person thinking that they can Jedi mind trick a wolf into a sheep

When we make big changes in our life due to recognising the toll that negative self-talk and other habits that are working against us take, we have to be careful of the I’m being more positive now so why aren’t people and life doing what I want? trap.

A classic example of this is when we finally start practicing having boundaries and expect people who typically behave in boundary busting ways to respect our boundaries with zero resistance.

Another is being in a positive frame of mind but not realising that we basically expect the next date and in fact any date (or opportunity) that we go on to work out well and basically be The One. It’s as if we think that a message went out to the universe – You know your one Jacinta that lives on blah blah road that used to go out with jockstrap after jockstrap? Yeah well she’s seen the light now and realises that she needs to treat herself better, so next time she’s on Match.com, make sure you hook her up with The One. You got me?

After I went through my major epiphany, I went out with three more Mr Unavailables that put my new found positivity and boundaries to the test, never mind being put to the test by work, family and the hospital who thought they’d be putting me on a lifelong course of steroids once I realised how pursuing other options was a waste of time.

Each ‘testing’ experience I’ve had over the almost eight years of writing Baggage Reclaim has been a ‘practical test’. As standalone tests, some might seem insignificant but they all count for something. I guess it’s life’s way of keeping me on my toes, keeping me on a low bullshit diet and ensuring that I keep my faith in me ‘up to date’. You’ll be familiar with this if you have one of those professional qualifications that you have to do top-up courses to keep your various accreditations up to date.

I regard treating ourselves well as something that has a very positive, cumulative benefit if done regularly and consistently.

Sure, treating you well for a day or a few weeks will have some short-term benefit but if you have a rough day or few, it will be harder to recover from than if on a general basis, you try your best to treat you with love, care, trust and respect. Some days you’ll win, some days won’t be your hottest, but overall, you remain committed to you, even in the down times.

It’s unrealistic to expect to be positive all the time but if you get into the habit of not thinking the worst of you and differentiating you from Other People’s Behaviour, you will not be living the misery that happens when you give away your power, you try to control other people’s behaviour, and you’re essentially waiting for something or someone else to make your life right for you.

The purpose of changing your relationship with you by reducing negative self-talk, reducing the bullshit you think about others, treating you with love, care, trust and respect, and ultimately challenging your beliefs so that you change your perception of your capabilities, worth and options, is to enable you to ascend into being you so that you be the driver of the journey of your life .

If you think that being positive is going to give you the power to basically mind bend people into doing what you want, it’s time to question where your ‘positive energy’ is going because that sounds like fantasising, assuming, and setting you up for a fall with excessive expectations.

No matter how positive you are, not only will you be unable to Jedi mind trick people, but you will still experience the inevitable aspects of life such as disappointment, conflict, and criticism.

Life will still keep you on your toes with the unexpected plus if you accept people for who they are, not who you’d like them to be, expect the ones that take the piss to continue to do exactly that and then do what you need to do for you so that you minimise their impact.

Practicing healthier habits of thinking and behaviour improves your resilience to these aspects of life. You won’t be exempt but you will be better equipped.

If you’re trying to improve the way you feel about you and life, it’s great to be positive but it’s unrealistic to expect that every situation you’re in will be positive nor should you expect that each person will be greatly influenced by your positivity even when they’re not on the same page as you. The person who will be greatly affected by your positivity, is you.

Your thoughts?

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262 Responses to Even if you have a positive attitude, you still won’t be capable of Jedi mind tricking people into being and doing what you want

  1. Crazybaby says:

    So true! It’s highly depressing to realise just how many people out there behave in a toxic self-serving manner. My Big Lesson these last few weeks has been that no matter how wonderful a guy seems, no matter how brilliantly you get on, no matter what plans you make for the future together, it’s not until sh!t happens in his life that you get to see his true colours. Suddenly your judgement is totally challenged, and you want it to be just a blip that they will snap out of with a huge apology. It’s a shame it takes for something bad to happen before you get to see the complete spectrum of their personality.

    • April111 says:

      That’s because men can’t multi-task. They can do ONE thing of focus at a time and when life crisis hits, all their focus is on solving it. You WILL take a backseat. If you hover around too close, you will get bug zapped! It’s not you, and it’s not him. That’s the nature of MEN. Learn to meet your own emotional needs without a man. No man will ever meet them. Ever. Otherwise men wouldn’t be men. They would be women.

      • yoghurt says:

        I don’t believe that. Plenty of men manage to get through difficult times without being horrible to folk (my brother being one of them). Giving them the getout clause of “oh diddums, the poor little XY chromosone babies just can’t possibly hewlp themsewlves” is patronising them and letting them off the hook in terms of being decent human beings.

        Happen nobody comes through a difficult time being their usual jolly old selves, but if I thought that my being treated as a human being was conditional on someone else’s life going exactly the way they wanted all the time then I wouldn’t bother with anyone. Ever.

      • Allison says:

        I don’t believe it either. I know plenty of caring men, who are capable of multi-tasking.

        I would reassess who you hang around with, and are attracted to!

      • Pauline says:

        I hear you April, not all men are single taskers but the majority are. Emotions are scary for a lot of them and they can’t cope.
        This is their nature and I totally agree with what you are saying.
        Listen up ladies, once you understand a few basic principles like April has stated you can learn to deal with men better.

        • yoghurt says:

          Nope, I’d rather not ‘deal with them’ at all than sit there and tell them that it’s okay to be obnoxious and unkind when they’re stressed, or to fail to deal with things decently because they’re scared. If this gendered biology business is true, they were bred up to fight with woolly mammoths; I refuse to believe that they’re unable to man up and deal with uncomfortable situations fairly.

          They have exactly as much choice about their behaviour as women do, afaics the only thing standing in the way of that are well-meaning enablers who feed them plausible excuses as to why they ‘can’t’ be kind or fair.

          Besides – and this is a genuine question – I fail to see how someone who can’t multi-task is capable of simultaneously dealing with something stressful AND being a nobhead to their gf/wife. The amount of time and effort that sometimes goes into that, I really can’t see that it’s any less effort than just trucking on and being pleasant. Surely if they WERE incapable of multi-tasking, they’d avoid changing the status quo until after the stress had passed?

        • Ms Determined says:

          Awww the poor widdle babies with their scary emotions. Let’s all make exceptions for them when they behave like raging dicks when they’re ‘scared’.

          No actually, how about they just take a teaspoon of concrete and harden the fuck up. They can join the rest of us fully functioning adult humans who have no option but to confront fears and multitask here in the real world. Especially as a number of us are dealing with our emotions and getting the fuck on with it like grown ups because their actions, or lack of them, have left us no choice.

          It’s not so much nature as what they think they can get away with. Men and women aren’t actually that different. All this bullshit about retreating into caves etc etc. What, like everyone doesn’t want to switch off after a shitty day at work? Like you wouldn’t rather peruse BR over a nice cold beer than wrangle children or cook dinner? Yeah, right. That’s not because you’re from Mars. That’s because you’re from Uranus.

          This whole Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus has always sounded like total bullshit to me, and a convenient way for John Gray to get out of treating his poor, complicit wife like a human being.

          *Disclosure* Most things sound like total bullshit to me.

          • Tabitha says:

            What she said!

          • Kit-Kat says:

            Ms. Determined…You always put into words what I am thinking way better than I ever could. Oh and you always bring a smile to my face and for that a big THANK YOU !!!!

          • Tracy says:

            Ms. D, you rock my world. I agree about the Mars/Venus BS. Several years ago when I was trying to understand why I was in all these shitty relationships I did a lot of reading, reading by these self-appointing dating/relationship ‘gurus’. SO MANY EXCUSES for men’s bad behavior. So many games were promoted to ‘catch and keep’ your man. The cave thing made me insane…so after a bad time, I, as a woman, am not allowed to retreat? I have to cater to the man and let the big ol’ baby have his space and then, if I did all the things right, he might, MIGHT come back to me/stay with me. So, let me see…he can ignore my phone calls, not talk to me, cancel dates because he’s ‘in his cave’? And I’m not allowed to call/email/text/make contact. Talk about catering. Talk about high maintenance. No thank you. I’ll pass.

          • Digs says:

            Thank you for a 10 minute laugh… I am going to carry that Uranus line around with me just waiting for a chance to use it. You’re hilarious!

        • Lilly says:

          Oh my, I feel so angry at the moment. Pauline “emotions are scary for a lot of them and they can’t cope”! You’ve just given a lot of cruel, nasty, evil guys the most amazing excuse and cop out for not acting like decent human beings. So when the ex AC likened my lost baby’s name to a bad character in a children’s book and requested not to be mentioned at his service he was just experiencing overwhelming emotions that he just couldn’t cope with? Give me a break!

          • Allison says:

            I also find the comments insulting!

            This is not a male-bashing site, nor are women victims! We are all responsible for our actions!

            • DiscardedFriend says:

              I get a little frustrated with the “women are not victims” thing. I understand the desire of the statement is to shake women out of complacency and cooperation with those who would abuse us. The fact remains, however, that women are people and people are sometimes victimized. I think that “I am not a victim” thing can be akin to the malignant optimism that we are discussing. It was for me. I refused to accept the label of victim. After all, I am a strong and intelligent woman, right? And strong, intelligent women don’t get victimized, right? So, I made excuses, and parsed sentences until they were essays, and tolerated nonsense and and and. All because I didn’t want to accept that someone I loved had victimized me due to his own emotional weakness. In trying to hold onto my strong, intelligent identity by refusing to accept that victimization is exactly what had happened, I made myself weak and stupid and a victim.

              I also don’t see holding men up to the standards that we hold all adults to as “man bashing.” If a woman were exhibiting these behaviors, I think we would have some rather harsh words for her as well, including very likely some baby-talk to highlight the infantile conduct.

              Ms. Determined – I am pretty sure that you won the internet right back just now.

              • theseamstress says:

                Moves her seat closer to the action. Cheers and Mexican waves Ms Determined. What a way with words Ms D. I’m going to change my personal benchmark to “what would Ms Determined say?”

              • Allison says:

                Discarded,

                I too, stuck around for the nonsense. The info was there, but I refused to get out until it was unbearable. Does this make me a victim? Hell no!!!! I am owning my complicity in that hurtful relationship, and should have bailed much sooner! That’s on me!

                Personal responsibility is a great thing!

                • DiscardedFriend says:

                  See, one of the issues I have with the cult of positivity is that it morphs itself into victim-blaming very easily. Had you been more faithful, more positive, more kind, etc. the universe would have rewarded you with money, love, land, health and all your heart’s desires. Had you not been wearing that skirt, he wouldn’t have attacked you. Once you accept that “law of attraction” a whole encyclopedia of subjunctives opens up, and they all benefit the abusive. A policeman actually told my brother that if he hadn’t been wearing a tuxedo (waiter uniform) in that neighborhood (his own), he wouldn’t have gotten shot. Sorry, no. Poverty is feature of our societal organization, not a bug, and is rigidly kept in place by our society. Rapists rape because they like to hurt women. Shooters shoot because they want to injure people.

                  I own my behavior. I stood in front of someone who was metaphorically punching me in the face asking him why he was doing that and to please stop. I could have and should have avoided several, even most, of my bruises. God, I can think of at least fifteen moments when I really should have just said “you know what? Fuck you, buddy!” and walked away. But my ex-friend, and the ex-lovers of the people here have agency, too. They chose to punch, and to keep punching. Let’s not be so quick to accept personal responsibility that we write a pass for the abusers. Let’s not be so eager to eschew the label of victim that we don’t allow ourselves to accept reality.

                  You said yourself that you know wonderful men. So do I. So, we can say that this one subset of men that fall into the passive-aggressive lover/ fair-weather friend/ Assclown category of men who want women to be there for THEM, but refuse to hold up their end can be treated with very little respect without saying that all XYers deserve no respect.

                  • Tabitha says:

                    The way I see it can be illustrated by nats lovely pictures. The wolf is the big bad guy. The sheep is his victim. The sheep has no idea what it is dealing with. It might experience some primeval gut like instinct that this animal is dangerous/not to be trusted. But the sheep is lonely/horny/a little gullible so it overrides it’s gut feelings and looks forward to days in the sun playing with the wolf in the meadows.
                    Wolf knows exactly what he has planned for sheep. he may not know exactly when/where/how but he knows he will hurt the sheep. Because it is in his nature. He is a wolf and he cannot change that.
                    However, when the sheep starts to recognise that the wolf is not very nice, that he is mean to other animals, is unkind to sheep sometimes, likes to make her feel shit, does she run? Some do, but not the Fallback Girl Sheep. No, the Fallback Girl Sheep keeps going back for more. She wants to make the wolf not behave like a wolf with her positive thinking. She can be the exception to the wolfs rule. She keeps going back and being slowly destroyed, and now, NO, she is not a victim, she is a VOLUNTEER.

                    • FX says:

                      Tabitha, I love this! So spot on and descriptive of the last several years of my thinking and life.

                    • FX says:

                      I just want to add that I do finally accept that he is a wolf and just because he found a new sheep and married her, he has not morphed into a harmless meadow creature. The funny thing is that toward the end I even told him all about his true nature in so many words by telling him the parable about the scorpion and the frog. Smh!

                    • Tulipa says:

                      Tabitha,
                      I am having trouble with my thinking as to who owns what in the whole mess with the AC.

                      Are you saying that once I knew the ex AC was a wolf and hurt me and because I went back to him I am responsible for all my injuries now and he is responsible for nothing simply because I knew he was a wolf?
                      I am struggling to understand why the wolf is excused from his behaviour.

                      Let’s say a woman is in a domestic violent situation and she calls the police and says the wolf has hurt me she leaves the wolf but goes back to him and he hurts her again is she no longer entitled to call the police and have the wolf charged because she is now a volunteer to his actions and not a victim ? Is the wolf let off because she knew how he would behave?

                      I am questioning this because I am struggling still to come to terms with all what happened in my own situation. I think am I to blame for all my injuries or does the wolf have some responsibility for inflicting them?

                      Hope I make sense.

                  • Allison says:

                    Discarded,

                    There is no pass for my ex, but there is also no pass for me.

                    If I don’t understand what brought me to that relationship – and kept me there – I will continue to recycle with the same type of man because I’m in victim-mode – He such a creep, poor me, its not my fault.

                    When I chose to address my side of things, every aspect of my life change. Pity parties get you nowhere, but facing your demons and change do,

                    I can’t change others behavior, but I can change my own.

                    • Tabitha says:

                      Tulipa, hell no I do not excuse the wolf his behaviour. What I am saying is that once we know, really know what we are dealing with, then we have to take our share of accepting our part in it. It would have been easy for me to say the ex that brought me here was totally to blame and I was a victim. He behaved appallingly. But until I looked hard at why I tolerated it for so long, and why I actually went back for more, I was kind of stuck. I have owned up to my part in the horrible mess. I don’t think it is productive for any of us to think we are helpless and cannot change our own way of thinking or our own behaviour when it comes to maybe repeating patterns that have brought us unhappiness.

        • Rosie says:

          April111 and Pauline- I have a problem with what you say too and I DO believe men and women are different from each other! The married men that I know are there for their wives. My friend has a physical illness. Her husband doesn’t go running to the bar, to the football game, to whatever whenever she’s having a rough day. He sticks around, does the dishes, does the laundry, whatever needs to get done. He doesn’t go spilling out his emotions and/or crying on his friend’s shoulder but he does what he thinks will make her life a little easier when she’s not doing well.

          I don’t know as I’m a woman and my dad was always some place else even when he was home but men seem more territorial and protective of what’s important to them. As abusive as my dad could be, when our house almost burned down due to nearby fire and we were told to evacuate, my dad stuck around with the hose. The neighborhood men did the same. To run away because they’re “scared and can’t cope” seems the opposite of what I’ve observed men to be like.

          • Lau_ra says:

            I agree with Rosie.Men might be less into emotions and so they might have a harder time dealing with them, but saying things like “he does this and that cause he is a man” or “but you participated in it too”
            is not an excuse for malicious behaviour. Grown up men usually know how they’ll act in a certain situation, regardless if they know the true reason for their behaviour. ACs/EUMs and MMs know they’ll vanish on you, they know they’ll hit you, they know they’ll never leave their wives and etc. Stating that “its just how men are” brings it all back to the woman once again and starts the cycle of “if you’d only been better/prettier/silent/etc-he would have loved you/treated you better/etc”. Every single time a guy was being a jerk, many people told me “oh, its just a guy thing, you know, thats how men are”, and just 1 friend told me straight-up I should dump the guy.I clearly see what sort of message is delivered to both women and men when using excuses based on chromosomes – it says the person is not accountable (though they somwhow happen to be able to deal with difficulties at work and other environments, but God forbit-just not in the relationships, right?). Too many women believe it, and thats exactly the way how we end up in relationshits.

  2. yoghurt says:

    :) It’s incredible, this has arrived with practically pinpoint-precision timing.

    I’ve just got to the end (I hope) of a bad few months where I’ve been wrestling with thoughts like “Three years on and where’s my progress?” and “this is it, clearly my life is just permanently wrecked and will always be lonely”, “it isn’t fair that I was born to be such a social inadequate” and “maybe the reason that I accepted crumbs was because I wasn’t ever going to rate a loaf” and other such cheerful perusals of my circumstances.

    This post has just popped up and gift-wrapped a lot of the conclusions that I’ve drawn through this epic battle with negativity, which were as follows:

    1) Sometimes circumstances are just difficult, positive attitude or not. I’ve raised a child, held down a (‘challenging’) full-time job, moved house three times, managed financially, kept my house free of life-threatening bacteria and navigated the sort of relationship that lands people on meds. With the best will in the world, I was not going to be able to morph into Social Butterfly Of The Century without the help of superhuman strength and/or amphetamines.

    2) I shouldn’t be actively looking for Thunderbolts of Change! to come raining down and zap a nice man or fab new friends or a lottery win into my path. Thunderbolts are thunderbolts, I am not in charge of them. Realistically, all I can do is make the overall fabric of my life prettier, pleasanter, more productive and more fun.

    3) Negativity is a self-perpetuating beast – you start feeling miserable and then you feel miserable because you feel miserable and clearly that must prove something. Actually it doesn’t. I’m getting better at saying “Okay doke, it’s been a rough day at work, it’s the end of term, I haven’t had my tea yet and the holes in my tights have been strangling my toes all day. OF COURSE I’m not happy. So let’s stop whinging”.

    So I’ve started running (or, more accurately, ‘running’), made a quit-smoking-again plan to start on Monday, made an eyebrow appt to deal with the fact that my eyebrows are threatening to take over the world, started a new skincare regime and planned some nice activities for me and son over the holidays. Nothing huge. Feels much better than when I wasn’t bothering with any of them, though.

    • runnergirl says:

      Wonderful application of Nat’s post Yoghurt. Hat’s off too you with the quit-smoking-again plan Good luck with the eyebrows and skin. And have with with your son.

      You’ve stated it perfectly. I’ve been waiting for those Thunderbolts of Change to hit me too. It’s about what we do with the fabric of our life…that’s the part we are in charge of.

      Thank you.

      • yoghurt says:

        Thank you back, runner, I learned from the masters – including you :) How’s Miss Runner getting on in her new place?

        I’m planning to weave flowers and ribbons and nice things into the fabric of my life :) Home-baked cakes and the like. Thunderbolts are all very well and I think they DO happen, it’s just that you can’t sit around waiting for them.

        • runnergirl says:

          What a sweet vision of weaving flowers, ribbons, homebaked cakes, and nice things into out lives. I’ve woven tomatoes, peppers, basil, and cilantro into mine.
          Little Miss Runner leaves in 60 days for her new place. Our flights are booked. First and last months rent is paid for. And she’s registered for school. Of course, her place has to be furnished and all that stuff. Atm, she’s going to the beach, working a little, and enjoying the summer. I’m not feeding the worry fish. When she left the first time, she left with 2 suitcases of clothes and did fine.
          How’s the eyebrows!

    • Ms Determined says:

      Yogurt. Gurrrrrrl? I hear ya.

      I’ve always thought of you as my BR twin, except that I am 3 years ahead of where you are at right now. Like you I’ve done the insanity inducing relationship bullshit, brought up baby solo, suffered the various indignities of what it is to be a single full time working mother and coped with the fear of being eternally alone by smoking eleventy million fags and (ok so maybe this part isn’t so much like you) draining thousands of boxes of chateau cardboard. Per day. Many days I wonder when I will wake up to find my face being eaten by the cats I didn’t know I had and call out for my child for help, only to remember that the ungrateful little bastard grew up and moved out decades ago.

      I don’t want to say anything that’s going to make you want to cut yourself, being three years ahead of you and all, but for me things still have that groundhog day quality to them. Surprise surprise, Master Determined’s father is as much of a monumental asshole as ever (although, thankfully, he is doing a number on someone else now instead of me. Sucks to be her). Dating still kind of blows. I’m still plagued by self doubt at times (although I’m getting much better at this) and I still drink quite a lot of wine (but HUZZAH! No more fags! Get on that Champix as fast as you can girlfriend, if not for all the cinemacolour crazy dreams. God I miss those).

      When we’re feeling isolated in situations we feel we have no control over (hello being a single mum) it feels as if the only way things will change is by thunderbolts. Five/six months-ish ago, when I started seeing the bloke I just broke up with, I thought my life was finally going to change. You might remember I knew him from the past and had dated him a couple of times. He was going to be my thunderbolt. I was in a good place with my BR education. He was great with my kid. He liked what I like. He was financially secure. Best of all (cue fireworks display) he wasn’t an asshole! BUT, ultimately I learned that just because someone isn’t an asshole, it doesn’t mean they are right for you. So bub-bye, guy.

      I’m not even sure what I’m saying here, or that I have a point at all. Maybe it’s that yes, THIS IS IT. And you are doing it the right way. The way to cope when you aren’t feeling great about what is going on is to remember that you have CHOICE. Choice in how you think about things. What is great about you is that you are being totally realistic about your situation. And you know that you are the author of your own story. You can wait forever for a thunderbolt, or you make small, seemingly insignificant changes that will eventually get your happy ending, whatever that looks like for you. Best of all, the small things you’re doing are a reminder to yourself that YOU are important. Thanks for reminding me that’s how I need to think too. In my case I have a bikini line that is down to my knees. Just because there’s no one visiting the ladygarden, doesn’t mean you should stop weeding.

      • simple pleasures says:

        @yoghurt and MsD. Think positive!
        Life gave you lemons and you made lemonade. Out of ashes came the phoenix of your sons. Now imagine for a moment you had gotten pregnant when you were 17 and married the guy quickly, only to discover he had Other Woman (say wife in another country). So with
        your one month old son you leave
        the assclown to move on live your life, get an education and an occupation, meet another man, have another child etc. But love
        son-of-a-jerk. Now son-of-assclown doesn’t have an easy life with single mum, and he’s mixed race, with religious and cultural background differences from the mainstream. But he becomes freaking president of the USA. Think positive, MasterD and
        yoghurt jr. may become royalty
        some day, maybe the Duke of Earl who knows?

        • yoghurt says:

          Blah, I’m a bit anti-royal so I’d hope for better for him than that!

          But it’s true, he is a blessing. One odd thing that the last few years has taught me is that actions bring specifically-related rewards – for example, the reward for Not Having A Nervous Breakdown is that you don’t have a nervous breakdown. The reward that I got for deciding to go ahead with the pregnancy wasn’t a relationship or a traditional happy-ever-after, but I did get son and he is brilliant.

      • Keetseel says:

        NML, your timing is perfect for me as well. I’m just realizing that even though I was happy when I met the almost-ex-AC, even though I was able to separate “my stuff” from “his stuff,” that it just might be more than I’m willing to bear right now. Last night we went to a very close friend’s birthday party. She lives in a compound with lots of cute adobe rentals, and the one next door has a new tenant. Some new guy and of course, my friend being who she is, has taken him into her circle and invited him to the party. Unbeknownst to me, this is a man who had an affair with my almost-ex-AC’s wife when they were still married, and is now dating her, and sits down next to my a-e-AC and proceeds to talk about how he and she “were at your parents’ house the other night” and how he knows all about the a-e-AC’s mother’s health problems. Yay! Naturally puts my poor fragile a-e-AC in a foul mood which he takes out on me after the party. Yay! It seems I live in a city of 700,000+ that functions like a town of 7,000 in the way people circulate. Go figure.

        Ms. D writes: “Many days I wonder when I will wake up to find my face being eaten by the cats I didn’t know I had…” Ha! The Crazy Cat Lady is a fixture over here that puts one somewhere between “Witch” and “Spinster,” status-of-women-wise. I do, from time to time, wonder if that is my destiny. But what the hell–I love cats, dammit! And I can certainly envision happiness without a man, as long as I’m living in light and growing plants and writing.

        My one daughter, who I also raised solo, is about to leave for college so I can’t blame her if she’s not around to call 911 if I electrocute myself trying to fix the dryer or fall off the roof while turning off the EC.

        I will be self-reliant. I will lean on my friends (a difficult thing for me) when necessary. I will learn to ask for help from strangers. But I will never never never again stay in a bad relationship out of fear of being alone. It’s not worth it.

        • Allison says:

          Keetseel,

          Why do you hang out with someone you refer to as “the almost-ex-AC?”

          • Keetseel says:

            Allison, I’m so bad at this. There’s still a gap between deciding to break up and then actually following through with it. I was going to yesterday, but then he wooed me with loving words I’ve literally never heard a man say to me before. Things like “I’ll never let you go,” which I’m sure half the women on this site would roll their eyes at because they’ve heard it a dozen times but, because I have always chosen men who didn’t want me, I haven’t heard. I’m confused.

            • Allison says:

              Keetseel,

              The words mean NOTHING!!!!!!
              Only this man’s actions count. If you are referring to him as an AC, its time to bail.

              It does not sound like he treats you with any care or respect.

        • Tracy says:

          Keetseel: I am in the place you are right now. Nest will be empty next month. But I bought the dumpiest, tiniest, cheapest house in the NYC metro area. One block to water. A yard so I can finally have my garden. A fireplace. Needs buckets of work, but it’s OK. My two kids and I have been a team for the last six years since their AC/EUM father decided he’d rather forget that he has kids. Every time I feel guilty that they have no dad (well, they do, he only lives two hours away…asshole), they lift me by being thrilled that ‘we’ finally have a house, ‘we’ did it with no help. They are learning that no one should ever rely on someone else to take care of them. I’m finally good with the idea that rather than find a MAN to fulfill me, I have lots of friends in lots of interesting place who constantly offer to put me up if I come to visit. I have one or two who have agreed that we’ll be those “crazy ladies” who live in the little house. I will no longer jump through hoops and shape-shift to please someone or have them stay with me. I’m almost embarrassed to think of the things I’ve done to keep/please a man. And they were never even worth it in the end.
          And don’t worry, if you fall off the roof, the neighbors will call the ambulance for you!

          • Allison says:

            Tracy,

            You have a fireplace!! :)

            I live in NYC, too. Don’t see very many fireplaces.

            Enjoy your new home, and cozy winters!

            • Teddie says:

              But, Allison and Tracy, this is NYC you are talking about! Honestly, what places could possible be more exciting than NYC!? I mean really, in terms of everything imaginable, where you are, the deck is stacked just optimally for you to have the most exciting and fullfilling lives with or without companions.

              • Allison says:

                Teddie,

                I am with you! I LOVE this city!!!!! We have to sacrifice, but it is soooo worth it! Would not live anywhere else!

      • yoghurt says:

        Ho ho ho, I didn’t mention my ladygarden, but only because I haven’t got round to worrying about it yet. I think it may have bears living in it. Any intrepid thunderbolt would probably run and hide at the prospect… but then there’s an incentive for waiting before (heh) letting him give me the sex.

        I love all your posts and this is brilliant, thanks. :)

        I think that parenthood in general is a bit samey and Groundhog Dayish in lots of ways anyway – all that sitting in of an evening, that’s wearing thin. But the other bother is that single-parenthood is such a thunderbolt in itself (and so full of drama and Hefty Emotional Episodes) that you start seeing all of life like that. I mean, if one teeny tiny little sperm could cause all that upheaval, imagine what an actual factual niceother human being could do if he put his mind to it? And got over the eyebrows, which are mental.

        But probably less than I can – and am – doing myself.

        Sorry about the man, but doesn’t it feel good to know that you’re not so craven and knocked-down by your experiences that you’re prepared to put up with Mr Not-Right for the sake of not being single? I think you should be proud.

        • Ms Determined says:

          Ha ha Yoghurt, I have an image of you as the wildling Osha from Game of Thrones with her splendid eyebrows. Now there’s a show to make nights in less tedious. All BR ladies should get stuck into that one – lots of strong female characters and vaguely relevant soft porn to make those nights alone seem less lonely ;-) And hello, Jon Snow and Rob Stark. Phwoar.

      • paolo says:

        @missdetermined…As long as ladygarden doesn’t need pesticides then your all good.

      • Confused123 says:

        Emm…I think I’m Ms Determined and Yougurt’s triplet.
        I too am in the “I’ve done the insanity inducing relationship bullshit, brought up baby solo, suffered the various indignities of what it is to be a single full time working mother and coped with the fear of being eternally alone” and being 38 I constantly worry if I am too old for the dating scene. :(

        • Ms Determined says:

          WELCOME CONFUSED 123. Babysitters and Margarita party to celebrate! You wouldn’t happen to be a beauty therapist would you?

          • Confused123 says:

            HAHA Ms Determined.
            I am not a beauty therapist . If I was I’d be happy to help you and Yoghurt with your waxing needs. :P
            That being said it the closet I’d have gotten to someone genitals in about 8 months..Sigh! Not a bad thing per se but still kind of depressing.

            • meandthebump says:

              Confused, Ms D, Yoghurt…. I’ll be your quadruplet! Though I am some time behind you, as am still pregnant (7 months now… huge!). Had the ‘no one will ever love me again’ gloom for the past few weeks, when I tag along to alcohol-less social events and notice no guys even look at me. But I don’t want a date at the moment, anyway. Not til the little one is safely here and grown a little. But it’s that feeling you nailed of being the working single mum groundhog day (yes, I sent an email to my client yesterday saying I’m not taking maternity leave as I’m a freelancer, just the days off to actually give birth, since I have to support myself until we get the CSA pittance from the runaway dad). Then I remember that the absent assclown EUM had said to me about our unborn child: “it will grow up knowing it’s not wanted”. So how could mine and my daughter-to-be’s lives be any better with him in it!?!

              I am a positive, law of attraction person, so feel deeply the disappointment of being let down, I attracted this former relationsh!t. But have to realise more that it’s my expectations and standards that the EUM/invisible AC didn’t meet. Under pressure (pregnancy) he was true to his character (ran away into another girl’s arms). Actually showed me tons of worse character I would never even have imagined (like getting stoned at the ultrasound scan in the clinic toilet. And emailing (never using his voice god forbid!) to say “I guess we’re having a kid. I need to speak to you to sort this out, in a kind way of course” and then when I make time on a weekend as I’m working full-time weekdays, he replied “Sorry. Busy at the weekends. I’m not working at the moment so weekday am or pm is good for me”… hmmmm so new girlfriend still doesn’t know you’ve got a pregnant ex then….)

              So, yup, I guess I’m still wallowing in the ‘wow’ how have I ended up solo, single working mum, I can’t face starting again, spiral. But the positivity has its uses – I remember I have so much: a good job, a little girl on the way, nice hair and skin with all these preg hormones! I will look for opportunities to get my flirt on, armed with my new BR education!

      • meandthebump says:

        Crazybaby, yes that seems to be true – and also when a crisis happens in your life you get to see their character in how they react to a major challenge when it’s something outside of their own world of self that requires them to step up, it pushes their true character to the fore

    • sushi says:

      yoghurt,

      you are one of the most positive, lovely people ever!

      I brought my children up by myself so I understand your situation. I have a strong , positive drive that carried me through difficult situations but it feels rooted in me and is not a lala-land version.
      What did me in was trying to be perfect so I`ll be good enough. Kept miserably failing and feeling miserable as result.
      Had a botched attempt at stopping smoking at a time where I was in desperate depths of sorting out my baggage from the time I was five years old and when my health was seriously failing because of stress.I just added more pressure on myself and my body and ended up unable to cope, putting loads of weight on and so ill ( and miserable). I don`t even know how it happened exacly since I “bottomed out”,but I did the “stock take” lately after my daughter sent me a photo of us together last year with a text; ” I found this photo, it was only a year ago. Mum you look so great now you are doing so well” Dear God, she is right. I made a huge effort with my health ( really hard work) and it`s improving, I take the time to feed me well, or just feed me, instead of doing more important things like work, so lost most of the weight, make effort to be good to me. I reduced the number and strenth of the fags ( smoke the ones that are mostly air right now) and don`t drown in caffeine anymore. I think all that must have happened when I stopped trying to be perfect and drive myself crazy critisising me. Also, the thinking about not being in relationship, missing out on stuff in life and being lonely became not the pressing, overwhelming feelings anymore, they are more like occassional niggles. ahhh, relief….
      PS. It must be National Eybrows Day, having mine done today….spooooky :)

      • yoghurt says:

        Heya sushi

        I’m not always positive and lovely, it’s just that I just hide when I’m not! This last few months I’ve been a right whiny aud boot. But thank you anyway, I think you’re lovely too. It also sounds like you’ve made brilliant progress over the last year, well done :)

        It’s funny about the smoking – lots of people have mentioned it on here – and I really think that it’s one of those things that you have to do in a careful and controlled sort of way, under the right circumstances – like dieting, I suppose. I gave up a few months ago, relatively easily, but I put on a lot of weight and it only lasted until the first Big Stress (moving house). Then I took it back up and my general health and condition went through the floor.

        This time I’ve got a better diet and eating routine and I’m going to mix it up with exercise and see how it goes.

        The perfectionism is another strange one, especially with single-parenthood. I was really really driven to be the ‘best’ single mother that I could be (perfect baby! back full-time two weeks after the birth! mature co-parenting relationship!). I managed it for a bit – and son is perfect anyway – but it took its toll and I also ended up on the coffee-and-fags-only diet (isn’t it strange how hard it is to eat properly again?). And it made no difference to anything, which I think I secretly hoped that it would.

        I am still a bit perfectionisty on a bad day, but I try to steer it towards my overall balance and health atm and that’s helped a lot. The bonus of putting on weight when I quit smoking was seeing how much better my face looked without all the bones poking through it.

        • yoghurt says:

          PS happy eyebrow day! Mine will get theirs on Thursday.

        • Mymble says:

          Yoghurt
          I know this is off topic, but with regard to giving up smoking, what worked for me was gum and latterly lozenges. (gum plays havoc with root treated teeth). The reason being that as well as the nicotine addiction, the psychology of my smoking was “treating myself”, I could go all day at work w/o a fag, but as soon as I got home got the urge for the “treat”. Being able to “do something” instead was a replacement habit. Only thing is I’m addicted to the mini lozenges – and they’re dear – but at least not harmful to health!

      • Allison says:

        Sushi,

        Sounds like you’re in a really good place :)

    • Tabitha says:

      Wow Yoghurt, I totally get where you (and Ms D, runner and subsequent posters) are coming from. I loved your post, it really made me laugh.
      It is time we all gave ourselves a big Pat On The Back.
      We are brilliant!

    • oregongirl says:

      Yoghurt,
      Thank you so much for sharing your post with the rest of us girls. You gave me some good perspective on life and you helped me feel a little better.

      I broke up with my ex about three weeks ago. NC has been very hard for me. I know he is not right for me but I still love him with all my heart. Today he was able to get through my blocked email by using another address and we ended up skyping for two hours.

      He said he missed me, he loved me, he wanted me back…but he was NOT going to divorce his wife until HE decided to do it. I asked him when? He said, “when I think the time is right.” Translation: not in this lifetime.

      So wouldn’t I just like to get together for some loving and fun? He said he’d take me out to dinner, buy me drinks, then come to my house to sleep over.

      When I started crying and said no, not on those terms, no I am not going to put myself through that hurt again, he got furious, said “you are a fucking asshole!!!” and hung up on me.

      I can’t tell you how many times this scenario has played out in this same way. He won’t get a divorce from her, but he will not leave me alone. I am so hurt right now. I can’t stop crying.

      I think it is better to be alone, and have some peace, than to be with someone–even if it’s just hanging on by a tiny thread–who is abusive and disrespectful.

      So hang in there, Yoghurt. You are wonderful :) You have helped me today with your honesty and your common senses. If we lived in the same town, we could have coffee and be friends :)

      • TeaCozy says:

        oregon, this guy sounds so childish. He doesn’t get what he wants, so he throws a tantrum?

        Natalie has an excellent post about how to deal with the aftermath of sticking your hand back in the fire (breaking no contact). If you’ve not read it recently, it might give you comfort and courage.

        Resume full no contact, don’t engage him even if he wriggles past your electronic defense, and eventually, you will find clarity and calmness.

        My motto when I’ve had to go no contact is: No new pain. If I keep the troublemaker out of my life, I only have to sort through the pile of existing pain — I don’t let him add more to it.

        Hang in there. It will get better.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Oregongirl. You admit that he is abusive and disrespectful but you love him with all your heart? That’s not love. It’s pure unadulterated PAIN. What do you love about him? He treats you like sh*t, i.e, “you’re a fucking asshole” and refuses to leave him wife. This translates to, “I hate myself with all my heart.” Wake up. Certainly you deserve more.

      • Eternal Optimist says:

        Oregongirl,

        We seem to be in the same boat! I’ve gone NC with the MM 3 weeks ago too. When I go NC, I don’t ever look back. It’s my point of no return.

        I’ve let go of our passionate two-year relationship. It wasn’t progressing the way he future-faked it would and he had delayed divorcing his wife 4 times giving all sorts of excuses for not going through with his plans. To me this means one thing: He never truly loved me to be with me properly.

        I want a man who knows with all his heart that he wants to be with me.

        So I decided to just up and leave with no explanation whatsoever. No closure. He doesn’t deserve it.

        I’ll never go into a relationship with a MM ever again no matter what. It’s demeaning, soul-destroying and you’ll lose self-respect.

        That was my first and last. I didn’t know he was married till I was in too deep, but I’m out now. Phew!

      • Digs says:

        Oregongirl, hang in there with the NC. Stick with it. It will be so worth it. Throw your arms up to the sky and thank the universe that he isn’t leaving his wife. You wouldn’t have gotten a prize. See my comment below to Debbie. He’s a jackass, and an abusive one at that. Hang in there girl.

  3. Learner says:

    Natalie,
    Your post speaks to what I have experienced with my dad lately. We have not always gotten along well (alcohol abuse and other problems interfered) but I had hoped things would improve now that I have my values clarified and have put some boundaries into place. It hasn’t happened as smoothly as I had hoped. My dad complains that I never visit him or invite him around, so I emailed suggesting we get together in the next week or two. He responded with a big list of things he had to do each day, but said the weekend may work except Sunday was the Wimbledon men’s finals so it might “cramp his style”. So it seems he prioritized watching tennis over seeing me! He said he would get back to me when he could from up a time. I felt really sad at first, and got the childhood feelings of not being important creep into my brain. Then I thought to myself “Learner, you have given him an opportunity to see you. Te ball is in his court. If he wants to see you, he will make time, if not, you can be with people who want to see you. ” I felt somewhat better, but still hurt. I responded to his email with one word: “okay”. The old me would have sent a complaining email asking if he wanted to see me or not. I may also have tried to Jedi mind trick hin into wanting to see me. I did take his bait this time. And I got on with life. Lo and behold, he did call me the next day and we set up a time to get together – after the Wimbledon finals, and at a time that worked well for me. We will see how it goes. I will maintain a positive approach because that will be in my own best interests. Thanks for the reminder that WE are the beneficiaries of our own positive thinking.

    • Learner says:

      “When he could *firm* up a time” … I did *not* take the bait” sorry for typos and silly autocorrects!

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh Learner, I hear you. Do you see the connection with the recent interaction with your father and the past involvement with the exMM? It’s the busy factor, prioritizing just about everything everything over making plans with you as well as the option factor. Perfect response to him. “Okay” says it all. You aren’t going to jedi mind trick him or hunt him down and drag him to your house. Good on you for not chasing your dad down. I’ve had a similar circumstance with reconnecting with a former best girl friend. She suggested we get together and I said as long as I know when, I can make plans. She then launched into a litany of how busy she is for the next month. I responded like you…okay. It’s not like my life is going to revolve around hers anymore. Like your dad, she called and we arranged a date to meet…which ended up a bit flaky…and then she followed up by acting like her true self, a self-absorbed AC. We’ve talked briefly but I’m not chasing her down and frankly, I’m not in the mood. Good luck with your father. Stay strong with your boundaries and keep your postive thinking grounded in reality.

      • Learner says:

        Runner,
        Yes, there are many parallels between how it feels to relate with the ExMm and how it feels to relate to my dad. The battle to become higher up on their priority list is getting tiring and I refuse to fight it any more! It’s a shame things didn’t turn out for the better with your friend. Self absorption can be difficult to overcome (and I include myself in those who are trying to overcome this). I agree it is pointless to chase down people who do not treat us as priorities.I am keeping those boundaries and positive thoughts in place, as you suggest. Thanks runnergirl xo

  4. Nickster says:

    “You know your one Jacinta that lives on blah blah road that used to go out with jockstrap after jockstrap? Yeah well she’s seen the light now and realises that she needs to treat herself better, so next time she’s on Match.com, make sure you hook her up with The One. You got me?”

    HILARIOUS. Am so guilty of this thinking.

  5. yoghurt says:

    It also occurs to me – as I reread with glee – that unerring positivity is just as dishonest as unerring negativity. Life is good and it’s better if we make the most of it/don’t get knocked in a heap every time something awful happens, but it’s not infallibly brilliant all the time.

    Reality is reality. Living in reality might not always be a bundle of laughs but it’s better than either living in loola fantasy-land where everything WILL work out, no matter how far-fetched the possible scenario needs to be, or else living in a black pit of doom where everything’s your fault. Although, weirdly, those two unrealities are more closely linked than I’d’ve realised.

    • Teddie says:

      I’m with you Yoghurt. You point out just what is behind the recent backlash against the industry of positive psychology/positive thinking. It ends up being counter-productive by creating unrealistic expectation and diminishing resilience and the ability to cope with disappointments. Lots of writings pointing this out in the press over the last two years, here’s one: http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/b/bheld/pdf/JHP-held-2004.pdf

      • Wiser says:

        I have finally replaced my own relentless, obsessive focus on thinking positively with thinking compassionately. When I can do that well, I’m much happier.

        • micheyl says:

          Wiser, I love that. I think I will write that down. Because for me it is actually easier to be compassionate than positive. Thank you

          • runnergirl says:

            Thank you for the link Teddie. I started reading and then remembered why Natalie’s clear, concise, meaningful, and totally on spot writing is so important. I’m so in awe of how Nat can get to the point, quickly, clearly, and concisely. I did the positive stuff and that other make room in your life for the one…I actually cleaned out closets in order to make room. At least I have clean closets.

            For me, I simply wasn’t able to make him think he was available, no matter how I twisted myself into a pretzel and cleaned closets, he was an unavailable individual. I think this is what has been so important to me: I can’t turn an unavailable person into being available, no matter how stubborn I am or positive I am. I can turn back flips, do jedi mind tricks, finishing with a delicious dinner, desert, and great sex, and he is still unavailable. The only thing that has to do with me is trying to make an unavailable person available. No postive thinking is going to do that. No dinner, no text, no being there, no sex is going to make a sam hell of a difference.
            Now I don’t think I attract unavailables. In the past, I think I failed to flush them. Got my hand firmly on my flush handle now thanks to Natalie and BR.
            Let’s do a group flush!

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Hi Runner. Looks like online suits you just fine. Easy flushing when you know right off the bat, they’re a waste of time.

    • kookie says:

      yoghurt et al.

      i agree about not getting to carried away with the cult of positivity. just finished a book by oliver burkeman called the antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking. really top notch, i recommend it. it’s optimistic despite what the title suggests.

      what i loved about nat’s writing when i first stumbled on it was that she focuses on reality not blind wishful thinking. for every cool, reality-based pinterest quote i read from nat, on my fb i get six more wishful thinking kinds with crap like “don’t give up on someone you think about everyday” or “real love endures everything and will win” i used to think those inspirational quotes were so positive but nah, most of them are wishful thinking and stupid and i just read ones from stable people like nat not hipster fairy loons.

      • Ms Determined says:

        That book change my life Kookie. It’s a must read. As of course is BR.

        Without a doubt, BR is the single most beneficial resource I have come across in my entire life. I read it pretty much every. Freaking. Day. And every time I do, I thank my lucky stars that someone on the other side of the world took it upon themselves to call out all this bullshit for what it is so that I didn’t have to spend the rest of my life thinking it was ‘just me’.

        AND BRAIN PLASTICITY. THANK FUCK FOR THAT.

        NML; rewiring our brains one post at a time. BONA FIDE BRAIN SURGEON.

  6. kim says:

    Brilliant! every day I read one of your posts, it seems you’ve been reading my journal and then handing me advice tailored just for me. Thank you :)

  7. Magnolia says:

    Ha, ha! “… she’s seen the light now and realises that she needs to treat herself better, so next time she’s on Match.com, make sure you hook her up with The One.” So me!!

    I’ve stalled in my positivity by expecting a reward for it, and then feeling negative when I don’t get what I want! Ah well. I’m so glad that one can keep learning.

    I had a bit of an aha! moment around my expectations a couple weeks ago as I rode in the backseat of a car with new friends on a highway in the Rocky Mountains. For me, it couldn’t get much better professionally, or life-wise, than gazing at these peaks, overwhelmed at their beauty, spotting elk and bear, then retiring to a dinner of wood-oven-fired pizza and the comfiness of a three-star-hotel.

    Except that it gave me a pang to think about how much I would have liked to be sharing it all with someone, or to at least have someone to make a call home to from the hotel. And thinking about my fertility still brings tears to my eyes.

    Suddenly it hit home: life can be beautiful and tragic at the same time. Someone you love can die, and the mountains go on being beautiful. My life can have these soaring moments of bliss, and that doesn’t erase the grief that I might have known or may still be yet to come.

    Sure I knew it intellectually; but for some reason I guess I’ve been expecting that positive energy meant experiencing life as uniformly positive. Or at least relatively painless. But it’s about being equipped, as you say.

    I am really loving the Headspace meditation app. Sometimes I’m sitting with a ton of my own negativity and it sucks! But in a very productive way! :)

    • Rosie says:

      Magnolia-

      “Suddenly it hit home: life can be beautiful and tragic at the same time. Someone you love can die, and the mountains go on being beautiful.”

      Thank you for this.

    • yoghurt says:

      This is brilliant, Magnolia. Thanks.

    • Arlena says:

      Mag, I also have become a great fan of mindfulness. When my mind wanders off I often find myself in an angry monologue about something. I catch myself more and more quickly and the best thing to calm myself down.

  8. Chloe says:

    Yes, I agree with this article and I just went through an expereince where I was courted by an employer, then didn’t get the job. If felt no different than being courted by a man who doesn’t commit. Oh well, I thought my positive attitude would clinch the deal, but not so. Although I just had a conversation with a professional about how we create our reality through positive thinking, I think it can cause a lot of backlash when our expectations aren’t met. A tough boundary we need to set with ourselves to not fall into fantasy whilst still staying positive.

  9. Sarah says:

    I’m on board with your “no contact.” But do you have anything…ANYTHING…positive to offer?

    Just ONE happy ending (other than your own)to offer?

    • Mymble says:

      That would depend on what you define as a “happy ending”. If by that you mean people who are now in a relationship, then there are some of those, although being in relationship isn’t an ending, and nor is it a guarantee of being in a permanently happy state. Fairy stories end with wedding bells,real life doesn’t.
      There are people who are leading better lives, however; again, not an ending, because life is a journey with only one “ending”.

      • sushi says:

        Mymble,

        that`s exactly how I feel.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        That’s deep, Mymble, and thought provoking. I am very much in love with my boyfriend and as far as I know it’s completely mutual. At the same time I know that as wonderful as it is, it may not go on forever. But we try. We are happy, while knowing that there is no such thing as a permanently happy state. As we proceed on our journey we are mindful that there is only one “end”. Thanks for that, Mymble.

    • theseamstress says:

      Sarah…I don’t know about happy endings, when is the ending? When we float down the aisle towards Prince Charming accompanied by choirs of angels and producing happy cherub babies who never scream for chocolate?

      **Violins screech to a halt**

      Here’s my take on NC. It was the best thing I ever did in terms of pro active behaviour towards my own sanity. I wasn’t holding out for happiness, I wasn’t sure I was worthy of it, I was merely striving for some peace and sanity in a world where I felt like I had made so many wrong turns I was now lost in a maze with no end in sight. I cringed at my own behaviour, never mind his. For me NC was the happy ending. I just didn’t know it at the time.

      It hurts, it’s difficult, it’s lonely, it seems impossible to get on with life and I spent days just moping and hating and brooding, my mind filled with a low level anxiety which was like an approaching buzzing plane about to unload a bomb. I was a nervous wreck.

      You have to cross the river of drooling trolls and many headed beasts to get to the other side of the NC river. Believe me, eventually the pain subsides, life starts seeping in through the cracks and then you realise you haven’t thought about them all day, that you haven’t got time to give them the curdled steam of your thoughts. That you just haven’t got the energy to care one way or another.

      You/we/I have to make the decision to start somewhere and that committing to NC is the start of showing yourself what your boundaries and values are and when you know what they are then you start to emerge into a happiness. There’s no time frame on it.

      It’s hard work but it’s good work, it never ends, this work on ourselves but you have begun. That’s the way to find what you are looking for. The first steps are the most faltering, do not give up. I wish you luck and strength and happiness. Keep coming here. I ate BR for every lonely moment and there were many. I have learned and I continue to learn so much from Nat and all of these wonderful people here who share their experiences. I’m in a relationship now, 2 years after committing to NC but I still come here, it has been invaluable. I love this community. It really was the only thing that saved me. Voices of reason and truth and humour. My friends were too impartial and bless them I really couldn’t have bored them any longer with my ‘love’ life. You have come to the right place, here the words will resonate with you and offer answers and solutions.

      **longing for a BR sign or emoticon that describes the unique support that is to be found here, anyone?

      • micheyl says:

        thank you seamstress. I needed to read what you wrote about NC. I was so ‘positive’ during 2-3 weeks NC and then ran into the exEUM at a party and completely lost all dignity and humiliated myself. Practically begging/demanding he break off with his current girl whom I have now become the OW to. He is taking her to England to meet his family and I couldn’t accept that it was not me. Of course he feeds me all the right lines, he still loves me, he is going to break off with her just in his own way (after they return from England?!). It’s like I am half way rational while I am on my own but the minute he is anywhere near me I hand over all my power to him, like here treat me like shit again please! It is like a drug. Of course, we ended up at his house and having sex and he said, “No matter who we end up with we should always have sex with each other at least once a year.” Yes, that is my dream come true. To be used by you for sex until the end of my days. Anyway, I said I just wish I could hate you so I could stop this. Then he did and said some hateful things which contradicted all the things he had said up until then, so maybe in a warped way he was trying to do what I asked. So now here I am sad and thinking of them on their trip. Feeling pathetic. All my positive thinking of the last few weeks flushed down the drain… temporarily. It is a process. I think if I see him I just need to run in the opposite direction. I can’t trust myself to be sane or loving toward myself when he is around.

        • A says:

          Micheyl,

          She didn’t win a prize by getting to meet the parents–but I know that you already know this.

          “No matter who we end up with we should always have sex with each other at least once a year.” Ugh. I could picture the ex AC saying something like this as well. This is really how these idiots think. It can take a while for the rest of you to catch up with the part that knows he is a total ass and that you need to never speak to him again–just keep reminding yourself of gems like the above comment…they really do us a favour and show us who they really are when they say such things.

          • micheyl says:

            thanks A. I guess the rest of me is taking it’s time catching up to that part of me. I do know I should never speak to him again because his words and actions never match and yet, I get so suckered by those words! My processing time allows me to recognize that but not until a day later when my stomach is in knots with anxiety. I know I have to feel this sadness and deal with it, but it is so hard and it sucks so much. I want it (the grieving) to be done! Why do they move on so easily? I just don’t understand it.

            • Teddie says:

              But Micheyl, his words and actions DO match incidentally, he is treating you exactly the way he spelled it out for you: the once a year lay and if you’re a good girl may be a few more.

              • micheyl says:

                Teddy, yes I guess this time maybe. But all the words before that moment that night, future faking about children, hinting that he would be breaking up with her, telling me how he would take me to England too in the future. So maybe 99% of the time they don’t match. And also, in a way this doesn’t match either, because he doesn’t try to get with me once a year, it is more like once every 2 weeks.

            • A says:

              He’s not really moving on, he’s just living his life in the same bullshit way he has been–cheating on her, trying to string you along.

              For me, reminding myself of the AC’s terrible comment helped. (Mine was something like….”let’s be friends with benefits and agree it means nothing”). Seriously, if the guy is telling you all he wants is to cheat on other people with you on an annual basis, there is nowhere to go but down.

          • runnergirl says:

            Micheyl, thank you for posting what he said to you: “No matter who we end up with we should always have sex with each other at least once a year.” Listen to what he is saying…it is profound. You can expecct sex once a year from a guy who will cheat and expects you to either cheat or wait around for the once a year roll in the hay. It is simply not possible that this guy is that special in bed.
            I’d not only run in the opposite direction but I’d download Nat’s most recent edition of NC. I’ve been there sitting at home while he was off on a trip. That’s the gig unless you take positive action to cut this guy off. Otherwise, wait’ll next year when you can have the opportunity to have sex with him.

            • micheyl says:

              runnergirl, you are right. He has this weird view of the world. The fact that he doesn’t think he will ever be in a relationship in the future where he’d want to be faithful and then to expect me to wait around or also be unfaithful. I do need that book NC. thanks

        • suzy says:

          oh I get this. im 7 months nc, and a year after our relationshit ended. Im happy with a fab guy, in a happy relationship….HOWEVER, occasionally I pass ex-acs car on route to work (maybe 4/5 times) and EVERY time my heart thunders through the roof (Is it ex-love feelings or fear? …see an old Nat post). Anyway he is TOXIC and despite the vast distance between us, its like that brief passing has an anaphylactic effect on me. Weird.

    • Anon says:

      Sarah, that’s exactly how I feel

  10. Kathleen says:

    “You know your one Jacinta that lives on blah blah road that used to go out with jockstrap after jockstrap? Yeah well she’s seen the light now and realises that she needs to treat herself better, so next time she’s on Match.com, make sure you hook her up with The One. You got me?”

    OMG I expelled coffee from my nose reading this!!!!

  11. Claire says:

    Another brilliant post from the fabulous Natalie! This is how my last long term relationship with the classic assclown/EUM over a year ago had me flogging that proverbial donkey until it collapsed. I really felt that having worked hard to change & treat me better (staying single for a few years to do so)& being at peace being single, that I had finally found ‘the one!’ I’m glad of all the lesson’s that I was taught during that trying time though, I obviously still had stuff to learn & I totally got it :) Reading this has made me smile to be reminded, thank you Nat!
    I’m glad to say that I am still a positive person, no-one else’s behaviour can change that so they can knock all they like, I ain’t never lettin’ ‘em in!! Man, I love these little ‘tests’ they sure are sent to try us :)

  12. Robin says:

    That trap definitely explains why I was confused about why I just couldn’t get myself to fall in love with one guy. I was trying too hard to make him the one, even though he was more of an acquaintance, because I felt like I deserved some kind of reward after putting in all that work on myself. But sometimes there are just people even we aren’t that into! So I will just keep enjoying being single and make sure to focus on reality.

  13. Rosie says:

    I love your drawings, Natalie, and your captions. Yes, when I improved my character, I did expect only sheep but, no. The sheep stayed sheep and the wolves stayed wolves.

    Improving my character was a real eye opener as to how little control I have over other people’s mentality and behavior. It was an eye opener to how I even thought I had that much control.

    • April111 says:

      Indded Rosie indeed. You think if I apply law of attraction and I am pure and light and caring and generous – then I can only attract those of the same ‘vibration’…well there are multiple laws of attraction in the physical universe still at play. Wolves like to eat lambs. They are tender and tasty. Dark people may be very attracted to innocent. The application of law of attraction and the Secret are not paranormal protection from ‘crap’ or ‘evil’,nor are these laws a substitute for discernment, or an entitlement to ‘living a charmed life’. That doesn’t mean the law is wrong, or that you have applied it wrong. It just means there are billions of other humans here and we all co-create in this space together and where God wants you to get to is not a life of bliss necessarily, but in learning to seek him first and trust him first and realize you are eternal and all of this here is just a blip against eternity, and what you seek is not found in laws, people, results in your life, badges of success, perfect relationships…what you seek from the outside (peace, harmony, true love, comfort, sense of belonging) – God has already provided for you on the inside. Reach for INNER peace and all things exterior – even the awful and abundant disappointments here won’t have the power to affect you at the core. I just go to the movie theater and look at the ‘entertainment’ we ‘make’ and I am both concerned and embarrassed for humanity as a whole, but have learned to let go. Be in the world, but not of the world. You are here to discover and appreciate what you are made of. Unfortunately that does draw in a few demons to slay from time to time.

      • Brenda says:

        Oh yes April111, I do belive you have some great answers there, You feel it in your core.. Sometimes the more light you have the more the darkeness will seek you out just to keep you around.

        You know women I realized something… Maybe these “wolf” men are not aleays f*cking with your heads becasue your so wrong and they are right, just maybe sometimes they are doing that becasue your right and the only way to have you in their grips is to keep you in the dark and feeling wrong.

        And just becasue they get something else after having whipped you into feeling like cr@ap don’t mean you did not REALLY measure up, “Maybe sometimes it’s becasue she is willing to settle for less and he just knows you would not want his phoney love for long and for him phoney love is less demanding OR even in his eyes real, I mean yeah love really happens in a few meetings, I belive that (NOT).

        Maybe it’s really a compliment sometimes, The way I see it anymore, Don’t stop demanding the right things for yourselves..

        Demand it even more, That is where the trap starts when you start beliveing that expecting less will get you more?

        ( Not gonna happen!! )

        • BethD says:

          Expecting less never gets you more. The more accommodating you are especially with shady wolves, the worse they treat you. If they are looking for easy they won’t step up and that’s a good thing for us. It clearly shows us what we need to do. NEXT! Whoever comes along after thar does go with their agenda won’t last and will lose their self respect and possibly their sanity.

    • oregongirl says:

      It’s funny, Rosie. When it comes to my son, who is mildly autistic, I finally had the epiphany that I could not “control” him or “fix” him.

      So why is it I can’t understand the same thing about my shitty ex-boyfriend? I keep thinking, deep down, that if I could just figure out the magical thing to say to him, or just fix my hair a certain way, that he will suddenly divorce his wife and commit to me.

      Crazy insanity, I know it.

      I wish there was some kind of prescription I could take to get him out of my head!

      • Rosie says:

        oregongirl- I used to bang my head against the wall with my toxic ex-roommate. My friend told me that I was talking to her as if she were normal but she’s abnormal. There’s no making sense of nonsense.

        With your son, you have a name for it–autism. With the ex-MM, there isn’t a label for why he is who he is. Thus, perhaps you’re still trying to solve this big mystery? Whatever the reason why you’re hooked, I hope with all my heart you get out of this situation soon for your son’s sake, your sake, this guy’s family’s sake and even his sake!

  14. teachable says:

    I’ve realised I can’t ‘think positively’ my way out of serious illness. So, to be KIND to myself I decided to get an additional expert on board. Specifically, a psychiatrist. I have never needed this before but I seem to now. A blow to my confidence yes, but also, the best thing I could be doing for myself :)

  15. Brenda says:

    No matter how great you feel.. there’s gonna be some wolf trying to lure you into being something less is the way I take it – even though it may not been the intemtion of teh article.

    No date sites for me no matter how I feel, Just think they are too full of wolves and had my share of not seeing things in person enough to know enough.. Let them be working to “known”, Let me see one that has a to desire to be known.

    Sorry Nat, I don’t have a possitive attitude about date sites in general these days, LOL! and I am OK with that particular negativity becasue that was not “working” for me personally.

  16. Peanut says:

    Jacinta on Match.com :) Several years ago I took a ride on the positive thinking train. I ended up right where I started. I used positive thinking to avoid my problems. Oh, eh, the man I’m begging to be with is violent, oh, well, peace, love, happiness and I’m still standing everything is great. NO.

    It wasn’t until I realized and saw that my life was shit before it got better.

    I don’t think Natalie supports unrealistic positive thinking at all. BR and therapy are where I learned how to think positive in reality.

    For instance it became clear a man I was dating and had intense feelings for was a poor choice in a partner (alcoholic). If I never allowed the thought in that it was possible to have something better even if it was just with myself (positive thought), I’d never have left. That is the power of realistic positive thinking.

  17. San says:

    Once again another great post, and comes when I need it. I feel like these posts are in line with the issues I’m dealing with.. It feels like a sign to help with my recovery journey.

    I am progressing and moving on from a relationship with UEM, and in the NC for 34 days now. Generally I’m feeling positive, but still going though processing the hurt and healing.. I’m also thinking forward and this post helps to call out that there will be ppl who will try to cross your boundaries even when you become more confident and stronger. I get it all the time, men trying and always tend to get disappointed because they always have a hidden agenda.

    I used to get told I should look at it as a positive that guys are trying rather than not bring able to attract attention and just learn to deal with it. .. As thats what you get when you are attractive..( btw, i feel that Im average and by no means attractive) I try to explain that it’s all about trust, guys do the friend card and then pull the “I like you, so why don’t you like me?” and stop being your friend.

    If they were interested just come out and say it, so can address it for what it is… Not fake being your friend and cut it off when you are not interested in bring more than just friends. I used to think it was something wrong with me as most men I cross path with turn out like that, one guy i knew him for 7 years, were really good friends and now the friendship us lost :( Always thinking what am I doing to attract these type of men ?!?!?!???

    • yoghurt says:

      Hiya San

      I’m not looking to contradict you here (especially when you’ve already said that it’s annoying when people do) but here’s my thinking on this…

      if I was going to have someone decide that they wanted to be with me, I’d much prefer for them to be kind and pleasant and reliable and in my life as a friend, getting to know me, first. If they declared themselves and I wasn’t interested, I’d rather they took themselves off rather than hanging around in my life, being creepy. So from your description on here it sounds as though you’re attracting good, honourable eggs.

      I should add that this doesn’t happen to me! So I don’t have much in the way of first-hand experience of it!

      Why you feel that their behaviour is boundary-busting or ill-intentioned?

      • grace says:

        I’m with yogurt on this.
        It’s naive for an attractive single woman to gather male friends and be offended when they want more.
        I understand that it feels low risk to be just friends, but it muddies the waters. You can have a relationship that moves at a reasonable pace without being fake friends. It can still not work out, as it didn’t for me, but that’s life.

      • NoMo Drama says:

        That’s the classic “Nice Guy” behavior. Much has been written about it elsewhere so I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say there’s nothing “nice” about a hidden agenda.

    • Rosie says:

      San-

      “As thats what you get when you are attractive..”

      A BR poster quite insightfully mentioned how an AC will take advantage of someone nice and then blame that person for being nice. It’s like, “If you weren’t so sweet, I wouldn’t do this.” What you wrote here about what you’re told from people is that same insane mentality. It’s blaming the victim: “If you weren’t attractive, then men wouldn’t do xyz.” So…these men aren’t responsible for their behavior? It’s your fault for being attractive? Seriously?? This is sick thinking.

      Yeah, I had someone I cared about (as a friend) drop me like a hot potato when he realized that we were just friends. I felt emotionally used. And he was in his 50s, definitely old enough to know better! If I lead him on, I could understand his hurt and why he bounced but no. I was direct from the start, said I would like to build a friendship with him. I don’t know why he thought we were dating…I didn’t even shake his hand!

  18. San says:

    Yogurt, thanks for sharing, it’s nice to know there is someone else out there I can relate to..your comments are great.

  19. teachable says:

    I am popping my head out from under the bed, fag in mouth & hair askew to say I too, am ready for another attempt at quitting smoking. Does anyone have a date set yet? I’m thinking VERY soon… (thinks VERY positively. mayb this will help?)

    • sushi says:

      teachable…

      I`m doing “reducement”

      It`s less shocking to mind and body. Want to join?

      • Kit-Kat says:

        I have been using an electronic cigarette since March. I like to smoke which is hard for the non-smokers of the world to understand but its true. I don’t want the health risk that go along with it so this is my compromise for now. I watched my mother die of lung cancer 2 yrs ago last month & she more or less suffocated. It was very hard to watch her struggle to breath. I plan on stopping these E-Cigs at some point but for now they satisfy me. No more wheezing at night, stinky smell , and less expensive then the real thing…

        • yoghurt says:

          I’m going the e-cig route come Monday (it’s a new moon then, more chance of success). They aren’t ideal, but I like smoking too!

          Mind, I’d like glowing skin and a guaranteed good-night’s sleep a whole lot more.

          • Kit-Kat says:

            Yoghurt.. I have found Zig-Zag makes a fabulous e-cig. They have disposables: each one is equal too 2 packs of cigs and they cost $ 35.00 for 5..Not bad. I also have a rechargeable one NicMaxx that is very good. It is my treat to myself to get thru the stresses of life …Good Luck too you….

            • BethD says:

              I’m def in for the stop smoking club. I bought the logic electronic cig this weekend. I haven’t set my date but you girls are motivating me for this positive change I know I need to make.

      • the one known as teach says:

        If only I could sushi… whenever I stop I just go cold but I did cut down in the past when I eventually succeeded at quitting for the 14 years. Even then though, I eventually just went cold. Too much stress here for that now. When I go cold I’m ok – it’s the ongoing stress of endless mindfuckery from certain quarters here that’s doing my head in…

        Tink… gimme those champix things and I swear I will tear the box open with my bare teeth like a desperate junky in need of a fix!

        Anyways, today I was duely informed that I eligible for a life of poverty on welfare. Not only that, but other mind fuckery that truely takes my effin breath away. I’m HIGHLY UNIMPRESSED. In fact, I’m FUCKING ROPABLE!

        No prizes for guessing I’m headed straight to a consult for legal advice tomorrow… GRRR!!!!!!!!!!

    • theseamstress says:

      Do NC on the cigarettes. I think giving up smoking was one of the reasons I was able to do NC on Mr Emotionally Unavailable and know that the pain/uncomfortableness/terror/fear was going to pass.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi all? Don’t you know about Chantix? granted, it’s a pill, but it WORKS. Nothing is going to be effective unless YOUR MIND IS FOCUSED on your goal. I had to use it more than once, because of extreme stress, financial and interpersonal problems, but it did finally work after about 2 refills. Had I been more committed, it could have worked the first time. It’s a bit expensive, but if you have health insurance you just have to budget for it. I had quit smoking for 32years, after a habit of 19 years. If it worked for me………
        Anything is worth a try.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Meant to say. I went back to smoking after having quit for 32 years! Unbelievable! Proof that the urge never leaves, like alcoholism. It lasted a year until I started Chantix, determined to rid myself of the vile, unhealthy habit, forever.

          • the one known as teach says:

            Groans… well done to stop again Tibnk… my relapse with these sick killers has lasted three years now. And how did the nasty little f*ckers get back into my once sweet & lushious but now instead old and puckersih with ‘smoker wrinkle’ lips…? (you so already know the answer…)

            THAT OF COURSE, would be curtesy of MY EX NOW DECEASED AC!!!!!!!!!!!

            (ie it’s not his fault in that it was my decision but him refusing to go down an elevator to smoke outside because he was ‘scared of heights’ – poor widdle thing – at a motel we were at where I was attending a conference in the state where he lived, was the FIRST PUFF that started me again…)

            Now GET THIS… my new annual income is about to be $12,000 (I SO CAN’T EVEN GET MY HEAD AROUND THIS!!!!!) & my smoking addiction at the current rate is costing me about HALF of that!!!!!!

            YEP. So I reckon I’ll be quitting again PRETTY DARNED SOON!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • tiffrbug says:

      Sounds crazy, but book called “Easy Way to Quit Smoking” by Allen Carr. It works! It took me quite a few attempts to be done for good, but it works, for real! :)

      • grace says:

        That book worked for me, it’s in line with BR principles. The power cigs have over you is an illusion you build up in your own mind. They’re not that special. He advocates NC too.

  20. San says:

    @ Magnolia, thanks for sharing.. People always want more or the most out of life.. But as we know the reality is different and like you said “life can be beautiful and Tragic at the same time”!

    I try to focus on the positive and be grateful for want I have and hope soon I will have more positive things come into my life.

    I have a wonderful son, great job to meet both our needs.. I just would like someone positive to share our life experience with and grow old together. Just putting it out there for positive projection :)

    • Kit-Kat says:

      San… I am in the same situation as you… I have a good job, supportive kids, grandkids, my health and so many small things I take for granted everyday. To share these things with someone would be the icing on the cake. It has taken me 2 years to grieve the loss of my mother & the AC. I have grown spiritually, emotionally, and learned to love myself for who I am warts and all. Thanks to BR I will be choosing better if I ever get the chance. And if that isn’t in the cards then so be it.. U only get one chance at this so I don’t want to waste any more time on ones that are a waste of time and so much energy.

      • the one known as teach says:

        This is inspiring Kit Kat. I vaguely recall a time when my life was similar to yours but it seems so far away now. In reality is was maybe four years ago. Prior to ex now deceased AC’s arrival on the scene.

        Treasuring the joy in the simplicity of a healthy functioning life (despite grappling with it’s many issues, which will always arise in one area or another, b.c hey, THAT’S life, lol) is SO IMPORTANT.

        I admire you greatly for recognising the value of what you now have. I recall thinking when my ex now deceased AC made his reappearance in my life (after a 17 yr absence – all be it not an AC the first time – or at least not to the best of my knowledge)… oh what harm can it do to just ‘catch up’… WHAT HARM??!!!!

        The harm has been CATAFREAKINGSTROPHOIC that’s what FRIGGIN HARM!!!!

        Never again will I make the mistake of allowing an ex back into my life.

        They are ex’s for a REASON. FULL FRIGGEN STOP. THE END.

        Thankyou for giving me hope Kit Kat. I need some of that just now. :)

  21. teachable says:

    Oh Magnolia. Please. Not the ‘someone can die’ line… it’s all abt ME & the now deceased ex AC here you know! LOL ;)

    Speaking of which, he’s been on my mind again lately in a nostalgic way. Heaven knows what’s to miss?! The lies, deception, manipulation, & mind fuckery? I either have altzhiemers or am certifiably insane!! Every time I think of him I literally have to divert my attention elsewhere. I have more than enough to deal with here atm. I don’t need him messing with my head even in death!

    Congrats on yr 2 mth trip btw & also on sorting yr work contract out. Very pleased to hear tht. You sound much happier. That’s how life ought to be. No drama… :)

  22. Tabitha says:

    Natalie this post is FABULOUS! I have made it a favourite as I know I will need to keep coming back to it.
    I am currently dealing with a total dickhead at work. I have no option but to work closely with him for two to three months. But then he will be gone. I have been losing sleep on how the hell I am going to get through this time without getting sucked into his madness. He is a compulsive liar, a crazy maker extraordinaire. He is a big bag of bullshit. Senior management love him of course! I was worried I would either end up telling him all about himself, or just being horribly weakened by the regular contact and having to deal with all the drama his lies lead to.
    Your post was a timely reminder that I need to step back and protect myself. He will do whatever it is he wants to do. Instead of worrying about how to deal with his shit I am now making a plan for how I can minimize my interactions with him, and reminding myself that he owns his behaviour, and I need to police my boundaries really vigilantly whilst he is around.

  23. lo j says:

    Wow. I remember the shock I felt when my bf and I broke up then when I lost my job several months later in both I had been positive, loving, giving my best. I felt good about me and thought the world would return in kind. I wasn’t perfect for sure but not deserving of the way the rug had been ripped out from under me. And didn’t deserve the heavy blame that came with it. (That was a new mindset for me. I’d unloaded a lot of baggage by that point.). What I hadn’t learned was letting others own theirs. Lacking boundaries, I was willing to take on OTHERS responsibility as mine, especially when it was shoved at me. I realized then regardless of what I am doing, how positive I am (my nature most of the time), there are going to be some assholes out there and it IS not my doing. I didn’t turn them, so to speak. What a revelation. They are so much easier to spot these days. Love it.
    I am thinking I may get my brows waxed. And my bikini line. Thanks ms determined. ;-)
    Kind of feel like a cigarette too. Kidding.

  24. A says:

    So as to not be making everything a self-fulfilling prophecy, I have tried going into situations with an open mind and more positivity to see if anything would change. Specifically, I remember doing this with my father a long time ago after I had some time away from him and his negative, miserable self. Turns out, it didn’t make a difference.

    I believe there was a BR article about boundaries with the same message: just because we implement them does not mean that an ass**** is going to suddenly start behaving. Boundaries often result in us bouncing shady people from our lives, as it should be.

    I’m not sure if this is on point but it’s where my mind is going: in reflecting on the bad treatment I’ve received from a parent and also various people in my life, I think that my reaction is usually just….confusion. At least initially. I wish I could go back to so many situations and stand up for myself, call this behaviour for what it is, although I guess particularly for my child-self I should try to cut myself some slack. I think because I didn’t really have a choice as a child I just keep on engaging as an adult as though there is no way to opt out.

    I tend to still doubt my judgement and experience this confusion with friends. I have a friend who now tends to flake out of plans, or at least, I never know whether they will materialize until the last minute. Or the plan is vague from the get go. If I don’t follow up on plans, I get the sense they probably won’t happen. The last time I just left it to her to contact me the day we were to meet up (which she said she would do anyways), low and behold, I get a text at the end of the day saying that she ended up lazing around at home with her bf instead of meeting me in the afternoon (for something she had suggested doing). Rude, no? 1) Not a great reason to blow off plans, and 2) Couldn’t she at least have texted me earlier in the day to let me know? She never used to be so inconsiderate so I find myself making excuses and just confused by it. Like, maybe because of X she thought that I was still out doing something. The thing is, I don’t really know how to discuss this with her. I’ve basically just stopped making an effort because I don’t want to deal with the nonsense, but I’m reluctant to just let the friendship fade away.

    • DiscardedFriend says:

      A, have you tried telling her that this behavior bothers you? It is super-inconsiderate, and rude, and possibly passive-aggressive. So, the way to deal with passive-aggressives is usually to simply state “That was inconsiderate of me and my time. I don’t appreciate it.” She may then tell you that since you didn’t follow up it was your fault as much as hers, and since you hadn’t firmed up plans translated into Latin and handwritten on vellum for posterity, it wasn’t *really* a plan, plus you’re too sensitive and why are you so controlling, anyway? OR, she might just apologize and do better.

      • A says:

        Thanks for the input, DF, I appreciate it. I should have said something at the time even if it was just “next time can you let me know earlier if plans change?”. For some reason anything I considered just seemed like it would come across badly, and with female friends I often think that calling someone on their behaviour (even in a respectful way) will just mean the end of a friendship.

        Going forward, I may just end up not contacting her when I’m in her area, but I want to be able to talk to people when an issue arises and not just write them off (and complain on BR).

        Something that just occurred to me: part of my not responding is because I don’t quite know what to say…and feel like it’s obvious that she was rude. I also tend to think it will come across badly and make things awkward. The revelation: no, I’m not the one making things awkward. I’m just responding to her inconsiderate behaviour. For some reason I had this epiphany before re AC behaviour (I had moments of “I’ll let it go because if I call him on it, things will be bad between us”) but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me in this context.

        • the one known as teach says:

          I’ve dealt with this exact situation and in my case chose to have ‘the talk’ (as sensitively as possible) with my (so called) ‘friend.’ Turns out she wasn’t a friend after all! Just a user interested in sucking me dry of my contacts, and whatever else might be convenient over time. I eventually got rid of her.

          I suspect your friend already knows that her behaviour is rude, or at the very least, disrespectful (just like you would if it was the same in reverse). By all means raise this issue with her though if you feel it’s worth giving her the benefit of the doubt. I wish you well but don’t be surprised if you find her ‘laziness’ re respect hides just that, ie actual lack of respect and you end up giving her the ass!

          Good luck!

  25. newmoi says:

    Ditto Magnolia,

    “I am really loving the Headspace meditation app. Sometimes I’m sitting with a ton of my own negativity and it sucks! But in a very productive way!”

    Headspace.com is exercise for the mind especially if you are prone to constant obsessive overthinking….the drilling down into why this or why that. Then attempting to stop them with more thoughts whether scripture or positive thinking only to overburden yourself.

    I’ve learned to acknowledge, allow and let pass all thoughts as a result of these exercises. Like a breath of fresh air.

  26. Nancy says:

    This is a great post. Exactly what I need to read.

    I have been navigating through my efforts to change. I know I do not like the way I am living my life now and I know that when I make changes, relationships will change.
    The man I am dating now is a good man. He thinks I am great, but I realize that there are things about us that are not great. Some of his behaviors and attitudes are off putting to me and I find them annoying. I then realized that those same behaviors and attitudes are the ones I have in me that annoy me about myself and I so want to change them, because I know they are unattractive, period.

    It will likely mean that he and I won’t work out in the long run. I have to be okay with that.
    My priority is for me to get my life on track for myself and my son. I just haven’t figured out what path that is because I have spent so much time in survival mode, post divorce.

  27. DiscardedFriend says:

    This reminds me of a moment in a Women’s Studies course I took in undergrad. One of the students was really perplexed that men would still try to treat her like the irritatingly and inconveniently sentient bit around the vagina when they KNEW she was a feminist. Those of us who were a little less rookie about the feminist thing had to explain to her that being a feminist isn’t a jackass deterrent. Sometimes, in fact, it’s more a draw/challenge. After all, a strong adversary is a more prestigious “kill.”

    How did I forget that particular “law of attraction” as April111 said upthread since then?

    Ex-Friend of the fair-weather variety has been sniffing around again. There are a few reasons for this. My storms, though not completely past, are calming down a bit since I just went for my six month check-up and it seems that the cancer is staying away for now (hooray and whew and various other interjections!). I have no pressing emotional need. But that’s not really why he is suddenly trying to be a friend.

    His “not a relationship, just casual sex” has been out of town for all except the odd weekend, and intends to spend the summer away though she is still very much in the picture and still up to her drama games on Facebook, etc. He seems to be attempting to activate the entire harem in her absence. Trying to “make amends” with me, while getting very angry if anything suggesting the fact that he has amends to make comes up. Multiple day trips with his just-prior-to-me female “best friend/ non-sexual ersatz girlfriend”, catching up with his previous “just sex,” road trip with his mom, the whole thing.

    I haven’t managed more than a week of NC at a time so far, and I use the fact that we work together as an excuse, I know. But now, having had some time away to think, and having gone on a few dates, I can borrow his line: “I guess I just have a new perspective on things.” The dates were terrible, by the way, but they forced me to accept that men of poor character behave poorly. I cannot make other people’s conduct my fault. It’s weird to emotionally accept that, finally. Now, when I see him, I am still astonished by the character he displays. I would never have anticipated this version of him, but he has chosen who he wants to be. This lying, rude, inconsiderate douche is his chosen identity. He likes it; it works for him.

    It didn’t hurt that I tried to convince my oncologist that I was suffering from depression, and she went first through the physical symptoms and declared that clinical depression was not the problem. Then she asked me what sort of things I cry about, and I told her. Her response? “You are not depressed. You are sad. You have a right to be sad after cancer and infertility. You have to feel those feelings, and pills won’t help with that. You also appear to be tolerating jackass behavior from an emotional cripple. You want to cure your “depression?” Stop listening to jackasses when they bray.”

    My oncologist is funny.

    • newmoi says:

      DiscardedFriend_

      Your oncologist is very funny indeed…and extremely insightful.
      Regardless of the situation, whether jackass or bad situation…it’s great when one speaks directly to you about your issue as opposed to attempting to generalize your feelings in with everyone else. A friend told me as I was contemplating whether or not I needed to see a therapist, etc. that “You have to take care of you. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about it, you have to take care of you.” Being a woman of faith, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the physical issues when it comes to the mind and sometimes seeking therapy apart from scripture can be looked on as “off”. We exercise to improve our bodies…we study to improve our knowledge. But when it comes to the mind, we can be somewhat limiting in our efforts to understand the battle within…there are physical issues that one must address as well as emotional, spiritual issues in order to heal. At any rate, I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your exchange with your oncologist. My favorite: “You also appear to be tolerating jackass behavior from an emotional cripple. ‘You want to cure your “depression?” Stop listening to jackasses when they bray.’” bbbbaaaaaaahhhh! :)

      • the one known as teach says:

        As they say, before you diagnose yourself with depression first make sure you are not surrounded by assholes!

    • Ms Determined says:

      Congratulations DiscardedFriend! You win the internet with this comment. PS. If your oncologist was a guy, I would totally propose. She is funny. And right.

      • DiscardedFriend says:

        Newmoi,
        I agree that a lot of religious traditions do tend to make us feel somehow guilty for not being perfectly able to handle everything, all the time. It’s as if people are saying “if you had better faith, you would have a better life.” Did not work for Lot, though. Even Christ threw a temple tantrum, and I would say He had fairly unshakable faith. Honestly, considering the major issues Paul of Tarsus had, and his contributions to the Bible, maybe scripture is not always the perfect place for a woman to find comfort.

        (I actively dislike Paul of Tarsus so much that I refuse to call him “saint”)

        And, according to Ms Determined,I won the internet! See? Things are looking up!

        *Sidenote since I mentioned undergrad earlier. One activity we had in a ‘teaching poetry’ class was to read Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” and the replace all instances and iterations of the word phenomenal/ly with an adjective/adverb we thought described us. I chose “determined/ly.” :-)

  28. dancingqueen says:

    @Sarah I feel like we read a different article: how is owning your life and not taking it personnally when things don’t immediately work out as a romcom, “negative”?This site has helped me be positive even when feeling negative. If you take her advice you develop more character…and less ego.

    Anyhoo loved the message which was about respecting our lives and selves and not having one’s happiness. be dependent on others. I have my back- most def due to the advice of those on this site as well as due to N- and that’s what counts first. Happy vacations everyone!

    • FX says:

      “If you take her advice you develop more character…and less ego.” Bingo! This really resonates for me. Especially because I think ego issues are an impediment to my healing at this point and I need to do some more work on my character to live a better, happier life.

  29. Debbie says:

    Can someone please tell me why after almost 7 years, I still believe my married boyfriend is not in love with his wife, and is only there because of his two sons, ages 13 and 14. She found out about us over a year ago when he told her he was not in love anymore and things weren’t working out. She knows every detail, from how long we’ve been together, sex, him getting a secret phone because she was tracking his other phone and it hasn’t ended since, yet he tells her it has. She finds out something every other week, whether it be an email that she finds because she breaks into his email, phone calls, texts, sex we had 2 weeks ago yet she still won’t throw him out- and he used to say it would be easier for him to leave if she did. She and i have talked several times over the past year (she calls me when she doesn’t believe him) and she tells me that she threatens to throw him out but never follows through. She also said they do have sex. He lies to me, I catch him in it but take him back myself. I’ve asked him to leave me be if he won’t/can’t leave her, yet he still reaches out to me until i break down and take him back. She called me again today, knows what’s going on and they went to a picnic together. What the hell is going on and why the hell can’t i get over him and move on? i feel so shitty and worthless. After 7 years, I have lost all sense of reality, who I am, miss him when i don’t take his calls. I’ve tried nocontact so many times and have made it 22 days once but gave in to. He professes his love for me and one day we’ll be together. I’m 42 and he’s 54. Am i wrong to keep waiting?

    • Magnolia says:

      Debbie: stay with BR, read it every day, and you will soon have the strength to end this. Seven years! My heart aches for you. What a lot of time, of life, of energy to give to this cheating man.

      He isn’t your “boyfriend.” He’s another poor woman’s husband, and you, dear soul, are his bit on the side. You are his convenience and his ego boost.

      You gave half of your thirties to this douche! Please lady, don’t lose your forties to this man.

      Secret phone! What an effing coward.

      You may hurt for a few months after ending it with him, maybe even a year, maybe even 18 months. But start those months now! Healing pain is better than OW pain.

      I’m sure other former OWs will chime in – we support you getting. the. eff. away. from. this. guy.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        YES, YES, YES!!! Healing pain is better than OW pain. It’s therapeutic and safe. Nothing therapeutic or safe in any way about dallying with another woman’s husband. It’s a display of the lowest self esteem and self-hatred Don’t think he doesn’t see it.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          And so what if he doesn’t love his wife. He obviously doesn’t love you either. You don’t have anything over her. Sorry to say it but that is a SICK triangle you’ve gotten yourself into. Get out. Let them have each other and you go get your own man AFTER, you find your self esteem.

    • Getting it! says:

      Debbie

      You ask whether it’s wrong to keep waiting. That’s the wrong question.

      Ask yourself ‘What am I waiting for?’ and ‘What do I really think I’ll get if I wait long enough to get what I think I want?’

      If you’re smart, you’ll realise that the answer to both questions: a douche bag.

      You’re waiting for a douche bag.

      The reason why it is so hard for you to get over him is because you refuse to believe the objective evidence that is right in front of you:

      1. Douche bag
      2. Married
      3. Lies to you
      4. has kids – he lies to his kids! (if this doesn’t qualify as douche baggage of the highest order, I have no idea what does)
      5. He is not your boyfriend – it is not possible to be one woman’s husband AND another woman’s boyfriend at the same time
      6. You are the other woman – and you should feel distaste in that title. Why? Not because I will (or anyone else here) will judge you for this but because you are worth so much more than just being some douche bag’s option. I don’t have to know you to know that this is true. Do you want to be the other woman? If the answer is no, then stop. Just stop.

      • Wiser says:

        7. An unspeakably weak coward who is waiting for his wife to kick him out because it would be “easier for him to leave if she did.”

        • Debbie says:

          i know. What is wrong with me?????

          • Getting it! says:

            Debbie – there’s nothing wrong with you. Although, I’m not sure you believe that about yourself right now.

            Just break it down into small steps.

            - Go NC for one day.
            - Then wake up the next day and go NC for one day.
            - Then wake up the next day and go NC for one day.
            - Then wake up the next day and go NC for one day.

            Give yourself some clear space and what you need to do to keep moving in a positive direction will become clear to you.

            xx

      • Debbie says:

        thank you so much for your response. Please see response below that i wrote to allison.

    • grace says:

      Debbie
      Why would a woman with two teenage sons not want to be a single mother? It’s a mystery isn’t it?
      Of course he has sex with his wife. That’s normal.

      • Debbie says:

        i guess… but why would she want to stay with someone who she knows is in love with someone else?

        • Magnolia says:

          Because he doesn’t tell her he’s in love with you. He tells her something like you don’t mean anything but he’s concerned you’ll hurt yourself if he abandons you or some such bs.

          It never ceases to amaze how when you’re in it, and you see them lie to others, yet you believe he doesn’t lie to you. I’m sure he tells you he loves you and even that he has told his wife he loves you.

          But really, you have no idea what he says to her. Especially (sorry to be graphic here) when his penis is in her, or he’s trying to get it in her.

    • Ms Determined says:

      Dear Debbie,

      Yes.

      Love Ms Determined.

      PS. Why do you want to wait for a cheating, lying, asshole scumbag who clearly lives for behaving like a fuckwit and having two women fighting over him? And why are you getting off on competing with another man’s wife for this total sack of shit?

      • Debbie says:

        getting off on it? that’s harsh. i’m a mess constantly and i wait as he throws me his crumbs. he knew we talked for an hour yesterday and ended up going to a barbecue with her last night (but they didn’t sit with each other supposively). Who the hell can even pretend? how do they look at each other?

        • Tulipa says:

          Debbie,

          They look at each because they are married to each other.
          He may be telling you the truth that they didn’t sit next to each other at the bbq, but I bet they slept in the same bed that night next to each other.
          I don’t know what it is like to be the other woman, but I do know what it is like to believe lies and build a fantasy relationship and how painful and difficult it is to smash them down.

          You need to start smashing some illusions you believe.

          If he hasn’t left his wife after seven years he isn’t leaving.

          He is NOT your boyfriend. Boyfriends don’t have a wife that they live with and go home to.

          You have already pointed out that
          he told the wife that he has stopped seeing you when clearly he hasn’t so all the bullshit he is telling you he is filling his wife with bullshit too. (how do you know he isn’t telling her that you two don’t have sex?)

          Though I’m not a fly on the wall I can bet my life savings he has sex with his wife.

          It takes a lot of hard work to grasp the truth and hold on to it
          especially when nostalgia kicks in, loneliness kicks in etc.

          He won’t change a single thing and why would he ? He gets to keep you both what an ego he must have.

          I wish you luck on waking up and getting out of your situation.

    • Tracy says:

      Debbie-He’s got the best of both worlds: he gets to keep his family, so he looks like a great guy to the rest of the world (although, using the excuse of ‘the kids’ to stay in a, what he claims to be, a dying marriage is just BS), and he gets you to listen to him, have sex with him, feed his ego. What is he giving you? Promises he won’t or can’t keep. My ex-husband was the king of unfulfilled promises even when we were married. You trust when someone promises something, and then when they don’t come through, they through it back on you. Does this scenario ring a bell?
      If you go NC, trust me, you won’t miss HIM, what you are missing is the connection to someone. But you don’t have a connection if he is sleeping every night with someone other than you. Make yourself a NC plan, fill your days to the brim for a couple of weeks. Get a new phone number. Get a new email address. Cancel every way he can get in contact with you. Give yourself a piece of chocolate for every hour you go without contact (trust me, after a while you won’t even want the chocolate). Write down EVERY shitty thing he has done, every shitty way he made you feel. And read your list. Every hour while you’re eating that chocolate. After a while he won’t seem so fab.
      Don’t give him any more power in your life. You CAN do this, you MUST do this.

    • runnergirl says:

      Debbie,

      Thanks to a comment by Rosie, I’m no longer labelling myself as a “former OW” so I’ll say that I was involved in a two-year debacle with a MM. Magnolia is right, keep reading BR and order Natalie’s books, all of them.
      A couple of things to start (It’s where I remember I started):
      1) He’s not your boyfriend. He is a cheating, lying MM who is lying to everybody, including his wife, children, and you. (Read Nat’s posts: “No Such Thing as an Honest Cheat” and “Why an Affair is like a Double Heist Gone Wrong”.
      2) MM’s rarely leave their wife. It’s been 7 years. There is nothing you can do to Jedi mind trick into leaving his wife and children. (Nat has a lot of posts about “Being the Exception to the Rule”.)
      3) The goal post shifts. I waited two years until the last child was to leave for college. As the day was on the horizon, the goal post shifted and now he didn’t know when he would leave. This is typical.
      4) Every time I broke NC, I got burned. (One of my all time favorite Nat’s posts is: “Suck it and See” and Miss, You but I’m not Doing Anything to be with you.)

      NC is hard. For me, it finally got to the point where being some guy’s option was no longer an option.

      You found this amazing site which was what saved me from waiting.

      (PS. I may have the titles a bit wrong. The search engine should get you there)

      You can do it…hugs.

      • debbie says:

        thank you for your kind words. It’s a shitty situation. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like unless you’ve been here-

    • Eternal Optimist says:

      Go NC. And don’t ever,ever break NC, ever! He is not meant for you.

      NC is painful but just remember this: The pain will pass, and the love and memory will fade.

      Move on and create a new dream.

    • NoMo Drama says:

      You can do better than him. Being on your own is doing better than this. It sounds like worse than nothing.

  30. Crazybaby says:

    Debbie

    I totally understand how you feel. You’re addicted to him, and he’s having his cake and eating it. Seeing as you and his wife are both in contact, why don’t the two of you suggest to him that you have a polygamous relationship with him. I bet that would freak him out. If its consensual he wouldn’t get such a kick out of it. Ideally both of you would ultimately dump him and find someone worthy of you, but it’s hard when you’ve allowed him to become such a big part of your life. I hope you are at least looking elsewhere and having an active social life outside of him.

    • Allison says:

      Debbie,

      I can guarantee that if he leaves the wife, he will find another. You too have much history, and clearly he does not respect you. If he loved you, you would have been together years ago.

      I agree with an earlier poster: he is not your boyfriend, he is someone else’s husband.

      If you won’t do this for you, do it for the kids, as this behavior is so destructive and selfish!!!!!! Time to start thinking of how your behavior is affecting others, as it is very hurtful. You cannot change his behavior, but you can start changing your own.

      • Debbie says:

        Dear all who commented above, I have to tell you, she answered his phone yesterday and we talked for an hour. This is probably the 15th time we’ve talked. Two weeks ago she answered his phone when he was supposed to be out or I wouldn’t have called because it was early. She asked me a ton of questions, the same questions she always asks, knowing full well what the answers are. On that call I told her to please ask him. I also sent him an email to him that said to please be forthcoming with her. He did it once and to please do it again because he was literally killing me. It affects my job, my relationship with my own children because I try to act like nothing is bothering me but they can tell. I go into the bathroom to cry and they see me come out with a red face so they know something is not right. When she asked him, he denied everything and said it was over (again, for the 100th time). Later that week, she saw a text from him to me professing his love and how he wishes our toothbrushes were together in the same cup every night and all he does is think of me when he’s with her. She saw this text, and remembered it almost verbatim, yet she still wants to be with him. I told her that I can only go on what he tells me and I don’t see texts or cards or anything like that from him to her. I’ve begged him that if he can’t man-up and move forward, to please set me free and to stop calling and texting me. I’ll try for a few days to ignore him and I break down. Sometimes I believe I love him and he’s my soulmate, other times I do believe he’s an addiction. We have matching tattoos that no one can see unless we’re undressed, and she has seen it and knows i have a matching one. He swears they haven’t had sex in months and he only did it to make her feel wanted. Although I hurt so badly inside and feel like my world is turned upside down, I do feel badly for her sometimes. Somedays I want to call her and say that “she won” and he’s all hers… but after a couple of days I miss him terribly. The selfish, low self esteem part of me doesn’t want to give her that satisfaction. All i know is that he walks around snapping his fingers with a smile on his face because he has a wife of 18 years wanting him (when she didn’t before me) and me, who’s put up with his garbage for 7 years. We’ve never spent a holiday together, been in public together unless it’s out of town because he’s afraid people might see us, etc. I’ve been to therapy and my best friend knows how I feel about him but yet says her biggest fear is that we do end up together because after a couple of days, I’ll be more miserable than I am now. And sometimes i think she’s right. If he didn’t love me, why would he go through all of this crap with his wife? I’m just distraught :(

        • Mymble says:

          Debbie,
          Why would he set himself free?
          He has two women fighting for him. What an ego trip that must be. He controls both of you with your fear of abandonment. Tattoos, texts, these are meaningless gestures. Crumbs. So is the sex. She’s the one he shares his actual real life with, who is bringing up his children, waking up with him every morning.
          You will have to set your own self free, he won’t do it for you. The sooner you start the sooner you will get over it and recover, think of it like a chore that HAS to be done; taking the rubbish out. The longer you leave it the smellier it will get.

          • Mymble says:

            And Debbie I was in a situation with a MM too, thought I was “addicted” to him. It’s been a year since I last saw him. I spent my weekend enjoying the weather and doing things for me and my family; spring cleaning the house, gardening, cooking, socialising with my neighbours. I wasn’t longing, worrying or dreaming of that married arsehole. I felt content.
            Take back your own life, it is sweet when you do.

            • debbie says:

              I’m 27 hours NC!! 24 hours more than last night at this time. I blocked every possible number he could contact me with. There’s a strange emptiness and when my phone text goes off, i have to remember it’s not him because he can’t get through to me. Not knowing if he’s reaching out is better than knowing. I don’t want to fall into the trap again.

        • Ms Determined says:

          Somedays I want to call her and say that “she won” and he’s all hers… but after a couple of days I miss him terribly. The selfish, low self esteem part of me doesn’t want to give her that satisfaction.

          Give her the satisfaction? Of continuing to be married to her own husband? The husband you continue to engage with whilst trying to sabotage her, knowing he is married to her AND OBVIOUSLY AFTER SEVEN YEARS HE HAS NO PLANS TO CHANGE THAT?

          Your whole post above is about her. What she’s saying, what he’s saying about her, what she knows/doesn’t know, what she’s doing.

          You said it was harsh I accused you of getting off on competing with her. But you are competing aren’t you, AND GODDAMMIT YOU ARE PLAYING TO WIN. If you really think about it, this is as much about her as it is about him, amirite? The triangulation, the high drama, the looking for clues, the reading between the lines, the looking what he’s saying/texting to her, the tears, the confrontation, the he said she said bullshit, the wanting to be the exception, the wanting to be chosen, the desperate, desperate need for validation. Why else would you be eating this shit sandwich? Surely even you can see that this guy is just not that special. And that is putting it majorly fucking mildly. CRETINOUS.

          I am not saying this to be harsh. I am saying it because you need to wake up. Assess your motivations here. He is feeding you enormous bags of horse balls and you’re swallowing each and every one of them. This “I only had sex with her to make her feel wanted” isn’t even logical. Why would he want her to feel wanted when supposedly he is really only interested in you? And why the fuck would he tell you that, if not ONLY to see your face fall when he got to tell you he ‘gave her the sex’?

          Open your eyes and see him for what he is. See what you are doing to your kids, your life, YOURSELF by choosing to keep engaging in this fucked up three way you won’t bow out of because you don’t want to “lose”. You might feel like a loser now for having gotten into this mess, but he’ll make sure you feel a whole lot worse if you don’t push the eject button now.

          There is no other way this can end.

        • yoghurt says:

          Urgh, Debbie – this is going to sound really harsh and I’m not saying this to have a go, but the whole situation sounds (sorry, can’t think of a better word) repulsive. It reminds me of those cultures where the men had harems and the women were constantly screwing each other over for a better place in the pecking order.

          But those people didn’t used to have a choice – YOU DO. Is this what you want your life to look like? Is this a version of life that you want your children to pick up on? Surely no man is so special as to warrant (sorry) the extreme lack of self-respect and consideration for others that you are showing? And none of this is a one-off situation, it’s ongoing and there’s no reason for it to stop unless you stop it.

          Re the comment about ‘getting off’ on this situation – I’m sure it feels unpleasant but actions speak louder than both words and feelings. If you’re continuing in this grim alternate reality when you don’t have to then it’s probably best to accept that there are aspects of it (the drama? the sense of ‘winning’?) that you are getting a kick out of and choosing to pursue.

          • Tabitha says:

            I agree with what Yoghurt and Ms D say, it really does sound like you are “getting off on it.” Do you not have one ounce of compassion or sympathy in your body for this woman and her children whose lives you are stamping all over with your entitled behaviour?
            He cannot possibly be so stupid as to think that he loves you. If he loved you he would be with you. If you tell him to get stuffed he will probably just replace you. Within a month. In fact, as you are playing up a bit, he probably as a OOW lined up.
            How can you live with yourself after you have conversations with his wife that must rip her to pieces? Why would you do this, especially repeatedly, unless you were “getting off on it?”
            Instead of obsessing about them and the minutae of their marriage, maybe you should take a good long hard look in the mirror at what you have become?
            And your kids? Don’t even get me started.

          • Mymble says:

            Yoghurt
            When I was between the ages of 11 and 15, I watched my Mum first of all fall in love with new man, (so she didn’t want me around) then getting humiliatingly cheated on by him (him parading his 21 year old shag at our house) and then being abandoned by him, whereupon she nearly died of anorexia. I don’t blame her now, but it made those years so sad for all of us and gave me a weird and skewed view of relationships, and myself. I am still working on correcting that.
            Debbie if you have daughters don’t do this to them.

        • Debbie, I feel I should comment here as if I leave things as they are, the comments will descend into being distinctly off-topic plus I think in trying to emphasise your possession of this guy, whether it’s inadvertently or your intention, you’re giving off the impression that this man’s wife is just some inconvenient casualty of true love and a pain in the arse obstacle that’s getting in the way of you getting what you want. In turn, when you post comments that imply this, in turn you’re going to draw out all sorts of responses due to you sounding competitive and unempathetic, and next thing, the comments on this post are no longer about the topic but about affairs and yada yada yada.

          Debbie, I feel for you in this situation because if this nob jockey has pulling this rigmarole for the past 7 years and you can say all of this stuff, then you’re clearly very taken in by him. You must have been doing a hell of a lot of ‘positive thinking’ over the past seven years but it’s time that you had some empathy and compassion for the person he is married to and at the same time, it’s time to also come back to earth and genuinely consider what you’re doing. I know why I was ‘comfortable’ with an affair and that was because it was just like being a little girl again waiting for my father to show up, being made to feel special temporarily, the disappointments, the excuses, the vying for importance etc. It’s time you figured out why you would take part in your own episode of Jerry Springer / Maury / Jeremy Kyle. This isn’t love – it’s pain, chaos, bullshit and unhappiness.

          This man is not yours. You are very comfortable with his platitudes and bullshitimus maximus and to give credit where it’s due, he’s very clever at saying and doing things that give the impression that there’s more than hot air on offer here. But he is married and it’s not to you. It doesn’t matter if he’s told you that he’s loved you or tattooed your nether regions or wherever – he’s married. The reason why he can tell you that he loves you is because he knows that it’s enough to put you on standby while he continues his marriage. He gets off on what you and the wife are doing and it’s very possible that what’s going on between you and him ties into his wife’s own pattern of drama. That said, if these two people want to have this kind of drama, that’s their prerogative because it’s their marriage. It’s none of your business whether he’s slept with her or what he’s said. He’s not ‘out of contract’ so he has no business making a new one with you, especially because it doesn’t mean anything. If he wanted to leave, he would leave. Even if you cannot respect his wife or even him, respect the fact that they’re married and until such time as they’re not, it’s time for you to make an exit. You are making up your own moral code as if because you want this man then what you’re doing is OK but guess what? There’s no such thing as an honest cheat and for every lie he’s telling her, he’s telling you some more. I guarantee you that if his wife is calling you up then he has not been telling her the same thing as he’s been telling you. Otherwise she could confront him and he’d go ‘Yes that’s true’ and he’s got his exit. He’s lying and excusing.

          There’s no ‘winning’ here for either you or the wife so stop competing with her. You shouldn’t be basing your identity on how you can ‘win’ another woman’s husband from her. If you want out of this, it is down to you and only you to make that exit because no matter how positive you are, he’s not leaving and he will use you as a safety net for as long as you allow. You are way better than this situation and it’s time to start acting like it because soon enough you will become better than this situation. How dare this man treat you this way? How dare the two of them involve you in this three-way shite? Treat you better though and you won’t have to question how dare you do this to yourself either.

          Also (for all involved in this thread deviation) please make sure that all further comments are on topic. If in doubt, see the commenting guidelines!

          • FX says:

            As always NML you really cut to the chase. There is so much no BS wisdom in your reply that applies to much else in life, too.

            Off topic… Please, please increase the font size and color contrast of your new format! I love reading everything here and now it strains my eyes.

          • Debbie says:

            Natalie and everyone above, you’re all correct. I don’t know why I’m taken with him, he does treat me like a piece of garbage. I’ve let him treat me like and I’ve lost all sense of self respect and self esteem- and I obviously did have much to begin with or I wouldn’t let this happen. I have apologized to her in the past during our conversations and there are many times I actually feel badly for her…. and then I feel badly for myself. And at this point, I’m not even sure if I do feel bad for myself because I let this happen. I trusted him so much and so badly wanted to believe that his words to me were true. Sitting home and watching them go on lavish vacations that she would book because she said he would never do it he didn’t would make me cry. I know she deserves to be happy, as do her children. Like I said, I don’t know what is wrong with me. I will say on the brighter side that when he called me today (of course he called), I did tell him how I felt (he claimed to be heartbroken which I don’t believe) and I hung up on him. I’m about to go onto my cell phone account and block his phone number. I’m doing this more for myself because I’m know how this cycle works. I’m besides myself with anger and pain right now but in two days, if he calls, I’d probably take his call, waiting to hear another line of bs of how much he misses me and to just hang in there. I’ve blocked his number before only to unblock it to see if he calls (even if i didn’t answer) just to make sure he’s thinking about me. This time, I don’t want to know if he calls. It’s painful and hurtful either way. I consider myself 3 hours NO CONTACT right now and it’s a start. I have one more question- do I text or call her and apologize or do I leave it alone? Thank you everyone for your comments, they really have helped me more than you’ll ever know- even the harsh comments.

            • Allison says:

              The best thing you can do for the wife: leave her be, and move on from this mess.

              • debbie says:

                agreed. I did not reach out and I’m not 27 hours NC!

                • yoghurt says:

                  Attawoman! :D

                  It’ll be painful, but I found it helpful to think of it as growing pains – you’re growing towards a much happier, healthier outlook.

                  Stick with it and stay on BR!

                  • debbie says:

                    2 days and 3 hours of NC!! I do feel like something is missing but i think it’s because he was a habit. A bad one, like smoking. I’m going to do this once and for all. I’m not turning back. It’s also amazing how although sad at times, my anxiety level is down about 90%. The constant monitoring and hearing his lies and making not a big deal about hanging up with me at 6 pm because he was going to his other life and talk to you in the morning drive to work. I’m so very done with that!

        • Digs says:

          Several years ago I left my husband for another woman’s husband. I can speak as an OW, and as the cheating spouse.

          If he wanted to leave, he would have left. Period.

          He has it exactly the way he wants it – a family home, possibly two incomes, two women fighting over him, no child support payments. If he were to leave his marriage, his life would change drastically – socially and financially. Why is he staying if he is no longer in love with her? Because it benefits him more than leaving. You are not worth leaving his marriage. I am sorry that this is blunt, but it’s the truth.

          Don’t let your ego make you stay in a situation that’s humiliating. It’s not a contest between you and her. And your kids deserve a hell of a lot better of a life than this, if you can’t see that you do.

          If he did leave, you would be stuck with a guy that has lost friends (believe me, the friends take sides), who has kids who resent him, and you’d be stuck with his wife forever. Do you think that if he leaves her she’s going to vanish off of the face of the earth? No. They have kids, so they are forever tied. When the kids are grown, there will be grandkids. And if he’s a douch enough of a guy to try to make the kids choose between him and his wife, is that the kind of guy you want? He will be paying her child support, possibly alimony. They will be picking up and dropping off kids. They will be coparenting. They will be together for birthday parties, graduation parties, etc. She is forever a part of his life.

          His kids will know how you met him, and they will hate you for it. You’ll have step kids who hate you. My MM and I hid our relationship from the kids for a year, and then made it look like we just happened to meet because we lived in the same building. The kids were not fooled. As his daughter said “How stupid do you think I am?”. The kids will know, and it won’t be pretty. You’ll have step kids who hate you, a co-parent that hates you, and inlaws who hate you. Family dynamics are hard enough without this wrench.

          His social network will change. His financial stability will change. He won’t be the same man.

          If he can lie to both of you, and feel no remorse (he doesn’t), then he will lie to you. I do not believe that once a cheater always a cheater. I am proof. I felt intense remorse, right away. I left my marriage after a few months, because I couldn’t continue to lie. It sickened me. That’s my character. It took 4 years and therapy for me to reach a point where I forgave myself. This guy isn’t feeling remorse, nor guilt, if he’s keeping this crap up. That’s his character. My MM was the same way. He felt justified in what we did. And guess what….after a couple of years of us being together, he cheated on me. Shocking huh! His reason – he wasn’t feeling loved enough. He was justified. That’s how they roll. I know, I know…you are the exception, right? No, you are not.

          My MM contacted me a couple of weeks ago, asking if we could give it another shot, saying that it would be so good now – “now that we’ve both changed”. I am still laughing. And gagging.

          At one time, I thought that I would never get over this guy. It’s not love. It’s addiction. It’s unhealthy. It’s hurting you, and it’s hurting your kids.

          He’s not going to leave.

          He’s lying to you.

          He’s banging his wife.

          He’s a liar.

          His character is shit.

          If he left, you wouldn’t want him. This is about your need to win, not about your love for him.

          Turn the focus back on YOU. Get therapy.

          Walk the hell away from this train wreck, give you, and your kids, a better life. If it’s meant to be, he will leave his wife, and come find you when he’s free and clear of his vows. You know in your heart that won’t happen. If he ever did leave (he won’t), he’ll find a fresh new woman who doesn’t know that he’s an asshole.

          I am sorry if this is harsh, but I want you to see this for what it is. I want you to ask yourself if this is the life you dreamed for yourself. Only you have the power to give yourself the life that you want and dream of. He can’t. He won’t. It’s all up to you. You have no idea how powerful you are. But you have to decide to walk away from this. It’s not going to end the way that you think it will, even if he leaves his wife.

          It IS painful, and it IS hard, but I hope that you’ll start choosing yourself and your kids over him. This is a whole lot of drama and pain. There’s a better life for you if you choose NC…for good.

          • debbie says:

            thank you for everything you wrote. And there’s no need to apologize. I appreciate your words and advice and your spot on with everything. I know that after a week i’d be asking myself what have i done? Sometimes when we’re together and i see him cower and lie while practically whispering into his phone shows me what a liar he is. And although i thought i loved him, i know he’s an addiction. But after 7 years of this, and it’s been constant (not on and off every 4 months), how does he keep it up? I know everyone can say the same about me but I would have married him 6 years ago but he kept saying he wasn’t quite ready. We’d set a date and then he’d change it. that was 2007. IT’s 2013 and I’m still involved with this ahole. I just can’t take anymore of it. It’s literally killing me- my stomach hurts all of the time, constant headaches from the stress and anger, crying, all while working fulltime and being a mom. I’m worn out through and through. He’s taken my spirt away from me and I feel like a shell of what I used to be. But I’m now 52 hours NC and that is so huge for me and I’m proud of myself for it. Thank you again :)

  31. Swissmiss says:

    Another post that’s activated a wide array of responses from every corner of the globe. I am two months NC from the XMM and three months from physical contact. Knowing I belong to this community this has given me the safety and security I need to process, contemplate, move on…

    Learner, thanks for what you said up-thread, how all the magical ‘doing’ didn’t make him available. I was an alchemist, too. I really thought I had that power.

    For the most part, my life has been serene. I was taught how to handle diversity and can keep my head screwed on in the toughest of circumstances. The genesis was my narc mother: at an early age I learned to stay safely on the margins, contained, expressionless, never giving my feelings away. I had an amazing career in the diplomatic service and solved the issues I was presented with to great acclaim. Smooth sailing for 64 years. Then along came the XMM.

    I accept, in a very rational way, how our pathologies linked, and take full responsibility for my bit. But the lack of integrity, the lying, the distortions, the deceit—I’ve dealt with some of the ugliest dictators, and I still can’t get my head around this.

    I am no ‘smiley face’ positivist, but I wonder, is this what denial feels like? You focus your internal electron miscroscope on who they really are—not who they said they were, not who you wanted them to be—and all you see is blackness? It’s so dark I can’t make anything out. Or maybe I don’t want to.

    I just cannot swallow that someone who awakened with their face 3″ from mine every morning could look me in the eye and flat out lie. I feel I need to crack this open in order to move on.

    • Magnolia says:

      Swiss,

      I get that feeling of wanting to understand. I think I got peace, truly, when I decided I don’t have to get it.

      But, just for the sake of it, I’ll tell you what I think about that whole wake up next to you but lie to your face business: they can’t conceive of a co-piloted relationship. I think they look at attractive women they don’t know like cute stray dogs: you kneel down, you offer them food, you speak to them in a cutesy voice, and in return they (we women) start to come around looking for affection and letting them pet us.

      When your dog wakes up in the morning from a petting session, you feed her, you walk her and talk to her, but does she need to know if you are petting another dog somewhere else? Do you actually take your dog’s suggestions on your life seriously? And if you are moving on soon, and plan to give your dog back to the pound or turn her out in the wilderness when you go, do you tell her that while you’re still enjoying her as your pet?

      That’s one of my theories, anyway.

    • Learner says:

      swissmiss,
      “I accept, in a very rational way, how our pathologies linked, and take full responsibility for my bit. But the lack of integrity, the lying, the distortions, the deceit…I still can’t get my head around this.”

      I tried for the longest time to get my head around this, too. It didn’t make sense, no matter how much I tried to find something logical with that electron microscope on the highest magnification I could muster. Perhaps the darkness is not so much denial as the truth regarding how much substance and light these relationshits had. Zip, zero, zilch, nada. All smoke and mirrors, sucked into a black hole on close inspection and reflection. You said so yourself over on the “little lies” post – cheating MM’s have deceit and omission as their middle names. It’s their MO, their ticket to getting what they want. They can look you in the eye and flat out lie because they are so practiced at it. No conscience evident, no empathy expressed. We were in fantasy relationships being fed BS by (expert)lying cheats. We had the sense, in the end, to go NC and get on with our lives. I love your imagery of the other day – saddling up, riding away in a dust cloud, meaningful flick of horses tails.
      We could try to crack this open and analyze the hell out of it, but where would it get us? We were dreamers, they lied, we lied, our bubbles burst, we will know better next time,and will use our perceived alchemist powers to work on ourselves :)

      • Swissmiss says:

        FYI: There’s a terrific site for men in abusive relationships (shrink4men). I peruse it to understand why the XMM stayed, left, went back. The hooks, the hopes, the fears, the lack of self-worth—despite my looking and sounding rational and positive, those attributes were me all over. I was treated just as his wife treated him. All those months I’d been thinking ‘poor baby’ and I should have been saying it to the mirror.

  32. Lacy says:

    Well I was told by the um if I wasn’t so negative he would want to be around me more, that I always complained about the bad stuff that goes on.I am negative and he didn’t want to be around anybody that’s negative. He also said if I change my way of thinking and be more positive I would see a chamge in him.

    I thought to myself for half a decade I was turning a blind eye to his staying out late, taking my car and not returning til the next day, standing me up and disapearing for a day or so without calling.How can u stay in a positive mind? I believe you aren’t suppose to let anyone take u out of your character but jes how positive can u be and if so you are still not capable of changing someone.I couldn’t change him from doing the things he wanted to do by staying positive.

  33. noquay says:

    Mags
    “Life is both beautiful and tragic”; how very true, exactly how I feel here. I go high up into the mountains, track big cats, free climb, identify wildflowers knowing full well that one screwup on my part can lead to death (I am usually solo on such outings, no other choice). This town is that way: the incredible mountains on either side of it superimposed on the incredible destruction wrought by mining, both environmental and human. Coming home after a long time on the trail and encountering my paranoid, hoarder neighbor, knowing that there is nothing I can do to get him help. The powers that be in this town thinking that tolerance of mental illness, drug use, is part of their “wild West” frigging heritage. Enough. Too much or misplaced positivity is more like naivete, and can lead to serious trouble. I strongly agree with a previous poster that Dark people are indeed attracted to both the innocent and those who strive to do good. Certainly such folk do not want someone who is their moral equal, as they themselves stand a good chance of being screwed over. Jackasses are everywhere, and seem to be more and more numerous as the sense of community degrades and the culture of self absorption dominates. The thing is to go in with an open mind but keep the Spidey senses on full alert and go in with zero expectations and zero emotional investment.

  34. Arlena says:

    This positive thinking train easily gets me going…

    It’s raining cats and dogs the other day and I am making the harmless remark of “Shitty weather today” only to get a dose of positivity along the lines of “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing.”

    Just yesterday I dared to wonder loudly after a first spoonful of cake if it were a bit too dry (for my taste) and got a nanosecond directive from a positive thinker “We have coffee to bring it down.” Yeah, let’s be grateful.

    A friend just in need of a good vent after being freshly hurt by someone can’t stop interrupting herself apologetically every few minutes “Sorry, I hope this doesn’t sound too negative.” I mean, a good vent is often a prerequisite to have a more rational take.

    Even my soon-to-be ex-therapist can’t listen to more than three words that may point to something in my past (= negative) only to get snubbed by him mid-sentence. It’s as if a new phobia is around.

    Therefore I like people who dare say “This is a heap of poop and it stinks.”

    • Keetseel says:

      I agree, Arlena. Extreme positivity in all matters is rote and insincere. If you can, find a new therapist who listens to you!

  35. espresso says:

    Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a good book on the “think positive” industry which she interprets as blaming victims for their own poverty and bad situation, which is sometimes beyond their control. I like the approach of BR which isn’t based on fantasy but supports developing insight, courage, confidence and going forward in whatever way you can.

    On a personal level I have been getting in touch with the fact that I am a naturally appreciative/thoughtful person. I think with my kids (all adults now) and my friends I have always been thoughtful in that way. I “thought” with my ex that if I was appreciative and supportive to HIM then he would “see” this and be the same back to me. One of the saddest things about my past marriage is that I lived in an emotional desert where I didn’t get appreciation or empathy. Two therapists at different times gave my husband an exercise to try to achieve “appreciation.” It consisted of him having an “assignment” where he would say at least 3 appreciative things to me during a day. He would keep it up for about 5 days and it was completely forced and never came out of his spirit or feelings. Then after that he would just forget about it. This was coupled with a censorious manner so honestly it really took a lot out of me. Pretty ugly and kind of degrading to me!!! It is no wonder that I have come out of the marriage not really being able to claim my good qualities in a whole hearted way.
    Although I am still polite to him I have cut off the appreciation that I naturally give to people close to me. I am finding it very very hard and I feel guilty too. He likes to play the victim role (although it is subtle) and I am the only close adult in his life so I am sure he sees me as cruel and lacking compassion. With him I am now Ms Get the Job Done and it feels strange when I was used to being supportive, understanding, encouraging and thoughtful.
    However, last night as we met to discuss new task division, I looked at him and actually said to myself, “this man is pitiful in a way, why am I giving him so much power to still hurt and disrupt me?” I “knew” this of course but haven’t been able to “accept it” in my heart.

  36. Rosie says:

    April111- Doing this by phone & I apologize now for all typos. This is in response to your post on the laws of attraction. I don’t believe in the laws of attraction (vibrations, etc) for much rhe same reason people have trouble with Christianity (I am Christian): “If God’s real and oh-so-good, then why do bad things happen to good people?” If the laws of attractjon are real and I really can attract good in my life by simply tbi.king and beaming goodness & if the universe really does send out only what I’m ready for, then explain why children are abused & sexually molested, neglected & abandoned? It’s their fault, huh, for not being happy, pisitive, good enough? Oh what the…?????

  37. Jamie says:

    In my 18months with the AC my behavior and outlook on life changed drastically……it all depended on where our relationship stood. How can another human being have that much power over me?? I have tried several times to brighten my outlook and behavior simply for myself. And it went very well…..until I caught him in another lie OR with another woman. Then I became sullen and moody to everyone around me. I withdrew. I’ve gone NC a few times and fell from the wagon each time. Spent a few wonderful days with him this past week. I was higher than a kite!! Then on Friday he tells me via text that he thinks we should just date without the commitment because he doesn’t want to have to explain his where-abouts to me and needs his privacy. When I read this my face felt hot and my ears began ringing while I felt the spiral happening. But something different happened this time around…..after just a few minutes of the spiral I sent him a text thanking him for dumping me via text and that I was moving on from him. I then un-friended him on facebook and blocked him on my phone…..I had never been able to do this before. I know it’s for the best and I fully credit my own desire to improve my attitude and behavior FOR ME. I had been practicing these improvements throughout our relationship. For some reason it was different this time. The stars being aligned right OR my own work on myself?? Timing is everything they say. I actually climbed Mt. St Helens yesterday!! If I can do that, I can do anything!! And yes, that includes erasing this AC from my life. So although my work on myself didn’t feel completely genuine at the time, it seemed to have had an effect.

    Jamie

    • FX says:

      That’s awesome (like Mt. St. Helens) Jamie! You exhibited in a nutshell much of what I have learned from BR and wish I had done sooner myself. As in “Take your thought of managing me down to a’casual relationship’ oxymoron and shove it!” lol Doing this will save you from a boatload of aggravation and pain in the long run. Yey you!

      • Jamie says:

        FX,
        Thank you!! I too, wish I had done this much sooner. 18 months of hell with this guy…..funny thing is that I knew on our very first date that something was off with him. First time ever that I didn’t listen to my gut. That will NEVER happen again.
        So glad that you have made it on the BR road yourself!!
        Jamie

    • Tabitha says:

      Jamie, stay with us. We will hold your hand every step of the way. Keep reading. There is a fantastic AC free world out there just waiting for you to join it.

      • Jamie says:

        Tabitha,
        Thank you so very much!! Reading your words proved incredibly comforting. Hugs!!
        Jamie

  38. Oli says:

    Thanks Natalie for yet another timely post.

    After learning my big relationship lesson and having moved forward with my life. I have found it hard to apply the lessons Ive learned and to treat myself better because I kept getting confused wondering why these guys aren’t reacting differently to me treating myself with respect and love.
    For some reason I thought they would too. But I have come to find many guys out there in the dating pool are like many of us women were, which is/was cultivating unhealthy relationship habits of their own. Until they figure out for themselves how to fix their behavior and treat women better we can’t really expect the run of the mill assclown of mr EUM to recognize women with healthy habits and make strides to treat us better or change their patterns when we have changed ours. It has helped me to weed out the bad, and it does lesson the impact when i come in contact with one. My assclown/EUM radar is on point these days and I am damn proud of it.

  39. Poly says:

    I have been reading this site for the last few months, as I try to negotiate my way through the world’s longest break-up, and come to terms with the end of a relationship with an EUM.

    This post is very prescient for someone struggling to find their way back to a more positive, joyous, autonomous way of life.

    Sometimes I feel I am actually resisting the return to my own, more positive mindset, because it means the last of my connection with the EUM really is dissipating.

    I remember, at the beginning of the year, when I was realising I just couldn’t endure a whole other year dragging on alone in a relationship with someone who seems completely incapable of emotional intimacy (i.e., love), & reeling at how many years I had spent transforming myself into a contortionist to understand this man who was so often difficult and remote, as though there were some mystery to be solved, the riddle of his great unavailability. And then the thought hit me like a bolt from the blue: “there is so much LESS to this man than meets the eye.” His unavailability isn’t some profound enigma to be fathomed. It is nothing. There is nothing there.

    I think it has taken me six months to recover – or even begin to process – the shock of this.

    I am so grateful to this community and its dedication to healthy lives and relationships; I would not know where to turn to cope otherwise.

    • Tabitha says:

      Poly, “there is so much LESS top this man that meets the eye..” yes, that is exactly how it was for me, thanks so much for putting it in black and white for me. I just couldn’t believe he was, what a previous posters oncologist expertly described as an “emotional cripple.” Didn’t want to believe it I guess as I had invested emotionally and wanted it all to pan out like in my fantasy world.
      As other posters have said, the ACs and EUMs of this world will still be there and try their luck, no matter how much work we have done on ourselves. What changes, and has to change, is our reaction to them. I am now someone who literally runs from an amber or red flag. I find it quite entertaining actually. It’s like a whole new world has opened up to me where I recognise this behaviour and BS, and I can enjoy not tolerating it. I have much work still to do on myself, improving my self esteem and reducing my ego, but life is just so much better this way, with this awareness. I credit Natalie for enabling me to live my life so much more honestly.

  40. teachable says:

    I know having a positive mindset wont make others change nat but I just want to say how much I appreciate u & every1 here at BR. I’m feeling slightly better emtionally today & I think it’s partly due to the wonderful support of yr readers & posters. Thanku everyone who has encouraged me over the past 6 mths especially. I know I’ve been quite the negative nelly at times & I’m grateful ppl here just accepted me as I am & didn’t shoot me down for it. Sending.much love & peace to all. Teach. xx

  41. noquay says:

    Arlena and Rosie
    Loved your posts; sometimes negativity is a sane response to an insane situation. As a young child, I was constantly told to “be grateful” for having your mother feed you (though I was malnourished), that you have clothes to wear, etc. I kinda thought that was part of the job description of a parent. I went through two separate abusive family situations and was chided for being “negative”; no s#$%! Children generally are a tad down when subjected to abuse. Just like being told to be grateful if someone treats you with respect; I think we all should treat one another with respect.

  42. Peanut says:

    Sarah,

    I know it’s frustrating, believe me. But the work never stops. The idea is to work toward a better relationship with yourself. A good man may or may not come into the picture. But either way we have the opportunity to be good to us. That is the happy ending.

    And kudos to you and your no contact journey, because, Lord knows, it can be rough. Keep at it, don’t give up on you, and it does become worth it.

  43. teachable says:

    Sits quietly in the corner pleased other ppl are expressing sentiments similar to my own abt the cult ofpositive pop psychology & what a crock of shite it is (aka the secret/laws of supposed attraction et el!) No doubt some will recall me strongly making this point some mths bk.

    So too it is re victimisation also. Our poster here is (IMO) correct on tht also. Women ARE victimised & it is important to acknowledge where this has occurred. (ie those willingfully mislead by a partner for example as opposed to those knowingly involving themselves with a partner already in a relationship with someone else.)

    I’ve spent my entire 43 yrs doggedly determined ‘not to be a victim.’ Some of my efforts toward this end have been ‘remarkable.’ I only know this b.c I have told so by Senators with whom I shared my life story, warts & all, when giving evidence at a number of Senate Hearings. Others less so. Overwhelmingly, it is only NOW for the 1st time in my life, that I am finally coming to grips with victimisation issues which have impacted my life profoundly. This, despite counselling on & off, for 2 decades. So, YES, we must acknowledge & accept a history of victimisation, no matter how much this might conflict with our self concept of who we are. It is through doing this that we are finally able to heal & experience positive transformational outcomes which move us from merely surviving, to instead thriving, in our new identity (healed chinks n all.)

  44. MaryW says:

    I have spent several months working on myself, reading Natalies books and posts, and trying to work on my self esteem. I thought I was doing rather well (this with both depression and anxiety in the background, and sometimes foreground). I am going through the very slow process of weaning off anti depressants and it’s not easy.

    I met a guy 5 weeks ago who swept me off my feet, and despite me being fully aware of all the signs of being ‘fast forwarded’ etc, I chose to believe or hope that he was the exception to the rule, to think positively, I just happen to have found “the one” and it’s going so well, don’t jinx it by seeing good things (the fast forwarding) as red flags.

    I sit here today feeling totally lost. He has from someone who I thought lived in the same town (London) to someone who is actually only on a temporary contract and lives in Paris, where his two children and his ex live. He is in talks about getting a permanent contract in London. I assumed he was divorced… no, he has been separated for less than a year and his divorce is messy because they couldn’t come to a mutual agreement.There is a huge amount of bitterness between him and his wife. Huge. I haven’t asked the full story, what happened.

    He says he wants an exclusive relationship and calls me his girlfriend but won’t take himself off the dating website where I ‘met’ him. He won’t take himself for STD testing, despite saying he would do both. When pressed he says that this is because he is lazy (!), but then said that if he does something for me, he wants it to be because he wants to do it for me, rather than because of my reaction if he doesn’t (I sent an angry text because he said he’d take himself off the dating site and have an STD test, and his actions weren’t matching his words).

    I am seeing myself as an overbearing control freak, demanding that he does these things after only 5 weeks dating. He said he can’t tolerate any anger or pressure, at all and was about to end it. So how on earth do I assert my boundaries when if he threatens to walk each time? How on earth do I express my disappointment when he cancels a date at the last minute because he’s working late yet again? I can’t just turn in to a doormat for fear of him leaving.

    We had one date the week before last, he had been away for ten days seeing the children and I was about to go away on holiday for 5 days. He turned up at the pub two hours later than me, pissed as a fart, and saying that he got stuck drinking with the VPs at work and he couldn’t leave (permanent contract not yet secure). He was very, very sorry, but it was a horrible night. I was so close to leaving the pub before he got there, but I didn’t want to ruin my holiday by effectively breaking up with him the night before (I react terribly to break ups).

    We have only seen each other once since that awful night (he had another visit to his children this weekend), which was a lovely evening, but then we had the big row – via text – about him not doing what he’d agreed to do. It is all on very shakey ground. Now he’s back in town but working late tonight, and tomorrow night tells me that people are going for drinks after work but he doesn’t want to go. Not that he wants to see me, just that he doesn’t want to go and that we’ll chat about tomorrow later today. Didn’t even ask if I already have plans for tomorrow!

    I just don’t want to see him, but something is keeping me in – probably fear of being alone again, though I feel completely alone already. I keep thinking, maybe it’s just been bad timing with having no time to see each other after a whirlwind start, but then I think that actually he is unfolding… and fast. I don’t like what I see. A workaholic, recovering from a horrible marriage break down.

    I am stronger than I used to be, but I am also recognising my own controlling behaviour and trying to find a balance and give this guy a break. But then am I being a Florence Nightingale, trying to save this poor soul who has been tortured by his ex for 10+ years? I just don’t know what to do. He is now calling the shots after I initiated the nasty text row and backtracked. I feel like making up a lie so I don’t have to see him tomorrow night, but I also want to see him to see if it can be OK again, if this is just a blip.

    I am trying to be positive but this is something that is making me so very uncomfortable. Sorry for the long ramble. I do see a therapist, so have plenty of stuff to talk to her about on Wednesday at least…. *sigh*.

    • FX says:

      I think if you read your own comment, you have all the answers there… None of us wants to be alone but it is better than tolerating unadulterated BS. This guy is showing himself six ways till Sunday as a turd in need of flushing, in my opinion. You will save yourself a lot of grief if you do it sooner rather than later.

    • yoghurt says:

      Mary

      He dripfeeds information/lies, he doesn’t prioritise you, he’d rather leave the relationship than endure any sort of pressure and you aren’t allowed to be sad, angry or have expectations, ever.

      Any ‘positive’ spin that you put on those is really going to involve a departure from the truth. Expecting honesty, consideration and manners isn’t controlling, it’s realistic when you’re looking to tie your life/emotional wellbeing in with someone else’s.

      Make the most of the fact that you don’t want to see him again, honour yourself and your gut feelings and stop seeing him! Life’s too short.

      • MaryW says:

        Thank you both, you are right. But I am scared of making the wrong decision, of flushing before I’ve given him a fair chance, and then regretting it.
        I am also scared of the act of telling him – it will be by text, I’m sure, because I won’t have the balls to tell him to his face. And he doesn’t ever phone, we have never talked on the phone (I know, red flag), just text messages.
        It’s going to be hard and I just feel so sad after the first few weeks went so well…. he turned in to a different person :(
        I hate dating so much that I think this is the only reason I’m even considering hanging on, but realistically it’s over. I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach….

        • Wiser says:

          Mary, I had the same horrible feeling when I had to face the truth – but it has to be faced. Your post is as clear as a bell to absolutely everyone here, and FX is right, if you read it again, you already know the answers and what needs to be done.

          You’re fooling yourself about wanting to give him a “fair chance.” What you’re doing is delaying the inevitable by grasping for non-existant straws and hoping he’ll magically morph into what you want and what he appeared to be in the beginning (which he ain’t now). Honestly, please believe us, it will only hurt worse the longer you delay. If you take the bull by the horns now and YOU make the decision to walk away because you know you deserve better than this, it will be SO much better than groveling and begging for his attention until he gets fed up and dumps you. Then you’ll not only be hurt and alone, but also devasated and humiliated.

          This guy is unavailable on about 50 different levels and already manipulating you into questioning your boundaries. Get. Out. Now.

          • Tulipa says:

            MaryW

            Don’t invest any more time in him he has shown you who he is very clearly and there is nothing to indicate any kind of a mutual, loving and respectful relationship is ever going to happen.

            You are setting your self up to be an emotional airbag fallback girl and the longer you participate the harder it will be to flush him.

          • suzy says:

            oh yes I agree with the advice above. Step away. If you want to “give him a fair chance” (which is fair to YOU – because YOU matter) then you make your actions speak louder than your words. He knows your boundaries and conditions (off dating website, and STD – very fair enough btw). So act on your boundaries. Your boundaries are good, safe and take care of you, keep YOU the special person you are, worthy of respect.
            Whatever he does in response, hes unfolded – and theres your evidence. Accept the good, reject the bs.
            I wish you much love MaryW, be brave and know you are on the right track. It will take you to a better place and with someone who will love respect and deserve you. Get excited and look forward to getting there!! x

            • MaryW says:

              Thank you. I’m finding this very hard. I was meant to see him tomorrow night and quelle surprise (not), he just texted a barrage of messages about how busy work is but it’ll get calmer. Essentially cancelling tomorrow night but not in so many words. I know he’ll keep me dangling all day but I’m going to just tell him “no”. He’s not turning up late for a booty call.

              I told him my plans for the week, and he suggested coming to mine after my therapy on Wed night and I said no. And I’m meeting with friends on Thursday.

              How can I finish it when I never even see him?

              I’ve backed right off (as in, I no longer believe he’s the one or even very likeable), I know it’s going to end but I can’t quite finish it. This is low self esteem in action. And an inappropriate attachment, which is so typical of me.

              Need to re-read Natalie’s books and discuss with my therapist before I can find the strength to walk away. In the mean time, I suppose I just have to try and step back, make sure no more boundaries get busted and look after myself.

              Thank you, friends x

              • suzy says:

                you don’t need to finish it by seeing him. You finish it by not seeing him. Its a simple (but hard, I know)action of a decision, which in your last post you have already written “step back and make sure no more boundaries are busted”. He knows your boundaries, its for you to patrol them. Its a good action. He will respect those boundaries,(if you do for yourself)and therefore will respect you. Or he will disappear, in which case you are safe and loved by you. You gain. Everything. You lose nothing. x

                • MaryW says:

                  Thanks Suzy. I can’t face the confrontation of finishing it and think it’ll fizzle out naturally by the fact we never see each other. Boundaries firmly in place, feeling strong for now. Said no to what would essentially be two booty calls this week.
                  I explained to my therapist that there would have to be a serious boundary break for me to be able to walk away, because of attachment issues. And the tiny chunk of optimism there in my mind …. grrrr
                  X

              • Tinkerbell says:

                Mary. You don’t have to see him to finish it. Just don’t respond to his lazy communication – texting. Do you know for sure he is separated? Sounds like he’s still heavily invested in his marriage and his kids. Remember. You only know what he tells you. HE SAYS the divorce is messy. MM’s and attached men love texting, because it perpetuates secrecy and emotional unavailablility, which is right up their alley. Follow your heart and your mind which are telling you to “Get out, now”. Don’t wait around for more hurt, pain and disillusionment. NC should be easier since he never calls. IGNORE, IGNORE. Block him with your phone company or change your phone number. I’m speaking from experience. Been there, done that as an OW to a MM. It’s PAIN and there is NO GAIN.

                • MaryW says:

                  Hi Tinkerbell
                  It seems a bit passive aggressive to just ignore messages?
                  I know he’s separated, but only knew this since this weekend. I assumed he was divorced. I just didn’t ask, because if he was still married why would he be living in a different city/ country? But then he’s not really living here, he’s just on a temporary contract. Since finding out he’s still married I’ve really gone cold inside.
                  Yes once it’s officially over I’ll go NC but in the UK you can’t block someone’s number. My ‘smart’ phone won’t let me fully delete his number, either :/. So it will mean new phone, new number. A lot of effort to go to – I like to think I’ll manage not to phone/ text him and he’ll manage the same …..

                  • grace says:

                    MaryW
                    what are you going to do, text him into respecting and loving you?
                    Ignore him. It’s not passive aggressive, it’s actually a lot more mature than trying to get your own way by texting. Even my 18 yo niece doesn’t do that.

                  • Wiser says:

                    Others may disagree but I’m a believer in the “one last” contact to clarify the situation. Of course there are lots of exceptions (as when the other person is extremely toxic and abusive, or you’re in so much pain you feel too fragile to do it) but I think it can be an exercise in self-empowerment and courage to have a final say and not just let it “fizzle” out.

                    It sounds like you’ve already come to the conclusion that this guy isn’t so great (and you say you’ve already gone cold inside) so it’s an reasonable option for you to send a text that simply says something like “I’m sorry, but I think it’s best we no longer see each other. From our past conversations, it’s clear we want different things from a relationship. I truly wish you well, but I do not want you to contact me again.”

                    Short and simple. No drama, no anger, no passive aggression, no long tortured explanations, no subtle digs about what a jerk you think he is – and above all, NO hope that this contact will influence HIS behavior: get him to change his mind, make him realize what he’s missing, teach him a lesson, you get to “win” by having the last word or any of that BS. You’re doing it simply as an adult who wants to handle things with decency and maturity.

                    Now you’ve made it clear what you want (no contact from him) so there’s no confusion on his part about why you won’t answer his texts. You will not be “ignoring” him in any kind of callous way. He will likely continue to try – your job is to respect yourself and follow through with your decision NOT to respond.

                    Whether you step away with or without a final say, the act of stepping away is honoring yourself by living up to your own values and boundaries. I really like what Suzy said: “He will respect those boundaries,(if you do for yourself) and therefore will respect you. Or he will disappear, in which case you are safe and loved by you. You gain. Everything. You lose nothing.” Brilliant!

                    • MaryW says:

                      Grace, I am not trying to manipulate him into changing his behaviour or feelings by texting or not texting. I am trying to sort out what to do and how to do it. What to say in a final text. Until then, I can’t ignore texts (though I am not initiating).

                      Wiser, thank you for the suggestion in what to write in a final text. I can’t just leave him dangling, and letting it fizzle out will be more painful for me in the end. Also I don’t want to behave like an assclown myself by just disappearing with no word or explanation. I don’t want to trash him, either. So your words are very helpful.

                      Now…. he says he has 5 weeks of relatively calm work coming up (as it was when I first met him), so I am tempted to meet him and at least talk. I know you will all think I am a fool and I probably am. Maybe I am delaying the inevitable. I keep changing my mind every two minutes, despite all the wise and true words from everyone here who has helped. Detaching from people is a very, very painful process for me :(

                    • suzy says:

                      geee,thanks Wiser. :).
                      Me too 50/50 on the last word contact thing.I think it depends on circumstances and who we are etc. Bringing it back to this post, about positive thinking Jedi mind-tricks:-
                      Perhaps it comes down to theres no convincing, thinking, talking -positive or negative that is going to change people or get them where we want/need them. We need to simply assert who we are. So for MaryW, if there was a temptation for contact, perhaps it would be to re-assert your own boundaries (huh, sigh! one last time) “I’m only interested in pursuing contact with someone who stops going on dating websites when they are dating me and is ready to STD test themselves for their own welfare as well as mine. All the best”.

                    • Learner says:

                      Wiser, I agree with your advice to MaryW. A year ago, when getting out of the MM mess, I sent an email very similar to the message you suggested. He replied, saying he “understood” and “respected my decisions” and thus began NC. It didn’t feel passive aggressive, it felt assertive. All the best to you Mary, we are all here to support you through NC xo

                    • Dashee says:

                      I agree with Suzy. If you are determined to meet with him again to talk, that will be a perfect opportunity to restate your boundaries (which are absolutely reasonable btw) and put the ball in his court. His response will tell you what you need to know. But then, be prepared to end it swiftly if he fails to respect those boundaries.

                      My boundary with the ex was that he make me a priority and not sleep with anyone else while we were trying to see if our new relationship was going anywhere. Oh yeah, absolutely he said. And then he busted that after only the first couple of weeks. Game over. No muss, no fuss. Non-negotiable. Choose YOURSELF first, always!

                    • Tinkerbell says:

                      NO, NO, NO! Ignoring is not passive aggressive. Stop giving yourself excuses. And if you wanted to you could find a way to prevent him from contacting you. The problem is YOU DON’T WANT TO. You’re kidding yourself thinking that you’re all of a sudden so strong that you will resist the temptation to return texts or even call him. You’re definitely not in the frame of mind to end it with him so unless you are, there’s nothing and no advice anyone else can give you because you will shoot it down anyway with your excuses.

                    • MaryW says:

                      Tabitha, you are right and I have been ambivalent. But I have read and taken on board all the advise given, and truly appreciate it. I am going to bite the bullett and send the text along the lines of WiseOwl. Yes I’m not that strong at the moment but you’ve all helped me. Thank you.

                    • MaryW says:

                      Sorry I meant Tinkerbell. Not Tabitha. Long, stressful day.

                    • MaryW says:

                      Wiser, I sent the text this morning, pretty much word for word what you’d suggested. He replied “I’m sorry, this ending is not what I wanted”. I don’t think he will send any more texts.
                      I feel sad and blue (I haven’t gone in to work, phoned in sick, because I hardly slept last night) but I suppose I should also feel proud of myself that I am doing the right thing for me, looking after myself, respecting me. Thanks again.

    • the one known as teach says:

      Hmmm… let me see…

      In five weeks you now know he’s dishonest, doesn’t keep his word, fast forwards you, uses emotional blackmail, is in the midst of a VERY messy seperation (with great bitterness – THIS red flag is actually ON FIRE), & shows up late and drunk for a preplanned date or catch up?

      I’m sorry MaryW but exactly what part of this discovery phase you are in are you thinking possibly makes him sound like a good catch?

      Chick this guy is LOSER and you need to wipe him off the sole of your shoe like yesterday’s gum and DON’T LOOK BACK!

      Here, gimmie those… (removes rose colored glasses)…

      Pheweeee… he pongs too! I can smell his BS all the way over here!!!

      Now go have a nice bath and wash this pieice of crap right outta your hair and don’t you dare sell yourself short like that ever again!!!

  45. espresso says:

    Poly
    Your post really struck me. That fundamental understanding “this man is incapable of emotional intimacy” is something I really struggled with in my marriage. Somehow I just kept going back to the well and there was never any water in it. I just couldn’t believe or accept that finality of it although I struggled in the relationship a lot and resisted because my gut knew my needs weren’t being met. I don’t know what your ex said…but mine always said he was trying to change. I don’t think he was capable of even understanding the question and I expect it is the same for your ex too. For whatever reason they just can’t access that emotional place and probably don’t even understand what we are talking about when we try to express our wants, needs and longing for more of a connection. I think my ex just heard me going blah blah blah.

    I wish you all the best in breaking away from this and focusing on your own emotional needs. I really understand how hard it is when we have invested a lot in trying to make a relationship work. But it is soul destroying to stay within this environment.

  46. 2fearce says:

    Tulipa,

    I don’t think the wolf stops being responsible for the hurt they inflict, just that the person who keeps going back needs to realize they are now playing a part in being hurt… in essence, signing up (volunteering) for it.

    Doesn’t mean they can’t call for help, but the more they call for help and then go back the less support they might have. Come, the boy/ girl who cried wolf. First time…everyone comes. Third, only half come. The rest know ur story n know that chances are you’ll go back so they don’t bother. Fifth time, your lucky if anyone comes cuz they prob think u don’t really mean it, are doing it for sm attention or u think its funny (to have everyone drop everything n come to ur aid).

    Regardless, keep leaving. It makes you stronger for when ur ready to make it the last time.

    • Mymble says:

      I’ve been thinking about the oft repeated volunteer/victim thing, and while there is some truth in it, I feel it is a more subtle variant of the “you get what you deserve/laws of attraction” theories.
      It doesn’t acknowledge the psychiatric injury women (and men) can experience in abusive relationships.
      We can understand how a woman who has been attacked by a stranger might become (for example) agoraphobic. We would not tell her to pull her socks up. Yet a woman in an abusive relationship may be suffering this on a regular basis, and has the added shame and self blame that she invited her abuser into her life. I have Bern assaulted by a partner and I cannot describe how it felt- I felt terrified and annihilated. And I covered my bruises &
      said nothing.
      Added to that, women at most danger of being murdered at the point when they decide to leave.
      I know most of the situations here do not involve violence (though some do) but many include emotional abuse, and telling someone they are a “volunteer” is insulting, blaming and shaming a person who is probably already weighed down with toxic shame.
      I know that I found Nats posts most helpful because they did not go down that road. I had one or two aggressive comments directed at me and they were not helpful; the more thoughtful and measured commenters sometimes really helped me change my perspective, whether the comments were directed at me or not.
      I try to bear that in mind though sometimes forget :( so my bad for that.

    • the one known as teach says:

      Not sure what the stats are there but research over here suggests it takes on average 13 attempts before a woman is finally able to leave a DV r.ship for good. And she NEEDS every single one of those attempts. You know why? Because if she doesn’t KEEP TRYING TO LEAVE, she won’t leave at all. Those who ‘get it’ quicker are in fact the exception rather than the rule. Just sayin…

  47. teachable says:

    Mymble you are right on target. Women in DV r/ships are NOT to blame for finding themselves in such a position. DV (which INCLUDES emotional abuse, & may be this ONLY, though more often is accompanied by other forms of abuse ie verbal, financial, spiritual, physical, & $, or some combination of these), is a complex dynamic not at all helped by blaming & shaming those who find themselves on the receiving end of it. Although the person suffering at the hands of a violent partner alone must make the decision to leave, FOR GOOD, for reasons beyond their control, (economic often, or threats to harm the children the woman is terrified will be carried out, or lack of support due to the isolation perps impose upon victims), in many cases, they cannot facilitate the process of doing do alone.

    I strongly urge anyone who feels they are dealing with an abusive partner (of any kind) to seek counselling from a specialist DV support service, & to AVOID like the plague anyone who blames & shames you. DV is NEVER the fault of the person on the receiving end, EVEN IF THEY’VE STAYED.WHILE IT WAS HAPPENING & I hope we all at BR would offer kind non judgemental support & understanding to members of our community who may be dealing with this issue.

    As a survivor of DV (of sorts, I was an underage teenager & the perp was almost twice my age which makes my sitch a case of statutory rape / pedophillia.. although it included exceedingly violent acts I will decline to elaborate on), I can also offer that a temptation to ‘think positively’ about such r.ships, has a.tendency to keep women.stuck in them. I am fortunate that I escaped within only 6 mths (but not before profound life long harm was caused) but know many, get trapped in these damaging relationshits for DECADES. If this is YOU please DON’T waste another moment of yr life. Seek PROFESSIONAL HELP as a priority. I have counselled women who have endured such situations for 35+ years & the one thing they all said was, ‘I wish I’d sought help sooner.’ These were some of the loveliest (elderly) women you could ever meet. Generally, they’d put up with the situation ‘for the children’ not realising the foolhardiness of this (ie modelling unhealthy behaviour to their by now adult kids.) It used to break my heart. Don’t be one of those women!

    Love to all. xx

    • Wild Orchid says:

      The truth is, no one offers help to these women…society condemns HER; holds HER responsible for staying, shaming and blaming HER, even rejecting the children sometimes. And the other sad fact is, if she leaves, 9 out of 10 times a judge (assuming there is a divorce) will award joint custody – meaning HE will get unsupervised visitation (she will not be there to intervene if he gets violent with the children). I have seen this situation over and over in my volunteer work; sometimes a woman stays because leaving means saving herself – but staying means saving her children. Think about that the next time you judge someone for staying; Would you be willing to take the blow for your children? These women do. …and I don’t think that’s weak and I don’t think that’s indifference.

      • the one known as teach says:

        We have new(ish) legislation which does presume shared custody as a starting point but exceptions can (and are SUPPOSED to) be made in DV cases. The case’s where it is difficult is where the DV is emotional abuse (of the women and kids.) The details of what this can involve are truely awful. I know as I have counselled and supported these women and their kids through the family court process. Trying to get evidence sufficient to prove this in court is very difficult. We DO have services here which support these women and their children, but there are never enough. As for society’s judgement that’s a whole other area. Yes, society in general is uneducated in relation to DV. This is starting to change in my state though (although the change tends to be at the most rudimentary level – ie sadly, the myth that a situation is only ‘DV’ if it involves physical abuse still abounds…)

      • Allison says:

        Wild,

        So a woman should stay with a perpetual cheat, on the premise that he may be violent one day? Huh?

        I believe there would already be an indication that the man was violent, prior to her leaving the marriage.

        • Allison says:

          I would like to add that I am not discounting the reason a woman stays in an abisive situation, as it is not uncommon, but there are many who stay, due to low self esteem and fear of loneliness.

  48. teachable says:

    Debbie. A short answer to yr Q to respect the forum guidelines. NO you do NOT contact, text, call, carrier pidgeon or smoke signal yr apologies, regret or anything else to the MM’s wife. U r now entering a period of making amends for YR wrongdoing (ie getting involved w a MM in the 1st place. I say this w.out judgement but as a statement of fact tht u’ve transgressed yr own & other ppl’s boundaries.) Amend boundary violation is not done by doing more of the same. Instead, the right & proper thing to now do is to from hereonin remain NC from them BOTH. It’s time to let yr ACTIONS (or lack thereof) do the talking. Be gentle with yrself. Healing will likely take quite some time. Teach x

  49. teachable says:

    Jaysus Nat! U mean I can’t Jedi trick certain authorities currently doing their utmost to destroy me into playing fair? Damn! That old pesky ‘life is not fair’ chestnut! IT’S NOT FAIR! ~stomps off~

  50. Tinkerbell says:

    Mary. Your words: “I cant face the confrontation of finishing it and think it will fizzle out naturally by the fact we don’t see each other”. So, it’s a non-relationship, anyway. Stop daydreaming about what you want it to be. The guy is an AC, pure and simple. What are you so timid about? Is he the texting prone boogeyman? Does he really deserve so much of your time and mental exercise? Face facts. Get a back bone, girl and save yourself! Or don’t. It’s your loss.

    • Wild Orchid says:

      If you don’t see each other, then unless he’s listening on your phone or hacked your computer, it’s dead anyway…and if he is doing those things, well, then HE’S holding on, not you -

    • MaryW says:

      Tinkerbell, I sent the final text now (as Wiseowl had suggested) finishing it with him. It’s over. I am sure he won’t try to persist so NC will be fairly easy. Thanks, I needed a boot up the bottom to make me see sense. :(

      • Wiser says:

        Good for you! I know it hurts but you have done an amazingly strong and courageous act by taking control of the situation. You’ve chosen to honor yourself and learned a lot in the process – and handled the end with dignity. Sounds like win-win to me!

  51. Digs says:

    “You know your one Jacinta that lives on blah blah road that used to go out with jockstrap after jockstrap? Yeah well she’s seen the light now and realises that she needs to treat herself better, so next time she’s on Match.com, make sure you hook her up with The One. You got me?”

    This is hysterical….and …um….so me…lol!

    Thank you for clarifying that you didn’t see the light and immediately go on to find a great guy. I had assumed that was how it happened for you. It’s easy to wonder what the hell happened when yet another asshat comes into our lives…to think that we must still be doing something wrong. It’s a process. I haven’t been immune to Mr. Unavailables, but I will say that at least now I recognize it sooner. I have also been better at stopping the future faking…to myself.

    Funny… I am shopping for a new car and I was on my way to test drive one, and felt so anxious. My mind was racing with thoughts of whether this car was going to be the one or not. When I realized what I was doing, and compared it to how I feel about men, I laughed right out loud.

    Your blog is amazing, thank you so much for sharing your mind. It’s really helped me to recognize my patterns. It’s slooooowwww going on changing my habits, but I AM changing them. Thank you for the reminder that it won’t happen cleanly and quickly and that it’s not about them changing, it’s about me changing.

  52. MaryW says:

    Thanks Wiser (and sorry for getting your name wrong). It really does hurt. I keep thinking about the amazing first few weeks and have to balance it with the horrible feelings of sadness and anxiety of the past few weeks.
    He responded nicely to my message, no anger, no surprise even (mind you I had been blatantly backing off last few days). Said he had’t wanted it to end, and said what a beautiful and wonderful person I am and that he’ll miss me …. which doesn’t make it easier!
    Thanks ladies, I really, really appreciate all the support. I know I’ll be back for more :(

    • lizzp says:

      I know it hurts bad. But what you have done is maintained you own dignity and respect and you have gained his respect. It’s hard for us women to understand, but I truly believe that respect is more important to men than love – put another way,a man’s love for a woman emerges out of his respect for her. A man finds it difficult to respect anything that is given to him too easily, that is something he feels he hasn’t earned.

    • Wiser says:

      No, nothing makes it easier so just try to be ok with being sad for now. Nothing wrong with being sad. Don’t blame yourself, don’t beat yourself up. It sounds like it ended about as well as any relationship ending can. Again, it’s HUGE that you initiated it, and handled it with honesty and class. Big hugs for you!

  53. espresso says:

    I helped found some of the initial services for battered women in my own country so know a lot about the “learned helplessness” that traumatized women who have been beaten learn and how difficult it is to identify and leave a situation where they have been disempowered and confused by different signals (beaten up one day, flowers the next) and even clinging to the hope that the person will change, trying to see the good qualities etc., trying to keep the family together, protecting the kids etc. But now, due to my personal situation I have a whole new personal insight on how difficult it is to psychologically leave a long term relationship which wasn’t healthy emotionally, where personal boundaries were not respected, where one person(me) took the lead on decisions and work and where there was an absence of empathy. I still believe my gut instincts were good and gave signals all the time which I tried to act on (right from day 1)but I become kind of numbed out because of the uselessness of my efforts and the stamina it took to raise issues and to try to protect myself. My ex had a whole lifetime of shutting people down – a skill I believe he learned in childhood. He is/was MUCH MUCH more skilled than I ever could be with my well meant efforts at communication, appreciation and “I messages.” Believe me when I say that communication with these guys is a waste of your time and will own lead to more doubt, questioning, confusion and feeling awful about self. Even though I understood things and MUCH more now it still isn’t always easy to follow insight with action or to really deal effectively with a person you once had a lot invested in. I just keep having faith that all the work I am doing will lead me to wake up one day and say,”I just don’t care.”

  54. teachable says:

    PS Mary W. U are not overcontrolling to expect to b treated w respect. This guy is toying w yr vulnerability (fear of being alone.) Yr very perceptive & insightful. What u identify as wrong abt this guy / sitch (or possibly yr own flo tendency – which I relate to as I had this re my ex who died) as he / the sitch unfoldsm is bang on. It’s great yr in therapy. Yr task now is to merely to trust what yr instinct is telling u & to act accordingly. Here is where for me, the lesson is generally not to abandon myself. Distrusting our intuition is a form of this. Thinking of it that light might help a little to clarify the way forward. I wish you well.

  55. noquay says:

    Debbie and Mary W
    Great job, both of you! Sometimes you will feel the urge to contact your respective ACs . Write to us instead, eh?
    Wild Orchid:
    I agree, I am so sick of women being blamed for being battered, both emotionally and physically. We have serious issues with both DV and stalking here. True, some women make really bad choices for a number of reasons but when did it become OK to stalk, beat, scream at, belittle another human being and not be held accountable for it? Crap behavior, mainly but not exclusively by men, was thought to be a manifestation of this being an old “Wild West” town. It took a woman being shot in the head, practically in front of her husband, to make the powers that be take these issues seriously.

  56. Tinkerbell says:

    Praise Him! Mary, good for you.! Stay with it. NC!!!

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!