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No matter what time of year it is, it’s difficult post breakup especially when we wonder whether someone cares about us, but times of the year like Valentine’s and Christmas/the Holidays are exceptionally difficult. We like to feel that we meant something, that we were important, missable etc but at this time of year, that urge increases as the post arrives and there’s no card from them, our phone beeps and there’s no text message, we refresh our email and check our junk box and there’s no email, we look for signs of life from them on the likes of Facebook and see that they’re moving on or they look happier than we are, and we secretly wonder if they’ll show up over the next week or so. If they’ve moved on and we haven’t, it will eat away at us and if they haven’t changed (or we think they have with someone else) or we ultimately don’t end up hearing from them, it will feel like a blow to our self-esteem.

Don’t they care about me? Didn’t I mean something to them? Don’t they miss me? Am I so easy to replace?

Years ago when I broke up with my ex, even though it was me that ended it and even though I had a long list of reasons, it galled me when he wasn’t exactly hunting me down to say he missed me, trying to get in touch, or hurling himself on the floor begging me for mercy. Despite me being the instigator, I actually tried to make him have some discussions with me about the relationship, because you know, it’s what people do. We should be working to be amicable and actually, if he had any desire to be a ‘better person’ he should be wanting to learn from his mistakes, I thought. But most of all, I needed that validation that he missed me, that he cared even though truth be told, I didn’t miss him and I cared but if I dig deep, I cared about how I looked in the context of him not caring. i.e. I must be unlovable, I mustn’t be good enough because the ‘prince’ wasn’t hopping on his horse and blazing in to rescue me, whisk me off and live happily, ever after.

His lack of effort to keep in touch ate away at me and even though I was moving on, I hated being The Person Whose Ex Didn’t Care Enough To Beat a Path to Her Door. One day I got him on the phone and I ended up letting rip and we had an awful argument which I managed to do with clenched teeth in a low voice in the office. As I listened to myself I suddenly wondered what the hell I was doing and then wearily he said, ‘I don’t know what it is you want from me. You left me. You finished it with me…’ and then I felt deeply embarrassed. In hindsight I recognise that I was being emotionally demanding and getting hijacked by my ego. I was having a pop at someone who I’d left, wasn’t able to meet my needs, and who I’d been very unhappy with, for not pandering to my ego and making me feel better about my decision. After that, I left him alone.

Don’t they care about me? Didn’t I mean something to them? Don’t they miss me? Am I so easy to replace?

They very likely did care about you and possibly even still do, but the relationship is over. Not moving on with your life does not equate to still caring about someone. It means that you may be stuck and hurting. Pain is not love.

You did mean something to them but you may have different ideas of what that should be and even so, it doesn’t mean they have to chase you around.

They probably do miss you and hopefully it’s for the right reasons but sometimes as many a Baggage Reclaim reader can attest to, they miss you for the wrong reasons. However whatever the reasons are for someone missing you that doesn’t mean that it’s right for them to chase you or try to get back together – if you didn’t think the relationship was working, it was with good reason. Unless those reasons have gone, they can miss you all they like but it doesn’t change the issues in your relationship.

It’s not about being easy to replace – who people get involved with is not about ‘replacements’. You don’t own them or the ‘spot’ in their life.

Once the relationship is over, hard as it is to hear, we have no right to make emotional demands on ex partners. We have no right to expect them to prove how much we meant and we shouldn’t really expect them to stroke our ego because we don’t like it when they expect it from us.

Part of the reason why we look for validation from our exes and wonder if they still care about us is because we are in pain, we likely haven’t moved on, and we like to think that our exe’s are also in pain and that they haven’t moved on. Of course when they have and we haven’t, or we deem it ‘too soon’, we think ‘How can they just move on as if I don’t exist?’

One of the things that I learned from my various relationships is that we’re not clones of one another and that just because we share a relationship with someone and may even think that we think alike and that we’re ‘soulmates’, we can each have very different ideas about how we should behave after the breakup and one of the biggest sources of friction is where we think that the other party isn’t ‘considering our feelings’. While I certainly feel that there’s a respectful period, particularly where mutual friends are concerned when it’s the ‘done thing’ not to flaunt your new relationship or your happy single life, there is a limit and a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

We cannot control other people. You will also find that if you found it tricky to control them in the relationship it’s even trickier to do so out of it.

Control isn’t a word that a lot of people like to hear but a large part of why we get sucked into wanting affirmations of the other person’s care is that we want to control them, which in turn distracts from ourselves. If they’re caring about us in the way that we deem appropriate then it will feel like we still have some sort of emotional tie to them.

When they move on or don’t run around trying to demonstrate how much they care, we feel out of control. This is because we are still hurting and struggling to move on, and them not contributing to the emotional pot makes us not only feel away about the pain that we’re holding onto but also makes it even harder to hold onto any last illusions we may be clinging to.

People can care, but they can care from afar.

When a relationship ends, we cease to be at the centre of that person’s thoughts, decisions, and life and that’s part and parcel of breaking up. The relationship is broken.

Part of grieving the loss of the relationship and moving forward is not distorting things by putting yourself at the centre of their actions.

They’ve met someone else. That means they lied to me and that they don’t care about me. It means they met someone else. Everyone deals with things in different ways. Some people dive straight into another relationship, some don’t. Some people do care but the relationship is over and they are free to have a go with someone else.

They’re not calling me even though I cut contact with them. It means they don’t care about me. It means they’re getting on with their life and actually possibly respecting your wishes. They may actually be giving you enough credit to assume that you’re not playing games and that you cutting contact wasn’t a way to provoke them into changing/chasing.

They’ve gone back to their ex. That means they never cared about me. Bit of an extreme assumption. The relationship ending may have made them realise that they want to give their old relationship a shot. Relationships ending make us vulnerable. OK and for some people, they go back to their exe’s because that person is their fallback option. And then yes, for others, they realise they still love their ex. It doesn’t mean they didn’t care about you but it may mean their heart was not healed from the previous relationship.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

If they don’t get in touch, send you a Christmas card, beat your door down begging to get back together, or make more of an effort to chase you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care at all but it does mean that they don’t care enough and there is a difference.

It’s also, and this may be hard to hear, not a game to provoke the person into being and doing what you want. Especially when someone has got used to a cycle of breaking up and getting back together, they may decide enough is enough and that they don’t want to participate in the dynamic, or they may assume that when they feel good and ready about getting in touch, you’ll be there anyway. Be careful – this is a game that never ends well.

Deciding that someone doesn’t care at all is a bit like invalidating your entire memory of the relationship and the person.

You don’t have to be so all or nothing. Not all relationships are meant to work out and every person cannot be The One. This doesn’t mean that if people don’t jump to your beat or the relationship ends that they didn’t care at all for you, but depending on what they have been and done in the relationship with you, it may mean they they didn’t care enough.

And actually they could have cared a lot for you but your relationship just didn’t work out. It’s not really very fair to be like ‘Oh we broke up, you never cared about or loved me’. There are people who love each other a lot but they are not compatible and all the love in the world would not have made their relationship work. That’s because love is not enough.

If you’ve been involved with someone who is emotionally available, they have a limited capacity to care.

If you’ve been involved with someone who treated you poorly enough for you to consider them an assclown, as I commented to someone else, wondering why they don’t care enough for you is like putting your bucket down an empty well and wondering why no water comes back up.

If someone didn’t care about you enough in the relationship, it is a waste of your energy to wonder why they don’t care now that they’re out of the relationship.

The chief reason why we concern ourselves with why someone who didn’t treat us well in the relationship isn’t treating us well outside of it is because on some level, we had hoped that by no longer being with them that it would cause them to miss us and to ultimately treat us better.

Too many people think that love and care is chasing you around and having the power to change someone and galvanise them into being better by withdrawing yourself. Exhausting work.

It’s the old adage – you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. True…but what people always forget is this:

While we often don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone, even when we do realise how great/valuable/lovable a person is and what a huge mistake we may have made, in having some level of connection to ourselves, we may also realise that not only are we not capable of being and doing what that person wants from us, but that they may also be too good for us.

Validate your own perception of the relationship and accept that they cared, but that for whatever reason the relationship is over. You cannot quantify how much someone cared for you and literally count it up like money, but you can tell by the relationship you were in. However long you spent together, they’ve likely cared to some level but just not to the level that you needed or wanted. Only you know the relationship you were in. If you felt loved, cared, trusted, respected – why invalidate that memory because the relationship is over and they’re not running around like a blue-arsed fly after you?

What would constitute them caring about you?

Them pestering you morning, noon, and night and you having the opportunity to ignore them?

Them asking you for sex?

Them saying I miss you but I can’t be with you/I’ve met someone else?

Them saying ‘OK, I’ll change into the person you want me to be’?

Them saying ‘I won’t be with anyone else until you are with someone’?

Them saying ‘You were right and I was wrong’?

What do you actually want from them? Write it down, voice it, and then examine how realistic your expectations are.

People can care about you but that doesn’t make them right for you or the relationship.

People can also care about you but have enough self-respect and self-preservation not to want to keep stoking the fire of a dysfunctional dynamic.

If it’s dysfunctional, at some point, at least one of you has to get off the merry-go-round.

People can also care about you and do things that are very destructive to a relationship because they have unhealthy love habits, low self-esteem and are doing things that are essentially counterproductive to the relationship because they either know no better or are sabotaging it in the pursuit of the self-fulfilling prophecy. For your own sake, you don’t need someone like this showing you their ‘care’.

Whatever it is, stop punishing yourself by telling yourself that they don’t care about you. If you have instances of them showing they cared in the relationship, even though it may not have been enough, it shows that they cared. It doesn’t cancel out any pain experienced but it adds some balance.

But outside of the relationship, looking for instances of care is like looking for water in the desert – few and far between. That’s not because they don’t care; it’s because the relationship is over. Let go of your expectations of validation from them and validate yourself. Even if they didn’t or don’t care about you, it’s time you start caring about yourself. When you do, you’ll spend less time trying to analyse the levels of their care and focus on nurturing yourself.

Your thoughts?

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

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210 Responses to Don’t They Care About Me? Didn’t I Mean Something To Them?

  1. Miriam says:

    After going NC for 4 months now, I don’t blame him for not contacting me as I have not contacted him. Yet, deep down there is an itch wondering, wondering.
    In a way I’d like him to contact me, but I realize that would only be an ego stroke for me, as it would be for him if I contacted him.
    I’ll be damned if I went that route. So all in all, I realize that everything is indeed over and I’m moving on, slowly but surely. I’d rather not see him though, and I keep myself busy day-to-day.

    I guess we never know for sure, I’m ok with it. I have accepted that it wasn’t meant to be and I still cherish those caring moments we shared.

  2. Emjaye says:

    I chased after a man who broke up with me for months – texting, calling, emailing – and he wholeheartedly ignored me the whole time. Finally, after sending him and his parents a Christmas card, I got a “Merry Christmas, hope you’re well” text and I realized how pathetic I was being and that he was finally just taking pity on me. I know he cared, he was just sticking to his guns that the relationship was broken and moving on and I should have done the same.

    Unfortunately, I’m also very guilty of validating myself by chasing men I broke up with, hoping they will say they miss me, however, I end up falling into the trap of believing that maybe I miss them too and before I know it, I’m back in a relationship, or at least relationship talk, with a man I never intended to be with again because it just didn’t work.

    Thanks for verbalizing what I think a lot of women go through.

  3. Fats says:

    Reading this today I cried alot as I am in pain and have Bern thinking this everyday does he care did I matter have I made a mistake can I love myself without him even thou he has sabotaged and caused relentless issues
    yes he’s happier moving on looking after his looks and I’m sucking myself in the black hole the thought of him with somone else makes me physically sick I just want him to say I matter and I will just go back
    I’ve been miserable and just can’t get out of the pain I guess yes I seem to want him to want me as yes we loved each other and that couldn’t save the relationship I left I couldn’t suffocate anymore but now I feel I’ve messed up I don’t know what’s harder living with him or without him

  4. Movedup says:

    “While we often don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone, even when we do realise how great/valuable/lovable a person is and what a huge mistake we may have made, in having some level of connection to ourselves, we may also realise that not only are we not capable of being and doing what that person wants from us, but that they may also be too good for us. ”

    That is it in a nutshell. Heard this – didn’t want to believe it but…. Believe people when they tell you who they are. “Not capable of giving you what you want and you deserve better.” Of course friends told him how stupid he was to “lose” me. I have to admit he was right – yes you could not give me what I want and I deserve better than an EUM/AC – Cheater liar future faker.
    Greatest gift was when he walked away and went NC. He did something for me I could not do – for that I am grateful. Goodbye Professor.

  5. Elle says:

    So true: “Deciding that someone doesn’t care at all is a bit like invalidating your entire memory of the relationship and the person.”

    Some of my hurt about my break-up (and other relationships) has been retriggered this week because the ex was at my family home with me this time last year, and now isn’t. The hurt is more than manageable – it’s easy to cut the thinking off and the physical symptoms are far less intense. (It helps that I am surrounded by beauty and have such a stellar set of family and friends). However, there’s a part of me (STILL) trying to weigh up his caring and cruel sides, and, in the past few days, I have had flashbacks in dreams about both of these. I am trying to settle on the fact that it is grey, and it’s a messy grey at that, and that my mind is simply trying to get rid of it, for once and for all, now that it has some time to rest and toss it all up.

    Besides, I completely agree that a lot of these feelings stem from my own realisations that I really do have to make my decisions for next year on my own. It really isn’t about him. He’s just a guy who, as you say, cared about me, but not (nearly) enough.

  6. allie says:

    “We cannot control other people. ”

    “You will also find that if you found it tricky to control them in the relationship it’s even trickier to do so out of it. ”

    These really hit me. Yes it it so true we can not control people, and I worst trying to control them after we have broken up that is so insane.

    I really don’t think my ex EUM didn’t care at all about me, I know he cared, but as NML says, it didn’t care enough or his own inability (unavailability) doesn’t allow him give me what I want.

    I don’t hate him or hold a grunge against him, I did like him a lot, but I am ready for a new relationship and hope I myself can do better and that is why I keep comming back to this site.

    Thanks Natalie for all your input.

  7. grace says:

    In the high emotion of a break up, it’s understandable to go to the extreme of thinking he/she is a narcissist AC user with no human feeling and a diagnosable personality disorder who deliberately went on the rampage to break our hearts before buggering off. The truth is probably not that extreme or dramatic.
    Granted, a LOT of water has gone under the bridge for me. It’s been five years since the playa extraordinaire. And yes, he did break my heart but (insofar as I can be bothered to think about it now) he was probably just immature, selfish and shallow rather than Satan. He did care about me in his own limited way but it was not enough for me. That he almost wrecked me is as much down to my low self esteem as his actions. However, good for me that I stepped away (eventually).
    The latest EUM I managed to sidestep without so much as kissing him. I did berate myself with HE DOESN’T CARE now we have been NC for a w hile. But how can he care about me? He’s married to someone else. What possible form could his care take? It’s a non question.
    I know I speak from much further along in this journey than most here but sometimes we need to turn down the drama dial and be a bit more ordinary. Lots of relationships don’t work out. It’s perfectly normal not to be friends with an ex – otherwise most of us would have half a dozen exes hanging around. It’s just not feasible to get married and have kids when both parties have exes in the picture. That would be like a dozen exes in the frame!
    If you tell someone not to contact you, it’s reasonable for them .. not to contact you. If someone contacts you and you smack them down it’s acceptable for them not to contact you again. When a relationship is over it’s fine for it to be … over.
    When we revisit and rehash the scene of the “crime” we are looking for a way for it not to be over.
    It’s over! Finito!

  8. Terry says:

    As a woman who has been hurt many times in the past 5 years, I can say that this last time (2 years ago now) was horrendous. I literally felt heart aches, and I mean literally. It felt like a stab in the heart sometimes when I would try to breathe. I still feel deep sadness, and because I am very introspective and I think and dissect things a lot (which can get me into trouble with ascertaining what is truth and what I might have woven into a “story” that is not accurate), I have come to realize that my sadness is not just at having lost the most beautiful experience that I have ever felt with a man (both physically, emotionally, and spiritually), but the overwhelming feeling that I don’t matter, that I am not lovable, that I don’t exist. That’s really the core of the pain. I don’t care about the man any longer, even though the memory of what I thought he might be (a good guy) is like a hologram. It also still causes a spark of pain to think that he has changed and is now behaving with honor and morals with another woman; the reason for that is that I feel that if I was lovable and valuable, somehow my love for him would have infused in him a love for me that would have caused him to want to behave morally and with consideration for me. Well, that wasn’t the case and that’s that. I continue to try to move on with one foot in front of the other. Once I lose all the F’ing weight I have gained, I will start dating again. I’m still not able to; the spark has gone out of me, but I will surely work very assiduously to get it back! Emotional and brain peace to everyone during the holidays and new year.

  9. clara says:

    He left me to get sexual with my little sister. Is that because he cared and he showed it by hurting me really bad ?
    How should I feel about the time we had together when he made me feel loved? Was that genuine care or a lie?
    If it was genuine, how do I get over that?

    • grace says:

      Clara

      In your case, he is a bona fide AC and did not care about you.
      I don’t think you can expect genuine feelings from someone like that. I expect he was genuinely sexually attracted to you for what’s that worth. He probably enjoyed spending time with you in the same way that he would enjoy playing on a wii. Sorry to be harsh, but a lot of ACs seem to see women as a hobby rather than someone to love.

      Of course, I could be wrong. You know him better than we do.

    • Lis Mowen says:

      Clara, I’m so sorry. I can relate to your pain. I asked many of those questions when my 20+ year relationship/marriage to a diagnosed narcissist and bon fide assclown ended. Nearly 3 yrs later, I’ve started to actually like/love myself enough to realize that I don’t need those questions answered anymore. I hope you can find that inner peace, too. In the meantime, don’t doubt for a second that YOU ARE AN AMAZING, INTELLIGENT, BEAUTIFUL, & INCREDIBLY LOVEABLE WOMAN. You got tangled up with an assclown; but if you listen to Natalie, you’ll be stronger for the experience and won’t allow yourself to be hurt like this again. Courage, my dear! I’ll keep you in my prayers. :)

    • NML says:

      Clara I wouldn’t equate how much someone cares with how crappy they treat you otherwise people who are ‘abusive’ would be the ultimate demonstrators of their love.

      What your ex has done is beyond disgraceful and a serious overstepping of a major boundary. Your sister, also major betrayal.

      The issue here isn’t really about whether he cared. To be honest, only you know what you did or didn’t experience with him but the fact is that whatever it was, it’s ended. Things change, people change and even if things were meant at the time, those things can change too. Even in other relationships where the person isn’t dumb enough to get involved with your sister, feelings, situations, promises change. I don’t really think you need to get over whether it was genuine – you need to get over a major breach of your trust. Even if he is love was genuine, what difference does that make to the act of betrayal? You haven’t done anything that warrants his treatment of you and trust me when I say nothing, absolutely nothing you could have said or done would be any justification for this betrayal. I’m sorry that you have experienced this. You deserve a better man. Period.

  10. Tess says:

    But sometimes it DOES mean they don’t care.

    ” at some point, at least one of you has to get off the merry-go-round.”

    Yea, I’ve known it, but what is hard is when you’ve tried your best to be respectful and kind, and the AC hangs up on you not willing to even listen to you. I keep telling myself I don’t need his validation, that my feelings resulting from this behavior (let alone the situation before the hangup) of being cut off and rejected are valid, but I still find myself reeling from the disrespect, out of the blue. I guess I am naive and live in a imaginary world where people treat each other with kindness and respect, no matter what twists and turns the relationship encounters. I am left feeling “Why?”. Why would he treat me like that?

    So I’m left wondering why I haven’t even received a tiny text saying I’m sorry, or an email, or God forbid, a visit? We’ve been together five years – this isn’t a new relationship, though he’s been emotionally unavailable through much of it.

    Sometimes it DOES mean they don’t care…or he is so self absorbed and is such a conflict avoider he puts his own safety and well being before even one they’ve confessed their love for- ass clown. Merry Christmas…

  11. Andrea says:

    I’ve been NC for two weeks. I admit I wanted the “I miss you” email and I got a testing the water email yesterday. Did not reply. Left the house for seven hours in case he showed. My head is too confused right now to know if he ever did really “care” about me for more than sex. I deluded myself into thinking that b/c we were involved for 5.5 years that there was more than just a physical thing. My illusions/delusions/fantasies ran my interaction with this man and, more importantly, with myself. I am doing my best to face my issues of an abusive past/childhood–I cannot run from that anymore . “If it’s dysfunctional, at some point, at least one of you has to get off the merry-go-round.” — all I really know about is my dysfunction, repeating (I see now) a pattern from childhood with a narcissistic mother who put everything ahead of me. This unavailable man (due to his marriage, job, kids, etc.) has a 100 things ahead of the line and I am somewhere at the bottom except when his testosterone is high. This is the dysfunctional pattern I knew/know — this is what must change in my interactions. That and having boundaries. It needs to be over FOR ME, if I am ever to get myself together. Did he ever care? Maybe. Does it matter? Maybe. And maybe at some point I’ll see all this as a blessing. But right now all I can do is keep myself sane as I’m beginning to confront and see for the first time, clearly, this pattern of no boundaries/wanting validation/wanting to be first and then consistently choosing the very person who CANNOT give it to me and perpetuating the whole cycle of self-hate/shame/abuse from my childhood. It is so time to focus on nurturing myself. I’ve spent the last two days in an emotional mess really facing my own actions/delusions in this — while at the same time checking the email to see if he’d contact. Disgusted with myself for doing so, but proud of myself for not responding and staying out of the house. I’ve tried to break up before, but always caved in, but this time (thanks to this site, NML’s books and some other things I’ve been reading), I feel I can go the distance with NC. How can we ever truly know the degree to which someone cared? Again, I ask myself if it really matters when it was a relationship in which I did not take care of myself — and now that must be the priority. (Thanks for reading this) — <3

  12. charla says:

    This article is so timely for me, NLM.

    My EUM dumped me just over three weeks ago, after 8 months of me crying daily, feeling desperately alone, his blowing hot and cold, not finalizing his divorce, using only txting, etc. etc.

    He told me he was mean and EU, and I’ve spent the last few days hoping for an apology. After reading your post I can see that’s it’s not so black-and-white.

    I realize that he cared in his own way; he even said that he loved me desperately when he dumped me and looked wracked with regret as he left, but I deserve better – much better.

    Thanks N. Your blog has been a source of comfort to me; I have learned enough to carry me forward.

  13. JJ2 says:

    Geez Natalie, it’s almost Christmas! Take a break! Ok, truthfully, this is a GREAT post! I find myself thinking of where I was a year ago, and missing that.

    I want to comment on “moved on.” I despise this phrase! Technically, and “literally,” this phrase could mean….nothing more than…. “they no longer think of you and they are just living and doing new things.” YEAH RIGHT! We all know this is just a euphemism for…. “They have a new person in their life.”

    And, like others have posted, I walked out on my A/C, but I do feel that he walked out on me emotionally. Actually, I tried four times to leave him before I succeeded on the fifth try. Each time, he begged me to stay. I told him the reasons I wanted to leave. Each time, he never actually promised to change, but he gave me enough “drip feed jibber jabber” to make me grab on like a lifeline. I just hate how A/C’s can manipulate you like that. And they don’t think they are doing anything wrong! And yes, getting over a narcissistic A/C is like trying to recover from Stockholm Syndrome.

    I called the A/C two days after I left, and he said he still loved me. Four days after I left, he said he “no longer loved me and no longer missed me and that he had ‘moved on’.” And yes, that was a blow to my ego. And, as others have posted, brain and heart aren’t agreeing. The day I walked out, my brain kept saying, “You are doing this as a permanent action, no reversal.” But my heart kept saying, “No, I want the A/C to beg me to come back and really mean it this time, and tell me he’s going to change and prove it to me.”

    My A/C lives in another state, so I don’t see him. But I did kind of…. “hear” that yet another woman walked out on him, too. Ok, now I feel vindicated. I can move on! Ok, I know that is mean……..

  14. Jasmine says:

    After a pretty traumatic breakup this year and immediately going NC, I reasoned (when I wasn’t crying my eyes out): I was an awesome girlfriend and an even better friend (not perfect, but fun, considerate, loving, respectful, supportive, independent, yadda, yadda). He got to know me inside and out and was still able to look at me after I had made dinner one night and say pretty abruptly: “It’s over”; I hadn’t done enough for him and he was unhappy. Then he watched me pack (instead of doing the dishes) and continued to watch as I walked out door.
    Does he regret it? Sure, why not? In spite of the fact that he had to break up with me because that I did not cycle with him or have enough friends to introduce him to, I was still a pretty great girlfriend :). Miss me or not, that is his own deal and has nothing to do with my worth. Does that regret really mean anything to me? No, not really, in the end, he knew what he was letting go of when he asked me to leave. Prior to that last night, the EUM never mentioned any reservations, or that he was unhappy. I have read that when one partner refuses to discuss issues with the other, remains silent, and acts like everything is fine, they are effectively deciding to end the relationship, because working things out together is one of things you have to do to ensure the relationship survives.
    Two months later, he has a new girlfriend, while wondering to a mutual friends, “Someday I wonder why I just didn’t marry (me).” As if it was such a trivial decision, deciding between apples and oranges. He decided for both of us that we were not going to be in each other’s lives, and not just becasue he broke it off. I have been friendly with exes in the past, but only when I felt I was not disrespected, as I feel I was by the EUM. I understand that I chose to engage this man in a relationship, and that I allowed myself to be exploited. If I had asked hard questions, perhaps I would have realized he didn’t feel the same way about our relationship as I did. I own that, that is my responsibility, but he also chose be dishonest and act like everything was fine, introducing me to his family, and future faking (things that he had been the one to bring up, like me moving in)… Our relationship was doomed from the start, me with my co-dependency and him with his narcissistic tendencies. Maybe he did love me at one point, but he is emotionally stunted, and he only hurts and disappoints the people who are closest to him. I don’t hate him or wish him ill, but why should I tie my worth to whether such a man regrets letting me go, thinks about me, or loves me?
    I hope for better things in the New Year,
    Jas

  15. MaryC says:

    Did he care? Last year it was my sole reason for living, to find out the answer. A year later I don’t care what the answer is. I’ve moved on and no longer want or need any validation from him about our relationship. I know the truth and that’s all that matters to me.

  16. Fearless says:

    Natalie,
    I have read your post and read again and tried to think of what to say, as I want to say something of how this has helped me today… I have typed and deleted and typed and deleted for the want of proper expression. I settle on two words and hope you know what I mean:

    Thank you

  17. Niki says:

    This one really got to me, definitely brought on the tears. I am definitely the ‘all or nothing’ kind because, as another reader mentioned, it’s easier that way. Whilst sifting through the good and bad memories, you tend to linger on the former and disqualify the latter, when in reality, everyday was often more bad than good.

    And I was miserable, always unsure, unable to understand the rhyme and reason of his actions. Although, in many instances, he said exactly what he was thinking – I’m too good for him, I let him back into my life easily, I only deserve limited amounts of energy and time…I remember he once told me that he’d do anything for me – those words sound good, don’t they? But he never even hit my minimum mark.

    In the end, we are responsible for the men we choose. Yeah, some are really slick but oftentimes, you smell the bull**** from a mile off…and yet we yield. You have to know that you’re partly responsible and accept that, as Natalie said, they may have cared, but their ‘care’ tank doesn’t run as deeep as yours.

    When you get to the point that I’m at where you don’t want to hear him, see him or have him contact you or chasing, then you know that you can be open to something real. His absence validates you because it shows he can’t be who you need him to be and that leaves room for the right person to make their presence known.

  18. Nubienne says:

    Thank you for this timely post.

  19. debra says:

    “What do you actually want from them?” – that is the question. We want them to care about us in a way they didn’t in the relationship. We want them to care about us the way we can’t care about ourselves. We want them to be sorry. We want them to get that they are wrong. Why? Because we still haven’t learned to feel that way about ourselves. As you say, validate your own ideas about what the relationship was and you won’t need them to do anything for you. Letting go when we didn’t get what we wanted in a relationship is hard. It’s like walking away when you are down at the blackjack table. You have invested and you want a payoff. You want what you were promised in the beginning, when it was all magic and hopeful.

    I think I would drop dead of shock if my ex AC tried to contact me for any reason, during the holidays or ever again.

    What I really liked about this article, though, was the idea that we don’t have to make it all or nothing. Just because they aren’t chasing you now doesn’t mean they never cared. They just didn’t care the way we wanted them to. I have been very guilty of this in past relationships. I have used their ability to move on as “proof” that I was forgettable, unlovable or bad in some way. Now I just see that it was doomed from the start and that moving on is the only healthy, reasonable thing to do.

    The reason I ended things so completely and totally with the AC (despite the dire consequences at work) was that I knew in my heart it was never going to get better, only worse, and that I was never going to get what I wanted and needed from him. He never chased me but was unable to let go in a healthy way and that’s even worse.

    One of your prior posters (Elle, maybe?) talked about how we pathologize them in the wake of a breakup, making them ACs and narcissists and pathologically unable to care about us. Everything I have seen during and since the AC relationship ended supports my view in the case of the AC, but certainly wasn’t true for my prior relationships. I need to stop thinking that because they are not in permanent mourning, wearing sackcloth and ashes, or weeping outside my door, that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me. It means they were healthy and sensible enough to really let go and move on. Why do we persist in needing these romantic comedy Hollywood displays of affection? And how does our caring for them manifest itself? Maintaining contact when we say we don’t want it? Stalking them on Facebook or the internet? Stopping our lives in the hope they come back? That’s not caring, that’s neediness and being out of control. When I learned to love myself, I was nothing but glad he was gone.

    • Sarah says:

      @Debra:

      Some of the things you raise really resonate with me. Like the idea of making them pathological. Do we do that as a defence mechanism or are they really sick? I want to trust my gut and instinct and know that he is truly unstable and unwell. I have had others who left or disappeared but I never thought they were crazy, just jerks or users or EUMs. The last one was very different. If I were honest, I would admit that I knew all along something wasn’t right but I wanted the relationship to work, so I kept trying. I was wasting my time. The speed with which I was dumped and replaced and the very cold indifference he showed to me, the horrible things he said, all told me and showed me that he had never really cared for me. I hear what Natalie is saying in the post but I think sometimes, especially with ACs and EUMs that we might be dealing with people who really lack the ability to care, lack empathy or real emotions. They want the ego stroke, free shag or whatever it is they are getting from us, but with the least amount of commitment they can give in order to get it. I think it would be a mistake to assume that everyone cares on some level. I think there are some people who really don’t care at all and it is up to us to figure out who they are, trust our instincts and be willing to do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves from them. Boundaries, as Natalie calls them. I worry that thinking everyone has to care on some level is the same as picturing or having illusions, its just having them after the relationship.

      I too did the bad message internalizing. I took each rejection as a sign that there was something very wrong with me. I guess I made myself pathological or broken in some way. I don’t know how to stop doing that. I figure its not surprising I have ended up with the men I have, given how little I think of myself. It is a self fullfilling prophecy. If you think badly of yourself, you will end up with someone who thinks badly of you and the cycle repeats.

      • NML says:

        Hi Sarah, I think it’s important to recognise that it wasn’t about everyone cares on some level but that only you know the relationship you were in, hence if you felt cared for at one point, even if it has subsequently ended, it doesn’t invalidate that at one time they cared.

        There are people that don’t care of of course but there is a key reason why I don’t say that all emotionally unavailable people don’t care – emotionally unavailable attracts emotionally unavailable. If we were emotionally available ourselves, there’s no way in hell we would continue to participate in a limited relationship that caters to a self-fulfilling prophecy. It would be unfair of me or anyone else to say that you didn’t care. That doesn’t mean I’m saying that yours did care, but what I am saying is that many emotionally unavailable people care as much as they’re capable of but at the end of the day it’s not enough because it’s limited by the fact that they’re emotionally unavailable.

        This is why it’s important to walk your way through the relationship and evaluate it in reality as opposed to what you thought it was or what you thought it could be – then you can decide if they cared or not.

        Remember – it is about how we feel on the receiving end of it in a relationship. Anybody can tell you they care but actually caring is a very different thing. I’ve heard people profess that they care about someone when they’re punching them around. This is why you have to be honest with yourself and be prepared to dig deep enough to find your own answer.

        • Sarah says:

          Hi Natalie and thanks for your thoughts. The problem I am having is that I am reevaluating the entire relationship, now that I have taken off the rose glasses and fur coat of denial. There is no question my last AC had a personality disorder and that I was nothing but a supply source for him. In light of that, I have to reexamine even what I thought of as the good times. It droves me mad when we broke up, because I couldn’t figure out how he shut down so quickly, how he went from seeming to care about me to sort of hating me. In taking apart the relationship and looking at it as honestly as I can, I see how much I was reading into every little thing. So much of the relationship was by email, despite us being so close at work and living near one another. Because it was written and not said, I could attach all sorts of meanings to things. I focused on a few texts and emails that were ambiguous at best and discounted so much bad behaviour and poor treatment. When I went NC, I was forced to really look at what he had done and said and could see that there was no real caring behind any of it. So now, when I think of those few great dates at the beginning or when he did a few nice things, I no longer see them as evidence of caring, I see him as grooming me for abuse. He kept saying to trust him right after we met but I had no reason to. I rushed in blindly and I am so hurt and confused now.

          On the one hand, thinking of his disorder and his weird behaviour helps, because there wasn’t anything I could have said or done that would have made a difference. It really wasn’t about me at all. On the other hand, it really wasn’t about me at all and that hurts tremendously. It’s accepting I was so wrong, so mistaken, and so fooled. It’s all about knowing that he never really cared about me and that the few good times were just a facade. It feels less personal but is somehow more soul destroying that way. I have dated EUM before but never some one so incapable of feeling anything. I figure that’s why they call them emotional vampires: they just feed off you and give nothing in return. Sarah

          • grace says:

            Sarah

            It is about you, but you’re asking the wrong question. It’s not “What could I have done to make this relationship work?” (you correctly answer nothing). The real question is “Why do I willingly put up with being treated like crap?”

            I don’t say that to be mean, I have put up with plenty of crap myself.

          • MagicPotion says:

            Sarah: The guy I was with had some really weird behavior that I don’t think I even want to figure out. He too, went from fawning all over me to treating me like he hated me to finally evaporating into the atmosphere.

            I have concluded that he never really cared & all the “sweet moments” were a bunch of lies just to suck me in. That’s the hardest part. In a normal relationship, you have happy memories & can look back fondly. I look back at happy memories realizing they weren’t real. At all. Ever.

          • JJ2 says:

            Sarah

            I can really relate to what you said. Except mine said as little as possible in email.

            I felt like you did, how can he go from caring about me to acting totally indifferent yet claiming he loved me! And, like you, I see that there were red flags that I ignored. Some if the red flags didn’t alert me as I had no experience with them. Others, I should have seen.

          • debra says:

            Sarah- I think alot of us know exactly how you feel. What
            began so promisingly quickly falls apart and it seems like there is
            nothing you could have said or done to change that. These
            relationships aren’t normal because he isn’t normal. The biggest
            mistake I made with the AC who turned out to be a narc is that I
            assumed he felt and thought like I did and therefore anything he
            did, he did for the same reason I would have done it. Huge mistake
            (although it’s probably not restricted to ACs and narcs). I read
            somewhere that “waking up” to the fact that you were in a
            relationship with a narc is one of the most traumatic things you
            will experience and I think that’s true. You have to accept that
            what looked like love and care was just, as you said, training you
            for the abuse to come. It’s devastating but you are free now and
            that’s what’s important. Whatever personality disorder he has or
            you think he has, please don’t let that effect how you see
            yourself. I had never heard of narcs before I met one, so alot of
            what I thought was commitment phobic behaviour got ignored. I
            walked by more red flags than I can name, largely because I didn’t
            know how bad it was going to get. I know his behaviour can make you
            crazy or make you doubt your own sanity. Take the focus off him –
            you already know what you need to about him – and put it on you.
            Don’t make this about blaming yourself or beating yourself up for
            someone else’s disordered thinking. The only thing you did wrong
            was to trust and to invest longer than you should have. You have
            learned a very difficult but valuable lesson and it is unlikely to
            happen again. Please don’t torture yourself with trying to
            determine what was real or what wasn’t. Focus on what you feel now.
            I suspect, despite the heartache and pain, that you feel better
            about yourself now that he is gone than you ever did while he was
            around. Hold on to that. It felt real at the time because to him,
            it was real for that moment. It just didn’t last beyond that. You
            are still a good person.

  20. Leigh says:

    Does he miss me? Did he ever love me? I know both the answers. Yes.

    I even had that verified when I last saw him and I knew he was speaking the truth.

    Every single person on here knows their own personal truth in regards to whether their ex really cared or not. If we say (like I said when I first broke up with the AC three years ago) he never loved me he never cared about me and he hates me then we ARE invalidating every single positive thing that ever happened within the relationship. So Nat is right.

    I remember both the good and the bad. The bad, well, the list is endless and not worth remembering because I’m over it – but the good? He truly did love me but it wasn’t enough because he didn’t believe we could survive. He did really care and he demonstrated that through direct actions. Yes, I’ve never known a man quite like it. Complicated, a control freak, vulnerable, confused, alone.

    I’ll never forget him, I’ll never forget my effect on him. Just as he hurt me I hurt him by being in his life. His feelings for me confused him, made him feel even more vulnerable and made him react by trying to protect himself. Selfishly, I wanted all of him. Selfishly he wanted me even if it was a tiny bit. So the dynamic was all wrong!

    No amount of his missing me or I missing him or caring is going to take away the fact that it just cannot be and that it’s over. He doesn’t contact me because of it, and it’s exactly the reason why I don’t contact him – because it’s done.

    • allie says:

      excellent!! very well written Leigh :)

    • JJ2 says:

      Leigh, I guess I have to accept that is what happened with my A/C. The dynamic was wrong. I met him after not having a boyfriend or even a date for ten years. The ten years was kind of… “self imposed.” Now I’m still wondering why life threw me that curve ball. I hadn’t had a date in ten years, and THAT is what I get?

      • Leigh says:

        JJ2. Take it as a positive. You felt ready to date. You met the wrong guy but take the positive from it and know you are capable of being in a relationship – only one that is HEALTHY and RIGHT for YOU :)

        Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

    • RozB says:

      “No amount of his missing me or I missing him or caring is going to take away the fact that it just cannot be and that it’s over. He doesn’t contact me because of it, and it’s exactly the reason why I don’t contact him – because it’s done.”

      I think that is very well-said! That is a real boundary: it cannot be, and no matter how you feel about it, you accept that as the limit and the law and you move on.

      • Leigh says:

        RozB:

        Acceptance is so empowering, I’m actually happy I got the chance to know him. But now that it’s done I know I’ll have a wonderful Christmas.

        I wish you the same :)

  21. grace says:

    debra
    The term “out of control” resonated with me. It’s an oldfashioned virtue but self-control is very helpful in these difficult breakups. We would be better served controlling our own concrete actions rather than trying to remote control someone else’s feelings for us. Which I tried in many weird and wonderful ways – seeing him, not seeing him, cutting him off, re-establishing contact, trying to be friends, thinking about him, dreaming about him etc etc etc to the point I had to take ADs.
    Those with good self esteem instinctively know when to call it a day. But I hope we will all get there in the end and FINISH it.

  22. Funny how so much of what you talked about for dealing after a break up are the SAME things we need to do to have a happy relationship! Validating oneself, filling oneself up first and arriving on the scene full – essential to making a real connection with another!

  23. The Holy Digit says:

    What does it mean when 3 months after the break-up your parents fall very ill and you ask for his support because you are frightened and scared – that you just want someone to talk to? – it was over email – a few sentences asking him to call me if he could.
    And he responds – “I can’t talk to you.”
    He broke up with me after a year and a half – he knew my family, I did chase him on and off for that 3 months. He broke up with me still saying he loved me and cared about me. What does it mean about them caring if you ASK for their help, genuinely, and they ignore a serious situation?

    • NML says:

      I’m sorry to hear about both of your parents. Truthfully, this isn’t really about an issue of care, it’s that he may think you’re trying to emotionally manipulate him into having contact with you. It would be one thing if you were in contact but it seems that if you were chasing him and got a negative response, you were not in the kind of friendly space where it would be appropriate to expect that he would do this. I know it’s hurtful but for all you know, he may even be involved with someone else and may not feel it is appropriate. Or he may not want to get into a situation where you may get mislead. As you are no longer in a relationship and not exactly friends, I think you’re in a tricky spot having expectations from him to support you. This is an awful situation and hard as it may be to hear, I think you need to look from support from real friends and family, not an ex who has distanced himself from you. Take care.

      • The Holy Digit says:

        Thanks – I know he thinks I’m emotionally manipulating him and I feel awful for the fact that I’m even spending OUNCE of energy on him instead of 100% of it on my parents care. It was just a really lonely moment for me when I saw that his response was that simple and didn’t even inquire how they were. My parents are so dear to me and it just cut like a knife that he didn’t show a pinprick of emotion for them. He knows how to contact my mom and dad but i don’t think he’s reached out to them at all – even if he bypassed me in the process it still would have meant a lot.

        It’s so strange – I have an older friend that dated a guy for 4 solid years, talked about getting married – he broke up with her. She chased him for a month then gave up. 3 years later she was diagnosed with cancer and he was a pathologist at another hospital – she asked him via email if he would be willing to look over her pathology and help her get a second opinion. He ignored her.
        How much that must have hurt – how can anyone reconcile that someone cares for another when that happens?
        How awful – it makes me feel so hopeless and cynical about love sometimes.

        • NML says:

          It’s tricky. Being totally honest, they’re both awful situations where each of you are looking for support from inappropriate sources. In each case it would have been the ‘nice thing to do’ but in the context of themselves it may not have been the ‘right thing to do’.

          You are only looking at things from your perspective and assuming that because you have so much love for your parents that he should care because at one time he said he cared. This is too great an expectation and if you were both friends it would be one thing, but you’re not.

          The same goes for your friend. What a horrendous situation but here is the kicker: why, when you broke up with someone three years ago, you chased them for a month and then they rejected you again, would you then get in touch with them and ask them to do you a favour?

          The common thread here is that you are both experiencing painful situations that you think give you the opportunity, for want of a better word, to lean on people who in spite of the fact that they’ve broken up with and rejected further advances from you, for support.

          You’re so caught up in your emotions that you’ve forgotten that you’re two separate people no longer in a relationship.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think his mail was abrupt and it wouldn’t have killed him to say that he wishes your parents better soon but it certainly wouldn’t have been fair to expect him to re-open contact with you on the basis that your parents are ill.

          • Movedup says:

            Hate to admit it but Nat is right on. I am very sorry to hear of your parents illness but they are your parents – not his. You are in my prayers.
            Let me give you the flip side of doing the “nice thing” rather than the “right thing”.
            ExEUM/AC #1 I broke off with because he was abusive. He pursued me for months. His mother fell ill with breast cancer and I did the nice thing. I went back to him to be support. She died. I spent the next three years in hell planning my escape. I literally had to run for my life as he threatened to kill me on several occassions if I left. I did eventually run and get away – hiding out. I should have done the right thing and stayed away – all the signs were there – the relationship was not working and that did not change – he did not change. It got pretty ugly.

            The bottom line is this – if the relationship wasn’t working before – you going through tough times is not going to change that. In fact if the only reason he came back was for support or rather pity – there is no relationship on equal terms. It could get uglier – you could have to go through another break up all over again – stop the madness. You have enough on your plate right now – you don’t need him to hold you up. Find the strenght within to carry you through this tough time. You have it in you – just reach for it. Believe me you will be a stronger person for it. The last ExEUM knew my mother – she passed a couple of weeks ago and he did me the favor of not contacting me at all. I appreciate that. When someone walks away its a gift – its up to you to discover what that gift is – my guess is that is it you. Head up – you can do this.

          • grace says:

            MovedUp

            Yes, walking away can the be right thing to do.
            I’ve walked away and cut people off that I have cared about. One of them has professed to loving me over a 20+ year period since we broke up. I used to love spending time with him and our chats and laughs but when he contacted me recently after an absence of a few months I decided not to respond. How would it help him for me to be back in his life when I don’t reciprocate his feelings? Yes, I would enjoy the admiration and attention but a part of my motivation would be getting an ego stroke and validation. I’m not about that anymore.

            The fact that an ex ignores you isn’t necessarily that they never cared about you. Maybe, for once, they are acting responsibly towards you.

          • MH says:

            Movedup,

            Wow, that is an extreme case I think as to what happened to you.

            Again it is about boundaries too because I have had some abusive, crazy ex’s too and I was there for them at a tough tragic times but I cut it off. One ex freaked when I cut it off but I stuck to my guns and made sure I protected myself against his attempts to keep me in his life. I have extreme cases like yours but I would say we are hopefully not the majority of how the cases will turn out. I didn’t allow my ex and I to be alone, nor did I get back together, I knew better. I too disappeared after that and he couldn’t find me for years until one day we ran into each other. By now he was on meds and in many ways a different person. Another ex was relentless but no matter how relentless he was it was harmless but I got away too.

            The bottom line is it is not normal to have someone in your life and be close to them and then things end and they become the worst person on the planet.

            I admire those that can be friends later and get along especially those that have children together. I have ex’s now that pop in and say hi and they don’t have an effect on my life anymore and I don’t believe I have to hate them. I like it better that we can be friendly and at the same time they don’t have a bearing on my life.

            The biggest reason we all have to partake in NC is because we are still vulnerable, stuck on them, still harboring feelings, feel slighted by them, etc. Take all this out of the equation and many could converse with an ex and he would have no effect on you.

            One thing break up coaches say all the time is “you know your over someone when you can wish them well and hope for the best even when they are with someone else.”

            This is my goal to be able to hope for the best for my recent ex. When I no longer feel slighted, then I hope he has no bearing on me. Where as one of my ex’s is cruel, kind of like how HD’s ex sounds, and I hope to never see him again. I have a mutual aqaintance and I have never asked her about him or say a word and either has she.

            I know a guy now who use to have a huge affect on me and we were never involved in any way just friends but he had an inpact, he has major control issues. We have a lot of mutual friends and so I have seen him quite a bit lately and he always makes a point to talk to me quite a bit at functions and his actions don’t effect me anymore but they do my mutual friends. I had them all over for a party and they were all trying to figure out if he is coming or what he was doing and they were all checking their phones for his texts and trying to get him to come. I looked at them all and said I have idea and they all looked up at me (there was five of them starring at me) and said”what” like I was about to tell them how to find gold or something. I said forget about him and enjoy yourselves and stop worrying what he is doing. They all replied your right what are we doing.

            This post came at such an opportune point because this guy that has been around a lot lately I can still see why I ended our friendship way back when and I wonder what the hold is my other friends have as to why they hang with him so much. I did wonder to if this guy ever missed me way back when, now I could care less.

            I think it is normal for HD to want to turn to the last person she use to confide in. I know the last guy I was involved with would not ignore me and would try to be there for me as best as he could because I have seen him do it in recent times at first when I still talked to him here and there.

        • NML says:

          I should add that what happened to your friend wasn’t very nice. I think he and her see their relationship differently and they were obviously not in a ‘friendly’ place when she contacted him. It’s always good to remember what a friend actually is and that it’s not ipso facto someone you used to be in a relationship with. Who knows why he didn’t do it but I hope that she is well and truly done with contacting him for anything and that she is doing much better.

          • grace says:

            Nat
            Another way of looking at it (though I’m aware that I’m giving in to the temptation to speculate on their motivations) is that it simply may not be ethical for a medical professional to help an ex out in that way? Or he’s with someone else. I know if my boyfriend (well, my imaginary boyfriend) was doing kind things for an ex in a professional capacity I would wonder why she’s asking HIM and not someone else.

          • MH says:

            The holy Digit and Natalie,

            That is so hard to fathom that someone could just ignore someone in a dire need like that.
            I have a very hard time with someone like this. Natalie your right what else advice can you give when someone acts that way and what you said makes logical sense.

            What I take issue with is I have been the one that put no contact with my ex boyfriends and a few of them broke contact to tell me about their tragedies and that is when I let them in and I explain to them that under the circumstances I will give you this brief time and after that we have to go our separate ways again. I just can’t shun someone that I was in a relationship with at one point and just turn my back on them in situations like that. I think these people that do show really well how they are not worth your time. One of my ex’s was like this when we were together, I won’t have anything to do with him though. I walked away several years ago and I haven’t looked back. I feel for these ladies like you say Nat but your right we can’t expect much from people like this.

            Are your parents really ill now? Is there any improvement? I am sorry to hear that you have had to deal with such a blow and your friend as well.

            I have trouble believing that these men ever cared at all. This is the time you put your selfish needs away and give to someone even for a short while. If my recent ex called me with a tragedy I would be there for him. We are supose to move on to the point that we let by gones be by gones and don’t wish ill will on anyone and put our differences aside for someone in need and then we go back to our lives. Nat’s right lean on the positive people in your life and realize how lucky you are for not being married to him and a crisis like this comes along. I have seen it with my cousin, her husband was cold like this when her mom was dying.

            hugs

    • allie says:

      Like someone else said, he is looking to protect himself.
      IMHO

    • grace says:

      HD

      He broke up with you. You chased him for 3 months and he had to break up with you again. I expect he doesn’t want to break up with you a third time? That could be interpreted as caring for you, if you chose to see it that way. Anyway, like Natalie said, you need to get support from someone in a position to give it, and who wants to give it.

      • MH says:

        BOUNDARIES BOUNDARIES BOUNDARIES

        These have to be in place when dealing with anyone or any situation

        I know when I walked away from the last guy nothing he could say could stop me. In the past he could because I was unsure of what was going on and what I wanted. Once I figure it out, my boundaries were there in place and no one can break them down especially him.

        HD it is probably a blessing in disguised that he ignored you because you would be at a very vulnerable state and any positive support he could have given could and most likely make you fall for him and get trapped again.

        Like I have mentioned already a few times here today is that hopefully his cruel behaviour is enough for you to stay away from him and find the positive support from else where. I think you venting on here has given you one outlet and a start. I use to go to my ex friend all time about things and I have since found other outlets its the way life goes.

        I have found that dealing with previous people who I walked away from a long time ago, who have appeared recently that I have to stick by my boundaries and if need be I can’t be afraid to walk away again. I already skip some of the functions so that I am not always having to be around them.

        I can’t hang with my recent ex because I would be too vulnerable to him and be effected by something he could say, so my boundary was not to be around him. You are saying how precious this guy was you would be setting yourself up for failure.

  24. The Holy Digit says:

    Thanks everyone. My friend is well and though has struggled with her health for some time, she is OK. The relationship ended when she was in her late thirties – she said what happened changed her and that she’s never looked at men the same way again – to say she is now cynical is an understatement.

    I don’t want to let this destroy me – I was so happy with the person I was when I first met my ex. Quickly my self-esteem went right into the gutter – a big snowball effect. After the breakup I almost immediately felt my self-esteem rising even though I was dumped and it did feel terrible. But now – 4 months later – my self-esteem feels like it’s dropping back down again, because of someone I felt that I loved so much has just been able to say “we are no longer in a relationship, door closed, good bye”

    I’m responsible for my own self-worth, feelings, etc…I can say this all day long but I just can’t make myself believe it when I constantly feel down about myself when it comes to this guy. I constantly say to myself “why wasn’t I enough?” and I hate myself for that. It sounds so pathetic and I often feel that if I met me now I wouldn’t know me.

    Professional help has to be sought at this point. Something I also feel ashamed to admit. This pain just has to stop.
    Thanks everyone -

    • allie says:

      Holy Digit

      you don’t need to be so hard on yourself. We are emtional beings and our emotions are real but emotions don’t always say the true.

      Last week it was a very bad weather and I felt like calling my ex EUM because I knew he works driving a truck and for sure he was out there in the weather, anyway, we had a friendly talk just about weather and I told him that I was just hoping he was ok and that I wish him to come home safe.
      He acted really nice, as always, like nothing had happened and later he sent me a text suggesting us to meet. I declined, nicely and that was it.
      Later that week I went running around with some friends and pass kind of near his house and I caught myself wondering if he was alone or if he was with someone else. Then I stopped and inquire myself, why I am again falling in this despair trap??? I declined his invitation because I knew what would be the result and I can remember while we were together the unceirtantly I felt and unsecurity, why in the world would I want to go back to this?

      I decided to forgive myself for contact him again, and continue the NC that I broke after 4 months. We talk in amiable terms, and I know he holds no grunge against me, but I know I can not expect much from him. In fact I could never count to much on him while we were together (1.5 years).

      My advice, is to forget about him. I am sure you have friends, coworkers, church family, etc., that would love to be by yourside and help you out if you let them.

      Enjoy other peoples love.

      • sunshine says:

        I am a huge fan of professional support…I avoided it for the longest time, for reasons I can only barely comprehend now. It is the BEST thing I have ever done for myself. The exquisite attention, care, validation and actual HELP I receive from my therapist is so far beyond anything any of my friends, not to mention my ex could give me, I really regret not getting professional help sooner. I consider it an essential component of loving self-care and can’t recommend it highly enough.

    • MH says:

      HD,

      I understand the pain you are feeling because I say the same thing to myself that I can say something over and over but believing it is another thing.

      I made a comment to your post above because I believe no matter what that when you once truly cared about someone that just because the relationship ended doesn’t mean the door has to be closed shut to the ex when a tragedy strikes unless the ex is abusive.

      I have an abusive ex and that door is closed shut but still I can’t say what I would do if he did call and tell me about a tragedy. I think I would be shocked but I don’t think I would be ignorant. I did shut the door on him and he tried to be in my life for awhile like you tried to be with your ex. Anyways I am guessing you were not abusive so I don’t understand the coldness.

      I think there is a caliber of cruel people out there and I am hearing about them on this site. This is not how most of us are raised, it is not right. I just had a party on saturday and a friend of mine knew one of the aquitences at my party that someone else had invited. I asked my friend how she felt with him being there. She said she is an adult and she will be courtese but he is not someone that she will let back into her life and the interaction will end at my party. I also have the same feelings about this person too. He really doesn’t affect me now but he is not someone I want to spend a lot of time with but I won’t be a jerk about it.

      I can hear your pain as you speak in the post. I hope you are not too hard on yourself for chasing him after it was done. I have been chased that way and I think the people that do it want to see if there is a chance at reconcilin,g thats not the end of the world.

      I hear your sadness of realizing that he is being so cold and yet you would have done anything for him. I can imagine how much your hurting over that. The only somewhat comfort I can advise is something I have been using lately to get me through bitter tastes of hurtful actions from them. It is like Natalie’s says, they were not great to us in the relationship so it is hard to expect any greatness now. The other perspective that I have been using is we are free now to allow for that person who is more positive to come into our life and give us the support we need in a loving partner. Your ex is showing a very callous behaviour and that is a quality you want to stay away from with your next guy.

      I know it hurts but we need to focus on this being a quality we don’t want and that way a reason why we are glad it is over with them. Lets hope we don’t meet another one like him. I have never met a guy like my abusive ex again so I know it does get better.

  25. Jack says:

    I loved this article. I’m a man, and just got out of a year relationship with a woman who is EU with commitment issues. I ended up being clingy and codependent (especially in the breakup phase). I chased her for a month, and then asked for some space myself. I sent her a short xmas email a couple of days ago, and wish I had not. No response.

    Based on this post, I am going to look at this as her choosing to give us room to be healthy, back up, and let things calm down. This pain sucks, but alot of it is my own doing.

  26. MH says:

    This post hit the nail on the head for me.

    I wanted to say Natalie get out of my head, how are you in there to a tee.

    I left him, I walked away, he hasn’t even walked away yet and yet everyday I am stuck on wondering if he pulled his socks up could he have given me the relationship I have always dreamed of. In other words, I am holding onto potential. When I asked this question out loud to myself I answered back he couldn’t even be the friend that I wanted, how do I expect that he would be the man of my dreams especially when I was never interested in him as a boyfriend. I gave up on relationships when I first met him and as I spent more time with him I just wanted to settle and have things work out against all odds because I was tired of relationships not working out and I was enjoying his company and was curious where things could go. This was all more on a subconscious level then a conscious level.

    I think I was mad that I lost somehow. He was always begging me to stay, he was always chasing me for this or that, I didn’t want the attention to stop. That’s what I am angry about. When Natalie said the gall, I was YEAH NATALIE THAT IS RIGHT THE GALL. I knew how silly I have been about this attitude, I am always calling myself on this and then as soon as I saw this sentence I knew where she was going with it.

    I keep telling myself to accept it that he has someone and I don’t. This is a sore issue for me because as we got closer and started hanging out a lot and our friendship revolved around him saying single is the best and he is not going to setttle down. I on the other hand wanted a boyfriend badly at this point. He was always telling me that a boyfriend would come between what him and I have. I was always countering his arguments but now I realized I was conditioned and brainwashed without knowing it. I allowed myself to feel special because he didn’t want me to move on but now I realize he wanted me as a fall back girl while he played around and came back to me for reassurance in case things didn’t work out with others. That is a hard truth to swallow and it makes me bitter.

    The other reason I am dwelling is because for four years he was a friend I saw once in awhile, when we became close I saw a side of him I didn’t ever see and I liked it. When his less appealing side appeared I said to myself yep there’s the emotionally unavailable guy the I thought he was all along. Seeing his potential made me believe for the longest time that he could turn into what I want maybe. This stays in the back of my head at times along with is he giving her what I wanted and if I was more like her and waited could I too have what I wanted. My mind tells me no.

    However, so many people post on here that they gave their relationships their all like it sounds like she did and yet so many of you either gave up on these guys for good reasons or they left. I am shock because he is staying with her saying it is all great because he doesn’t have to compromise. Therefore if your ex’s didn’t either why did they leave, they had it all. He is staying, so this confuses me many times. I know from your stories that you guys are better off without them but I don’t their story because I avoid him. What makes a guy all of sudden stay and then I start to emotionally beat myself up thinking I should have tried harder because what if he is finally giving her everything I wanted but I just didn’t try hard enough. That is why I tell myself he isn’t giving her what I want and that I am idealizing it. Then I feel guilty because I am belittling them in order to make myself feel better. It is a vicious cycle that I am trying to get out of and find the right way to get over things without putting them or me down. I haven’t found the answer for this yet.

    Considering he knew me first and then her and I for most of the same time and for the first year or so he held me in higher priority and then all of sudden she was gaining rank and it threw my ego off. I started to think what is wrong with me that he is starting to choose her more. This started to take a real toll on my self esteem and my self worth. My friends say he wouldn’t have chosen her if I stayed around but I presented them with some countering arguments that he would have.

    What is important here and I don’t know how to adopt the positive attitude I keep trying to incorporate in my mind verses the self esteem sucking negative attitude that keeps taking over anything positive.

    The positive messages that I keep trying to implement are
    I need to think enough of myself
    I know he is not even close to the guy that is good enough for me. He said himself he lacks morals and I would never put up with him and his asshole ways to be in a relationship with him.
    As soon as I can get my mind off of him I will have room for that positive guy that I am meant to be with.
    I am the one that is winning I got away that is the prize in itself
    she is the one that is stuck thinking she got the prize.
    One day I am going to see how lucky I am for moving on but if I don’t keep dwelling on what I mistakenly think that I lost I won’t get to see how lucky I am.

    Why can’t I accept that they are a match and when I let go emotionally I can hopefully find my match.

    I already know how drama free and peaceful my life has become without him, it can only get better not worst with him gone.

    I am better without him, why can’t I just let go and truly feel this and let it break the emotional ties. Enough already I say. I can’t stick to the one healthy process so that I truly move on and I am mad about this. Dwelling won’t help things.

    • allie says:

      MH

      dwelling won’t help you move on.
      And as far as they being the ‘exact match’ I doubt it. Not in the way you think.
      As woman we tent to compare one another and in a case like yours it is natural to feel that she has something better to offer. But the reality can be that she is just willing to take more crab than you, or like my ex husband said, “she is as bad as I am”.

      I expend a lot of time and brain cells trying to figure it out. Then I met my Ex EUM and it ended because he himself told me he couldn’t give me what I wanted and I deserved better. I pin for a while for him, but I have the luck to find this place.

      Now I see he would have never gave me what I needed. He got involved with his ex wife, and that hurt, but she is just his fall back girl as he is hers (fall back guy), it didn’t last because noone on his right sense can put up with that.

      It is healthy to have standards and boundaries even if that means to loose him.

      take heart, and trust that there will be someone better out there. But he won’t come while you are still pinning for your ex.

      • Wastedlove says:

        @mh your story sounds similar to mine. My eum had two of us on the go at once, very subtly making me compete against her by quietly and politely but repeatedly praising her for being “easy-going and undemanding” while turning on the charm and little-boy lost pout, playing the sensitive, misunderstood man struggling through life. I expect he did exactly the same to her, and thus controlled us both… setting us up in competition to be the least “demanding” (i.e. asking nothing of him) and the most “easy-going” (i.e. letting him get away with absolutely anything.

        But despite my knowing all the above with my rational, logical side, my emotional side sobs about losing him almost every single day and is wracked with envy that she has him and I don’t (I ended it). Yes, even though she hasn’t “got him” because he isn’t available to be “got.” So I do know, MH, what you are going through, I really do. Just give it time, have patience, it will all pass in time. I am letting myself grieve the loss of my hopes and dreams, also the feelings of utter humiliation, the shame I feel for falling for the “poor, sensitive, pouting misunderstood genius”.

        Asking myself, doesn’t he care about me? the answer has to be no. I don’t suppose I enter his thoughts from one day to the next. Although I didn’t tell him not to contact me, he isn’t emailing or phoning to ask how I am. Because he does not give a damn. He’s focussing on his own life, and if his thoughts ever wander onto women, the most he thinks of me is probably as a great piece of ass he enjoyed shagging, and would again given the right circumstances. I guess THAT is what I mean to him. Nat’s blog is timely for me, too. making me face up to this reality!

  27. Jolie says:

    My ex EUM actually texted the, “I miss you, I want us to be friends, can we talk?” baloney as recently as one week ago. I joined Natalie’s “No Contact Email Group” in the beginning of December and with her encouragement and advice, I found it easy to not respond to his plea. He has shown repeatedly in the year of our off-again on-again so-called “relationship” that his “I miss you” is just his way of testing the water, pushing the door back open and getting back into shagging with no strings attached. Beware the “I miss you” from the EUM. He might be missing you, but it won’t be for the right reasons.
    Besos to all

  28. EmJay says:

    Thank You for this great post. Really hit home, having been NC for almost a year, this has helped cement the moving on process. Six months ago I might have found it still very difficult to take on board and be capable of acknowledging the caring parts of the relationship as I was still hurting very much. He cared in his own way, but he never cared enough or he would not have let me go. I have learnt so much from you x

  29. Movedup says:

    @Grace – thank you for the kind thoughts but the ex was abundantly clear – he didn’t care – I was not the “one” and love you (kind of like you love chocolate) but in love with you. See Nat’s early posts on translations. Fit him to a T. He never once said “I love you” either. So no -as with all the ones previous to me and I am sure me as well – no. When asked about previous relationships especially one that became a drug addict – if he ever checked to see if she was ok he stated quite clearly – don’t know – don’t want to know. Further proof – they don’t change. I have had too many that continue to prove they don’t change not to believe that to be true. To think that he once cared for me would keep the illusion alive. Better to accept the truth and move on than to hold onto any illusion I’d rather believe that maybe for a time perhaps he cared even a little bit. The truth may be harsh but its the truth. Booty call thats all.

  30. Sweetie187 says:

    Yes i agree with Movedup. To start telling myself that the AC loved me in his albeit limited way would be fanning the flames of delusion and keeping me stuck in false hope.

    Convincing myself that he cared would only be an attempt from me to stem the hurt and pain of his rejection. I would be telling myself he cared in order to feel validated and to convince myself that i was not used and there was in fact some reciprocation on his part.

    It is not in my interests to tell myself that he cared about me (or that he cared but “not enough”) and deep deep down i meant something to him.

    WHY?
    COZ IT’S A BLATANT LIE.
    I just want to stick to the truth and not find a way to make it all better by yet another flight into fantasyland.

    • Over It says:

      Moved up and Sweetie, I’m with you, And to anyone out
      reading this, who wishes her AC would contact her, believe me, you
      really don’t. Today I got a copy of one of my favorite books in the
      mail along with a note and a Boo Hoo song quote. This from a guy
      who ran scalding hot and freezing cold. This from a guy who Faked a
      Future — with no prompting. This from a guy who said I must have
      gotten the wrong idea. I made it absolutely clear to him that he
      had broken my heart. So, sorry if I am projecting my own values
      here, but can’t help but think any decent guy would respect my
      request for NC and disappear forever. What an AC! He needs someone
      to play Girlfriend for Christmas. He doesn’t like, love, care about
      or respect me. And he never did. Period. I suited his purposes. He
      strung me along (and would be happy to do so again.) And if I ever
      doubted it, I don’t anymore. So he sent me “gift” all right. Just
      not the one he intended. Thanks for the clarity, AC!

  31. Relapsing says:

    What do I want from him?

    I want him to tell me he was sorry. That he’s figured out what he wanted and that he would like to give our relationship another try. That he realized we’re still worth a shot. That he still believed in me and what I can offer. That he’s ready to commit – not to the “now”, but to the future.

    Unfortunately, I’m the only one who feels this, who sees our potential.

    • tiffany hall says:

      Been there, done that. I want him to say and feel sorry. I want him to see my worth. I want him to miss me and know his loss. But if that guy has that decency, we won’t be all here. Mine said sorry in front of me but he’s actually doing the same to other women. Does he really mean it? Nope. After all these twists and turns, I wonder if I can really enjoy the best christmas after these couple years! Long road to recovery but hope we are all seeing light!

      • Relapsing says:

        *gives you a hug* Mine told me he was sorry that I had to
        go through that three-week episode of wondering if his feelings for
        me would return to normal because he couldn’t tell if they would
        and therefore cannot commit himself fully to the relationship until
        he gets it back – so we were pretty much in relationship limbo
        until I said I can’t take it anymore and he let me go without a
        fight. Also, before the break, he kept saying he didn’t know what
        he wanted or what to do with us and that no, I’m not going to get
        any answer from him no matter how hard I try. Two days later, he
        says he was hoping we could make it work with me around, but when I
        decided I was too hurt to stick around, he “fell off the
        rollercoaster” and figured that he can’t do it anymore.
        Whoop-de-doo. Imagine the impact of that blow. I was hurt,
        confused, scared and angry. What did he want me to do? What was I
        supposed to do? I loved him (and still do, but I’m working on it)
        but he gave me close to no reason to hang on (and how I desperately
        wanted to, to keep believing) when he said he doesn’t know when his
        feelings would return or if they would at all. Seriously, where did
        he expect me to stand? Oh, wait, he left the decision up to me. I
        spent the next couple of months shifting from “I don’t care, if he
        doesn’t want me then I don’t want him either” to “OMG. What have I
        done? I still love him. Maybe if I hadn’t done this/said that then
        we could be together. What should I do to win him back?” I’ve made
        my feelings known to him, but guess what. He never shared the
        sentiment. So here I am, trying to move on. I still cry over it,
        and it’s been 3 mos since the breakup, and we’ve only been together
        for 7. PERFECT. They say that what will be will be, that if it’s
        meant to restart then it will. But the big question is: “how?”
        Nobody’s moving. I’ve realized that I’ve been the one doing the
        actual reaching out, as in the reaching out that might eventually
        lead to patching things up and trying again (much to my friends’
        disapproval and dismay). And whenever he responds in a way that
        doesn’t seem to show any interest towards that, I feel hurt. It’s
        like every time we get to exchange a few sentences to each other, I
        feel heartbroken. I’ve decided that I’ve lowered myself enough for
        him. No more of this drama. And if moving on from what happened
        means that I have to cut contact from him and reject attempts at
        friendship then so be it. (But then I’d hear one of my friends’
        words about burning bridges because who knows? You still might end
        up together after all the shit that went down. Sometimes, I don’t
        really get my friends. They want you to move on, but if by moving
        on you feel that it’s necessary to go NC, they say “don’t be
        bitter”/”don’t go burning bridges”.)

        • Fearless says:

          @Relapsing, I know how you feel. Try to remember that NC is
          not about him, or about burning bridges with him – it’s got nothing
          to do with him actually. Its about you – about you not being hurt
          any more!! Remind your friends of this. You need NC for you, to
          give you the space and time to see things more clearly and to
          realise that you are not a beggar for the attentions of anyone –
          for any crumb of hope he might fling your way – for ANY reason! You
          will make no progress if you maintain contact/friendship with him.
          Your friends are not getting it. This guy is either ‘just not that
          into you’ or he is simply EU – either way he is offering you f**k
          all – and it’s not good enough. Stay focused on that: It is not
          good enough. Don’t wait for him to change his mind! What you’re
          getting now is as good as it’s going to get. Salvage your
          self-respect before you lose it and have to claw it back later from
          the bottom of a pit! My two sisters suggested to me that I could
          just remain “friends” with my ex EU (cos they really like him!!)…
          I told them I had tried that road and I became more of a friend
          with benefits and that I am not prepared to be relegated (or
          demoted) to a “friend” after years of hanging my hopes on all his
          empty promises. When I put it like that – they got it. That it’s
          not a compromise he should be offered nor one that is good enough
          for me. I deserved a promotion not a demotion – and I told them
          this. They agreed. As hard as it seems right now, NC is the remedy
          FOR YOU. It’s the only thing that works to make us see sense and
          clear the fog of despair and uncertainty that these relationships
          perpetuate . This has been said on this site by Nat and many others
          who have been down every road- and they are saying it for a reason.
          Take the advice as soon as you can and tell your friends you cannot
          burn bridges that have not been built yet! – you would need to
          build them first before you burn them down, and you’d be doing all
          the work – all by yourself – only to realise you are wasting your
          time. Tell them you are not a bridge builder nor a bridge burner!!
          That you are not investing any more of your emotions in a guy who
          has not shown you due care or respect – who has run hot and cold
          and who cannot decide if he is interested in you or not!! You are
          not a ping-pong ball!! All the best!! F

  32. Lynn says:

    Anyone else home for the holidays? Anyone else being reminded of, or seeing anew, how your family-of-origin relationships helped prepare you to put up with less than stellar behaviour?

    I have had a poor opinion of my folks’ relationship for most of my life. The rest of my family thinks I should take a chill pill. I have blamed either party, argued, been angry, sullen, tried to teach them to be better to each other, tried to get one to stand up to the other, tried to ignore it, etc. In fact, last year at this time I was calling the AC (the then-totally-amazing-if-we-ignore-those-few-little-things-new-boyfriend) and expecting him to rescue me emotionally from this family dysfunction.

    So here I am, back here visiting family post break-up. I’ve learned lots this past year from the failed relationship, from the fallout and from this blog. What is weird is what a difference a year can make. It is sometimes scary noticing things in my parents’ relationship from a totally different angle. They’re older now, relating differently than they did when I was a kid, but they’re both EU. It’s like I am not supposed to see it. I wonder if I’m making it up. But I’ve been home 24 hours and already have seen two examples of behaviour that now I see as yellow-, if not red-flag. But it’s NORMAL in this house.

    And these are the folks who represent my most intimate example of a loving relationship. Huh.

    I honestly don’t know what would have to happen to make my folks’ relationship into something functional. But I do feel like all of the growth that neither of them is willing to do still sits on MY plate because they taught me how to love. Until I figure it out and do it, I’m an EUM magnet.

    Sigh!

    And yeah, the immature part of me wants him to text or call or email for Xmas, for an ego boost, but that’s why I blocked the email, so I can’t know even if he does. I want to get my own self-confidence to a place where I wouldn’t wish someone the pain of chasing after me just to boost my own sense of desirability.

    Much love and holiday wishes of strength and awesomeness!

    • JJ2 says:

      “Anyone else being reminded of, or seeing anew, how your family-of-origin relationships helped prepare you to put up with less than stellar behaviour?”

      Yes Lynn, I’m reminded all the time. I think…. my mom didn’t get some sort of “validation” in her childhood, so…… she wanted “validation” by wanting me to be what she wanted me to be… And when I wouldn’t “play along, ” (i.e., saying something that wasn’t in line with what SHE thought I “should” feel or think) I got called crazy, stupid, dumb, or idiotic. And Mom doesn’t think she was abusing me! So, my entire life I have sought “approval” from her. When I didn’t get it, I sought it from boyfriends. Which is why I get involved with A/C’s because I want “validation” by thinking I can “fix” them from their issues. CHOOSE ME! CHANGE YOURSELF FOR ME BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT!

      • Andrea says:

        Right on, Lynn and JJ2 — I am seeing these patterns now,
        too, and how it has impacted my own EU and constant seeking of
        validation, of being “good enough” according to someone else’s
        standards. This was such an eye-opener for me. Am still processing
        it all. Cheers to you both.

    • Nicole says:

      Oh yes, the holiday time with family. Or just any time spent with mom and dad. I go back and forth, too, on the whole issue of my parents’ relationship with each other, and each of us as kids and adults. What makes it so painful is that I can’t turn to them for support. I can talk about the AC and how hurt I was, but they don’t get it, because 1) my dad did and still does some of those behaviors, and 2) my mom still puts up with it, as if it’s normal to ride someone else’s emotional roller coaster.

      But it’s not just the parents. I look around at my friendships and realize I can’t turn to them either, because I tend to pick friends the same way I picked the AC’s in my life.

      It’s just really hard to get through the tough times without supportive relationships. And so I can see why I still go back to that place sometimes of wanting the AC to care, of wanting him to realize he is sorry.

      I mean, I read all this stuff about how we are not supposed to get validation from other people, but really, where do we learn it then, if it has never been shown to us?

  33. Laura says:

    Hi Natalie,

    I have been reading your blog for a few years now. Your posts typically ring a bell for me. Resonate. Well, you hear that a lot I am sure because you clearly write from the heart.

    After spending decades of my life wanting to be missed by one guy or another I am finally learning. Very often men do come back. But, it’s like you say a lot, it is important to know what their reason for returning is and I never thought of that before you drummed it into my hollow hear.

    I am finally free of obsessive thoughts of reconciliation with one guy or another. And ya know what – it has freed me to think of my future and to work towards my hopes and dreams. To THINK of my hopes and dreams.

    It is not about one guy or another. It is about us being unable to validate ourselves for some reason. At least that has been my experience.

    • grace says:

      laura

      spot on – it’s not about the guys. it’s us. unless we deal with that we just repeat the negative experience with the next guy, then the next.

      okay, some of us were just unlucky but if we’ve had more than one relationship with an EUM, or one that we didn’t finish pretty quickly (ie within six months), then it’s definitely us.

  34. Nikki says:

    Right there with ya sister! I frankly, resent having to do all of this work on myself because I was taught how to love incorrectly. My parents ave personality disorders and have set me up to pick mates with emotional issues. So now I have to put years into what other people take for granted. It sucks!
    Back to the topic. It’s hard to learn not to use black and white thinking. That is my challenge this year, to move away from destructive relationships without feeling an avalanche of hate. But the more I work of FOO ( family of origin) issues the less present disappointments trigger 20-30 year old stores of pain.

    • Lizzy says:

      Nikki, I totally agree with you about having to learn what others take for granted, it’s crap! I just keep telling myself better late than never!
      Good luck with your new year challenge and love, luck and happiness to Natalie and all BR readers xxx

  35. Melanie says:

    To MH: It sounds your AC was playing you against another woman, and whoever put up with more of his crap “won”. But that’s no prize. I don’t think he’s a good catch in any case, and you’re better off without him. I don’t think other women need to be in the picture, in your relationship.

    To Natalie: you are fabulous, your blog is great! And so are all the other ladies who post here.

    • WastedLove says:

      @Mel. Yes mine did that too. The other one is still putting up with it, she is an ex battered wife, on benefits, with no self esteem, so grateful for the tiny crumbs she gets, just like I was. I feel genuinely sorry for her, because she will have to have an epiphany in her own time, just like I did.

      • MH says:

        Allie, WL, Mel Allie, you are so right that she does put up
        with more crap then I ever did. He said he doesn’t have to
        compromise with her and he hasn’t had to changed one bit. He
        doesn’t love her but they live together. He said she can move in
        but if he doesn’t like it she has to move out and she agreed.
        Myself on the other hand, I want a man who understands the word
        commitment and lives by it not just throwing out titles that mean
        nothing boyfriend & girlfriend, living together, on a trial
        basis etc. He has to share the values with me stated below.
        Commitment means each doing our share so the relationship doesn’t
        hit very many snags to begin with. Commitment means working at
        issues when the relationship hits a snag. Commiment means we move
        into together because we want to share our lives together and we
        are in it for love, not a trial basis and if one doesn’t like it we
        bail. WL: You are right and I think I just realize this lately
        because he too is good at acting all oblivious that everyone around
        him chalks it up to clueless. He was seeing who was going to put up
        with the most crap. I know that I am better off without him because
        I walked away from him six months ago and he hasn’t given up on me
        yet. I have never given into his invites or into his pleas. I have
        stuck to my guns. This is the issue that has struck the most anger
        and is what ended the friendship for me is him playing us against
        each other and him just giving into someone who doesn’t make him a
        better person. He did act like a better person when he was around
        me at times but her being his fb girl allowed him to rebel against
        me because he has her afterall. It would have been something else
        anyways because he is not the right guy for me. Now they are
        together and I know I am better off but I too give into my
        irrational, emotional side and get upset and think more negatively
        but I have come along way and it won’t be long before I am
        completely over all this. Mel: Yeah you are right no other women
        should be around during my relationships and I don’t plan to ever
        be in a situation like that again. It was a FWB and because I
        didn’t expect to get as close to him as I did, I didn’t think he
        could have the effect he ended up having on me that he did. I
        thought I would have a little fun while I am single and looking for
        a boyfriend. Too busy in this dysfunctional relationship to attract
        the right guy. I realized I was repelling men not leaving myself
        open for positive, healthy ones. Thanks again Ladies especially
        pointing out that he ain’t anything special as well as no other
        women should be around, and that he chose the girl that allows him
        to not really commit. Hugs

        • JJ2 says:

          “I want a man who understands the word commitment and lives
          by it not just throwing out titles that mean” My A/C said, “The
          relationship has to take priority” and “we will be together the
          rest of our lives.” All lies lies lies. Reality was…. he was
          totally indifferent to me. If he was, indeed, making the
          relationship a priority, I guess I didn’t see it. I guess to him,
          the fact that whenever I said, “We need to talk” he was always
          willing to talk right then….. and I guess maybe HE thought that
          was making the relationship a priority, but my need to “talk” was
          about the fact that he WASN’T making the relationship a priority.
          Is this a “Catch 22?”

          • MH says:

            JJ2, wow what a catch 22 it is. Like Natalie points out
            Actions need to match words. If you invite me to dinner and I say I
            am coming and I show. My actions backed up my words. Of course if I
            change my mind and give you a good reason I am still genuine unless
            we find out differently. If you invite me to dinner and I don’t
            show as well as I don’t give an explanation or follow up with
            anything when you talk to me again. My actions do not back my words
            and it is up to you no to pull back from the friendship or you risk
            the chances of me disrespecting you again. If he isn’t showing you
            that you are a priority then he isn’t making you a priority. Even
            in some cases if he is picking and choosing by discussing things
            right away, however nothing changes in the relationship then he is
            not showing you that you are a priority. To me that is not
            commitment.

        • Melanie says:

          Hi MH, re: “It was a FWB and because I didn’t expect to get
          as close to him as I did” From what I’ve seen by looking around,
          the only thing so-called “FWB” gets for us women, is more guys who
          won’t commit to us or treat us with respect, because they know that
          there are plenty of women out there who are willing to be a
          “FWB”.

        • allie says:

          MH, I tottally agree with you in this: “I want a man who
          understands the word commitment and lives by it not just throwing
          out titles that mean nothing boyfriend & girlfriend, living
          together, on a trial basis ” specially on this trial basis, my
          ex-EUM told me that one day when we were going together to his
          sister wedding, he believed that couples need to live together on a
          trial basis to see if it will work out before getting married. I
          told him that this living together “on a trial basis” that was a
          recepy for failure, if you are moving in, expecting that something
          can go wrong, the definitly something will go wrong (murphy’s law).
          I told him that there has to be a commintment to make things work
          even before moving in together, because we know “if something might
          fail, then it will”.

  36. SarahJ says:

    Hi ladies & gent ;-)

    This couldn’t of come at a better time. Really feeling rubbish about my ex at the moment.

    My ex and I have remained friends, which I’m impressed about as I haven’t managed to achieve that really with any of my other exs. We’ve always been really good friends throughout & during our relationship we were best friends. I’m afraid now that my feelings have began to overtake that friendship or to put it this way I think I feel more for him than he does for me. He informed during a catch up chat last night that he is now dating 2/3 women as he ventures into the ‘dating world’. My skin tingled & I felt sick. I went quiet as he talked about how bad he is at actual dating, the talk, subjects of conversation etc and asked me for some tips as we get on so well of which I replied, ‘I don’t think I can really help you with that’…I wasn’t rude or huffy at all, my gut reaction was ‘grrrr am so mad with myself’ and now I feel like a complete d*ck. I must be so blind to what is going on around me and the realisation suddenly sunk in, I guess?

    He wants to come round tomorrow evening with my christmas gift, what do I do? I read BR religiously and I’m almost in panic-mode :-(

    Any advice would be muchly appreciated xx

    • grace says:

      SarahJ
      It’s not an achievement to remain friends with an ex. I’m not saying it’s wrong in all instances but it is not the holy grail and is no reflection whatsoever on what kind of person you are. You can easily argue the opposite and that the ability to move on and forget them is better.
      Sarah, he absolutely does NOT see you as someone he wants a committed relationship with. If he did he would NOT be telling you about other women. Please see what is wrong with that picture. If YOU had serious feelings for a man you WOULD NOT be dating other people and telling him about it. If you would, there is something seriously wrong.
      You’ve a few choices:
      1. Don’t have him in your home, especially if you think it may get physical. Meet him elsewhere for coffee.
      2. Have him round, but be on your guard, don’t get drunk.
      3. Tell him you have feelings for him, it’s not appropriate for him to come round, you’ll think about it and get back in touch after Christmas.
      4. Break it off altogether.
      Whatever you do, do NOT get physical with him. No kiss, no cuddling, nothing, nada. You are permitted to hug him and kiss him on the cheek if that’s what you always do. In the doorway, not inside. I know I sound a bit ridiculous but I say this because you are panicking and there is a reason for that. Trust your gut.
      There is an outside chance (which I don’t hold out much hope for but you know him better than I do) that he does have good intentions. In which case he will tell you, not try to get in your pants in the next five minutes, have a proper discussion on why you broke up before and how it will work this time, break it off with the other women and take it a considered normal pace. Do not accept anything less than that.
      Bringing around a present, hanging out with you, even sexing you proves nothing. You know it!

    • WastedLove says:

      @ Sarah J “My skin tingled & I felt sick.” This alone tells me that you are not over him. You CANNOT be friends with an ex until you can hear about his exploits with other women and feel no emotional reaction. Presumably you have a gift for him, too? Meet in a pub, cafe, swap gifts, tell him you have a date with a man so cannot stay more than 15 or at most 30 minutes — then LEAVE for your “date”. After that, you can leave him a phone message or email saying you don’t feel it’s right to see each other any more.

    • SaraK says:

      SarahJ,
      I have been reading NML’s site for over a year. Not once did anyone come back and tell us that such an event (his coming over with the gift) worked out well. Each poster was sorry that they ever let him get near. He’s playing for his needs, and using yours to close in.
      Cancel the event, and go out with friends instead.
      If you feel that he could show up a changed man, with diamonds in hand, then arrange to meet briefly in a coffee shop, and keep looking at your watch. When he fails, as he surely will, get up, say goodbye, don’t explain yourself, smile, and walk out.
      I know it’s a hard time of year, and this will take deep introspection to resolve completely, but for now, here’s the structure: Short meeting in public place, smile, and exit. PS: No gift from you to him.
      Good Luck!

      • MH says:

        Sarah J, I can only advise what break up experts advise and
        what has been a true experience for me. I was with a guy for six
        years, took the advise of staying away for 3 to 6 months after we
        were broke up and he could tell me about his sexual interactions
        with other women and they didn’t phase me. Ex’s always need a
        detachment period before a friendship can begin. Usually this
        period is 3 to 6 months with absolutely no contact. This period is
        usually for the person who still has feelings. Because men can
        usually have sex without getting attached they can come back for
        break up sex and get up and walk away and be satisfied that you
        guys are broken up. For many especially women we cannot. Therefore,
        it is best to take a break so your feelings can die for him. Then
        if you become friends later and he trys for sex with the ex you
        will be strong enough to say no. That happened to me. I am not
        friends with the ex anymore because I realize he was an assclown.
        When we tried to be friends right after the break up that led to ex
        sex, then I did the 3 month break and he coudn’t get me into bed if
        he tried and he did. He invited me over to his house and tried to
        get me into bed aggressivly and I had grabbed his picture of his
        new girlfriend and put it in front of me and said remember her.
        Wasn’t taking no for a answer but trust me he had no choice I
        wasn’t going to buge besides I left his house at that point. One
        time before this he went to open the car door for me and came over
        to give me a kiss and I said what are you doing, he said I came to
        kiss you. I said we are broken up I don’t want to kiss. I was so
        turned off by him. I was in so many of these situations and I never
        caved I was completely single and I haven’t even had a boyfriend
        since that relationship but I never caved and one day I ended the
        friendship many many years ago. If your guy is decent and can truly
        be a friend eventually then you can try then. The best advise is to
        stay away because you still like him and he wants others and it
        will kill you every time. I can’t see my EUM because my ego doesn’t
        like the outcome so it is best to stay away. I may never be friends
        with him again but WHO CARES There is new men awaiting us to get
        healthy so we can be with them. When that times comes we will be
        saying AC and EUM who!

      • Minky says:

        @SaraJ – Speaking from experience, when you are finally
        over him, you won’t WANT to be friends anymore! I have remained
        friends with two of my exes, but these were healthy relationships
        which started with genuine friendship and drifted back into that
        naturally and ended amicably in both cases. I bumped into my ex EUM
        last week and, though i was happy to see him, i felt nothing toward
        him anymore, no love, no hate, no resentment. He was actually on a
        date that evening and seemed really awkward about telling me so (he
        was always bluntly honest about everything with me, i’m the one who
        didn’t get out sooner) but i told him i’m seeing someone too and he
        seemed glad to hear that. We chatted, we hugged and we went our
        seperate ways. It was nice to speak to him at the time, but neither
        if us has contacted the other since, nor have i felt any need to. i
        have no desire to have him as my friend, he wasn’t my friend to
        begin with. We had some really great times, i loved him a lot, i
        was heartbroken when it ended, but i don’t feel the need to have
        him in my life because i have moved on. I took time out, i was
        single for a while, i had loads of fun, i did my own thing, i kept
        strict NC (god was that hard!!). I am dating a really lovely guy
        now (also a friend of mine), who calls me on the phone, who makes
        plans and always follows through, who invites me out with his
        friends and colleagues, who took a day off work to look after me
        when i was ill, who was going to invite me over for christmas
        because he thought i’d be on my own. I’d got so caught up with the
        EUM i’d forgotten what being in a real relationship was like! You
        don’t need this pathetic excuse for a friendship with this man, you
        will just get caught up in this one-sided ‘friendship’ instead of
        working on yourself and, when someone worthy of your time actually
        comes along, you’ll be too busy with this idiot and his problems to
        see it. Don’t let someone good pass you by while you concern
        yourself with this man who’s not worth bothering with.

  37. lynne hansen says:

    thanks to this website, i am on day 10 of NC. i was in one for 5.5 years. i’ve done it before … the longest six weeks on my part. we broke up one year on his part … and thanks to him being the EUM/AC there have been a week or two week disappearances. he never did profess to wanting exclusivity and neither did i really want that with him … i wanted to find the right guy to marry while dating him. thought that would work … but it did not. i got in deep, and he would refer to me as his girlfriend and it took on the air of a relationship without that being formally announced, and adhered to.

    this site alerted me to texting as a form of communication. in the early days, we talked on the phone. but with texting so popular now, it creeped into the relationship and cut that aspect of intimacy out.

    i won’t go into the mess that it was: it’s all about the same mess as others have experienced on here. but since i have no brothers and sisters, i lack the deep familial support that might have prevented this from happening. my friends though did try to warn me.

    i am usually an athletic type who watches her figure … but since i cut him off and also cut off the supplement man i was seeing, and have been sick … i see my eating habits worse and my exs. routine slide. i must reconcile with myself that this is not the end of my love/sex life. but it is the end of always feeling like there was a thorn the size of a sword in my side.

    so often i was in a bad mood or feeling crazed because he had disappeared. being NC i am relieved of those horrid feelings. i also would blame myself for bad things and put myself on the hook for other cra$, and now i have somehow relieved myself of that emotional garbage. it seemed not only did the man make me nuts, but also it enlivened other very bad feelings.

    i also tell myself that like a man getting into trouble because his penis wants to travel a lot, women also get into trouble looking for sex. so i have told myself, sex comes last now. it can lead you to to many bad situations with emotionally devastating results.

    so right now, i have not looked at my text messages. i no longer taunt myself with the inbox. (i have changed my number so many times, i am waiting to do that again.) if someone wants to reach me, they can call. but i have to admit, seeing that there are so many, i do hope that one is from him. he has texted lately, but i ignored it. i have done this NC dance many times, broken it, then only to see his reinvigorated love for me … slow, once again. no more. it sux and moreover, being in these relationships is just no fun.

    i dreamed last night that i was looking at my text messages but that somehow you could read them without knowing who it was from … you would guess by the content. but i am glad i am not the only one having the battle with the cell phone as the messenger.

    i am hoping to make it past val day at least, a day he was reluctant about.
    the other feeling i have is: hey, he no longer has to worry about being nice to me or seeing me if he does not want to or any other imposed obligation.
    he’s off the hook and can enjoy his freedom from me.

    i hope i use this time as a path to self rediscovery, to address the movements with my life i know i must make.

    it’s only been a week. i imagine sometime in the new year, when it’s a brand new stage, that i will resurrect myself and sally forth. an all brand new experience, the first time truly being on my own again … but this time wise enough to find a good person to share it with.

  38. Ruth C says:

    This post has come at a good time for me as after lots of failed attempts at NC I have come the furthest ever with 2 months. My AC has blown hot and cold for two years now, after jumping through hoops for this amount of time we finally got to a place in the relationship where I thought he was starting to “come around” to putting the official label on it giving me my much fought for “status” as his girlfriend, as I was beginning to relax he whipped the rug from underneath me picked a fight that of course was all my fault according to him, disappeared for a couple of weeks then resumed contact with me trying to demote me back to sex buddy whilst another girl was now in top spot with me finding myself discussing his issues with that relationship trying to pretend I wasnt completely devastated and in complete shock at how fast things had turned around and how I was now in this situation!!!
    Not long after this turn of events my granfather passed away and left me a large sum of money… those that might remember me on this site and my story know money was a big motivator and issue with my AC…anyway im sure he could of kicked himself at the timing of his demotion of me!!! and as I tried to pull away from this ridiculas situation he asked me by text to lend him money as he was in a bit of financial trouble and needed a bit of help!
    I replied that to help him wasnt my job anymore he could ask his new girlfriend for money not me! I told him hed made his choice that he was only using me that I couldnt do this to myself with him anymore, and that i had to move on and if he cared about me hed let me. He told me hed asked me for money as a friend! I didnt bother replying and have gone NC for 2 mths.
    I have been tormenting myself about whether any of it was ever real, whether I really was just an on call sex buddy and an ATM machine and anything else he could get, ive been cross with myself that I let myself down so much that he felt he could treat me like that, he must think im such a pathetic weak woman and i spose i have been. I went to natalies seminar in london at the beginning of NC and i think thats what gave me the extra push to go the distance this time as long as i have.
    yesterday the only mutual friend we have called me to say hed been hounding her the last few days for my number, ringing and texting at all hours, saying he needed to talk to me .she was checking whether she was doing the right thing by not giving it to him, I told her yes she was and please not to if he keeps asking. I think he must have deleted my number thinking id come back before now anyway (have cried wolf many times) of course i havent and now without my number hes stuck as i have moved as well so he dosent know where.
    Part of me feels good that he still wants me in some way but for what reasons. part of me is curious is he starting to miss me and see the light? part of me knows thats a load of Boll**ks and im in denial if I think hes coming back a changed man.
    Part of me hates that it might just be for the money! I thought he was doing the decent thing and letting me move on but of course I should have known better!
    Wish in a way he would have because even tho part of me feels less of the sting of rejection, im now derailing from all my hard work again with all the questions and issues his trying to make contact are bringing up for me again!
    I really think if they dont make contact they are doing you a favour, and that they do care on some level, In a way because he was leaving me alone i had respect for him but if they persist when they know they are treating you badly and hurting you then they really are just selfish AC just out for there own wants needs and feelings…..
    am worried about whats coming next though with all this feels a bit un nerving. im stronger than i ever was…but dunno if im through the woods yet i was peacefully making my way through in my own time its worse that i know he might be a coming coz im not ready for it yet!!! HELP!?

  39. Tyla says:

    Thank you. I really needed this post! I’m on NC over 3 months now, but been broken up over 7 months (6 yrs with a EUM). Fell off the wagon half way into my break up thinking ‘maybe he changed?’ when he’d texted me asking how I was and wanting to see me. Instead when we met up he told me he was seeing someone! Yet he’s the one who texted me half way into our break up wanting to see me. Anyway this site has taught me what his ‘deal’ is. So 3 months now of NC what so ever, and called me for the 1st time since we broke up a few days ago! Didn’t leave a message, I didn’t break NC either…didn’t pick up. I think my problem is I’ve accepted its over, but I feel stuck…still wondering ‘will he try contacting me again?’…instead of just moving on. I’ve partially moved on, I mean I know we’re not getting back together…I can’t take him back he’s too f*cked up and I deserve WAY more than crumbs…however I feel stuck and hurt…and that SUCKS. But thank you for this post. It made me feel a lot better around this time of year and has helped put things in perspective for me.

    • MH says:

      Tyla, The stuck thing is hard to deal with. It usually
      stems from things like dealing with the grieving process. Along
      with realizing our hopes and dreams of that situation are never
      going to materialize. We also are usually guilty of idealizing them
      and the situation. I find the biggest challenge is realizing that
      the red flags are very pertinent and the fact that I thought it was
      me being too sensitive in certain situations I should have looked
      at as detrimental. This I fear is going to be an ongoing issue
      because when you haven’t face the red flag before hand it is hard
      to know that it is truly one in some cases. Nat says to listen to
      our guts and that is something I do practice and I use it a lot and
      know when some stuff is crap but other times I don’t know and that
      is where I get stuck. Thats where the was me or him? Could things
      be different? Am I being too bitter and not wanting to face that he
      simply is just not that into me. I find the ladies on here and the
      posts that keep refocusing me on that they were not that great to
      begin with and that better will come along but we have to get away
      from them to be a good thing to keep pumping in my head. It is just
      nice to see others pointing that out so it is not just me that is
      trying to make myself feel better others believe it too.

  40. tiffany hall says:

    Hi Natalie,

    This post came at a perfect time! I know I still have some unfinished business with my ex MM (more on my side though) but recently after two years of post breakup he messaged me and we started talking again. I left him at that time because I was the OW to the OW. I still have feelings for him so once I knew he started contacting the other woman again, I vowed to myself I can’t be friends with him. We’ve met a few times and every time we ended up either kissing or cuddling. But if he keep on saying we are just friends, I can’t have any emotional expectations on him. He still want the best of both worlds and I can bet before long, it will go back to the same usual pattern. I can’t be the fallback option. It’s never a win situation with this type of ACs. The other woman wants to cut him off but she isn’t strong enough and allows him to come back to her life time and again. I don’t think she knows he’s playing the friends card with me. What can I say, if we can’t let go it’s not so much of the AC, they have already chosen to move on, it’s only us who refuse to let go. Nat your articles are wonderful and your site is now my lifeline. Keep up your good work, you have saved hundreds of women! THANK YOU!

    • Aimee says:

      @ Tiffany

      “He still want the best of both worlds and I can bet before long, it will go back to the same usual pattern.” I hate to break it to you – but you are already “back to the same usual pattern”. The guy is still married – correct? Please, know you are worth more than sharing a man with another woman, let alone his WIFE. Keep doing your work and expect more – because you deserve it!

  41. blafla says:

    The last time I talked to him, my ex told me flat out that
    he didn’t love me because he’s incapable of loving anyone or
    anything. He did tell me he cared about me more than he’s ever
    cared about anyone before. Lucky me. Nonetheless, I know it’s going
    to be a struggle for me to not contact him over the holidays. He’s
    not in good shape and I still have powerful urges to try to help
    him. But at this point, I know there’s nothing I can do and
    contacting him will just hurt me. I very much doubt he’ll contact
    me and even though a part of me wishes he would, I know it’s better
    if he doesn’t. I’m not sure I’d have the strength to not respond.
    Happy holidays, all.

  42. Tanya Z. says:

    This post, and the comments were so spot-on! Grace, Nikki,
    Laura, Andrea, and JJ2, I so identified with your comments. I’ve
    been reading Baggage Reclaim, and journaling about what I read .
    I’m so struck by how I keep trying to find love and validation from
    the people who are least able to give it to me — and how this is
    so much like my relationship with my family. I had an interesting
    experience over the weekend; I went to a party with friends — and
    unexpectedly, there she was, the woman who’d broken my heart a few
    years back. I was very surprised; I hadn’t seen her in awhile and
    thought she’d left the city. I didn’t feel ANYTHING! I wasn’t happy
    to see her, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t angry….I was enjoying the
    party and being with my friends, and that was it. I was able to
    just greet her politely, as I would any former acquaintance, and
    continue having fun at the party. Later, I was realizing that her
    coldness toward me was so much like the coldness that I’d
    experienced with my own family. Small wonder that when I met her, I
    felt an electric jolt, as if I knew her. Well, at that point,
    really, I didn’t know her….but just the whole dynamic, trying so
    hard to get love, attention and validation from someone who so
    clearly didn’t give a damn about me….telling myself, “I can make
    her/them love me”….THAT was what was so familiar! I was telling
    myself, even subconsciously, “I can make this turn out differently
    this time.” Well, of course I couldn’t, and it hurt terribly. I
    kept feeling that I was not good enough for her to love, especially
    when she then took up with a woman who’s my opposite. I just
    realized that this, “She didn’t think I was good enough for her.”
    probably wasn’t true. (I would suspect that she actually didn’t
    think about me very much, positive or negative.) My relationship
    with my family programmed my mind to be drawn to her, or someone
    like her. I learned at such a young age that I have to work really
    hard to get any kind of attention or affection. Even if I try hard
    to be everything they want me to be, I probably still won’t get
    their love or approval. So in my adult life — the less they want
    me, the more I seem to want them. I don’t WANT to be attracted to
    people who are indifferent to me…yet, for now, my mind works that
    way. I’m thinking now, like me, she’s attracted to who she’s
    attracted to…whether she wants to be or not. Her earliest
    relationships probably were with people who were nothing like
    me…and THAT’S why we never could quite connect. I didn’t do
    anything wrong…it’s simply like trying to take someone who only
    likes classical music to a rock concert. It could be great rock
    music, but it doesn’t matter….it’s just not their taste. I
    sometimes wonder if I’ll ever have a good relationship….yet this
    experience gives me hope. I was so miserable over this woman. I
    thought I would never get over it, never be happy without her. I
    felt worthless because she didn’t want me. Yet, I have been happy
    without her. I can see that I might well have been unhappy with
    her– I was fantasizing about her, turning her into someone that
    she wasn’t. That I wanted her at all was more about fantasy and
    desperately seeking validation than about who she really is. It
    feels freeing to realize this. She’s not the most wonderful woman
    ever, and she’s not some evil witch, she’s just an ordinary woman
    with some faults and some good points…and I never needed her
    validation. I needed my own.

    • Andrea says:

      Tanya Z, exactly — I totally understand what you are
      writing here. For me, the other shoe dropping to this family of
      origin/pattern influencing stuff is how much I used my imagination
      to fill in the glaring gaps in my relationships. I can give
      countless examples from life in both romantic and platonic
      relationships in which I was the third wheel/second best, always
      dancing the dance to get everyone to value me and love me. I
      realized that my imagination (which is very active and can be a
      plus for a creative person) was my best coping mechanism when I was
      a kid. How could I imagine I was not number one in my parents’
      life? That would kill any kid. So you have to imagine that if you
      just did x or y or kept quiet like they told you and just imagined
      it would get better, then maybe it would. It is empowering to see
      the pattern–first step–to help us change it. You will have the
      kind of relationship you want and deserve. We all will–and it
      won’t be a Christmas miracle–it will be because we did the hard
      and sometimes painful work of acknowledging some deeply rooted
      hurt, processing it, letting it go, and then putting into practice
      the new self love and boundaries that take care of us first. Good
      luck Tanya Z and best wishes for a new year filled with self-love
      :)

    • aphrogirl says:

      That electricity thing, it happened to me. I have never
      heard anyone else speak of it. That electric jolt thing happened
      early on with the AC I got tangled with. I still remember that
      jolt, it was so odd. Being naive to all the EU stuff, and taking it
      all in like a mad scientist studying something fascinatingly
      awful.. it took me almost eight years to figure out that he was my
      mom. He was there but totally incapable of emotional involvement.
      And it made me want nothing more than emotional involvement from
      him. I do take responsibility for all I brought on me – expecting
      water from a stone mad me crazy. Odder still, I would bet anything
      that in his eyes I was his mom, meaning he could do nothing to
      please me. We were close friends in such an odd volatile way. If he
      was not an avoidant AC we would have been able to talk through all
      our FOO issues and likely have both come out way wiser. What
      separates the AC’s from the decent folk is that when the going gets
      rough the AC will run, leaving you confused and struggling to
      understand it all. How good it felt to recover here. I leaned so
      heavy on this site to get out from the rabbit hole I willingly went
      down with that man. At one point he told me he preferred depressed
      people and I actually felt bad for trying to climb out of the hole.
      It took almost two years for me to recover but there is light. If
      you are not too hard on yourself and take the lessons here to heart
      you will come out stronger and you will never fall for any of the
      AC/ EUM stories/ excuses again. Happy New Year Natalie and everyone
      here. BR rocks.

  43. lynne hansen says:

    i think when they exert their excuses: i love no one, i
    only love myself, i am a loner by nature et al, it all translates
    into: i am not into you, and if i were into someone … then at
    that time, i will let them know. we must accept their words of
    protest! they are trying their best to tell us: no. we must
    listen.

    • WastedLove says:

      @Lynne — you are SO right! Mine said that kind of thing … so I loved the poor, pouting, sensitive, damaged creature without boundaries, without limits, without conditions, loved him enough for both of us, hoping I’d somehow “teach him” what love is, and he’d love me back. But he never did. (Hence my name.)

      And yes, now he’s fallen for another woman and suddenly he’s saying he CAN love, etc. This has ripped my heart to pieces, leaving me with that ” Why her and not me?” feeling. Yes, Lynne, I should have listened, he told me what I was in for right from the start.

      Still, lesson learned, fresh start, listening for all the signs, getting out when Red Flags are shown, we have all learned so much from this blog and each others’ stories. We are not alone. We did nothing wrong. We simply misplaced and wasted our love on ACs and EUMS. We’ll never do that again!

      • Over It says:

        Hi WastedLove,
        I always read your comments — they’ve helped me a lot.
        I know we need to except responsibility for our own part for staying too long in our relationships with our former AC’s, etc., but I think we also need to always be aware of their contribution as well. When you wrote —

        “Yes, Lynne, I should have listened, he told me what I was in for right from the start. ”

        That wasn’t really true!
        If I recall correctly, this guy played the poor, emotionally wounded guy, and then proceeded to sleep with you. That’s not honest, or honorable behavoir on his part.

        The truth would have been, if he were man enough to say it — that he didn’t have and didn’t believe he would ever have deep, commited, romantic feelings for you. And I’m guessing that if he had said this early on, rather than playing poor, wounded guy, you wouldn’t have cared very much and would have just moved on to something or someone else.

        Just a thought,
        Over It

        • WastedLove says:

          @OverIt. Thanks for commenting on my comment. Yes he did
          say he was unable to commit (owing to his recent, traumatic breakup
          from his live-in g/f of 22 yrs). He said that I was “in many ways”
          his “ideal woman”, but that, for us, “the timing was wrong”. He was
          sensitive, shellshocked, didn’t know if he could love, but he
          respected and fancied and admired me, and would love to see me on a
          regular basis. Not only am I nearing retirement age, I am
          habitually rejected by men on the grounds of my physical
          unnatractiveness, this was the best offer I’d had in years. This
          DOES make a difference. Believe me, if I still had blokes buzzing
          around me like flies round a honeypot (which I had until my
          mid-thirties) this man would not have got a look in. I realised
          that my options are fewer than ever and I would have to be less
          demanding, drop that bar a little. Mainly out of sexual desire for
          him I fell into the role of patient, compassionate woman, waiting
          until the “time was right” and meanwhile striving desperately to
          prove that I WAS his “ideal” and loving him so unconditionally that
          I still didn’t leave him when he took up with another woman long
          term (she puts up with sharing him because she is even more
          desperate than me: on benefits, lonely, ugly, depressed etc). He
          then started three-timing both of us with yet another woman, on the
          sly. This third one very high self-worth, tough boundaries, makes
          men work hard to prove their worth and demands 100% exclusivity and
          commitment. And guess what — yeah, you guessed, THIS is the one he
          wants to be with and is dumping the both of us for. He even told
          both of us that, after all we’ve both done for him, that he is
          choosing No. 3. Isn’t he a piece of work? This entire story could
          be used to illustrate the veracity of everything that Natalie is
          saying on this site. He is chasing after the woman with the
          boundaries while we two who loved him unconditionally got used,
          devalued and discarded, and left wondering “Didn’t I mean ANYTHING
          to him?”.

          • Melanie says:

            WL it sure sounds like your best off without that guy, let the other woman have him, even if you remained alone it’s better than with someone treating you less than you deserve like that. Hard to say how long he’ll keep loyal to her. But main thing he didn’t appreciate you and that’s not good enough! Oh and I’m sure you’re not ugly remember beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, who cares about what all the flies are doing.

  44. Lynn says:

    Okay, not sure where to put this anecdote but I think it
    counts as ‘surviving the holidays’ and also testament to learning
    from this blog and a random thought on the ‘did he care’ about me
    question. I’m home for the holidays getting reacquainted with my
    childhood version of ‘normal.’ I am seeing with new eyes how many
    of the women who were my role models have decided that ‘love’ and
    looking-the-other-way-and-sucking-up-crap-behaviour are the same
    thing. It’s also the first time my family has been able to ask
    about my break up with the AC. A conversation with my father ended
    with me crying privately afterward because I felt like total crap.
    My father cares as much as an EU dad can. I’m around at home and so
    he wants to talk to me. We started talking about my ex. It wasn’t
    long before I got his fatherly advice: men don’t talk, men don’t
    share their emotions, you have to stop expecting that a man is
    going to think the way you do about things, you have to accept men
    for how they are, etc. All of this in this knowing voice that has
    been my voice of authority my whole life – the voice that is
    supposed to be the one that cares about me. I could feel the
    despair rising. I said well, if accepting a man for what men are
    means never expecting him to be emotionally capable, then I guess
    I’ll be a spinster. I don’t want to ‘be intimate’ with anyone who
    won’t actually be able to talk to me. He kind of looked at me with
    an ‘I think you may well end up being a spinster if you really
    expect a guy to want to talk about feelings’ look, but said, ‘okay,
    gotta go’, and left to run an errand. When he was gone I sat down
    at the kitchen table, amazed at how familiar the feeling was: I am
    hopeless, I am too needy, I expect too much. And then, for the
    first time ever (!), I was like, wait. Wait. The problem is I care
    what this guy thinks. His opinion matters a ton to me. Then I was
    like, holy crap. Of course I care what he thinks, he’s my dad. And
    then it really dawned on me: he’s ALSO Just Some Guy. He’s just
    some guy, who happens to be my dad, who happens to think he should
    give me advice. I know darn well this guy is EU and who in fact
    doesn’t give me much attention at all unless he is getting a chance
    to give me advice. I was like, if this were a guy I met dating, how
    seriously would I take his opinion? I realized how deeply seriously
    and desperately I wanted to believe that my dad gives truthful,
    wise advice. How much I needed to have faith that the kind of care
    I was being offered was enough. He cares, but it isn’t enough. He
    cares, but actually, the way he goes about it is ass (for me). What
    happens in the act of his caring is really just some guy trying to
    sound like an authority on a problem, and trying to be the one with
    answers for a girl-woman who still turns to him for answers. His
    caring attempt – because he won’t admit he doesn’t know, or won’t
    admit a guy can and should be more emotionally available – ends up
    being actually damaging. Sound familiar? But I have been trained
    from day one to listen to his words and BELIEVE them, even when I
    have signs that I shouldn’t: ie. my gut. One: my body reacts to it
    – I cry and feel like crap, instead of feeling like I have new
    energy to face the growth ahead of me and to know that I can expect
    a fulfilling relationship. Two: if I believe him, I feel totally
    drained of strength, knowing that in the long term it means dating
    more EUs and thinking that’s what I need to learn to accept. I have
    always wondered why I believe weak men’s lies. Now I feel like I
    have a real clue. Yeah, this guy cares, but I shouldn’t let him
    anywhere near those inner boundaries of my trusting heart. For my
    dad, that means finally allowing myself to know I can’t trust him
    to advise me well. For all those other guys who hooked me in with
    their caring, advice-giving tones and rewards for making them feel
    smart, it’s the big brick wall of NC. Thanks Nat for giving me so
    many tidbits for reflection.

    • MH says:

      Lynn,

      I want to share with you a different spin on how you are evaluating your situation with your dad. You do not have to adopt my perspective by any means and I am not saying any of this to begin a debate. It is your truth to stick to and believe, no matter what I or anyone post on here but I felt I had to say it.

      It is safe to say that the main reason we all stay in unhealthy relationships past their expiry dates is due to our dysfunctional childhood programming.

      Something I have seen on this post lately is going home for the holidays is helping people see their patterns which is great and a blessing in diguise.

      Which brings me to this. Last summer was my so called going home and I learned something my dad did my whole life to me that helps me fall into these patterns with Eum’s. He told me as I was growing up that I have to stop being so sensitive. So as a result whenever I am in a dysfunctional situation and my gut tells me the guy is the problem I start to second guess myself and asked am I being too sensitive. Then I stay in a situation longer than I should because I believe it is me and not them. As result my self esteem plummets and I get more damaged.

      Now that I know what the irrational belief is I can focus on changing it. I don’t need to hang onto the anger towards my father on top of it all and make it the reason as to why I keep holding onto EUM’s.

      Well what I have learned in the last past six months is that we all have irrational beliefs that have resulted from our unhealthy family upbringings and in many cases other sources as well. It is these beliefs that need to be reprogrammed, nonetheless. No matter where the beliefs came from it is important that we discovered them and now we have the opportunity to change them to new positive ones so we can change our journeys and destiny’s from this point on.

      What I want to present to you and anyone else that this can maybe help is the following.

      First, parents are just people like all of us who make mistakes. Secondly, children don’t come with instructions. Parents have to deal with their own dysfunction from their family upbringing and they didn’t learn the right tools to help us grow up better. They try in many cases to work with what they know and yes it is limited.

      I discovered this new way of thinking this past summer, which translates to forgiveness of my parents. By forgiving them because they are only human, my life in general has already improved.

      Many people on here and it sounds like you might feel the same way are just getting through the holidays like it is something to suffer through. What has helped me this year during the holidays is instead of dreading going home for the holidays, this is a chance to see what our patterns are so we can change them for the better. Not to play the blame game or dwell on why we got involved with our Eums but to actually do something about it.

      Natalie mentioneds ephiphany realationships, well turn the holidays into your ephiphany family moments and feast on it as a positive instead of a negative. Soak it all in and use this to see your irrational beliefs. Write them down and write counter postive beliefs.

      I do see that you are on the right track because you are realizing that you don’t have to take your dad’s advice or adopt his beliefs. Which works with what I am saying about changing irrational beliefs.

      At the same time we don’t want to discount the sources the advice comes from. Meaning , your dad cares more than enough that is why he gives you the advice bad or good. It is what he knows, what he believes, what he has drawn from his experiences.

      I wouldn’t use your dad in comparison to Eums and dating references. Not the same

      Your dad probably comes from an era that believed the ways he does and today there is a lot of new ways of thinking.

      • Melanie says:

        Hi MH, I just want to say I read Lynn’s post, and then I
        read yours. I’m still unclear on how your post actually counters
        anything that she already outlined. It seemed to me that she
        acknowledged repeatedly that she knows her father cares about her.
        But that it’s his advice that is not helpful. That seems like a
        perfectly valid feeling and conclusion for her to have come to.. so
        I guess I’m just not clear on how you think your advice to her is
        actually any different that the conclusions she had already come to
        on her own?

    • Melanie says:

      To Lynn, thanks for your post! You just described very
      eloquently a dynamic that frustrates me as well. I have a very
      similar experience with my brother when he gives me advice. Also
      I’ve had the same from so-called friends, both male and female . In
      fact with my brother (and he lives in a different state!) he goes
      it one big step further. If he’s presented with the opportunity
      (such as, a few times, my bro was at an event/s with me when I was
      meeting my new man), my bro goes out of his way to be over-the top
      welcoming and friendly with the new guy, to the point where he has
      devalued me to the man (for instance: one guy he asked him, why
      bother chasing me, when he can have any girl… a different guy he
      asked him, as a “joke” if he had been “warned about” me). I think
      he has learned to treat me disrespectfully from my mother. (We
      don’t have a father.) At this latest incident with my brother, I
      had specifically asked him not to do that behavior before we all
      met up at our event. But he did it again anyway. I’m not with the
      guy anymore, and though I think things would not have worked out
      anyway, because the guy had loose boundaries with his many “close
      female friends” (and other issues too), I can’t be sure. And in any
      case I am quite displeased at my brother for disregarding my one
      request. I have since clearly let him know I am not happy with him,
      and I simply don’t trust him any more. I told him he wouldn’t be
      meeting any more men I meet, and that he wouldn’t have met this
      last one, had we not all been at the same function and I had no
      choice (or right) to ban my brother. The sad thing is I do love my
      brother, but he repeatedly throws me under the bus. So at this
      point I am considering covertly disconnecting from my brother,
      mother, and even those mutual friends of my brother’s and this last
      guy I dated, because they weren’t supportive of me either. But if I
      do I’ve already decided not to say anything more to either brother
      or mother about my displeasure with their disrespectful treatment
      of me. I’ve tried that before and it seems that if I make the
      mistake of telling them I’m unhappy it just gives them pleasure and
      makes them feel even more power over me. Like they win. Like
      they’re proven right that I don’t deserve respect. So my strategy
      for now is to avoid contact but not obviously so. So far I’ve
      managed to not call or write my bro at all (since I told him
      off…he did apologize.. but has before), and to dodge Thanksgiving
      with my mother by pretending to be too sick to go over there. I’m
      hoping to get out of dealing with her at Christmas too. Past
      experience tells me that if I tell her I *don’t want* to go there
      because she is constantly rude and disrespectful of me, she will
      then become angry and go into some drama about how mean *I am to
      HER*. So this way by my covertly avoiding her, she doesn’t get to
      have the fun of playing victim. And though my brother doesn’t play
      that same game she does and doesn’t contact her often, I don’t want
      him to eventually let slip something to my mother about me being
      ‘angry’ with him, because that will just give her more opportunity
      to somehow twist it into an issue of *Herself being victimized*.
      Lynn, it makes me feel better to know I’m not alone in this, and I
      could relate to your feelings on this subject. It does make it hard
      for us to feel validated in dumping an EUM and/or AC when the
      people we trust and love seem to think WE are the lucky ones to get
      what little AC-crumbs we can get from them, like our ACs are ‘God’s
      only gift to Womankind’ and we should be grateful! To Natalie, I
      hope you will someday give us any thoughts/insights on coping
      strategies with family and friends who give us this type of BAD
      advice!

  45. Aubrey says:

    I am suffering from this doubt right now. I keep wondering if she cares about me still. That said, I was the one who ended the relationship as I couldn’t take the distance (it’s an LDR), the lack of future planning (she said she should be back in March but now tells me she might only come back end of 2011, and I don’t have the financial means to fly to see her, sounds every bit like a hard-to-maintain relationship), how she always makes herself feel better by putting me down and the final straw that broke the camel’s back: her verbal abuse whenever we fight/argue.

    I admit that as much as I am the one who ended it, I cannot help but want her to come tell me that she knows where she has gone wrong, what needs to change and to basically try again. She did not do that, the closest to it was us skyping each other in the wake of the demise of the relationship. She initially said that she was being verbally abusive as she was defending herself. I argued that it is still not a valid reason to be verbally abusive AT ME. If she had directed it to the issue at hand, I will be fine with it. She finally agreed, but even so, I did not appreciate her agreement as she said: “You’re probably right, I should not do that.” – I’m not just probably right, I am sure as hell that I am right.

    We were on NC for a bit, at least I insisted on NC, but we have stopped the NC as she has stopped sending me emails saying things like she wants me with no notion of how to follow through with that. I’m trying to be cool with being her friend. But there is one thing I want to know, should I extend my concern to her? Generally be nice and appear amicable rather than be cold, indifferent and reticent? I just don’t want to stay stuck.

    Anyway, I am trying my best to focus on my issues. I know I suffer from low self-esteem, lack of self love and bad love habits. I motivate myself by telling myself that when I know how to love myself, I will be infinitely happier and more happiness will follow. My ex echoed something similar, that when I am more mature, things might work out better. Honestly speaking, we both need to be more mature about things, not just me. For now, I’m just indulging in things that makes me happy, plain and simple.

    P.S: I am a girl and I date girls, just so you can get an understanding the dynamics of the relationship.

    • NML says:

      Aubrey, one of the signs of a person who is going to be difficult to not only have a relationship with but also difficult to work at an issue with, is when someone doesn’t see themselves as part of the problem. Why you state her actions and attitudes that make your relationship difficult, you acknowledge your own contribution. Your ex doesn’t really see herself as part of the problem and is paying lip service to the idea of being verbally abusive but doesn’t actually *see* what she was doing as verbally abusive.

      This is one of the largest issues not only with resolving problems in relationships but identifying people who are ‘dangerous’ in relationships. I’m not saying your ex is dangerous, but what I am saying is that until she sees herself as part of the problem and actively seeks to resolve that, you’re like a boat with one oar.

      I think you need to get on with your own life. Right now it’s about your own self-preservation as playing nicey nice means you are rubbing salt in the wound. Quite frankly you’re not ready to be friends. Give it a few months so your heart and self-esteem can have a chance to heal, focus on yourself instead of her, and basically let her do her thing. You’re not there to stroke her ego or yap at her heels when she clicks her fingers.

      Take care and good on you for recognising how inappropriate her conflict behaviour is – you can argue but being verbally abusive is a major red flag.

      • Aubrey says:

        Hi Natalie, Wow thanks for the quick response in approving
        at replying to the comment!! I’m very impressed. :) Anyway, we
        broke up end Oct / early Nov. To be honest, I know what needs to be
        done (moving on, accepting, letting go, etc) and it is the actual
        act of doing it that I need to face now. We have each other on
        Blackberry Messenger now after I deleted her off from my NC days.
        Right now there will be days where we do not talk and she will just
        send me a random message out of the blue on random things. On my
        part, I made sure to not initiate any conversation until absolutely
        necessary and I keep it brief and concise to avoid entering a long
        conversation. I spoke to a friend who has been providing me with
        good support and she said that what my ex is doing right now is to
        either 1) test the waters (perhaps to see if I would entertain her)
        or 2) rubbing salt into my wound. Right now I am really confused as
        to why she is doing what she is doing but of course, in the back of
        my head, I know that to guess what is on her mind is a waste of my
        time. Either she comes right up to tell me or forever hold her
        peace. I just thought that it would be rude of me to not reply her
        questions on some tech stuff especially when it is just questions
        and does not delve into what happened between us. Now I am not so
        sure.. That said, I can only wish her well and hope that she
        resolves her issues for her own sake. You’re right now that I think
        back, she has a knack of not admitting her problems/mistakes etc.
        She pays a lot of lip service, which is sad to see. She’s a good
        person, but I guess she’s just not right for me. Thanks again
        Natalie!

        • Aubrey says:

          Oops sorry I think I mis-read the part about rubbing salt
          into her wounds cause I thought she was rubbing salt into mine. Or
          maybe it’s both of us doing that to each other. Honestly speaking I
          am not getting that part as my intention is to be nice, minus the
          part about rubbing salt in. Also, I am hoping for her to take the
          chance to initiate a deeper conversation with me about the
          relationship, even if it is for closure. I will have to sit and
          think about this one.. Anyway, I had to backspace whenever I typed
          “I guess”.. It’s not a guess, it is what it is, the very things you
          always talk about: validation from her, regret from her, and her to
          come round to getting her act together.

        • NML says:

          No problem – you’ve caught me with a few minutes between the kids squabbling :)

          I meant she is rubbing salt in your wound.

          To be honest, you both being in touch even if it’s for tech support is confusing to your emotions. Give yourself a chance to heal. I could ask my exes questions and vice versa about tech or whatever stuff but we don’t. To spend time trying to figure out her intent would be to distract from yourself and what you need to do. It’s like trying to rationalise the irrational. Let her go. If you’re going to work things out or be friends, it’s not going to be at this point. Distance and time gives objectivity. For now distance yourself from the source of your pain.

          • Aubrey says:

            Well what can I say but I’m very very lucky! Anyway, just
            some food for thought for anyone who cares to read my comment.. She
            was my epiphany relationship and “inspired” me to change myself for
            my own good as well as for the good of the relationship. I am quite
            EU from the problems I have stated and she made me want to change
            that. I suspect she is quite EU but I have since stopped trying to
            analyze what her problem is and focus on solely working on my
            issues. Sadly it doesn’t seem mutual. But the bigger point that I
            am trying to make is that, not all EUs and ACs stay that way for
            life. I am changing bit by bit and I just thought to mention it as
            I was getting a little depressed at how everyone seems to be
            adamant on the fact that EUs and ACs never change. Bless you
            Natalie, you’ve found a devoted reader in me. And your advice holds
            true no matter the type of relationship.. I deeply appreciate it
            from the bottom of my heart. Happy Holidays to Natalie and the
            readers of BR! :)

            • NML says:

              As I regularly explain to people, there is a fundamental reason why 1) emotionally unavailable people can change and 2) you cannot write off everyone who is emotionally unavailable as narcissistic or an assclown:

              Emotionally unavailable attracts emotionally unavailable and if you habitually engage with emotionally unavailable people and don’t recognise the limited capacity of a partner and then start trying to make a pigs eat into a silk purse, it’s because you are catering to your own pattern.

              To say that someone who is emotionally unavailable can never change is saying that you can’t change.

              To say that all people who are emotionally unavailable are assclowns or narcissists would say that you too are an assclown and a narcissist.

              That is simply not true.

              I used to be emotionally unavailable and I’m not. Finally paying attention and seeing a partners EU ways held a mirror up to me.

              So yes of course you can become emotionally unavailable. What is key is doing the actions, stretching yourself, being consistent and dealing with your issues. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t become downhearted or confused by some of the comments. I think they’re more often than not really being specific to their own situations.

          • grace says:

            Aubrey People change all the time – but not because someone
            wants them to. They reach the end of the line and realise they
            aren’t helping themselves. Natalie has said repeatedly that if we
            are involved with EU people then we are EU ourselves and I
            absolutely agree. I’m in the process of change for the better –
            reading this site and seeing a counsellor. But would I go back to
            any of my exes – the hell I would. That is not what I’m looking for
            anymore. Even if someone changes, they won’t be interested in their
            old relationships and exes anymore; they will want something new.
            That’s what I want.

  46. Bek says:

    I have been having an extremely difficult time with this
    one. It actually voices what I’ve been voicing for a while… And
    at one point I said to him that I just wished he cared… I’m in
    pain. I’ve been in pain since March… Probably before. I don’t
    know how to get over this. I don’t want to be just a girl that he
    dated (or the next he). In my head I keep planning what I will say
    when (and if I got the guts up) to talk to him, and I really don’t
    know what I want. I want to be over him and this. I want to… Yes
    I want to feel validated. I wish I was emotionally fulfilled by
    myself so that I could be alone for the rest of my life and be
    okay. Yes I wanted him to knock at my door. Or run a path or
    whatever the term used was. I just keep… wondering what was so ..
    Where did we go so wrong? And I know asking Why is useless. But
    that’s the only thing that always repeats itself in my head. I want
    to be at the middle again… Even, gah, even though he’s not… He
    will never be emotionally available. And I keep trying to convince
    myself (as my mother has told me) that it can’t be just me. I used
    to be so level headed and down to earth and ever since our
    relationship started fucking up (ever since he started withdrawing)
    I feel like that’s been taken from me. I can be that way for other
    people but not for myself. That because he has depression and is
    emotionally unavailable it won’t work out for the next girl. It
    can’t. Right? And I know everyone’s response here will be that
    ‘Listen. It doesn’t matter if it does or doesn’t work out. Because
    YOU TWO ARE OVER’. I know that will be the response. I just can’t
    let go. I could never let go, not just relationship stuff.
    Everything. I am unhappy. And it’s my fault. And not only the
    feelings of pain from being in pain are killing me, but the guilt
    of everyone’s self help mantra telling me that it’s my fault. Of
    course they say it in a different way, about you controlling your
    life etc. It’s the same thing. I keep loosing track. The point is I
    keep… picturing this conversation. How I won’t be frozen into
    silence and I’ll be able to say the things. But I picture saying
    all these things to someone who isn’t emotionally inept. I
    shouldn’t contact him should I? I shouldn’t open the connection
    because I just like you want to validated. I keep trying to figure
    out WHAT I want from him. I want him to love me. I want this pain
    to stop. Realistically he won’t. And I keep asking why. He found
    somebody else (I can assume because I saw him with a woman)… why
    can’t I?

    • NML says:

      Hi Bek, you sound so devastated by what has happened and I’m sorry to hear that. There is no magic fix all and the difficulty about focusing on you sometimes is that if you are feeling very low it is just so difficult to do. You are in pain and you want the pain to stop and part of the barrier to that is on one hand believing that the source of your pain can fix your pain but then because you are aware of the self-fulfilling prophecy in this situation and the extent of this mans problems, knowing that you can’t go to him because he is defunct. You’ve put yourself in no mans land and painted yourself into a corner because it feels like you have no options.

      When you can, I really think you should speak to someone who isn’t connected to you and let it all out and start processing this breakup and how you feel about you.

      When people say you’ve got to fight for yourself or take care of you or anything similar, that’s not saying that what you’re experiencing is your fault – it’s saying that when you can eventually start to focus on you and feeling better, you have the power to embrace and use it.

      (((hugs)))

    • grace says:

      Bek You sound exactly like I did a few years ago when I
      “broke up” with my ex-player. I use the inverted commas as I
      continued to see him on and off and conducted a fantasy
      relationship with him in my head. Seeing him, even something as
      innocuous as texting him, did not help me at all; if you are doing
      that, you need to work very hard to stop. In fact, I only deleted
      said ex’s phone number six months ago, after we’d had no contact
      for well over a year. I had to go to counselling and take ADs to
      get out of the state I was in. I’m not saying you need to do that
      but if this is affecting your work, sleep, social life, health etc
      it’s worth seeking professional help. They deal with this stuff all
      the time and nothing you say will be new to them. These days, I no
      longer care what he thinks or feels or fantasise about us getting
      together. I do think of him from time to time but only within the
      bigger picture of how I let bad relationships happen to me. It
      genuinely does not hurt anymore and is firmly in my past. You can
      get past this. I am happier than I have ever been and I hope the
      same for you.

    • JJ2 says:

      Bek, I feel like you, I didn’t want to be “just a girl he
      dated.” I wanted to be the VERY SPECIAL one, the one who was EVEN
      BETTER than his ex wife, whom he had divorced long ago. I’m not as
      devastated as I was the day I walked out, but I’m still questioning
      things and wondering….. “what the hell…..” I’m still feeling
      lingering effects and wondering when those will go away. I’ve
      always maintained I’d never marry, still don’t want to. And, to me,
      the best times of my life were when I didn’t have a guy messing it
      up. Before I met the recent A/C, I had gone ten years without so
      much as even a date, and was relatively happy with it (there were
      other aspects of my life that I was NOT so happy about, but the
      lack of dates wasn’t an issue…). When I met the A/C, I thought,
      “this is meant to be.” NOT! It’s been ten months (but only 1 month
      N/C), and I’m still drained from it. Prior to meeting the A/C, I
      had made a huge attempt to resolve issues with my Mom, only to have
      her sit there and say, “uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, yeah….” and
      NOTHING CHANGED! Except Mom’s rose colored glasses just got
      rosier….. Now I’m wondering if my experience with the A/C was
      just a wake up call to tell me that nothing is going to change with
      my Mom, I won’t get what I need from her, she doesn’t “get it” and
      I shouldn’t try to get it from A/C’s.

      • Aimee says:

        “just a wake up call to tell me that nothing is going to change with
        my Mom, I won’t get what I need from her, she doesn’t “get it” and
        I shouldn’t try to get it from A/C’s.”

        A good friend told me what her therapist said about her mother “would you walk up to a person who has no arms and ask them for a hug? Your mother has no arms, she can not hug you”.

        I hated that truth – but it is true for me. I kept trying to go back to my mom to get what she didn’t give me, and she still couldn’t give it to me – wow a concept. I do this with the men in my life as well. I have a friend who tell s me to not take it personally, and when I do this, I see the truth. Yes – I need & want to grow and change, but I can not make others do the work – that’s insanity for me – banging my head againest a wall.

        I know the pain that we talk about here – I have felt it. I pray and hope we can continue to work on ourselves, own what belongs to us, grow, love ourselves, but most of all – I hope we quit taking on what does not clearly (or not so clearly) belong to us.

        Happy Holidays! Peace!

  47. AME says:

    Thanks for this post. I was in a relationship for three
    years with a man who was emotionally unavailable. Part of that was
    because he is a workaholic and was divorcing his first wife (which
    he didn’t tell me at first). When I found out I kicked him to the
    curb, and after his divorce, he approached me again. My gut said
    not to get involved, but the feelings were incredibly intense.
    Looking back on it, I realized they were the produce of emotional
    addiction and pain, though at the time I thought he was the love of
    my life. After some agonizing experiences, I broke it off, and it
    took a year of therapy to get over it. We still kept and keep in
    some contact as we were friends before and research colleagues
    (academics in same field who worked at different universities), but
    it was/is very guarded and polite. I moved on, met my husband, and
    I’ve been married five years. I’m happy. But something happened a
    month ago that threw me for a loop. The ex is now living with a
    woman who he had several kids with, and I think this was going on
    whilst he was seeing me. I found this out purely by accident
    talking to another academic colleague (honest!), and I realized
    while the ex was proclaiming he’d follow me anywhere and wanted to
    be with me the rest of his life, it is quite probable this other
    gal was in the picture the whole time along with a wife he hadn’t
    quite divorced yet. I was surprised how angry and sad I became
    inside, and all those painful sick feelings came rushing back. I
    felt horrible about myself, thinking golly, I was such a sucker, so
    naive. They are lessening each day, but boy, I could use some
    advice on how to deal with this. I love my husband very much, and
    we have an incredibly good and healthy relationship. Me having
    these feelings about my ex from such a long time ago makes me
    question how much I have healed or gotten over him. Any advice,
    other than reading your articles and understanding the relationship
    dynamics involved? I’ve wondered if another round of therapy is
    appropriate. AME

  48. Harriet Bond says:

    This is a brilliant article and so well-timed for the
    Christmas period and the run-up to New Year, when everything seems
    so much more emotional and reflective. Breaking up and the
    aftermath of the demise of a relationship is one of the most
    painful experiences in life. In my experience, it is almost worse
    than someone actually dying, because the person for whom you are
    grieving is still walking, talking and free to be happy with
    someone else and there are also emotional scars of resentment and
    wondering ‘What if?’ It is very similar to the grieving process
    after a death, but with the added complications of wondering if
    they will be in touch, what they will say, how long it will be
    before you see them with someone else, that dreaded feeling in the
    pit of your stomach that they just look so happy and contented with
    their new partner….. YUUUKKK! It’s something that has no
    painkiller, it’s just a matter of working through layer upon layer
    of memories and resolutions and discovering things about yourself
    and what it was in you that made you go for this sort of man in the
    first place. NC is a protective cloak one can wear and it is by far
    the most helpful tool one can have post break-up. Like someone else
    said in their comment on another article, it is ripping a plaster
    off the wound quickly rather than taking time over it and
    prolonging the agony. Good luck to all of you out there who are
    still on the journey to better-ness and who are single still this
    Christmas. Rather single than pretending to be happy and yet dying
    inside with anxiety at what the EUM will do come New Year! Check
    out my ongoing blog at http://www.harrietbond.com and read about my dating
    experiences……

    • Allison says:

      Harriet, Yes. A break up is painful, but trust me it is
      nothing like the loss of a loved one. My brother died several
      months back of lung and brain cancer and it was was the most
      painful thing I have ever experienced. The incredible pain of
      watching someone deteriorate mentally and physically was
      devastating. This was my only sibbling and watching my parents
      suffer is agonizing. Now, I look back at the loss of someone who
      never truly appreciated me and repeatedly treated me with
      disrespect, wondering why the hell I placed so much importance on
      him and the relationship. What a waste of time and energy! Now I
      only mourn those relationships which were loving and mutually
      respective, not ones that brought me a considerable amount of
      pain.

      • Allison says:

        “Now, I look back at the loss of someone who never truly
        appreciated me and repeatedly treated me with disrespect, wondering
        why the hell I placed so much importance on him and the
        relationship. What a waste of time and energy!” Meaning the
        ex.

  49. Audrey says:

    It is easy to keep going around in circles after a rs with
    an eu person cos they cause so much confusion!!. When i met my guy,
    i just couldn’t understand his behaviour, the lack of contact, no
    planning, etc. but was always available to talk when i rang and i
    would envariably ring him cos i would become so anxious from not
    hearing from him, i would give in and make the contact and so began
    the dysfunctional relationship. Thank God, it was shortlived (four
    months) and i thank God every day that i found BR. It was cos of
    what i learned on br that i was able to understand what was wrong
    and eventually, end it. At the beginning, I really wanted to rs to
    work and so i went looking for answers. First i went onto Rori
    Raye’s site (i swallowed a lot of her “advice” cos i felt so
    desperate) and someone on the blog there told me of baggage
    reclaim. ( I read some of Christian Carter too but i felt that was
    putting all the blame on the woman and i chucked out his book) and
    finally, it was like a ping moment when i came onto BR. One of the
    first things I read was from a reader who said “his emotional
    unavailability brought out my neediness and my neediness brought
    out his cruelty”. I think it’s important we really accept that the
    other party is eu and really, no matter what we did or what we said
    or how loving and caring we were, the other party may still remain
    emotionally unavailable. I think a person can change to being
    emotionally available but that has to be their own journey and
    their own discovery. I beleive i have been eu myself in the past
    but ironically this time i wasn’t. So, I think what is important is
    that we really learn from our experiences so that we don’t repeat
    it in the future. As what Natallie says, the other eu party cared
    as much as they were able to care and i truly believe that. If a
    person has a limited capacity to care and love you because they are
    emotionally unavailable, isn’t it wise to really understand and
    accep that as being the fact.

  50. Angela says:

    Hi everyone, I new to this blog but have been reading all
    of your responses and realizing I am not the only one out there in
    this situation. The man I have been seeing is LD and lives in
    another state. When we first met we went out on one date and at the
    time I just didn’t feel he was right for me. He was VERY hurt. We
    kept in sporadic contact for a few months and then the
    communication picked up again. In January this year I asked if he
    would like to give it another chance. He said yes and things seemed
    to go well for a couple of months, and due to family issues or his
    own personal health, he started to back away. I felt if I gave him
    space he would come back. Eventually, he sent a text message saying
    he would just cause me pain if we kept this up and later called and
    “broke up” with me. Since obviously I cared about him, I backed
    away with NC and eventually he came around, apologized, and slowly
    I let him back in. I met his parents and son in Sept., so I thought
    things were starting to look up if I was able to meet them. This
    time around, he promised me all kinds of things, such as saying he
    would not shut me out, try to hurt me, etc. But its been difficult
    as I have not seen him since Sept. for various family reasons.
    Basically, I am still not considered a priority. The last straw for
    me was last weekend when I knew he was in town and he chose NC with
    me. I was furious. He finally calls me last night. I didn’t answer
    the phone because I was out, so when I came home I sent him a text.
    He called back and it was as if nothing happened. My question is
    why do I keep allowing this? His biggest fear is losing my
    friendship, but it seems like he isn’t even acting like a friend.
    Sure he had family in town that couldn’t get out due to snow and he
    hadn’t seen them in 5 years, but is it too much to ask to at least
    text me? When he missed seeing me in Nov. (we only get one weekend
    a month) he promised he’d make it up to me and I’m still waiting.
    Plus, I do’t even think he got me a Christmas gift, as he had me on
    speaker phone and wrapping gifts for his kids and telling me what
    he got them. I feel as if he is trying to move the relationship
    back into a friendship again, and that isn’t fair to me, after
    waiting to see him now for 3 months. I am at a part where I’ll
    still communicate with him, but start dating on the side. I don’t
    really know what else to do. When I tell my friends I feel like
    saying “Either s*** or get off the pot” to him, they say baby he’s
    already off the pot. Why can’t you see that? We haven’t been
    intimate since my birthday in March, so I’m wondering if he has
    just lost the passion for me. Out of sight out of mind right? Where
    for me, its been absence make the heart grow fonder. I chose not to
    buy him a gift this year…why should I. Any suggestions? Most of
    what I read here is move on and don’t look back, but I just can’t
    seem to let go.

    • Audrey says:

      @Angela. I so hear you and i understand the emotional pain you are going through now. Your guys’s behaviour seems very typical to me of an emotionally unavailable man.

      Angela, contacting you at the last minute when he could have made prior arrangements to meet you is really bad treatment but this a tactic on his part (ive been there). He contacts you when its too late for you to meet up and spend time together. he is avoiding real emotional involvement with you but he’s throwing you a few crumbs to keep you on his side.

      And i dont think he’s a good friend either. These guys love to pull out the friendship card so they can go on believing “that they’re really not that bad”. At the end of the day have you got friends that treat you that way? my guess is you don’t so why let this guy off the hook with poor treatment? i have made the mistake of making allowances for a person cos he’s a boyfriend, etc. and its a mistake to do that.

      You are going around in circles with him. For a guy who is not eu, having a girlfriend or love interest meet his children is a big deal, but sadly with eu guy, they don’t seem to see the significance of this at all. mine had two kid too. The mind boggles!!!

      Angela, i think it would be wise for you to drop this guy fast, before he causes you more pain. He’s simply not worth it. there are better men out there!!!

  51. JJ says:

    Wow!!!! This is by far the greatest post of the year ;
    since I’ve joined this site at the earlier part of the year… 10
    months straight NC(on my end; him slipping making several whimsy
    attempts to call me); no half stepping; no back sliding; no
    breaking and I owe it all to God and Natalie and the thousands of
    posts on this site. @Ruth C your post really resinated with me
    today. I remember your commenting on dealing with your AC when your
    grand father passed away. Wow I remember it just like I read it
    yesterday… Stay the course. Typical AC assclown; etc(all of the
    above) to have the guts and balls to contact you asking for money
    after you’ve moved and changed your #. TYPICAL!!! I guess this hits
    so close to home for me because my ex was a user too.. I totally
    wanted it to work but he was never into me for the right reason but
    only for his personal GAIN. What bill he could pay; what he thought
    looked good in his house especially if I’d pay for it. His motto
    was always “I got to get my shit back tight” and he had all of his
    other supply shags on shuffle to keep him supplied. When I cut off
    his supply; I was no longer on his PLAYLIST and it wasn’t because
    he removed me. I removed myself and I am so so so glad I did.
    Keeping it moving right on into 2011….. Single and
    Satisfied!!!!!!!!! Happy New Year!!!!!!!

  52. Audrey says:

    Happy Christmas, dear Natalie and to your partner and your kids. love, audrey.

  53. ChiTownKitty says:

    Wow! I came here after checking my email nine times today and feeling disappointed that he didn’t wish me a Merry Christmas. I have held to NC since August (he contacted me right after my birthday but I held fast)…but this time of year is hard–doubly so since our relationship began at Christmas. I remember all the excitement of the holiday and the promise of a New Year only to see it melt away–he was married and he wasn’t going to leave her, or say goodby to me, or commit to her, or me, hell I wonder if he could even figure out what to have for dinner some nights!
    But still…after all the pain, well, I feel lonely this time of year and no amount of other things fills the void that is him, or at least my idealized view of him and us. I know what I wanted when I checked my email–to hear from the man I fell in love with—but I know that man is an illusion-he’s a UE Assclown. Being self aware helps but right now not so much. I know its only one day. Ive made plans to celebrate with family and then to treat myself to something special. Ive made big plans for the upcoming year. I know every day it gets easier and some of the pain fades and that I have to acknowledge and deal with the bad days.
    Thanks everyone for being there to read, write back, suport. Natalie, you are a gift!
    ChiTownKitty

  54. Bec says:

    All I can say is you are amazing!! After 9 months of
    battling the rollercoaster of emotions I was at my wits end – I
    just want my life back and to feel normal again! Last night I
    stumbled across your blog and now everything makes sense – a slap
    in the face in some ways but gee did I need it! Thank you for
    helping me find the closure that I very much need and didn’t get
    from my ex. Here’s to 2011. Much love to you! xo

  55. Dawn says:

    “They probably do miss you and hopefully it’s for the right
    reasons but sometimes as many a Baggage Reclaim reader can attest
    to, they miss you for the wrong reasons. However whatever the
    reasons are for someone missing you that doesn’t mean that it’s
    right for them to chase you or try to get back together – if you
    didn’t think the relationship was working, it was with good reason.
    Unless those reasons have gone, they can miss you all they like but
    it doesn’t change the issues in your relationship.” Exactly true,
    unless those reasons have gone, they can miss you all they like but
    it doesn’t change the issues in your relationship. So in other
    words they’re telling you that they are missing you doesn’t mean
    that they now will/or are able to do what they need to do for you
    to be with them in the way that you want. Their missing you maybe
    just them feeling the loss of not having you in thier life anymore.
    They are missing the good times and good feelings they had when
    they where with you. But it ususally doesn’t mean that they are
    want to get back together with you to iron out any issues. (Like
    natalie said-your broken up because the relationship is broken,
    it’s not working , and that just needs to be recognized, processed
    and eventually accepted-and that takes time. Be aware that just
    because they say they miss you it doesn’t really mean anything
    without some actual action to resolve the issues within themselves.
    Because when someone is EU it’s not because of anything that you
    have done or haven’t done while being in the relationship with them
    that makes them EU-they are EU because of their own issues-being EU
    comes from within themselves, so it’s there responsiblity to fix
    that, not yours, there’s nothing you can do to make them EA anyway.
    You didn’t break it, so you can’t fix it. No matter how much you
    love that person. So be very careful with your heart and don’t get
    your hopes up when someone you have broken up with comes to you and
    says those words ‘i miss you” don’t read to much into them. if they
    really want to get back with you for the right reasons AND are
    actually able to work on and overcome their issues you will hear
    and see actual proof of this. And don’t forget YOU, and only you
    have the power to decide if you want to involve yourself with this
    person again. And make sure if you do that your doing it for your
    right reasons and not because you feel this is your chance to get
    valaidated, or be “the one”. Think and lookabout the realities
    before you leap back onto the merry go round. You owe it to
    yourself.

  56. ph2072 says:

    Wow. Great entry Natalie. Brought back memories of my
    longest relationship (about 3.5 years long) when I was in
    university many moons ago. He broke things off with me by the
    typical passive-aggressive tactic – he stopped calling and when we
    finally spoke 2 weeks later, he broke it off. The break-up just so
    happened to be about 1 month before Xmas. When Xmas came, I was
    home bawling my eyes out :-| because he didn’t call or send a
    card….. nothing. It wasn’t because I told him not to call; he
    just didn’t call. At least I can look back now and laugh. Reading
    this entry made me nostalgic, and at least this time it’s in a good
    way to laugh at how ridiculous I was for crying over spilled milk.
    This entry also gives me some perspective into why I was REALLY
    crying: self-validation, nil self-esteem, etc. Thanks for this.
    Cheers. :-)

  57. Great post! A lot of people tend to take a breakup too
    personally and then beat themselves up over it. When you ask poor
    quality questions like “what is wrong with me” all it does is put
    you in a tailspin.

  58. Cherry Kook says:

    Well… this will certainly be a Christmas to remember. I
    must apologise as I have posted previously on this site a couple of
    times. And still havent learnt my lesson. My ex as of Christmas
    day, and approximately 50 times before that over a 2 and a half
    year period has truly broken my heart and trust. About a month or
    so ago, after dumping me once again, a week later i had 2o missed
    calls on my mobile, my house phone was ringing off the hook and the
    following day he contacted me at work. I was doing so well, 8 days
    of no contact. And then again, stupidly, I started to believe it
    must mean he missed me, that he did love me after all. And i gave
    in. He told me he felt dreadful, that I didnt understand how bad he
    felt…. right. Of course I didnt. And our merry dance began again.
    The highs the lows, the hot the cold. The I love you / I hate you.
    He arranged to go Christmas shopping with me and when I rang him
    like he told me to he ignored all my calls and texts and didnt
    speak to me for 2 days. He then contacted me and asked me to go
    round, in fact spent the whole night asking me to go round and
    whenever I tried to talk to him about the fact that he had just
    ignored me without even an explanation he said that I was
    harrassing him and all I did was ‘have a go’. Like said, this has
    been going on for 2 1/2 years and I acknowledge now that I have
    lived in a fantasy, or should I say created a fantasy of the ‘good
    man’ he has shown me. Every time we got back together, after
    professing how sorry he was he would make promises, throw me the
    crumbs of the ‘I love you’s’ and again i turned into that all
    familiar fall back girl. Maybe deep down I knew things wouldn’t
    change but i always hoped they would. Like Natalie says, that he
    would turn round and realise how beautiful, brilliant, loving and
    caring I was. How I was the one. Typing it, I recognise it sounds
    deluded. Then the other day I mentioned last Christmas and how
    lovely it was, and how this one seemed so rubbish. In return he
    said that I was never happy. Like always, the good times are on his
    terms. This is his 5th attempt at counselling. I cant begin to put
    into words what I have been through with him, from his weird sex
    habits – he set up an Adult Work profile of me. Fantasised about me
    with other men, on a frequent basis. And at one point whilst having
    sex with me told me had cheated on me but would only tell me with
    whom when I admitted that I liked it. Yes, I know sick. On
    Valentines this year whilst laid in bed, he told me that I was
    nowhere near as good in bed as his ex (from 9 years ago) whom hurt
    him terribly… apparently. And is the reason he is the way he is.
    After previously telling me I was the best thing to ever happen to
    him, and that he has never met anyone like me before. He would do
    this often in bed, come out with horrible things, like saying he
    wished id throw myself off a balcony, or that i die in childbirth.
    He would break up with me like it was going out of fashion, and I
    fell for his charms every time. A few months ago, he admitted to
    sleeping with his ex (the one i mentioned previously, who is now
    married with 4 children, by several men) on two occasions, I was in
    his bed once when she came round crying and he pretended he didnt
    have a clue why she had turned up. When he confessed to this, he
    begged me to forgive him, saying it made him realise how much he
    loved me, how much of an idiot he had been and how he would do
    anything to make it work. Words, as they say are cheap. I forgave
    him, only for him to throw this back in my face on numerous
    occasions. Saying I was weak and pathetic. He has emotionally
    abused me for so long I have nothing left. Only somewhat of an
    intellectualised idea as to why he is / was like that. But I am
    trying to distance myself from focusing on him, and in turn my
    attention on to me. I am going through counselling, but have turned
    myself inside out and am very lost, for want of a better word. I
    have few friends now, because of all this. I am 25, I was doing a
    brilliant fashion and photography course at University but that
    ended because I was so depressed I couldnt concentrate. I am
    creative, outgoing, free spirited and extremely loving… yet all
    that has gone and I am left a shell. I dont know how to fix myself.
    I know that I go back to him to avoid the pain he has caused me. I
    acknowledge that he is like heroin, so bad for me yet I cannot quit
    it. Every time he tells me I have to move on with my life, that I
    am not the one for him… yet he has never left it longer than a
    week to get in touch, knowing I am still vulnerable. He tells me he
    loves me, but I know that it isnt, that it is power and control. I
    went round on Christmas day night and whilst in bed he started
    telling me he loved me but that we would never work, he started
    getting nasty. I read a text on his phone and it was to the ex,
    arranging a weekend away together. When I told him that I knew he
    grabbed me by the hair and hit me across the face. I was in such
    shock, I didnt know what to do. I wouldnt leave his house as I went
    into meltdown. He said the most horrible things, that I was
    worthless, that she was 10x the woman I was, that she had something
    about her and I was just like a little girl. Those words will stick
    in my head forever. I threatened to tell her husband everything, I
    was so hurt I wanted revenge. But he has a son with her and I
    really couldnt do that to him. But it made me so mad that I always
    have to think about everyone else, and yet no one cares about my
    feelings. I am angry, and so hurt that I cannot explain. I
    sometimes wish I was dead than have to survive this feeling that
    doesnt want to go away. Again he has said that there is absolutely
    nothing wrong with him. That his behaviour is typical of a lads
    lad. That I am simply not ‘the one’. He has again, told me to move
    on with my life. I will never understand how he has much more
    respect for a woman that cheated on him and turned her back on him
    when he needed her most (he comes from a very dysfunctional,
    abusive background). That he has more respect for friends that
    constantly betray him. Yet me, who loved him, was a brilliant
    friend he deems me worthless. I want to know how to move on, how to
    not think about him, or worry whether he misses me or will ever
    change. I want to know why I am so afraid to let go of someone who
    has caused me so much internal damage. I want to feel better, but
    am scared I never will. I dont know how to get over this. I feel
    humiliated, beyond hurt and in despair.

    • grace says:

      Cherry This AC (I hesitate to use the word “man”) is just
      using and abusing you. Why he does it, analysing him and focusing
      on him is missing the point. You need to protect yourself from him.
      Get away. Stick with the counselling, speak to close
      friends/family. Start finding a way out. When someone hurts you
      like this, don’t stick around trying to figure it all out. Run.
      Please don’t say you are staying with him out of love. This isn’t
      what love looks like.

    • RuthT says:

      @Cherry I sure hope you have had your ‘enough’ moment. It
      sounds like a nasty episode of Eastenders except its your life. It
      is not ok to hit someone. That is assault. Time to get police
      involved. Number one priority. Start by making yourself safe.
      Change phones, address, whatever it takes. Walk away now. You would
      not want your dear child, mother or best friend held by the hair
      and hit in the face so do not waste another minute caring what this
      person thinks. You will unravel the mess gradually over time and
      with distance. For now just get safe, tell the counseller, a
      friend, family. Time to get your tribe to help, if not them then
      there are definitely womens refuges. First you must accept whats
      happened is not ok. The next bit will be easy. Get out. Run. You
      cannot fix him, he is broke. You can fix you. Be drama free, I
      promise its a great place to be. One day at a time. One foot in
      front of the other. Put your drama back into art, photography,
      fashion. You are only 25 that is a beautiful age to start re
      writing your dreams and building a strong bridge back to your soul.
      You must be your own best friend. Start today. The break up pain
      the really tough stuff only lasts a few months and then one day you
      realise how much more peaceful you are without them. You can do it.
      We all can. Healthy relationships are the future. Please take good
      care of yourself.

    • aphrogirl says:

      Cheery Kook, stay here and read and read. You are deep in
      the fog of addiction to a truly abusive man. These ” best” of these
      type of people set you up for an addictive cycle by giving a little
      and then backing away, always leaving you wanting more. But the man
      you describe is way worse than that. You absolutely need to get
      away from this man, he is dangerous and destructive. You are being
      hurt physically and emotionally. You need to train your brain out
      of the cycle of addiction to his attention/abuse. No contact is the
      way. It might take a year or two here to get your head free but you
      will come out stronger and you will regain your joy and your
      creativity. Yes you mean something to him, he may want or even need
      you for his version of “love” but his kind of attention is not love
      at all, nor is there anything healthy about it. No contact will set
      you free and help you begin to heal and recover and regain your
      good sense of self. Please just start no contact now, get all of
      NML’s books and keep rereading them and this website to reinforce
      your conviction to stop your involvement with someone who is
      harming you in more ways than one. I am sending hope your way and a
      wish for a Happy New Year.

    • Sel says:

      Cherry, you can!! You can find a way, there is always a way to heal. For your safety on all levels find a path away from this man. Stay in counselling, commit to yourself and you will be well and happy again.

  59. Snowboard says:

    Cherry Kook, Please get away from this terrifying man.
    Never call him again, never pick up his calls. Move if you have to.
    You sound like you have reached a low that I can’t even fathom, and
    I’m so scared for you. You NEED to break contact so you can get
    some clarity on this. I’m 25 too, and I have no intention of
    wasting (anymore of) my youth on despicable a**holes who wouldn’t
    appreciate a good woman if she came wrapped up in a bow. Tell
    yourself you will go at least one year without talking to him so
    you can see how messed up this is; I promise that within 3 or 4
    months you’ll realize that was the best decision you’ve ever made.
    You’ve given him 2.5 years – don’t let him take another second
    more, or you will turn out like some of the posters on here who
    tolerated their ACs for 5 or 10 years!!!!! BE STRONG. Wishing you
    the best!!!!!

    • Fearless says:

      I agree with everything that has been said already to
      Cherrykook – you must cut all contact with this ghastly, abusive
      man right away and distance will clear the fog. Cherykook – when
      you have your head in the lion’s mouth – and you do – you have to
      get it out. I agree with everything Snowboard has said: you do not
      wnat to be in this abusive relationship any longer and certainly
      not for the next five or ten years. Speaking as someone who
      “tolerated” a barely there relationship for as long as ten years I
      do feel a little wounded (just a little tho, as I know it is not
      intended to wound anyone) by this comment: “…or you will turn out
      like some of the posters on here who tolerated their ACs for 5 or
      10 years!!!!!” I don’t feel that I “turned out” like anything
      particularly, Snowboard. I still am who I always have been – just
      stronger… and I know more now what it is I want and what I do not
      want. I have many good and treasured memories (believe it or not!)
      from my lengthy “relationship” with my ex, who I think was less of
      an AC and more of the text book EU. He never sexually, verbally or
      physically abused me or demeaned me in any way at all – this was
      part of the problem – I liked him as a person – he was just a crap
      boyfriend!!! He was ostensibly a decent, caring guy who helped me
      out, often, and in many ways over the years – he simply just could
      not commit to anything and never had two feet in with me. But I
      don’t feel I was seriously maltreated in any real way – I knew the
      score; I knew what he was like and I just hoped it would change –
      one day!! I was simply “let down” – persistently and chronically
      “let down”. So, my jaw drops as much as yours or as anyone else’s
      here when reading CherryKooks terrible experience with this man she
      speaks of. I never experienced anything even remotely like what
      poor Cherrykook talks about and my heart goes out to her. I am not
      looking for a discussion on whose man is worse – this is not my
      point – that is never a point to be made here at all – we are all
      here because we have been hurt and let down in some form or another
      and have also let oursleves down too, most likely. My point is that
      speaking as one of the posters on here whose relationship trundled
      on for ten years, doesn’t mean I or others in that position “turned
      out” as some sad and pathetic human beings – quite the reverse –
      and neither have we necessarily “tolerated” the kind of abuse that
      poor CherryKook is suffering now. Cherrykook – you know what to do.
      Save yourself from more of the same before he does you even more
      damage. Do it! He is a rotter. Get the hell out of there. Fast.
      Don’t look back. We are all rooting for you.

      • Snowboard says:

        Sorry Fearless!!!! I wasn’t thinking of you or anyone at
        all in particular with that comment and haven’t followed your case
        in particular!! Sorry for causing offense.

        • Fearless says:

          No offence, Snowboard! No problem (just setting my take on
          my ten year thing – it wasn’t all wasted time for me and it was not
          ten years of out-and-out hell – that’s all) I do know what you
          meant – and you meant very well – Take care. Happy holidays!
          F

  60. Snowboard says:

    P.S. I should add I tolerated an AC/EUM for 7 years, so
    “some of the posters on here” in fact includes myself. :)

  61. Audrey says:

    @ Cherry. i’m so sorry you’ve suffered so much because of
    your involvement with this man. He sounds like a sadist. He’s very
    cruel, he’s a walking contradition. Cherry, you are a young woman
    who should be enjoying her twenties. Its not too late for you,
    Cherry, to walk away and put your life back together again and you
    can do it. This guy is a scumbag, Cherry, don’t waste anymore of
    your life on him.

  62. K says:

    Thank you… this is exactly what I needed to read to
    finally get off my crazy, stressed-out “merry-go-round” for
    good

  63. Aubrey says:

    Just an update to all, my ex made it all easier for me with
    her last message to me on FB when she was oversensitive and reacted
    in a most childish manner to me. That made me realise how immature
    she was, how she has not changed a single bit and how she jolted me
    back to my senses with her little drama when I was all caught up
    with wondering if she had changed. That was the slap in my face and
    it was all I needed to re-confirm all that I was guessing about
    her: Still the same, never changed from the last time. She’s stuck
    on Me-me-me island and just as well, I’m sailing away for greener
    pastures. This time, truly NC. I can safely say we all know what it
    is that we should do. It is coming face to face with the act of
    carrying out what we should do that gets us all stuck. But it’s
    time to wake up and smell the roses. I know I did, she’s not going
    to change for me. No one changes for anyone, lasting change will
    only take place when you genuinely want actual change. She sparked
    me to change, but the changes that I’m making are all for myself.
    :)

  64. RM says:

    I am so confused my Eum told me he acted the way he did and
    detatched himself and went back to his party girl ex lover to
    protect me . he said he didnt wanna be tied down and he wanted
    freedom and she catered to the reckless lifestyle he wanted he said
    she was screwed up and they related on that level also that he
    would never be in a real committed situation with her beacause she
    allows him to sleep with other women . he admitted he was incapable
    of love and he was a liar .(he had been married 7 years and
    seperated before i met him) he said he was never inlove with his
    wife and that he broke heart to.. long story short he was hot at
    first then his former lover popped back into the picture then he
    noticeably blew cold .They began a physical relationship behind
    myback and he had gotten both of us pregnant . it was not until we
    had a huge blow up involving both of our familys was when i found
    out she was pregnant as well i opted to abort for my own reasons
    but throughout the process he wasnt supportive at all he ran to be
    by her side, when confronted about it he said that he was giving
    her what she wanted so she could get rid of it without argument he
    didnt want any kids. we were back and forth for awhile it was
    almost like a tug of war between me and the other woman . he told
    me to on and go to college beacause he was holding me back. the
    lies built up i was finding out new stuff everyday i had two
    nervous break downs and he kicked me to the curb ..we would text
    back and forth and i completely poured my heart out to him and all
    he said was that he could not love and thathe cares about me and
    misses me but he didnt wanna drag me through the mud with him…Hes
    the ulitimate definition of an assclown but sometimes i do think
    its me and i get really sad. i found out since weve been apart hes
    totally contradicted himself in everyway he got into a relationship
    with the woman and basically lets her run everything..i asked him
    why hes doing this he said he didnt even want to be in a
    relationship rightnow but it is what it is for the time being???
    why is he doing this ..i suspect she kept her baby even though he
    claimed she aborted and later she claimed she did . but her
    personality is the type to would want to get what she wants at all
    costs so she isnt trustworthy . he also admitted he wasnt sure if
    she did at one point … i feel like if that is the case he chose
    her baby instead of mine bacause he shut down every idea of being
    together if i went through with it..he doesnt mention it when we
    have talked..recentley she called my phone and asked me to stop
    talking to him.. i text him back and said why is she calling me he
    text i dont know what to do anymore “i dont want to be mean or
    ignore you but she keeps going through my phone and i dont wanna
    make her upset” he text me throughout the day and was apologizing
    then hours later told me not to talk to him anymore????… i cried
    i screamed i panicked…i left messages i did it all…..Im
    exhausted im heartbroken im embarrassed someone plz help i need
    advice why would someone that built me up saying how great i was
    and that he wasnt ..turn around and treat me like crap litterally
    the next day..he claims he misses me and cares why would he do
    this?? why would he humiliate me like this?

    • grace says:

      RM

      He humiliates you like this because a) it’s in his nature to take advantage of women and b) you let him.

    • Fearless says:

      @RM

      I feel for you. Your experience of this man reads like a catalogue of catastrophe. This man is barging his way through life and other people’s lives like a hurricane… or like a reckless driver behind the wheel of car leaving a trail of disaster behind him – you need to stop asking yourself why he behaves this way and just get yourself off the road! It doesn’t matter why…. why is he an asshole? Because he’s an asshole. Why does a dog wag its tail? Why is he bahving this way? Because he is not a nice person. Why is he humiliating you? Why are you humiliating yourself? This is the question you need to address. It’s not about him and his behaviour – it’s about you, and yours. You cannot change his behaviour – but you can change your own. You can stop walking into the danger zone.

      The important question is why are you still engaging with him and his ‘other woman’? What is in it for you? You have been pregnant with his child (along with another woman), he didn’t want to know, the pregnancy has been aborted… is there really any going back from here? How do you think that is going to happen? Where is it you think you can now go with this man? Would it not be easier to find a different man than continue to flog yourself with this one?

      There comes a point, surely, when you need to recognise and accept that you cannot make any of this better for yourself… you can’t fix this… you need to let it be, let it go and walk the other way, and keep on walking. Why are you still listening to what this man has to say about anything at all? He is talking through his arse!

      Never mind him – forget him – what about you? Have you not yet come to the conclusion that this guy is a waster? If not, why not? What more of who he is do you need him to show to you? Are you waiting for him to confirm it some more? Are you waiting for him to tell you he is a selfish, waster? He won’t tell you this. You have to come to your own conclusions and not wait for him to conclude what you want him to conclude from it all. He knows he’s a total b*s*ard. Why don’t you know this yet? You must ask yourself what on earth do you think you have to gain by continuing to have anything at all to do with this human being? There is a big world out there… you and your life is more, much more, than him and all of his crap… and that’s all he has up sleeve for you – crap.

      Please. please, keep reading Nat’s stuff – her e-books etc… and try, if nothing else, to first just open your mind to the possibility that this “relationship” is not remotely salvagable. If you can be honest with yourself you will know that it was rotten from the start. The old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’ I think is very pertinent in your position – this guy is bad news. Full stop. Dump it. Dump him. You will not regret it. CUT ALL CONTACT. Do it now, and at least give yourself space and time to think clearly. In time you will wonder what on earth you were thinking of and you will get your own life back. Even if you don’t quite believe this yet… just cut contact – ALL contact – commit to this even at first for a few months and you will start to think differently. I promise you will.

      I wish you well. F

    • Allison says:

      Why are you in communication with this man? He has whittled
      away every speck of self-love you can possibly have. He has
      disrespected you in almost every way he can, but you still want
      him? Please tell me you want more from someone, b/c this guy will
      never care for anyone, not even himself. When someone tells you
      they are a liar and incapable of loving, you must listen. What does
      this man have to do for you to get out? He’s horrible!

  65. JJ says:

    @RM This dude is a straight up jack ass. Save the rest of
    whatever dignity you have left(FOR YOU)and move on with your life.
    I for one wouldn’t even be dealing with a man of this caliber and
    when we as women deal with men like this; it shows alot about us.
    Work on you. Love You. Get you together. Its about to be a new
    year. Why would you even want to take this mess into 2011. God
    doesn’t give us anything or anybody that detracts from us….. He
    doesn’t. I am so sick of women giving themselves away to gain
    nothing from these ass clowns. That is exactly what he is.. nothing
    more and nothing less. You have literally given him power over you
    while he’s sitting back laughing. Wake up!!

  66. Cherry Kook says:

    I just wanted to thank everyone who replied and for your
    support. Its amazing how supportive everyone is. I am now 2 days no
    contact and surprisingly haven’t thought about calling, texting or
    emailing. I did initially. But i realised I had nothing left to say
    other than scream all his issues to him, and we all know what good
    that would do me. I am going to create my own closure, that of the
    fact he is an abusive person, that severely lacks empathy and is an
    incredibly selfish human being. And who, for once I do not want as
    a part of my life. I know this is going to be hard, and I am going
    to have both good and bad days, and that perhaps, as history shows
    I will be tested by him. But I am going to now spend this time
    rewriting my dreams, continue with my counselling, love myself and
    be the best person I can possibly be. I am now looking forward to
    2011, I plan to go travelling next summer and spend more time
    discovering again, who I am. Lots of love. X

    • Allison says:

      Cherry,

      Good for you!!!!!!

      Something that helped me move on faster was to acknowledge my unhealthy contrubution to such a devaluing relationship. When you can recognize your self-destructive habits, it will help you move on to a healthier happier life.
      Good luck!

      • RuthT says:

        @Cherry Great news. Keep batting for you. Of course there
        will be stormy times ahead, so be realistic in your recovery. Its
        true that it really does come in waves and they slowly get smaller
        and smaller. There is no rush. The deeper you do it now the better
        your future. Just keep NC and protect your body and mind from all
        unhealthy types. There is usually more than one to throw out with
        the bath water. Certainly I found if I ever get stuck or plateau
        and start over dwelling on the past, the best remedy is to get
        moving, walk briskly for an hour a day. Give a state of the nation
        address to the trees anything to shift the stuck energy. It makes
        me sooooo happy when people choose short term pain for long term
        gain. Yep it might take a year or 2 or 3 to really recover, no one
        is clock watching here. Consider it our contribution to world
        peace. Also you might like the Artists Way – Julia Cameron. Great
        for artistic recovery. She is big on ‘journalling’. The daily
        mental discourse of floating thoughts laid to rest on paper, so
        behind that is the art. It truely works. Best of luck and
        inspiration.

  67. RM says:

    Thank you all for your support, he’s not the only ass clown
    Ive dealt with but he was the best of the worst i guess i come from
    a broken home and have alot of issues with men in general my father
    isnt the best example of a man so i thought anyone that would show
    me the slightest bit of attention i didnt get while growing up was
    my night in shining armor … I suppose I was hanging on to the
    good times we had in the begining hoping he would be that guy again
    but really he never was that guy. and it seems like its his mission
    to prove it time and time again… why someone would take the time
    out to wine and dine ,act as emotional support ad fake a future
    only to abandon and lie at the end is beyond cruel… im deeply
    hurt still but this website is helping out alot i read and re-read
    almost every article when im feeling sad or have moments of
    doubt..2011 has to be better

  68. outergirl says:

    I have been referring to this site for well over a year and I have no way of repaying all of you and Natalie beyond saying thank you from the bottom of my soul. My a/c did everything written here. It amuses me now, he is NOT unique..he’s textbook, cookie cutter in fact. As the saying goes, I did not know, what I did not know..but now I do and I cut him loose, hopefully for good. I think my boundaries are decent but he dug under the fence of my boundaries under the auspices of ‘an old friend’. Many of you are friends in my head [i.e. friends I haven’t met]. We deserve better and until I find a decent partner, I have my friends to shower w/my love & devotion and they return the same to me. Blessings.

  69. Dylan says:

    I came across this site while lying in bed aching and
    hurting after my lover, left me alone and without contact again all
    over Christmas. I am not sure if only women can blog, but will add
    my story and see if it is published. I met and became “the other
    man” around 5 years ago, I was just out of a 16 year marriage. I
    met this new lady at the gym and we became friends.We spend more
    and more time together over the next 6 months, texts became flirty,
    she told me about her unhappy marriage how she knew she would leave
    him . We shared a kiss then became lovers and she was like
    everything I ever wanted.She supported me through my divorce always
    promising she was leaving her husband. Her marriage was on the
    rocks and we became closer and closer. Her husband left her, almost
    3 years ago, he went to stay at his mothers, he didn’t take the
    kids at all, but my lover at first seemed happy, our relationship
    did not become open but we were able to enjoy more time together
    and things seemed to be moving forward. Her now ex however kept
    coming back to the house, there was lots of bad rows between them,
    she seemed to become more and more withdrawn from me. After the
    death of a close relative at Christmas 2 years ago her ex was
    suddenly living back in the family home. My lover said she was not
    coping with the death, she didn’t want to lose me but needed his
    help with the kids. I put up with this month after month, she went
    without telling me on a holiday with her husband, turning her phone
    off for a week, I missed her that badly I just took her straight
    back. By the end of last year however almost a year after her
    husband had came back to the family home I ended our relationship,
    it was so hard to walk away from a woman i would die for. I met
    someone new and we started doing all the things I had never been
    able to do with my married lover, concerts, eating openly in local
    restaurants, my married lover was going nuts, ringing and texting
    and promised she would sort things out and tell her husband
    everything and that we would be together, I loved her so so much
    and I ended my new relationship as I wanted to follow my heart.
    Christmas last year came and went and my married lover kept on
    promising me telling me how bad things were in her marriage, seeing
    me texting me but still living in the same house as her husband.
    Again I was getting worn down by this but again her husband did
    leave. However this time when he left he just started coming back
    to the house as normal and then at bedtime he went to his mothers
    to sleep. My lover said the rows had stopped and she was happy with
    the new way thinsg were between him and her in the short term. But
    she became more and more withdrawn from me. She said she was now
    confused, she was worried about her kids,she was suddenly fearful
    but could not say of what, so for 6 months of 2010 she was with me
    and in constant contact, swearing never ending love and a life of
    bliss, then when her husband leaves again suddenly the contact with
    me is reduced and she became withdrawn. I was in despair once
    again, asking her what was going on, maybe no contact from her for
    a week, then a day of texts saying I was her world, her rock, she
    needed me, that made me happy then nothing for another while.I went
    over the top with her birthday and Christmas presents, I got a text
    from her on Christmas Eve to say sorry cant get round I left your
    present with a mutual friend. Since Christmas Eve i have heard
    nothing, I suspect her husband is living there again. 2011 I want
    my life to move forward, 5 years this has went on, yet i feel empty
    without her, she can pull every heart string. Its an unequal
    addiction and I know its bad for everyone with no prospect now of a
    happy ending.Yet why am I sitting on New Years eve wanting her so
    much.Do we just want what we cant have, this woman brought out
    feelings in me I never knew I had, a passion I never knew I could
    feel for anyone. It scares me more that I will never feel that
    again

    • grace says:

      Dylan Your post is educational – women can be just a
      flip-flapping and EU as men and wreak just as much havoc. Do you
      really want to feel that way again? From your post it all sounds
      very dramatic, uncertain, confusing and downright unsatisfactory. I
      hope you never feel that way again. I hope you will feel something
      better, love and commitment between two people who are 100% there
      for each other. Don’t rush it though, spend some time single to
      heal and reflect, and come out stronger. Have a good 2011.

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Hi Dylan, Thank you for your post and for your courage to
        post. I don’t imagine there are many online support groups out
        there for the other man. I can empathize with your situation
        because I WAS the other woman for two years. It happened slowly. He
        pursued me. I finally gave in because he was fun, smart, and
        adorable. The times we could be together, which were a lot, were
        the best ever. We would hike to the beach, listen to reggae or
        classical in my back yare and drink Boddingtons and bbq shrimp. The
        day seemed to float away. He was dreamy. He would come over after
        work, I’d cook, and we’d sip wine talking all night by the fire.
        The days troubles would disappear. We texted all day, every day. I
        woke up to a “Good morning sunshine text, and went to bed with a
        “Night, night, sweetie”. We were profoundly in love. It was the
        most wonderful time when we were together. But, he always went home
        to his wife. I sat at home alone while he attended social events
        with his wife. I sat home while he went on a 10 day cruise with his
        wife. I watched him sworn into office with his wife by his side. I
        probably don’t need to go through the utter despair I felt during
        those times because I imagine you have felt that darkness too. He
        said he didn’t love her, didn’t even like her. He was waiting for
        the youngest to leave home this summer. We didn’t talk about that
        part much. I assumed he was being honest with me. As this Christmas
        approached and I knew he’d be with his wife and family again and
        I’d be alone, I started asking about his marriage. Suddenly, the
        story shifted. His young son passed away 7 months ago and he
        couldn’t leave his wife so soon. And, his daughter may be staying
        in town for school. Apparently, from what I’ve read on this blog
        and others (see “The Other Woman”), what we are going through is
        very common. They don’t leave their spouses and will string us
        along as long as we will be strung. I got some good advice on this
        blog from somone named “Fearless” and other named “Allison”. As
        soon as I placed demands, he bailed. After spending Christmas in
        2009 alone, in angusish, pain, and misery, I told him that I could
        not do that again. As Christmas 2010 approached, we both knew what
        was in store. On Dec. 19th, he ended it (he couldn’t do this to me
        anymore) and we’ve been NC for 11 days. Oh god, when I woke up on
        Dec. 20th and there was no “Good Morning Sunshine” text, I wanted
        to scream. Each morning, however, it has gotten better. Of course,
        I was alone on Christmas and will be alone this evening, New Years
        Eve, but it is different. I’m still thinking about what he is
        doing, distracting myself with him so I don’t have to think about
        me, but it is different. I’m not quite as miserable thinking about
        him being with his wife. There is a little time to focus on me. I’m
        not so distracted with him, less so everyday. I’m in pain but it is
        not about whether he is making love with his wife or decorating the
        tree with his wife, I’m in pain because I was complicit in the lies
        and deceit. I’m in pain because while he was cheating on his wife
        and his kids, I was cheating on me, as well as them. That’s what
        hurts. Also, if you keep reading about affairs, apparently the
        cheating spouse has to lie to the other woman/man too. Like you,
        I’m scared that I will never find anybody that I can share so much
        passion with. But, I know I can’t stand the agony and the pain of
        being the other woman. Good luck to you. I’m scared too.

        • Dylan says:

          You sound so like me thank you for sharing that, your
          description of those good times, the “morning babes” texts I got,
          to the silence, it could not go on like that, its only to you look
          back at the wasted years that it really does hit you hard

          • Allison says:

            Dylan,

            It’s up to you to not waste any more of your precious time. You know this situation will never change, time to address why you’re still sticking around!

            Her actions say it all: She’s stringing you along and getting an ego stroke to boot!

          • Fearless says:

            Happy New Year everyone! And congratulations to Natalie and
            boy/f. (I wish you both all the very best!) A quick word for Dylan
            and Runnergirl..I totally appreciate that feeling of “will I ever
            feel this way again”…. and all the good times and sweet texts
            that would brighten up a dull day! I relate very well to all of
            that. Perhaps, in answer to “will I ever feel like this again?” is
            that we should hope NOT, hope not to ever have to feel like this
            again!! We need to focus on the flip side of the good times, and
            why we think what we are feeling all the time is “love” when mostly
            – at least I now can see that for me – it was mostly fear and
            anxiety (alleviated in the short term by a “sweet nothing”) Perhaps
            too we must try to remember that all the sweet text msgs (I got
            them too) amount to nothing but crumbs… and we accepted them as
            if they were a feast in the desert (a la NML). He/she can send all
            the texts they like; that’s the easy part! – it costs them nothing
            (in terms of investment in the relationship) and they keep us warm
            on their back burner – but we must not forget that they are texting
            sweet nothings because they CHOOSE not to actually be there! I’d
            rather wake up to a real man than a text message from an absent
            one!… we all deserve more than that and we have a right to expect
            more. Dylan, I hope you never ever fall for another woman who makes
            you feel “like that”. You deserve to feel good about yourself and
            to be with a woman who loves and appreciates you – that will feel
            so much better than the nonsense you are getting from this one –
            don’t idolise her as something special cos she’s “unattainable” (I
            think I have been doing this all my life!). These people are not
            special – someone special will BE THERE! (we need to review –
            overturn – our notions of what we have perceived as “special”).
            Good luck! F

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Dylan, Fearless is right…we settled for crumbs like they were feasts in the desert. Notice in my original post, I skipped over the bad times. I really do NOT want to feel like that again. We both know what those were like, right? Please keep reading. Other folks have gotten out of the muck. We can too. I’ve been having the honest conversation with myself and discovered that I may have gotten involved with a MM it seemed safe at the time, two years ago. But, today, I want an open, honest committed relationship where I’m number one and treated with respect. And, after some down time and soul searching, I’ll be willing to take the risk. A text from a married person, while they are waking up with their spouse, isn’t respectful. I want to wake up with somebody who can look me in my eyes and say Good Morning Sunshine. I’m grateful I learned this lesson before I wasted any more time on the sidelines. We can do it! Day 13 and still strong, although it is hard still.

  70. Relapsing says:

    Thanks, Fearless!

    I tried you know, taking the “ok, let’s be friends” approach because I thought that’s really the way to go. I mean, if I’m expecting things to start over then of course, we have to work on that first. But I’ll be lying if I said I never struggled with that reality. Being, as you said (it’s also the term I used to describe how I see things), demoted to “just friends” as if nothing happened, as if nothing’s worth salvaging, is just too painful and I’ve grown tired of being confused about how I feel and where I wanted to stand when it came to him. He was the one to approach me first about being friends (out of the blue, if I may say so, without even so much as a “how are you doing?”) and while I was reluctant at first, I thought it was a good start. But a couple of days later, I realized I can’t handle it. Hurt feelings started cropping up so I had to tell him that I don’t think I could do it, and that it’s prolly not possible (to be friends). Then afterwards, I felt guilty for rejecting him. So some time later, I found myself wanting to communicate with him. Even greeting him a good morning and smiling at him when we passed each other and inviting him to my birthday (he opted out, as expected) just to let him know that hey, I’m okay now. I’m cool with us just being like this.

    Turns out I’m really not. So here I am, telling myself I’ve really had enough of this internal drama and all set to say goodbye to the past and move onwards. And yeah, who cares if I may appear bitter or childish by refusing contact with him? If that’s what it takes for me to get past this, then so be it. (And besides, he’s the guy. If he wanted another shot, he ought to be man enough to find a way. But that’s none of my concern right now.)

    • Allison says:

      Relapse,

      I too, tried to remain friends. It was impossible to be friends with someone that I still had feelings for, as it was very painful. Funny, when I look back now, I realize this person was not my friend, as he strung me along with excuses and made me feel used like no other-my fault for not bailing.
      If the relationship had ended on a respectful note and both parties have moved on, a friendship is possible, but when one repeatedly hurts and continually puts their own needs first, it is not.

  71. John says:

    Excellent post. You put everything into words that I’ve
    been fumbling around with in my muddled brain for the last year or
    two. Hope I’m allowed to comment I am a bloke but we do get cra**ed
    on as well, and we do struggle moving on after getting involved
    with a baddie!

    • Leigh says:

      If it’s any consolation, John, not all of us are baddies. I relate that to women as well as men.

      Hope is the word for going forward in 2011. :)

  72. outergirl says:

    I’m very aware of what I am feeling this time round. I did the ‘suck it and see’ last year, and I have no regrets. Yep, he blew hot & cold, managed everything down between 5 & 6 [on a scale of 1 – 10]. This time I am not thinking ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda, but acknowledging the grief of letting go and the subsequent loneliness. While not confusing it with ‘I want him back’ Nature abhors a vacuum and his heave-ho leaves an empty spot. I ended it both times, the first time hoping he’d change, the last time to keep from killing him! LOL, with his endless excuses,stonewalling & lies. He took nearly a year to contact me for the second ride on his broke down coaster, this time I believe he left w/his tail between his legs for good. He was no friend of mine and any attention I’d give him would only feed his ego. Pathetic, little man-boy. To new beginnings!

  73. buffythebs_slayer says:

    Cherry, surround yourselves with friends and family. Let
    them cherish and celebrate you. Friends will only be too willing to
    organise outings and talk until you’re talked out. I’m not an
    expert and don’t profess to be but I would strongly advise (based
    on personal experience) you to take a break from dating and
    rediscover you, and congratulate yourself on moving on from someone
    who wasn’t good enough for you. Self esteem will return in time.
    Acknowledge you are hurting and tell yourself its temporary. It is
    temporary.You are lovable and didn’t deserve any of the disgraceful
    behaviour your ex displayed. He is textbook emotionally abusive and
    violent. You are only 25 and don’t have to take this sh*t. Remember
    that he acts this way because he has issues. Even if you believe
    that you deserved to be hit or put down, you didn’t. There are
    saner and healthier ways to discuss feelings without resorting to
    violence or name calling. You will heal. You just need time and
    space.

  74. Sally says:

    My married man and I finished today after two years of stress and anxiety, tempered by delightful texts and unrealistic, romantic fantasies. He lives 200 miles away and our meetings became rarer and rarer as his commitment waned. When we first met, his marriage was over and he wanted to be with me, but as time went on I realised he and his wife had a relationship of total co-dependence where one pushed, and the other pulled.
    I was simply an option, a safety net, just in case one day his wife DID throw him out. She never would’ve, of course, it was just a threat she liked to use to keep him on his toes.
    My feeling of rejection is due to trying so so hard – to always being there when he needed a rant, to reassuring him every night that I was alone and that I wasn’t going to find another man, to being so darned understanding that of course he couldn’t leave his children, of course he didn’t have the opportunity to come to see me, of course I won’t ask for anything anymore, anything at all…
    I was left with nothing – no commitment, no reasurance, no meetings, no lovely texts. And although I am in massive pain – because why why why wasn’t I good enough? – I know that losing the omnipresent fear and anxiety of his being with his wife, is by far the best price to pay.
    Every text he sent, every email, every phone call – none of them could fill the hole in my soul. Life will be better without those empty chats, in which I would be praying, every day, for him to tell me he was leaving his wife to be with me.
    I have been frozen for two years waiting for him to make a move. I could’ve waited another two. But 2011 is the time to thaw and move on.
    Thank you for this wonderful website, you have all helped me so much xx

    • Elle says:

      Sounds eminently sensible to me, Sally! I imagine you’re in a lot of pain, but this momentary grief-pain pales in comparison to the anxiety of not knowing where you stand with another, and being robbed of (or robbing yourself of) your freedom of movement and expression. Keep on letting go, and see where the tide takes you – somewhere far lovelier and with greater possibilities, I am sure.

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Sally, “My feeling of rejection is due to trying so so hard
      – to always being there when he needed a rant, to reassuring him
      every night that I was alone and that I wasn’t going to find
      another man, to being so darned understanding that of course he
      couldn’t leave his children, of course he didn’t have the
      opportunity to come to see me, of course I won’t ask for anything
      anymore, anything at all… I was left with nothing – no commitment,
      no reasurance, no meetings, no lovely texts. And although I am in
      massive pain – because why why why wasn’t I good enough?” You hit
      it out of the ball park. I barely asked for anything and I was left
      with nothing as well, not even a “lovely text”…thank the dear
      lord. I’m only in day 16 of NC. A few days ago, after spending
      hours on this blog, I realized that I could be number one. But,
      that means I’ve got to be number one with myself first. Yikes!
      That’s the most insurrmountable task I’ve ever had to encounter.
      I’ve got to treat myself with dignity and respect? “I know that
      losing the omnipresent fear and anxiety of his being with his wife,
      is by far the best price to pay. Every text he sent, every email,
      every phone call – none of them could fill the hole in my soul.”
      Despite the fact I was alone this Christmas, I was not “filled with
      the omnipresent fear and anxiety of his being with his wife”. How
      wonderfully stated. It was “the best price to pay”. I guess, I’ve
      got to fill the hole in my soul?

    • Dylan says:

      Sally, thats exactly how I was, I listened to her all the
      time, her husbands faults, the life we were going to have, in 2010
      we were to go to three weddings together including one in Florence,
      she even let me book the flights, I got to none. One of them I was
      standing in my suit ready to leave when I got a call to say she was
      not coming. By the time I got to the wedding an hour later 3 texts
      I love you, things will change, Im going to sort this out. That was
      May, we are in no contact, not spoken to or seen in now in 14 days,
      no texts in 9 days, I checked my bill we text over 12,000 times in
      2010, How much better will 2011 be when I get over the wasted years
      waiting and meet someone who wants to actually be with me. Hard at
      the minute but I have to say each day is slightly easier, I read
      the stories here each morning and night and its helping, realize
      not alone

  75. Nicole says:

    I have spent the better part of the last week re-visiting (in my head) my relationship with my ex-AC. Maybe it’s the new year. He started a new relationship just a couple weeks after we parted ways, and he’s still in it. I, however, have not gotten into another relationship, mostly because I have just not met anyone who interested me enough to even go out with.

    But through all the re-visiting, I have asked myself that question of “didn’t he care?” or “why wasn’t I good enough?”. I get mad at the situation all over again, because I really tried to accomodate his work schedule, his lack of time management, his past that haunted him, etc.

    What I realize is that all that “good” behavior on my part was nothing more than desperation. I was scared of not having someone in my life. My acts of “kindness” were nothing more than attempts to hold onto a relationship that I was scared of losing.

    He may have rejected me, but really it wasn’t “me” at all. It was just my fears and insecurities he was rejecting. And I am so much more than that. And I deserve a man who is consistent and sure about wanting to see me.
    So, the whole question of “why wasn’t I good enough” is now the question of “why didn’t I see myself as good enough to deserve better?” or maybe
    “why was I so scared of losing such a miserable relationship?”.

    He never even saw the real me in that relationship. And I don’t mean that to say if I had acted differently, we would still be together. Because, truth is, if the real me had been present, I would have never gone out with him in the first place.

    • Movedup says:

      OH YEAH! Love that – the real me wouldn’t have given him a
      chance! I am not THAT woman anymore!!!

    • Sally-Ann says:

      That’s right – they never saw the real “us” because we were trying so hard to be perfect. That’s why it hurts so much.
      In past relationships we’ve been able to see why it ended, but when we have turned ourselves inside out for someone it’s hard to accept that perhaps we were too perfect, too available – maybe, even, not real enough.
      I personally was too insecure to be the real me, but I didn’t like the airbrushed version I presented him with, not really. He’d moaned he had no money; I sent him some. Quite a lot, actually. I became like one of those women you read about in the Daily Mail who believe an 18 year old Kenyan barman is in love with them for them, not for their money or their visa.
      So yes Nicole, and Dylan, and all of you – the real “us” are worth much much more and will be loved, perhaps this year, in the way those fools could’ve been loved by us – if they’d deserved it.

    • ramona says:

      Hi Nicole, Your story is so familiar to me as my ex was
      with someone new 3 weeks after we split. That was December 18,2009.
      He is also still with her. It kills me that he so easily moved to
      another and is seemingly happy and committed. he and I LIVED
      together for 2009 which was my 1st living “with” situation since my
      husband 12 years ago. I broke it off but I believe he wanted me to.
      I just want to ask you – How do you stop yourself from thinking
      about why he chose her? I can’t stop myself. Ramona

      • grace says:

        Ramona Don’t put this man in the position of judge and jury
        over your worth and value as a human being. The fact that he is
        with someone else is no reflection on you. All over the world
        perfectly decent attractive women get mistreated, dumped or left
        for someone else. Look at Cheryl Cole, Helena Christensen, Jennifer
        Aniston! No-one likes to be rejected but if your reaction is
        disproportionate (and it seems to be given that it still hurts a
        year later), the problem most likely lies with your own self-worth
        than with him. I would work on that rather than continue focusing
        on him. When a couple break up it’s absolutely fine for them to
        find a new partner. That’s part of the deal. Yes, it’s not nice
        that it was 3 weeks later but maybe he’s a bit shallow or can’t
        bear to be alone. Doesn’t make his girlfriend “better” than you.
        Also, it would be ideal if you were not in a position to know what
        he’s doing or who his girlfriend is. Could be a good time to make
        new friends and find new pastimes that don’t bring you into his
        circle. If you haven’t instigated NC, that is definitely worth
        considering. By the way, Natalie has posted on this exact topic –
        why her and not me. It’s in most popular.

        • ramona says:

          Thank you Grace – I know you are right. I have been NC for
          10 months or so. I defriended and deleted and even threw every
          piece of memory away. The only reason I know he’s in a relationship
          is because I snooped on line. I snooped VERY successfully and
          inadvertently felt pain. I can’t help it sometimes. I just cannot
          understand how he did it. I am one of those people that needs to
          have an explanantion. This has never happened to me before. I
          thought everybody meant what they said and said what they
          meant.

          • Dylan says:

            im only in no contact 15 days and found out to-day via a friend she took her ex husband back again over Christmas. Thats the second time in 3 years, really hurting and angry, sometimes you feel forget no contact im going to muck up her little lovenest with a whole lot of truth, which i am sure she has kept from her husband

          • RuthT says:

            Oh Dylan, it sounds very painful, sometimes its just that one more piece of information that puts a bolt of lightning through you enough to move on. One last nail in the coffin. From now on its about you. Enough her her her and what she is and isn’t doing/saying/lying. Make your world about you, your dreams, work, plans. Make it real.
            Its also wise to ask your mutual friends to refrain from discussing, dropping in titbits of information about the ex as it just puts another knife in your already bleeding heart. This is part of no contact. If your mutual friends cannot respect your need for privacy and reflection, then avoid them too for a while. Yep it is hard, black hole hard for a while, but actually its also a relief not to be living a lie anymore. So enjoy the turning of the corner…..

          • grace says:

            Ramona, I hear you. I tied myself in knots and had depression and anxiety for almost three years seeking an explanation. A couple of years later, I feel that I don’t need one. If you asked me I suppose I could cobble one together but, ultimately and thankfully I don’t care enough to try.

            And what explanation I have did not come from HIM. THEY can’t explain anything. Eventually, you will reach your own conclusion.

            My counsellor put it into perspective saying that many of his clients who have been sexually abused or raped will come to the conclusion that they don’t need their day in court. They can get to the other side without having to confront their abuser or get the abuser to see what they have done. I hope we have not been abused to that extent, but if these victims can move on, then I hope we can too. It by no means diminishes their responsibility but you can escape their hold over you and put what has happened in the past. That’s worth a thousand of their crappy “explanations”.

      • Nicole says:

        Ramona,

        Our stories sound very similar. My ex-AC found someone else just a few weeks after we parted ways. That was also over a year ago, and they are still together.

        Like you, I used to snoop online to see if their profile pics showed the two of them together. I am not “friends” with either of them, in fact I have him blocked altogether. I was hoping that I would be able to see if they broke up, and therefore I would feel vindicated. But I would only feel miserable after seeing them together, smiling.
        So, I stopped looking.

        But, even so, you can never tell from a picture if a couple is happy. After all, most everyone smiles for a picture. Just recently, I found some old pictures of me and my ex-husband. We looked so happy, connected, and in love. But that marriage was miserable from day one, and I was with him for 8 years. The picture didn’t even begin to tell the real story. And the fact that our ex-AC’s are still with their new women…well, that just tells you they are still together. Just read thru some of these posts, and you will find many women (me included) who stay in unhappy relationships.

        Having said all that, the most important thing is to get to a place where it doesn’t matter what he is doing now. I am still not there. But that is my own struggles with self-worth, and not so much to do with him. It FEELS like it is about him, because he was my last relationship. I agree with Grace’s post whole-heartedly. But I know it’s a lot easier said than done.

        I have decided to go back to counseling. Talking with family and friends only helps me so much. They usually focus on what a tool he is, which feels good at the time, but ultimately does not help me in my journey to regain my self-worth. After my divorce, counseling and self-help groups were wonderful in helping me to stay focused on me and my issues, and my growth as a person. And I realize, after this last relationship, I still have more work to do.

        • ramona says:

          Hi Nicole – Thank you for the note. I am and have been in therapy since March 2010 – after the December break up. Yes, I have other grief to work out that has nothing to do with my ex. Maybe I am the same as you…self worth struggling and he just brought it to the surface. I don’t know. I had pictures with him and WE looked very happy as well so I don’t know why I feel that he has actually “changed” for her. I am still blaming myself I guess. Thanks again Nicole. R.

  76. ckay says:

    Not that I needed “validity”, but it sure is nice to be
    reassured that it’s better to walk away when I couldn’t make him
    happy, than to stay and keep trying. I’m a fan of yours, now! Thank
    you for sharing. ckay

    • outergirl says:

      I believe the point here is almost a damned if they do/damned if they don’t scenario. In the ex’s defense, we want them to leave us alone, to go no contact and then we are upset w/them when they give us what we asked for. A gentle, patient sense of humor w/myself helps. I find myself saying ‘you told him it’s over and now you’re upset because he believed you?’ We can’t have it both ways.

  77. Sally says:

    Dylan, I felt like that too. I wanted to email his wife and let her know exactly what her precious husband had been up to, when she thought he was back panting at her bedroom door.
    I stopped myself though because I lacked the courage, to be honest, I wasn’t brave enough to mess up their lives again. It was a horrible feeling of not mattering, of being totally insignificant, and I wanted to redress the balance by ringing her or contacting her on Facebook.
    But I haven’t. It remains a fantasy purely in my mind, and when I get really irate I imagine what I’d say in those emails, and the result of it. Knowing we COULD do it if we wanted to, is sometimes enough. What sort of marriage do you think they REALLY have? Co-dependent resentment, by the sounds of it.

    • Dylan says:

      i know it would prove nothing only spiteful but omg , its almost like they are so confident they can simply drop you and walk back to their ex and you will continue to lie to protect them

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Hey there Dylan and Sally, I’ve had the exact same
        thoughts. What if their husbands/wives knew what they were really
        up to when they were with us? In my circumstance, the betrayed wife
        had to know, albeit subconsciously. He was with me until 1:00 am
        most mornings, including weekends. But, and this is a very big but,
        she was with him at the most important moments, his swearing in
        ceremony, his son’s funeral, xmas, nye. That sent me a message. His
        wife will show up for the really important stuff and I will watch
        from my computer, text, and email. For me, this has got to stop.
        It’s day 18 of NC for me and it’s getting better, although it is up
        and down. I hope you are both doing better?

        • Wastedlove says:

          I too, have been thinking about his other LT g/f and how he’s kept her in ignorance about me and the other women he’s toyed with. She’s not making an informed choice because she is completely in the dark about him. She also does not know the demeaning and insulting things he says behind her back. I am in a position to open her eyes. I don’t care if she won’t listen, it’s not my problem, but I do want to do my duty by her and let her know what kind of a man has been using her as a Shag, an Ego-stroke, a Shoulder to Cry On and, I would add, a Free Meal Twice a Week. If she wants to carry on with him, that’s up to her, but she should do it with her eyes fully open. Another of his women contacted me and we exchanged notes, and I am eternally grateful to her for making me hear the truth. Surely I owe it to the one he’s still seeing? Or is it all take and no give?

          • Leigh says:

            Sally, Dylan, Runnergirl, Wastedlove, I remember three
            years ago – D-Day. The ex AC dropped the bomb and dumped me to save
            his broken marriage. I was really angry afterwards, because: 1) I
            felt like I had been tricked into becoming the other woman. 2)
            Because he got away with any hurt and any responsibility he caused
            to me AND his wife by not telling her. (This is even after his wife
            went back home to him admitting she had an affair – he never
            admitted his to his wife – the cad!) I planned on taking all the
            letters and emails (3,000 of them) and hand delivering them to her
            place of employment and telling her to her face. I can’t even begin
            to count the amount of times I was close to doing it. I had to step
            back from my feelings of anger at the time because they consumed my
            life for almost two years. I realised that by telling his wife I
            would be stepping right into his game plan, and I would make him
            look like a victim, the one that interfered in his marriage. (even
            though thats exactly what he did to mine, too) Why do you think we
            are called the Other Woman/Other Man? Because that’s what we become
            by being involved with these types. The blame gets placed largely
            at our door simply by that definition alone. I don’t believe they
            get away with any of it. They stay in a relationship that’s
            ambiguous and fragile because it’s still the same dynamic. When I
            saw the ex AC three months ago, I knew then that it was I that had
            the lucky escape. He was still saying the same old things about his
            wife. At the end of the day if a person is that unhappy they do
            something about it instead of living a lie. I’m glad I didn’t tell
            his wife. It’s their marriage and their problem. She knew what she
            married and he knew what he married and they both still stay (no
            matter what religious and family excuses they both use) and that is
            their problem I am glad I am away from him and their problems it
            makes my life more peaceful. And there is always karma, I believe
            strongly in it.

          • Dylan says:

            I would love to blow it all in the open, cat among the
            pigeons

            • NML says:

              Dylan, WastedLove, Runnergirl et al, let’s not put yourselves under any illusions here that you’re doing anyone a favour here other than yourselves. It’s that ‘It’s my football and if I can’t play with it, no-one else will’ situation. You want your lovers to feel consequences because you don’t like your consequences and don’t want them to get off scot free. The uncomfortable reality is that none of you felt inclined to put the truth out there when you thought you could hold onto your partners. This is because there would likely have been consequences that would have meant you couldn’t be with your partners. Now that you *think* you’re not going to be with them again, suddenly the truth drug is alive and kicking. You are all still emotionally invested in your lovers hence you are not considering speaking your ‘truth’ from an objective and unselfish position. You all have an ulterior motive.

              Fact is you have no idea *what* any of these other people who are supposedly in the dark think. They’re not in the dark. It’s up to them to figure out their own relationships. The fact of the matter is that discovering that someone is involved with someone else is not a guarantee that they will leave – you guys certainly didn’t.

              I understand all of your frustrations and pain (I’ve been exactly where you are) but until you’re accountable for what you’re involved in and putting the focus on you so that you can extricate yourselves from this incredibly depleting situation, leave the other parties alone.

              I was inches away from ex’s girlfriend in a club. I’d just discovered they were secretly engaged and practically come face to face with her. My anger at his deception had me tempted to tell her who I was, until I realised that I may be effed up enough to be involved with him, but not *that* effed up I would stoop that far. To do it and to claim I was doing her a favour, would be deceiving myself.

              • runnergirlno1 says:

                Oh darn it. I know you and Fearless are right. I certainly did not think about telling the betrayed wife that I was sleeping with her husband when I was sleeping with her husband. And of course, I’d think about it now to get back at him which means my focus is still on him and not me where it belongs. I know all this rationally. I’ll get the focus back on me and start my feelings journal. It just would be nice to know that he is feeling as rotten as I am. Thank you for the gentle reminder. Most of all thank you for a place to vent. This is a depleting situation and I want out.

                Let’s hang in there with NC Dylan and Wastedlove.

                • Sally says:

                  When his wife found texts from me on his mobile phone, she rang ME to shout at ME and tell me how HE just can’t help himself when slags like me throw themselves at him. In other words, it was all my fault.
                  So if we had followed through our fantasy of blowing their cover by sending every text and email we had ever received from them, the result would’ve been the same. Our fault.
                  And, as I was told time and again by friends and busybodies, I knew he was married when I got involved. Never mind that he swore the marriage was over. He was still (and is) married.
                  Til death do they part!

                  • runnergirlno1 says:

                    I did an entry in my Feelings Journal. May I share it? You
                    don’t have to read it. January 7, 2011 It’s been 18 days since you
                    left. It feels strange; peaceful but strange. I feel sad, lonely,
                    and happy. I feel sad not hearing from you, texting you, and
                    listening to your voice. I feel sad not sharing our moment to
                    moment daily texts. I miss the “Good morning sunshine” texts, the
                    “Night, night sweetie”, texts, and the “Kick” texts, just when I
                    needed it. We always seemed to know when we needed a “Kick”. I’m
                    lonely. I miss you. I miss seeing you at the end of the day,
                    running to greet you (before Mandy), preparing dinner, unwinding,
                    sipping wine, sharing our stories about what stupid things happened
                    during the day, and letting the unimportance of the day slip away
                    while we shared time together. Mandy misses you too. If I go near
                    the placemats, she jumps and chases her tail. I am happy and
                    peaceful because I am no longer that woman, the other woman. I’m
                    happy because I am no longer eagerly awaiting a “Good morning
                    sunshine” text message while you wake up with your wife, as bad as
                    that may be for you. I’m happy because someday, I’ll awake every
                    morning with a committed, caring, and respectful man who can look
                    me in the eyes and say aloud, “Good morning sunshine”. I’m happy
                    because someday, I’ll fall asleep with a committed, caring, and
                    respectful man who will look me in the eyes and say aloud, “Night,
                    night sweetie”. And, HE WON’T CRAWL OUT OF MY BED, leaving me with
                    a sweatshirt, and CRAWL INTO BED WITH ANOTHER WOMAN! Once I write
                    it, it is too creepy. It takes my breath away to think I did that
                    for two years. I am happy and peaceful because I am no longer that
                    woman, the other woman. I do not have to be drip-fed waiting to
                    find out what is happening this weekend, only to find out that it
                    will be 8:00pm on Sunday evening before we can be together. I’m
                    happy because I can be with me this weekend and I don’t have to sit
                    home imagining what you and your wife are doing or aren’t doing
                    until 8:00pm on Sunday. I’m happy because I don’t have to wait for
                    you. I’m happy because I can be with me and do what makes me happy.
                    I can hike to the beach, listen to reggae, and drink Boddingtons in
                    my backyard. I am happy and peaceful because I am no longer that
                    woman, the other woman. I will never again experience the
                    excoriating pain of sitting alone on a beautiful summer evening
                    reading Anna Karenina while you are at a black tie event with your
                    wife. I will never again experience the sadness and pain of
                    watching you being sworn into office with your wife by your side,
                    knowing that you would spend the day and evening celebrating
                    together ,while I sit alone, crying by the fire. I will never again
                    experience watching the moon rise while you watch the moon rise
                    from the deck of a cruise ship with your wife while texting me. I
                    am happy, sad, lonely, and peaceful knowing that I am not that
                    woman, the other woman. I’d rather be alone than be that woman, the
                    other woman.

                    • outergirl says:

                      ‘I’d rather be alone than be that woman, the other woman.’
                      Thank You for that Runnergirl. Along with the happy & sad
                      at the same time, lonely, yet peaceful.

              • grace says:

                I have read posts where wives have said they wished the other woman HAD told as they genuinely had no idea. If you do decide to tell, don’t expect any gratitude and be prepared to hear some home truths. If you really cared about the wife/husband you wouldn’t have had sex with their other half in the first place. It’s a big decision with huge consequences. You’re going to have to be strong to deal with the fallout.

                • WastedLove says:

                  While I get Natalie’s points 100% Grace’s comment “wives
                  have said they wished the other woman HAD told ” is also true. I am
                  SO grateful to Narc’s Woman No.3 for revealing his lies to me. And
                  so it’s odd to be told I mustn’t put sisterhood first and do the
                  same for Woman No.2. The reason I didn’t contact No.2 before is, I
                  have only recently obtained her contact details. She deserves to
                  know that for two years she’s unwittingly been the Other Woman (to
                  me, I was No.1) and that he has concealed her existence from No.3,
                  and that he has lied to each woman about the others. If she chooses
                  to stay with him, that is her choice, I would not go on, in fact
                  I’d rather tell her by anonymous letter. At least she will be
                  prepared when she finds out he’s pursuing other women now he’s lost
                  Nos 1 and 3. There is also a question of safe sex. If she thinks
                  she’s the one and only, she almost certainly doesn’t bother to
                  practise it. I just want ALL women to be able to make an INFORMED
                  choice about the man they are with. That’s empowerment.

                  • Fearless says:

                    I think Natalie’s point is spot on: our humanitarian
                    concern for the wife/other women (as the case may be) seems to rear
                    its head when we perceive our own relationship with the lover to be
                    effectively over. I’m not sure that women who are involved with
                    Narcs/EU/AC men for any length of time are not already making
                    informed choices. As many posters on Nat’s blogs will testify
                    (including me), it’s the choices that we make with these men that
                    are poor not the quality of the information we are getting from
                    them; there is no paucity of inormation – what with all the red
                    flags and blaring sirens that these men wave about! It is choosing
                    to heed and act on the information that empowers us – the
                    information is coming at us all the time (from the primary
                    source!), we simply choose to ignore it and thus we disempower
                    ourselves. When the pupil is willing the teacher will
                    appear.

                    • runnergirlno1 says:

                      Hey there, For what it’s worth, I’m with NML and Fearless
                      on this one in my circumstance. While I entertained the thought of
                      telling the betrayed wife for a moment a few evenings ago, I
                      realized that it wouldn’t be worth the effort in my case. They are
                      both so estranged, it wouldn’t make a drop of difference.
                      Additionally, in my circumstance, there was no way she didn’t
                      already know. It was our local newspapers and blogs. He was gone
                      until 2:00 am in the morning many week nights and on numerous
                      weekends, red flags and blaring sirens indeed. She is making an
                      informed choice and doesn’t need me to assist her. This isn’t about
                      him or his betrayed wife. It is about me for a change. It is weird
                      having this time to myself after planning every moment around his
                      life for two years. Hang in there.

                    • Fearless says:

                      Runnergirl: “This isn’t about him or his betrayed wife. It
                      is about me for a change.”. Yes… it’s not about them – it’s about
                      you doing what’s good for you now. She knows him a whole lot better
                      than you do, that’s the reality here, and you’re right – it
                      wouldn’t make a jot of a difference anyway… and we need to ask
                      oursleves, what difference is it we want it to make, exactly? We
                      just want to move on, not now take on the issues in other people’s
                      relationships that are actually none of our concern. I hope you
                      continue to do well. All the best. F

          • Fearless says:

            Iam with Leigh on this – it’s very tempting to speak to the
            “official”, but it juts creates more drama for you and it doesn’t
            actually help you.. it just keeps you embroiled in the whole mess.
            The important thing is to help yourself, as while we are in a the
            “very bad place” that we are in trying to end these relationships,
            we are not really in a posistion to help anyone else – we are too
            mixed up and ridden with our own internal strife and struggle…
            not a good place to go about informing and advising other woman of
            what and who is good for them. Wasted, my suggestion – and it is
            only a suggestion – is that once you feel well and healed and
            completely out of this drama and disentangled with this man and the
            situation then decide whether or not it is a good idea to go
            speaking to this man’s ‘other woman’. You may think better of it
            once the fog clears and you are free and running in the opposite
            direction. I think it is tempting at the time – but I think those
            who do speak to the other woman by and large wish they hadn’t
            bothered. Up to you, though. But be careful, men can get very, very
            angry when we interfere with their two-timing behaviour!! (when I
            spoke to an official g/f, one time, the two-timing ratbag told me
            he would never be able to trust me again (seriously!!) He refused
            to speak to me on the grounds that he did not want to talk to
            someone who had “deliberately set out to hurt him”. Cracker??!!
            Fact is stanger than fiction with these people. They are twisted.
            Take care all! Tread carefully. F

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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