friendship is a relationship between friends

1. A friendship with a hidden agenda is not mutual or a friendship. Friendship is platonic, so trying to be friends with your ex when what you’re really doing is re-auditioning for your ‘old role’ or even attempting to upgrade from ex bit-part player (read: booty call or friends with benefits) to the lead role, means that not only do you have ulterior motives which in the wrong hands will be at best taken advantage of and at worst abused, but you’re placing you in a very imbalanced and precarious position that will mess with your head and your life.

You won’t truly be able to forge a friendship with an ex until you’re over them. Unless you want to put yourself through all sorts of agony, put ideas of friendship on the backburner and have some healthy space from one another.

2. Eau de Desperation isn’t attractive even when the relationship is over. You’re not that desperate. Really. If you’re going to be friends, do it authentically, not because you’d rather have them on some rather than no terms. It’s like grasping at straws, sometimes pubic ones. When you’re inclined to make judgements about yourself off the back of Other People’s Behaviour, hanging onto the dodgiest of friendships after a breakup is a way of feeling less rejected – stop seeking a rejection retraction. You will only end up feeling worse and this is a time for you to be nurturing you.

3. Friends don’t try to eff you, eff you over, or to eff with your mind. I’m not foolish enough to think that in the first month or so after a breakup that you might not have “…one last shag for old times sake” or see each other at a wedding or wherever months later and have a “drunken one-off”, but an ex pulling The Friend Card and then tapping you for a shag as often as possible, tapping you for money or for an ego stroke behind a new partner’s back, or playing mind games with you? Er, NO.

They’ve taken the first letter in ‘friendship’ and run in an entirely different direction.

Sex with an ex can seem like the easiest option as it’s ‘familiar’, ‘comfortable’ and let’s be real, ‘easier’ than going out there and having to put in all that effort for a ‘new’ person, but guess what? When the sex is over, you’re still an ex. Also – and you’d be surprised how many fall for this – the fact that they want to shag you or you’ve shagged doesn’t mean you’re getting back together!

Let me tell you straight – if an ex wants to get back together with you, they won’t pull down your pants first.

As for being screwed over or them pulling some mind f*ckery on you – rest assured that if someone pulled all sorts of rinky dink behaviour on you when you were together, they will do it to you when you’re apart. Don’t give them any room in your life. Stop trying to understand them and stop giving them chances – unless you go around screwing people over and being manipulative or even narcissistic, you will never understand them.

4. Friendship is a two-way street. If all you’re doing is graduating from doormat in a relationship to doormat friend, it’s time to stand tall and gather up your self-respect. If you’re chasing them down to be friends, stop. You must understand – the great majority of people play The Friend Card after a breakup. It’s the polite thing to do and at least one of you will feel like less of a heel, and one of you will feel more hopeful than you should.

Don’t go from a non-mutual relationship to a non-mutual friendship.

5. Friendship is organic. I hear the most painful stories of readers practically beating down ex’s doors to demand the friendship that was ‘promised’. Just like you cannot force someone to do something as basic as pick up the phone, to make an effort, or to commit, you cannot force friendship and why the hell would you want to? And please don’t do the “Oh well when I say that I’m friends with someone…” or “Well I do this and that when I’m a friend so why don’t they?” – you and they are not the same person. Don’t lose your dignity by trying to make people do as you would. You have different values – it’s probably why you’re no longer together…

Let it be – if friendship with an ex is going to happen, it’s not going to be because you kept orchestrating ‘opportunities’ for it.

6. Never be friends with an ex to give them the ‘opportunity’ to treat you better. This isn’t The X Factor where you offer up a wildcard. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because they don’t have the pressure of a relationship that they’ll act better – you are setting yourself up for a fall. Put your energy into yourself.

7. Evaluate where an ex that mistreated you fits into your future. How will you introduce them to a new partner? Don’t you think it will be a bit odd when you say why you broke up? The friendship will convey all of the wrong messages about you – you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.

You do know that people are suspicious of those who claim they’re friends with all of their exes, don’t you? It’s like collecting trophies that say “I’m so special, all of my ex’s want to stay friends with me”. In the small print it says “…and slip me a shag, an ego stroke, and a shoulder to lean on”.

I’m all for staying genuine friends with exes, but if you tend to harbour feelings for them and have been slipping them a piece, it’s time to cut ties as you’re unavailable for an available relationship.

8. You’re not really friends when you’re practically stalking them. Checking their Facebook profile as soon as you wake and trawling their mutual friends? Hanging around outside their favourite places? Putting up fake profiles on dating sites? Texting and calling all the time, even when they don’t respond? Stop. It may be a good time to spend some time with a professional, especially if you feel like you ‘can’t’ stop and it’s impacting greatly on your life.

9. If you’re maintaining a ‘friendship’ with a view to keeping them as a rainy day option or out of fear that your old ‘investment’ may be snapped up by someone else, you’re like a dog in a manger; you don’t want them but you don’t want anyone else to have them either. It’s also like keeping guard so that you can say “Oh thank goodness! They really are no good!” This is not friendship and the worst thing is, if you’ve ever been with Mr or Miss Unavailable, you hate being on the receiving end of this.

10. It’s impossible to let go and grieve the loss of the relationship, if you’re still holding out hope. A ‘friendship’ to stem the loss, will delay the inevitable and possibly make it worse. Accept that it’s over first before you go down the friendship route.

If you’re going to be friends, it can wait a few months until you’re in a better place.

11. Friendship is more than a word – it’s a sum of consistent and repeated actions. If you’re not treated like a friend or you’re not treating them as such, someone is going to end up very hurt and disappointed. Ensure that you don’t have relationship expectations and be prepared to walk if they treat you in a less than friendly manner.

Be a very good friend to you first so that you are best placed to make healthy choices about who you invite into and back into your life. Even when you’re in a relationship, you should always be a best friend to you that you can rely on – it’ll prevent you from selling yourself short.

Your thoughts?


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218 Responses to Be A Very Good Friend To You First…& Other Thoughts On Being Friends With Your Ex

  1. Bermiegirl says:

    Great article!
    I am friends with a few of my ex-boyfriends but ONLY the ones who treated me well. We only broke up because we realised that we were headed in different directions or incompatible in some fundamental way. However, we always shared the same VALUES.
    I refuse to be and cannot be friends with someone who disrespected me, deliberately used or hurt me, or could not be honest and open with me. When I see people allowing exes to continue to abuse them post-breakup, it is so hard to understand. One of my close girlfriends and I have a lot of distance between us now because I could not cope with seeing her constantly putting herself back in an abusive (emotionally) situation with her ex and doing the on-off thing. As I tried to explain to her, “I am your friend and when I see someone mistreating you or making you unhappy, I can’t help it: I want to tear them to pieces!” “I cannot sit by and watch you repeatedly do this to yourself as it breaks my heart and causes too much pain.”
    Please never be so “lonely” that you will downgrade from a supposed relationship to situation where you are being fed crumbs (to use NML’s expression). You deserve much better! If you want to be friends with someone, do NOT harbour secret thoughts of getting back together with them and be honest with yourself.
    Any of my exes who are now friends of mine will remain firmly in the friend zone. They and I both know this. We both accept this and, in many cases, are enjoying a better friendship post-breakup than we did before because we are free to be ourselves and to accept each other exactly the way we ARE. No hidden agendas either!

    • happy beginning says:

      Agreed! I also stayed friends with an ex who dealt with it in a grown-up way, we took responsibility and made sure we were on the same page.

      But when it comes to someone disrespectful, I learned the hard way and a clincher for me was advice that friendship with him could only work if I expect NOTHING – and can you really be Friends with someone and have no expectation at all? Not expect messages to be returned, nor for him to be there and not just saying it when he’s in crumb-giving mode?

      This tells me that even in the future when I don’t give a monkey’s about him, there will be no point in trying to be friends because it will either be 1. a fake friendship where I am indifferent to him and he is business as usual, so just pointless and like I’m trying to prove something, or 2. I open up to friendship and get burned (or frozen!) because he will not put in the emotional investment so I always have more to lose.

      • Annelli says:

        If you shared the same values….then why didn’t you marry them? Nat has written several blogs on choosing a partner based on values instead of chemistry or common goals. Something to think about…..

        • Bermiegirl says:

          Fair question, Annelli!
          In one case, they had to leave the country for reasons outside of their control and it was too early on in the relationship for me to go flying off into the sunset with them.
          In the other two scenarios, religion became an issue. You’d be surprised at how many people are not fussed about religion until it looks as if things might lead to marriage and children. Religion is not a problem until someone starts expecting me to be someone I’m not.
          In one instance, I was a lot younger at the time but had the good sense to call off the marriage when I started being expected to handover my welfare in a wholesale fashion to a particular church and to his mother. Both were abusive and controlling. I think it was the universe’s way of trying to remind me and get me to deal with my own family of origin issues.
          I also think there might be some truth in what you say. Will go back and give those articles another look! Thank you. :)

  2. tired_of_assanova says:

    Trying to be friends with an ex or even an ex date is like giving them a free voucher that says “Holder is entitled to free kick” or “kick me”.

    They make terrible, lousy friends as well – it is just not worth it. Watch them move on with the next partner or behave like an assclown with the next person.

    Boundary: All ex dates and exes – go NC and FLUSH! That gives you maximum safety.

  3. Jolie C says:

    I just watched a rental movie called, “What’s Your Number” (with Anna Faris & Chris Evans), and in it Ally, the female lead, asks Colin, the male lead, to help her track down her exes so she can take a second look for a potential husband, but he refuses at first. He tells her that she looks like the kind of girl who would work really hard at keeping a bad thing going. Ouch! That hits close to home.

    Another piece of dialog that had me rolling where Ally is talking to her sister Daisy about her latest break up:
    Daisy: “… and to be honest I was always a little worried about the way he kept wanting to do it doggy style”?
    Ally (a bit defensively): “Some people like that you know”
    ?Daisy: “No! Nobody likes it, even the dogs are just waiting for it to be over!”

  4. Sirius says:

    Your timing is superb. I have been sitting here this evening trying to justify whether I should meet up with old schoolfriends including the ex this weekend, when I know it will just set me back. I know what I should do.

  5. S says:

    Perfect timing. Natalie – you are amazing.
    Thank you.

  6. yoghurt says:

    I’m not that sure that there’s all that much difference between a partner and a friend – I mean there is, obviously, one buys you a Valentine’s Card, sleeps with you and doesn’t sleep with other people. But in essence, they’re both people that you let into your life and emotionally invest in. To differing degrees, but still.

    I think that the big mistake that I made with Son’s dad was assuming that we were friends. Because it was a casual relationship, I didn’t expect him to behave like a boyfriend but I couldn’t understand why everything bothered me so much when he was ‘just a friend’. Ha. Hahahahaha. One of the lessons that life has been whanging me over the head with repeatedly (and that I think I only realised when someone said it on here) is that there’s no such thing as ‘JUST a friend’… friends are amazing things to have and the privilege of knowing me and my thoughts was not one that I should’ve been endowing on the first numpty to come along.

    I’ve spent a long time trying to justify whether or not I wanted to be with him… I haven’t ACTED as though I wanted to be with him (at least in long-term actions) so why, then, did I feel so pulverised?

    To be fair, that’s partly because he blew smoke in my eyes with it. Every time I challenged him on his behaviour he’d say “well, that’s because I don’t have THOSE feelings for you” and whilst it made me feel hurt and not-good-enough, he knew damn well that I wasn’t going to challenge it and say “well, you SHOULD have those feelings”. And I didn’t have the savvy, at the time, to say “well, hang on, is that a good reason for treating me like this? I don’t have ‘feelings’ for lots of people, but I don’t actively barge into their life so that I can lie to and manipulate them”.

    Or even the savvy to say “sayonara then, dude”, which would’ve been the sensible option. But I prevaricate.

    The hurt – and it’s been like nothing else that I’ve ever felt in my life – hasn’t specifically come from his not wanting to be in a relationship with me, although that does sting and it’s my own silly fault for sleeping with him in the first place. The REAL hurt has come from being treated, repeatedly and in stressful circumstances, as though I’m not a friend, or even a human being. I chased and chased after that care, trust and honesty and it wasn’t there because he didn’t have it in him.

    • Natasha says:

      “And I didn’t have the savvy, at the time, to say “well, hang on, is that a good reason for treating me like this? I don’t have ‘feelings’ for lots of people, but I don’t actively barge into their life so that I can lie to and manipulate them”.”

      Aaaaaaamen Yoghurt! That was AWESOME and so, so true. An excerpt from an email my sister sent me in the early-NC days:

      “If you’re not in love with someone, it doesn’t follow to say, ‘Oh! I should therefor treat them like shit!’ Nor does it follow to keep bothering them when they’re trying to move on with their lives and keep showing up full of promises you have no intentions of keeping. He. Is. An. Asshole.”

      • yoghurt says:

        Ha – what a fab sister! I am in total- TOTAL agreement.

        The thing is, if you’re being treated like shit and hearing it justified it by saying “I don’t want to be with you”, it’s not difficult to make the leap into believing that ALL of the people who don’t want to be with you are ALL justified in being horrible. And that makes the world a pretty horrible place to inhabit.

  7. FinallyDidIt says:

    My ex AC Is doing this right now. Trying to play the “friend card” with me. Not buying it, no way. He is getting the message, strong and clear, that I am not the same pathetic, desparate woman he treated like a f–cking whore just 9 months ago. He can take his contact and shove it. Give it to someone else-I am so done. Thank you again, Natalie and Baggage Reclaim for the strength that I found in this site. Couldn’t have done it without you – one day at a time. Laura

  8. Tasha says:

    Well….this is well-timed! I understand, accept, and believe that exes who treated me badly don’t deserve my friendship. No problems with that…. But what do you do when the ex doesn’t accept that boundary either? I was on a date, celebrating St. Patty’s Day, with a new guy….and ran into my ex TWICE. It wasn’t sufficient of him to smirk and say hello as he passed by…. oh, no no! He rapped on our dinner table with his keys as he passed by a second time. Seriously… his behaviour REAFFIRMS for me that a break-up was a good thing. But we’ve been apart for 10 months now. How do I get the crazy behaviour to stop??

    • yoghurt says:

      Rapping on your table with his keys? What the-?!

      “Ooo! Ooo! Ooo! Look at me! LOOK at me! Look at ME! Mememememememe”

      My advice is… don’t look at him, don’t look back, keep moving forwards. Unless he really invades your boundaries. Then call the police.

      • Tasha says:

        Yoghurt…. LOL! “Memememememe!!” That sums it all up… I would feel so much shame and such a lack of pride to treat another person that way. People who only think of themselves don’t care about how another feels. Thanks for the reminder and the laugh! :)

    • yoshizzle says:

      yeah wow , the rapping on the table sounds like anger to me. Plus probably some alcohol, so the impulse control was limited.

      i wouldnt worry about him though, unless you actually suspect you aren’t running into him by ACCIDENT

      • Tasha says:

        Yoshizzle…. I don’t believe he is putting himself where I am purposefully. Just wanted to clarify that point.

        BUT….when we do meet up…. he feels obligated to say hello, rap on tables, smirk…. whatever he thinks he must do to garner my attention or get me to acknowledge his presence. I am completely satisfied with us remaining in neutral corners. This, however, is not mutual. What’s up with male drama queens begging to be called out for bad behaviour???

  9. sm says:

    NML you are spot on. I just had the last guy I was dating ask me to be friends when he broke up with me because I didnt go off the deep end and freak out. He took my gracious acceptance as ‘cool’ and thought he’d ask. Even though I thought he was decent to me while dating, I refuse to downgrade myself now. Besides he broke up with me for stating my boundaries, so what kind of friend would he really be.

    • Late Bloomer says:

      sm- I saw your post on the “instant attraction” topic. I wanted to say – you go girl! You recognized and honored your boundaries. The break up sounds really recent too. But your actions — healthy.

      Although your guy sounds like he treated you well, I was in a similar situation about a year ago and my heart got broken. I guess he technically fell into the “decent category” because he ended it with me. He knew I wasn’t going to be the FWB or effBuddy type. That came out in an early conversation when I said that I bonded with sex. Well he marked my cards with that one and it was pretty much downhill after that. And I clearly had feelings for him (checked ALL the boxes). While “decent” by ending it, his actions leading up to it were nasty (putting me down, passive aggressive, always talking about the one that got away (7 yrs ago when he was her divorce lawyer and they had an affair), and ALWAYS talking about sex. On one of our dates I even felt like I was emotionally water boarded. Of course I wasn’t picking up on the passive aggressive hints where he obviously was looking to pick a fight and have me end it. I just smiled, tried to look pretty and took it. Word of mouth is that he is crazy and I imagine a killer in the courtroom from the verbal put downs I experienced.

      My boundaries were crossed multiple times (pre BR and I didn’t recognize it, although it felt bad). And I kept wanting to still “be friends.” Find out what I “did wrong” to turn him off. Even today, I’m not over him, and I think a large part is because I just didn’t walk away with my pride and dignity. And now I’m afraid to get out there again now — and a lot older than most on this site.

      I’m slowly starting to realize that unless a lot of time has passed AND there aren’t any current emotions left, it’s best to just turn your back and walk away with your head held high. So you go girl! Save the friendship for real friends.

  10. Movedup says:

    Never was a “friend” to start with… not at least they way I define friendships now. A mutual “friend” with an agenda got kicked to the curb as well. No spying – sorry you didn’t find out I am miserable – quite the opposite really.

  11. MaryC says:

    Need some advice ladies: I just had angioplasty last week and my ex found out through mutal friends. He sent me a nice but not overly expensive bouquet with a card that just said “Sorry to hear of your surgery” and then 3 days later a text that said “Hope you’re doing well”. My question is should I respond? He’s been my ex for a couple of years now and he’s still with the woman he left me for. I don’t want to slightly open the door but it seems rude to ignore his gestures.

    As Nat said “Friendship a relationship between friends” and since we have no relationship I’m not sure if he was just trying to do what any decent person would or trying to worm his way in.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      MaryC, which choice would make you feel better? You don’t have to make the decision right now — it can wait. Perhaps focus for the short term on your health, and recovering.

      My vote though would be to remain incommunicado. I wouldn’t worry too much about being rude. Him leaving you for another woman was about as rude as it gets…

    • RML says:

      If you’re worried about appearing rude I would just say thank you via email or text and let that be the end of it. I can promise you (as I’m sure NML can aswell) he is trying to weasel his way back in, probably for an ego stroke. Been there, done that. Run like the wind!!

    • Flush Mr EUM/AC says:

      Mary C,
      How did you feel physically when you received his message? Ill? Anxious? Happy? What did you first think? That may give you all the info you need to decide what to do. You say that he still is with the woman “he left you for” two years ago. Ignore him unless you absolutely have NO romantic feelings/hopes/dreams about him anymore and do not feel vulnerable i.e you are currently in a healthy romantic relationship with someone else.

      If that is the case, you can send a polite thank you message but I would still not encourage the conversation to go on by asking him any questions. Leave the past in the past. And actually, why be concerned about his feelings and the “polite” thing to do? He had little or no concern about your feelings prior to this, and you are healing. You don’t need any possible stress. Bottom line, you need to protect yourself emotionally and heal physically. It’s okay if you choose to not respond. Rest and heal. Sending good thoughts your way.

    • *pulls out my assclown gavel*

      Plea for the defendant denied – this is an open and shut case of assholery.

      Now Mary, let me assure you that this isn’t about bearing grudges – it’s self preservation. Only a weasel of a man who screwed around behind your back, was caught and then tried to screw you behind the new woman’s back, would use the vulnerability that comes with surgery and your likely politeness, as an opportunity to weasel their way back into your life.

      You don’t need to say anything. Say a thank you out loud to yourself for the flowers and nod your head that he has shown an interest and then go about your day and your life. It is sad that when you should be entirely focused on you, he is poking around.

      I seem to recall that this man is desperate to press the reset button and wipe the slate clean – a truly decent person wouldn’t try to erase the history and instead would actually remember what the history is and leave you alone.

      You have already made peace with this; it is up to him to make peace with himself about his actions. Let it be.

      • happy beginning says:

        Haha, go Judge Natalie! My ex-ac, whether he means to or not, seems to have a radar for women (exes/’friends’ ) being in a tough place and that’s why I’ve asked people not to let him know if i’m ever ill or anything like that (am NC and FLUSH!). maybe he really does care for a moment and wants to come to the rescue, but either way, it always ends in tears. I think it’s all about wanting to feel needed and unfortunately, his feelings don’t run any deeper than the ego. As Natalie says, he is using vulnerability.

      • Happy Soul says:

        @Natalie, I love your comments! As usual very wise and helpful…I would never ever be friends with ex, no matter how we broke up (good or bad way!) …I only stay in touch with my ex husband, not very closed, just sending each other Christmas and Birthday cards, that it. I think it is the reason why they are “history” and no way back!
        @MaryC, you already achieved a lot, please ignore your ex, I agree with other comments he wants to crawl back and probably cheat on his girlfriend. You do not need this loser! ALL the best!

      • Kit -Kat says:

        NML.. Thanks your ur words of wisdom… Yesterday I received a breif : Happy Birthday, Hope all is well with you from my ex AC and it sent me into a crying jag for a while… It just brought up some emotional stuff… Like Mary C. he is still with the women he cheated behind my back with & then lied about it… Why I would even feel like a response is necessary is crazy… Thanks for setting me straight with words I really, really needed to hear….

      • MaryC says:

        Nat you’re right along with the other ladies, I’m going to ignore him. I’ve come too far to even take one step back. Thank you all for your thoughts and insights.

      • Natasha says:

        Nat, I would love it if you and Judge Judy could join forces to create a tv show. IMAGINE?! I totally agree that a decent person wouldn’t go poking around. This is the thing with people who are always hovering over the Reset Button – if they really HAD changed into a different/better person, they’d be very, very hesitant to get in touch, in my humble opinion. On the rare occassion that I look back at my old Fallback Girl relationships, I still sometimes feel a cringe o’ shame. Imagine the shame quotient for the mythical Asslcown Gone Good?! Off the charts!

        So glad to hear you’re feeling better MaryC! Now go buy some way better flowers for yourself 😉

        • sushi says:

          Natasha, Nat…….that idea for a TV show……. I can imagine it going off the Richter scale ! Natalie, please think about it, that would mean an Assclown wipeout, and an antidote to the dating drama of online, website, facebook, texts……..ah….

          • Spinster says:

            I LOVE Judge Judy. Every once in a while, she makes statements about relationships in some of the cases that come before her bench. Her + Natalie = blockbuster.

      • Aimee says:

        *pulls out my assclown gavel*

        I am rolling with laughter!!!

        My ex did this when I had surgery and we had been broken up a few months – to boot – his card said “love x”. It was his way of bamboozling his way in again, which fallback here fell for, and then when it wouldn’t go his way (break my boundaries, change goal posts, ego stroke) his reply was can’t a “friend” send flowers? Mind F***

        I agree with Tea Cozy – “My vote though would be to remain incommunicado. I wouldn’t worry too much about being rude. Him leaving you for another woman was about as rude as it gets…””

        Enough said – where do these men come from???

    • yoshizzle says:

      I’d say the bouquet is a decent gesture but the text is fishy.

      I’d just ignore all of it, move on. You obviousy have more important things to focus on right now than this guy

  12. pinkpanther says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious which are the friend worthy and which aren’t. I’ve got 4 really close wonderful friendships with ex’s. I’m so lucky to have these women in my life (I’m gay, and it is a chlche’ but often true that lesbians tend to stay friends). I know these women have my best interests at heart, and I know I feel the same way towards them.

    I also have a basket full of other ex’s who I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole! Toxic for sure, for both parties.

    I have a few who I’ve tried to be friends with, but there was a natural drift and so the contact just slipped away.

    The last one I loved, treated me with respect, (it was a long distance) I wanted to step up the relationship, but she chose not to . We remained friends for a while, but it was just too painful and so even though she treated me well, I had to say good-bye. That was a hard one for sure, but it was keeping me from living my life and finding a partner who wanted to really be with me all the way.

    I think I can tell which ones to keep and which ones to let go if I’m honest about my intentions.

  13. So much wiser says:

    I never felt comfortable with being friends with my ex eum/assclown he is what I would call an asshole combination liar yes Natalie these are catagories of assclowns Natalie please when will How to lose an assclown in 90 days be available? Anyway I never let my ex become a friend as I see it as a demotion and I did not feel I deserved a demotion becuase he didn’t want to do relationship things anymore. He did not treat me like a friend while he constantly tried to bust down my boundaries. My mistake was still giving him the time of day after being broken up for a year and a half and no sex for almost a year. I know I fell off the wagon about 8 months after our breakup out of jealously. After that I didn’t let other women affect with so much jealously that I would have sex with him I just tried to move on. Three months later of course he contacted me after I ignored a voicemail so he calls me at work three weeks later! No respect for my feelings of needing to move on No Contact alert! Ladies it has been two months of no contact for me! Never ever give sex to an assclown who has not contacted you for months Oh I thought you were mad poor bs excuse! I always say go get it from where you’ve been getting it from!

    • happy beginning says:

      Hi So much wiser. I would love to hear some other categories – would try to categorise ‘my’ ex-ac but too much anger to give him that much thought. I’ve analysed him too much and am enjoying getting to know me again.
      “Never ever give sex to an assclown who has not contacted you for months”. golden words. I had the EXACT same excuse ‘I thought you were mad’ and that was when i asked him to stay the F away – it was the worst excuse i ever heard. whether it was a lie or the truth it pointed to him having a patronising attitude and no respect or CARE. and after that, I’m convinced as I can be that there’s no going back.

      Good luck on your NC journey, keep coasting towards exciting new destinations and try not to linger too long in the dull service stations of anger and regret :)

  14. Ria says:

    Natalie, l have to give you 10 point for this *They’ve taken the first letter in ‘friendship’ and run in an entirely different direction.* I laughed my *** off

  15. dancingqueen says:

    Mary C if you need to think about returning his contact and fret about it then dont…you owe him nothing. Or if you want a simple “thanks I am fine and the best of luck to you in the future” to close the door could work too…there is no need to be friends with him:)

  16. Gee says:

    I definitely agree with this article. Way back when, I was dating an EUM, he was basically to the point where he would seem like he didn’t even like me because it would be a project for him to commit to a time to get together, yet continued to call, etc… but basically do the whole dripfeed thing where he was as you call it hot off the gate in pursuit but backed off very quickly to where I was getting crumbs. This was probably about 4 years ago, I was in a fog of doubting my own perceptions when he was asking me to be “friends” and shaming me because I didn’t agree, so I doubted myself, went against myself and continued to talk to him, even though it didn’t feel right. I knew instinct wise everything you are saying, but I think my awareness wasn’t there about what healthy really is, I didn’t have that validation source anywhere. Long story short, one night the wacko showed up at my door, late at night, thank god I didn’t open it and told him that he better step off through the door that night. just like a other member was saying, its entirely different if its in the context of a healthy relationship to be civil, but not in the case that he is trying to keep a foot in your life, being nosey… etc… so you cant fully move on. Then. a year later he calls out of the blue… for my birthday or something. Nat, you have the eums programming described to a tee, it really is like a science.

  17. Working on me says:

    Great timing. Love this site. I’m trying so hard to be realistic and see everything the way it really is and not the way I wish it was. I haven’t seen this man in 26 days, we have texted a couple times. The last time we texted I asked him not to contact me anymore and that I would contact him when I was ready to be friends and he said okay. I haven’t heard from him. It’s been almost a week. Part of me wishes he would text me, but the last time he did the tears sprang to my eyes, because we were broken up but he seemed to be going on about himself as if nothing had happened and I was still hurt and I told him that, hence the No Contact. We’ve ended things and gotten back together 7 or 8 times, basically getting back together because of the sex. Guilty as charged, that’s my weak spot and he knows it and uses it. And he uses me as his sounding board, therapist, etc. So, I don’t know if it is realistic to think that we can ever be friends. We have mutual friends, so we could maybe end up being cordial acquaintances, but I plan on avoiding him and his hangouts for awhile. I ordered Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl from Amazon, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. This site has really helped me a lot over the turmoil of the last few months. Part of me thinks I need to contact him before he loses interest, but the sad truth is, he never did have a lot of interest in ME, it was always about HIM and what worked for him, schedule wise, etc. I keep thinking about having that “one more time for old times sake” but we’ve already done that a few times, it just leads to more sadness for me. I have to get over the feeling of being rejected and feeling like I was lead on and pursued and then once he had me, BOOM, “he wasn’t really ready for a relationship”. And it kills me because I was scared to death to get into a relationship with anyone because of past experiences, divorce etc, wasn’t looking for it, and I let him in and he let me down.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Working, the early days of No Contact are really hard. I feel for you. Have faith that sticking with it will help you heal much more quickly and thoroughly. It will get easier as you go along.

      Staying in No Contact means No New Pain — it lets you deal with the pain already on your plate, without any new shocks to the system. Hang in there.

      If he’s friendship material, you can be friends down the line. There’s no rush. For me, it would take about a year before I’d be ready — just my experience, of course, but the point is to think very long term, rather than in days/weeks, if you’re pondering friendship. (By that point, though, don’t be surprised if you have no desire to be pals with him!)

      You’ll love Nat’s book. I got it after my last breakup, and it was great comfort and really helped set my head right. Her free email subscription of No Contact support was fantastic, too…so nice to find an email in your inbox with her wisdom.

      • Working on me says:

        thanks for the encouraging words. I have my doubts that he is friendship material, or maybe I just can’t foresee ever being happy around him. I hate to admit it, but I think we’re BOTH trying to save face and be able to get along with our group of friends, most of who do not know that we were together. I’m trying not to rush any kind of contact, it really is one day at a time. Everyday, I tell myself, Don’t text him, if you still feel like it tomorrow, you can do it tomorrow. And then when tomorrow comes I tell myself the same thing, which is basically how I quit smoking. I guess he’s just one more butt to kick.

        • Spinster says:

          “I hate to admit it, but I think we’re BOTH trying to save face and be able to get along with our group of friends, most of who do not know that we were together.”

          Question: whose idea was it to keep things secret from mutual friends? Sounds shady from the start.

      • RadioGirl says:

        “Staying in No Contact means No New Pain — it lets you deal with the pain already on your plate, without any new shocks to the system”. Ab-so-lutely, Tea Cozy, brilliantly put. I second this wholeheartedly – I’m also living, smiling-again proof that this total NC approach really does work, and found great encouragement in Natalie’s No Contact support e-mails for the first 3 months, which were the worst bit when I was still hurting really badly after a painful breakup just over a year ago.

        Just went to your Dating With Your Self Esteem in Tow workshop in London this evening, Natalie, and loved it. Having been a reader for almost a year now, I realised just how far I’ve come in absorbing and endeavouring to put into practice all that you say in your blog. I’m glad to have had the chance to see you in action and to thank you in person, and would recommend other readers to go along to one if they get the chance – keep up the great work! x

        • Oh how lovely! It was great to meet you! I’m shattered! Thanks ever so much for coming and I’m so pleased at the great strides you’ve made in leaving that man and that experience in the dust. Keep going (((hugs)))

          • RadioGirl says:

            Thanks, Natalie. There’s no way I will ever be friends with my last ex. I will never forget how disrespectful he was to me when I had flown all that way to South America to join him at the end of his long stay there, and he treated me like an annoying inconvenience (he was the flying-obsessed-not-over-the-ex-girlfriend airline captain, if you remember my story). How can you be friends with someone like that? Ladies, please don’t go down the friends route!

            This is how far I’ve travelled from coming here to Baggage Reclaim:- I went on a date Monday evening with a guy I made friends with via a mutual Fakebook friend. I had a vague gut feeling he might be married (though it wasn’t clear from his FB profile), but I went along out of curiosity to meet him, and it indeed turned out to be the case that he is married. I was kind of disappointed to find myself so attracted to him (and could tell it was mutual), but heartened that I won’t be tempted because as a MM he is the ultimate in being unavailable, and I want (and can do) much better than that for myself now. It’s like I’ve got a sumptuous big Easter egg sitting in front of me that would taste really good while I was eating it, but I won’t be tempted because I’ve been on a (BS) diet and the after-effects of indulging myself would be really bad for my health, and also because it’s someone else’s Easter egg and therefore not mine to eat. Really proud of myself for staying grounded in reality and looking out for myself. You have played, and continue to play, a significant part in my journey, Natalie, and I thank you for it from my heart.

  18. Flush Mr EUM/AC says:

    “Friends don’t try to eff you, eff you over, or to eff with your mind.” Amen. My former EUM/AC definitely effed with my mind. We were technically “just friends” but he led me on by consistently acting flirty towards me for months but never asked me out for something as simple as a cup of coffee or told me how he really felt. And I acted stupid, actually asked him more than once to meet up. He always had excuses. Never did that kind of thing before, think I temp lost my mind.

    I think he got off on the attention, and enjoyed having me on the back burner. Looking back I remember more than one time seeing a smirk on his face after he was done talking with me or had caught me looking at him. Brat. At the time I thought he was pleased to see that I liked him b/c he too felt that way, but it must have been my imagination. If he had truly cared about me he could not have treated me the way he did most of the time. I feel stupid and used but at least I’ve gathered up the crumbs of self esteem and pride I have left and mushed them together. Healing.

    A little over a month of NC so far, yes ladies I am no longer counting the days since I last conversed with him and I no longer work with the cad. I hate that I let him treat me poorly most of the time, like my feelings didn’t really matter, let him hold me at arm’s length, make me feel like a troll… “oh, yes you’re good enough to talk/text/email with for hours and occasionally run into for brief chats at work but not good enough to meet me somewhere during my free time b/c you’re not hot enough, interesting enough…” and even “I don’t respect you enough to be honest with you or have a possibly uncomfortable conversation with you to set things right” that’s how I felt after many of our interactions. What kept me holding on for so long was stupidity & the brief times that he acted sweet & considerate towards me :( Whatever, his loss. I am pretty, interesting, & kind. He does not deserve my friendship or my love. He never did. I don’t hate him & one day I won’t be angry about it but it hurts & I can’t help thinking about it from time to time & wishing, sickly, that he would call & at least say he’s sorry & that he should have been honest with me. I wish him well but don’t want to think about him anymore. I’m healing and I feel better about myself now that I’m setting & enforcing strict…

    • yoshizzle says:

      yeah the funny thing is, in a few months or so, you’ll probably come to the conclusion (perhaps with a startle) that most of this was in your imagination and didn’t actually exist.

      Meanwhile, this site oughta help you thru it :)

      • grace says:

        Yes, this has fantasy stamped all over it. I know, I’m in a fantasy situation too. When you know it’s a fantasy, is it still a fantasy?

      • Flush Mr EUM/AC says:

        i know that i built some of it up in my mind but i also know that he led me on. he routinely and often called/texted/emailed/im’d me nearly every day for months, asking me personal questions, telling me things about him, and his family, etc. He was a piss taker.

        As far as being a dumper or dumpee in the equation, it’s a moot point because that it a term people use when they officially have titles i.e bf/gf, husband/wife, etc. which we did not have. I think we both shoved each other away in diff ways. I am not in contact still with him. “too bad so sad. get over it.” that’s what i’m doing. it’s not an immediate thing for all of us.

    • Doubful says:

      I only wish I could have your anger. I thought this man was my friend. In my mind, I would call him my “something” because he certainly was not my boyfriend, but we were more than friends. All the while, he had a gf but would be flirting/bonding with me. As I’ve written before, we finally had a very brief time (couple hours) where he expressed his feelings for me, told me he loved me, told me “this couldn’t be”, and I told him I loved him and then blurted out a big health secret. He remained so friendly and kind afterwards, but I was a mess. I could not figure what we were. Friends? More than friends? Was the girlfriend on the way out (Not!)? We spoke at length a couple more times about my distress over mentioning my health issue, but then I had to take a break from where I would see him. A couple weeks later, I returned to the exercise studio where I would see him, and he is like no one I have ever met. Cold shoulder. Bonded with gf. Unapproachable. It takes months for things to settle out into only weirdness for me but for him, I think he thought we were friends. I’ve left again and am going on my third month away from the studio. I reached out to him, but he said he needed to check with his gf to speak with me and I never heard back. Why can’t I be mad? Why do I just want to go back there?

      • grace says:

        It isn’t that you’re more than friends, it’s that you’re less than friends. A friend is someone you’ll meet for lunch, or go see a film with – no agenda, no awkwardness, either of you can initiate it. A more than friend is someone you’ll do those thing with and is also extra special. A less than friend is someone you don’t do any of those things with, despite what they might say or what we might want.
        I didn’t think I’d be giving relationship advice from Skins (a UK tv show of extreme EU-ness) but one of the characters yelled “It’s not love if they don’t love you back”.
        And that’s the crux of it. If we can see it for what it is, and not dress it up as love, it hurts in the short term but it’s easier to let it go. Maybe it’s a distraction from boredom/dissatisfaction/loneliness/mid-life crisis/ whatever.
        You haven’t lost the great love of your life because – it’s not love if they don’t love you back.

        • Doubtful says:

          Hi Grace.

          But, on more than one occasion, he told me he loved me. I think he did love me back. I think I got weirded out because things remained undefined. More specifically, he stayed with his gf as I wondered what was happening and why he would come to me if he was to stay with her.

          I tried to act like I was “co0l” with everything when I returned from my first break, but I was so shocked to see that he at first seemed hurt and rejected and then seemed almost rude to me.

          I saw him almost everyday for a year, although we did not have lunch and go out, etc. He invited me as one of his friends to a family function (he had his gf as his date), and he would tell me he wanted me in his life always. Before all this, he told me we were friends for life.

          I think if I could have remained calm inside with what was on offer (whatever that was), things would have been better. Or, maybe things would have progressed? At this point, though, we don’t even talk or see each other, and I feel like that is my doing, and it makes me heartbroken.

          I saw him from far away today, and I just felt sad the rest of the day. How did I think I could go back there if I can’t even see him without feeling sadness?

          • grace says:

            Oof, it’s worse than I thought. I didn’t realise he had a girlfriend throughout.
            You weren’t his friend, he was jerking you around. He’s done you a favour by disappearing. Do yourself a favour and try and grasp the reality of what he has actually done. To you and to his girlfriend.
            As for “friends for life”, who actually says that?! Someone who doesn’t know what way is up. You can’t believe everything that people say to you (not even me – but, hey, at least I’m not trying to get something from you).
            Even if he was a good guy, would YOU like it if your boyf was friends with a woman who is overstepping the mark. Nope. If you would be, you need to re-examine your boundaries. It was never going to happen. It was inappropriate however you played it. It was no-win.
            I jumped on the bandwagon – I googled limerence, ticked all the boxes and decided to get myself in hand.I’ve a bad habit – I need a reaction more than I need to get to know someone. At least in my case, the man has been nothing but genuinely friendly but I still need to get a grip. Our fantasies/bad habits run away with us.
            Tonight, I danced and stretched again, ate, watched a film.
            Try to fill your life with other things. It really helps us to put some emotional distance between ourselves and our fantasy. And I’m getting very fit and stretchy, so that’s a bonus.
            I tell you the truth, verily, the men are not sitting at home wondering about us, what we’re doing, or what we meant by x,y,z . And THAT is the one thing we can stand to learn from them.

            • A says:

              “I think if I could have remained calm inside with what was on offer (whatever that was), things would have been better. Or, maybe things would have progressed?”

              Doubtful, if this guy wanted a relationship, then he could have said so. He could have done something about it. You’re wondering if you had done x, y, or z differently if there would have been a different outcome. But you shouldn’t have to guess where his head is at and try to adjust yourself accordingly. One person cannot be entirely responsible for making a relationship happen. Stop blaming yourself.

              This guy was messing with your head. All of the talk about ‘best friends for life’ or whatever it was–well, if he wanted a relationship, why was he calling you his friend? The truth is, if he had told you or shown you that he wanted something more, you would have been open to it. He knew as much, and he did nothing to have a relationship with you, because what he wanted was to have an inappropriate situation with you while still having his girlfriend. I’ve been down the path of blaming myself as well, and when I look back on it now I see how ridiculous it was. You’re so focused on what *you* could have done differently, but what about his role in this. Have you thought about what he could have done differently had he really wanted a relationship?

              • Doubtful says:


                It helps to read what you had to say. It seems so simple, so cut and dry when you describe it. All the friend comments happened in my early months of getting to know him. I think I got confused when he spent that time with me, expressing his feelings while saying “you know this can’t be”. I was looking at his actions and I think I thought he was coming to me.

                You are right, although I do think he had feelings for me, I think he was more curious and with me as vulnerable as I was, I was a goner.

                • A says:


                  I’m glad if my words could help a little bit. It hurts me to see you putting so much blame on yourself. I’ve done the same thing and it was a bit of an epiphany when I realized that I was spending so much energy thinking about how he felt, or might feel, or might react….or how if I had done something differently, maybe the outcome would have changed. But how is it fair to put 110% of the responsibility for this on your shoulders? He clearly did all kinds of things wrong here but neither you nor he is sitting around thinking about that. The truth is you’re just beating yourself up with these thoughts, but this is not all your fault. Being more patient would not have yielded an entirely different outcome, and punishing yourself with the ‘coulda shoulda woulda’ thoughts is not a productive exercise.

                  • Doubtful says:

                    O, A, you are not the first person to tell me I am too hard on myself. NML says that blaming myself keeps me from facing some hard truths. I think she means that he was never going to leave his gf.

                    My therapist tells me that this whole drama is how I numb myself from facing how truly bad I feel about myself. Even tho I understand why I had to end my marriage so long ago, I think I internalized all my anger towards my ex and never really dealt with any of the effects of living with him (EU addict alcoholic).

                    I have not dated in 15 years and no one understands why. I am constantly complimented on my looks, my work, how I’ve raised my kids. But no one really knows how much I hurt inside. I didn’t even know until all this. And all this really wouldn’t be considered much in anyone’s book.

                    I am trying to work on my self esteem. If you met me, you would never guess that was my issue.

                    Thank you, again, for your kind and direct words.

            • Doubtful says:

              Thx for more words, Grace. It’s been such a weird time. I would think I would have known how to take better care of myself. I would be the last to guess that i would be turned upside down by a man i learned a lot of hard lessons from my marriage that’s been long over. I have guarded myself well. Until now. It has been an adjustment to stay away and I can’t seem to get behind my decision.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I LOVE your name!


  19. yoshizzle says:

    Gosh, the best PART about breaking it off with an assclown/eu, is NOT having to interact with them! That’s the frickin’ REWARD! why would you give them the benefit of your time and attention?! get the hell outta dodge and enjoy it otherwise what’s the point, u might as well stay with the fool.

    if you’re the dumpee…once again, CONGRATS. they’re an ex for a reason, cuz they didn’t vibe with your awesome vibe. too bad so sad. get over it

  20. Tulipa says:

    “You must understand – the great majority of people play The Friend Card after a breakup. It’s the polite thing to do and at least one of you will feel like less of a heel, and one of you will feel more hopeful than you should.

    Don’t go from a non-mutual relationship to a non-mutual friendship.”

    I can say in all honesty that when the friendship card was offered that it was only to make him feel less of a heel and it definately gave me hope. Not hope that we would get back together more hope that my investment hadn’t been a huge colossal waste. I so wanted our relationship to have meant something to him. It was a non-mutual relationship so I really don’t know why I was thinking the friendship would be different.

    Let it be – if friendship with an ex is going to happen, it’s not going to be because you kept orchestrating ‘opportunities’ for it.
    It becomes very disheartening to keep orchestrating opportunities to meet
    and though he met with me it was still as though I was meeting a ‘brick wall’ he didn’t say no but he may as well have.
    I was also the person who would let it be for while, but couldn’t leave it alone so would try again with another orchestration of events where we could meet. I’d come away defeated and down thinking why am I not even good enough to be a friend?
    It is good be out of the headspace I was in last year, but I won’t lie and say there is zero contact he has texted more than he ever has in the whole time I’ve known him lately he has called too to tell me what a good friend I am and how he can confide in me.
    I needed to read this to remind myself of
    Friendship is more than a word – it’s a sum of consistent and repeated actions. If you’re not treated like a friend or you’re not treating them as such, someone is going to end up very hurt and disappointed. Ensure that you don’t have relationship expectations and be prepared to walk if they treat you in a less than friendly manner.

    Be a very good friend to you first so that you are best placed to make healthy choices about who you invite into and back into your life. Even when you’re in a relationship, you should always be a best friend to you that you can rely on – it’ll prevent you from selling yourself short

    • amanda says:

      This is beautiful and wise and it helps me feel stronger about my own situation. Thank you so much.

  21. Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

    Such a good post, Natalie, as always.

    I like being friends with my ex-EUM. I expect nothing from him, but surprisingly he has actually proved a better friend than I perhaps expected. So it gets me to thinking that perhaps that’s what we should have been all along: just friends, and not boyfriend/girlfriend. All his good qualities shine through in friendship: his universal desire to help people, his consideration, courtesy, care for others, and respectful behaviour. Much of these were missing with our ‘relationship’, I think due to factors like his smothery mother and sister, and his feeling of being trapped by me.

    We never had a friendship before we dated – it was just him going straight for the ‘I need a good woman in my life, and you’ll do’, and me resposnding with ‘YES! AT LAST! Some suitable sperm for my ageing ova! Marriage, quickly!’ He seems to have learned something from our time together. Perhaps I have as well.

    One thing that really helps this is that we never slept together. He is very religious, and quite possibly a bit undecided orientation-wise in that area as well, and I am glad that even though he caused me emotional pain, he didn’t use me sexually and then discard me. I’m grateful to him for this (I was all for a good shagging, and got quite miffed when it turned out there wasn’t going to be any. But I’m glad now.)

    If he formed a new romance, I would drop out of his life by choice, as it IS hard to explain this kind of thing to new people. If I formed a new romance, I’d expect him to do the same, and he probably would, unless it turned out that he really liked my new partner and wanted to be friends with both of us. (It’s just possible with him; he’s a funny fellow.)

    Upshot? I now have far more respect for him as a friend than I did as a boyfriend. I also now have far more respect for myself. We talked about this a bit the other day, and he admitted he had some regrets that we weren’t still together, but hey – it was his choice. Live with it.

    PS. I have the Transient Chilean Hots at present for an unattainable man, but at least he’s a completely different physical type from the ex-EUM! Is this progress? Not really, but what the hey – it’s just a lust bubble, and they soon burst.

    • Allison says:

      If you’re just friends, then why would you need to cut him off with a new romance?

      I don’t think you are being honest about this ‘friendship.’

      • P. says:

        E. the U.,

        I might be wrong but it sounds you are still in relationship with this guy. I am not judging either way, it just makes that impression on me.

        • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

          Yes, I am in a relationship with him. It’s called ‘friendship’.

          It’s not romantic, and it’s not The One, and it’s not me hanging like a parasite on to my mobile waiting for texts, and not keeping him on ice in case he changes his mind, and not auditioning for a role, or wanting to ‘win’.

          I do believe it’s a friendship. We meet, chat, support each other, and then part and get on with our busy and interesting lives, without looking back. I am calmer, happier, healthier, more focused and much more optimistic about my future anyway, and this is just nice the way it is.

          Plus I find I am capable of noticing completely different men and thinking ‘phwoar!’ while at the same time having absolutely no sense of ‘phwoar’ for the ex at all. It’s nice to be back in the driver’s seat of my own life again.

          • Jen says:

            I totally agree with Ethelreda and I would like to elaborate on the point Allison made about cutting off the guy friend when in a new relationship.

            Personally, I have a lot of guy friends. Not exes, but just friends (that’s how I feel about them, and it’s generally mutual to my knowledge). When I finally get into a relationship, my full life will have to change. It has every other time I’ve been in a relationship, and not necessarily for the worst, just because a relationship is a big part of ones life and necessitates time and effort. This means I will have to spend less time with either my friends, or at work, or with my family…

            And so I have decided that the first thing I cut back on, out of respect for everything and everyone in my life, is time spent with my guy friends. It doesn’t mean I cut them off completely, it just means that we spend less time together than we do when we are both single. And they have every right to do the same. I’m still there for them if they need me, but I find that this is the best way to proceed.

          • ladyjane says:

            Id be inclined to agree with Allison. I don’t dump my friends when I’m in a relationship and I would not consider someone a friend that refused to spend time with me when they had a relationship. I certainly wouldn’t be agreeing to hang out with them again as soon as their relationship ended.

            The fact that both of you see each other as something that needs to dissapear when someone new comes along does not sound healthy at all.

            I can see what your saying Jen about having less time for friends etc but the way I see it, friends came before the new romance and if they are good friends they will still be there if it doesn’t work out. Its just disrespectful to treat them as something to pick up only when theres no one “better” to hang out with. I appologise if thats not what you meant. There is a difference between having less time for friends and dropping them entirely to make room for a new man.

            • Jen says:

              Well, I definitely don’t believe in dropping friends, so that is definitely not what I meant.

              What I mean is that when you enter into a new relationship, you have to make time for it. And the way I normally do this is to either spend less time with my guy friends or just make group activities with them. It’s not about dropping people, it’s about being realistic about how much time you have on a regular basis to spend with any given person…

              … also some of my guy friends have their own hidden agendas and tend to disappear if I’m seeing someone else. It’s a good thing, really.

            • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

              Jen and Allison – I can see where you’re both coming from. But I’m not advocating dumping your opposite-sex friends as a matter of principle when you pair off.

              The key difference here is that the person with whom I have the friendship is an ex. If it were any other kind of platonic opposite-sex friendship, then I’d keep it up regardless of the new partner.

              But as I said, too often the ‘friends with the ex’ thing is just a cover for ‘I can’t let go’. A new partner would be right to have misgivings about such a friendship and its impact on me, until they spent more time with me and were able to see that the friendship was just that – a friendship.

              I should also add that this is the first time I’ve ever managed to form a proper friendship with an ex. Most of them I have kicked to the kerb and been glad to do so! So I don’t think it’s a common phenomenon; I just got lucky this time – so far. Any signs of assclownery on either side will result in the generous application of my shoe to his ass, kerbwise.

  22. Em says:

    Tale of comfort: I did believe it was possible to be best friends with someone while forcing myself to fall out of love with him, him also wanting to be best friends but at the same time leading me on. We didn´t sleep together, no snogging, nothing. And then we did; sleep together once. And then he decided to take a break from the friendship; no real explanation. I made my assumptions that it was to help me get properly over him. Perhaps I was wrong, it could be a variety of other reasons – including what he´s stated before: that he didn´t want us to end up in bed together because he wouldn´t be able to hold back and we´d become a couple, and he didn´t think we´d last.

    I was so angry and sad. And I wanted the friendship to continue, and I wanted more than friendship. But then – I haven´t met him for almost three months – I started to finally get over him. And that feels so good. And now there´s space in me for a real relationsihp. THERE WASN´T BEFORE. Having a pseudo-relationship didn´t leave space or time for the real thing. And now that I´ve met someone new, I can be decent and whole to the new guy. I couldn´t before.

    I agree with what Yoghurt says about the greatness of a genuine friendship. And I want to get that back, but I can´t yet.

    I miss having him to chat to about everything. I miss travelling with him, I miss the conversations, I miss the fun, I miss being part of each others´lives. And I want to get back in touch with my best mate, but not before I´m completely certain that I couldn´t fall back into love. Which might mean not this year. Which might mean in the autumn. Which might mean not before two years have passed. I am confident (as is he) that we´ll be friends again, but the only way to get there is to stay away until hearts are filled with newness.

    We work in the same field and have loads of common friends, and I´ve already said no to invitations to avoid meeting him, which I won´t be doing for ages, but for a while still, I will. Not going back to the friendship before a friendship is all there is to it.

    Oh, and it helps, of course, that I´ve met someone very decent with whom things are progressing, but slowly. And I´ll take my time and evaluate properly this time around.

    • grace says:

      Em and Ethelred
      Can it work to be friends with a man in these situations? I’m not sure. I sense an element of “unrequited love” for want of a better term. Is friendship a fallback position?
      “We can’t be a couple so we’ll be friends instead.”
      I’m skirting around this issue myself because I want to avoid the real nub of it – we can’t be a couple and we can’t be friends either because I like him too much. Ouch.

      • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

        I think it depends on the two people involved and the level of trust and honesty that can develop.

        Perhaps saying ‘drop out of his life’ is too drastic: how about ‘we wouldn’t see each other one-to-one so often’? This would not be about me; it would be about the new partner. Most new partners would rightly be suspicious of a male-female ex’s friendship of this kind, because in 90% of cases it’s the awful Klingons described by Natalie in this post.

        What we are developing – and it’s a work in progress – seems to fall into the 10%. Long may it remain so.

      • Em says:

        Our friendship at the moment to me consists of knowing I could call him if I was in trouble, or for work reasons. Later I guess it´ll be easier to get in touch for other reasons. But yes, as long as there is an element of unrequited love there, it´s best to stay away. I finally understood that. But I don´t think it´ll have to last forever. I once had a thing with this guy that didn´t really work out; and then we didn´t see each other for seven years. And now we meet from time to time when he´s in town, have dinner and chat, and there´s nothing romantic about it at all. I am puzzled by the fact that I was so attracted to him, I find him a bit dull. In seven years, I might find my best mate to be romantically, if not dull, then at least insufficient. I already do, to some extent – this new guy I´ve met is low on sweet-talking and high on decency and it just feels so… reassuring to be dealing with someone with integrity.

        • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

          I guess the thing is not to force it or feel like it has to last you a lifetime.

          And I often think that one of the best feelings you can have is that of slight boredom in the company of the person you were once besotted with. Take it as a sign of great peace and healing and an open door to the future!

  23. Shay says:

    Oh tell me about it! I don’t play the ‘friend’ card, however I have been sucked in by those who do and almost 2 years ago now it all became such a big mess that it made me depressed. I was consulting all these ‘ex’s’… ‘friends’ about what I should do about the relationships I was getting into in order to move away from them to have this so-called ‘friendship’ and to be honest they all wanted a piece of me. So I ditched them all by this time last year. None of them could understand why I cut them off but I thought I would give the whole ‘let’s be friends’ thing a try as I don’t normally do it, once someone is gone from my life, that’s it they’re gone.

    And it’s true what you say about those who keep ex’s around… I’ve met a few people like this… ‘I’m friends with all my ex’s’… and it makes me think that they just love to drag their baggage around with themselves everywhere they go. I even thought that maybe I was not the sane one but I am sane, really it’s healthy. And people like that I don’t get involved with, it’s one thing to carry past hurts, its another entirely when that person has the potential to stand right in the middle of your potential relationship. Unless its without good reason, children, divorce, commitments etc etc. But not the pathetic excuses of not wanting them to move on or making them pay nonsense.

    I even had a ‘friend’ who apparently liked me when I was seeing someone and when things between that person and I broke off, here comes this person with all their so-called ‘love’. It made think and I still think this now that they only became my friend to get some because someone who was new on the block got there first and they didn’t like that. People, people…

  24. rosenfire says:

    VERY good post, and very timely. Thank you! I also want to say – I bought your Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl book over the weekend, and am busy reading. Thank you for that too!

  25. Em says:

    Also, I know a lot of people want to know how long to go No Contact, and want a set period like one month or three months. I tried it once before, he initiated no contact and we agreed to meet again at what seemed like a natural time to do so (which meant two and a half month or so apart). That helped, and it gave me appreciated space, but knowing I´d see him again on a certain time didn´t really let me get over him. Now that I don´t know when I´ll see him again, it´s a lot easier to let it go and get on with my life. I have never not seen him for three months before. It is liberating (and very sad, but less and less so). Plus I´ll know that when I see him again, things will have changed in their own time, and not as a stressed response to an artificial time limit.

    • grace says:

      No contact is, in my view, indefinite. I tried it once for a set period of six months. It wasn’t long enough. I also tried it fora set period of a year. Also, not long enough (breaking that ended in a pointless marriage and divorce). How long to aim for? In the words of REM:
      “See you in heaven if you make the list”.
      It’s not about counting days, it’s about when you just don’t care anymore. They’re not even on your mind to think of not seeing again. Hallelujah.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      I originally had a timeline in mind when I went no contact. First it was 30 days…then 60…then 90….then six months…and still felt it wasn’t the right time. So, like you, I just made it indefinite, and stopped clock-watching.

      My benchmark for being ready for contact is this: If I saw him walking down the street with a gal on his arm, smiling and glowing and in love, what would my gut reaction be? Would I be delighted for him, as I would be for any of my other friends?

  26. luckystar says:

    This is a great article and so relevant for me! Thanks, Natalie. Honestly, I have been struggling with this issue. I broke up with my ac last year in July after finding out he had been cheating on my with a mutual friend (1 year already!!!). We had so much in common and our relationship was great and I wanted to be friends with him … and her as well. He also always said he very much wanted this but when I found out about his parallel relationship with her and broke up with him, he went NC immediately and never did anything to really be the “friend”. I was very hard for me. A part of me wonders every day why I wanted … and sometimes still want … to be friends with him. May be because I am not really over him yet. I have been NC since December (… and yes, still counting days of NC … soon to be 90! …. and yes, sometimes I wish he’d call or text…). All went very pear-shaped in Dec on a X-mas do when he was there with her and I went mental after few drinks. We don’t speak … she hates me … I have nothing against her … is this crazy??? Anyway, I do quite well, have my own life, don’t do depression etc. but I ask myself everyday when this is going to be OK? When do I feel normal, when do I lose interest completely, when do I stop wondering why etc. Well, the truth is we can’t be friends. Not now probably not in a year. I so want to accept this. It was my first break-up so I really try to make a sense of this all. Thank you for this website, I bought Mr Unavailable … and the No Contact Rule … and this all helped me SO MUCH! thank you, Natalie! (sorry for all the grammar mistakes etc … I am not an English speaker) Best wishes from Prague :-)

  27. Simona says:

    So….I had to contact my ex EUM for an healthy issue that it might effects his health too…after a good three and an half months of no contact had to put my pride aside,reopen all my wounds and decide to be a good person after all the crap I have been thru and tell him ….So so hard
    I am in a very low place right now….just when I was little by little getting over the situation this 
    has come!!!!…..Have to be strong enough to let him back in my life untill everything clears and then flush…I suppose….
    I certainly don’t want any relationships based in compassion
    so hard:(

  28. Annelli says:

    I don’t believe in keeping in contact with an ex as a “friend.” If I don’t have children with the person or some business, there is nothing to talk about. If he wasn’t a great boyfriend/husband, he isn’t going to be a great friend either. Why would I want someone who lied, cheated, disrespected me and did God knows what else, as a friend? That’s crazy and people who think other wise, just might be naive or blinded to what is REALLY going on. Just move on with your life and leave the baggage behind.

  29. Tea Cozy says:

    It’s interesting to me how many online dating profiles make a point of saying “I’m still friends with many of my exes.” I guess this is supposed to indicate that the person is all cool and evolved? To me, it actually comes across as being perhaps too casual about love and relationships — like the person is may be a leeeeetle too quick to downshift a woman from Girlfriend to Just Friends.

    I’ve tried to do just-friends right after breakups. Boy, THAT sure went well (not). As the rejected one, it made me half-crazy trying to suppress my natural anger and disappointment and put on a smiley face and pretend to be “Hey, it’s cool, I’m the cool chick, nothing fazes me.” Baloney…my poor pillows were drowning in my angry tears. And boy howdy did I have a hidden agenda: “Maybe if I act cool, he’ll realize he actually loves me.” Nopity nope nope.

    I occasionally get sentimental twinges, thinking of my last two romances, and get the ever-so-slight urge to reach out and reconnect (both guys offered the Friendship Card). But it always passes, and I realize the effort is better spent reconnecting with one of my true-blue friends — sending them a little random note or something.

    Great post, Natalie. Solid as always.

  30. miskwa says:

    I find that it takes me about a year to be completely over someone if they were someone I really cared about. Yep, friends do not hurt you or use you to feel better about themselves. I just wish my “at work” AC would stop showing up at lunch and stop suddenly joining committees that he knows I am already on. Ah well, semesters almost over.

    • Ow says:

      My former Mr. EUM/AC would follow me around like a shadow sometimes at work (we used to work at the same co at diff times during our “relationship”). Looking back it was odd, he’d do it usually when I hadn’t seen/spoken to him in awhile, sometimes just show up in my area and stare at me, not say anything or be doing anything… then later contact me. I guess he liked me in a passing way but he had little concern for my feelings. Generally only talked to me in front of co-workers if it was work related stuff and then later contact me about other stuff via the phone or when the break room was pretty much deserted. I think he didn’t want people to know we were friends or whatever b/c he was afraid of being teased. Childish, I know.

      Wants you close but at arm’s length. Ugh. Ugh. “Secret friends” yuck. Yuck. I can’t believe how long I put up with that stuff. It makes me sad just typing it. I am a person with a soul, not a doll that you can shove in a corner or play with and hide. Sounds like he still likes you on some level or is seeking to get rid of guilt. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that he keeps showing up those places. If you must interact with him on the commitees keep it brief and strictly professional to protect yourself. Hopefully he will get the hint if he is joining solely to be in your path.

  31. Sarah says:

    Sorry but do people really put fake profiles on dating sites? And for what purpose?

    This is worrying.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      People put fake profiles on dating sites. A couple of scenarios I’ve heard of:

      1. Girl gets dumped by online paramour. Guy wants No Contact (or disappears). Girl creates fake profile to lure guy into having contact with the fake-her. Girl uses this to extract info from the guy about why he dumped the real-her (asking him about his dating experiences, etc.).

      2. Guy is married, but wants some internet female attention. Creates a too-good-to-be-true profile, gets women to sext him, phone-sex him, etc., but always has an excuse why he is never available to meet in real life.

      And I’m sure there are plenty of other scenarios being played out.

      So, yeah, there are fakes out there. That’s one reason why it’s best to make in-person contact fairly early on to make sure what’s on offer matches the profile.

  32. Sumumu says:

    To Flush Mr EUM/AC – your words sum my situation up exactly:

    “My former EUM/AC definitely effed with my mind. We were technically “just friends” but he led me on by consistently acting flirty towards me for months but never asked me out for something as simple as a cup of coffee or told me how he really felt. And I acted stupid, actually asked him more than once to meet up. He always had excuses. Never did that kind of thing before, think I temp lost my mind.

    I think he got off on the attention, and enjoyed having me on the back burner. Looking back I remember more than one time seeing a smirk on his face after he was done talking with me or had caught me looking at him. Brat. At the time I thought he was pleased to see that I liked him b/c he too felt that way, but it must have been my imagination. If he had truly cared about me he could not have treated me the way he did most of the time. I feel stupid and used but at least I’ve gathered up the crumbs of self esteem and pride I have left and mushed them together. Healing.”

    This is my experience. It feels horrible and is exactly what I’ve been going through for the past 9 months. Pretending that I am ok being ‘friends’ when really I was hoping desparately that it he would want us to get back together, where at the end of every conversation I felt depressed and slightly humiliated because he didn’t do anything to take us forward. Took me this long to realise he had no intention of doing anything of the sort. I think this has been more painful and self-esteem destroying than being dumped in the first place. But finally I have seen the light, you just kind of wake up one day and realise that you are being a fool and that nothing is ever going to come of my fantasy. I’ve cut contact (which is difficult cause he’s a client where I work and is always coming in for meetings, but I’ve made sure I no longer work on his account and try to be out of the office or away from the meeting room areas when he’s in the office) and i’m hoping this sad tale can finally come to an end.

    One thing I’ve learned, it really does take getting to rock bottom to see where you have been going wrong and take responsibility for your own actions. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. All the best to all of you.

  33. tat2dmomma says:

    NML~I haven’t read one post that I can honestly say I disagree with so far. My ex (son’s dad) and I were no contact for 8 months. He bolted, as usual, last summer. I stopped all communication with him during that time. After the first of the year, and once his new GF wised up…he came round for some “friendship”. Because we have a son, I reluctantly agreed at first. Soon after, I realized exactly what was going on here. (It was unreal the parellel circumstances of what I was reading here and my real life. Ugh!) Thanks to your experiences and words here I was able to see past my own barriers and blinders that I had instilled over the last 8 years. I seriously CAN NOT thank you enough for this blog! I have since initiated NO CONTACT once again…now after reading as much as I can of your blog. I admit, it was very hard at first, but time is making my decision so much easier. :)

    “Let me tell you straight – if an ex wants to get back together with you, they won’t pull down your pants first.”~Oh sooooo true! Thank you for pointing out the most obvious. What an idiot I have been! That embarrassment is enough to make the changes I need to move the F on!

    Looking forward to reading more…a million thanks! :)

  34. NK says:

    Ugh, granted I haven’t read every comment on here but I wanted to mention the uncanny ability by my ex EUM to sense when I am vulnerable.

    Its been 3 years now since anything happened between us. And he is STILL trying to get my attention. Recently I’ve been having depression and personal turmoil. He somehow knows or is a lucky guesser…….
    Because he texts me to ask if Im ok. Even after I thought I’d moved on from replying to him. Ive seen him at two events previously and hes ignored me and I him. That was GREAT I was so very happy about that.
    Then the text……..
    Details are in my new-undercontruction blog
    I decided to give up sex for a year. This blog is about my challenge (and believe me it is a challenge!).

    Anyone else have a mind reading ex?

    • happy beginning says:

      Yep NK – but I think mind reading is too much credit and it’s about sensing you are vulnerable by hearing it on the grapevine or through your actions. It is the skill that’s needed for the reset button. To become involved again after a period of unavailability takes good timing and probably the kind of charm and apparent compassion that gets your trust quickly despite the red flags. And reading between the lines, the text ‘asking if you’re ok’ covers him – although you now know better, he can deny he was trying to hook up- “I was only seeing how you are” *innocent face*. I can’t ever empathise with this assholery but BR is helping me to see the mechanisms.

      I used to think the EUM/AC had an unbeatable power to capture me at weak moments but now think this was overrated and really, I was so dependent on him for my happiness that sometimes he even had control over my ups and downs as well as knowing them. Sad but true.

    • Little Star says:

      NK, I do feel like my ex AC can read my mind! Especially when I am about to have a DATE with a new guy!!! It is happened 4 times now, maybe he has friends in T-Mobile and they can read my messages??? Honestly, only last year AC sent me a text before my date with Mr N, he messed up my mind so I dropped Mr N and came back to AC…Last week again, had a date with Mr Z and yet again AC appeared and sent me few texts that he wanted to meet up:-( Yet again, it is screwing my mind! BEFORE that date he did not contact me for FOUR months!!! Dont you think it is weard???

  35. FeistyWoman says:

    Hi Natalie! I love this post! <3

    There definitely always seems to be an ulterior motive when an ex wants to be "friends". Especially when they come back after quite a bit of time has passed.

    I find myself very leery of being friends with an ex- especially when the breakup was horrible. I've found that if the breakup was really bad, the relationship (without even considering a friendship) overall is usually unsalvageable. The only exes I've ever remained with on good terms were those I was pretty fickle about all around and vice versa. :(


  36. Emily Cooper says:

    I think if they were a good person as a boy/girlfriend, you can still have a good friendship with them after you break up. Otherwise, once an a-hole, always an a-hole, and no use being anything but curtly polite to them. :)

  37. Dazed and Confused says:

    And the saga continues. My ex of 9 months (who I have now been in NC with for 3 months), and who I have asked repeatedly not to contact me has been sending me the occasional text every so often. I simply ignore and delete it. This past week he called me on Saturday, no voicemail. Then he called again late Tuesday night, no voicemail. Then on Thursday he called me 73 times in the period of an hour. No voicemails. One of my guy friends grabbed my phone, answered, and told him not to call again. My ex stopped but then wrote me a long e-mail explaining he wants to be back in my life (maybe start as friends), eventually my husband, how he is the “stupidest man on earth” for letting me go, he told me I was the perfect girl for him but he was so scared of that so he sabotaged the relationship by causing fights (this I completely don’t understand). I never responded to the e-mail and I ended up filing a police report on him for the 73 missed calls (who knows when an ex could snap!?). My question, what should I take as sincere, the e-mail? Why would he want me now that the door is slammed shut and locked? Did this make him realize I was a pretty great girlfriend? Why would you sabotage a relationship with your “dream girl”? I mean I don’t get it at all. Thoughts?

    • yoghurt says:

      Thoughts = it’s all bollocks. And he’s possibly mentally ill.

      If he really cared about you, he would NOT be disrespecting your peace and privacy with the constant calls. If he cared about you, he would accept your decision to move on, wish you happiness, take responsibility for his actions and deal with the pain of it by himself, like a functioning adult.

      It could be that he isn’t able to care about anyone. It could be that he feels something that he thinks is love. Very sad but whatever. Without care and respect it won’t get your relationship very far and you’ve already learnt, painfully, that you can’t be happy with someone like him. If you let him back in your life you’ll just be learning that lesson again.

      As far as stalkers go, my general rule of thumb is that they care more about their feelings about you than your feelings about them. It’s self-centred and it’s got nothing to do with YOU at all – it’s all about their needs, their projections and their fantasies.

      Hopefully, he’s frantically seeking you like a comfort blanket because he’s getting a bit too close to having to face the truth about himself and his choices, and hopefully, when he does he’ll sort himself out. But either which way, it’s nothing to do with you and you have a responsibility to YOURSELF and to HIM not to respond and to stick to your boundaries.

      If they were honest, nobody wants to be with someone that they have to hassle to death to get. You wouldn’t be doing him any favours by letting him think that his creepy stalkery tactics were going to yield results but more to the point, you most certainly wouldn’t be doing YOU any favours either.

      • grace says:

        yogurt, dazed
        I concur – mental illness.
        I’ve been mentally ill myself so I’m not being judgey about it, but don’t mistake this obsessiveness for genuine love and care.
        I kinda know how he feels. Luckily, I’ve been able to maintain sufficient dignity not to call someone 70 times but, yeah, I get it.
        Some people are so screwed up that rejection (perceived or otherwise) just pushes them over the edge. It doesn’t mean he genuinely wants to be with you. AT. ALL.
        When you love someone you care about their welfare, it’s mutually supportive, it’s consistent. Obsession? More than anything, all you want in that moment is – a reaction. The other person’s feelings don’t come into it. When he’s pushing that button 73 times, it’s not because he loves you.
        Ignore the email, other than to file it for the police should this get out of hand.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      This guy is disrespecting your clearly-stated boundaries. His actions are intrusive, inappropriate, and insensitive. They aren’t the actions of a man who loves, cares, and respects you.

      Try not to spend too much time trying to understand his motives. He’s not behaving in a rational fashion, so there’s no point trying to assign reasonable intentions to his words.

      His attention to you is not friendly. It’s controlling, manipulative, and bullying. Engaging him will only encourage and inflame him.

    • Dazed, there is quite frankly no situation where someone calls you 73 times in one hour, that could be regarded as normal. I don’t think telemarketers with their automated calling systems can even manage 73 calls in an hour. It’s not flattering or normal. In the UK, making more than 2 unwanted calls, texts, emails etc means that they’re breaking the Malicious Communications Act.

      He is bombarding you for attention and that is not out of desire – it is due to feeling lack of control which he mistakes for desire. Demanding someone’s attention and attempting to control their agenda isn’t flattering and in fact, is alienating. There are very valid reasons why you have told this prat to take a run and jump – if you give him any attention, it will satisfy that curiosity and out of control feeling and you will be back to square one. Please familiarise yourself with what healthy attention and behaviour looks like – this *isn’t* it. I would also watch yourself if you think that this kind of attention is what is needed for a relationship and validation.

      • Dazed and Confused says:

        @grace @tea cozy and Natalie- thank you thank you thank you!
        Nat- this website has knocked the sense into me time and again. I’m not sure I would have survived and been free of this abusive relationship had it not been for your blog and your followers. I recommend this site to anyone I know dealing with similar issues.
        My ex was controlling, manipulative, and abusive throughout the course of our relationship, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that he would continue this pattern of behavior. The worst part of this story is that he is a worship leader at a very large church I used to attend. He used God and other spiritual references to constantly manipulate me from day 1. I’m not sure if he actually believes that God told him to pursue me in that way or if he was just trying to get me to respond in a given situation. I learned to look at actions and character from your blog, NOT just what people say. It was hard for me to understand that some people say one thing and do another and expect to get away from it. I try to live my life as a “what you see is what you get” kind of gal. Unbelievable to me that people can be so dishonest and claim “love”. Thank you again for everything!

  38. annied says:

    Hey Natalie:) I like your timing, as always. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been “uninvolved” with the AC for a long time now. You know you’re really over them when you don’t count the days and no longer need milestones.

    Time has not changed him a bit and every once in a while he will send a text or make a comment at work to test the waters, but it doesnt affect me anymore. NC became much easier when he decided he would “show me” by doing NC with me – it was funny because it made my life so much better. If only he had done that when I was still in crazy-mode, maybe I’d be dating someone by now. Ha.

  39. sm says:

    I was able at one time to be friends with an ex EUM without any feelings either way. I eventually decided that having to hear about all his EU behavior with new gf’s was very unhealthy for me. Even though I had no feelings for him what so ever, I realized hearing about it regularly made all eu’s behavior seem ‘normal’ to me by default. So I just stopped communicating with him. Best decision I ever made, now I wish I would just stop running into these people altogether.

  40. Mia says:

    The post reminds me of Fiona Apple’s song, “Shadowboxer.”
    “Once my lover, now my friend, what a cruel thing to pretend
    What a cunning way to condecend, once my lover now my friend.”
    Empowering song when getting over a ex who plays the friendship game.

  41. brenda says:

    I think it depends on how Serious the relationship was..I have dated a few Men,that it just didnt work out,but today they are Great friends..
    I would Never even think about being Freinds with the”DISSAPEARER”,altho when it happened and I was in my begging state,I did utter those words..I am getting better day by day,but I have been Updated on his life as I work with his sister.I have been told Mr Angry vindictive Asshole is now seeing a rather unattractive woman,who drinks far too much and is the Race he seems to Hate.It is a small world and I have a close friend who also knows her.So these things I am not making up inmy mind.I have been struggling as to why he would dump me so terrible and take up with Her?
    I am attractive,good job,talented,and a great and loving person….I just dont get it..???

    • yoghurt says:


      The ONLY thing that is wrong with you is that you choose to spend time with and accept the judgement of and base your self-esteem on the opinions of nasty effed-up little men, whose behaviour is based on exactly what is convenient and pleasant and easiest for them at that ONE MOMENT IN TIME, with no other considerations.

      It is nothing to do with the way that you look or your job or your intelligence or anything else, it is to do with whose opinions your choose to care about, and who you choose to let into your life.

      The only reason that he’s with this other woman is that she’s made the same bad choice. Would you want to be with someone who professed to hate your race? Hell, would you really want to be with someone who professed to hate any race?

      In all honesty, if you have to work with her, I’d set up some boundaries with his sister… is there any reason why you have to hear updates on his pathetic little life in your day-to-day life?

      • Mymble says:

        Absolutely, if you’re still hearing all about them you’re not really NC – I shudder to think what the ex-MM is up to now, even the thought of having to know makes feel a wave of horrible anxiety, that’s one of (the very, very many) reasons we cannot be friends.

  42. Stephanie says:

    Another timely post! On the previous post I commented that the EUM/AC made me feel as though I was losing my mind and nearly ended up asking my Doctor for anti depressants as a way to get over him. Then out of the blue after 5 months he sends me text last week saying “Hey, how’s you”. My first reaction was a mixture of fear/anxiety/happiness/confusion. This guy dumped me without even telling me! He just disappeared, deleted and moved on. I did reply some time after saying “I’m fine thanks, hope you are ok, take care”. I thought that would be the end of it and went to bed, but no, he texts me back asking, how was my daughter, had I been on holiday, how was work etc.

    I don’t want to sound pathetic but I’m not sure what he wants and I haven’t asked him. He hasn’t asked to be friends, or to meet up or anything and I sure as hell won’t be asking him if that is what he wants. He also emailed me at work today and asked about my weekend (he didn’t contact me over the weekend, he never did when I was seeing him) but hasn’t called me, which I think says a lot, but he is definitely after something.

    I know that I shouldn’t have even replied to any subsequent messages after the first one because he doesn’t deserve it, but if I’m honest curiosity got the best of me. Hopefully he will get the message and go back to his life as my replies have either been one word or short sentences.

    I’m glad he contacted me now and not maybe 3/4 months ago when I was weak as I would have been literally living off these messages like a drug addict. But now it doesn’t really matter I don’t want his friendship if that is what he is offering and I sure don’t want to be in his company. I won’t forget how he made me feel.

    • grace says:

      I assume you haven’t been following the blog as avidly or a long as I have. They all do this. ALL. OF. THEM. WITHOUT. EXCEPTION.
      Except the ones who disappear completely.
      Yeah, those are the two options when dealing with the EU.
      It’s the Rock or the Hard Place.
      Ignore, ignore, ignore.

      • Dazed and Confused says:

        I completely agree with grace. It is TEXTBOOK. They all do it. No contact all the way. I laugh at how unoriginal these ACs are.

    • happy beginning says:

      Hi Stephanie
      It sounds like you’re really in control with this AC who is checking to see if you’re still on his menu. If he keeps contacting you, maybe you can ask straight out, by email, ‘Thanks for getting in touch. Is there anything I can help you with?’. Directness is like garlic to the AC vampire and will hopefully scare him off, plus it will clear any niggling doubts that he has anything worthwhile to say.

      • Allison says:

        Sorry, but I disagree!
        You should not respond to any more contact. This guy does not deserve acknowledgement, and honestly, who cares why he is contacting.

        By responding you are showing you’re still hooked!

    • brenda says:

      Steph..sounds like he is trying to see if you are still an option…Please do what was done to you,do not further any contact,delete flush and move on..The frickin audacity of this Coward to start with this texting bull shit.Where was he months ago when you were wondering what the hell happened?I am angry that these Men do this shit..
      You were brought to a place where you felt you needed Meds because of his actions,please remember that……You are a strong amazing woman….

      • A says:

        I agree that this man does not deserve a reply. If you really want to know what he wants, be direct and ask him why he is contacting you. As the commenter above said, asking him directly what he wants may cause him to panic, but then again, you might just get some bs response about how he’s “just checking in on you”, which is an answer in itself. Don’t assume that because he’s reappeared that he wants a relationship, he may just be texting because he feels like it. I don’t think these guys put a lot of thought into their actions, it’s just about whatever they feel like doing at any given moment.

      • Stephanie says:

        Ladies, thank you. I’m amazed that he has the frickin audacity to contact me. He doesn’t know how hurt I was because when he disappeared I never tried to make contact, but he’s not stupid he knows what he done. Surely he couldn’t be bold enough to consider me an option? After all this time, oh please! If he emails me again I will ask him “can I help you with anything, is there a specific reason why you have decided to contact me”.

        Brenda, you and I went through a similar situation so you know the type of AC were dealing with, the Cowardly type!

        • brenda says:

          Oh Steph,You are right I do know…To be fair to you Steph,I can also see why You responded to him.Part of you wants answers,You want to be able to believe that this was not about you.Its hard when you are dumped in this fashion.
          I seem to have this innate way to make everything about me lately,I assume mabye Steph that you do the same thing.
          I dont think Men realize the damage to ones Phyche when they just up and are gone,No explanation,no warnings,nothing..
          I have been dumped before,and I of course hurt a bit,but nothing like what I am STILL going thru today.
          I am but a shell of the happy person I used to be,I seem to be fearful of every Man,I can commit to almost nothing,I dont even look the same anymore.
          And now thru the grapevine Mr Dissapearer is seeing another woman who is by his past comments to me,is someone he used to make fun of…
          So just when I feel as if I am making some progress I seem to Digress.
          Steph,I dont know what I would do if faced with your situation,I know I would for sure reply,but that in and of itself is still letting him behave like the Douche bag he is..
          My heart is with you,and I look for your posts always to make sure you are doing ok….
          Hugs to you Steph…

          • happy beginning says:

            Ladies all this information hasn’t yet sunk in so you are probably right to disagree with me (Allison/Brenda and anyone who really gets the message!) – can see now that cutting off contact suddenly after establishing it is fine with someone who has caused so much pain, and they do the same thing without giving a moment’s thought to the impact it has (ugh, unbelievable!). The way my mind was working was, it would be weird to suddenly stop contact without an incident to cause it, but ha! that’s exactly what’s happened to me so many times.

            It’s not a case of wanting to avenge – another reason for cutting contact is that i can see how my ex-ASSclown would probably translate ‘fine thanks, how are you?’ as ‘oh mr jesus, i eagerly await your return and am just playing it cool so you want me’. And that turns me off ANY contact. But say I accepted any contact, which I DON’T plan to do, it would give me great satisfaction to say ‘what do you want’ and then pull his sugary, flimsy, shallow BS to pieces and calmly throw it in his face! i suppose this shows my personal development is not advanced yet.

            So apologies if I have muddied the waters but in my defence, I credit Stephanie with detecting a BS excuse and think she’s reached a point of no return.

            • Stephanie says:

              Ladies, thanks again, your comments have been useful. One thing I would like to point out is that this situation hasn’t been easy for me, I’m struggling just a little bit. For those of you that don’t know, I adored this guy, though he was the one, believed all the future faking and allowed him to fast forward the “relationship” and even though he didn’t treat me well towards the end and disappeared, I wanted validation from him and it took everything I had to stop myself from contacting him. So, for him to text me out of the blue and ask me about myself has had me wondering about him again. I have the knowledge now that I didn’t have before so I won’t be chasing him, but I feel like I have taken a tiny step back because I was more or less over him and now he’s back in my head again. He doesn’t want a relationship with me, so why bother getting in touch!

            • Allison says:

              Sorry, but why are you giving this man any more of your energy or time?

              Attention is attention, and you’re giving him what he wants.

              Time to let go!

        • Kmac says:

          The thing is, Stephanie, answering him back, no matter how clever the response, isn’t so brave, either. If he e-mails you again, instead of reacting, perhaps you could ask yourself instead: Can I help myself with anything? Is there a reason why I’m inclined to answer him back?

          My ex, whom I even shudder to call that because it gives him a title, and therefore too much importance in my life, wanted to be friends. There was almost a desperation to it on his part, especially when he realized I wasn’t biting. And he was already having sex with someone new by that point. I’d say it was because he didn’t want to have to feel bad about the way he chewed me up and spit me out, but he’d need empathy in the first place for that. Nope, they want to feel in control, plain and simple.

          And Brenda: Making stuff all about us is not innate, it’s learned. And even if a guy holds the Guinness World Record for being a douche bag, he still can’t hurt you without your permission.

  43. Lou says:

    OK – I have a odd ex EUM situation right now.
    Unfortunately, I have found myself in the awful situation of being 42 and wanting to have a baby before it is too late. My last 2 relationships were with EUMs and I made the decision to go it alone at the end of last year and try donor sperm insemination. I discovered at the first step that I needed surgery to remove a cyst and have been recovering from that.

    So, the EUM that I dated last year for seven months, knew from the start that I was 41 and wanted a family and it would have to move fast. We were set up by work colleagues and I told him in our first (v drunken ) date as it happened, when were talking about online dating. I was saying that nobody wants to date a 41 as it is too much pressure. The pressure did get to him and as well as taking a job in another country , he finished with me. I tried to go NC but we saw each other when I was in his new city for work a couple of times. I then cut off contact and ignored his emails,xmas card etc until recently, when he was quite persistant in trying to get in touch with me.
    I eventually returned his call and we ended up having a quite deep conversation where I told him about my surgery etc and what my plans are. He then told me that he would be willing to be a sperm donor and that I should think about on what terms that would be. He wants me to go back to him with an idea of what I want and will consider it.
    Why would someone want to do that ? He doesn’t want to be with me but would do that for me ?? Or is that setting me up for a fall/disappointment as he may change his mind ?

    • Magnolia says:

      What a potential mess – Lou, you don’t see that? If you really want a sperm donor, go find a guy who you don’t have effed up history with. Find a donor without strings attached – not some guy who feels guilty he can’t give you what you want and can’t handle the responsibility of parenthood but wants to relieve some of that by playing the good, concerned guy who “would do that for you.” My first thought was, does he mean to inseminate you ‘the old fashioned way’? Sorry, but I don’t think this offer is coming from selflessness or an ability to give in a deep way.

    • Ethelreda the Unready (formerly PJM) says:

      I think the answer is there: He is willing to be a sperm donor.

      Not a father. Not a lover. Not someone who is willing to be there for the 9 months and then the 18 years that follow the birth.

      Just a sperm donor.

      I think you will be very, very unhappy if you go down that path – why bear in your body a living reminder of a man who doesn’t love you?

    • grace says:

      I’d go to a sperm bank.
      “he would do that for me”
      You think this is a grand gesture. It’s effed up, that’s what it is.

      • Tea Cozy says:


        Go with a sperm bank, where rights and responsibilities and privacy are clearly defined and agreed upon. Trying to come up with some sort of fair and sane arrangement with this ex-cum-sperm donor (sorry couldn’t resist) sounds head-explodingly difficult.

      • Lou says:

        Thanks for your comments – it helps to see it written in black and white.

        I meant ‘doesn’t want to be with me but would do that for me ‘ as in WTF . I don’t think that it is a grand gesture – I am puzzled as to why he would do that .

        I agree it is totally effed up. I was initially angry with him for saying it
        but then a few days later started wondering if it was an option . My situation is clearly not ideal but I am and trying to move forward.

    • Little Star says:

      Lou, I am your age, and I cannot have kids and my ex AC knows that and yet he keeps insisting that we need to meet up and try again for a baby, like we parted yesterday…but I did not see him for 4 months “HELLO”!!!! I cant believe what they say and do in order to have us back…but not really US, but our bodies:-( I feel like saying : “Please leave me alone and find someone else to have a baby with”!!!

  44. jennynic says:

    Once again, eerily perfect timing. An old ex and I have very recently rekindled a friendship. He was never great boyfriend material but I like him as a person and was glad we reconnected. It actually felt good to be around him while he was no longer on a pedestal, and I hate to say I reveled in it a little. I am not attracted to him like I used to be, but still I wonder if I should let sleeping dogs lie. I need to reevaluate it more after reading this post. I think you can be friends with some and not others. It might be better to be NC with all of them, but not every ex was an ass. Some I still have respect for. My most recent ex behaved disrespectfully, dumped me then treated me like I had leprosy, then blamed me for all of it. I don’t think I will ever want to be friends with him or talk to him again. So far I haven’t. NC for two months and feeling better each day. I think if he ever approaches me with friendship I will just say, “No thanks”.

    • jennynic says:

      Ha! This renewed friendship with the old ex just exploded! Some girl comes stalking around my house breaking beer bottles on my sidewalk and demanding to know how long I’ve been seeing him and was he ‘f*cking’ me? I was nice to her because I felt bad for her, and told her we weren’t seeing each other and were only friends and that I didn’t know he was seeing anyone. She started saying (while sobbing) how sad he was when I stopped talking to him a while back and how beautiful I was. Yikes. I’ve never seen this girl before but when she told me her name I recognized it as the girl he dated off and on before me a few years ago…..sounds like she is the revolving FBG. Thank God I’m not her ( anymore). I bowed out of that friendship immediately. Natalie, you are so right, all the time. Friendships with ex’s are a bad idea. I feel unscathed, but I feel bad for the girl, who was in obvious chaos.

  45. Tanzanite says:

    For me, it’s easy to be friends with an ex who treated you well, or with an ex who you didn’t feel a great deal for.

    Why would you want to be friends with someone who has consistently showed you disrespect ? Why would you want to be friends with someone you are still in love with but he doesn’t feel the same way about you ?

    Have you ever noticed that when they realise there is no occasional sex they’re sometimes not that bothered about the friendship after all ?

    I think it’s better to move on without them.

  46. Jen says:

    Several years ago I got back in touch with an ex who had treated me really badly. He had been EU and an AC, and all that lovely stuff. Well, it turns out that he was questioning his sexuality at the time, and turned out to be gay. That was the only reason we could meet up, honestly, because it made me feel like “Oh, okay, so it wasn’t my fault”.

    But despite all that, he was still truly horrible towards me, and when we met up, while it was a fun evening, there was really no reason for me to “stay friends” with him. We made peace, and that was it. Regardless of his reasons, he took advantage of me in a difficult period of my life. I can forgive, but I can never really forget.

    Being friends with an ex? No way.

  47. amanda says:

    Perfect post to read on this fine morning. I’ve been giving this speech to myself for the last three months or so, not always successfully, with the MM who broke things off with me in November when his wife discovered that he was cheating. He immediately enlisted me to be his friend, as he needed support (even a place to stay for a while, which I offered, as a friend, when the wife kicked him out for a while)… but after a couple of months, we both saw the problems in that. It took me a while to see my own shady motives in being his friend. Natalie nails it (and nails me), but it feels good to see things so clearly. Thank you. I’ve delightfully busy right now with my own life; house-hunting, appearing in a musical this weekend, engaged with my “desk job” and I am beginning to see how good life will be post-MM. I hope that he is figuring his stuff out, as well. He just moved across town, and let me tell you, its a relief to not know where he lives. He used to live 7 blocks away, on a major thoroughfare that I could not easily avoid. I love getting my space back… both geographical space, and the “mental real estate” that he used to occupy. Here’s hope to you all who are trying to let go!

  48. amanda says:

    A different story. A few years ago, I was infatuated with an AC who loved how much I fawned over him. The whole time, he was “in love” with someone else… someone “better”. So, it was a largely emotional affair… except that one time we got drunk and you know what happened. He let that happen because he was feeling very insecure about the woman he claimed to love, and I let it happen because I had no self-esteem at the time. ’nuff said. (We were both in other relationships at the time. what a big fat mess!)

    After that drunken mistake, we each took time off from each other (good!) and sorted out our own relationship problems. I began so see how the AC’s ego had been running the show. He was too egotistical to ever really care for me, but that same ego wanted me close because I was so willing to make him feel good when no one else would.

    A year later, we are both single. I no longer feel in love with him. We start hanging out as friends. We have many interests in common, so its easy to do. But, as we are both single, and reluctant to really work to meet new people, we naturally start fooling around again. It was fun, I guess. But, the AC has such a huge ego, he projects the following complex… he’s worried that sleeping with me is going to make me fall in love with him again. This guy is so full of himself. We would have sex, and then he would grow distant (which I didn’t care about, because I was already hung up on someone else at the time… another unavailable man), and then for the next two days, all I would hear about is how much he wanted to protect me from the fact that he would “never love me.” It was so aggravating! After a couple of months, I frog-marched him to a computer, made him sign up for an account on an internet dating site, and told him that we were never going to sleep with each other again, because it was destroying whatever friendship we had left.

    A year later, we barely even communicate (it only took him a month to move on to the next woman; a girl 17 years his junior who will safely adore him and make him feel like a God). It feels so good to have moved on from that messy mess of a mess.

    I’m on a dating “time-out” for the moment… been there for three months, and it feels fantastic.

  49. Atrophy says:

    Him: “Friends” = casual relationship
    Me: “Friends” = trying to win him back

    Conclusion —> Best to move forward and not put an emotionally unavailable man on a pedastal. Rejected once is enough, weren’t friends to begin with, won’t be now. Seems nice in theory, doesn’t work in reality.

  50. willo says:

    this site has really helped me, iv recently come out of an emotionally abusive relationship which he ended suddenly 2 months ago, its been absolute hell. i have tried the no contact route but he has always ended up contacting me via text. I have always responded although im well past the despair stage of the first few weeks and have been quite one word answers with him, although i know he dosnt even deserve this much. i have found that every time he contacts me, usually once a week on average, it sends me back alot mood-wise. he text to ask me out for a drink to ‘catch up’ but its far too soon. i also get texts saying he misses me and has been thinking about me. im an intelligent person but cant help but read into this. i think he wants some validation that he wasnt a complete AC to me although he defiantly was. His reasons for ending it was that he couldnt get over the feeling the relationship wasn’t right and he would never be happy with anyone. i have come so far in many ways, he is no longer on his pedestal and iv realized that he has done me a favor in the long run as i deserve to be with someone not so wrapped up in themselves. My self esteem has taken a massive knock. we weren’t really friends before hand so i dont know why he is offering the friendship hand now when we are clearly not over eachother and im still in love with him holding out hope. i dont want to burn my bridges friend wise with him forever as he is one of the funniest most interesting people i know, just got to keep reminding myself he is also narcissistic and if he feels he will never be happy at 31 he never will be. its all too raw to force the friend route

  51. MuchMoreBetter says:

    Some guys want to remain friends in order to seem like they are SO nice, even their exes want to be friends with them. It’s part of their persona, carefully constructed in order to further their agenda – with other people. It has nothing to do with the ex they claim to want to be “friends” with. My last ex was so heinous to me that one of my friends nicknamed him Prince Albert – because he’s a giant dick that’s not quite right in the head, you see – and yet, he claimed he wanted to be “friends”. He acted like a Prince Albert towards me after the break up just as much as he did before the break up, and then seemed really surprised when I refused to talk to him again. He left me alone for a year, which was nice, but now that his new girlfriend is hearing stories from our mutual friends about his dodgy behavior toward me, he is back to trying to be “friends” – because it would look good for this poor sucker. Uh, no. Once a Prince Albert, always a Prince Albert. Peace out.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      “one of my friends nicknamed him Prince Albert – because he’s a giant dick that’s not quite right in the head, you see–”

      Oh my gawd, that’s oh so bad, and oh so good. Ha ha ha. Wow!

      And agreed about guys wanting to be able to say they are besties with the exes in order to prop up a false image as All Around Good Guy. The last guy I was with, who turned out to be a stealth polyamorist, was always nattering on about kindness. Well, he chose not to do me the basic kindness upfront of letting me know he wanted multiple partners, so once I found out, I chose not to do him the kindness of being friends after I broke things off. I was NOT going to give him the satisfaction of being able to say to others, or himself, “Well, hey, we just wanted different things, but it’s cool, we’re still good friends.” Nope. He gets to explain to whomever is interested that he got dumped, hard and fast, end of.

      • MuchMoreBetter says:

        Actually, he won’t explain that. He’ll just say – and believe it himself – that you must be crazy if you didn’t want a sweet, kind guy like him. And seem genuinely confused and hurt that he, in all his amazing glory, was somehow not good enough for you. I’m saying this having had the pleasure of hearing from a guy I broke up with that if he wasn’t good enough for me, nobody would possibly ever be good enough and I will end up sad and alone. Yes, really.

        Meh. Fuck ’em. You and I have better things to do with our lives than actually care about what the Prince Alberts of this world do – we just have to filter them out of our lives as quickly and as completely as possible and keep looking for, and finding, the genuine, sane, decent and compatible people to spend our time with. They are rare, but they are out there! Hey, even I found one. :)

  52. Should we be friends? says:

    I broke up with my ex about a year ago, but we did not officially “end” things completely until about 3 months ago. I eliminated contact with him for 2 months to give me space to heal. My ex recently contacted me expressing his desire to be friends. However, i’m not sure what to do. During the two years that we spent together, he was a great boyfriend. We ended the relationship mainly due to compatibility reasons. However, after we broke up we continued to string things along until the point where I felt he began to change and I began feeling used, mistreated, and disrespected. While I would not characterize him as an assclown, he definitely was not the most respectful (sleeping with other women, despite telling me that he would not, lying to me, disregarding my feeling, being cold etc). I was hurt by his actions and don’t know if i can trust him again. He was a good boyfriend when we were together, but a semi jerk while we were breaking up — should i hold that against him and refuse to be friends? Or is it my own fault for not establishing proper boundaries after we broke up?

    • hope says:

      i had similar experience( i have feeling that the reason you two have broken up was also very similar)…and even though we have to take responsibility for allowing them to bust our boundaries, that doesn’t mean that we should not hold it against them. it is not ok to be a jerk or semi jerk…and what makes you think he will not pull the same tricks yet again..? i wrote on different post last week, after i met up with my ex, after long long time(way longer than it is for you)..and it proved all natalie has written here- espc rule 1. you can not be friends if you still gotta feelings/hopes( make sure 100% you do not, because otherwise it will hurt as hell when he starts telling you about his new life or new gf.. and rule no3.- guess what, even though he’s got himself a new gf he still tried to get me to sleep with him( busting my boundaries yet again)…and even though i managed to say no,..the whole thing- meeting him was a bad bad idea and it left me’ with a very bad taste in my mouth’.and a bleeding heart…do not risk it,,do not try to be friends with him, do not give him another chance to string you along on false pretext of friendship,, stay strong.. and go nc completely,, this is exactly what i am doing now

    • brenda says:

      I had to reread your answer a few times as You seem to have different Points in there.Some Good,some bad about this Man.
      It would seem to me that you did Not End things,by your owm statement “we strung things along”.What he had was a pass to sleep around,turn cold,lying,as in his mind your were both not committed.
      Of course you would feel used,You were,and I am sorry for that.
      You said you ended the relationship due to compatibility issues,The way I see it,it would be the same as a freindship thing to.
      This man is causing you pain,so dont go looking for comfort from your pain source.
      You still have feelings this is apparant,hell I still do after 7 months,but I can tell you that I can NEVER be freinds with the ex Narc that I dated.
      But I had to go NC for my peace of mind,even tho he was the one who dissapeared after 6 months if dating.
      I see things very differently know about men,not all but some…
      I wont be freinds with anyone who does not respect me,my time,my beliefs,etc….
      If my opinion,NC is the best way to go to heal and move on,If after some time and your feelings have gone for this person,and You still want to be freinds,thats your choice,but I dont think that at this time,You would be doing yourself anygood.
      Please come here and read,study,This has become almost my Bible so to speak.
      You will get the answers to your Questions….

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      While I would not characterize him as an assclown, he definitely was not the most respectful (sleeping with other women, despite telling me that he would not, lying to me, disregarding my feeling, being cold etc). I was hurt by his actions and don’t know if i can trust him again.

      What is SO special about this guy that you MUST have his dodgy friendship? Can’t you make other quality friends?

      He’s not an assclown? Say what? Screwing other women, lying and not caring about your feelings make a good friend in your books? Is that your ideal friend – someone who doesn’t give a damn and couldn’t care less? Your relationship is over, and this guy is coming back for second helpings while ready to contribute nothing!

      This is an open and shut case of assh*olery! Act like it and FLUSH him!

    • Jen says:

      Ok, so here is my take on this.

      While he may not have been an AC when you guys were dating, and then you dumped him, and then after that you guys had this long and messy stringing along breakup– you still can’t be friends.

      Not because he’s the worst of the worst, necessarily. You dumped him, fair and square. You have your reasons, they sound COMPLETELY legit to me, and if you felt like you had to, you had to. And him reacting like that– it doesn’t take away from what you had, but it was definitely disrespectful. Out of hurt and anger, he acted foolishly, and while you shouldn’t hate him forever– if you feel you can’t trust him, there is just no point being friends. You don’t have to hate, but there is no genuine friendship possible after that kind of relationship. Sorry, it sucks, but that’s the truth.

      The problem is, in my opinion, that it takes more than 2 months of NC to deal with that. More than a few years, if you want my honest opinion. And when you do get “back in touch” after all those year, it’s a nice “hey, how are you? My life’s different, yours too, lets smile when we pass each other in the street and stop to chat, and then get on with living our lives” kind of thing. As it should be.

      Not all relationships are meant to last, not even as friendships. And from my experience, once it breaks, it’s broken.

  53. HeartShapedNoose says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I need some opinions and thoughts please.
    Im going through this whole “friendship” thing right now. He dumped me again, for the third time after we got back together in October. This time his reasons were that he had trust issues with ME (?) and that he didnt think he could be in a monogamous relationship, and if we were to stay together I would need to be ok with him *ucking other women.
    He pulled the friend card everytime he broke up with me before too. But this time he did it, even BEFORE we broke up. ” Its really important to me that we stay friends, because a life with you in it, is a much better life to have.” His words exactley. Two days later he was gathering up the members of his harem for dinners, and coffee. Women he didnt talk to while we were dating, were suddenly, coffee dates, and dinner and drinks dates. I have to admit I accepted the friendship card, being that my self esteem is so bad from being in this emotionally abusive relationship in the first place that I was worried that I wasnt going to be able to get thru a day without a “text fix” from him or at least some kind of validation from him.
    We have been texting (the majority of the last three years of communication with this man has been thru texts..all day, every day. even though we saw each other a few times a week, while we were still together.)
    He was very good at the future faking. Promised me that we would live together, have a happy life, everything would be great, then two days, two months, two seconds, WHATEVER later , he would change his mind. The entire 3 years.
    Heres where I need an opinion or thought..firstly, yesterday, he suddenly changes his email. Then emails me to let me know. He changed it to the “cute” name that I would call him while we were making love. Then tells me that gmail just didnt have any other options for his name. Secondly, the email he sent me, was full of how awesome hes doing, and at the end he tells me that hes looking for another property in the suburbs to buy and fix up. Hes a contractor and builds homes for a living. This was a blow because, the whole time we were together, he knew thats what i wanted. Was for him to build or fix us a home, it was also something that he future faked and told me we would do one day. SO my question is, …was this a deliberate attempt to hurt me? yet again?…
    I have now decided to…

    • Polly says:

      HSN, this man sounds horrendous. Please stay away from him however much it hurts. Natalie wrote about ACs – the deliberate ones and the unwitting ones. This one sounds like he gets a thrill from emotional abuse to me. I know it is hard but don’t let him hurt you any more. That stuff about wanting you in his life is bull shit. Of course he does. But what does it matter if he doesn’t want to treat you right?Block him and flush him. Grrrr this one has made me particularly cross!

    • grace says:

      I’ve had a couple of men say “I want you in my life” It sounds good. But they were both screwing other women.
      It means shite.
      If he wants you in his life he can effin marry you.
      (Not that you should marry him, he’s a serial philanderer/abuser).

      • brenda says:

        Grace!You are so right!
        Polly,I too was upset after reading this post…
        These frickin assholes who yes DELIBERATLY hurt women piss me off…Kinda makes you wonder how they were raised and what the hell happened to then so bad that this is how they treat poeple…..

      • hope says:

        love your comments grace,,ha ha it is shite isn’t, would vomit in his face if i hear again: want you in my life/don’t want to loose you/will always love you/ or the one runner girl mentioned to me last week-we belong together- and all the similar bs they say when they want to string you along

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Whether it was a deliberate attempt to hurt you or not, the net result is the same: you got hurt. And this guy has repeatedly shown himself to be a source of pain for you.

      Who cares what he wants, or why? I know it’s tempting to go around and around in your thoughts, trying to make sense of it, but the bottom line is, he’s not adding anything positive to your life. He’s not a friend. Kick him to the curb for good, and make room in your life for REAL friends, and eventually, a real love partner.

      No Contact is your friend!

    • Natasha says:

      HSN, to put it mildly…he sucks. I was jerked around by a guy for 5 years and I’d be going on over 6 if I didn’t go NC. Believe me when I tell you, cut it off sooner rather than later! I still will occasionally get pathetic texts from him saying that he’s planning on buying a house, life is so great for him, blah, blah. Here’s one of the many mind f*cks with guys like this and the one I was involved with: If he’s ditched you, why is he getting in touch to talk about things going on in his life that have nothing to do with you? Answer: He’s an assclown. There is no winning with a guy like this – it’s like trying to sink a jumpshot while someone keeps moving the basketball hoop.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Its really important to me that we stay friends, because a life with you in it, is a much better life to have.” His words exactley. Two days later he was gathering up the members of his harem for dinners, and coffee. Women he didnt talk to while we were dating, were suddenly, coffee dates, and dinner and drinks dates.

      Top line: ASSCLOWN
      Bottom line: *FLUSH*

      He didn’t sign the deal, or if he did he reneged on it and offered a substandard deal. This guy is EUM and very ambiguous. You deserve much better – is this what you really want and your ideal partner? Someone who doesn’t want you, isn’t there and has a playboy fan club of women?

      Act like it and FLUSH him!

      Ignore the words – look at the actions, HE IS AN ASSCLOWN!

      • HeartShapedNoose says:

        Hi Ladies…
        Thank yo uso much for your responses. I now know that his email was a purposeful dig at me, trying to hurt me and make me pay attention. I realized that this break up has been much different than the past two over the last 3 years. Im not running to him, constantley calling him, texting him, doing whatever I could to make sure I knew what he was doing, and with whom, at any given time of the day. Turns out, that doesnt work. Because while we may have talked everyday, over the last three years, he was most definitley not being honest with me about things. When we got back together this past October, he admitted to sleeping with and dating other women, while him and I were broken up, (we were still sleeping together,and the only reason I asked if he was sleeping with others, was because I wanted to know for my sexual health..he lied and said he wasnt.) and he also admitted that he had slept with a 19 year old girl. (hes 34) although, I suspect that happened at a halloween party, AFTER we had gotten back together.
        Anyways, point is…im not chasing after him. Im not responding to his emails. and after yesterdays, “im buying another house to fix up’ email, i didnt respond. Well, it must have bothered him. Because, today i got a email from him saying, that he hoped i knew he was joking in the last email, when he called me a ridicuous nickname, and hoped i wasnt offended. Im pretty sure its just an attempt to get me to respond to him. But, just like he told me once, “you can email and text, but i might take a couple days to respond if im busy”. So Im taking my time. Ive actually decided to go NC. I dont want to put myself in the path of more pain. Which is clearly what this AC dishes out. Heres a question for you ladies…can i write him an email saying,…Ive had time to think, and i now realize how horribly youve treated me. Theres no way that we can be friends because I dont want to go thru anymore pain? (im already on anti depressants and contemplated suicide 2 years ago bc of this situation). ORRRR….do I just GO NC without getting out what i have to say and telling him what I think?
        Thanks again Ladies!

        • grace says:

          No email. Definitely no telling him your situation. Get behind your decision and stick with it. A lot of this confusion is coming from your end. Stop your part in it.

        • Allison says:

          Go NC.

          By not responding, he will get the message.

          Lastly, please always use protection. Is any man worth dying over!

        • NCC says:

          HSN OMG can i relate. But no email. Use Natalie’s unsent letter guide to get your feelings out. This guy will only eat up any further effort and attention you pay him, even if you say negative things about him. It only validates that he has had enough power to make you angry. I know it sucks and it seems it would feel great to have some finality to this by sending that email, but in my experience, I’ve only ever really hoped for a reaction from them that says “i’ve changed, i’ve realized the error of my ways, blah blah blah” which is never the case. Or, what also hurts is that they don’t respond, or basically say “fine with me.” Nothing but more pain. I’m sorry to hear of your depression and suicide attempts. I’ve never attempted but my situation has had me thinking about such things I would never hope someone else could bring me to. I feel your pain.

        • TJ says:

          Oh my. I am so sorry you have been treated this way. I have been through something similar & I just have to say you need to end things with this person immediately. It doesn’t matter whether you e-mail him to say goodbye or just stop talking to him completely, the thing you need to do is decide that it is OVER and stick to it. That is the hardest part, sticking to it. This person (& I don’t call him a man because he clearly isn’t) is toxic to the extreme & he is a mindf*&^ing con artist. My ex played games with me too. He even sent me an e-mail telling me he loved me, said he wanted to talk about getting back together then I didn’t hear from him for a month. Here is what I told him (in an e-mail): “Do not contact me anymore in any way, shape or form for any reason. Goodbye.” I haven’t looked back since. DO the same thing HSN. This guy is very cruel & he is just an azzhole plain & simple. Asking yourself how and why he could be the way he is is futile… some people are just azzholes. I wish you all the best.

    • Ashamed says:

      I felt like crying reading this. What happened to these men that they intentionally hurt us and with no remorse. Whether they disappear for days/weeks just because they can or hurt us with words, the end result is a blow to our self esteem. My AC would act all in love while together and then disappear. When I would question him about the mixed signals he would say “just b/c someone is having a great time and is happy doesn’t mean they want a relationship” – of course I though I could change his mind but it was the same bs, different day. I have since backed off, and it’s getting easier. I had to see him today with mutual work friends and he acted like nothing was wrong and hugged me goodbye and said “we’ll catch up”. No thanks. No contact is the way to go. It sucks, you cry and CRAVE but it does get easier with time. These men make AWFUL life partners. Feel sorry for their future wives.

    • Jen says:

      OUCH! My ex used to do the SAME THING! Break up with me, then tell me how he was doing all these things that I liked, JUST TO HURT ME, how he was seeing so and so, games, lies and new email address after I blocked the first one, birthday cards with pet names.

      It’s gross. Get into NC fast.

      • Polly says:

        HSN this has to be about the best thing for you to move on. If you respond to him what is to stop you keeping responding when he gets back in touch? Much better to go NC now this minute. what I found helpful was writing an email to yourself about why you are doing it, get your feelings out and read it when you get tempted further down the line. Not that it is about him but ignoring will get to him much more than responding. And you get to feel dignified and in control. The minute you respond you hand back the control to him and you are waiting to see what he does.

        Incidentally I was thinking about his gmail problem – how about assclown2000 I’ve heard it’s available!

  54. Julie says:

    yes i have been there and done that and it backfired on me. i thought he (the ex) might realise how much of a jerk he was when we were together and that he might be an ok friend, but how delusional i was. all he had on his mind all the time was getting in my pants, so i eventually had to say NO MORE!!!! Its shown me that once a jerk, always a jerk.

  55. Julie says:

    Thank you to Tea Cozy who wrote “No contact means no new pain.” That struck a cord with me that you would not believe, but it sums it up perfectly. It is my new mantra and posted on my computer at work.

  56. Tinkerbell says:

    HSN, I totally agree. This man does not appear to be one you should still be thinking about after all this time has passed. I agree with Grace. He’s a serial philanderer – a colossal waste of your precious time. Fortify your boundaries, keep NC, and move on. Give yourself a chance to find someone who gives you care, respect, trust and love. He’s not all that!

  57. Laurie says:

    I hope I’m not terribly topic, since this post has more to do with trying to perpetually reunite with an ex instead of trying to be just friends….I’m ashamed to say I fell off the “no contact” wagon. Well, I guess jumped is more like it. And now I’m back after being rejected again for the third time. I am so ashamed of myself. Seriously, do I have no self-respect? I’m actually considering CODA, because something is clearly wrong here.

    In January, I decided to reach out to my ex-fiance again, and I asked if he would feel comfortable dating again (?). We went out a few times, and then he started rescheduling/postponing last minute; and finally a couple a days ago (a few hours before yet another rescheduled get together) he sent me an email—AN EMAIL—saying that he wasn’t ready to date again; there was too much leftover hurt, mistrust, etc.

    It’s strange, because I don’t trust this guy, and I know we have dissimilar values. He has a pretty bad temper, trouble telling the truth, and I recently discovered that he’s started smoking pot again (I know that probably isn’t a deal-breaker for a lot of people, but I’m not comfortable with it.) Despite all of that, I keep thinking about how wonderfully he treated me for nine months, and I am convinced no one will ever treat me that well again. I guess that’s why I’ve completely thrown my self-respect to the wayside, in the hopes that if I try to make him happy and be the carefree girl he fell in love with (rather than the girl who blew a gasket and became paranoid and controlling when she found out that he had lied to her habitually) then all will return to the way it was.

    I have read Natalie’s post about the insanity of seeking a rejection retraction, and I know that’s what I’ve been doing. I am just having such an incredibly hard time letting go and accepting this rejection. I feel worthless and unlovable, and I act out in foolish, self-depreciating ways that ultimately perpetuate these feelings. I know how pathetic that sounds, and I want to be so much more secure and confident. I don’t want to be one of those whiners who do nothing to change and are ultimately responsible for their own unhappiness. I know I just need to “suck it up” and get over it. But I really think I’m going to need some help. Have any of you ever attended/recommend CODA? Have any of you fallen off the wagon a few times, and if so, how…

    • Mymble says:

      I have no idea about CODA but I also jumped off the NC wagon a couple of times, aS have many others. And of course it wasn’t any better, the same problems were there (um, yup, still married) and he treated me worse and had less respect. I don’t actually regret that now, I suppose I had to find out for sure it was hopeless and pointless. Don’t blame yourself, at one time you loved him and there were good things in the relationship that you miss. Now you know for sure he’s no good focus on that instead of cursing yourself. In the immediate aftermath I found the Unsent letter worksheet useful to pour out all the feelings. I got it out today in fact and realised I can now throw it away, I don’t feel that way about him any more, though I do feel a terrible fear and horror of ever having contact again so I guess I am not 100% over him, the goal being not to give a flying F.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I think your tolerance level is set very high. There has to be 100% no possibility before you will stop trying.

      Many people feel a very strong compulsion to repeat the pattern with their pain source. It seems easier, familiar, even though it is next to impossible. It is a mixture of validation, curiosity, hoping that they will change that fuels this.

      I went to therapy and went NC. If it was meant to be, they would NOT be acting this way. They’re unavailable, and so long as you are attached to him, you’re unavailable too.

      • Laurie says:

        Thanks Mymble and Tired,
        It’s pretty embarrassing to come back to this site and admit that I effed up again. Thanks for not judging me too harshly and encouraging me to move forward. I contacted a counselor this week, and I’m going to attend my first CODA meeting next week. It’s pretty humiliating to admit that I have co-dependency issues, or that I’m emotionally unavailable. But I keep remembering the old adage that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

        Thanks for your story, Mymble. It really does give me hope that I won’t always be pinning for this guy. And I think you really hit the nail on the head, Tired.

        He emailed me again today to say that there’s no reason to believe that we couldn’t try again (in the future, presumably?) What the hell does that even mean. Stop effing with my head, please. I’m NC once again, and with the help of counseling, CODA, and BR; I will make sure that’s how it stays from now on.

    • Sugar and Spice says:


      I attend CODA meetings, and I am working the steps, and I believe it has helped me a great deal, but I also attend another support group, and I utilize some other resources like BR :) :).

      You can attend meetings online, and you can visit our forum. It doesn’t cost anything to join and explore the site, or attend meetings, so you can make an informed decision…. :) :)

  58. I am new here and stumbled onto this life- saving blog. My problem- I just plain crave him. I’ve been in no contact for over 6 months and still …this.
    It was in a co dependent relationship and he was not emotionally avail, I even broke it off. I think I actually need to go to therapy to get some coping skills on how to deal . I feel just lost.

    • grace says:

      Are you 100% NC? If not, do that pronto. If you are, and are not moving on, yes to therapy. I think six months is the magic point where you start to feel better. If you don’t, it’s time to do something. Sure, people heal at their own pace but I’d hate anyone to go through the three plus years that I endured. At the time I thought it was “right”. Now I think – it was unnecessary.

  59. sm says:

    Why is it that I would take the friendship crumbs from an azzclown but absolutely refuse from a guy who I feel treated me well while we were dating? Is it because I’m healthier or because I never got much out of the ac therefore it wasnt much of a change being his ‘friend’. It just feels extremely upsetting to take a demotion and get less than all the attention I got from the other guy to be friends. Or it could be the abrupt way that he ended it, siteing my statement of boundaries caused his loss of interest.

    • It’s because friendship from an asshole has more worth when your self-esteem needs the validation. “I can’t believe that someone who behaves in this manner doesn’t want someone like me” and then by being friends, it’s like you at least know that there wasn’t something so badly wrong with you that even they don’t want to be friends. What you forget in all of this is that their actions reflect their identity, not yours. What reflects your identity is being there or still trying to be their friend.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        Oh dear.

        I have always found, time and again, that it is such a BAD idea to do ‘friend conversion’ of any kind. When you convert a friend to a lover, when it ends you can experience double the grief because you lose twice – as a friend and as a significant other.

        There are people who like to get their foot in the door as a ‘friend’ rather than come straight out and ask for a date. They embed themselves and then ask for an upgrade. Why do they do this? What happened to just dating? It can be very ambiguous.

        I have always found that ex dates and ex’s make TERRIBLE friends because the tone has been set at the start. And really why would someone go on to a dating site which is for *DATING* looking for friends – it’s just code for unavailable, not being good enough to see but good enough to ego stroke from etcetera.

        There are exceptions, but often friendship is used as the get out card or to weasel out.

      • P. says:

        I just cannot believe I am still trying to be friends with someone who forbade me to join a certain meetup group because one of his exes was jealous and he wanted to stay friends with her. This was AFTER we stopped seeing each other (never really officially dated to start with). Then he did not want to be in touch because his new gf was jealous. Then contacted me again (after they broke up) and specified conditions for friendship. Then *I* specified conditions for friendship. What? There should be no conditions, right? Our “friendship” consists of an occasional text; why do I even care? I would not want to date him (I don’t think I ever did since he was super critical of me all the time…just remembering this crushes my self-esteem); I originally wanted to find out from him how guys date after a divorce since we were in a similar situation and I had NO CLUE. I thought that was a safe contact since I was not attracted to him physically. Am I just needing connections in my life? (Oh, yes, and he had a degree in psychology…) Divorce reduced the number of my friends due to frequent moves and just new situation etc.

  60. Eternal Summer says:

    I really didn’t want to post about this, but I’m thinking it might be more helpful to me to reach out…

    I had an epic conversation with the AC at the end of January. I felt good about it-in it he said he thought we were friends & I told him we were NOT friends because I don’t have sex with my friends, etc…I felt so good, so complete. After, I deleted every email he ever sent me, blocked his email address from every one of mine, blocked his number on my phone, defriended him on FB…just cut him out completely. I deactivated my FB account too. Then I went back on to speak to a friend in mid-February & he poked me. (that poking thing is so immature) I was like, wow, have you no shame??? I sent him a note saying, “Blow me.” And then we had a convo & I end up inviting him out to drinks with a mutual friend after he starts pouring on the charm, etc….We meet, I get wasted, and we end up at his place. We get into it, but he’s like, “I’m not having sex with you because I want to prove I’m a decent person…blah blah blah” (I wasn’t planning on sleeping with him anyway.) So then he says “When you return from vacation, we’ll get together..blah blah blah” I say fine. Now it’s a month later & have I heard from him? Nope. He has always been disingenuous (ok, a flat out LIAR). Nothing new. I’m trying very very hard not to beat myself up for being a sucker again & to climb back on the wagon (still haven’t blocked his # again, because, sad to say, I was hoping he would make good.)-again.

    This has been going on for 3 years now. And I would really like to get back to that place where I felt clear & empowered when I blocked everything. I just feeling like screaming at him!: STOP! Stop messing with me!!!! You are so hurtful!!!!! :( That is why I have not blocked him again. Because I wanted the satisfaction of telling him off, again.

    • Magnolia says:

      Eternal Summer,

      You’re responsible for having responded to something as insignificant as an FB poke. You obviously didn’t mean ‘blow me’ in any way that meant I have no desire to be in touch with you; you took a nothing poke, poured some gasoline on it and lit a match being all “Yeah, want a piece of this?” You wanted the fight. You invited him out for drinks to have it. Even if getting socked in the face emotionally is the result, clearly you wanted the interaction more than the peace of ignoring. Sorry, but I don’t see much here than a guy lamely fishing around and you biting the lure big time. Yeah, his fishing around is about as annoying as a fly buzzing in your hair, but YOU need to be the one to STOP messing with your own peace of mind.

    • Ethelreda the Unready says:

      Eternal Summer –

      Don’t worry; you can do it. Maybe revisit Natalie’s excellent post on how it’s not your job to put people straight and tell them how they stuffed up your relationship?

      Your job at the moment is to be a best friend to yourself. What kind of advice would you give a best friend in your situation?

      Hell, girl, it’s not worth your breath telling him off. It just isn’t. Talking too much is what got you off the wagon in the first place, followed by drinking too much!

      Get back on the NC wagon and learn from this, and don’t go there again. Onward and upward! I believe in you, even if you don’t believe very much in yourself at the moment. You can get back to ‘clear and focused’; it might just take a bit of time under the hedge licking your wounds.

    • grace says:

      Eternal Summer (or winter more like)
      Do you want the satisfaction of telling him off more than you want the satisfaction of moving on with your life?
      It’s going to have to be one hell of a bollocking to make up for three years of being jerked around. I think you’re going to have to chalk this up to experience and move it along. Quickly.

    • Eternal Summer says:

      Thanks for the reality check, ladies!!!!!

      That is what I’m always in need of: a reality check. It’s the fantasy that always keeps me hooked.

      And that’s all me doing the fantasy.

      Blocking again today. 😉

  61. NCC says:

    Eternal Summer,
    I can very much relate. In fact, today, I’ve told myself I need to have an honest conversation with myself, because I’ve been lying to myself, and to others who actually care about me to cover up my shame of falling off the wagon. I appreciate you sharing your story, I know it is not easy to do.
    I too blocked his number at one time, and boy do I wish it was now 4 months later that I’d still not been in contact with him. I wonder where I would be, instead of where I am.
    That urge to tell him off….I know how empowering it SEEMS when you start to think about all of the glorious things you can tell him, about him and about ourselves. But I also know, from the AC and past EUMs, it does nothing. It really truly does nothing. The AC especially, he wants nothing less than to listen to me go off on him. All he has to do is shut off, tell me to leave then, go away, he doesn’t care. What does that do to me? It F-ing KILLS me to hear, I keep talking, and it feels like I only fall deeper and deeper into the hole; it’s a muddy hole and filling up with more and more water and I’m struggling more and more to get out. I have not control, and I want control, so I keep talking. Telling him off will and has done nothing for me. Mostly because I am still wanting him to say the right thing afterwards, to heal my hurt, to magically become a prince. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. It is the most clear example of returning to the pain source hoping it will stop the pain.
    I hope for us both we can make some changes, although difficult at first, will be the best for us in the long run. Let’s try to resist the urge to tell them off…..rather, let’s cut them off.

  62. Happy Girl says:

    I prefer my friends to be good ones. That means I can call them without the risk of either party feeling uncomfortable, rely on them for reciprocal favors and occassional shoulders to lean on, share stories, have common values and interests etc. And then there are of course “best friends”, who I look to even more, and requires even greater reciprocatoin. I’m not recalling an ex anything that comes close to falling in either category. They might be a casual acquaintance (sounds cold but true) or a regular attendee at social group functions, and there usually aren’t any hard feelings, but I definitely don’t look to any of them for anything significant or to fill any needs, and vice versa. Someone I know and someone who is my friend is a very different thing. And it keeps my life much, much simpler.

  63. Sarah T says:

    HSN, I think the appropriate advice to give is to write the email but to not send it. Better still, write a letter…emails are only 1 click away from sending..too easy. It’s healthy and sometimes cathartic to pour your feelings out but you’d rarely get the response you desire if you express them to someone with limited ability to acknowledge them. Any communication at this point keeps things going and indicates that there’s a level of interest. If you’ve decided that he’s a shit and incapable of treating you well get behind that decision and remove the source of negativity from your life. If you believe he will process the information in the same way that you would, you’re probably mistaken. In my experience, they’re simply incapable. Xx

  64. bits says:

    I wrote in once earlier, telling about my EUM of a boyfriend, and was promptly told to get the hell out. Well, since I seem to be almost unable to let go of fantasies and my imagined ways to make them become flesh, I didn’t. But I did talk with him, several times, about the state of our relationship. It went into some very bad places. I also very kindly asked him to take a one month break from his habitual pot smoking, which he acknowledges is very damaging to his whole life and to us.

    “I do not have the energy to care for your well-being”, he said, and “I refuse to accept any rules regarding pot and it makes me feel like you put a five-kg weight on my shoulders when you make all these demands on me”….the other demand being “I would love for us take some time to explore each others bodies”. Sheesh.

    So today I went to his place and did my absolute best. I listened, focused on being really calm and loving and supportive, and as honest, straightforward, clear, gentle and conscious as I ever can be. I told him that I have busted my boundaries with him and take full responsibility for it, but I cannot continue being subject to his constant PMS storms. I told him that if he wants to be with me, he needs to break this pattern and man the hell up, right now, otherwise I have no other option than to walk out and cut him off completely.

    He shed tears, but didn’t ask me to stay. He was upset when I said I do not want to be friends, now or quite possibly ever. But I don’t. And then I kissed him and walked out, and for the first time in all the times we broke up, he didn’t call or text.

    I feel relieved, and underneath, sadness and grief emerging. But I have to agree with this post completely – any attempt at trying to be friends would be 100% for the wrong reasons, and lead to the wrong results. NC starts now, and I hope it lasts forever.

  65. KATY says:

    Cant believe it, i broke my nc and he didnt answer but he called back. we hooked up and he told me he is seeing another woman and its seems serious but he is playing it down. I suggested I spend the nite and he kicked me out saying she might be comming by later on like 3 or 4 in the morning from work. i couldnt believe it. I went to shock. how did I let myself get into this situation. YYY. when I know better. i asked if he is in a relationship he said no. then why is she getting to come over when I already here. He apologized as I was pushed out the door and i just went num. I feel like i deserved it. for even allowing myself to go over his house. i dont what to feel.

    • Allison says:


      This guy has really disrespected both of you!!!! He sounds like a real creep!

      I’m curious as to why you broke up?

      Please let this be and go NC!!! Forever!

    • Polly says:

      Katy, Katy, Katy!
      You fell off the wagon but you need to get right back on. See this as further evidence (if you needed it) that NC is the only way. Don’t think of it as him treating her better than you. He still had you round and is stringing you both along. Get out then be glad you are you and not her not the other way round.

    • Katy, I think you’re not seeing the wood for the trees.

      1. Someone who is seeing someone at whatever level of serious it is at, is unlikely to want to raise suspicion by cancelling especially when they have no loyalty to you and are not in a relationship with you.

      2. Sleeping with him in the manner that you did, creates the impression that you’re really not that bothered, after all, in his mind, if you truly wanted a relationship or even a decent guy, you sure as hell wouldn’t piss on him if he were on fire, never mind slip him a piece.

      3. You’re worried about why he doesn’t just keep you at his place instead of her. Er, I’d be more worried that this woman will come over and after him dipping his willy in you, he’ll be dipping it in her. That is gross. You’d better be careful that you don’t catch a case. People die due to this type of carry on.

      4. The trouble with leading with sex, is that you end up being objectified and then of course, you don’t like being treated like a discardable object. If your largest concern is why you cannot stay over, I would make it a priority to see a professional urgently as aside from deserving better than allowing yourself to be treated in this manner, this is also incredibly unhealthy and dangerous.

      You deserve better and he should never have the power or the opportunity to do this to you and it is you and only you who can remove those from him by blanking him from here to eternity.

  66. sm says:

    Late Bloomer thank you for the response its gives me strength and NML you too. Late, I completely understand you, it has been a long journey for me though that started four yrs ago when I realized that I had a problem. I did therapy and group sessions for a year. I did a 13 week group therapy called ‘ How to spot a dangerous man before you get involved’. And yes, emotionally abusive men are dangerous. It was in individual therapy where I learned that being friends with all my exs was very unhealthy and I cut ties. Its difficult to do because a lot of people dont know or support healthy behavior so I’ve basically been on my own with this and taking hits from all directions. Literally thank God for BR. When I want to believe the general publics view of things because its easier, I come here and get a dose of the real deal. NML has helped me and all the posters here beyond belief. When I want to resort to old behavior, I come here and realize my worth.

  67. Cherry Blossom says:

    Help….I really need a good talking to!!! I broke NC with the EUM a few weeks ago and then I read this post….. OMG! It could’ve been written for me!!!! I was doing so well after 8 months of being messed about, messed with and feeling distraught….I had cut contact at xmas and had even been out with someone else and had a good time. Then he emailed me earlier this month (after I had asked him to not contact me) and I replied. I could kick myself!!!
    The main problem is I work with him….five days a week!! I HAVE to see him everyday, sit next to him, talk to him…’s like torture!! He always made it clear that he still fancies me, wants to be friends, have contact, but he still has a girlfriend!! He always goes on about how much he cares for me, can’t imagine not talking to me, is miserable when we don’t speak etc… I thought I could be friends with him, and I wanted to be. But one thing has led to another (as it always seems to) and here I am 3 weeks later feeling like ‘the other woman’ again. The reason he broke it off back in Autumn (after breaking up with his gfriend to be with me) was the age gap between us, which is 13 yrs and even I know that we would’ve struggled to make it work, but I fell head over heels. He then went back to his gfriend…..
    How do I get out of it? How do I maintain a civil working relationship? How do I stop the feelings? I know that if it continues I’m gonna end up back in the pit of despair I was in before xmas….and I can’t go there again, but can’t seem to stop myself…. Even just typing that sounds truly pathetic!!! Haha!!
    Really though, how do you go totally NC when you have to see them and speak to them everyday and still have the same feelings ?! It feels utterly impossible!!

    • grace says:

      A 13 yr age gap is nothing when two people love each other. I know a few couples where the woman is 12 years older; 13 years isn’t much more than that. I assume you’re both adults. BUT HOW CONVENIENT that both of you get to use this as an excuse.
      If you knew the age gap was unworkable, why pursue it?
      Sounds like you both like this love against the odds business. You must especially like it, given he has a girlfriend too. It’s the classic terrain of the EU. If it wasn’t the age gap, if it wasn’t the girlfriend, it would be something else.
      If you won’t leave the job, just keep it cool and civilised. there’s no need to be having romantic conversations at work, or even friendly ones. I’m not friends with most people I work with. It’s fine.
      Yeah, I know I’m being hard, I’m trying to cut through the catastrophizing. You can get through this if you want to.

    • Ashamed says:

      I work with my AC too and the age gap is similar. Funny thing is, it never came up and I didn’t feel older when I was with him. I fell hard but deep down I knew it would never work b/c he wants kids and I’m done with that. I have to act like I’m over it but I’m still hurt. I fell hard and then he had fun pulling the rug out from under me. He relentlessly pursued me first – I think it’s a pattern with him and a lot of AC’s. The 3 C’s- Chase, charm and checkout. Stay away or the pain will never go away.

    • CrumbsNoMore says:

      You ignore him as much as you can. Only talk to him if/when you need to, as in working on projects. No email (unless work related), IM, and it’s going to be hard, but do yourself a favor and no more texts or phone calls with him. If you’re “lucky” like I was you won’t have to talk to him on the reg b/c we were on diff teams.Sounds like you’re on the same one, seated close by. It can still be done, NML managed to.

      I suggest you make effort to meet more guys, and maybe begin dating an available one or two that seem kind, interesting, and normal, add new hobbies, sports…find something to fill up the time you’ve spent thinking/hanging out with him. Remind yourself you deserve better. I’ve been devoting more time to working out, running in particular and weight training nearly every day. I’m becoming a specimen lol. Exercise is therapeutic, relieves stress and builds confidence,find one(s) that you like.

      You can say the word “hi” passing in the halls. That’s how I survived working with my former Mr. EUM/AC. Don’t make the mistake I did for awhile and speak of personal things with him still, dress up sometimes fancy hoping to catch his eye, keep hoping he will change, it’s being a glutton for punishment. You’re not really friends and they don’t do “more” well either. Friends don’t do the shite Mr EUM/AC does…excuse my French I’m still hurting over what mine did, made me feel like crap. They make you question yourself and feel like a troll (i.e an ugly, scary,rather boring fictional being), not deserving of respect,honesty,or quality time. Horrid.

      Remind yourself of his flaws, the SHITE he’s pulled…and listen to your ipod, focus on your work and get to know your teammates better. It was therapeutic to me realizing/recognizing again that MOST people like/love me & have no issue showing me basic human kindnesses & respect. Finally realized that it’s HIM, not me…you will survive, and eventually you will work somewhere else. Like me. I’m healing, and so will you. *HUGS*

      • Cherry Blossom says:

        Thank you so much for your replies……everything you’ve said is sooooo right!! Deep down I know it….just this little voice inside says ‘maybe this time it’ll be different’, but it won’t and I’ll end up the hurt one again whilst he waltzes back to his girlfriend!

        It’s just that horrible feeling that I’m a bit back to square one and have to start the process all over again….and will I be strong enough to stop it happening again. I can’t be ‘friends’ with him….I know that so the only alternative is nothing. The only thing I feel confident about is that I know he got me at a low point- I’d just stopped seeing a guy after 6 weeks and felt a bit fed up about it.
        I know it’s gotta be done though….for MY sake because I am my own best friend and need to care of ME!!!
        Love to all x

  68. rinlin says:

    I believe my ex has just assumed we would be friends after he blindsidedly broke up with me. There was no contact for the first week. The second week was a “When can I get my stuff” text. The third week was “I got my stuff and oh I bought your dog a xmas present from the girls. It has nothing to do with us” text. fast forward to february (there were random texts from him ex: “So cold out! Dog must be mad!” in between) February roles thru, I get a text stating that “The kids told me today they miss you” After not responding to any of the inane texts, I do respond to that saying that I am on holidays and I will phone you when I get back. It ws like the kids were being dangled in front of me. I didnt call him. Then at the beginning of this month I get a call from his oldest just calling to day hi. I did phone him back and tell him that he cannot get the kids involved with this etc. It was a short call with nothing really resolved. I need some help here. I love the kids, I still love him, he is being rather douchey and ambivilent. I wish I didnt call, but it looks like he was having his kids do his dirty work. Thoughts? Opinions? I’m ready for some advice. It is hard to speak to friends about it as we both have long term mutual friends and word can spread like wild fire. I would rather keep this whole scene private, so am turning to the Baggage Reclaim communtiy for some insight.

    • grace says:

      I’m afraid that if they aren’t your children you will have to lose contact with them too. I had to do the same when I split up with the abusive ex, who dangled his son in front of me. Having spent much of our relationship guilt-tripping me about said son.
      Yes, they will wheel out the children if it works for them. It’s cruel to the children.
      There’s no winner here, and no perfect solution. If you maintain contact with the children at any point he can change his mind about that.
      If you think you can be friends (sounds unlikely if he’s douchey and ambivalent) then the situation would be different. But it’s not different. It’s what it is.

      • NCC says:


        Grace is right. you have to “break up” with the children as well, especially when the father/ex is an EUM/AC. This type of man will use his kids in his mind games with you to keep himself in your life. A decent person would never involve using his kids to manipulate others, but i’ve seen that an AC will use anyone, including his children. It’s really sad. You are a caring person who cared about his children, in large part too because you cared about him. But he treated you poorly, and is treating his kids poorly by allowing them to contact you. He’s leading them on just as much as you.

        My last AC has two kids. He lies to them and about them to cover up his shite. Really, really sad for the kids. I often heard his son “slip” up with saying something his dad probably didn’t want him to say in front of me. I learned a lot about myself and my own values when I refused to use the kids when I wanted more info, that small part of me that said “maybe they can tell me what’s really going on” But I would never have done that to them, ever. The children are innocent and if they have a father who uses and lies to them, they have enough problems without some practical stranger doing the same to them. The AC told me over and over how i was the only one he ever trusted enough and saw a future with to allow to meet his children. Then I find out he exposed them to all kinds of random women. He even said things like “i swear on my kids” when i was not believing the bs he was feeding me. That’s so sick.

        Sorry for the rant, but do be careful. It hurts that he not only uses his kids to get at you, but he also clearly has no concerns that you may be trying to let go of emotional ties to them as well, but he’s dangling them in front of you. He wants that power and uses his kids to gain the power, because ultimetely you have no tie to them, he does, and he can take them away as fast as he presented them.

        • rinlin says:

          You both are right. The children are part of the break up and they are innocent. The kids being dangled, were only after he left soup at my door when i wasnt home, and told me he can do some repairs on my house that needed to be done. I didnt respond to any of that. I think the clincher is I am leaving on a holiday that I booked for myself while we were together only to find out that he will be in the same place with the kids, at the same time. Really? Really?

    • Natasha says:

      Rinlin, one of my friends is in a similar situation. She was with an EU/AC for ten (loooooooong) years and he has two children from a previous marriage. She and this ex are not on good terms at all, reason being that, well, he’s an assclown. The children were very young when they got together, so she’s been in their life for the majority of it, even though she and the clown never got hitched (He wouldn’t get married. Everyone, please suspend your disbelief.). It’s a really crappy situation, because she and the children still keep in touch and, since he is dating someone new that they can’t stand, they fill her in on every little detail. It’s not healthy for her, but she has no idea what to do, because she loves the kids and they love her. They’re not old enough for her to explain that it’s hurtful to hear about their father’s exploits, so she just tries to subtly steer the convo in another direction. The other ladies’ advice sounds dead-on to me and I don’t have anything groundbreaking to add, but I wanted you to know that you’re not alone in being in this situation!

      • bella says:

        ….”please suspend your disbelief”…. You are hilarious!! I choked on my morning coffee on that one! Thanks for the giggles!

  69. runnergirlno1 says:

    Hi Bits,
    Sounds like you are on the right path. If he’s busted your boundaries, you have to walk to be fair to yourself. You figure in the equation.
    One thing tho, don’t “HOPE” for NC to be forever. I kept hoping too. You have to “DO” it. Don’t hope to do it. Hope gets you a wing and prayer. Also, listen to what he has told you. He told you he is not available. I didn’t listen either and learned the hard way.
    Stay Strong.

    • bits says:

      Thank you runnergirl. I find Natalie’s posts and all the incredibly smart and strong and vulnerable women who write comments here to be an inspiration. It’s such a relief, starting to understand that I might not be a batshit crazy demanding bitch after all, but he might just have belonged to the Tribe of Men Who Should Just Stay In Their Holes. Reading all your stories really gives me perspective on myself and hope that there is a way out of this emotionally shattered place of numb pain.

  70. ella says:

    Girls the really sad thing about all this, is the reason why perhaps these guys are Narcissistic is my own experience of being with a guy who claims I have low self-esteem, when he fails to recognise his his own self-esteem issues about not being able to find a woman he truly loves and thus finding someone who they don’t get on with, both head-screwing his girlfriend, and me, his piece of arse who gladly went back for a second bruising.

    I would think that if a guy this this one, who I became besottted with, could find a woman he was truly compatible with, they wouldn’t be so abusive and scathing in their attack of these women, who in some cases are “sugar mommas” and actually care and support these men financially and emotionally.

    The sad truth is, while they were arseholes to us, the sad fact is that one day they are going to meet the woman of their dreams, who they respect, and not just use for life support and sex, whether that happens when they are 40 or 80, and then they will completely change!

    Another sad reality of life and no consolation.

    • Polly says:

      Sorry but I don’t agree. They may meet a compatible woman and treat her well but I think that if that happens it is because they have changed in order to let this sort of relationship in. They are not treating women badly because they haven’t met the right person yet. It is because they are choosing to be with women who fit their habits. Different thing I think? I think your view re-enforces feelings of not being good enough. You are good enough and need to find a man who deserves you.

    • yoghurt says:

      “The sad truth is, while they were arseholes to us, the sad fact is that one day they are going to meet the woman of their dreams, who they respect, and not just use for life support and sex, whether that happens when they are 40 or 80, and then they will completely change!

      Another sad reality of life and no consolation.”

      I wrote a two looonng replies to this, then agreed with Polly (above) so much – who said it much better in a tenth of the words – that I deleted them again.

      Some people don’t change and live to regret it, and when that happens it’s sad.

      I can think, off the top of my head, of three male colleagues who from what I’ve been told cocked up their marriages years ago with affairs and (I’d guess) emotional unavailability. Those men are now generally not very clean, not very healthy, quite dissatisfied and angry with life and overindulge in food and/or alcohol.

      Change isn’t easy for anyone and I think that a lot of these blokes have no incentive for it (partly because of the ready supply of enablers and ‘sugar mommas’ who let them carry on with it). But if they don’t, they aren’t going to have very happy or fulfilling lives, imo.

      And if they do… well, I always think about that bit in Harry Potter where it turns out that the only way Voldemort can put his soul back together is through remorse, Harry, remorse… I personally would not like to develop a conscience if I had as much on said conscience as some of these men do.

    • grace says:

      He did find someone he was compatible with. Someone who would put up with his shit and blame herself for it. You.
      Or any of us (either past or present).
      I’ve had the “pleasure” of witnessing an EUM in action over 20+ years. He still hasn’t met someone he can commit too. MAYBE THE PROBLEM ISN’T THE WOMEN or “COMPATIBILITY”. IT’S HIM.

    • Mymble says:

      The thing to remember about being the OW, is that they never were looking to find a replacement for their primary relationship. It isn’t anything to do with your particular qualities, other than that the quality they liked about you was that you were prepared to go along with it. It is not that you were an unsuccessful applicant for the position, it is that there never was a vacancy in the first place. All they ever wanted was a bit of ego stroking/sex/whatever on the side. I suppose that probably also holds true for the AC/EUM behaviour – they are not at that point in time, looking for a relationship, in fact they may well choose someone with whom they won’t get forced to step up or get out. They are passing time. I do actually find some consolation in that.

  71. madame butterfly says:

    Hmmmmmm…………i often wonder why some guys like to remain ‘friends’ once they have decided they do not want you anymore for reasons of their own etc. And why do they want ‘multiple’ partners behind your back so they cheat on you? I suppose the obvious answer has to be because they either see themselves as some sort of godlike guy who women cannot resist, they have low self esteem and getting attention from as many women as will butter them up so to speak makes them feel super human, or maybe they actually do not like the idea of someone else having what they had with you and are jealous of that fact, and so if they offer the ‘friend’ card they can at least know what you are up to and who you may possibly be with, and keep tabs on you etc.

    As with the case of the guy i had a fairly long relationship with, he actually said he wanted to remain friends and hoped i would clean his house out for him when he moved out!! I think you can guess what my answer to that was……….

  72. Meryl Anne says:

    I just struck up a friendship with an ex that I broke up with over trust issues. While we were together, he lied a lot to me about some very important things. We agreed to end the relationship because we were both unhappy with the way things were going. I asked for NC. He tried to establish contact several times during the first month, but I kept telling him to stop contacting me until I’m ready to talk to him again. A month later, I break NC. I was just having such a nice day and the place I went on vacation to reminded me of our better memories. We had what I thought was a nice conversation and I felt as if we could finally be friends. Days later I start remembering the worst parts of our relationship and I’m not sure how to handle the memories and the anger they cause me to feel. Did I do the wrong thing by striking up a friendship? What should I do about it?

  73. codependent anonymous says:

    Yes….trying to force them to be your friend after breaking up (or after a fwb fallout), will just leave them hating you more. It will also leave you feeling crazy and stupid. It erodes your self esteem greatly. And if they treated you badly and were verbally and mentally abusive while you were an item, don’t be surprised when they figure out that you hold them in your mind as some sort of quasi-god and they start dishing out the abuse again. And again. And again. Don’t let yourself end up like me. Save your sanity and say no to being a fallback girl or boy.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.