out continually due to men thinking the “plain” ones are “hard up.” It’s highly ironic! Up until about 3 years ago I was what people referred to as “beautiful,” “enchanting,” “lovely,” etc. Countless times, when dressed for “red carpet” events I was told that I looked like a movie star. Those were their words, not mine, and the adjectives came from males as well as female friends who were not Lesbians, so the women weren’t saying it to hit on me. :) Even though I’ve been hearing that since I hit puberty, I have never been conceited. I’m simply realistic; I do have mirrors in my home, after all. I’ve always been more on the reserved side, not loud and not seeking attention. I behave like a lady, not like some cheap tramp. I don’t hit on men. I don’t pursue men. I don’t call men (although I do return calls because it’s the polite thing to do). I don’t ask them to dance. I don’t initiate giving them my number. I don’t ask them to call me.

    Once I start dating a guy on a regular basis, I’m very warm, affectionate and loving. After some time has passed, I do thoughtful and caring little things for the guy such as giving him a cute card or giving him a present every once in a while (modest, nothing expensive) for no reason (I don’t pay on dates, so I figure that it’s nice to “give” in some other way that I feel comfortable with, although, hey, I’m giving them my heart, and at some point my body, so that’s more than enough “giving” – no present should be expected!). I have a doctoral level degree. I’m intelligent. I’m a good conversationalist. I have a funny sense of humor and I’m fun to be with. Nonetheless, even with all of that, I’ve only met (except for my ex-husband) cheaters, liars, users,…

    • yoghurt says:


      It’s not the first time that I’ve read this sort of post, but it’s the first time that I’ve had the guts to comment so my thoughts might be a bit scrambled, please bear with me.

      My initial response, whenever I read someone who says:
      “I’m beautiful, I’m intelligent, I’m rich, I behave with perfect decorum, I have a good family, I’m witty, I’m a good conversationalist and yet these men are STILL horrible. How unfair!” (and I know that you haven’t said all of those things, but some people have)
      is to think:
      “well, I’m average-looking, I’m admittedly scarily intelligent but I don’t channel it particularly well, I’m not rich, hell no I haven’t behaved with perfect decorum, I’m only witty and a good conversationalist on a good day and I hail from the working-classest of background, so does that mean that by your rationale these men ARE entitled to treat me appallingly? Or that I don’t deserve to be treated properly?”

      This rankles a bit with me but that’s by-the-by, because really I still think that it misses the point.

      Fact is, *I*, *you* and *anyone else* doesn’t deserve to be treated appallingly because we’re human beings, we’re unique and special and all of us NEED caring, respectful behaviour from the people in our lives to feel good about ourselves and happy.

      If you’re basing your self-esteem and your sense of entitlement on your external qualities then it’s almost like you’re saying “well, I should be exempt from such behaviour” and I think that makes you vulnerable.

      It also maybe indicates that, if you were stripped your looks, reserve, money, degrees, family, wit, conversation etc etc whatever, you really wouldn’t rate yourself that highly. And in that case, how can you ever let someone close enough to see the poor, vulnerable, unvarnished YOU that you – and all of us – are underneath all of your surface qualities?

      You said “I don’t believe that males care about looks. They are not looking for a beautiful woman who is also a nice and loving person to have a loving and lasting relationship with her. I know this from many personal experiences.”

      This isn’t true. It’s true of the men that YOU’VE taken up with so far, and it’s true of the men that I’VE associated with, but it isn’t true of many many men, and I know this because I know many people in happy fulfilling relationships with lovely blokes.

      • yoghurt says:

        Long, sorry.

        If you’ve found that, then it’s something to do with the men that you’re picking and, from your comment, I should imagine that you’re picking men who value looks, class, and other ‘surface qualities’ but who don’t have the character to look underneath all of that and authentically connect with the person underneath. And if you’re choosing men like that, why are you surprised that they don’t offer very fulfilling relationships?

        • Mymble says:

          I would like to say how much I agree with every word you say. I feel uncomfortable too with people who say how beautiful etc they are so why aren’t they treated well. I am NOT beautiful, never was and certainly never will be (a fact which I tortured myself unnecessarily over the years), and was socially awkward, but on the whole most of my relationships have been healthy, loving and respectful. I myself decided to end them because I didn’t want at that time to marry and settle down. I wanted to travel and jave experiences and I did, I worked in a third world country for 3 years. Unfortunately when I did decide to marry i chose in a rush, but my husband is no AC, he is in many ways a good man, I think just not right for me. I never encountered EU
          behaviour, except once or twice where the “relationship” was over before it began. The MM debacle was not at all my “pattern”, and I will not go there again, ever.
          Have you read “the beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolff?
          I read it recently and wished I had read it at 16 and stopped the pointlesss weight and appearance obsessions. My life overall has been good but I could have allowed myself much more freedom and achieved much more without all that crap.

          • Mymble says:

            Oops went off at a tangent..
            What it all really means is, if you end up with ACs
            EUs MMs etc it is because that’s the men you’re choosing.
            Your looks/education/talents/etc have nothing to do with it.

            • tired_of_assanova says:

              Paris Hilton is rich, successful, intelligent, has a big house (or ten) blah blah blah too.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          I agree with you point for point, yoghurt, in both your responses.

          Appearance, advanced degrees, dainty ankles, farts that smell like Chanel No. 5, whatever, do not guarantee a person immunity from bad behavior from men. Nor do they make someone inherently more lovable or worthwhile than a woman who doesn’t possess those characteristics. It all sounds so terribly…commodified. “I’m just like all the magazines say I should be, so Life owes me a pony (i.e., a good man).” Nopity nope nope.

          Funny thing. I had a guy interested in me who could’ve written Anne’s post, in male form. “I’m tall, I have a JD and a PhD, I have great hair and teeth, I’m in great shape, I’m highly successful, I live in Beverly Hills, I look hot in my judge’s robes, I’m charming and witty and well-mannered and and and…”

          It all feels like a veneer to hide that unvarnished self, as you so perfectly put it. And so, I have NO interest in him. My interactions with him felt like trying to peer through a high-gloss protective coating. “Hello…is there anyone IN there?”

          Also similar to the post you responded to: he has a litany of woe about his dating experiences. He’s confuzzled as to why he, in all his glory, has been subjected to these shallow, self-interested women. And that is a huge red flag to me — it tells me something is seriously off with the guy’s self-perception, and his understanding of his role in things, and that his chick-picker needs some major recalibration.

          • Mymble says:

            “farts that smell like Chanel no 5”
            Heh heh!

            • yoghurt says:

              I liked that too 😀

              Also “My interactions with him felt like trying to peer through a high-gloss protective coating. “Hello…is there anyone IN there?”

              Made me spit my tea all over.

            • runnergirlno1 says:

              There’s some great ones in this thread.
              “…his chick-picker needs some major recalibration” was my fav. Made me think about recalibrating my picker. Yeah, I’m avoiding the obvious rhyme.
              The comments on this post have been really interesting and helpful to me. Thanks all and thanks Natalie for allowing the comments to be posted. Love, trust, care, respect…!

              • Tea Cozy says:

                Ah, thanks, ladies! I think someone slipped something into my tea this morning when I was writing. ;-p

                This has been a really lively thread. Good stuff NML!

        • A says:

          I didn’t have the same reaction to Anne’s post. I don’t think she was implying that less attractive women are less deserving of respect, love, etc. I read it as a “what am I doing wrong, you would think I’d be lucky in love but I’m not” sort of post. She did point out traits other than appearance–intelligence, humour, thoughtful gestures on her part. I agree that the answer is the same–if you’re attracting crap men, then you need to look at yourself to sort out what the problem is. But I was a bit surprised by the strong negative reactions to her comments.

          • I’m not surprised by the reaction to Anne’s comment – you may be surprised, possibly because you identify with her perspective.

            I just read her comment and I felt bemused and amused rather than negative. Here’s why Anne’s comment will likely get on people’s tits and is indicative of living a little in LaLa Land.

            1) This whole premise of all of the beautiful women, nice women who treat their men in the right way and act like ladies are unsuccessful at or and lonely is based on Anne.

            There are millions of beautiful women who are not lonely and who are in relationships who directly contradict what Anne is suggesting. These women are also with men who don’t just want to stick it in a bowl of soup if it is warm.

            2) “Plain” equals desperate equals the women who are thwarting the beautiful women and getting with the apes who are going around jabbing their penises in everyone. It doesn’t matter how it’s dressed up – that is the message. Let me assure you all that if all you think you have to do is look red carpet beautiful, act like a lady, and buy a gift to nab and keep a man, you’re in for a very long wait or will be nabbed by someone who wants you for a trophy wife.

            3) “Plain” is subjective. Anne’s idea of plain may be someone else’s idea of beauty. Beauty is also an inside and out thing. I know beautiful people who behave in an ugly manner.

            4) Anne says that she’s not conceited and does that thing where you make a criticism or state an opinion, or are passive aggressive by passing on what appears to be other peoples messages. The whole comment is based on Anne. Anne is beautiful and treats men like gold and doesn’t get men because they prefer plain women and yada yada yada. It’s her reality but it’s far from being everyone’s reality. Someone who considers themselves plain could easily step up now and claim that men only want to stick it to beautiful women like Anne. This is inverted ego issues – what you believe, think, or feel is not equal to indisputable facts.

            5) Beautiful women are the loneliest? So if a woman isn’t lonely or has managed to nab an ape, she’s plain? And possibly acting in an unladylike manner?

            Ladies, when you talk about your appearance and compare to others and talk about what ‘should’ be happening, it shows that you overvalue what you bring to the table and what you think your looks can do for you, and that you are blinded to far more obvious reasons as to why you’re going out with jackass after jackass.

            Anne, I understand your perspective and I feel for you, but you doth protest too much. You need to dig a little or a lot deeper. Your appearance is the easiest thing to reach for but you need to take yourself off your ladylike pedestal.

            • A says:

              Thanks, Nat. I wasn’t surprised that the post got some reactions, they were just stronger than I would have expected.

              On another note, “apes who are going around jabbing their penises in everyone” make me chuckle.

      • Polly says:

        Hi Yoghurt, I’m glad you had the guts to reply. This comment and others make me uncomfortable too for similar reasons. There was another one recently – I think on the previous post where someone was bemoaning their MM for choosing his dowdy less intelligent wife over her. Again the assumption is that beautiful, intelligent women and more deserving of good treatment than those who haven’t had these advantages. Incidentally tests on babies intelligence across different socio-economic groups show little difference and the gap widens as we get older. Intelligence is often all about educational opportunity and privilege and I really don’t think we should be classing people as better or worse because of it. Sorry rant over everybody!

        • yoghurt says:

          Yo – thanks for all your nice responses and I’m glad that you agree. Having said that and in Anne’s defence, it’s just occurred to me that I’ve been just as guilty of this sort of thinking.

          My thinking in the past has gone: “okay, so I’m not beautiful, all that socially ept, well-dressed or charismatic. So… (*thinks hard*) I know, I’m going to be the GOODEST person that you ever met – that’ll get me a nice man, especially if I get a broken one that needs mending. He’s messing me about? My needs? Pffft, not going to bother with them. Unplanned pregnancy? His new girlfriend? Him being nice to new girlfriend? I will be Yoghurt, Patron Saint Of Loonies, irreproachable in her unselfish fairness at all costs”.

          *pauses to watch the host of angels descending to flutter around my head*

          Whilst I was stuck in believing that I’d been perfect in my behaviour, I then got stuck in wondering why, when I’d been so perfect and he’d been so horrid, HE was the one who ended up happy with someone else and I was the one with my life in shreds. It made me feel as though the world was really a very scary and awful place, and I felt very very vulnerable and afraid of moving on. It wasn’t until I stepped back and realised that MY choices got me into this situation and were, therefore, clearly not very good, that I was able to start getting free.

          And also, when I look at it, for all that he wasn’t very nice (which he wasn’t) and for all that I’ve been so very very ‘perfect’, I didn’t treat him with CARE (trying to get into someone’s head and manipulate them into liking you when they’re depressed and vulnerable isn’t care, letting them treat you like sh!t so that you can get off on being a martyr isn’t care either), HONESTY (hahahahahahahaha) or RESPECT (for his feelings about me, for the authenticity of our relationship as co-parents and so on). Because realistically, the decent thing for me to do would’ve been to hoy him off to be a mess by himself and then maybe sort himself out. Only that was too hard. I wouldn’t have felt so important then.

          So… upshot is, I think, that the minute you start thinking “He *should* be nice to me because… ANYTHING” then you’re onto a loser. He should be nice to you because you want nice people in your life, and it’s YOUR responsibility to choose those nice people and to get the not-nice people the hell out of your life.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        I’m beautiful, I’m intelligent, I’m rich, I behave with perfect decorum, I have a good family, I’m witty, I’m a good conversationalist and yet these men are STILL horrible. How unfair!”

        It took me a long time to get my head around the concept and make the connection but this is THOSE WHO DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH. If they were intelligent, they would obviously see ACs and EUMs for what they are and OPT OUT. It’s like an inverted case of pumping yourself up – look how inflated I am with my own pump – I’m SO good, why aren’t people falling over me? Check out my special fried self!!

        It’s bad enough to shove a pump up someone else, let’s not shove a pump up our own!

        • yoghurt says:

          I agree with you, but I think that we all do it to an extent – in fact, I might go so far as to say that it’s a fairly typical fb girl response. Whether it’s “Men should be nice to me because I’m beautiful” or “Men should be nice to me because I’ve been so good and beyond reproach” (that’s me, sporting my fetching little halo) or even “this man should be nice to me because I want him so much, and I’ve hung around for so long, or because I’ve already put up with so much horrible behaviour”.

          Nope, NOBODY *should* be nice to you – you can’t control people’s actions, you can only control your reactions to their actions, and ime until you can accept your own responsibility for making sure that you only let nice people into your life, then you stay stuck, disillusioned and confused.

          In response to A, I don’t think that my reaction to Anne’s post was negative, per se, more critical.

          I personally don’t believe that you can find happiness by comparing yourself – in either a positive or negative way – with anyone else and although Anne didn’t say this outright, there was a lot of comparison implied in her post – the reference to ‘tramps’ for example (I’ve been a ‘tramp’ in my time, I’m not proud but there were reasons for it).

          I also have to say (and Anne DIDN’T do this – sorry to use your post as a launch-pad for this particular rant, Anne! – but other women who’ve used the same argument often do) that I absolutely LOATHE it when women do other women down, and ESPECIALLY in a ‘the woman he chose can’t be half so good as me because she’s not as x,y and z’ sort of a way. Not just because it comes across as nasty and vindictive, but because I think that it’s really going about building up your self-esteem in a very wrong-headed and destined-to-fail sort of a way.

          • EllyB says:

            It’s a tricky thing. I had similar issues at a former workplace. There was one coworker who had often been favored by the bosses for obscure reasons. One thing I knew is that she was the granddaughter of the company’s founder. But other colleagues said: “Why, she is doing fantastic work. She has to be treated well, because what if such a talented person would leave?”

            Problem is, she was once favored at my expense, even if I’m quite sure I did a better job than she did. I’ve beaten myself up for that perception. I desperately tried to find reasons why she DESERVED to be favored, why she was really better than I. I got crazy with self-doubt (as so often).

            Bottom line: I think there was no reason to hate her for that, but there was no reason to hate myself either. Maybe my perception was right, and I was doing great work, even if she’d been promoted and I wasn’t? Maybe it’s okay to tell this to myself no matter what other people say, to simply trust my own judgment? Trashing her would be completely unnecessary for that, of course.

            I think it’s a bit like being preferred or not preferred by an AC and then going on and on about beauty/ugliness, manners or whatever.

    • Little Star says:

      Anne, I have to agree with you – it is not about looks! I saw so many not so attractive girls, who do not have a degree and not that successful, but they are with men who are successful, very handsome…and sometimes I think what these “plain Jane” have that I do not have??? I think most men do like SUBMISSIVE and NEEDY women!!! Maybe it is because of culture and traditions of these women, that they treat men like GODs! I could never get it…

      • Allison says:

        Little Star,

        Why does a woman have to be needy and submissive to keep a man? Quite the opposite!!!!

        Have you considered that these men are attracted because they do not allow boundary busting, require respect and do not make men their entire lives.

        The friends who have the healthiest marriages and relationships, have never lost themselves in their men, and have relationships that include honestly, integrity and shared values. Their relationships would not be what that are if they were needy and submissive!

        • Little Star says:

          Allison, I feel the same like you! I had few male friends and all of them were saying that their women are submissive and never talked/demand too much and look up to these guys! I am opposite, strong, independent, always say what I want and do not, but yet again…single!

          • Allison says:

            Little Star,

            My apologies.

            Please speak to more of your married male friends, i can’t imagine they all feel like that- I would think they would be quite bored

            The relationships I mentioned, are equally respectful and fulfilling. The men do not boundary bust, but they also know that their partners would not tolerate it. These women are happy with their partners, but they would also be happy w/o them. I believe that is the key.

  44. runnergirlno1 says:

    Yup Magnolia, I have to agree. The lying exMM’s probably went into pursuit mode when there was a lack of interest or instant attraction on my part. I’m tuning into the fact that some guys like the chase and that MM’s who hit on single women are gasp, liars. It’s true, I fall for hotshot leader guys and it is an inverted power move. And, it’s also true that once they are interested in me, I automatically become interested in them and then the za za zu takes over. I’m on the look out now. Hot shot leader guys, particularly married ones, are a full stop.
    Sorry about the guy who conned you out of your virginity. I experienced the same con but then wound up with the guy (at a tender age but not married) who ended up being physically abusive. Bottom line for me, don’t ignore the red flags. Period. I think sometimes I’m hard of hearing!

  45. ChiTownKitty says:

    Well, its been an unbelievable week but I have made it through and am taking a lot of great advice from everyone here!
    First a recap…I’m 50 and new to online dating–
    so far have had an overgrown frat boy, a guy that wanted to make any woman that he managed to get a date with The One and then there was Paul.
    Talk about don’t judge a book but its very attractive cover! He messaged me and we seem to have a lot of common interests and yes he was drop dead gorgeous (more on my a-ha moment later). He called me and talked for quite a while…very highly educated…and a total arrogant jerk. Needless to say he was flushed.
    Now on to someone I just spoke with and set up to see…he’s 57 (thanks Grace and Magnolia for encouraging me to date older than I had previously considered). Nice profile, nice on the phone…and not going to be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive any time soon. But he’s nice, we have shared interests, not pushy, and hey, if I spend an hour having coffee with him and that’s it, well that was a nice way to spend the morning!
    My a-ha moment came after watching Brene Brown’s TED talk on shame…on not feeling good enough, pretty enough. I remembered something about some of the dates I turned down in high school…I always wanted a guy first based on looks..why? I now realize that its because I thought that if I were dating a cute guy, people would think I was cute/pretty/attractive. I dated some really good looking jerks and put up with a lot of crap and had no idea why. I always led the zsa zsa zsu lead me (oh Natalie its so funny you referenced that!!! I had just emailed my feeling about that arrogant loser to a friend and used that phrase!)–

    Oh, and one last thing…right after my phone call with Mr. Arrogant guess who tried to contact me via text? My MM EUM AC!!!! Was there something in the air? I refused to answer him, not even to say dont call me! Another cute guy that was a disaster!

    Anyway…a big thank you to everyone here!!!!


    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Nicely done Chi.
      I think I’m becoming a bit less deaf and blind. I have a choice.
      Good luck to you with coffee guy.
      I’ve found former exes or whatever’s just have a way of popping up just as I’m moving on. Don’t give the exAC MM any psychic qualities. They just pop up every now and again, mostly again and again and again. Nothing will be different with an exMM. So ignore and focus on you.
      Sounds like you are moving on. Good for you.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Chi, I’m glad you mentioned Brene Brown. I recently read her book on shame, and it was really helpful. It made me realize how much of my behavior has been driven by shame: either trying to avoid it in myself, or (and I hate to admit this) using shaming as a way to navigate relationships (friendships and romantic). I really try to monitor myself now to not use shame as a weapon (I still fail often, but I’m getting better).

      She gets a little heartsy-fartsy for me at times, but I think her research and writing has a lot to offer. I’ll have to check out that TED video — thanks for that tip.

      • ChiTownKitty says:

        Thanks for all the kind words! So why do I feel so blue? The more I learn the bluer I feel–I think of all the potential happiness I passed by (I try to keep that out of my mind and move forward)…I look at the profiles online and see men who are trying to hang on to their youth by wanting to date much younger woman or who will date anyone just to have someone. I got an IM request from a 60 year old man..that was past my age comfort zone but I felt so sad for him–he was lonely wanted companionship…that’s what we all want but so many of us are so lost has to how to find it. How do you stay positive?

        • grace says:

          You don’t have to be happy all the time. I’m very down in the dumps today over the man. I don’t have to justify it or explain it. It’s okay.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          Chi, sometimes online dating can be dispiriting. It’s not just you. I took my profile down for a few weeks recently due to exasperation. It gave me a chance to get my head clear, re-evaluate my priorities, and to re-focus on just doing things I enjoy and meeting new people in real life group settings ( hiking, etc.).

          I have a special annoyed twitch for older guys who message me, and whose profiles indicate they won’t date women their own age (e.g., a 60 year old who is looking for women 40-50). It just screams insecurity about aging, and perhaps a bit of self-loathing.

          And I especially get twitchy when the guy caps the age limit at his age minus 1 year. Where’s the logic there? Oh, right — gotta have a younger woman, even if she is only 365 days your junior. Bah!

          Final rant: I have a special grouchy spot in my heart for the guys who list their age as, say, 45 in their stats, but confess somewhere in the essay section that they are older. They do this to rig the search engine so they’ll show up in more women’s search results. “But people tell me I look younger!” (To be fair, many women do the same thing in the profiles.) Well, it does NOT inspire trust. What else might they have up their sleeves? They get no response from me, for sure.

          So, yep, it can grind ya down sometimes. Hang in there. My sanity saver is to just stick to my guns with what I’m looking for, and try not get thrown off by the unsavory or inappropriate guys who come tapping at my message-door, and step away from the process when it gets under my skin too much.

  46. Little Star says:

    Natalie, thank you very much for your post, love it! Yesterday I even tried to follow your all suggestions…I had a date with a guy, he was OK, he is an intelligent guy, successful, has his own flat…but I did not feel any sexual attraction. He sent me text after our date, saying that he likes me very much and he wants to see me again. HOW can I force myself to meet him, if I do not fancy him physically??? I am very confused! And another thing – MY ex AC contacted me today, saying if I want to have a fun with him?! WTF??? I decided to ignore him, I have to admit I was thinking a lot about him but I do not want to be his booty call!!!

    • grace says:

      Little Star
      When I started talking to the man I didn’t feel any attraction for him at all. Or I wouldn’t have freakin spoken to him. I was OFF men. Now, unfortunately, I do feel attraction (he doesn’t seem to be interested. And no, I don’t fancy him just because he’s not interested.)
      So, yes, attraction can grow. It’s a second date, it’s not a commitment to get married or have sex or even kiss.
      As for the AC, they always pop up at just the wrong moment. But then, when IS the right time for an AC to pop up? That’s just what they do. Pay no heed to it.
      But if you’re still hung up on the AC, maybe don’t date yet. Otherwise you’re just looking for his reincarnation.

      • Little Star says:

        Thank you Grace! I know that it was only first date, but I already think about “future”! Why should I waste time of this guy, if I am not really interested?! I cant imagine myself being with him:-(
        About AC, strange really how they showing up unexpectedly! Last time I saw him, it was October!!! He told me that he was going abroad…

    • Little Star, if you’re still receptive to someone who you would have the brass nuts to refer to as an AC, you probably shouldn’t be dating – it’s also a bigger issue than whether you fancy the new guy. You could have Idris Elba (or whoever) put in front of you – you wouldn’t be interested.

      Also, what you describe about your date is very telling – intelligent, successful, has his own flat? I can certainly tell you’re thinking about the future. Unless you’re materially and surface minded, those are not things that will cause you to be sexually attracted to someone. If they’re the only things you managed to come away with from the date, leave him to another woman who will appreciate him more. There are 7 billion people on the planet – if you insist on feeling the desire to screw them immediately, there’s plenty of other people out there.

      I would also avoid using the barometer of whether you want to shag someone on the first date – that’s what you use to evaluate one night stand and fling potential. I can only assume that the AC is a good lay and that being immediately sexually attracted is a priority for you. Watch out – there will be many an AC that will exploit you wanting to take care of your vagina first and foremost.

      • Little Star says:

        NML, thank you very much for your comment. My ex AC (who just contacted me) was waiting for two months before I became intimate with him. I never had one night stands and never will! The reason I met this new guy, because he “tick all boxes” and my friends tell me “give him a chance”…BUT I do not find him physically attractive:-( and you are right, maybe I should leave him alone and give someone else opportunity to meet him. He is great guy, but not for me………I do not want my ex AC either:-( as simple as that.

  47. Leonine says:

    A really very useful article! I can be prone to this (and, yes, courtesy of my “spiritual beliefs” – fed to me by “psychic friends”!) 😀 It’s very tempting in this age of Instant everything and Ready Made everything else to kid ourselves into thinking that a Life Long Relationship can be Instantly Ready Made. Not so. In fact, next time (if ever there is a next time) I INSIST on slow-but-sure and well thought through.

  48. myrtle says:

    Been around 2 years since I’ve posted. Natalie, you have the exact post right when needed; Sometimes I think I want the tall, dark and handsome. I have a wonderful boyfriend whom I love only hes not some of those things (5’4 with glasses, but adorable because he makes me laugh). A reminder that the right one is not always that crazy instant attraction feeling but the one that treats you right; with respect, dignity, and love. I am now assclown free and been with a emotionally available good man for two years. Thank you Natalie for influencing my life for the better.

    Myrtle –
    Assclown and NC free since December 29th, 2009
    (Yes, it’s possible to recover, I never thought I would).

  49. Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

    And this, ladies and gents, is why my golden rule for those of you who want to do internet dating is:


    Don’t don’t don’t start telling your life story and deepest feelings to someone who exists only as a photo. In real life, there may be no ‘chemistry’ at all; it’s just your imagination playing tricks on you.

    And then go and Google the word ‘limerance’. This is my new campaign in life: to ensure that everyone learns the meaning of this concept before I die.

  50. Morgan says:

    ^ correct spelling is ‘ limerence ‘ – this may help. I had it BAD.

  51. MuchMoreBetter says:

    I met my current boyfriend online. I did the online thing after getting really burned with someone I’ve known for a while, and decided a nice, no-expectations learning experience was exactly what the doctor ordered. I wrote a mildly snarky profile, contacted lots of people and collected a bunch of hilarious first messages. And went on lots and lots and LOTS of dates, just for the experience of meeting new people and learning new things. I went out with two other guys the week I met my now-bf. I was insanely, immediately attracted to one of those three guys. Aaaand funny enough, that was NOT the guy I discovered to be a beautiful human being who makes me smile with the little things every day and packs his days ridiculously full of stuff he has to do so he can carve out the time to make sure to see me on a regular basis, even if it’s just for dinner, and makes sure to let me know how much he appreciates everything I do, and reciprocates in some way. The insanely attractive guy turned out to have serious emotional issues “because of his relationship with his mother” – I kid you not. The guy I ended up with was the quiet, sometimes awkward, mildly nerdy guy that took a while to get to know – and was definitely worth the effort!

  52. Old dog tryin to learn new tricks says:

    What are your thoughts about someone who is always nice to you, offers to help you but never really finishes any projects they start, runs out of money every month and constantly using an overdraft, goes off out of the country on business trips and leaves no way for you to contact them in case of emergency when they know you do not have other friends or family to rely on (ok this has only happened twice and both times recently), wanted to trade cars so they told you they applied for a loan and the money was due in the bank but they got all hyped up because the money wasnt there the weekend and seemed distraught at loosing the car they wanted , so I got in my savings and gave him the money (2000 pounds) then turns out he did not get the loan approved at all, and I nearly fainted , but he did go and borrow the money from his parents and now he sees no rush to pay these pensioners back, Just here and there where he can and says it will be fine by them (although, I did get my money back) My friend (that just happens to be a councilor) said that she felt that this was done out of stupidity but she thinks this man truly loves me) He has stayed at my house more than his own in the past year because he lives an hour and half away, his bills have decreased to the point he is in credit meanwhile mine have gone up and he has not made any arrangements to make sure I am compensated and not taken advantage of. He does chip in on food at the grocery store, he pays for some of the bills there but not all.
    I am on a limited income because of disability , but I do own my property . He lets/rents. He recently got a notice that his landlord is selling her cottage, and he has to be out by the end of may.
    We had already been talking about the possiblity of living to gether and how we might work that out,but now this feels like a shove of sorts to get things rolling. He has said if I am not ready he will let another property until I am.
    Other than this,the time we spend together is pleasant, consistent, he phones me every single day and makes the hour and a half journey to see me almost every single day (thats where the money goes, right out the exhaust pipe! on petrol.)
    He does some really stupid things occassionally but he is also kind and generous when he can be and sometimes when he shouldnt be and he has never raised a hand to me or used any sort of obvious mental or emotional abuse.
    I have enjoyed him being in my life very much this past year, but I have suddenly started feeling.a bit of resistence in myself, questioning things I did not originally. I am a bit of an abandonholic ( by nature so I do not know If I am making my own drama here or right to be concerned.

    • Old Dog, even if I have to put on a jumpsuit and come though the roof of your house in an intervention, I’m telling you right now to ditch this loser before he disables your life. I don’t know what type of councillor your friend is, but she needs to get off the crack. Your story is full of money and goods transactions – this guy is pulling a con and is a liar. Er, he’s gone from being in the red to being in the black at your expense. Don’t move in with him. This is not what love looks or feels like.

      Abuse comes in many guises – it certainly doesn’t rest on cheating, beating, plus emotional abuse takes many forms. This man is abusing your trust. He’s also taking you for a mug – read back what you’ve written and you will see what is so unhealthy about this relationship.

      You’ll find that unless someone is a serial killer, most people have the capacity to have good days and even have a generous moment. That said, contextually, if the net result of occasionally putting his hand in his pocket, distracts you from what is really going on here, he’s not being generous at all. Also, how the hell can someone be generous when they owe you money?

      You are being taken advantage of and be careful of that fear of abandonment – you are more than able to fend for yourself, unlike a child, and if anything, you are actually in a position to take care of yourself, which is more than I can say for this irresponsible man. If you worry more about him leaving than you do about your safety, including your emotional and financial safety, the first time you will realise how dangerous this is, is when he leaves and he’s cleaned you out.

  53. ChiTownKitty says:

    Much More Better,
    Love your story. Had my coffee date today and it was exactly what it should be…the first time I met someone…who was nice…who I am getting to know. It was a pleasant 90 minutes (no rushing, no red flags)…and my attitude it to wait and see what happens…and you know what?

    It Feels Great!!!


  54. Sandra81 says:

    Uuuuhhh… My favourite topic! 😀
    Well, let’s say that “instant” attraction was much more common in my younger days, and more recently…yes, you guessed right, with my ex. Now, I am not speaking about online dating, as I’m not into that stuff, but what I need to feel on the first meeting is at least a good impression, at least *some* attraction (mental attraction included). It has never happened to me to fall on love with someone whom at the beginning I found totally dull or unattractive, or, even worse, annoying or repulsive.
    And what I wonder now is: how much time should we wait for attraction to kick in? I know people who actually started a relationship, and wasted many months in vain, because nothing changed. The person in cause was a good person, but the attraction was missing. So, what’s the solution? What’s the ideal amount of time, in order not to be superficial, but also not to waste your time and theirs?


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.