you make your own luck

When you believe that people are only happy and/or have found love/success out of sheer luck, it’s a roundabout way of telling yourself that not only are you an unlucky person, but that it’s out of your hands whether you will be happy, successful, or in a loving relationship.

Luck regards fortune, fate, destiny, randomness, unpredictability, chance, and your ‘lot’. If you’re ‘lucky’, it’s believing that you are very likely to bring good fortune upon yourself. It may mean that you seem to feel like you tend to be in the right place at the right time, that competitions favour you, you manage to avoid what could have been a worse situation by some sort of guardian angel, or that you’ve lived a charmed life.

  • While you might be in the right place at the right time, it may also be that you recognise and seize opportunities.
  • While you may win things, it may be that you enter enough that odds are that you’re bound to win something, or you enter competitions for things that are quirky enough not to be deluged with people or have a certain ‘knack’ or ‘skill’ that enables you to back a good horse for example.
  • Maybe you do have a guardian angel or maybe you really know how to pay attention to your gut at the very last moment – I know my bacon has been saved a few times by this.
  • And yes, you may have lived a charmed life but it’s difficult to say if this is down to luck or the circumstances you’re raised in which may have afforded you different opportunities. That said, I know some pretty messed up people who have had charmed lives, which suggests that it’s not really about luck.

Basing your life and view of yourself on ‘luck’ is like sitting back, letting life happen to you and hoping to hell that it turns out to be good and then obviously feeling crap when it doesn’t and you actually have work at it, use your brain, eyes, and ears, and not rely on your hormone/chemistry/vagina/penis/common interests navigation system .


When you designate anything that you truly want and that you should in fact have input in, over to ‘luck’ and then it doesn’t happen, or it proves to be harder to rely on chance because it seeks your input, the net result, which will be things not happening as you would like, will communicate to you that you’re unfortunate, and yes, rather unlucky, which in turn ends up equating to, yep, you guessed it…not good enough.

Are you unlucky though if you don’t ‘end up’ in the career you say that you’d like to be in but aren’t actually consistently doing anything to make it happen?

How could you be ‘unlucky’ if you haven’t for example, gained the qualification, enrolled on a course, started the business part time on the side, or garnered some experience? How are you unlucky if you’re working at one particular job when you want to be doing something entirely different?

It’s time to make different choices.

You could argue that circumstances and responsibilities have governed your choices – everyone has them. The filthy rich can change their lives with a click of their fingers but aside from the fact that they represent the minority, many of these people are still miserable and I’m sure some of them feel ‘unlucky’. You only have to take one look at Hollywood to see that money, fame, opportunities and even lackeys, don’t buy happiness… when you’re internally unhappy.

I understand people who feel “unlucky in love” – I believed that I was having an extended run of bad luck before I changed my ways.

In the past I’ve felt ‘unlucky’ about aspects of my childhood but that was to suggest that something about me wasn’t good enough at the outset that started the bad luck chain reaction. I had no control over my childhood, but as an adult, by shedding this idea that I’m unlucky and not good enough, it’s allowed me to grab the reins of my life and not feel helpless to a predetermined ‘fate that doesn’t have to be – a self-fulfilling prophecy centred around this idea that everything will go tits up because of me.

My old dating life could be regarded as ‘unlucky’ – I once went speed-dating and met a Jude Law lookalike who was interested but then he got back with his ex before we could arrange a date. I was set up with a guy who showed up high as a kite, talking dirty. A guy I used to ‘make eye contact with’ for a few months, finally asked for my number…and then his girlfriend called me. On a solo holiday to Antigua, I agreed to hang out with the entertainment manager who was “protecting” me from guys hitting on me (snort), only for his child’s mother to show up and pull a Jerry Springer. While she went ballistic in the street, I had to find my way back to the port to get a taxi, using stray dogs to guide me. I could regale you with tales for hours but you get the gist…

I could look at all of these experiences as “unlucky” but the truth is, I had a recurrent theme of being a tad naive, gravitating to unavailable men and not asking questions/doing my homework. “I can handle it!” was my motto. All of these tales involve ambiguous, super-persistent, or showy, charming men.

Trust me, if I’d managed to hold down a decent relationship without changing me THAT would have been lucky.

Now that’s not to say that there isn’t an element of ‘luck’ but we still have to make our own. We still have to seize opportunities, put ourselves out there, and address the things we can control and evolve – us.  

It’s not really ‘unlucky in love’ if you hardly ever go out, or hardly talk to new people, or have a rigid routine of work, home and gym (or whatever), spend 99% of your dating time online, claim ‘never’ to meet anyone that’s your ‘type’ or that will be your type and available, think it’s everyone else that needs to change, or you keep trying to be with lesser shades of unavailable instead of calling a spade a spade.

The boyf and I floated around in the same circle for a few years – he wasn’t on my radar. I don’t think it’s luck that we noticed each other nor is it luck that we remained together, although it is lucky that we both showed up at the same event after being forced by our best mates.

But that’s about where luck starts and ends with relationships because someone could be fabulous and fall out of the sky, land in your lap, and even have fireworks shooting out of their arse displaying ‘Pick Me!’, but if you’re not available, aware and genuinely open to different possibilities, you’ll keep walking, or fail to appreciate them.

If you have made dodgy relationship choices in the past especially those based on unhealthy beliefs, you will have to put in some extra work to see the fruits – it’s getting out of your comfort zone.

You’ve also got to be out there living to experience ‘luck’ because it doesn’t happen when you’re too busy being afraid, on your laptop, or invested in someone else, even if it’s an ex, as it makes you unavailable for an available relationship.

Luck will put some opportunities in front of you, but invariably you have to make your own luck or at least be very good at seizing. Opt out of shady relationships and treat you with love, care, trust, and respect and your ‘odds’ of experiencing good fortune and creating it will increase. You have your own power – own it and use it.

Your thoughts?

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.

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83 Responses to Forget About Being Unlucky In Love – You Can Make Your Own Luck

  1. Anne says:

    A great post. What else can I say?

  2. Fedup says:

    This is exactly what i have been feeling. I frequent another site and other people who have cone out of many years of relationship. Yet somehow manage to have another relationship mere months later. I don’t know how they do it. I don’t fall in love easily and always takes me too long to get over someone. Yet it’s been over a year and I’ve tried seeing others. Yet nothing has turned into another relationship yet. I didn’t feel something for them or I was mad for them but they stopped seeing me.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I’ve noticed this too, there are two kinds of people
      - Habitually EU – goes for years with no-one
      - EA – they’re broken up, play around for a bit, and then back in an LTR.

      Mind you though, you can be EU and in an LTR. Just ask OW’s.

      • NoMo Drama says:

        Does it make you EU if you don’t ever meet anyone worth being available to? I have learned to screen people carefully and if I see something I don’t like, I’m out of there. Often the people who come after me are themselves unavailable.

  3. yoghurt says:

    Another post that couldn’t have possibly come at a better time – I don’t know if I have ‘luck’ when it comes to BR, or if you can actually read my mind… :D

    I’ve had a good day today – my brother is visiting, he looked after Son in the morning so that I could have a lie-in, I painted my nails, he cleaned out my car, we went out for a nice meal to a baby-friendly restaurant (my thankyou for tackling the horrible car) that’s within walking-distance of my house but that I hadn’t visited before and I went to a drawing-club that meets down my road. It wasn’t the most exciting day that I’ve had, granted. But it would’ve been perfectly possible for me to have flagellated myself over the lie-in and the disgustingness of the car (or refused to let him help, even though he offered), burst into tears in the restaurant, refused to go to the drawing-club on the grounds that I wouldn’t be able to go again etc etc etc… Then it would’ve been a horrid day.

    Course, the real value of today also depends on what I do now. I fully intend to try to go to the restaurant more often – it’s cheap and nice and I can get me and Son out of the house AND avoid the washing-up. I also fully intend to get a babysitter so that I can go and draw every week, and to maintain the upkeep on my nails and car.

    So I’m lucky in that I have a lovely brother, but the rest of it is really down to me. I’ve lacked the courage to get out of the house and start Doing Stuff since Son was born (he’s 1+ now), but then again I’ve been turning down my brother’s offers to visit on the grounds that ‘I’m no fun right now’.

    Also watched the film ‘Bridesmaids’ tonight (which I loved, but I’d recommend if only for Jon Hamm’s portrayal of an uber-AC) and that’s a really good example of someone who’s been so kicked-in-the-teeth by life that she starts believing that everything she does is doomed… which then turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m really trying hard at the minute not to take that attitude, cos I’ve been far too guilty of it for far too long.

  4. Oh, the plight of the un-kucky-in-love woman! I am so happy to read this, as it’s another reminder that WE have more control than we think.

    I feel lucky to have found your site (by – you guessed it – searching for advice on dating Mr. Unavailables), but I make the choice to return, read, and open myself to new ways of thinking.

    Your daughters are so blessed to have you for their mom. xxoo

    Hugs from California,
    Christine

  5. metsgirl says:

    What’s beautiful is that I’m at a place in my life where I’m not thrown off by lazy communication from the AC…last attempt was Valentines but I remained NC. I’m pushing 9 months and can’t wait till the one year mark (but I digress)…

    You mentioned “You have your own power – own it and use it.” I never dreamed it could be as simple as putting myself first in the line up. I’m making decisions based solely on what interests me and how it impacts me. In the past it would have been completely unthinkable. I just recently purchased my first townhome in an unfamiliar city and I’m getting ready to enroll in school so that I can finish my degree after ten years of avoidance.

    For the first time, dating is not my top priority. I’ve sworn off online dating and plan to become more involved in my community instead. I want my life to be about me so that I’m already “full” before I meet the man that I will eventually marry. I’m having so much fun just discovering what makes me “tick” that I don’t feel I’m losing out just because I’m not in a relationship. It’s taken a long time to finally get to this place so it’s all new territory for me and it’s exciting and scary at the same time.

    You’re so right about it not being “luck”. I didn’t do any of the things above based on luck…it was a conscious decision. In fact I would go a step further and say there’s a good chance I relied on “luck” (in the past) because I DIDN’T want to make conscious decisions. If I did that then I would have to accept ownership of the decision in the event it was wrong. Hard lesson learned but I finally see daylight. BR has been a Godsend for me.

  6. Adnamaj says:

    Whenever I read any of your post I end up feeling like someone gave you full access to my life. You are so smart and intuned with life. Thank you so much. FYI: great way to take in what your saying? I program my iPhone to speak and read your post to me when I’m driving. Keep up the good work, you’ve inspired me to take action and make changes.

  7. Broadsided says:

    I loved this post. And amen to this phrase: “All of these tales involve ambiguous, super-persistent, or showy, charming men.” Ah yes, I’ve made that same mistake, and believed one too many times. The fellow I’ve been dating has patterns from his past – lifetime patterns, that he can even articulate to me! – that is causing him to sabotage this relationship, too. It is not bad luck. It is running the same M.O. that brings the same results and then being confused why it is not “all that”, especially when you looking for microscoptic reasons to tear it down and move on yet again. Hello? Two people need to show up? I am also thinking those quick starts are false starts out of the gate.

    Yes, and I’ve believed what people say, believed in magic, and put myself on cruise control, thinking how “lucky” was. In every case, I was not lucky – because I was not carefully paying attention.

    I liked what you said, NML, about your boyfriend and you running in the same circles for a long time. I am beginning to think I’d like to be aware of someone for a long time before being romantically involved, and hoping they’d have solid references as to their stability. Being a sucker for love and romance, we’ll see.

  8. Tinkerbell says:

    Nat, you bring up some good points. How can you consider yourself unlucky in love if you’re not putting yourself in the position to receive. I don’t feel unlucky because my ex MM was the first man who gave me a whirl since my husband died in 2006. I had a wonderful man for 25 yrs. I did not show enough appreciation of him when he was alive. But after having had a good marriage, I don’t understand how my thinking became so twisted that I would take up with someone married. There were 16 yrs between divorcing my first husband and marrying the one who left me a widow. So it’s not as though I had a history of making bad judgements and picking the wrong man. (Actually he flagrantly picked me, but I did not send him packing. Fortunately, that was one mistake that I hope I don’t come close to repeating ever again. I realize that it’s the CHOICES we make that determine what will happen in any relationship. It’s not luck or being unlucky. I thank you for bringing this to my attention because the road I have started on is just a cop out, and excuse for not being committed to what I want. I’m going to keep more of an open mind and continue to get out and about meeting lots of people. Mr. Right is not going to ring my doorbell. It’s not something I should be wishing for anyway, as I’m still licking my wounds. I am a strong person and instead of looking for instant gratification, I need to slow down, think and take time to really examine what I’m going after. That’s not just with men but with my entire life. My attitude has always been, “I want it now, or I wanted it yesterday, already!” Rushing headlong into any situation is going to leave a lot of room for errors and luck has nothing to do with it. Thanks, Natalie.

  9. Happy Girl says:

    What a great, logical breakdown of what could be a confusing, philisophical debate! I am still not dating as of yet, but I know my head is in the right place. I quit my dead end job a year and a half ago to look for something in my field. It took 6 months for someone to respond to one of my resumes-and by “someone”, I mean a company I really, truly wanted to work for, and a position that used all of my best qualities. Perfect fit. Luck might have it that I used to work with a girl at that particular company who recommended me after I interviewed, but luck didn’t have it that my resume spoke for itself to get the interview, or that I busted my butt until they hired me on full time another 6 months later and I am the happiest I have ever been at work. Just like luck didn’t have it that I distanced myself from people who would detract from me going in everyday clear headed and ready to give it everything I had. And when I look back, every small, low-paying, dead end freelance job I ever took that I considered “unlucky” in that there wasn’t immediate pay off, paid off in the end for the experience it gave me to land that interview to begin with. Applying these principals to my dating life also won’t be luck-it will be a conscious choice. I’m choosing to use the knowledge and wisdom every shitty hand life gave me to make the good ones even better. Just like luck might have it that I found this blog, but it has been my own choice to follow the advice and apply it to my life. You can’t really argue with that. :)

  10. genie says:

    “It’s not really ‘unlucky in love’ if you hardly ever go out, or hardly talk to new people, or have a rigid routine of work, home and gym (or whatever),…”
    Yep. That’s me. Although to be fair, i am in no shape or form ready to date. Too EU!
    Nat, Keep ‘em coming. I am soaking all this information up.

  11. runnergirlno1 says:

    Umm, oh my god Natalie. This post just leaves me without anything to say because you’ve so hit it out of the ball park . This a rare moment.
    “You’ve also got to be out there living to experience ‘luck’ because it doesn’t happen when you’re too busy being afraid, on your laptop, or invested in someone else, even if it’s an ex, as it makes you unavailable for an available relationship.” Oh dear, that is precisely what I’m doing. Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

    But hey, I’m lucky in parking! Only joking.

    • Polly says:

      Parking is important runner! x

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Hey Polly,
        I’m really lucky in finding parking even on X-mas eve at the mall. I could always find parking at my University, in Lot X, which was a few miles from the nearest building, let alone where I needed to be at any given moment. My motto was: Unlucky in love, but lucky in parking!
        I’m still amazed when I find a parking spot.
        Off track…sorry Natalie.

        • soozie says:

          runnergirlno1 – yes it is a little off track but also very funny – I am exactly the same way.
          I have always said my only luck consists of being able to find a parking spot – even at the mall on Christmas Eve.
          Everything else good in my life I have worked damn hard for for, so I consider the parking luck to be my own cosmic freebee.

          • Polly says:

            Hey Runner and Snoozie, You must surely be making your own parking luck. A perfect mix of assertiveness but not too desperate or aggressive gets you a space every time!

            • Polly says:

              Haha sorry Soozie!

              • Confused says:

                Ha! Sorry have to comment on this – my parking luck is legendary! I had never consciously thought it, a friend pointed out one day you always get good parks and then someone else did and then I went yeah they’re right…I totally do! When people say don’t go there you never get a park and I think to myself “just watch this”. Never fails… will try to adopt this attitude to finding someone

  12. Gina says:

    Tell it girl! Not only do we have to seize opportunities that come our way, we also have to **create** opportunities. A year ago, I left my EUM/FF ex and created the opportunity to meet someone else. When someone new came along and showed the promise of something better, I seized the opportunity, and am now in a very rewarding relationship. To think that I almost allowed fear to prevent me from meeting my wonderful boyf makes me shudder! Fear serves no purpose except to keep us stuck on stupid.

    • Natasha says:

      “Fear serves no purpose except to keep us stuck on stupid.”

      Gina, please print that on t-shirts! Not only is it hilarious, it’s freakin’ TRUE. So glad to hear it’s going well with the boyfriend :)

  13. Kelly says:

    This post really makes me happy because it’s so empowering. By knowing that I can have control over finding a fulfilling, healthy, committed relationship, it makes me a lot less fearful about my future. Yes!!
    Big thanks from Vancouver, Canada

  14. I read somewhere that people who consider themselves ‘lucky’ aren’t actually statistically any luckier than anyone else. It’s just that when something goes their way, they really value it, and are grateful for it. So if we all start focussing on the good stuff, we’ll become ‘luckier’ in life, even if it’s an illusion!

  15. Tulipa says:

    I have been on here for a while now and mostly my posts are about the ex eum or the ac I dated. I can see my focus has been on them and I have forgotton me.
    I look back at my childhood/teenage years and I think why couldn’t just one bad thing have happened to me then I can defeat my euness and be whole. I have dealt with many issues but there still seems to be a mountain range to go and I know even though it is from years ago time has not healed these wounds.
    I know I don’t go out of my way to meet guys because I know I’m not ready and the most frustrating thing about this is I don’t know if I will ever be ready if there is any complete fix for me.
    I still read many of these posts negatively and to add to the list of what is wrong with me and needs addressing.

    • Tulipa, you’ve been around for long enough now that I feel I can be honest with you. Your problem starts and ends up with your involvement with this man and your stubbornness. If you cut him out of your life completely and just got on with your life, you’d find that in itself would create a dramatic change. Show me a woman who hasn’t made a dodgy choice or two in dating and relationships and she’s probably with the first guy she was ever with, who is great, or she hasn’t admitted the problems that exist/turns a blind eye.

      Sitting around thinking that you have a lot of problems is avoidance and denial. So is sitting around feeling regretful about that guy or ruminating. Go and live your life. Everybody has problems, weaknesses – the only thing stopping you is you, which is an easy problem to address. You need to take the drama down from 9 to 2 with all this you have lots of problems. It is your choice to see negativity in every post. Find something, here or anywhere else that you can draw positivity from.

      • anon says:

        Perhaps the problem is perfectionism? I’ve been told I am highly perfectionist and have high standards for other people… but then I look back at my dating history and see that it wasn’t high standards in people that was the problem. It was having low self-love and attracting someone who reflected that and treated me as badly as I felt about myself inside. I believe pretty much everything NML says on here is true and spot on. But it depends also on who is reading it and how they interpret it and apply it. I think other people are thinking I am being overly critical of guys who show interest in me or who I am attracted to… but it’s not the hair/job/wardrobe etc that I am being ‘critical’ of… it’s some unexplainable gut feeling about them that is putting me off. That’s not something family and friends will always see. Then again, I have had friends and family pick up on some ‘dodgy’ vibes that I either missed or turned a blind eye to as well…
        It can be hard to know when is enough fixing of yourself… but I’m guessing it’s about the time when you have a happy social life, a job or stable income if you are a mother instead and are relatively happy in yourself by yourself. When a man becomes the icing on the cake of your life, then that’s when you can stop with the self improvements. Perfectionism destroys joyfulness. You can only ever do your best… but presumably to ‘do your best’ in a relationship, you have to attract one when you are at your best inside and out to begin with.
        Just my opinion. I don’t know your situation like NML does or you do.

      • Tulipa says:

        Point taken, sorry didn’t mean to say all has been negative of course I have taken many a positive thing from here to know what Im dealing with when guys do what they do which has made me turn away dating anymore eums/acs.
        This journey has been long but sometimes I forget the progress I have made when I look at how I was when dating the ac.
        Yes, time to stop the drama thank you for your honesty.

        • Tulipa says:

          Thank you, anon, that was a very helpful comment.
          It is time to accept myself as I am I am never going to arrive at that place where I can declare oh Im all fixed now.
          I need to stop beating myself up and accpet what happened and see the positives in life.

  16. Magnolia says:

    Funny how in one area of life you can ‘get it’, and in another area, not so much! I always had the idea that in life, re career anyway, that you should aim as high as possible, so that if you miss the mark a little, you still end up pretty high! That attitude has served me well.

    But in love, I always felt I’d been unluckily hit with the ugly stick, as Grace put it, and could never expect to do well. Now I have applied my aim high attitude toward loving myself, and to my expectations around guys, and things are indeed improving.

    I just got back minutes ago from a new date with another guy. This one I was doing simply to keep getting out there, to enjoy myself and learn a little bit more about myself and someone else. I had to force myself a little – because there is always more filing or tile scrubbing to do :) This dude was actually quite lovely in a number of ways, and I found myself having fun and relaxing, and learning that I CAN do this. I can meet people, get to know them, etc, without going ballistic, acting as if a guy’s attention should have me not believing my luck.

    And when I do get lucky in love, it will be because I played the numbers.

    • Stephanie says:

      Magnolia

      I hear you. I always seem to be able to “get it” with other areas of my life e.g. family, work, money etc. But when it comes to dating and relationships I have always felt and sometimes said “I am the unluckiest girl in the world”

      I too had a date at the weekend in order to get myself out there again rather than sitting at home wondering where it all went wrong with the AC! I met this guy in the supermarket and he asked me out. I enjoyed our date because I laughed a lot and met someone new, unfortunately he is a little too young for me (he is 32 I’m 37)not in age but mentality. He kept trying to invite himself over to my flat for dinner because he “likes home cooked food” and he can’t cook and he’s fed up with getting takeaways or going round to his Mum’s house for dinner! Lol. However, like I said it got me out of the house as I feel I’m ready to date again, I just need to get out there more. :-)

      • grace says:

        Stephanie
        Flippin eck, I’d think I’d landed the jackpot if the age difference I’m worrying about turns out to be five years (I’m hazarding it’s more like 15).
        Enjoy your date, I’m kinda envious!
        Maturity is a difficult one to gauge – I love goofing around and being dippy. But I’m actually very competent and responsible. You don’t know enough about him yet. Plenty of men and women can’t cook. Though I’m a great cook. My father was a chef and taught me from when I was very young.

  17. tired_of_assanova says:

    NML, reminds me of this post:
    http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/its-not-about-you/

    It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if someone is unavailable, they and only they can change it. If they hang around dipping in and out of your life, getting an ego stroke, shag etc, after they’ve said that they couldn’t give you what you want, they’re lack of commitment isn’t down to you. What is down to you is the fact that they can still do it with you.

  18. grace says:

    This is food for thought.
    I was talking to the man last night after church and found out he won’t stay in the UK longterm. Of all the things I stressed about (me being too old, me being divorced, me being EU, me not being good enough, me having a bad relationship history), that wasn’t on my radar AT ALL. So, the worrying achieved absolutely nothing (not that it ever does).
    I feel okay. It’s so much easier to deal with facts than fantasies. Do I feel unlucky? No, because I’m not going to do all the things I would have done in the past:
    - throw myself at him to prove myself worthy of moving continents
    - throw myselt at him to escape my life (my life is fine, I don’t need to escape anything)
    - ignore the information
    - make it all about me
    - feel an overwhelming urge to overcome the “obstacle”
    - seduce him into acting against his better judgement
    It’s doing those things that made me “unlucky” in love.
    Sure, bad things do happen out of the blue but much can be avoided by not throwing ourselves into a fantasy-fuelled self-destruct mission.
    But, man, he sure did smell good.

    • Mymble says:

      Grace,
      Oh no!
      Many years ago (one time in bandcamp) I got involved with someone who said he would be returning to Canada at the end of his 2 year contract AND NOT TAKING ANYONE WITH HIM. What did I do with that information? I partly ignored it, and partly I thought I would be so terrific I would change his mind. I failed to do so and he did return to Canada – and married the longterm girlfriend, (who he had not mentioned, “need to know”) as no doubt he planned all the while. I wasn’t heartbroken though, somehow his EUness had filtered through at a deeper level and stopped me really falling for him. I did feel stupid though.
      You are right not to pursue it further, it sounds as if he has given you this information specifically as a warning (as mine did) because he senses a mutual attraction and doesn’t want to lead you up the garden path.

      • grace says:

        Mymble
        Oh no indeed. I’m so disappointed but I just looked out the window and the sky hasn’t fallen in.
        I can’t avoid him as we have mutual friends and NC is overkill. We haven’t even been on a date. This is new to me, where’s the flippin drama for me to react to? In the old days we’d have had sex by now and I’d be in fantasy lala land, no need to make any decisions. Just tread the old path of “Oh woe is me, I’m so unlucky, I can’t leave; I’m so in love”.
        I have to behave like a reponsible adult? Gah!
        PS How I found out this vital info:
        How long have you lived in the UK?
        Are you a British citizen?
        Do you have indefinite leave to stay?
        Simple. No need for any Jedi mind tricks. You wanna know something? Ask him.

        • Natasha says:

          “Simple. No need for any Jedi mind tricks. You wanna know something? Ask him.”

          Yup!! I had to laugh when you said you already would have slept with him if it was the old days, because I thought, “Oh girl, I would have too.” (…and then moaned for months that he LEFT! Followed by a self esteem shame-spiral because I couldn’t sex him into changing his plans. AHEM.)

        • Magnolia says:

          Bummer, Grace. (((Hugs)))

          Sometimes it feels like we have all been through the dating equivalent of being approached by a game show host: “Heeeey, little girl, how’d you like to have a million dollars?” [Translate dollars here into units of love]

          “Would I!!” We said, the first time, maybe the next time or the next twenty times, and immediately sexed that game show host right there for being so generous and kind. Then when he turned out not to have a million dollars, we felt cheated.

          Then we have our phase of life sending us more experiences that smell of “How’d you like to have a million dollars?”

          “Yeah, right,” we say. “I know that one.” And we walk away.

          Then the dude comes back and says “How’d you like to have sixty thousand dollars every year for the rest of your life?” And we go, hey, now that is more honest! and immediately sexed that guy right there for being so generous and reliable. Then when he turned out not to be able to make the regular commitment, we felt cheated.

          Next dude comes along and says “How’d you like to have sixty thousand dollars every year for the rest of your life?” We’re like, yeah right. Heard that one. You might as well offer me a million, buddy.

          And then we go make our own money.

          THEN, when some guy comes along, looking like he might be offering sixty thousand a year, we already have our own income. It would be nice to have more, but not crucial. So when life says, “Hey woman, how would you like to have THIS”? we can take the time to say: “What are the terms of the deal? Who is offering? Let me have more information.”

          Grace, this man may not be the one to bring added value into your life forever, but he was still was a good experience. You felt the excitement, then sussed out the opportunity wisely, instead of deciding that he was YOUR million/sixty-thou that needed to be immediately rewarded (with sex and undying loyalty) and then finding out he’s not in the UK permanently, and feeling like you lost something that was never yours in the first place.

          “Lucky” you found out when you did.

          • Broadsided says:

            Magnolia, I loved your game show analogy! This one will stick in my head.

          • Natasha says:

            Mag, you have me dying laughing!! (Much needed on a rainy, freezing evening – thanks girl :) ). I love this analogy so much. The host in many cases also comes along with questions for the contestant like, “Is the sun hot?”, when you say “Yes. Duh. I win!”, they say “Wrong!! The correct answer is, ‘The sun is the hottest thing BECAUSE it shines out of my ass. You LOSE! Can’t you ever get anything right?!”.

        • EllyB says:

          @Grace: I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m glad you asked him and drew the right conclusions! I hope I don’t sound harsh, but I think we simply need to learn to live with this kind of “failure”.

          If I want something for my job, I often need to call 4 or 5 people until I get what I need. I’ve learned to not consider this a “failure” anymore. I’ve learned to expect this outcome and to simply look forward to number 5! It’s the way life is.

          I think with relationships it’s pretty much the same. Unfortunately, it’s very painful, especially for us who have been rejected so cruelly as kids and had no other “parent options” to chose from!

          About that guy with whom I’ve chatted so much over the phone during the last weeks, I don’t even know whether he’s single. I still need to sneak that question in somehow. Plus, there is a conflict of interest due to our jobs. I believe the whole thing isn’t impossible, but if we ended up dating, it might affect my career (and his) somehow. Do I really want that? I’m not sure, but I’m extra careful because of this. There’s no rush (oh, I still want that “quick fix”, but I know it’s not good for me).

        • A says:

          Grace,

          I don’t know all the details, and if he’s leaving shortly, I understand, but if he’s sticking around for a while (i.e. years), if he would consider staying, if you would ever considering moving to another country….then maybe it’s not a deal breaker right off the bat?

          • grace says:

            A (and all – thanks for the comments)
            I hear what you’re saying.
            I’m sitting on it, trying not to think about it. Picked up my knitting needles tonight to make something for my sister, rather than obsess about him.
            It all seems too difficult, which is a turning me off. It’s like being doused with cold water. I don’t want to have to “deal” with a ton of issues. I want it to be – easy. Or at least easier. Not obstacles at every turn, whether obstacles in my own head or real obstacles.
            What I’ve learned is that I can’t do it on my own. I can’t sit at home figuring it out by myself or scripting what he will say and how I will react. He’s a separate person to me and whether we come together, or part, or are friends, or keep a distance – it’s not ALL my call. I don’t have to decide (unless he turns out to be an AC of course). I’m really trying to put aside the remote – control-freakery.
            He hasn’t done anything wrong and neither have I. So I guess that’s a comfort.

            • Elle says:

              Yeah, good on you, Grace. This is a bummer, but it’s nothing either one of you did. I know when I am about to leave a place (here a country), I just can’t help but start to pull back a little emotionally, and this affects how I interact with people and the possibilities I see. But this is nothing sinister, just like what he has told you is not sinister.

              You are 100% right when you say you can’t do it on your own, and I think these things should be easy (not that he was making things difficult for you, it’s a matter of structure). You don’t have to burn either one of you down for this. Focus on the positives, that you opened yourself a little, took some risks, and entertained the idea that you might like to share yourself and your life again. Also, there’s now more space in your life again, maybe for someone else to come in.

            • sushi says:

              grace, I haven`t been on BR much the last few days so not read all of your posts recently so I might be way off here but ; I do agree that it should be easy, but sometimes not fall in your lap/circumstances are easy. I mean easy to trust the other person and their motives ( so you need to trust yourself first). Fact is and speaking from personal experience, if they really want to be with you and have that relationship they will move country, or you will and it will not feel like a problem. Seems radical as we all have our lives and plans ect, but they do change when we meet someone to a big degree- you will be letting anoher person into your life and making a life with them, that is the big change, not the location. So first you have to be open to that change and they also. Or they might be lovely people but unwilling to move dust for anyone at all. In good relationships things seem to just flow and there seems to be zero ambiguity and you don`t have to overthink, and that is how it starts too. I just wish we could tune into ourselves (me included) without that background noise of stuff that we think and holds us back. Bottom line for me ; if there is too much thinking to be done it indicates something is not right. Could that be that you have been feeling all along something is not right, and if so, does it matter what it is? Maybe the undercurrent vibe he has been giving you is putting you on guard? I think that you can trust yourself deeply and all your thinking that you might be the problem gets in the way.

            • Grace, I’ve been thinking of your situation (not sure if that’s even the right term) as it’s unfolded and thought now was a good time to chip in my two cents:

              There’s a lot of rumination here which sort of distorts things. I think it’s a bit premature to be two years down the road. You’re right that neither of you have ‘done’ anything’ but I think you have to be careful because the mental investment you are putting in is magnifying your feelings.

              I think it’s wonderful that you have felt interested in and attracted to someone. You are continuing to flower. From one over-thinker to another, you need to slow your roll. It’s the whole mindfulness thing – not trying to anticipate what’s next and not worrying about things that aren’t happening.

              He could be moving in 2 years – you haven’t even been on one date. I think before you start working out whether you could have a long-term future, it would be better to go out and experience the discovery phase of dating. This is where you will find out about this man and add context to his plans and should you choose to go beyond a few dates and into a relationship, before that you can do some ‘discovery’ on the moving.

              You’re being very preemptive investigating the long-term future when for all you know, you could go on a date and think “meh”. He also doesn’t have to be The One.

              He’s just some guy from church who seems quite nice. That’s it.

              I hadn’t intended to be in London for good – here I am 11 years later. Your concerns are valid but more appropriate to have once you’ve established whether there’s mutual interest and beyond this, a mutual relationship. I also think that you’d find that context and detail will be added to this piece of info if it’s not done in a vague convo.

              If him potentially moving in 2 years is a deal breaker, grieve the loss of hope you had for this and keep being you.

              • grace says:

                Thanks Nat, that really helps
                You are 110% right. I know this analysis and rumination is unproductive. I’ve had to take ADs for anxiety a number of times. I know it’s a bad habit. Worrying is my way of trying to solve a problem before it has happened. Even though the thing may not happen. And if it does happen (like when I was made redundant) the thing still comes as a complete surprise and I have to deal with it on the hoof anyway.
                I also know that the longing is something I’ve been doing since I was a child. It doesn’t indicate anything. It doesn’t mean he’s right. It doesn’t mean he’s not right. It’s an old pattern that I’m comfortable with and uncomfortable with in equal measure. It’s very very familiar. It’s like looking at an ugly-beautiful horned beast and saying “There you are. I was wondering where you’d got to”.
                I have to stress (for my benefit, no-one else’s): He has done nothing wrong. I am not getting a negative vibe from him. He hasn’t crossed any line.
                For fellow-sufferers, this is helpful and mentions mindfulness too:
                http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

                • Stephanie says:

                  Grace

                  This link is very helpful. I have always been a worrier and suffered with slight anxiety. I mask it very well which is worse because I internalise it way too much. I’m very organised and I like to know how things are going to pan out all the time. I worry about problems before they even happen so that I have a solution ready. Its not a fun way to live your life, but its a difficult habit to break. I’m working on it though.

                  I’m going on a 2nd date with this guy and I’m trying not to think ahead, but just go with the flow and remember my boundaries! My issue is that I always want to be falling for someone. I fell head over heels with the AC, look where that got me.

              • EllyB says:

                @NML: I’m sure you have a point, but I also think that dating someone who’s determined to leave the country in the near future might be avoidance behavior. Of course, it’s always possible to move abroad together with the guy, but that would be a very big deal (in my book).

                I’ve lived abroad repeatedly as an adult, on three different continents, and for the last time even for several years, and not all of those experiences were pleasant. During that last time, it was always very clear to me that I WOULD return.

                Now that I’m back, I’m almost sure I would never leave my country just for a guy (at least not permanently). This is mostly due to all the good things I’m having here (reputation, career, rhetorical skills in my native language which are crucial in my job).

                If, during my last time abroad, I had dated a guy who hoped I would stay with him there in the end (despite poor career opportunities and lack of social security => serious danger of getting completely dependent on him!), he would have been mistaken.

                If, on the other hand, I dated somebody from abroad now who would expect me to join him two years later when he planned to return to his country, it would be the same thing.

                I know some people are more flexible than I, but others are not. Another (rather huge) group might use their stay abroad to “play around”, no matter their age. I think you really need to know how the other person “ticks”.

                I also believe expecting another person to change their plans for you if you’re not willing to to the same thing for them wouldn’t be fair.

                Bottom line: Grace’s situation would be a deal breaker for me. Of course, that doesn’t need to be the case for you, Grace!

            • Fearless says:

              Grace
              It won’t make any difference if he’s in the country, out of the country or flying in orbit around the moon unless/until one or other of you at some point takes some action to get to know each other better. You said he tried to ask you out and you ‘declined’ – is the ball then (if there is a ball) not in your court? Why not ask him for coffee/lunch or (if that’s too scary) arrange for the ‘group’ to do a lunch or something – surely there’s someone’s birthday or some event that would be a good reason for one of you (you, for example!) to organise a wee ‘get together’ or some such thing beyond the context of the church. Throw a lunch/dinner party/country walk/picnic What’s the worst thing that can happen? As Nat says, you might go ‘meh’/he might go ‘meh’/you might have a nice time regardless/you might feel disappointed. Nothing is risk free – you either want to take the risk or you don’t – decide? To my mind the worst case scenario is ‘limbo land’ (real or imagined!). For me the worst thing about my ex EUM experience (I now realise) was the limbo situation. Facing the event/the reality of it being ‘over’ is easier than the anxiety of avoiding it, worrying about it and doing nothing. And I think for you taking some action here would be better than the anxiety of avoiding it, worrying about it and doing nothing. Of course you can choose to do nothing, but if that’s your choice then you must stop obsessing/ruminating about something you have chosen to do nothing about.

              • grace says:

                fearless
                hmm, i tried to ignore you the first time you suggested it.
                can i think about it some more?!! (slap me NOW)
                i’m in a good mood at least.

  19. Arlena says:

    ““I can handle it!” was my motto.”
    There is a similar motto that spread through self-help-county: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” I think it was originated by Susan Jeffers. She also coined: “Whatever comes up I can handle it.”

    Since I have a lot of experience with handling and surviving anxiety I don’t think this is good advice, at least not very accurate. What do I gain by overriding my fear? The fear wants to tell me something. I should listen and heed the information and of course DO something accordingly. Sometimes I felt the fear and backed away (in case of men it saved me from a lot of shady experiences) and it was a good decision, sometimes it was just prolonging some agony and when “I did it anyway” this motto brought me into the situation with a MM overriding my gut feeling and values.

    Of course a lot of things can be done with a level of fear, it’s natural when doing new things, fear shouldn’t paralyse, but it is a very subtle dance knowing when to go with fear and when to resist or wait. It would also be my active choice to interpret the results or consequences rather as lucky or unlucky.

    Yes, it would be nice if I could handle whatever might come up in life. This claim is a bit unrealistic. But doing my best with the means I have would do for me. I’d rather like to take a closer look at the given situation with fine-tuned (awareness) tools and then ask myself “What is this about?” “What is MY goal in it?” and “What is my next possible step?” Taking a proactive stance that sometimes even allows me to wait, when I feel not ready or my courage feels like a seed. In this case my step would be to water the seed and let it grow.

    And for a lot of seeds I have to give my thanks to BR. It’s a lovely garden growing here, including some Lucky-plants and a lot of work. :D

    • mymble says:

      Arlena,
      I am actually rereading “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffries at the moment. She doesn’t advocate reckless or destructive behaviour. (In fact, she specifically mentions NOT making moves on someone else’s partner, as an example of reckless behaviour). It’s more about assessing what you want and understanding that it is very likely that there will be considerable discomfort and perhaps some risk to get there, and that if you always live your life so as to avoid discomfort and risk, then what you will get is a life half lived. (Which is somewhat in line with the message of this post)
      I know it has become a bit of a cliche now, but it was a bestseller for a reason. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

      • Arlena says:

        Good point, mymble.
        Nothing wrong with the original context. I’ve read her. I meant the usage as cliché or guideline without looking exactly on the context of a situation which is always very individual.

  20. Miriam says:

    Hey Arlena,

    Thanks for your comment. I see how feeling afraid and feeling lucky are related.

    I also get pretty anxious, and with my latest ex whenever he did something that calmed my anxiety I felt ‘lucky’ lucky that I had picked someone who would do stuff, like ‘not forget plans’.

    Seriously that was my high water mark.

    What I didn’t recognize was that, his ‘texting with a hangover late, to confirm plans’ was what caused the original anxiety, it was not the cure. I come from an addictive family, and picking a lover who was hungover 8 times out of 10 on a Saturday morning so he’d text at the last minute to say we were still on for our date was basically a form of self-harm. Even though he liked me, even though he was you know, ‘mostly there’ so I felt ‘lucky’.

    It’s hard when so many things are scary to figure out whether the root of the fear comes from one of my boundaries being crossed, or myself hanging out behind a self-imposed boundary thinking ” Oh no, I can’t do that yet, that won’t work, and it will make me feel worse.”

    But I think I am beginning to feel the difference.

    For me I think the trick is to ask: Did I start with the fear, or did the fear come through some aspect of how we are treating each other? It’s okay to notice somebody’s behavior results in some afraid/upset feelings. It’s less okay to make yourself afraid/upset through imagining and worry.

    I shouldn’t rationalize away fear, or make it into another stick to beat myself with as in: “I am a fearful person, so whenever I am afraid I should bust right through that warning sign or I’ll never have a courageous partnership.”

    I think I’ll be courageous when I finally trust someone enough to tell them when I am afraid or sad without feeling like I am at fault for my feelings. But I also need to understand them from a non-fear place at the get-go.

    That is something I am still working on.

    • Mui says:

      i dont think this is fear what you are discribing, this is being unhappy with a situation where you experienced that he might not be acting reliable and committed. And you knew he wasnt reliable, so when he gave you a little straw of reliabilty you grabbed it as a good sign.
      I know this cause this was what i was doing over the years. But really this just postpones the big bang that will come where he be completely unreliable again. Where you feel constantly scared if this is the moment again where it happens again, when you are faced with the unavailability of the person you are with. We just fear realizing to call a spade a spade, so to call an EUM an EUM

    • Arlena says:

      Hi Miriam, I hear you. I grew up with a highly aggressive and choleric father; it was the unpredictability of when he would go ballistic again over some tiny detail that angered him. This caused me to adjust my alarm bells on high alert and my awareness was never really focused on me but on the outside. I had never time to really get into my body. In my teenage years the level of anxiety, though never diagnosed, even raised and I tried to flee the terrible body sensations, leaving my “body house” and starting grappling with myself.

      When I lived in my first LTR I felt “lucky” to have chosen a “better” man than my father, but reading BR I recognized the whole situation as being highly EU. I remember all the confusion about not knowing is it a fear within me, something from my past, an issue rearing its head or do I react to the guy’s behaviour or…WHAT? This confusion was like fog and it took a frustrating long time to get the puzzle pieces together and sometimes being mistaken again.

      I “made my own luck” in finally leaving him but it didn’t feel like that. More like out from the frying pan into the fire and feeling “unlucky”. Now I am working getting behind the wheel and this gives me enough heart palpitations again. We can’t be at fault for our feelings. It gets worse if we resist feeling them, I can tell you. – I felt a strong urge to re-read “Taming your Gremlin” by Rick Carson. Maybe the metaphor of a Gremlin might help you to understand better as it did for me. And btw it’s fun to read. Best wishes and a hug.

  21. Mui says:

    still have to practice calling a spade a spade, but am aware of that now luckily. And am still hesitant to judge situations, but again am aware of that now. Jippieh!! from now on its practice

  22. Tanzanite says:

    Hi Natalie/everyone

    “It’s not really ‘ unlucky in love ‘ if you hardly ever go out,or ever talk to new people,or have a rigid routine of work,home and gym (or whatever) spend 99% of your dating time on line,claim ‘ never ‘ to meet anyone that’s your type or that will be your type and available,think it’s everyone else that needs to change or you keep trying to be with lesser shades of available instead of calling a spade a spade.”

    That was me !

    Not anymore though .This is another brilliant post,as was ” Love: are you ready to look at you differently”

    I can’t read certain posts now,if I feel they remind me of where I was.I am done with that now.

    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

  23. miskwa says:

    Great post as always:
    It’s true that life can deal you a very unfair hand. That means you just have to work harder to get what you want in life. That and learn how your bad experiences have shaped you. Since I was raised in an environment with zero nurturing, I made the very wise decision to not have a family. Since I was raised in an environment where education was not valued, I forced myself to earn 3 college degrees. I am still struggling with hurt over an AC that I must deal with at work, living in a remote town with no relationship prospects, and a lot of on line rejection because of where I live. However, I still make myself go to social events and did turn down three on line guys because I just could not feel anything for two of them; both lied about their appearance and one of them was determined to trample all over my boundaries. The last one was tall (important in a potential dance partner) and good looking but relied too much in texting and made a few racist remarks (not a good idea when pursuing a triracial woman). Not OK. Yep, often I get really down and start to doubt myself, thinking I am just this ugly big-nosed Indian who deserves nothing. It was especially bad when I was in a meeting with at work AC and he is flirting with the woman next to him and he doesn’t give a rats about how that makes me feel. Or getting yet another on line rejection because of where I live. But none of this is luck, it’s called life.

  24. Natasha says:

    Can we all agree that we need to add “I had to follow a pack of stray dogs to get away from that moron.” to the list entitled:

    “Everyone Encounters Losers…No, Really. It’s Not The Cosmos Telling You That Your Luck Sucks.

    Nat, ohmygod, I’m still laughing! I loved this one. I used to say I was “unlucky in love” because I was crazy about my assclown ex and didn’t meet anyone else. Errrrrr, hello?! I chose to not even just wear the fur coat of denial…I hid under the damn thing. As for not meeting anyone else? I probably met approximately 482 eligible dudes in that timeframe (conservative estimate), but didn’t pay attention to them. My other MO was to go on one date and the guy would suck (because there are people who suck out there…it doesn’t mean you’re cursed) and say, “AH! See?! Nothing better out there.”

    My personal favorite of these stories is the dude that got obliterated drunk on the date, talked about his ex (I remember her name, but I couldn’t tell you his last name if you offered me $1 million, that’s how long the story went on for). Apparently she dumped him because he drank too much, culminating in an incident where he spent $800 on lapdances at a strip club and walked home along the highway…on the phone with her. After this date I received numerous texts from the guy saying, “I just want to know why I’m being ignored.” I digress.

    I’m very happy to report that I’ve been on two (soon to be three) non-horrifying dates with the same guy, so if I can find someone normal to have dinner with, so to can you! :)

    • Infinite Corridor says:

      “I just want to know why I’m being ignored.”

      Hilarious. Something that strikes me about men– especially EU men and assclowns– is their extreme sense of entitlement. They think they are owed our time, attention, explanations, etc etc, when they are incapable of showing women respect or deference. Really, guy?!

      This is in stark contrast to the women I know who weigh and reweigh the consequences of what they do, or how what they might say will affect all parties present, often times to their detriment.

      “I just want to know why I’m being ignored” feeds completely into this– he is appealing to your compassionate nature to enable his validation machine. When I realized that these men crave the validation that I can give them as much as I have craved theirs; that I am in control of enabling their bad behaviors– it was a total paradigm shift. They are vulnerable sad creatures with their own problems independent of me that THEY need to work out. So I’m being TRULY compassionate (and looking out for #1, too) by leaving them alone. Win Win.

      To bring this back to relevance to this post– I do think this difference is culturally conditioned into a lot of men and women in western society. Strong independent women may easily feel “unlucky” because this discrepancy is very, very widespread. Many men have come to expect this sort of treatment and feel they deserve it. They are the center of their universes, acting in their own short term self interests, not seeing the cause and effect ripples of their actions (IE- find another person to use when this one runs out is not a sustainable model of happiness and mental health. They are hurting themselves as much as us.) Women are told to be deferential, and take a supporting role in a man’s life. I firmly believe these are not intrinsic roles, they are completely made up and fed to people wholesale. Silly.

      That said, there are good people with their business sorted who are receptive to You– whoever you are. The women who complain about a small dating pool baffle me. I probably see 1000 people within a day… let’s say 1% are worth going on a date with and finding out more about… that’s 10 people a DAY! Unless you are in an extremely small town, there are so many more people out there than you think. Only half are female– and heck, it might do you some good to build a relationship with them, too!

      • Natasha says:

        Infinite Corridor, great points! I don’t think it’s all guys though- just the assholes. Jerky men expect to be able to stage a shady comeback/future fake/love ‘n leave women with zilch consequences. If one of these ladies sent them a text that said, “I just want to know why I’m being ignored.”, these men would be all, “Ohmygod, she’s a PSYCHO.” Again, I digress.

        I couldn’t agree more that cultivating relationships in general is a huuuuuuuuge part of making our own luck. Personally, I love to play tennis and none of my girlfriends are into it. So, let’s say I join a new club and meet a new friend that loves it too. We go to a doubles tournament and I meet a great dude. That’s not all luck, it’s living life in a way that makes you happy and then….good things follow :)

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          “PSYCHO”

          What is a psycho? Is there a list of psycho attributes like narcissists? This term gets bandied around like needy and clingy. What are these?
          The word ‘vulnerable’ comes up a lot in discussions too. What does this mean?

        • Stephanie says:

          Natasha

          “I just want to know why I’m being ignored.” I nearly sent this to the AC! So glad I didn’t. A Psycho is the last thing anyone wants is to be labelled with!

        • Natasha says:

          Ladies, the irony of it is that it is not, in fact, even slightly nutty to ask someone who’s begged for another chance and then acted like a jackass/future faked and then bounced, “What’s going on here?!”

          “Psycho” is the catchall term that assclowns use instead of, “Woman who wants an explanation/Expects me to behave like a decent human being.” You get the picture! This is why, whenever I hear a man say that his ex/exes are crazy/irrational/psycho, it’s “RUN FORREST, RUN!!”

  25. this really resonated with me….i do the same work/home regimen everyday and then every now and again do online dating then wonder why my dating life sucks when i really don’t ever hardly put myself out there to be around guys at all (work with all women), let alone suitable ones. i need to change lol

  26. AssclownCentral says:

    I was invited by the first man whom I ever thought I loved on a trip to the Dominican Republic. I see now that he came on strong and Future Faked like crazy. Anyway, when I got there, he would often leave me alone during the day for long stretches of time at his sister’s house (where we were staying), and he was weirdly insistent on me buying new clothing and also on me looking as good as I possibly could.

    As it turns out, he was using me as a pawn, an actress in a f*cked up play he was conducting – the love of his life had just gotten married and he was hoping to use me to make her jealous and win her back (as far as I know he did not succeed…heehee.)

    On the heels of being emotionally crushed due to that bizarre, predatory, and f*cked up relationship, I met a man who was married but masqueraded as single. His wife was out of town for the summer and he was just up for a good time. He pretended to want a high caliber life, pretended to be interested in my unique array of hobbies, pretended to want a smart, strong, ambitious woman and then, at the end of the summer, he suddenly wanted to turn the on/off switch and scale back the time we were spending together drastically. Literally, his change was as abrupt and unexpected as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Needless to say, when push came to shove he went back to his frumpy, low-caliber, hum-dee-ho wife. He felt “safe” with her but wanted to oooh and aaah at the tall, good looking, intelligent woman going for “big things,” in life. Once again – I was made a commodity. It was all an act and he just wanted some summer fun.

    Sloppily intermixed between these two horrid “a$$clown cockroaches” was a brief stint with a man 23 years my senior who was deeply addicted to weed and pain killers and who, despite being 49, had to habitually borrow money from his 83 year old mother in order to sustain what I later found out to be his drinking and prostitution habits with 19 year olds (he lives in a 3rd world country I was visiting.)

    Needless to say, like Natalie, I know f*cked up men. And ah yes, there are more tales…there are so many more. Let’s hope that one day we can stand atop some rooftop veranda overlooking a beautiful cosmopolitan city somewhere with a glass of champagne, the loves of our lives by our sides, and the lightheartedness to just laugh it all off…

    I know everyone makes their luck but I still sometimes wonder if there is something *extra* wrong with me. And I am a highly attractive woman, no joke! I wonder what all of this means and how it will pan out for all of the women who are SICK.AND.TIRED. of being jerked around.

    • Elle says:

      Hey ACC, your experiences sound pretty terrible and demoralising, but I do wonder whether you can’t try to start ‘owning’ (as much as that term makes me nauseous) some of them or start making abstract lessons from the patterns they follow.

      I understand that there was some godawful deception at play, but I have to wonder whether you were also deceiving yourself. I don’t mean this to suggest that you are responsible for someone’s cruel, dishonest exploitation of another – no way – but I do think there must have been signs you overlooked and I do imagine you were exhibiting either some of the ‘must-win’ mentality or possibly being driven by some deep-seated desire not to actually have these things work out. Can you see any of these things? (You don’t have to share them if you do, just that it might get you out of the bad luck thinking that infuses your comment).

      Also, your writing suggests that you’re pretty attached to the idea that looks and ‘caliber’ mean a lot in successfully and happily matching up with someone. The image of you and your beau on a rooftop with a champagne overlooking a flashy city, while made in a light-hearted way of course, did not help. As pretty much all of us can say (and I’d say most BR regulars are articulate, sparkly women) these qualities and scenarios count for squat-sh*t without honesty, availability, kindness, humility and an openness to sharing the floor-desperately-needs-a-clean laundry and f*ck-that-overgrown-garden as well as the rooftop.

      In any case, I think, without killing yourself, you could benefit from being honest about your role in this string (put yourself on what Nat calls the no-BS diet). I had someone tell me last night that I was ‘just unlucky’ with men, with which I totally disagreed (though I didn’t go into why). Some aspects of how I grew up were unlucky, but, as an adult, this is no longer a random factor. It’s within my control now.

    • Used says:

      You are not alone.

      My name is “Used” specifically BECAUSE a few guys I knew (including a longtime acquaintance from my 1st year in college), and one guy I briefly dated, USED the fact that I was a winner in every way (looks; education–elite undergrad and private grad school; brains; class; niceness; being pleasant/agreeable/diplomatic/never-offensive; familial money, class, prestige, & excellent reputation; clean slate–I never slept with anyone until marriage) USED me and everything I and my family represent to get (honestly, no joke) dull women who would put up w/shite from men and who couldn’t compete w/me in any way back (when the guys were in the doghouse bigtime), to date them, or just to get attention from them! I guess those women were FBGs. BUT I DON’T CARE. I am still pissed that I was used. I forgive, but I don’t forget. Sorry, I don’t let go. But I can live with it all.

      Men today don’t deserve to be called men. It was such a turn-off to me when guys who “had a chance” would blow it like this!

      And they were not “trying to make me jealous”–they were losers, capital “L”.

      I did let good guys go when I was in college, though, have to admit. B/C I wasn’t ready and I was focusing on the “Mr. Perfects”, who were ACs!

  27. anon says:

    “It’s time to make different choices.” The way you put it really clears things up for me thanks!
    I am trying to wean myself off a model-gorgeous guy who lives in a foreign country who I would love to sleep with… but he is too troubled for a relationship even though the distance doesn’t make it the easiest deal to begin with and he just wants to be friends, but is available for sex, it’s ‘up to me about that’ -yeah, like as if I could be in the same room and resist him! I think the idea of free-will goes out the window when he catches me in his tractor beams. So I am going to stop emailing him. It’s hard because he is giving me attention and he’s the hottest man I’ve met in over ten years and he’s attracted to me too… but red flags are red flags and it’s time to stop the relationship risk taking. I am just grateful that he lives so far away.
    I think I am a Miss Unavailable at the moment, so am going to focus on my friendships until I’m ready for dating… in case that ever happens.
    Ever since I started working on my relationship issues and on my self love issues (lack there-of) I have felt like my being ‘ready’ looks further and further away in the future.
    At least I am definitely at that point of knowing not to rush into anything. Perhaps I’m getting ‘cooler’ and that is sure to make me more attractive in the long run so that puts me up in the leagues of dating. I’m out of the desperados category… gonna keep raising my level before cashing in my chips with a relationship I reckon.
    I do feel quite lonely though at the moment. That’s the tricky bit about being single… sometimes (rarely in my case for some reason) I get to feeling a bit lonely.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I am trying to wean myself off a model-gorgeous guy who lives in a foreign country who I would love to sleep with… but he is too troubled for a relationship even though the distance doesn’t make it the easiest deal to begin with and he just wants to be friends, but is available for sex, it’s ‘up to me about that’ -yeah, like as if I could be in the same room and resist him!

      We can’t all be nuns, so I think if people want something ‘light’ then do it ONCE and then that’s it. For anything else, this guy fails the touch test – being able to physically touch them on three different days of the week, so I would flush. This situation has the genesis of a fantasy relationship which can be highly damaging. This guy is obviously a playa too AND never ever ever ever ever ever assume that you are the only one. You can be sure that there are lots of other people they have in their field- FBG’s often assume that they’re the only one in the running because they put all the focus on him and neglect to see the wider field.

      There are many reasons why people form fantasy relationships, and reading this site they seem frightfully common – it might be online dating, it seems low risk, maybe you met overseas while on tour, there’s distance, same-sex attraction and the person was closeted and so fantasy relationships were the only ‘relationship’ that could happen – whatever.

      *FLUSH* and *RUN*

  28. Sugar and Spice says:

    Yes, I can see where I definitely used to rely too much on outside forces such as luck and divine intervention without putting forth enough effort…focus, and the biggest dream killers for me were procrastination and “giving up to soon.”

    I’m making some progress in the area of procrastination, loosening the strict control over myself…not pushing so hard…., seems to be helping. I just kind of fell into completing two major projects with ease yesterday because I took the pressure off myself, and stopped thinking about how I needed to stop procrastinating, and then it’s weird because in this one precious moment, I stopped fighting myself long enough, thought what’s the big deal; I can do this, and I seized the opportunity.

    And

    while still struggling to find and/or re-ignite my passions, one of my best friends really helped me relax in my approach to drawing a still-life…again, I was trying too hard, and he gave me a starting point that took the pressure off…he told me to just do a rough sketch of my impression–first, and then draw it again with the details…and he said his art teacher told him “Artist don’t really draw what’s there, we tend to make it better….” …gee, why didn’t I think of that? I’m a cross between an impressionist and surrealist…oh, ya, because I was trying too hard.

    And, then I thought about my singing, and my piano playing, and my this and that, yep…I’ve been trying too hard, and the guy at church, yep,
    trying too hard NOT to make a mistake (which might not necessarily be a bad thing considering my track record), ok, so why am I doing this? I don’t know, but I figure I will let that thought seeking float for a little while, and I’ll just stop doing it (trying too hard) because if I try to search for an answer…when will I just “go live my life”?

  29. little feather says:

    Some say doors open when you start to be genuine with yourself and your dreams, then move toward them. Some say these open doors are luck, or being in the right place at the right time. I believe open doors and opportunities are always around us its whether we choose to see them or not, and it’s our mindset that guides this. I think open doors come in the form or opportunities and lessons alike. If we are not ready, we choose the lesson instead of the opportunity, but both were there. Example, an assclown approaches us, our gut says run but we like how he looks and he’s charming. When we are in a good place with ourselves, the doors that we didn’t notice before become opportunities, but they were there all along, we just chose the lessons in front of us instead. It’s up to us to pick the lesson or the opportunity, whatever we are ready for.

    • little feather says:

      Oops, forgot to explain the example…..presented with an assclown, we can view this as an opportunity to follow our gut and practice self respect or we can give him a try and learn a lesson about doubting your intuition and red flags. The assclown was an opportunity and a lesson……how you handle it is what door you walk through. Good luck or bad luck…….thats up to you. Thing is, if you walk away from him, you are opening other doors for better opportunities you don’t see yet. It isn’t always this simple but as a general rule, always pick the opportunity to honor yourself.

  30. Kevin says:

    “Maybe you do have a guardian angel or maybe you really know how to pay attention to your gut at the very last moment – I know my bacon has been saved a few times by this.”

    …Story of my life so far

  31. ByeAC says:

    Great post. I will add this piece of wisdom I’ve learned. Ladies, if you do not like most of his friends, think they’re jerks, that’s a red flag. Because guess what? There’s a 99% likelihood that how they act is how HE acts when you’re not around. How most guys act around you (at least in the beginning) is an act, and a means to an end. How his “boys” act is how he really is…sobering thought but true. Take the time to observe his friends.

  32. Elle says:

    Hey, Was just sent this song by a friend. All I am saying is: sounds like an epiphany, and hopefully is, but if a guy expresses these sentiments to you, recognise that he’s still not necessarily ready for a relationship. Some guys (people, including BR readers, including me) love the self-awareness (it’s-not-all-bad-luck) state, but not so much the ‘doing’ state.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvRVu78IHHo&list=UUFHtCB_FWXQ8GpjgfYcD8-g&feature=plcp

  33. miskwa says:

    @Infinite Corridor :
    You are so right about AC’s having a tremendous sense of entitlement. Rules and the expectations of decent behavior just don’t apply to them. However, there are many places where the pool of datable men is small or non existent. You say you meet 1000 new people a day; apart from students, I meet maybe 20 and there the same coworkers I see every week. Yep, I have neighbors etc., but many of them have drug/alcohol issues and most are much younger than I and are not educated. Yep, I get outta town, go to music events, folk dances, I race in ultramarathons all over the Colorado, New Mexico, Utah area. Most of my fellow ultrarunners are 30, male, with a family. Some places just have no older, educated, healthy single men. I have tried dating men who are not educated, no shared values whatsoever, disaster. This is typical of mountain towns in the West. My fellow older women deal with the situation by becoming bitter, hating men, or settle for seeing married or very marginal guys. One bright, talented woman here took up with a married guy and was stalked by four different guys. That’s what happens from trying to date locals. We have Vail and other ski resorts close by, but the ski bunnies are transients, staying for a short time, some married, and good only for a hook up. Again, bad choice for a woman seeking a healthy, committed relationship. Denver and Boulder are within 100 miles, and that’s the closest pool of “healthy” well adjusted men. Most of these want someone who lives close to them not wishing to risk a long drive on a very hazardous road. The interstate is frequently closed in part during winter storms. This is why I was stupid enough to fall for a co worker. He was literally the only good looking, fit, educated man who shared my very strong environmental values, someone I felt I could connect with, talk to within a 100 mile radius of here. I do intend to leave as soon as I can afford to, I will probably be 60 then, what are my chances of a good relationship then? Most of my single women colleagues have given up on relationships for good. I really don’t wanna go there. I guess if I have any sense of entitlement it is that I feel I do deserve a healthy relationship with someone who loves and respects me. I think you are right about many cities, theoretically, there should be lots of healthy, good men. Not all of us are…

    • grace says:

      miskwa
      On this very blog, women from New York and from London have said that they can’t find a man.
      I work in the City of London which must surely have one of the highest densities of educated men in the world, and haven’t had a date in over five years.
      A reader of this blog said she couldn’t meet a decent man AT UNIVERSITY!
      Our state of mind must have something to do with it.
      I get that you have genuine logistical problems. But don’t give up hope. Certainly don’t get involved or stay with no-hopers, that just makes it even harder to find a decent man. It jades you. Plus it wastes time.
      I think the running is still a good bet.

      • EllyB says:

        I live in a city that’s populated by more men than women. Plus, through my job I meet many different guys (and way fewer women) almost every day. How did I manage do eliminate everyone from my dating pool except the jerks? Very easily. All I needed to do was ignore all of the following guys:

        - everyone who would treat me with respect no matter what I did or said
        - everyone who didn’t fall for my manipulative games
        - everyone who wasn’t a fan of my sarcastic or cynical remarks

        Now I’m being sarcastic again…

      • Magnolia says:

        I have to admit that I don’t find it easy to meet men, even though I am at a university. Maybe I should go back on Cloud-Townsend’s program of getting five numbers a week (not to actually do anything with, but to start getting out of the comfortable zone of keeping to myself). I was actively working that program three years ago and was going on dates with real men from my real world (then I met the most recent AC, but I at least met him in the real world as well – a coffee shop).

        The last half dozen men I have gone out with I have met online. It is kind of a lazy way of going about it, kind of like online shopping for dates. And if this article is any indication, it’s only going to get worse: sites that let you ‘flirt’ electronically, or let you go and swing by and check someone out if they’re nearby, before saying hello! Do people have no nerve at all anymore?

        These dudes that I have met online – they all seem okay if you just want to have a conversation, but the vibe of not wanting anything heavy or responsible radiates off them. The guy I went out with this week hasn’t called or texted, despite complimenting me all night on how pretty I am and asking near the end of the night if I wanted to go somewhere else (it was one am, I came home).

        He brought up kids (on the first date!) saying he didn’t know if he would ever have any; and my face must have changed, because he asked if he had ‘touched a nerve.’ I said briefly that yes, the question of being able to have kids is important to me, and did my best to move it along. When I got home, I couldn’t help wondering if he had faked the openness about his own life in order to see where I was on the question. Anyway, I’m not sorry he hasn’t followed up, but I swear I wonder these days if guys even know how to be proactive in dating. But I guess if I choose a lazy medium to meet them, I’m going to find the lazy ones.

        But I hear you, Miskwa. Your situation sounds challenging – I do know of people who have moved because they needed a different kind of society than what their small towns could offer.

      • Used says:

        She should also make it a point to take trips into nearby cities at least every other weekend. And to join groups in those cities.

        And to go to church in those cities. The most social people I have met in recent years are the people from my own church, who I have only gotten to know in recent years b/c I hardly ever went to church when I didn’t have a family!

        Also, she should take classes that take her into different cities/countries, maybe classes offered by her college for alumni. Maybe cooking classes taught in…France! Or Italy! Or the nearest city. Something fun.

  34. free_at_last says:

    Great post! And so true…I’m finding in my ‘single life,’ post-divorce, post-MM/EUM that I need to put myself ‘out there’ to what life has to offer. I’m not looking to jump into a new relationship just yet but it feels so good to forge new friendships, new connections with both men and women, and reconnect with some people I’ve lost touch with. I know when I’m ready, the universe is going to send a great guy my way. And I think by getting out there and experiencing life, I’m making it much easier for the universe to do this. It’s also helping my healing process considerably. I spent nearly two months being a hermit/retreating from the world while I went through the death-throes of my relationship with the MM/EUM, two long months of suffering and sort of punishing myself by not engaging in life. Meanwhile, he was out living his life and apparently not having a care in the world. A life well lived is the best revenge, right? Now I’m fully embracing that philosophy and realizing it isn’t even about revenge on him, it’s about making things GOOD for me!

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!