I’m currently shrinking Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl for the print version after much flip flapping about its size since I received the first hard copy a couple of months back – it’s quite a task conveying the core message in half the page volume but I’m getting there – and while writing the chapter about actions and words not matching where I talk about Future Faking, Fast Forwarding, and the general inconsistency, I scribbled down this on my editing notes:

They’re too concerned with how things look but unwilling to actually be and do in a way that their actions would reflect the person they want to be perceived as.

This doesn’t just apply to Mr (or Miss) Unavailables – this is for anyone whose actions don’t match their words or have spent too much time trying to be The Good Girl/Guy, concerning themselves with how they might look to others without considering what they’re doing to themselves or how their actions actually look.

Intentions and perceptions are not enough – action matters.

One of the examples I use in the chapter is having a great date with someone where they top it off by telling you that they really like you and that they’ll call. Next thing you’re greeted by tumbleweeds… You wonder what the hell you said or did for them to change their mind or why they bothered to say they were crazy about you. It’s because they focused on giving you the feel good factor on the date and having you remember them in a great light even though they already knew that they weren’t going to see you again.

In being focused on perception, in their mind, they gave you a great date and for that, they’re a great person. As you’re now out of sight/out of mind post date, it doesn’t occur to them that their insincerity will certainly dampen that perception.

I remember the guy who ended up being my life changing epiphany relationship after five months of ambiguity. He knew from at least a couple of weeks in that he wasn’t ready for a relationship and wanted a casual dalliance but he’d be damned if he’d be straight up with me for fear of looking like an assclown. By selectively focusing on this perception of himself and no doubt making mountains out of mole sized get-togethers, he felt like he was a ‘good guy’.

Ever been hounded by an ex who either didn’t treat you that well in the relationship or post breakup, or maybe even both, but they’re damn well near losing their minds over whether you think well of them? Maybe you meet them/have a conversation and they try and say all the stuff they think that will have them being perceived in the way they’d like to be – they think this pushes out previous actions or even anything that follows.

Future Fakers make it seem like there’s an actual future on the horizon for your relationship because aside from helping them get what they want in the present, they get to look and feel like they’re an amazing person…till they worry about delivering the goods…

And for those of us who end up in very painful situations because we’re more concerned with being The Good Girl/Guy than we are with treating ourselves good, we don’t recognise that in looking for validation and trying to control perceptions that others have of us, we end up not living congruently with the image we’re trying to project or the values we profess to have.

Image isn’t everything and it’s very subjective (all the more reason why actions matter) and we need to be more concerned with living authentically in line with the people who we claim to be, instead of trying to control the uncontrollable, and either blowing out loads of hot air intentions like the Future Fakers and Fast Forwarders of this world or thinking we can live and love without limits so that people will think we’re great and good. It’s not enough to just say ‘stuff’ – that’s why people who talk up a storm often disappear or behave like jackasses to cover up the inaction.

The trouble with being around people who think that just having the intentions is enough is that if you believe in them too much or go to town with making excuses for why their intentions didn’t come to fruition, you make the mistake of believing that it wasn’t just intentions and that it’s some failing on your part why the intentions didn’t materialise. Eventually you realise that they are habitually people whose actions don’t match what they say.

The trouble with being someone who worries about perception too much is that you end up with a very blinkered view and you have your perception of what is ‘good’ but don’t realise what your actions and words convey about you. For example, many Baggage Reclaim readers have thrown all their boundaries away in the name of showing how much they love someone and instead have conveyed that they are doormats that don’t have enough self-respect, opening themselves up to at best being taken advantage of, and at worst, being abused.

Life is not about how things look contrary to what the world wants to teach us because in the end, we can’t make relationships on words because eventually they come crashing down when actions don’t come along to solidify them, and no matter how we try to be perceived, most people work out who we are, what we’ll do and what they can be and do based on our actions.

It’s also important for us to live by our own values and work out what we want. If we want to be happy, if we want to have healthier relationships, there’s no point saying ‘Oh well other people get through life without their actions matching their words’ – clearly that’s not working for you.

It’s not enough to say ‘I’m a good person’ or ‘I want to be seen in X way’ – it’s important for you to live this way – there’s no point talking and ‘looking’ like a duck if the leg action is missing.

Your thoughts?

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

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139 Responses to Future Faking, Fast Forwarding and Being The Good Girl/Guy – When You’re Too Concerned With How You Look

  1. CC says:

    This is interesting Natalie. I’ve been a BR and NC student for one year now. Went out on a date with a guy I met and liked, the date was great… he said and did all the right things. Held my hand the whole walk home, asked what we were doing the next week. Then I got all of 2 txt msgs from him in the next 7 days. LAME. Funny enough, since then he’s started hanging around a circle of people the I’ve been friends with for a long time and see at least a few times a month socially. He’s been turned up. I refuse to give him the time of day. I literally do not even acknowledge that he is present, not because I am mad.. but because I’ve deemed him a big phoney baloney and for the principle that I’m TIRED of these guys playing like we’re supposed to be “cool” no matter how they behave. My girlfriends think I’m being too hard, but I’m sticking with my beliefs on the guy and figure everyone else can learn in their own time. Oh, and he has asked many other girls on dates and they all got the same guy I did but yet they are his FB friends. Friends?? Really?? Not me. That’s phoney.

    • Allison says:


      I think by ignoring him, you are showing him that you are affected by his behavior.

      You don’t have to be FB friends, but I would be civil.

      • NML says:

        Actually, I kind of disagree. I see where you’re coming from Allison, but they went on one date and if she doesn’t want to talk to him, she really doesn’t have to. Someone like him actually thinks even the most basic civility cancels out their behaviour. I don’t think ignoring him shows that she’s ‘affected’ – I think it shows she doesn’t give a monkey’s about him.

        • Allison says:

          “Someone like him actually thinks even the most basic civility cancels out their behaviour. ”

          I guess I hadn’t thought about this aspect of it. Thankfully, my perception is much different from the AC’s of the world.

        • Used says:

          I’m with CC and NML.

          And I’d bet that this guy doesn’t even try to talk to CC first, I’d bet that he is expecting that CC will eventually “come ’round” and talk to him first, thus cancelling out his behavior, hence NML’s (and CC’s) (and my) stance.

          I went out on a handful of dates with a guy EXACTLY like this, and have ignored him for years and years. And, when he tries his best to get the chance for me to talk to him first (in his dreams!)–for example, by “waiting” for a drink at a bar when he knows that I have to walk down the path that he is next to–and I don’t talk to him, he immediately leaves the party/event/gathering.

          Why do these people do this? (Date people you know and still try to hang out like nothing has happened? Or even go out of their way, like CC’s guy, after dating her, to become FRIENDS with your friends?) Are they jealous and want to one-up you by getting into your life and your face and taking your friends away? Or is the drama and attention they want?

          A gay guy friend of mine says that people who do these things are really just jealous and want what you have, so they want to get in there and take it.

      • CC says:

        Right Allison.. and I understand where you are coming from and that’s sort of how my friends see it but the way I see it is, if you take me out and are not that into me and decide that you won’t be calling me anytime soon… why “act” like you are? why hold my hand for a 30 minute walk home? why kiss me? I believe that is the epitome of mixed signals and by not acknowledging him I want to show him that I’m completely not interested in guys who play that game and he lost any shot of having me in his world. Were not friends… we’ve kissed for god’s sake. Why would I take a demotion?

        • Allison says:


          What I meant was, that by ignoring him, he may perceive that you care.

          Yes. This guy is an ass! Personally, I would be indifferent, and simply remain cool in my behavior. In no way was I suggesting you be friends with this individual, you can project your disapproval by keeping him at a distance.

          In the long run, you have to do what you feel comfortable in doing.

  2. Allison says:

    Funny, my ex said that the ex wife wanted to restore the marriage-divorced for three years at this point- he said, “I guess she couldn’t find a better guy.” Mind you, he was a very active cheater in the marriage.

    Natalie, does these people really believe this? I can’t see how???????

    • grace says:

      they DO believe it because a) they are deluded about themselves and b) there are women *cough* who will chase after them.

      • NML says:

        Very true Grace. Allison – you don’t see it because it’s not how you are but to only see it that way is how many people stay in relationships long past their sell by date. How much you won’t believe and how much you won’t see determine how long you’ll stick around. Knowing your own standards of behaviour means when others engage in jackassary, you *know* it’s wrong. Period.

        • Allison says:


          As as result of your site, I WOULD NEVER TOLERATE THIS CRAP AGAIN!!!!! The boundaries are in place, and I only surround myself with healthy, dependable, respectful people.

          This relationship changed my life, and for that I’m grateful!!! :)

      • Allison says:

        You’re right!

        I think the woman was so worn down after 20+ years of marriage, that she didn’t believe she deserved any better.

        I suppose the AC’s have to believe this, or then they would have to face some uncomfortable truths about themselves. Perhaps I’m being too generous. :(

        Oh goodness, I still can’t believe I got involved with someone who admitted he had cheated on his ex. What was I thinking!!!!!!!!

  3. Natasha says:

    This couldn’t have been more on-point for me! I still spend time, embarassingly enough, wondering if the guy I was involved with was, in fact, an assclown. Here’s why:
    This person treated me poorly and got back in touch with me saying that they were a different person, wanted to right the wrongs of his past and missed me. Fair enough. In comes the future faking on a level of “Please, please, please come to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving” before I’ve even seen him and yammering on and on about giving me a “sales pitch” about what a great man he is now. He comes to visit me (we live in different states, about an hour apart), and I sit there waiting for the sales pitch…it doesn’t come. Rather than that, as soon as he has a foot in my door, he asks me out for NYE. I try to have a rational talk about what he’s looking for/what the intentions are, etc. Instead, he pounces on me like a dog on a T-bone. Now, not being a complete idiot I slow it down. Things seem to be going well, we are talking, making plans and things seem on the up and up….and then…the great disappearing act after I go to visit him and meet his friends. Of course, I was furious. He didn’t understand why I was so upset and when on a long-winded explanation of what a great person he is and he just isn’t ready to settle down. In what universe “use the phone consistently/don’t pull a Houdini” translates to “settled down”, I have no idea. I, of course, say “Why didn’t you say anything? It seems like you didn’t want to be upfront because, for obvious reasons, I wouldn’t have wanted any part of this.” No response. I think I still struggle with this because he’s had relationships and I always feel like “less-than” because he won’t have one with me. My friends insist that he is an assclown and I have no idea what actually went on with his relationships.
    So, I guess my question is, was he really attempting to be a better person and decided that he should try and do right by me and then panicked when he realized that he wasn’t into it?

    • grace says:

      natasha, he wanted to shag you because you became a challenge after NCing him. the blood rushed from his brain to his nether regions and made him irrational. when there was no sex he suddenly realised he was wasting his time.
      yes he’s had relationships but where are those women now? i hope to God they’re not all sat around wondering why he does what he does. forget him.

    • Movedup says:

      I agree with your friends – he’s an assclown – NEXT!

      • Natasha says:

        Grace and Movedup,
        Thank you, thank you, thank you for making me laugh and for the excellent advice! Half the problem is I feel like an idiot for obsessing. I did end up sleeping with him and he managed to hang around for another few weeks. I guess I wound up feeling like some sort of Booty Call Charity Case and this is not a good feeling.
        Thank you again ladies, you are awesome!

        • Movedup says:

          Its one of those – WTF was I thinking. Forgive yourself – you are only human after all. Now you know better – you do better. Years from now you will laugh about it – I know I DO! EEEWWWWWWwwwwww yuck

          • Natasha says:

            Very true Movedup! Adding to the cringe/amusement factor is the following: I broke up with this person the first time around because he made up a fake dead relative in order to avoid having me visit. I kid you not. Whenever I get sad about it, my BFF says, “FAKE DEAD UNCLE!” and it does always make me laugh!!

      • Foolmeonce says:

        ” I think I still struggle with this because he’s had relationships and I always feel like “less-than” because he won’t have one with me. ”

        Natasha, I can totally relate to this comment you made. The guy I was with was in relationships too albeit the longest was a year. I always felt that some how there was something up with me or he gave me that impression. I totally understand how that can feel wanting something that he has given to somebody else. It is easier to judge if you are not in the situation. I fell into this trap recently so I understand completly.

        • Natasha says:

          Foolmeonce, thank you so much – it’s so nice to hear that someone understands! A lot of people are like “Why do you care? Why would you even want a relationship with him?” because, unless you’ve been there, it’s very hard to understand. The worst is if the guy makes it look like you’re going to get a relationship at long last only to pull the rug out. This is especially godawful, because you’re thinking “What did I do?!” I have self esteem problems, so of course my mind defaults to “Those girls were better/prettier than me – of course!”

          In my case, and I should have mentioned this above to give the full picture, I am personally not very religious and was raised both Catholic and Jewish, but I really only practice Judaism. When I went to visit him, he started making little comments like that was a turn-off (I have no idea why), when before he thought it was really funny when I’d teach him all the Yiddish phrases. I believe this is what my grandmother would call…a schmuck.

          • Movedup says:

            I would agree with your grandmother. Been there done that – understand that as well. The ExEUM AC’s OW was a young girl maybe 20 – that I found out about later – which he messed around with a couple of months during our “relationship”. Imagine being dumped by a mid-50s yard nome because he won’t leave you for his older model supposed long term gf. To a young inexperienced girl that would be hard to take I would think. I get why he did it – cause he could – low self esteem – mid life crisis – whatever his excuse/justification is – I really don’t care. I actually kind of feel sorry for her -ouch that had to sting! That was long ago so it really doesn’t matter anymore – I hope she gets to the day when she says EEWWWWW WTF! LOL

            You will get to the day when it really doesn’t matter anymore and can laugh at it. Laughter really is the best medicine. Fake Dead Uncle – wow – what a loser! EEEEEEEWwwwwww

    • Sometimes thinking about why people do what they do or what they think is such a waste of time for us. We can never know why someone finds it hard to pick up the phone and be civil, why some people like to say one thing and then do another. If we spend our precious life analysing them adn their bullshit we find that we are no living our own lives. I have found for myself that knowing what your dealbreakers are makes it so much easier to make the right decision for your own self. For instance, I expect my friends both male and female to be able to return calls or e.mails in a reasonable time. If they don’t, won’t or can’t then unless they are ill, I don;t see how we will be able to communicate. I let that person go. We clearly are not on the same wavelength. I don’t agonise about it and I wouldn’t give any thought to some guy who doesn’t contact me after a single date..I mean how important is one date to my self image..not much really. Don’t give people who aren’ treating you right the benefit if your precious life, thoughts or time. They simply haven’t earnt it!

      • Allison says:


        I totally agree! Why waste precious energy on those who are not reciprocating. Like you, I move on with no negative feeling because in the end, it only eats away at me. I don’t care!
        So many good people around, why not put the focus on them!

      • Foolmeonce says:

        Don’t give people who aren’ treating you right the benefit if your precious life, thoughts or time. They simply haven’t earnt it!

        Live my gorgeous life…you culd not have said it better. However, when you are person with abandonment issues…you have to work harder not internalize it. I know this because when I have found myself attached to someone and they leave my life I have often struggled with it.

  4. metsgirl says:

    Very nice as always NML!! What I took away from all of this is that we’re being as inauthentic as we’re accusing our AC’s or Unavailable’s of being. It doesn’t seem right that we b*tch and complain about them matching their words / actions or inactions when we’re being just as fake…just in a different way. (That’s obviously not what you said verbatim but that was my interpretation)

    The longer I work on myself and see the reality of my past relationships (and my direct part in it) the more I see that I wasn’t being upfront about my intentions. I wasn’t asking for what I wanted or needed in the relationship. I didn’t want to appear needy or too high maintenance…I needed his acceptance and yet I wasn’t showing him the real me. What was there for him to accept? “I” never actually showed up. But wow! In my mind I was the “NICE” girl and I bet he remembers me as the doormat with no self-respect.

    Have always loved your blog…you are an amazing woman! Thanks for all you do…

    • Tess says:

      Metsgirl, I agree, we do always rag on them (thought they deserve it) but seldom turn the table on ourselves. But in my relationship, I DID tell him, every time I broke up with him, what I wanted and needed. But like an idiot I’d give him another chance which in reality hoping he’d listened to me and that in coming back, had finally understood and seen eye to eye with me. NOT! He knew I’d take him back but with the same old same old situation. He didn’t care that he lacked respect for me and my wishes.

      I finally went NC cold turkey after being so hurt by the AC that I HAD to let go. Five years’ worth – although the first couple were good to ok – but I became a doormat. Oh I’d read good stuff (unfortunately I didn’t find BR until 6 mos ago) from other websites and books, and I wasn’t totally walked allover, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t stay apart from him for more than four months. I think my own need to be the “good girl” did keep me from being authentic, despite my communicating to him about the wants and needs, but he knew I would cave if he gave it a month or two! I wasn’t being would I said I was. I was a wimp.

      And I could kick myself for still thinking about him, and crying over him, even after realizing he in the end was just using me, and like someone else said, him considering it a challenge to get me into bed after I told him I wouldn’t do that anymore. It hurts and will hurt. But next time I will not compromise my values. I’ve already had to cut out a guy or two who after the first date or even the first phone call that acted ass-clowny . It’s just sad there are so many of them out there!

      Thanks, Nat. As always, you always meet me where I am.

      • Tess you said:

        “He knew I’d take him back but with the same old same old situation. He didn’t care that he lacked respect for me and my wishes.”

        You know Tess the only person who can really now how to show you respect is YOU. If you don;t like the way someone treats you, you can show YOU respect by drawing clear boundaries on behaviour and then walking away. It’s easy to see how other people don’t treat us right but it’s just as important to see how we don;t treat ourselves right as well because that’s how we get into relationships with assclowns in the first place, so I have found anyway.

        • Allison says:

          She’s right!

          It’s up to us to protect and love ourselves, if we don’t others will take advantage.

  5. Aimee says:

    Absolutely Brilliant Natalie!!! Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant!

    Crazy how that works – we (FB’s) start looking, sounding, and ACTING like the AC’s.

  6. Movedup says:

    Isn’t that a twist – seeking validation from me that you’re a “nice guy”. Ah no. Dude you got issues – I suggest you get working on that. I had a drunken idiot at bar recently step up to pay his tab right next to me and be quite rude. I did my best to ignore him as I can see this AC from a mile off and had no interest in engaging him in anyway. Since I would not respond to his flirtaous behavior – he had the nerve to say this “Women like you have issues – I see it all the time” to which I could not help but respond ” I am sure you do… everytime you look in a mirror” (hard to control my mouth sometimes)

    May be in the past I would have fallen for “I really am nice guy because I said so” – but I am not that woman anymore! LOL

    • Melanie says:

      Movedup good for you for your response! Sooo annoying when some Angry-Dude walks up and projects his ‘issues’ onto you. Your story reminds me of a time I was at a club with friends. I’d just spent a couple hours dancing, talking, laughing up a storm with my friends and others that we met there. At one point, my friends left me standing alone by a handrail for just a couple of minutes. So I was standing there, looking around, thinking about what a fun night I was having. Just then, some guy I had never seen before in my life walks up, stops right in front of me, with this ugly/angry expression on his face and demands that I ‘Smile’. I had been lost in my own happy thoughts, and when I realized someone was in my face talking to me, I focused in on him, and said “huh?”. He said “Why don’t you try to lighten up? you sure are a sour-puss.” I told him he didn’t know anything about me and walked away from him. Ick. And the sad thing is I can’t count how many male strangers have come up to me out of the blue and tried to project their ugliness onto me. Angrily that I either “Smile”, “Stop frowning”, “Relax”, “Loosen Up”, “Lighten Up” or whatever nonsense that had nothing to do with what I was actually feeling at the moment (not that it’s any of the complete stranger’s business). And they only do it to me when I’m standing alone. Like they’re too cowardly to confront me when they see me laughing and having fun with my friends. All the while when I’ve been having a fabulously fun day. It’s almost as if they are angry that I’m having a good time … and that it has nothing to do with them.

      • grace says:

        ouch. it hurts me to say this but lots of men hate women. i’ve no idea why but at least let’s not end up dating them!

        • Melanie says:

          Yes I agree. It’s unfortunate but it’s true, we can’t win with some men. If you don’t want to date them you’re a ‘Bitch’. Sometimes if you do, you’re still a ‘Bitch’. If you’re having fun and ignoring them, or if you’re not having fun, but ignoring them. If you’re pretty, ugly, heavy, thin, hard-working, lazy, smart, dumb. Still a ‘B****’! Let’s definitely try to avoid those ones!

        • ph2072 says:

          Agreed. Many (not all) men DO hate women. SMH.

          • Also some women don’t like men much as well! It works both ways. There are as many equally unavailable men as there are women, stringing guys along, using them economically and being just as bad as the asssclown guys in not returning calls and being generally random!

          • Melanie says:

            Live My Gorgeous Life, “There are as many equally unavailable men as there are women, stringing guys along, using them economically and being just as bad as the asssclown guys in not returning calls and being generally random!”
            Not trying to be argumentative, but I’m afraid you and I are going to have to agree to disagree about the extent to which that is actually a truthful statement. I will concede that there are some women who pull EU and even AC behavior to some extent. But I will not agree with you that as many of us are as big of AssClowns as men are, nor as EU as men are, let alone in as large of numbers. Also as Grace mentioned, I’ve NEVER had a strange woman come up to my face and angrily demand that I emote in a particular way. Nor have I ever even wished to walk up to anyone and do so.

        • grace says:

          true, women can be users too but we tend not to walk up to random men and insult them.
          we might want to, ha, but it’s too dangerous.

  7. Foolmeonce says:

    Interesting topic….so I have a scenario similiar to this one. I made the mistake of letting this guy back into my life after he kept disappearing. He came back around during the holiday season…made all kind of promises. I remained neutral because I had heard the empty promises before. He kept in contact consistently for over a month kept making promises and then one day while I was in his area he asked if I wanted to meet up and I agreed. I called him after my appointment like a fool and guess what no answer. He did not call back, no text no nothing. One week later he sends me a text of picture of himself. I could not believe I fell for the madness again.

    I guess I was hopeful that maybe this time he changed.

    • Natasha says:

      Wait…he texted you…a picture of himself. I need a minute. WHAT. A. LOSER. Homeboy has some manners. I try and keep an Anti Assclown Mantra of the most ridiculous thing he did whenever I get sad. Yours can be, “He texted me a picture of…himself. Full stop.” You are obviously a very nice girl and you are so better off without him!!
      Love how they resurface around the holidays – I think with some assclowns, they don’t like being single around then either!

      • Foolmeonce says:

        Yes Natasha…you got it he sent a picture. I could not believe it myself…he offered no apology. He just texted me picture of himself like that was suppose to make up for his behaviour. Well I can’t even be mad at him…because I was the fool that let him back in my world a second time around.

        Also…I have showed him through my acceptance of his crumbs in the past that it is okay to treat me this way.

    • ph2072 says:

      ROTFLMAO! What a loser!

      Cut your losses (which doesn’t add up to but a few pennies) and charge this to the game. Really? Texting a picture?

      ROTFLMAO! He’s such a LOSER! ROTFLMAO!

    • Foolmeonce, that must have hurt another time around. But you know he is an assclown so just laugh. He is being true to type, consistant and a waste of space and a waste of your time. Sending you a picture of himself, what was he thinking? Send him into outer darkness! What a silly man!

      • Foolmeonce says:

        Live My life Gorgeous….I can even say it hurt, because this was the same kind of behaviour he displayed in the past. My Mom used to always say that a lepoard never changes it’s spots no matter how hard it tries to cover them up. I am moving on from this for good.

  8. Finally Happy says:

    I can DEFINITELY relate to this on both ends. I always wanted to come across as the “I’m always cool, I don’t take anything too seriously, Do what you want and it won’t affect me, I don’t judge, etc., etc. ” girl.

    I finally admited to myself that I AM NOT THAT COOL. I do get pissed, I sometimes SHOULD hold grudges, I DON’T have to be nice to everyone, especially if they are douches, and if you consistently go against what I feel is right, I WILL “judge” you.

    The people I surrounded myself with certainly judged me. They judged me as someone who would always do what they wanted and would keep quiet when they acted like complete d*pshits.

    Everyone goes through rough periods, and staying someone’s friend or significant other through them can be a good thing if you keep your boundaries. But for me, it wasn’t about boundaries. It definitely was about maintaining their image of me and being of afraid of what would happen if it was shattered for them.

    It’s funny how my current boyfriend of 8 months jokes about my “temper”. Which means when he starts to piss me off, I tell him. I’ve never been this authentic with anyone. Which is why when he says he loves me and talks about getting a ring, house, and having kids, I believe HIM in return.

    • Movedup says:

      Ha ha – yeah my give a shits busted too! I got the ring, working on the house and yes my hubby loves my fiesty attitude. It feels really good to be me! Never thought I would get there – but thanx to this site and all the ladies who helped pull my head out of my ass. I have finally arrived.

      • charla says:

        Awesome, ladies!! :) I’m getting there. Authenticity is my word of the year, my intention and most importantly, my action. I can 100% relate to what you said FH. I’d much rather have a moment of conflict with someone and forgive than couch everything to keep things “smooth” – the latter does not earn respect, in any relationship.

      • Being authentic is what it is all about and that’s about being REAL about who you are and being okay with yourself. Then you can easily spot an assclown and his ways and know they just don’t match with your own ways at all. I’ve always thought that great relationships are all about being authentic about yourself and people will love you for it OR they will do you a favour and opt out either way you are not wasting your life on people who don’t appreciate your authenticity.

  9. Sarah says:

    This reminded me of a quote I read:
    “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be” -Socrates

    The first time I read this quote I thought it was idiotic. Why pretend? My ex EUM told me one time that he sorry he was an a**hole. I told him don’t be sorry, just don’t be one. He was resigned to the fact that he is what he is and couldn’t be anything else. He was always “sorry” or at least telling me that I guess because that is what he thought I wanted to hear but never sorry enough to change anything. He would go ABOVE AND BEYOND to say things that were now obviously not true. To me, it’s just cruel. I see now that I was just as guilty sometimes about my words not matching my actions but the difference is that I got off the roller coaster of denial and will never let myself get back on it ever again.

    I guess we all could benefit from accepting and loving who we are now, here in this moment. Only then can we see who we really are, what we want to be, and the road to get there.

  10. Kay says:

    This is just a fabulous post and so many of the comments resonate with me. It’s funny how sometimes the posts on this life saving site seem to be bang on appropriate to where we are at in the moment. This one is very relevant to where I’m at in my journey because I’ve recently been out on a date with a guy who I actually liked. Now that’s a major WOW for me, because for one thing, I rarely date nowadays. Secondly [and relatedly], being 51 and from a more remote part of the world, my dating pool is almost extinct. So meeting a man I find attractive brings on an avalanche of conflicting emotions. The need to protect myself and live by my hard won boundaries versus the old me who abandoned all boundaries in a desperate desire to be liked and be seen as “cool”. And it’s funny how those old instincts only resurfaced as I felt the tinglings of attraction. .I have always maintained that old habits die very hard because they are deeply engrained. The only way to uproot a stubborn old habit is to rigorously practice a new one. That’s why I think we must keep dating. I think there’s no such thing as not being ready, it’s like getting straight back into a car after being in a crash. You have to be back in the driving seat to relearn, theory alone won’t cut it

    Anyway this guy seems nice but I’m being ultra cautious. He’s a bit forward and is already making ambitious plans for the second date. As in he’ll come to my town and stay overnight at a hotel [alone]. He’ll take me out to dinner and we’ll then go out for drinks. Way too much too soon for me! There was a time when I would have gone along with this despite being uncomfortable, this time I’ve suggested a much more muted version of the above that I’m more comfortable with. And he’s fine about it. But I actually found it hard to assert myself and find this new “dating with boundaries me” both fascinating and daunting.

    Again I am so grateful for this wonderful site where I feel understood and where I get the feedback and reinforcement I need. I was especially touched by the contributions of Finally Happy and CC. If you read this, CC, I think you are completely right to ignore that assclown. If only all women were BR trained and would stop pandering to these idiots and playing along to their silly games, they might eventually grow up and get the message. But in the meantime they really don’t deserve the time of day. Here’s to standing up for ourselves!

    • CC says:

      Thanks Kay! I think it’s nice to be able check in with Natalie and all the BR readers when there’s time I might second guess myself and listen to other people opinions. But I really find that if I just stick to my gut instinct on most things and just go with that… it’s usually right. Before I would ignore red flags because I could not bear to have people not like me. But now I see that we all need to put ourselves in the driver’s seat and decide what we like and don’t like, and stand behind it. Now, if someone decides they don’t like me because of my newfound boundaries (ahem, ex EUM) I’m ok with that now… I’m not trying to find out ways to change their minds. I just don’t want to get in the shark tank anymore and wonder why I got bit.

  11. ICanDoBetter says:

    It’s true. I was worried about how I was perceived, so I was not true to who I really was.

    If anything, that should lessen the pain of rejection. After all, if I wasn’t really being me, then he didn’t reject the real me.

  12. KwinMaebz says:

    I am so grateful for this blog. Natalie, you are an angel! :) I totally have dated a guy like this — and he was also a Mr. Unavailable.

    We met online about four months ago — he messaged me first and pursued me until we finally went for our first date, after which he asked me to “go steady” with him by text message. Normally, I would have listened to my instincts and not condoned this kind of behavior, but he was extremely wealthy, good-looking and charismatic with valuable professional connections; the last thing I wanted to do was be unobliging. Bad mistake. Once you compromise your boundaries and give the other person too much power, there’s no turning back for either parties; I kept acting like a doormat, and he kept wiping his feet on me. We went on another date, and he started to get sexually aggressive. Because I was so determined to keep him as a professional connection, I never got intimate with him (in fact, I wouldn’t even let him kiss me!). Anyway, after I turned him down, he flaked out of our next appointment and started acting like a jerk, which caused me much emotional pain and stress. Several times while we were dating, I would try to implement No Contact because I was miserable, but I just couldn’t let go of the illusion that he could be an asset to me professionally. I kept going back to maintain the connection, and he kept coming back to “seal the deal” (which he ultimately failed to do, muahaha!).

    On our last date, I courageously asked him some direct questions, and even though he was vague as usual, I was able to recognize certain patterns in the way he talked that allowed me to separate the truth from the half-truths. It also helped that as he got more comfortable with me, he spoke more candidly, and I realized that all he wanted from me was sex. After that, I deleted his number to remove any temptation to contact him, and I am phasing him out of my life by being agreeable but detached when he contacts me. I have not heard from him since he lamely texted me on Valentine’s day (4 days ago). Good riddance.

    This relationship was a huge waste of time and energy. It is still taking me some time to heal and completely let go of my previous illusions, but I am thankful for this experience because I see now how important it is to not place my future in another person’s hands, especially someone untrustworthy. My happiness is my responsibility, and mine alone.

    When someone tells you contradictory things in a relationship, it is usually just sugar-coated poison. ACs say pleasant things to keep one foot in the perks of a relationship while they have the other foot poised to jump out at any time because they are inherently terrified of commitment. Their inability to let themselves be happy is their problem; don’t enable them make it ours, too.

    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest! Lots of love and hugs ~~

  13. jeri vine says:

    I love this website…..may I share with you? I have been dating and in love with a man for a little over 3 years now. He has been the master of mixed messages….meaning his Actions scream out loud that he’s in love with me but his words push me away & confuse me. I am a 55 year old professional woman, own my home & live alone.
    He has said stuff like:
    -guard your heart
    -you have a shelf life
    -spoke strongly about friends with benefits – I had a fit!
    -you have your life, I have mine
    He has a business in his home town that takes him away a couple of times per year for 6 weeks at a time. The one time of year that really kills me off is he’s gone from before Thanksgiving thru the New Year. He spends every Christmas with his mother, family, sisters & kids. I am never included. I recently asked him if I am a Priority or an Option & was very hurt to hear that I am an option.
    Anyway, I’ve had it and it is clear that this is over… contact which becomes very easy for me as he is off to Africa on Sunday for a month.
    HELP! I am hurting. This man rarely expresses his feelings or emotions to me & I tend to be a deep person. I feel really messed up from this relationship & the time, energy & emotional investment that I have made, not to mention my constant waiting. He just wants to have fun!
    I just read your article re: boundaries & I loved it. I know what I need to do, but it doesn’t make it any easier….I fell in love with him. He has always just drawn me back in when I withdraw. I will maintain my resolve. I feel like I am going crazy, plus I am quitting smoking & on Chantix and my second day of not smoking. Talk about biting off quite a lot at once. Please respond out there.

    • Sweetie187 says:

      Jeri Vine,

      To quote you: ” his Actions scream out loud that he’s in love with me but his words push me away & confuse me”

      Youe post does not reflect what you have said above. You have failed to mentioned the actions that apparently “scream” he is in love with you.

      All you have talked about is his words that clearly demonstrate that he does not love or respect you.

      You may be confused but i am not. From what you have written in your post, it’s as clear as crystal that this is not a mutual love relationsip, its a casual booty call.

      • Elle says:

        jeri vine, trawl through this site, and, if you have the time, find the comments of ‘Fearless’ – she has some inspired words that will help you! But, in the meantime, I assure you we’ve all felt that hideous shock of being devalued by someone who we thought had our best interests at heart and in whom we thought we could trust. It’s brutal, but hurting each other is also just part of what we do in life: bump each other in our bumper cars (I say this because for too long I was shocked that this happened to me!!! ‘How?’ I wondered). The best advice I can give is go with the detachment for now. Feel sad, look after yourself like you’re a patient, but space is crucial. New insights bubble up in space, and soon enough pain and humiliation lessen are are joined by a sense of letting go and a funny sort of gratitude. You just have to go through it…so help make the journey easier for yourself by sticking to NC.

      • jeri vine says:

        thank you

    • done as dinner says:

      Jeri – I am sorry you are hurting and confused. I think he has said very clearly what he wants/doesn’t want, and the bottom line is you are not happy with the relationship, you do not want to be alone over the holidays (who does?), and it is a more than reasonable expectation that when you have a mutually rewarding and caring relationship, that he would want to be with you too. In the end, though it is less important to analyze what he thinks/wants/says and more important to ask yourself “what do I want? how does this make me feel? are my needs being met? Am I happy? Do I feel loved, valued, respected and cared for?” And when you are answering those questions it is very easy for you to come up with random incidents where you might have felt that way, but think about the big picture over all. The one you have painted here indicates that you are not being loved or respected. Quite frankly anyone who says “you have a shelf-life” should be kicked to the curb in short order. That is a horrible, disrespectful and unkind thing to say. What your only value as a human being is your appearance? You own a house, you are responsible, you take care of yourself. He should be proud to be with you, not threatening you with vague… “take what’s on offer sister because it doesn’t get any better” garbage.

      Delete him from your life. You deserve better. Big hug – it is really hard at first, but it DOES get better!

    • grace says:

      Well done for instigating NC, yes it’s hard but not every day is hard. And it’s terrific that you quit smoking. Sounds like you are really taking things in hand and taking care of yourself.
      Don’t take to heart what the loser says, it only matters what you think of yourself and you clearly think you deserve better than him.
      Stick out the NC, try to enjoy it even. It’s a wonderful thing to be free.

    • t says:

      Opt out while you can. He doesn’t care a bit for you. Don’t you deserve better?
      All this “guard your heart”, “you have your life, I have mine” !!?! He doesn’t respect you. Respect yourself and don’t let him so this. Really. It hurts so much when you finally see it for what it is. It’s then so difficult to forgive yourself for letting him do this to you.

      • PJ says:

        It’s obvious he’s not a keeper. Yes, it is very hard, very very hard – don’t think it won’t be, but take the ladies advice on this website -who have been through it – and believe that it will get better, and it will eventually get so much better than it was when you were with him. It will. You’re going to want to cave, you’re going to want to call him, or answer his call, or ‘run into him’ somewhere. It really is like withdrawal from a drug. What matters, when you’re going through all this, is not how you feel, what you think or what you say – because, if you’re like me, you’ll be a puddle of grief, pain, fear, anger, desperation – but what matters, as this article illustrates, is what you, finally, do. Commit to the decision you know is right, and ACT in your own best interest. You will be stronger on the other side! You will (-:

  14. TJ says:

    Thank you for this article NML. It came at a really great time for me, this describes my situation perfectly. My ex AC is attempting to re-write history & orchestrate the future by trying to ensure that I think of him as this “nice guy” that never means anyone any harm.
    My ex is the classic future faking, passive aggressive EU assclown. I was involved with him and his lies for over 5 years. In 2009 he told me he loved me in October, disappeared in November… once I finally managed to get ahold of him to ask him what was going on he said that “he didn’t know how he felt anymore”… but not really ending things and avoiding giving me any answers. In December, only one month later, my mother ended up seriously ill in hospital and I was going through hell, I foolishly rang him, when he answered he sounded like he was waiting for a call from someone else and I suspected there was someone else (another woman). I told him about my mother, he pretended to care, and then he vanished, he didn’t call or anything. I sent him an e-mail later saying how I thought that it was pretty bad that he couldn’t even be bothered to find out how I was doing- even if we were over, I thought that he could have at least been human, you know??
    I tried a few more times to talk to him to find out what was going on and got the run around so much that I just decided to end it (plus I found out he was fooling around with someone else – could have been for our entire relationship, who knows!) I changed my phone number and went no contact. It’s been a year. Within that year, he has phoned my work voicemail and hung up about 8-10 times and showed up at a work function where he knew I would be. I have managed to avoid him otherwise for this long except for 2 times when he actually phoned me. Both times he called he told me nothing about himself, just talked like nothing ever happened and made a point of asking about my mother. Truth is, he never gave a damn about me or my mother. If he cared he would have shown it at the time. He is very concerned now that I believe this crap about him being a “nice guy”. At least I am onto him now, and understand that everything he did/does is about HIM and not me. Even when he showed up at the work function I remember him approaching me, and me saying that it was nice of him to show up (I said it slightly sarcastically- considering the party was for my boss whom he hardly knew) and him saying “SEE! I AM A NICE GUY”.
    In the end, I blame myself for not standing up for ME and not living true to myself. I didn’t enforce boundaries… I taught him how to treat me. I made it acceptable for him to future fake and get away with never delivering on his promises. I also know that this isn’t his first rodeo, he has been making promises his whole life and breaking them.
    It was a hard lesson to learn but I learned it and will never sell MYSELF short like that again.
    Thanks again Nat. Amazing article. It’s a lesson in respecting and loving ourselves enough to demand only the best – this means getting away from these no good AC’s.

    • Elaine says:


      I miss talking to you. Glad to hear that you are making progress and still staying away from that man. My ex-boyfriend (?) has also continued to contact me randomly, text only, about every 2 months for the last year. The last time that I heard from him was twice in December. Brief nothing conversations. Really pointless. I think that I may not hear from him again as I did not wish him a happy 50th birthday on Valentines Day (figures). We celebrated my 50th together. Hopefully, that sent a loud message that I really don’t want to see or hear from him again.

      Good wishes to you and much happiness. Thanks, again, Natalie, for the terrific articles. So timely for me, as well.

      • TJ says:


        Wow, he’s still texting you… I wish I could say I am surprised, but these guys have alot of nerve…. that’s just who they are …that is how they choose to live their lives. Always into playing games.
        I am really glad to hear from you and best wishes to you too. I miss talking to you too! Perhaps NML would give you my e-mail address if you asked her. I would love to catch up.
        Take care,

  15. Fooled in Oregon says:

    In the past 2 weeks since my ex-Future Faker dumped me, I’ve been reading your blog. The articles are so spot on in describing the person I was dating, which is interesting because I’m a lesbian and it was a woman who behaved this way.

    In 3 months of dating, I was overwhelmed with love poems, gifts, planning far into the future for grand vacations, and even talk of retirement in Mexico. Yet, 4 days before one of those vacations, I got a phone call that it was all off. She was “never comfortable around me” and couldn’t continue the relationship.

    This happened immediately after a rather passionate weekend, so I was blind-sided. I haven’t heard from her since. Thanks to your advice, I’m following the NC cure. And at 52-years-old, I feel rather ridiculous for having been sucked in.

    Thank you so much for the wise and helpful blog. And to all the women here — it’s not only guys who can earn the AC title!!!

    • Tanya Z. says:

      Fooled in Oregon, did you date my ex? I had a very similar experience some years back — things seemed to be going wonderfully with us; we’d started talking about moving in together. And then she called and said it was over and she’d never really loved me, just thought of me as a friend! And this, after months of passionate love letters, poetry, great sex. I was just blindsided and devastated. I couldn’t believe it. I’d thought that she loved me, I thought that she just might be the person that I would spend the rest of my life with….and now she’s saying she never loved me?

      This website has been great at helping me to understand all this…and yes, it’s so true that women can behave as badly in relationships as men can!

      • Fooled in Oregon says:

        Tanya, That is too funny! Well… funny – NOT. But, such a familiar story. Were her initials PB? Maybe this gal has been making the rounds! =:D

    • ph2072 says:

      It’s actually nice to see this comment because it shows that people in ALL sexual orientations are capable of being assclowns. SMH. 😐

      Wishing you the best.

      • Tanya Z. says:

        FooledinOregon, No, her initials were MT….like her promises — empty! :-) ph2072, it was so educational to come to this site and find that so many of the women here have had the same problems with men that I had with this woman. It’s easy to get very caught up in the notion of “Oh, this person is ____, I don’t have anything in common with them; they couldn’t understand my situation.” And yet….relationships are relationships, whether you are gay, straight, young, old, black, white, Nepalese.

  16. Eve says:

    “In being focused on perception, in their mind, they gave you a great date and for that, they’re a great person. As you’re now out of sight/out of mind post date, it doesn’t occur to them that their insincerity will certainly dampen that perception.”

    Amen to that. I recently allowed an ex-ac to text me for a while. In the end I asked why after 6months and me telling him to get lost he contacted me – doesn’t like leaving things on bad terms’.

    Then you shouldn’t have dropped off the planet like you did.
    Then you should have said you weren’t ready – It’s not like I didn’t give you plenty of opportunities to say if something was wrong.
    Then you should have talked to me.

    YOU don’t get to dictate terms on how I should feel about this.
    Chatting to me about X-factor is not in any way shape or form an apology or me offering some form of forgiveness for your douchey behaviour.
    And certainly don’t be contacting with a lousy excuse when you seem to be trying to make things work with your ex who you cheated on. This makes you an even bigger douche – we’re not friends, I’m not a real ex and if she accepts you contacting all your flings like this she has bigger problems than you or is a total doormat.

    Rant over :) But I’m sure in his head because I responded, I’m cool with things.

    I’ve missed here.

    • TJ says:

      Your post really resonated with me. What you said is so true. I have went through something similar. My ex managed to get ahold of me 2 times during NC (I screen my calls but I picked up quickly by accident and he was calling from a private number) and I talked to him for a short time, and pleasantly. Of course, my reasons for talking to him pleasantly when he called was because I wanted to let him know that my life is just fine without him (Which it is! 100X better as a matter of fact!). But because I spoke to him he probably thinks that all is cool with me. That somehow in his own deluded mind he has made up for the crappy behaviour during and post breakup by phoning with the “appearance” of caring. Phoney baloney is what I say. That man-child has alot of issues – not my problem to fix.
      I have realized though, that whether he contacts me or not – I must put the emphasis and focus back on ME. I have to realize that his calls mean nothing other than they are from someone that really adds no value to my life at all. I will NOT be calling him and including him in my life at all. I have to do what is right for ME, and if that means that I have to stray away from being a “nice” person (why do we always have to be so nice!?) and tell him I no longer want to hear from him anymore, in any capacity, then that is what I have to do. For some darn reason, I struggle with asserting my needs, so if he actually did call I probably would make some excuse to get off the phone instead of telling him that though. Perhaps I’ll get lucky and he’ll never contact me again.
      Point is, when someone shows their true colors like this, we need to just walk away- no looking back. Don’t waste our time trying to figure it out because there are no answers to this cowardly behaviour.


  17. Elle says:

    I am well and truly over the worst of an AC-ass-kicking of last year (almost entirely! ; )), but I have to say what haunts me now resonates with the themes of this post. Essentially, I am not ready and willing to be in a relationship – for several good reasons – but when I meet guys out – usually through friends – and the convo gets a little winky-winky, shall we say, I find myself trying to be amiable (mostly in a natural way, just because it’s nice to be sociable – be engaging and interested, relate etc), but then if/when they’re interested, beyond a casual chat, all of a sudden, I swing into that really unhelpful (and pretty petulant) mode of, ‘Sorry, I don’t want to seem like a shit, I am just not ready, woe-is-me, please don’t think unkindly of me. I probably should not have spoken to you in the first place. Why am I like this? Oh, Why?’ It’s really over the top, and reminds me of crap the AC went on with.

    I suspect integrity is one of those things you have to keep striving for and failing in, in small ways all the time, especially in today’s times when we meet and connect with so many people and often for short periods, but I do think NML has isolated something very important: that being ashamed of yourself and concerned with image (even just in a theatrical way) is a bit of a crock, and forms a vicious little loop to suit your purposes. Really going to think about this more…

    • Minky says:

      Elle – it is ok to have a bit of a harmless flirt and leave it at that. You don’t have to make excuses for not wanting to take it further! It is enough to say you’re not looking to get involved with anyone at the moment and you don’t do casual flings. That tells them where you’re at and what kind of person you are and if they can’t accept that, it says something about them. Especially if they are friends of friends – it’s not like you approached them, flirted and then walked off!

      I am so glad to hear you’re nearly over the AC. You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. As long as you maintain civility i don’t think there’s any need to worry about how you come across. You don’t owe these guys anything, just because they took an interest in you.

  18. done as dinner says:

    Nat, I really liked this blog. Thank you.

    At the end of my weird/pseudo not even sure what to call it other than a twi-light zone relationship, the thing that totally tipped me over the edge and made me wake up, was that after future faking, blowing hot and cold, gaslighting etc. he said, “let’s keep in touch/be friends…” And I realized that it was always about an ego boost for him, and he knew he’d been opportunistic, knew he’d hurt me, and knew he’d behaved badly. When he asked to remain friends and keep in contact, I realized that he knew all of this, but that he didn’t want to face up to it, and if I agreed to friendship terms after all the crap, it would let him off the hook. I don’t know why, but more than anything else he said or did during the time we were doing that stupid dance, that was the thing that just set me right off. After that it was NC all the way. He tried to follow up and keep me in the harem, when he realized I was serious and really wouldn’t have anything more to do with him, he sent me an email justifying previous bad behaviour on youthful stupidity (didn’t say his youthful stupidity, just in general (referencing our relationship 30 years prior!). No mention of course of how he’d recently behaved. But in many ways that message was vindication for me. It told me that he knew very well what he was and how he’d behaved and he was uncomfortable with it and looking to shift that weight elsewhere.

    The other thing that he has done is present himself as this really good friend to others, and champion of the underdog. Every time there is a major world event/crisis he has climbed aboard the bandwagon – offering up “support” for the underdog. That aspect of his personality has fascinated me because to me it’s like capitalizing on someone else’s misery/loss/grief to make himself appear like a sensitive, politically aware champion. Everything, even world events, somehow always get turned around to be about him, and what a good guy he is. The behaviour is reminiscent of a vulture circling an accident site. Those actions, plus how he treats those closest to him, betray him for the opportunist he is. Ultimately, that is what is so fascinating to me. All of this is a wizard of oz charade constructed to prop himself up in the eyes of others, but if you draw back the current, you see a little man madly operating the leavers.

    And now that I have recovered from the shock, hurt and humiliation I felt when all of this crept into my consciousness, all I wonder at, is how exhausting a life that must be for him.

    • TJ says:

      Loved your post done as dinner;
      The part about the ex being a “good friend” to others… this reminded me of my ex AC. He used to tell me about how he used to be a volunteer firefighter, and how he gives blood every month…. Around children he was the greatest maternal person alive, helps little ole ladies across the street…etc. … GAG! Like you said, this fascinated me as well … more like he was a vulture circling around to capitalize on someone else’s grief/loss to build himself up. I believe this is the behaviour of a narcissist, they have to put on that false mask. It stuck me that he has to do something to make up for being the assclown that he really is. Thank goodness this piece of crap is out of my life.

      • done as dinner says:

        Amen TJ! Ummm here is the even more hilarious part… it isn’t like he actually did help old ladies across the street, visit sick children, or give blood. Oh no… his method of showing solidarity and sensitivity was doing FB status updates, tweeting, and posting profile pictures of whatever flag of whatever country was having difficulty!!! It kills me even writing this. Like “yeah, thanks dude, your tweet of support and alerting the rest of the world (even though it is FRONT PAGE news), really made a difference in stopping that military junta from mowing down my family.”

        Honest to god. But actually do volunteer work, or give to charities? Well how would that actually put him in the limelight? That is what I mean about a vulture circling around hoping to prop up his self-image on the next world disaster.

        You called it TJ… classic narcissism. Now it just makes me laugh. Ranks up there with the other poster who wrote about the fake dead uncle, or texting with a picture of himself. Ha ha ha! This and so much more is why I am… Done.

    • Elaine says:

      Funny, same behavior from my EUM and I bought it hook, line and sinker. Posted pictures of himself on Facebook training a 90 year old woman and participating in a walk for a friend’s son who died of cancer. I was so impressed by his kindness, but he had gotten to the point with me that he just didn’t seem to care how much pain that I felt. Would continue to contact me and give me complements, but never mentioned our relationship or any sadness about the loss. Just weird and so consistent with what others have said on this site. Weird that they can all be so similar.

      • Elaine says:

        …and kept contacting me after I told him that I didn’t want him to contact me anymore because it was too painful.

  19. done as dinner says:

    ooops – draw back the curtain :-)

  20. t says:

    what happens to us girls to become like this? Some of us were pretty assertive in adolescence, not buying into all the crap being told by guys who were only trying for a shag. When we went on a date, we didn’t care for a guy who wouldn’t call (after promising they would), we just dismissed him as a jerk and moved on to the next (not making a tragedy of one petty loss). But – what happens later in the 20s, 30s that we, women, disrespect ourselves that much that we buy into this crap (=future faking, fast fowarding) in spite of knowing that there’s something mighty fishy about it…(I have ALWAYS known something didn’t add up, but decided to give him a benefit of a doubt to my own misfortune)? Why do we turn into the stereotype of a woman as it is pictured by society? What happens to all of us power girls, assertive and courageous and ready to take our lives and our future into our hands? Why do we allow this guys to treat us this way?

    • charla says:

      So true T :( I had such firm boundaries and usually dated good guys. After age 25 it changed and I put up with so much crap. It only got worse into my 30s. Now I am finally building those boundaries again and it feels wonderful. I am wary of sparks – even though they are fun 😉 And I can spot ass-clownery a mile away. I’m now getting to know someone, slowly and as a friend to start, and he shows no signs of AC-ness. In fact, he said he’s looking for something healthy and mature. Can you imagine? :)

  21. JJ2 says:

    No kidding! My ex from a year ago was way concerned with how he “looked.” He kept “reminding” me that he was “such a good man.” I guess he felt that as long as he didn’t cheat on me or beat me up, he was “such a good man.” But he was guilty of the “mental cruelty.” That type of mental cruelty that is so covert, that outsiders don’t see it. As Natalie has said in one of her other blog posts, it doesn’t matter if he volunteers at such and such, or is “such a nice guy.” If he’s not treating you with love and care…..

  22. Leigh says:

    I’ve always been the cool girl – you know, the one that’s nice and undemanding by accepting another person and all their fault. Even to my detriment.

    In the time I’ve been in NC with the AC MM I’ve been able to see the error in that. Being nice and being accommodating leads to my being untrue to myself. I’ve hurt myself and in turn my good nature has been taken advantage of.

    But it doesn’t stop there! My ex husband whom I’ve divorced in September last year has had that nice girl treatment too. Oh yes, he’s had full access to my home. Christmas and cooked meals with his children. Being looked at like I was a piece of crap. His nasty behaviour.

    Last weekend was the final straw for me. Sunday after dropping off my son home to me he caused an argument. I didn’t actually entertain what he was saying but asked him to leave.

    That lead to some serious talking to myself. On many levels I want the children to be happy but if they see him treating me poorly then they will except that this is standard behaviour in a man. If anyone was to treat my children in this way I would be horrified to say the least. So I talked to my children and told them that things had to change that they had to accept he cant come into the home and cause drama to make himself look like a victim. They accepted what I said.

    I’m having a locksmith change my locks this week and I’ve texted him to let him know that going forward on his designated weekends to have our son I will be delivering him to his mother and picking him up from his mothers. I’m also sorting through his final crap left in my ouse and dumping it on his mothers doorstep. I don’t want or need him here anymore.

    Good riddance to the ex MM and the ex husband. Both, to me, were eyeopening parasites. I intend to remain true to me, to still be a good person, but if something feels wrong or uncomfortable, to hell with it, I’m going to say NO.

  23. SaraK says:

    Some years ago, I worked on a long project to try to prevent teen pregnancy. The teen girls in the community were soooo passive that the boys just needed to wave at them, and they agreed. They considered birth control methods as too much of a resistant statement on their part, too. What a bunch of losers they grew up to be.

    Remember that if you have to deny your best interests to be part of a relationship, you will be the loser no matter how it turns out; with him or without him, your interests are ignored. If he has another relationship, it’s because she is a passive enough to accept his garbage, not because she’s prettier than you are.

    You don’t have to be nasty or unfriendly. But once you see the truth (and this can be seen very early on) don’t be complicit. Smile, turn on your high heel, and walk away.

    • NML says:

      Excellent, excellent, excellent comment. This “Remember that if you have to deny your best interests to be part of a relationship, you will be the loser no matter how it turns out; with him or without him, your interests are ignored. If he has another relationship, it’s because she is a passive enough to accept his garbage, not because she’s prettier than you are. ” was particularly spot on, but th every same reasons why those girls are avoiding birth control is the very same reason that adult women are avoiding asserting boundaries.

      • SaraK says:

        Thanks, Natalie!

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        I maybe off point and would understand if you don’t publish this comment. I was preparing for my “marriage and the family” lecture today and ran across the anthropological definition of a “fictive or ghost marriage” which is a marriage by proxy to a symbol of someone not physically present. I think I’ve had three fictive marriages and numerous fictive relationships!

    • Cam says:

      @SarahK – I took your quote below and am keeping it on a slip of paper with me (my own fortune cookie!). Those words may get me through a difficult time or two. I plan on pulling it out whenever that voice inside me forgets how much better my life is now.

      Thank you very much – from one human being to another.

      “Remember that if you have to deny your best interests to be part of a relationship, you will be the loser no matter how it turns out; with him or without him, your interests are ignored. If he has another relationship, it’s because she is a passive enough to accept his garbage, not because she’s prettier than you are. “

  24. ph2072 says:

    “Ever been hounded by an ex who either didn’t treat you that well in the relationship or post breakup, or maybe even both, but they’re damn well near losing their minds over whether you think well of them? Maybe you meet them/have a conversation and they try and say all the stuff they think that will have them being perceived in the way they’d like to be – they think this pushes out previous actions or even anything that follows.”

    Yep, the guy I dealt with on & off since high school. (I’m glad I had the sense to never have sex with him. Fool around, yes. Sex? Absolutely not. I was stupid but not THAT stupid.) When I cut him off for good almost 3 years ago, he went so far as to call my friends (and still calls at least 1 of them to this day) to make it seem like he’s such a wonderful person, and sent me e-mail/forwards from time to time. Since there’s no block feature, I made it so that any e-mails he sent were immediately deleted without my knowledge.

    Overall, this post made me think of people I know, whether friends or acquaintances or even family members, who say they’re gonna do something but never follow through. I used to get really angry & bitter about it. But since their pattern is to talk loud and say nothing, I take it for what it is and don’t bother wasting my energy being angry & bitter. For example, I went home for the holidays and a friend of mine, who I considered my best male friend, said he’d come visit me while I was home. He’s said that MANY times, even before I moved, and he never followed through. I would’ve been angry a few years ago, but this time I said to myself “He may be my friend but he’s full of shit. He’s not gonna visit.” Lo & behold, he never visited during my time at home and I wasn’t even mad. He sent me a message AFTER I returned to my new home, apologizing. I didn’t bother answering. He’s been a good friend overall, but really….. I just can’t with the mismatched words & actions. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does the same thing in romantic relationships.

    “When a person shows you who they are, believe them.” –Maya Angelou

  25. TeaTime says:

    Yes, this post is so true! I remember very clearly a conversation I had on one of my earlier dates with the EUM. We were talking about what we thought of each other so far, and as a little game we decided to share one thought each. I brought up that I thought he was a very high self monitor, and that he wasn’t exactly able to act how he truly wanted to. Halfway through saying that he started to smile, and he told me I hit the nail on the head. He then went to tell me that he saw me as someone who was putting a strong image to protect what is ultimately a vulnerable, sensitive heart. I told him he was absolutely right, at which point he said he could see it because he was the same.

    Looking back I realize that conversation should have been a huge kick in the bum for me to run in the other direction. Here he was, admitting my perception of him as being a high self monitor – someone who was ultimately not sharing his true self with anyone! – was correct. He then went on to prove it by making promises and promises yet never acting on them. His words never matched his actions, and when I finally started reacting to them and calling out on his inconsistency he started to back away. I think he realized I was starting to see his true self and I wasn’t liking it at all, so he’d better bail before I dropped him.

    In a way, this last point of slowly backing off when I started seeing him for who he really is went back to the second thing he admitted to me that night: that he too had a vulnerable, sensitive core underneath that suave, confident image.

    The difference between me and him was that he wouldn’t let that guard down to give the other person a chance to let them see who they really are. I let the guard down and my self esteem and sense of worth took a huge nose dive. I think these EUMs play with maintaining the perception so much that they don’t realize that without being vulnerable sometimes and opening up their true selves to others they will never have a healthy relationship.

    • Elle says:

      Tea Time: You could be describing my ex- AC. He completely shut down proceedings (ie dropped me) as soon as I started trying to enforce some proper standards of behaviour. It’s comical now. I would say things, most often in a very calm, ‘ this is what things seem like to me’ / areas for improvement kind of way, and he would throw himself against the wall as if I had dealt a series of verbal punches, so that he could then say things were clearly not working. It got to the point where he would say, ‘You are being very mature about this, but…’ followed by list of all these ways he was being victimised in the relationship by me, and how he was losing his dignity and how ‘dare’ I ask for these things. It was weird. Then when he ended things he said he would not have been so dramatic about my comments if he had actually loved me and been happy with me (which became my little Japanese puzzle of pain because I had had my reality completely denied).

      But I think it boils down to the issues you raised: as the relationship progressed, I was willing to be open and vulnerable (which hurt me ultimately, but is certainly necessary in a relationship) and he wasn’t (he protected himself almost completely and could, therefore, move on stupidly quickly – ie within 24 hours sending an email to me to say that he was relieved that things were over). He just didn’t want to be in a relationship – either generally or with me, either unworkable as far as I was concerned.

      One niggling issue (NML) I have is something ‘t’ mentioned above about what happens to a woman over time: ie in teens/early twenties, far more willing to bust balls than in later twenties/thirities. Some of this, in my view, is not pathetic – for instance, I just don’t have the emotional energy or interest to be a man’s mother or moral compass. That’s too much for me. On the other hand, I do think I have lost some of my youthful edge which would have almost certainly meant that my relationship with the AC would have ended earlier and saved me a bucketload of grief. There’s a chance it would have lasted longer (albeit probably not for good reasons), but more likely it would have simply ended more quickly. I guess my question is about the lines between: being healthily assertive; having that sassiness of a young woman, which is a wonderful thing, but also slightly emotionally unsustainable and immature; and then being a bit old and scared, and therefore closer to doormat territory. Would love to please hear your views, Natalie (though I recognise, in writing this, that there probably are some older posts to clarify).

    • Lynn says:

      “He then went to tell me that he saw me as someone who was putting a strong image to protect what is ultimately a vulnerable, sensitive heart. I told him he was absolutely right, at which point he said he could see it because he was the same.”

      These lines just struck me.

      I would have told my ex he was right if he had said that to me before. In fact, I probably would have been grateful, thinking someone had finally seen me. But now I realize how dangerous it is to tell ourselves that the strength we show is the ‘image’ and the vulnerable heart is something that isn’t obvious that decent people have. In the end that description of me gave the AC license to discount every thing I ever did or said that showed strength because at the core he saw me as weak (I might have described it as tender, or forgiving, but he heard ‘weak.’) And for a long time, I tried to get him to see I was strong, yet had told myself for a long time that I was a wounded heart putting on a big act of strength, so how could I blame him for not believing me, when I sort of didn’t believe myself?

      Now, if someone were to say something like that early on (and, actually, now maybe if they ever say such a thing) I would think, huh, this person doesn’t know me. I am strong, I have a strong heart that has been through a lot, and when it shows it isn’t an ‘act.’ I also have vulnerability, which I know how to protect now. It isn’t my weakness, and it isn’t amazing to admit to it or for someone to guess that I have vulnerability. That side of me is my gentleness, tenderness and wonder. I decide when and where I expose that valuable stuff to the elements.

      • Elle says:

        What an incredibly wise, poignant comment, Lynn. Thank you.

      • TeaTime says:

        Lynn you are absolutely correct – I am thankfully learning slowly that this is not how I should see myself. In my self esteem classes I learned that part of the self love comes from an acceptance that it is okay to be vulnerable and make mistakes, and that experiencing these things makes us stronger. I was too hard on myself, and so i saw my sensitive heart as a flaw, and I really felt like I was projecting an image to hide this unwanted part of me.

        I am starting to see that my sensitive heart is a strength – after all, I would not want my xEUM’s cold heart that wouldn’t feel anything. Further, showing a strong side of me is not an image that runs contrary to it. It is something complementary – I will expose my sensitive side but with strength by having my eyes and ears wide open and my boundaries on my mind.

        Looking back I think the fact he viewed this as a weakness shows he too has self esteem issues, and as this post suggests, is placing an act to hide this part of himself that he is rejecting. Pleasing and projecting a ‘good guy’ image to his female ‘friends’ and admirers just allows him to get validation to feel better. I can see how it could become an addiction of sorts.

        To make it worse, my xEUM is doing a PhD in clinical psychology and works as a counsellor at a nearby clinic. I’d like to strap him down and tell him to analyze himself!

  26. Cherry Kook says:

    I haven’t posted on here for a while, but would like to share some thoughts on my current situation.

    I had been in a 2 1/2 year ‘relationship’ if you could call it that. Extremely on/off – on his terms, not mine. I was not treat at all well, he emotionally abused me, put me down, made empty promises, cheated, called me every name under the sun, ruined my confidence, hit me (on Christmas day), the list is endless. Yet I stuck around for his ‘nice’ side. To say he was/is a jekyll and hyde is an understatement. He breaks up with me and then within a week is back with his declarations of love and regret. Its like Nat says, i keep putting my hand in the fire expecting not to get burnt, expecting this sudden jolt of consistency. In this I lost all perception of what a normal relationship is.

    I am guilty of over thinking, over analysing, thinking that if I love enough for the both of us that he will eventually turn in to to the man he led me to believe he was for the first month of knowing him. I know that I have a huge part to play in this co-created relationship of destruction. I have been seeing a counsellor (who thinks he is very narcissistic) and I have started to accept my role and stop playing the victim so much. I have become much stronger lately, I have my life back, I go out I work hard etc etc. I have made new friends which is a great comfort. I am only 25, am beautiful (if i do say so myself, ha), outgoing, fun, creative, intelligent and extremely loving and caring.

    We haven’t been a couple for sometime now. However we have been spending time together ‘as friends’, as he says this is all he can offer ‘at the minute’. He is seeing a therapist and has been for about 4 months as he wants to change, or so he says. He has lots of issues, both from a very dysfuntional childhood and a destructive first relationship with the mother of his son (who he cheated on me with twice and is married with other children). He can be oh so nice and loving and affectionate and then wham… nasty, name calling, arrogant, hurtful etc. It can happen within the same day. He future fakes all the time and never ever delivers on promises. He indicates we have a future at times and I hold on to these words for dear life! Everything is on his terms, including when he is nice to me. He contradicts himself on a daily basis. He reaps the benefits of being in a relationship with me whilst not actually having to commit to it (I ACKNOWLEDGE I AM LETTING HIM DO THIS).

    I saw him on friday, and he was horrible to me, all because of the fact he didnt like the skirt I was wearing. Not to blow my own trumpet but I am a fashion stylist and pride myself on my appearance. The way he looked at me made me feel completely worthless, hurt and humiliated. I cried and he said that I was a drip and that I was pathetic. He can ‘go off me’ based on the colour lipstick I am wearing. I cant put into words how hurt I felt. He said there is no point in trying to make him feel empathetic as he cant…. I am so confident around my friends, but he can make me feel so ugly, both on the outside and inside. I left his house in tears and cried myself to sleep. He apologised by text the next day and tried to call, but I ignored both.

    Why do I allow him to treat me like this?? It is like I press the reset button on his appalling behaviour and like Nat says, stick around for the crumbs. I dont know whether I have ever truly felt the pain he has caused me. Or whether I disassociate from feeling, as its easier to do. I have lost friends, and nearly my family to this so called relationship. I had to give up my university course as I was suffering severe depression and my head just was not in the right place. I feel a lot better than I used to, and am not at his beck and call anymore. However I still cannot understand why I even entertain him as a small part of my life, when all he has done is damaged me and caused me so much pain. I have read and read, this site, Nats books, online and self help books and I know that the only way to go is no contact. Why do I not have the inner strength and self respect to do this? I know now that his words mean nothing, that he does and says what he wants without giving a care for my feelings or sanity! I know I can do so much better, I get told every day, I know I deserve so much better. I worry that he will meet someone else ‘stronger’, as he likes to say and that he will give her everything he didnt me. And yet I still stick around expecting him to change. I hate myself for it, for loving an illusion more than I do myself.

    • grace says:

      i expect you will get there eventually but this really is a big old mess. the sooner you cut him off the better. you can’t be his friend because he’s not .. friendly. he’s hit you already, it’s actually dangerous for you to spend time with him.
      still, you know all this already, hope you can ditch him before the summer.
      you endure it because if you can change him that’s the ultimate validation. you can say to yourself, hey i’m so patient, wonderful, loving, beautiful, special i turned this enormous AC into a decent person.
      but, come on, do you really need to do that? you’re already terrific, why does he get to be the key to your self-respect?
      i know he’s a fellow human being but he strikes me as being a total waste of your time.

      • grace says:

        one more thing cherry – because you ask why you allow this to happen, i’m going to try to answer it. it’s because you don’t think much of yourself. my counsellor had to spell it out to me several times. nat posts about it over and over. at first i thought it was repetitive but then i realised it takes us ages to “get” it. and some never do.
        it doesn’t matter that you can reel off a list of your qualities, most if not all the women here are intelligent, capable, beautiful (i’ll say this for ACs, they know a good “catch” when they see one), if you willingly stay with someone who mistreats you, you have low self esteem. there is no other reason. period.
        its a cliche but it probably comes from childhood, i did use to wonder why every counsellor i had (yeah there have been several – that’s how dense i was despite my intelligence) asked me about my childhood. it’s all there, it was so obvious to them they didn’t see the need to point it out to someone as articulate and self aware as me. ha! i’m just so thankful that my recent counsellor was able to see through all my BS/denial just as i discovered nat. between the three of us i got there. stick with it, you will too.
        and i’ll say it again – ditch the loser.

    • MaryC says:

      Cherry Kook….I felt so bad for you when I read your post, Honey you do deserve better. Please stay with therapy and go strict NC, its not easy but do you really have a choice if you want to keep your sanity. NC is a bitch but it works, alot of us on this site know that first hand. You are worth it.

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Cherry, I experienced a similar situation with a very abusive individual several years ago and I understand how extremely difficult it is to let go of the illusion because they can be “nice” sometimes and horribly abusive most of the time. I understand. It is an abusive cycle. I also watched my 15 year old daughter go through an abusive relationship (we were both in counseling and the situation was closely monitored by three therapists and child protective services). It was all I could do not to smack the little 15 year punk kid upside the head when she came home in tears because he didn’t like her jeans. Child protective services told me I couldn’t smack him.

      Take NC one day or maybe one hour at a time. I’m no expert and in fact barely hanging in NC myself. I’ve almost made it through today.

    • Lynn says:

      Hi Cherry,

      You’re in a tough tough spot many of us have been in.

      Just keep focusing on your inner strength and focusing on even the tiniest good decisions that you make. It will not be long before you realize you do have the strength to leave. You just don’t know it yet.

      That man keeps putting your attention on what he calls weaknesses. He distracts you from your strength. When you find it, he’s done. He’ll not want to let that happen.

      Keep focusing on your smallest good decisions. Let your attention be like a magnifying glass on your good decisions. You can do it; we’re all here for you and rooting for you.

    • done as dinner says:

      Cherry – when I was your age I was in a very similar relationship and so I know the hold they seem to have over you, and I know first hand how frightening it is to leave. In my case, I had to physically leave the country for a period of time to break the spell I was under. And even after it took me a long, long time to understand what had happened and why. Everyone here has told you, and indeed you know, you have to leave. You have to go NC completely. It is good that you are seeing a therapist. You don’t say what kind of therapy you are in and Grace mentions understanding the roots of your vulnerability to this abuse might lie in childhood. That is in all likelihood true, but the situation you find yourself grappling with is the here and now. If you can find a cognitive behavioural therapist it might help. They help you to recognize destructive or erroneous thinking patterns and emotions that keep us either in bad situations or repeating them with different people. If that is an option for you please consider it. It is really helpful and eye-opening.

      Finally, Cherry, believe me,this guy knows how beautiful, intelligent and lovely you are and that is part of why he abuses you and tears you down. In denigrating you, it raised him up. Grace is right, they know a good catch, and all they want to do is immobilize you, pin you to a board and mount you on their trophy wall. It isn’t about love. It’s about ownership. You aren’t property, a fish or a moose head. You are a human being. And you are worth more than that.

      XO – please keep us posted.

  27. Cathy J says:

    I suppose there are two issues here. Two sides of the same coin.

    Our intentions plus actions (especially of not accepting being treated badly) and EU partner not following through.

    There really must be something wrong with our society that so many people do not follow through on their promises.

    Words + action must equal each other. Integrity – we really must work on having some.

  28. Eve says:

    I think it’s narcissism when they have to prop up the pretenses of looking good and never apologizing or acknowledging bad behavior. In my case, the guy has a therapist he sees 2x a week telling him he’s a “good guy” who “deserves to be happy” so he’s spinning that as “it’s okay to inject bad behavior onto women you date.”

    I just started NC four days ago after on-again off-again for the last year and a half. In the first couple of weeks of dating, the man said he was “desperate for a relationship” but of course blew hot and cold, was dating a MARRIED woman at the same time he was seeing me, and was out trying to meet other women the entire time we were dating. Yes, I was a fool to stay because once I called him on the “desperate for a relationship” business, he claimed he wasn’t “relationship material” because of past issues with his alcoholic mom. (He is 58 and was in a 22-year marriage that ended 3 years ago.)

    He kept trying to “look good” by making excuses each and every time something weird happened with the hot and cold stuff. I’ve experienced so many humiliations with him I cannot believe I’ve stayed even 1-1/2 years. He vacations without me, last year he invited me to Europe for two weeks with him but said we would not fly in together because he would be spending one week with the married woman over there! In mid-December we had dinner and I said let’s get together Xmas Eve and have dinner and he said yes. The next time I heard from him was about three days later, he sent me an email saying he was leaving for the Bahamas that night and he’d be back the first week in January. I got no notice , he never mentioned his trip before that email, and he didn’t even have the guts to phone me and tell me he was leaving. Had to do it in an email. Oh, he did call me from the airport that night to “kill time” while waiting for his flight! (I didn’t take the call.)

    He invited me out for Valentine’s Day dinner this past Monday and I agreed. He stayed the night at my place and left Tuesday morning. That afternoon I found some papers and receipts he accidentally left on my dresser. One was a receipt to a 5-star hotel not far from here where he had apparently stayed with someone over the weekend before Valentine’s Day! And it was in a small town he always told me he hated visiting.

    I was livid when I called him on the phone Tuesday night and told him it was over completely. I got a “trying to look good” email from him attempting to “explain” that he didn’t pick the hotel and the woman was trying to “emotionally blackmail” him into a relationship, and he had a “horrible time,” the “sex was bad,” etc. etc. blah blah blah. He has done this each and every time I call him on his bad behavior. He won’t own it, he won’t acknowledge that he’s a jerk, and he will never apologize.

    In his defense, he did say he “wasn’t ready” for a relationship and wasn’t “relationship material” months ago and I went along hoping things would somehow change, being the dumb broad that I am.

    But I did not respond to his phone calls or emails and have been NC for almost 5 days now.

    I hung on because I was not seeing anybody else and figured at least I was getting good sex out of it. I’m 51 and it’s not easy dating at my age, it’s not even that I’m not attractive enough, men do seem to find me attractive, but part of it is that so many men I’ve met are EU. They are roaming the streets out there in droves. The last three guys before this guy were all EUMs but I got out earlier than with the current guy. I think I stayed with him because at some level I just “gave up.” It’s like everybody out there is E.U., why not just make the best of it and take what I could?

    I see now what a huge mistake that was. I feel worse than if I had been along this entire time. It’s eaten away at my self esteem something fierce. :(

    • Elle says:

      Good luck, Eve. Your self-esteem will restore itself if you stick to NC and, while being honest about your role in it (ie. not protecting yourself, being a bit bored and lonely and trying to alleviate that), hold fast to overwhelming truth of his ability to knowingly and/or recklessly mistreat people for his own selfish needs. At some point, it won’t matter and you’ll take the lessons and let it all go.

  29. Coco says:

    Jeri, change your # asap so when he calls (and he will) HE will be the one confused. For once.

  30. ICanDoBetter says:

    Cherry Kook,

    You sound like you are very much aware of his bad behavior, and your own accountability in letting it happen.

    I could be wrong here, but what you say at the end of your post is that you worry about him meeting someone “stronger”, and treating her better. I think that is the hook here that makes so many of us stay in these relationships. A stronger woman would not put up with such a man, and probably not even get into a relationship with him in the first place. You even said yourself, that if you were stronger, you would walk away.

    I think that is one of the hardest things, to see these guys move on with someone new, and stick with the new woman, and so give off the appearance of a better relationship. But that is only what we see on the outside, because our fears cloud our vision. Even if he actually did treat her differently, she would have a man who was capable of so much cruelty, and without remorse. Doesn’t sound like a catch to me. I would not want a man I could not be proud of.

    I hope that you will make some healthy decisions for yourself, because you CAN do so much better. And I hope you decide to free yourself while you are still young, so that you don’t end up 20 years down the road, still repeating these same patterns.

    • Minky says:

      I agree – you can never know what is happening in someone else’s relationship. These guys jump from one ‘honeymoon period’ to the other. They may stay with a woman that gives them a hard time and is ‘stronger’ for a bit longer, but at the end of the day these guys are not capable of having a relationship with anyone. They treat you well in the beginning, but after that the only reason they come back is because they can and it’s easy and familiar and they know how far they can push things.

      I posted a while back about my ex EUM and his former fallback girl spotting us together on a night out – she was so hurt and upset. We were having a laugh at the time, BUT things were far from fine in the relationship and i was very frustrated by him and his constant boundary pushing. She must have thought we looked so happy together and wondered why i was with him and not her? What was different about me? Nothing! I was with him for four months, i called him on all his crap, i wasn’t the result of a one night stand like she was, he pursued me for ages, whereas she had chased him. In the end he still peed all over my boundaries, showed little respect, had no time for me, other than when he decided it was time to meet, came and went as he pleased (he lived in another town) always said i deserved better, had me WAY up there on a pedestal seemingly. In the end i had enough and dumped him. He made a huge deal about getting me back, then dumped me two weeks later by email – i did NC after that and didn’t contact him ever again. She’s been back and forth with him FOUR TIMES!

      That was 7 months ago and i am now with a great guy who treats me properly. I am happy as anything. I bump into the ex EUM from time to time as we hang out at the same places – we chat briefly and then move along. He is still single, still messing around with girls but not committing, still saying he doesn’t do relationships. They don’t change unless they want to and they’re unlikely to want to as long as there is some insecure woman willing to put up with their nonsense. I was that woman, but i am not anymore. :)

  31. jennynic says:

    Cherry Kook,
    Your guy sounds very much like my ex. I took it for four years and didn’t even know who I was at the end of it. I left him numerous times and he would never really go away. I let him back in. He promised changes. The only changes that happened were he became more of a monster and I became a hollow shell. I cried myself to sleep 6 out of 7 nights. I looked like shit. My job suffered. I became who he said I was. Ugly, stupid, jealous, insecure, pathetic, worthless, and weak. Then he would hug me and say that he really loved me. I cried some more. I was an emotional wreck. I didn’t trust him. He lied, he cheated, he neglected then he threw a few crumbs which I needed so badly. It never got better, only worse. I slowly started to hate him, but still wanted him. That is messed up to become so desperate and upside down that you want the very man who just backhanded you in the face to come hug you and make the pain go away. I started hating myself. It finally got down to my own survival. I had to RUN from this man. I had to hide. I went NC completely and never looked back. It was hard, I won’t lie to you. I missed him, I threw up, I couldn’t sleep, I screamed when I was alone. He did contact me, text, email, voice mails pleading to please tell him where I was and that he missed me so much. He said he was ready this time, for real. This made it very hard, because I wanted so much to believe. I had to choose me. I never talked to him again. I blocked every form of communication possible and moved. Slowly things got better. I missed him but the feeling of peace that slowly creeped in was like medicine. No more being called stupid, no more terror, no more rug being pulled out from under me. It hurts to let go and it takes time but it is better than staying and knowing that each day is going to hurt with him. I chose to no longer live in hell. I wanted my life back. You have the power. You do! It helped me write down every bad thing he did to me. This process made me cry, but whenever I started to miss him, I read it. It made me remember who he is, really is. Cherry Kook, chose you. You CAN do it. I know, because I did.

  32. Jupiter23 says:

    Your fear that he will meet someone else and change really resonated with me–because that was a fear of mine with the ex-EUM. What characteristics would this woman possess that I did not? Why was this person (who didn’t yet exist) so much better than me? This fear is so common; I think many women who read this blog could identify with it.

    You don’t leave for many reasons. You intellectually know you could do better, but deep down you don’t believe this. Or you wouldn’t be here, in this sucky non-relationship. And the idea of being the person that changes him feels like such a prize that you don’t want to stop trying.

    But all this trying and waiting and being mentally and physically abused is taking its toll. But instead of making it easier to leave, in a lot of ways it makes it harder because I imagine you’re blaming yourself for his actions. So if you blame yourself, you think you hold the capacity to fix him.

    This relationship that you have described is so toxic. I don’t know what you need to hear to go no contact because it takes different things for people to hear and experience to understand that they need to chase their peace. All I can say is you are wasting your life, and that you need to chase your peace. Keep going to counseling. Go no contact. Live your life because it is too fucking short to waste on bullshit.

  33. Jupiter23 says:

    I meant to hit the reply button for Cherry Kook.

  34. Cherry Kook says:

    Thank you for your support and words of advice.
    It is greatly appreciated.

    It really is so difficult to let go (of an illusion). So to put things in perspective I wrote a list of everything that I could think of that he has done that has hurt me….

    Pulled my hair
    Slapped me
    Bit my nose
    Threatened me
    Called me names
    Made me cry (more times than he has made me smile)
    Used me
    Stalked me
    Bullied me
    Put me down about my physical appearance
    Called me weak and pathetic on numerous occasions
    Set up false accounts online to try and trick me
    Adult work
    Indicated that I should have sex with other guys to make our ‘relationship’ work
    Slept with ex girlfriend twice and lied to me about it and then continued to be friends with her
    Cheated on me in Goa
    Slept with friends Auntie days after splitting up with me and lied about it
    Manipulated me
    Criticised my clothes, make up and hair
    Devalued and discarded me
    Humiliated me
    Gave me the silent treatment on numerous occasions
    Laughed at me (whilst upset)
    Mocked me (whilst upset)
    Said things I will never forget (that i am worthless, that i am nothing, pathetic, wished i was dead etc etc)
    Horrible towards my family
    Blames me for problems
    Contradicts himself
    Is aggressive and intimidates me
    Thrown and broken my stuff
    Unsupportive during abortion (told me that I needed to ‘get over it’)
    Unsupportive when I needed him most
    Lied to me on numerous occasions
    Contacted my friends on facebook (people he had never met) to ask who I had been sleeping with!
    Actions have never matched words
    Hit on my friends

    Im sure I could think of more, but I would be here forever.

    And i put up with all of this. Because he has a ‘nice’ side. I must be mad!!

    • NML says:

      Cherry, I am deeply concerned that you would stay with someone who has one of the things on this list nevermind one of them. You are in denial in spite of this list because you think that his nice side is reflective of him as a whole. If you see him as a whole person, it’s not just the nice side you see and it’s evident when you add in everything else he has done, that he is not a nice person.

      Cherry, even serial killers, rapists etc can be perceived by some who know them as having a ‘nice side’ but that doesn’t change who they are or what they do.

      You seem to think that love has the power to change someone and that if you change yourself enough that he’ll magic himself into a person who is nice 100% of the time instead of 5%. You are gambling on crumbs.

      Everything you have done such as adjusting your appearance, having your nice stylist job and trying to take care of yourself will be better served if you do these things for YOURSELF not as some way of trying to impress him and get validation. I wouldn’t give this man the steam off my piss nevermind my friendship.

      You are keeping him in your life because you’re still trying to prove what a worthy person you are yet you would actually prove that in a far more effective way if you told this pathetic, cowardly, bullying excuse of a man to take a run and jump.

      This man has not fallen out of the sky into 2011 and become Mr Abusive just for you. No matter what he has told you, he has abused other people and if you’re thinking he’s going to change for the next person, don’t get things twisted. Abusive people don’t change overnight and a man with a litany of offences just for *one* person like what you have listed is in no danger of changing.

      It is the narcissist within all of us that takes things to the nth degree and ends up believing that this persons actions are about us instead of being about them. He is this way with others. His behaviour isn’t about you and it is the abusers tool that they let you believe that if you were only a better person they wouldn’t behave as they do. Be under no illusions – this is who he is. He is dangerous, abusive man and you are keeping him in your life and for someone like him, in keeping him around, you communicate that his behaviour is OK because he experiences no consequences. You also communicate that you don’t like or love yourself *enough* because if you did, you wouldn’t have a damn thing to do with him and you’d call the police and get a restraining order on him.

      How much more are you prepared to lose? How many more friends and family is this going to cost you? Anything they have said is because by this man abusing you and you keeping him around as a mate, you are abusing yourself. These people love and care about you. It is horrible to find yourself involved with an abusive person and there is a part of us that wonders what we *did* or thinks that by leaving we make our misjudgement real, so as long as we stay around, it’s like our assessment of them is wrong.

      It is OK to have made a mistake. It’s OK to admit that you loved an abusive person. Accept it, stop holding onto this asshole, and that pride that you’re holding so steadfastly to that is keeping him in your life, should be applied to yourself. Pride is needed – not with him, with yourself. You don’t need this man, you need YOU. The moment you stop denying that you have loved and are engaging with someone who has abused you *repeatedly* is the moment that the alarm bells start ringing. Loudly. It is time for you to fight for yourself.

    • grace says:

      There was a programme on good old Radio 4 about men who had been abused by their female partners. The lessons are the same for us. One particular man, after years of abuse, was stabbed seven times by his girlfriend. As he lay bleeding almost to death on the kitchen floor, he realised that his relationship was over. I should think so.
      This is a serious matter. Your relationship is over.

  35. Cherry Kook says:


    Thank you very much for your reply. I absolutely love your blog and the way you write, it is so informative and inspiring.
    Yet like everything else I read up on, it only intellectualises the situation, and does not make me human to it. There is a difference between understanding and knowing why, to actually having the strength to do anything about it.

    I didn’t post that to shock anyone or gain pity. I did so to perhaps to shock myself into waking up from this nightmare and telling myself to get a grip!!

    I agree with everything you say. I know that I stick around as I think I need his validation to make me feel somewhat worthy. It is childhood related, I do not have the best relationship with my father, he too is extremely critical and controlling, of both me and my mother, and she has ‘stuck around’ for 36 years, giving no consequences to his actions. He is nowhere near as bad as this guy, but all the same there is a pattern.

    I am ashamed of myself for putting up with such appalling behaviour. I look at my friends and family, and they are honest, decent, loving people. I look at his friends and they are either mentally ill, compulsive liars or drug addicts. And they say that your friends are a reflection of yourself! I am deluded into thinking he will change, like someone else posted on here, there is a massive difference between being at therapy and in being in therapy. You are right, he is not a nice person. Yes he may be a say he is a good father and a good friend, although I could debate that – I do not see how making a living from dealing pot and sleeping with his sons mother (whilst she is married to his brothers father) constitutes being a good parent. But who am I?? He seems to have more respect for people in his life that have hurt him than those that genuinely care.

    I did not sign up for this. I suppose I created a fantasy in my head a long time ago, a way of coping perhaps, or deluding myself. I dont know. I do know that I need to move on, now. Not tomorrow or in a few weeks. As you are right he is not worthy of my time, and especially not my friendship. I have slowly started to re build my life and start doing and enjoying the things I did previously, prior to HIM. I hope and pray I have the strength to walk away for good this time, and look and love myself. Like you say, its not an end it is a beginning.

    • NML says:

      Cherry, I don’t think that you wrote it to shock or gain pity, but the fact is, you have shocked me. For you to list that, you, like everyone who spends too much time around someone who has busted up their boundaries, have normalised bad behaviour so you can almost be detached in saying that stuff. And actually, it’s not intellectualising the situation in that context – what keeps people in abusive relationships is often intellectualising it from their own view of things. Common example:

      Abused party believes that because on some occasions the person has been decent or they believe that there are people out there other than themselves that experience the decent version of the abuser, that ipso facto, it must mean that the abusers behaviour is about them.

      Don’t believe me? Just ask readers of this blog who obsess about why someone who they openly call an assclown or can list a litany of faults, or who they even know fundamentally is inappropriate for a relationship, is with someone else or why they’re not a better person with them.

      It’s intellectualising by another name, but it’s intellectuallising nonetheless. It is easier for us to say that we are governed by love, lust, their good points, excuses, whatever, than it is to admit that actually, we have rationalised, excused, and all sorts of stuff to maintain the position that we’re in. You’re not human to what I have said because it’s not how you want to see things right now because if you did *see* it, you’d have to *do* something.

      Don’t hope and pray you have the strength to walk away. Say I will walk away whether it’s today, tomorrow or in a few weeks or months. From the moment you say you ‘hope’ you might’ it’s because you don’t believe you will.

  36. Audrey says:

    @Cherry Kook … Cherry, you really need to take Nat’s words on board. And remember, Ted Bundy was very charming, articulate, good looking, etc. and it was his charm and good looks that lured the women to his car to “help” him load his shopping. He used to pretend he had a broken leg to get the women to help him. It gives me a shiver to think of it.. So don’t be conned by this asshole’s “nice side”. I nean, how bad does it have to get before you leave him? do you need to end up in hospital after a battering for you to leave him?

  37. Shyner says:

    Well, I’m feeling fantastically used today. I was seeing someone for 6 months. He said from the start he didn’t want a r’ship but it became one. We spent lots of time together, I met friends, family, all that jazz. He would say that he loved me, thought we shold have kids together, that he and I were ‘made’, should go on holiday and looked forward to going to festivals together next year. He came to ‘support’ me at an event a few weeks ago and then dumped me in the street on the way home. Last night, after a week of NC, I crumbled and asked how he was (text). He said ‘fine thanks’ etc. I saw red, and called him. Turns out he said those things because he felt ‘close enough’ to me to let me know that he’d like those things with someone one day but didn’t realise I’d ‘take them to heart’. I suggested that he’d lied to me and let me think we had a future with love in it etc. What a moron. I should never have let it go that far. Once or twice in our ‘r’ship’ I suggested we end things but he didn’t want to. My fault for not having the guts to go through with it -I obviously knew that it wasn’t right. Last night, in the end, he said that I was making him angry – I put the phone down. A text from him minutes later saying that in retrospect, he could see that what he was saying could be construed as ‘horrible lies’ and was sorry for misleading me. Great.

  38. Shyner says:

    Absolutely. In fact, that’s what he said last night ‘I said I didn’t want a r’ship’. It’s the perfect tool to keep guilt at bay, isn’t it? Why wouldn’t a man like this take the outs when they’re offered? Why save it for the street at midnight? Because their giant, flimsy egos demand it – that’s why. I must say, I did sound like the Baggage Reclaim regional representative when I was speaking to him last night so thanks for setting a process in motion.

  39. Nevertoolate! says:

    The AC/MM I was involved with told me on our first date that to be with him I would “need to keep my heart in the freezer.” If this isn’t a red flag, then what is? One thing about men, they may send mixed messages, but the operative word here is mixed, when they are saying something you don’t want to hear this is when they are speaking the truth. He wanted to keep things very casual but was a future faker, mentioned maybe he was getting attached, what would he do if this happened? Offering to take me overseas when he was on medical conventions. He was also a “great guy” did tons of volunteer medical work all over the globe, guess it makes ot all right for him to be a liar. We weren’t together long enough because, “I ruined” our chances of being together because I “hurt his feelings” so badly. What I have learned is that it is my responsibility not to have selective hearing; positive comments do not delete negative comments. When I asked him to leave me alone he pursued me and begged me to see me told me; he was ‘heartbroken’. He was moving out of state, finally found a job and was going to be with his family after many months. He planned on coming back once a month, he owns property here, so we were planning to see each other on these visits. Our last night together he told me “I hope you are still keeping your heart in the freezer” Well, I thought about this and sent him another good bye e-mail, this time not so nice. Then, I tried to apologize. He wanted no part of me at that point, told me that I was “confused”, and it was not his problem. Honestly, I don’t know if he was ever coming back, I may have just made it convenient for him to break it off, or maybe he has decided I am more trouble than I am worth. Well, I have decided that maybe I am worth more to me than to deal with men that are nothing but trouble!

  40. Shyner says:

    I have a very annoying temptation to text him back and tell him that I feel very used and led on and am hurt. Presumably there is absolutely no point to this whatsover and the temptation must be ignored. What a rubbish feeling. Everything I have read in the two posts that Natalie recommended rings true so quite where this temptation comes from, I do not know.

    • Nevertoolate! says:

      By the way, I was told he did not want a relationship either, but the texts every other day and the fact he was heartbroken over me breaking up our “non-relationship” made me believe he had changed his mind. If I had given him the satisfaction of an argument I am sure he would have used the same excuse. WTF is wrong with these men?

      • Nevertoolate! says:

        Just to elaborate on my above comment, I now realize that I am also responsible for my demise, I should have RUN LIKE HELL on that first date. Thank you, Natalie! Now, I know better!

        • RozB says:

          Yeah but sometimes you have to go through some experiences like this to recognize it. Now you know next time someone says “Keep your heart in the freezer.” Btw, WTF??? How can he go on about himself being “heart-broken” when he told you that? This guy is an a-one, prime, perfect AC. By “heart-broken” I’m presuming he really means: “I’m not getting my c*** sucked the way I like anymore.”

          • Nevertoolate! says:

            We weren’t sleeping together when I “broke” his heart. And did I mention, “his heart was bleeding”. (he is foreign and very dramatic) He also asked me what he should do if down the road he decided that he was falling for me and decided to leave his wife. I said nothing. Now, it all sounded like BS at this point. Talk about mixed messages, and he had the nerve to call me “confused.”

      • Allison says:


        The man was married and unavailable, it couldn’t go anywhere. Instead of examining his behavior, ask yourself why you wanted to be involved with a married man? When we address our reasons and participation in these ‘relationships,’ it will prevent us from reentering another unhealthy situation.

        • Nevertoolate! says:

          He told me he was separated, even took me to his house, his wife was in another state, I had no reason not to believe him, I found out later on that he was very married and by then I was emotionally invested. I am not making excuses for myself, but if I had known how married he was I would have run, my relationships have always been screwed up, I fell into EVERY fall back girl category in the book, I know I have daddy issues, but this time I was misled. My gut did tell me from day one that there was something I could not quite put my finger on. but he was so charming, always texting me after I left him, before I ever got home to tell me what a pleasant time he had, so gentle. Always called when he said he would, so untypical of most ACs, but in hindsight he was the worst AC of all. This guy was the last straw! I doubt I will hear from him, but if I do, NC for sure, when my friendd ask, I tell them he is dead to me, PLEASE, let’s change the subject!

          • Allison says:


            That is sleazy! And yes, you were deceived! What happened when you found out he was married?

            My ex was divorced for four years and was still very attached to the ex-a lot of manipulation on both sides. Very unhealthy, most especially for the kids.

            Always follow your gut, I wish I had!

    • RozB says:

      There is no point!
      Listen to this: I have a guy friend, an acquaintance who works as a bartender and he was telling me this one night about a guy who came in and was showing all his buds a kiss-off text some woman had sent him telling him what an a-hole he was, and they were all laughing over it in the bar! They don’t give a flying f–k. The best way to deal with it is give them NOTHING.

  41. RozB says:

    I swear, in order to deal with these guys you just have to drill this into your brain: THEY. ONLY. WANT. TO. HAVE. SEX. WITH.ME.
    So DO NOT have sex with them for a long, long, long, long time. If ever. That will cut away 99.99999% of the BS and/or get rid of them altogether and you won’t have all the confusion/messing up your head/lies/Future Faking.
    Do not have sex until they have PROVEN themselves to you in actions.

  42. runnergirlno1 says:

    Arrggghhh….looks like the game playing is going to begin after 60 some days of peaceful NC. One of MY friends and her kids met the ex MM for coffee last night. We all played on the same softball team and he grew close to her 5 year-old daughter. But, in the two years we were together, he never met her and the kids for coffee. Now he decides to hang out? There is absolutely nothing winky going on between them. I’m betting he knew she would tell me, which she did. Of course, I can’t tell MY friend to leave me out of the information loop regarding his activities because we didn’t exist. I was the other woman. If he is too “messed up” (his words) to leave his wife to be with me even though he loves and misses me, why can’t he just mind his own good god damned business and leave me and my friends alone? Why can’t he just go about his merry little life and get the hell out of mine? He must be realizing his sex and meal tickets have been permanently revoked. I had a minor slip off the NC wagon two weeks ago and talked to him twice on the phone. During the second conversation, I asked point blank why if he loved and missed me so much, and why if we are perfect together, why aren’t we together? That’s when I sucked it and saw. He is just too “messed up” and “didn’t have any answers right now” (as though if I just hung around as the doormat for a little longer he would get it figured out). Thanks to Natalie, BR, and all your posts, I saw right through the future faking that I used to buy and went right back to NC. I know that shocked him because I fell for his future faking for two years. It didn’t work this time.

    Good advice RozB. I’m going to write it down so when I get back to dating, a long, long time from now, I don’t make the mistake of confusing sex and love. When their walk and talk match, I’ll see about the rest.

    Now that he realizes I’m dead serious and will never go back to being the other woman, based on your experience any idea what his next stunt will be?

    • Allison says:


      Focus on you! You already spent a tremendous amount of time and energy on this guy, time to get you back.

      If he comes up again, just change the subject.

    • Nevertoolate! says:

      Hopefully, he’ll give up and leave you alone.


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


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