Is it my imagination, or is there no effort, future, commitment, intimacy, progression and shared values in this relationship?

Of all the subjects I’ve written about, Future Faking, which is when someone gives you the impression of a future so that they can get what they want in the present, has struck a major chord with readers. It’s not just because many of us walk around with a misguided belief that people, especially men, don’t talk about a future unless they have serious intentions; it’s also because when the future doesn’t materialise and we come crashing back to earth, it’s incredibly painful and often difficult to work out what was real and what was fake.

After you realise that someone has been faking a future with you, it actually reeks of The Emperor’s New Clothes, a tale by Hans Christian Anderson about two con artist weavers who in exchange for gold thread, silk and a loom, promise to sew some new clothes for a very vain emperor. There aren’t actually any clothes, but they pitch that only people who are incompetent and stupid will be unable to see them. Of course his subjects can’t see them and realise that something is up, but because they don’t want to be seen as incompetent and stupid and ultimately fear losing their jobs, they admire the imaginary clothes.

Of course the emperor can’t see them either, but continues to brazen it out because he doesn’t want to admit stupidity or incompetence either, so he goes ahead with the procession through the kingdom where all of the onlookers act like they can see the clothes. Then a child with nothing to lose, calls it as he sees it and declares that the emperor has no clothes on, and then everyone starts to agree with him. The emperor, still unwilling to admit that he is wrong, continued on with the procession stark naked.

Even though you may struggle to admit it, there were likely code amber and red indications that all was not well. The first indication actually is that it should seem odd for someone to come at you so intensely and spin a future when you haven’t had the time, experience, knowledge, intimacy etc to not only trust in what they’re talking about, but to actually want that future. Often Future Fakers pitch themselves in such a way, that it’s like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t believe in them even when there’s nothing to show.

What I know from reading countless stories and my own experiences, is that there is a point when you recognise that this so-called future is not materialising and neither is the great character and values that you’ve been trumpeting about them.

You don’t want to seem ‘incompetent’ and ‘stupid’, because you’re likely already thinking that you ‘should’ have seen the signs, are berating yourself for making a mistake or are even calling yourself a ‘failure’, and dreading having to start over. You don’t want to lose the relationship or the potential of one, so you keep acting like you can see the future, characteristics and values, which is effectively pumping them up.

Oddly, you give yourself a harder time for believing or even Betting On Potential, than you give them for basically bending over and talking out of their bum so that they can ‘gain’ from you.

At some point, maybe even very quickly, your ’emperor’ can’t see any of these things they’re promising either (although they may be deluded enough to believe that they intended to) and after overestimating what their capacity was for a relationship or exaggerating themselves, or even outright fabricating a future and a personality, they don’t want to look like a numpty either. So…they’ll keep going along with the charade, except for that because the future is catching up with them, they then have to either disappear, behave in a shady way to get you to end it, step up the lies, or behave in a shady way to blame the lack of future on some ‘failing’ on your part.

If you’ve found yourself being ‘spat out’ of a future by someone who everyone seems to think the sun shines out of their arse, it can be infuriating and even pure mind effery to think that you know the truth while others appear not to. But what I’ve noticed about the ’emperors’ of this world, is that they’re often surrounded by people who are just like how you were – having inklings that they’re not as nice / amazing / kind or whatever, but not wanting to look ‘stupid’ or ‘incompetent’ for being involved with them.

You’ll also find that there’s often a sheep mentality at work – someone says something and because some other people parrot it or they appear to have social proof because they seem ‘oh so popular’, people who see how things really are don’t want to rock the boat. Of course, when someone does eventually speak up, it’s amazing how suddenly others have something to say too.

It’s easy to convince yourself when you’re feeling rejected that someone’s character is very specific to you. When you don’t make it so personal that you internalise it and change how you feel about you, you have enough perspective to see that they’re often not as adored as you think they are and that you’re not alone.

And sometimes it’s not even that one person in the crowd that calls it as they see it; sometimes it’s something that they do that’s so frickin’ shady that it jolts you into reality and turns you right off them.

What’s important to remember is that when you meet someone and get to know them, you’ve both got to show up with character goods and create the actions that yield a relationship, that you can then build from and make plans for the future for. You shouldn’t be so keen to have a future with someone that you hardly know – let the present build into something solid.

Don’t let your ego and fear of how things might ‘look’ – which is really judgements that you’re making about yourself – get in the way of seeing and acting upon how things really are. The funny thing is that when when you strip away the excuses, the assumptions, denial, rationalising, betting on potential and basically all illusions, your ’emperor’ is in the buff and just not that special. Talk is cheap but action is where your relationship is at.

Your thoughts?

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169 Responses to Future Faking Is Like The Emperor’s New Clothes

  1. susan says:

    yes absolutely agree about things taking time. however i also think it it pretty obvious very early on whether or not your date is going to turn into a relationship – and whilst i would be reluctant to make grand declarations early or – or expect HIM to – I also think its important to be very upfront about your intentions. ergo, when after date 5 it became apparant that my last EU wanted to be ”friends until he was in a position to offer more” I ended it. Becuase a/ i have enough friends, b/ i didn’t want just a friend in him and could see pain looming and c/ i think by date 5 a guy has a pretty good idea of if they want to progress too. in this case i don’t know what the future will hold but i’m not holding my breath, and i’ve stepped away from the moving vehicle….

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Yes. Anything with the word ‘friend’ in it is an abort mission, passenger-eject situaton!

      my last EU wanted to be ”friends until he was in a position to offer more” Ugh! Where do these clowns get all their lines from?

  2. Lawrence says:

    Hi, Natalie –

    This sentence points to what I was thinking as I read your post:

    “What’s important to remember is that when you meet someone and get to know them, you’ve both got to show up with character goods and create the actions that yield a relationship, that you can then build from and make plans for the future for. You shouldn’t be so keen to have a future with someone that you hardly know – let the present build into something solid.”

    What I was thinking was about reciprocity in relationships. You’ve often pointed out that you are likely unavailable yourself in some critical sense if you choose unavailable men (though I haven’t seen you apply this same principle to “Assclowns” or other negative behavior patterns; I think I would).

    When speaking of “future faking,” I wonder if you think it’s often non-reciprocal. My own feeling is that we tend to choose mates to “mirror” our own desires/attitudes/psychology, so it’s likely this tendency includes “future faking.”

    My last relationship, in my view, clearly involved future faking by both of us. It was a cooperative illusion, I think. We both talked a lot about a future – my getting Canadian citizenship, getting married, resolving various issues (particularly about exes) – but somehow in three and a half years next to nothing actually happened. At one point we were looking at engagement rings and houses, and all the time I kept wondering: Is this real? Or are we merely (mostly?) just pretending so that we can keep the whole charade going on?

    During our relationship I often blamed her for being the “non-committal” one. Now I see that I also made very little attempt to resolve anything or work meaningfully toward a future together.

    Now I know the answer. Then it was mostly a suspicion. The basic principle, I think, is that it “takes two to Tango.” And here I thought I had no talent at dancing. :)


    • MaryC says:

      Lawrence you’re right it does take “Two to Tango” and if neither of you put much work in it than maybe it was more a friendship than a relationship.

      I think there is a huge difference between the two. We have friendships with friends and most of them don’t need alot of work, they just are. But relationships, well they take time, work, committment and a whole lot of energy.

      Funny I don’t think most of us would want a friendship with someone if it took that much work all the time just to have one but we think nothing of it with a relationship. Maybe we should try having more friendships in our relationships and take all that extra pressure off having a “relationship”.

      • yoghurt says:

        I’m not sure that I agree with that MaryC – I find that real proper good friendships ARE work – you have to make the effort to see people and think about things from their point of view and how to make them happy and maybe (if you’re me) push past that little bit of discomfort when you contact them and wonder if they really want to hear from you at all. You need the courage to be honest with them and to let them know your needs, and to listen when they let you know theirs.

        I had a massive friendship cull over the last two years and the people that are left really ARE friends – the people who just wanted someone to use as a sympathetic sounding-board/extra body to show how popular they are/ ultimate Validator are long gone – they either drifted off when it involves a bit of effort or I cut them out.

        Those ‘friendships’ were easy enough when life was easy, but the harder life got the more difficult I found them, and the ‘work’ was harder for being pointless – they weren’t for changing and they weren’t going to start caring about me in a tangible put-themselves-out sort of a way.

        I think that’s the difference between a good and bad relationship as well – the relationships that only work when times are easy aren’t really relationships worth having. The relationships where you’re making a consistent effort and can deal with the difficult times together are the worthwhile ones.

        • Sue says:

          I agree, yoghurt, but if I cut out all the friendships that don’t really put themselves out for me, I probably wouldn’t have many friends left. Sad, probably why I won’t totally cut them out.

          • Nikki says:

            If they don’t put out any effort for you, can you really call them “friends?”
            I have tons of acquaintances now, but lately as I examine how I’ve formed relationships with men over the years and translated that to my group of friends, I’ve realized that I have about 10 friends… real friends from my 42 years on this planet.
            If true friendship is so rare, it makes more sense to me how a real intimate relationship can be difficult to establish.
            It doesn’t seem like work when you are in a true friendship because you want to be there. …that’s why it seems like “they just are.” Interesting to me.

            • yoghurt says:

              Nikki – you beat me to it.

              I think that ten ‘close’ friends – people who know you inside out and would drop everything to be by your side in an emergency – sounds about right. Which isn’t to say that the other people who pass through your life aren’t ‘real’ friends, or that mates and acquaintances aren’t nice, life-enriching things to have, but you’re right – good friendship is really rare and precious.

              “If true friendship is so rare, it makes more sense to me how a real intimate relationship can be difficult to establish” –

              This ^^^ is really wise. If you have easy-come-easy-go friendships then it stands to reason that you’ll end up with easy-come-easy-go relationships as well.

              Sue – I wouldn’t suggest cutting out all your acquaintances and mates – I should clarify that I didn’t. I cut out the people who continued to use and drain me and expect me to sympathise with and listen incessantly to their problems when they KNEW (or would’ve known if they’d thought about it for all of – ooo – two seconds?) that I was having a seriously difficult time of it myself. Rather like the EUM did… bit of a coincidence that, isn’t it?

              It’s probably worth thinking about how you could cultivate more genuine and caring relationships (probably by seeking out more genuine and caring people) and don’t put up with people who actively use you or make you feel bad about yourself, but don’t feel that you have to isolate yourself to change the situation.

      • tired_of_assanova says:


        I also found that my friendships were impacted – they were UNAVAILABLE for decent friendship! They would never invite me to things, would always reject my invitations, we barely spoke or saw each other, and all they really were was a status update. So I cut them off facebook. Time for a new standard where people actually spend time with me.

        • grace says:

          I love that. What’s the most precious thing we have that’ s of limited supply? Our time. Texts and FB need not apply. I can bang a text out in 30 seconds. For me to come out and see you, I have to really like you.

    • Daisy says:

      Lawrence, I think you have a point. My last ex said he was in love with me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me 3 months after we met. Before that, I felt like he was talking possessively a little to early on. But now after years of EUM I all too readily bought into the delusion and drank the Kool Aid.

      The last part of Natalie’s post I’m going to take with me into my next relationship. Next time I’m not betting on a horse I haven’t gotten to know yet.

      • hazel says:

        me too ,,i was so badly future faked last year by a eum and now am having trouble getting over him,,next time i will make damn sure i get to know him well before giving my heart,these men cause so much pain and heartache..then go on there merry way ,as natalie says they dont just come into 2012 with no integrity,theve done this before,,and we are better off out of it,,

    • MissE says:

      “My last relationship, in my view, clearly involved future faking by both of us. It was a cooperative illusion, I think[…]I kept wondering: Is this real? Or are we merely (mostly?) just pretending so that we can keep the whole charade going on?”

      — Lawrence, you are so right. In my current predicament (which is not so much a predicament as I know it is a charade that needs to end and am ending it), as much as I would like to solely blame him for stringing me along…he hasn’t. He actually told me that at this time in his life he isn’t worried about relationships, kids, etc. While he said this, he also did some future faking, and I happily went along with it. I figured, well I don’t think you’re the right one for me…but hey these plans of doing this, that and the third sound nice…maybe you’ll change your mind…maybe I will. So yes, we indeed built a cooperative illusion!

      He was mirroring my own real feelings of being unavailable and of not thinking he’s someone to invest in…yet I would get upset when although I didn’t want to invest in him, he wasn’t making the effort and investing in me. Yet while we both know this about the other, we continued future faking. With my ex AC before him I felt duped, as I actually saw us having a future at the time and felt totally blindsided. In this scenario I can’t pretend like I truly believed we’d end up in a serious relationship, yet I falsely entered into an ambiguous relationship that I thought was “casual”, but my feelings still got tied up and I still bought into the future faking and spun a matching web myself.

  3. Tanzanite says:

    Another brilliant post.

    In my case my whole life was hanging by a thread and I couldn’t justify what I was about to lose for an insincere charmer.

    He couldn’t be the person he pretended to be and was looking for a get out clause-one which he could abdicate responsibility for any part he played in the situation(shady behaviour so I would do his dirty work for him)

    No matter how many times he was given the ‘ get out of jail free ‘ card he kept coming back .

  4. Natasha says:

    Oh Nat, what an analogy!! So very, very true. It’s interesting, because even before I personally wised up with My Final Assclown, one of my girlfriends was like the equivalent of that little kid. While everyone else was tiptoe-ing around not wanting to hurt my feelings and point out that the guy was a raging asshole, she was like, “HOMEGIRL. NO. Why is he coming back around? Out of options locally is he?” (Yes…this was An Assclown At A Distance. Not even A Locally Grown Assclown. Sigh.) Even if we’re basically ignoring our own good sense and better instincts, often there’s someone in our world that wants better for us, even if we don’t yet believe we deserve it or can get it!

    I also want to second, “…they don’t want to look like a numpty either. So…they’ll keep going along with the charade, except for that because the future is catching up with them, they then have to either disappear, behave in a shady way to get you to end it, step up the lies, or behave in a shady way to blame the lack of future on some ‘failing’ on your part.” Excellent, just excellent!!

  5. Bermiegirl says:

    You definitely summed it up perfectly: talks is cheap, action is where it is at.

    Just entered and exited a no real future relationship in record time – inside of a month. Part of me says that I need to look at what aspects of myself remain EU in attracting someone like him. The greater part however is ecstatic that for once I’m not throwing good money after bad and am exiting at light speed! It’s a shame on one level because the ‘chemistry’, particularly sexual, was off the charts. However nothing is worth paying the price of my self esteem. Never again will I stay put and try to prove my self worth by showing how committed I am. In retrospect, I should have been committed for some of the abuse I willingly subjected myself to!
    Thank God for getting older and wiser. :).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post.

    I only wish to add one thing to this. The Future Faker can take it one step dangerously further and actually walk through the MOTIONS of commitment, ie: marriage, co-habitation and he comes on JUST AS STRONG. There is no “let down” while you plan the wedding, this “future faker” wants it to happen AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The fakery continues until he “commits” and then TURNS on you. The “future” that he built up in your mind, and what you THOUGHT you were getting, you WON’T or DIDN’T get. I have seen way, way, way too many “future faker” victims become trapped and ultimately DEVASTATED, emotionally, financially, spiritually and sexually when the future faker DOES NOT, CANNOT and WILL NOT provide the “future” in a marriage or co-habitation relationship that was “promised.” If “future faker” let you go BEFORE actually walking down the aisle with you or moving his shit, or yours in, you are BLESSED. Just because a future faker marries or moves in, doesn’t mean he’s not still a future faker.

    • SM says:

      YES I have seen this happen more than once. Thats why it scares me when people get married 6 or 8 months after knowing one another. A friend of mines husband just left her after 22 years, it was sudden and unexpected. She is now finding out all these wild things about him that basically denote that her marriage wasnt even what she thought it was, from his side that is. Its like everybody that knew him was future faked, what we all thought was a committed married man was just a shell going through the motions, weird just weird.

    • Otter2 says:

      Anon — You are, unfortunately, VERY spot on. After 5 years of living together, I married my EUM. I had seen some garbage, but nothing major. I dismissed them because he was a “little” controlling and who doesn’t have some bad days in 5 years?

      The night we married, things changed. It was very hard to recognize because I’d had 5 years of mostly different behavior. In therapy he said that before we married, he was afraid I would leave. Afterward, he “had” me. So he pretended for five years until marriage. Wow. That still floors me.

      I think part of pretence’s success was that he actually liked thinking of himself as someone who did the things he promised. In his head he wasn’t lying — somehow it was my fault that he didn’t step up. For example, pre-marriage he had these detailed ideas of “building our family.” Most of it was simple stuff — walks downtown with the stroller, “play dates,” teaching the kids to hammer stuff. A future that sounded very realistic and lovely.

      BUT, I became pregnant during our first year of marriage. He was in charge of scheduling his out-of-town meetings, and REFUSED for months to block off the week our baby was due. I finally called his mother and asked her to drive me to the hospital if he wasn’t available. He became available, and the ONLY reason he hadn’t said that he would be there with me was because he didn’t know I was serious. (Love his parents, who live about 15 minutes away. Mine are across the US.)

      It went downhill from there. I have heard the same experience from friends.

      I was married to that EUM for 21 years. A few friends held tight to me, and periodically let me know that they saw through the emperor’s clothes. I’ve been divorced for 8 years.

      I’ve been in a reasonably healthy relationship for the past 5 years. It started as a friendship, and I might not have dated him pre-marriage. I would have lost out big time if I hadn’t. He has his faults, but he’s honest and loving. He would never play with my mind for sport, and he tries not to lie to himself. Our biggest problem has been my reluctance to take him at face value.

      So, if you want a relationship, you CAN have one WITHOUT an EUM. But marrying your EUM doesn’t make him available.

      • Magnolia says:

        Ladies, you’ve put a name on the niggling feeling I have about the recent marriage of someone very close to me. He has promised lots to her, and though the rest of us are having a hard time seeing how much of the future he has promised her can ever materialize (they’re basically in a long-distance marriage but she wanted to have kids with someone who would help her and be there), I think I’m the only one who will voice it to myself. She’s still very much in a we’ll-cross-that-bridge when we come to it mindset, and manages to convince everyone around her to just nod and cross their fingers for her. To my mind she does all the bridge crossing and he stays quite put in the way he has always done things.

        I pushed away these thoughts for a while because I thought I was just being jealous and pessimistic. But now I just feel that I really care about this woman, don’t want to see a loved one having her expectations played, and I just pray that everything she hopes for does indeed come to pass.

        I had never thought about the possiblity an EUM could marry what we are calling a “fallback” girl. But it’s not that the FBG is a fallback from marriage, it’s that she is a fallback from whatever he wants more (work, freedom, options) than a fully partnered and emotionally available relationship.

        And the relationshit (as many of you call it) is the fallback, for her, from what she truly wants, too.

        • Arlena says:

          Magnolia, I second. I am not proud to recognize that my own father was EU all his life. He married my mother in his 40s and there was an age gap of more than 14 years. The marriage was not a reflection of him having matured but for very opportunistic reasons and to have an easy service and maintenance station. The marriage that looked like a leopard having changed his spots or being “tamed” was nothing else than a fallback to keep his merry unavailable traits just for conveniences sake to mess with just one woman instead of many and having a social facade. Unfortunately my mother kept being the doormat he needed to have it all on his terms – so they tangoed the unavailable choreography. Very sad for me, very sad for my disabled brother as this was our wretched starting point into life. – x always appreciate your input.

        • grace says:

          ah, this illustrates that marriage isn’t always the golden ticket. Yes EUMs will sometimes marry the FBG. (And, no, that doesn’t give any of us carte blanche to be the OW). He can quite happily use the marriage as a base from which he can conduct affairs, spawn have children, launch a career, lead a separate life. You can be married without being in it.

          • NoMo Drama says:

            This, this and this ^^^.

            My mother always used to say of my classically EU father:
            “I was married, but I didn’t have a husband.”

          • Polly says:

            My MM used to say he was only with his wife because of the children and actually said on more than one occasion that he saw himself as single because they effectively didn’t have a relationship to speak of. Funnily enough he had never communicated this fact to her. What a complete shit!

          • yoghurt says:

            When I’ve thought about The State Of The Nation and How Come People Behave Like This These Days? (which I try not to now, depressing), I realised that this sort of EUM behaviour has been going on since the year dot, with married men who cheated on their wives.

            The differences are that people are under less pressure to get married and follow the ‘normal’ pattern of living, and the morality of the whole issue is less clearly-defined.

            50 years ago you probably still had a significant number of EUMs and ACs (although I think that it was easier for your average weak-willed flip-flapper to remain moreorless decent through following the path of least resistance), it’s just that they were probably predominantly married men sneaking about behind their wives’ backs.

            Commitment-phobia hadn’t been invented then, so rather than a lot of men resisting the !!!path to marriage!!! you just had a lot of bad husbands. Now that people don’t get married as early they still do the sneaking-about thing – it’s just that they don’t have a back to sneak behind.

            Sexual liberation. It’s ace :(

            But really, it cheers me up to know that ever since whenever people still had the responsibility of picking a decent partner for a decent relationship rather than an Emotionally Unavailable ass. When I think about it like that it makes me feel less all-at-sea with the issue.

    • ixnay says:


      Nice comment, and really helpful for me as I struggle with knowing that my EUM has seemingly stepped up and offered another woman the respect, progression, and commitment I waited for *for 13 years.*

      Juat as Natalie writes in that brilliant paragraph Natasha quotes above, he successfully convinced me (and I think he believes — he has to, otherwise his whole self-image would collapse) that it was *my* failings that made me unworthy of marriage-and-family happily-ever-after.

      Under the guise of his being o-so-tortured i actually listened while he told me that she treats him so much better than I ever did and “will make a great mother.” It was like being kicked with steel-toed boots. There were also hints and innuendos that she is more creative than I am, and I disappointed greatly by failing to be the muse-enchantress-social butterfly-earth mother he requires.

      Reality check: My ability to love and give to him was impeded greatly by his strange behavior, gaping lies of omission, the fact I had to support us, he refused to go to counseling with me (I’m sure because a good therapist would have quite soon said, cut the bullshit, what are you concealing?), tried instead to convince me I was mentally ill and couldn’t function without him, and was juggling other emotional entanglements, legal and financial problems that directly impacted me while pretending he was the most unfettered, grounded, committed, romantic partner in the world and I was this churlish, withholding ice queen.

      My body, my whole energetic system was confused and I just shut down. And that is what he pointed to as our downfall. he told me, “I have never been so neglected in a relationship, whereas, I know that I have never put so much energy into a relationship. i was disoriented and drained.

      He gets a fresh start with someone who hasn’t been through the wringer and I know he intends to be the man for her he wanted me to see him as.

      • Izzybell says:

        aw, Ixnay, this sounds really hard.

        for what it’s worth, it seems highly unlikely that your ex has really changed that much. it sounds more like he has found someone new, and right now is very interested in proving to himself (and to you) that he is a better person and a better partner than he has been during these past 13 years with you.

        Intending doesn’t make it so. Doing the hard work of learning from one’s mistakes and developing new behaviors and beliefs takes time, and effort, brutal honesty, and a lot of responsibility. He has practiced being evasive, mean, manipulative and unavailable all these years– do you think he can suddenly switch gears and be someone with an entirely different set of relationship skills and behaviors? It doesn’t just take getting together with an earthy, creative, social butterfly, muse to make that change.

        Right now, your ex wants to be that man that you both always wanted to see him as. But he sounds like a self centered baby, and my guess is that when he no longer feels like putting in the effort to support that image of himself, he’ll stop and do something else. Like be mean, or blame his new girlfriend, or find someone else and start all over again. Or come back and see if he can push the reset button.

        anyway, he’s not your problem anymore and if you can, cut him off so he can’t continue telling you all his BS. It IS BS, and you have every right to shut it down since you have better things to think about and it makes you feel like crap.

        Self centered people do what they want when they want, and then when they want to do something else, that’s exactly what they do. Love, commitment, and someone else’s needs/feelings don’t really come into play for them. I’ve learned this the hard way too. You can engage with these types if you have a super thick skin and a single minded focus on your own needs and desires, but if you don’t (and who would want to) it’s just better to steer clear and find someone who genuinely cares about others as well as themselves.

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          Izzybell and Ixnay,
          Nice, nice nicely stated Izzybell. Ixnay, chin up lady. There’s no way that AC did a 360 and is now available. Izzybell nailed it and I want to lend my support to you. Notice how these AC’s need our validation? Stay strong Ixnay. Don’t validate him. Within 3 months, the new gf will experience the wringer. Don’t hang around waiting to hear about what a psycho she turned out to be! He’s the psycho. Time to move on.

      • pixieinthedust says:

        Don’t let this get to you. If he was trully happy and committed to his current woman, he wouldn’t have the need to put you down or to ‘prove’ to you what a ‘great man’ you have lost. Really.
        Sounds to me as he is trying to convince himself that he is great. It’s not about you and never was. It is not about his new woman either.

      • yoghurt says:

        ixnay – he won’t be.

        If you think about the process of changing and how important it is to take responsibility and recognise your own role in things, and how much effort you have to put into unpicking your reactions and your thought patterns and so on… do you really think that he’ll be able to undo thirteen years of habit if his blanket solution to the problem is to blame you?

        I daresay that he is being/has been rather lovely to her initially, but sooner or later things won’t be all shiny and new and they’ll get difficult and she’ll turn out to be an actual factual human being instead of whatever big stereotype he has of her in his head, and then his old behaviours will creep back in. And then that’ll be her fault.

        Also, while you were there in the background you were a convenient villain for him to palm his behavioural flaws off onto. Now that you’re not who will he blame when things are difficult?

        As much as it seems as though these creeps seem to get the easy end of the stick in these situations, they’re the ones that are stuck being them with no incentive to change, and their problems will probably follow them to the end of their insincere, hollow, unfulfilling lives. WE, on the other hand, get to move on from the sharp lesson and become better people for it and have BETTER lives for it. Remember that.

        • Nikki says:

          Amen. to all of the above!

        • ixnay says:

          izzy, pixie, and yoghurt,

          thanks so much you guys for your responses!

          I am 5 weeks nc, and haven’t seen him since mid-february. That’s the longest time we’ve ever not seen one another. My state oscillates wildly.

          I do think I functioned as an emotional stabilizer because he could lash out at me when life didn’t go his way, to your point yoghurt.

          Everyone’s observations are spot-on. Thanks so much.

          • Izzybell says:

            Many of us have actually been the new, improved model who was treated like gold, for a while, until we weren’t. My ex had had a horribly messy and disfunctional divorce, and described his ex wife in all kinds of pathetic ways (depressed, unstable, vindictive, etc…) He treated me so well for 6 months that I kind of believed his victim-y story about how she had cheated on him and gone beserk.

            Now I know better. Clearly, the two of them had a sick dynamic, and he was at least half (if not more) responsible. Actually, the way he treated me after a while was starting to make me feel pathetic and miserable too. Now, after a year, I am grateful to have distanced myself from someone who screwed up his marriage and is now walking around the world blind to his role and fully ready to make the same mistakes all over again. so glad it’s not going to be with me!

            • RadioGirl says:

              Snap, Izzybell – my experience with the ex was exactly, exactly, EXACTLY the same as yours, even down to the timescale!!

              • Izzybell says:

                Hi RadioGirl,

                Yuck, it’s like there’s a factory that cranks out these schmucks!

                At the end of the year that we were together, a few weeks before I called it quits, my ex asked me if he was a good partner. I told him, “umm, not really”.

                His question made me realize that he was trying to validate himself (as I was) as someone who was different than he had been in the past, without having to do that hard work to actually change himself.

                On a similar note, my ex also spent a good amount of time trying to get me to tell him what a fantastic lover he was (see above response). Apparently, this was something else that hadn’t changed much since his marriage ; )

        • RadioGirl says:

          “I daresay that he is being/has been rather lovely to her initially, but sooner or later things won’t be all shiny and new and they’ll get difficult and she’ll turn out to be an actual factual human being instead of whatever big stereotype he has of her in his head, and then his old behaviours will creep back in. And then that’ll be her fault”.

          This is so very true, Yoghurt. And we all know it is – because we’ve all been that shiny new partner at some stage, and gone through something very like this scenario.

          Ixnay – “…tried instead to convince me I was mentally ill and couldn’t function without him, and was juggling other emotional entanglements, legal and financial problems that directly impacted me while pretending he was the most unfettered, grounded, committed, romantic partner in the world and I was this churlish, withholding ice queen.

          My body, my whole energetic system was confused and I just shut down. And that is what he pointed to as our downfall. he told me, “I have never been so neglected in a relationship, whereas, I know that I have never put so much energy into a relationship. i was disoriented and drained”.

          Are you sure you and your ex weren’t me and my ex in a parallel universe?! I know in my heart that mine hasn’t changed, and I think you know in your heart that yours hasn’t either. Remember to keep the focus on You and moving forward with your life x

      • Daisy says:

        Oh my Ixnay,

        I think we dated the same man! Be thankful the nightmare is over.

      • Fearless says:


        If this guy has spontaneously combusted into Mr Available and has happily committed himself to a fantabulous relationship with wonder woman why does he feel the need to be telling you all about her wonderfulness and all about your shortcomings? Maybe since he as ran out of credibility in his future faking with you, he’s now future faking you about someone else in a very sad attempt to regain some credibility for himself (look, look! I really am wearing new clothes, but just not for your benefit anymore – cos you’re a non-believer! But another woman can see my new clothes cos she is so fabulously astute and clever – and you’re not!). If he really was wearing new clothes he wouldn’t feel the need to convince you of it, or himself. He’d just wear them. More worrying, why were you giving him the air time to tell you all this baloney? No wonder you feel depleted. Stick with the NC.

        • ixnay says:

          Thanks again, everyone. There is so much wisdom here.

          I listened to him because I could feel it was the last chance, something was really happening, and I still had hope.

          These conversations, I think the subtext was, I feel guilty and nostalgic but I’m going forward without you as a safety net now.

          Aside from dysfunctional intimacy/accountability patterns, he’s a delight. Even when he was frustrating me to the point of tears he could make a pun or shared reference that would flood me with love. I really miss him. The good stuff is really good, and he’s in so much better place in his life right now I think the new clothes visibility factor may be high for a while.

          Only the fact that the woman before me was writing wistful emails 6 years on, and I resolved to never ever do that keeps me in nc. Interestingly, as far as I can reconstruct (he never spoke about her), she had unwavering faith in the new clothes the whole time. He left her anyway.

          • yoghurt says:


            I dunno, I struggle with the distinction between EA and ‘good’. I think that Son’s Dad IS a whole lot less EU than he was when I first met him – he’s less depressed, his life is going the way he wants it to, he has more to anchor him… so yeah, I suspect that his relationship has a better chance and I’m sure that he’s much nicer and is genuinely in love.

            BUT that doesn’t make him good, and it doesn’t make him good enough (in the strictest sense of the word) for me. Even if I’d met him at the ‘right’ time and we’d got together I honestly don’t think that I could – now that I’m a bit more together than I used to be – respect someone who’d hurt someone as badly as he hurt me and then didn’t see the need to even attempt to repair the damage, despite knowing that he’d be in and out of my life for some time to come and that we had a baby together.

            Even if it was all ‘for me’. Even if he was determined to be a better person ‘for me’. It’s just dishonourable, weak, selfish, I’m-alright-Jack behaviour and I dislike it. Good, worthwhile people aren’t just good and fair and kind when they feel like being and when they want something from somebody. They’re good and fair and kind under all circumstances, whatever form that might take.

            You are worth so much more than someone who made you ill and then avoids taking responsibility for it (how DARE he?) And you wouldn’t be happy with him, even if you were in her shoes now. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling like this now but you’re much much much too good for him, you really are.

            • yoghurt says:

              I should add that I don’t rate the chances of any relationship that only works when times are good and people have life easy. If you’re dishonourable, selfish, weak and unprincipled then those characteristics are going to come out in the wash sooner or later, however strong the endorphins.

          • ixnay says:

            Thanks, yoghurt : )

            I have been thinking about the great feedback I’ve gotten here, and yet, yesterday, I realized I have a strong, grieving narrative in which it was *my lack of faith in the new clothes that made me unable to see them.*

            What I mean is, there were several clear points during the relationship where I had a choice: be the little boy and say there are no new clothes, or be enthusiastic about the new clothes. It felt then, and feels still, as though being the little boy *destroyed the beautiful new clothes.*

            For example, we had a major suck-it-and-see last year. I wanted to be over-the-moon happy but I was really holding back. He wanted us to buy tickets for a trip. I called him and told him I needed him to be absolutely sure I was not being drawn into any sort of emotional triangle. He was really really upset, said you think I’m just f**ing with your head?? who do you think I am? I backpedaled, but his full-on enthusiasm waned. We did buy the tickets, but one evening we went to a concert and he was fairly nasty and hostile, the way he’d been on and off for a couple of years prior. I felt sick. He invited me to lunch to apologize, and I told him from the way he’d behaved I had had a sudden fear he would cancel our trip and take this other woman instead. Again he was aghast at my lack of faith and that I would think he would do anything like that.

            Directly after that he reconnected with the other woman, didn’t tell me, canceled on our trip due to “work,” and let me go alone while he stayed here and saw her, although he was emailing me about how much he wished he could have come-with. I lost 15 pounds and, nearly, my mind.

            The worst part has been knowing that it was *because I expressed the fear that the clothes were not real that he took them away from me and put them on for someone who believed in him.* I mean, who would you want to be with, someone who is saying she thinks you can’t commit and might be lying, or someone who thinks you are magical, lovable, and faithful? If I had only just watched and waited, I would not have to relive those conversations and the way his face fell and his energy shifted away from me. I know I can’t “make” him do anything, but I did give him a clear out and also fail to enthusiastically embrace his enthusiasm. That withholding really hurt him. I can’t forgive myself for pushing him…

            • yoghurt says:

              Sorry ix, I didn’t see that you’d replied, it’s only that I was having a re-read and spotted this!

              I don’t know where you are just now with everything (feeling better I hope) but, if you haven’t already, please STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!!!

              a) Whether or not people are pretending to believe in the clothes, They. Are. Not. There. They don’t magically appear with belief. Personality is not post-modernist, otherwise there would be no such thing as discipline or effort.

              If you’d completely ignored his nudiness (or, in this case, his lack of care, empathy or basic human decency), then you might – might – have the all-time honour of walking down the street with a naked man. And men look silly when they’re walking naked down the street.

              b) Trust – like so much in life, has to be earned back if lost. Who behaved in a way that lost him your trust? HE DID! Who had a responsibility to earn it back? HE DID!

              So, basically, he wanted you to behave as though you were delusional and really really thick in order to fuel his ego-jets. Mmmm. Caring and respectful.

              He’s just pushing the responsibility of HIS behaviour onto YOU. Like, oh, I’ve committed a crime, please would you plead guilty for it and do the prison sentence?

              c) He is – please pardon the graphic language – an exceptionally horrible nobcheese, from the evidence available. I’ve said it before, but of all the loatheworthy loathe-merchants that I’ve read about on here, he is among the most loathesome. You will not be happy until you’ve shaken yourself free of every particle of him.

              And I’d pity his new woman – can you imagine being at the beginning of thirteen (?) years of awfulness like you’ve just had?

      • Tracy says:

        My ex husband treated me exactly the same way. If I called him on his bad behavior (false promises, spending all our money, etc.), he would twist things around in such a way that EVERYTHING was my fault. Result? I stopped calling him on stuff and he got away with some downright nasty behavior for years, to the point of telling me, as the marriage was crumbling, that he was never attracted to me, I just made his life really, really easy for 20 years.
        Within months he was living with another woman. They were talking marriage. I felt completely replaced. Yet I was suspicious that after a few years she had still never met the kids and they only lived a short way away.
        Three and a half years later (I had never met or even spoken to her at this point), I got a call from HER, telling me what a bastard he was, how he had ‘future faked’ her to the point that she had been supporting him AND paying his child support…he had promised a future of all great stuff if she supported him in his ‘dream’ of being a country music star.
        He moved out of her house and into ANOTHER woman’s house, literally. THIS time he IS married, but NOW he has changed his name, his new wife has taken on his new strange last name, but he is STILL being supported by a woman while he pursues his ‘dream’.
        BTW, he’s almost 57 years old. They DON’T change. The only thing that changes is the victim.

        • SM says:

          Tracy, good grief. If this isnt a lesson on what not to do, I dont know what is. These men perpetuate this because someone is willing to buy into their garbage. I know women who do the same thing, alcoholics, prescription drug addicts, leave their children and stop working, move in with a man who pays their bills and puts up with their crap.

          • SM says:

            The two women I know who are doing this, one is married to my brother and keeps promising her boyfriend that she is going to get a divorce including calling my brother and asking for his address to send the papers but they never come. This has been going on for 7 years. The other has been engaged to a guy for 6 years and even though she is an alcoholic and bulimic, blames the boyfriend as to the reason they havent married yet. She doesnt work and he thinks its great because she can help take care of his kids even though he cant count on her to be sober all the time. Proof here that all the people involved are future fakers or want to believe the hogwash someone else is telling them.

  7. starsabove says:

    My AC asked me to move in and marry him, he would tell me he loved,me all the while smirking and trying to gauge my reaction, I never once told him I loved him back, since I knew he was being disingenuous. I think that wounded his massive ego, and made him feel insecure.

  8. Denise says:

    So totally awesome and true. Eloquently written. This really reveals the naked truth, never mind the pun. I was recently confounded by a new guy that I’ve been seeing, about how he wanted to make so many plans with me. It just wasn’t adding up. This Future faking article really clears things up, and reveals these people for the swindlers are. I think you can still have fun with these people because they can be very charming. Just don’t give them anything they want.

  9. runnergirlno1 says:

    Wonderful post Natalie. I got spat out a future who nobody thought the sun shined out of his bum but me. Cos I know the real him! But once all the illusions faded away, he was just a middle age, pot bellied guy, although he had great, great hair. I had to do my share of future faking to maintain the dream. That’s not an excuse, it is what I did to maintain the dream in the face of reality. And then neither one of us had clothes.
    It is really helpful when you identify the characteristics of a healthy relationship. “What’s important to remember is that when you meet someone and get to know them, you’ve both got to show up with character goods and create the actions that yield a relationship, that you can then build from and make plans for the future for.” I can imagine that scenario. You have such an amazing gift Natalie. Thank you for helping me see what could be instead of what has been.

  10. TJsparkles says:

    I dated a future faker a couple years back. Within a couple weeks of us seeing eachother he was talking about us getting a place together. I was both flattered and worried , but mostly worried. I had just walked away from my job at the time after 4 1/2 years I wasn’t prepared to move in with anyone. I wasn’t prepared for anything. Soon after I started realizing that things with him weren’t adding up. He had a job but he wanted me to take care of him. He needed me to make his life easier. I played his game naively for a little while and then grew very tired of him. I realized he was selling me a dream. I fell for his words even though he kept screwing me with his actions. I stopped hanging out with him, answering his calls , and responding to his texts. Everything he said involved us having a “future” it was soO early on I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right. If it doesn’t happen organically for me .. nothing is happening with me. Great post.

  11. Cheyenne says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I don’t know what to make of this – my ex bf and I found a nice place after two months of having been very close; on the day the elase was going to be signed, he blew it – we had beent alking via messenger and email prior to my picking him up at 11am and not one word that he was very drunk, so I was in shock when I picked him up and found him so drunk he didn’t even remember we were going to breakfast. He says he doesn’t know why he drank and blew it 3 hours prior to signing the lease. He knows how I feel about drinking. He also has talked about doing things such as traveling to Costa Rica this summer, I told him I couldn’t afford it, he said he’d pay for everything – and he doesn;t have the money either to do so. For my 50th birthday, he told me we would spend all weekend together at a hotel and on my birthday itself, spend all day togetehr and have a special dinenr that evening – that morning he told me he had to be home by 3pm as he had his treatment for MS. I broke it off after the drinking episode not just because of his drinking but also because he was dishonest that day and in the subsequent communications, I saw that he is being dishonest with himself. Are his behaviors that of a future faking? he does btw still hope to get back together.

    • Kerry says:

      Well, he’s definitely the king of the empty gesture — you know, when someone offers to do something nice for you, then doesn’t follow through. They think the gesture is enough. I’d say he is present faking. He’s trying to create the illusion of intimacy without actually stepping up and being there for you. I went out with a guy who did this. One time he made a big deal over a “very special” gift he was making for me. Months later, after much anticipation, it turned out to be the same wine rack I’d seen in all of his friends’ homes, his mother’s home, even his sister’s home. And he despised his sister.
      It was basically his “scented candle” of gifts. Absolutely meaningless. Take a good look at this guy’s meaningless gestures and his failure to follow through, and you’ll get all the information you need.

      • A says:

        I never understood the empty gesture. How do these people not realize that they make themselves look so much worse by promising something and then not following through? And when it’s a completely unnecessary promise I find it even more confusing I know someone whose ex kept promising to re-pay a debt and saying “check your bank account!” as though he had already deposited the money–it never happened. Apparently it made him feel like a good guy just to talk about doing it.

      • Tracy says:

        My ex was the King of the Empty Gesture. If you went by his promises, I would have seen the world by now, lived in the most beautiful houses on earth, had emotional support whenever I needed it. My kids would have money for college. I would have all the child support I needed, and on time!
        In his mind, if he SAYS it, it is as good as being done. When others called him on his empty promises, he would always call these people “pushy” or “ungrateful”, including his own teenage daughter who called him on his promises to visit. Seriously, promise to visit a kid and then not showing up? But the kid knows you are doing things with other people in that promised time and SHE is ‘ungrateful’??????

    • Outergirl says:

      Wow Cheyenne, as I read your story, I thought you were writing about someone in their 20’s!! Clearly he’s much older then that and he shows up drunk before breakfast?! Just goes to show these idiots don’t change much. If they change at all it is for the worse.

  12. Broadsided says:

    Funny, in all of my years, my last guy was the only future faker I ever encountered. Long story short, we’d met and had a few dates, then I cut it off (longer story, getting over another guy, a serious medical problem with a family member I had to attend to, just didn’t want to continue dating at that time). We kept in touch via E mail and Facebook and I thought I was getting to know him. Finally 9 months later I felt available again and he pounced on the opportunity. We seemed well matched on the surface – both easy talkers, both articulate, both seemingly having similar philosophies and interests, and boy did he lay it on strong. I fell prey to it because I thought he was being genuine, of course – I was not future faking him back, I BELIEVED what he said – and meant what I said – not having had experience with this before. So it wasn’t like he appeared out of the blue, one date and he was future faking – we’d had a number of months of interaction from a distance. During which time I heard things like, “From the moment I interviewed you I knew you were exactly the woman I wanted [insert various reasons].”

    This sums it up: “after overestimating what their capacity was for a relationship or exaggerating themselves, or even outright fabricating a future and a personality, they don’t want to look like a numpty either. So…they’ll keep going along with the charade, except for that because the future is catching up with them, they then have to either disappear, behave in a shady way to get you to end it, step up the lies, or behave in a shady way to blame the lack of future on some ‘failing’ on your part.” Yep, he definitely awkwardly and abruptly crashed and burned the relationship. Maybe he believed what he said at the time and didn’t have the capacity to maintain it. In any case…..I did have some intuition that things seemed “too good to be true” and we all know what that means (it means that it IS); not paying attention to this intuition and not slowing it down/keeping a healthy emotional distance, and wanting to believe in my Prince Charming were totally my fault. I was a dreamer. In retrospect, his writing cards saying “I look forward to the next thirty years with you” within 2 weeks is just a wee bit, uh, optimistic? BS?

    No more future fakers. I’ll never know if he was playing a sophisticated game to get me where he…

  13. Little Star says:

    Thank you Natalie, another great post! I just do not understand why our ACs do that??? TO keep us interested in their “future faking” and get what they want? I talked to my AC last week and told him that I do not want committed relationship with him, as he only offers me empty promises and nothing real, that actions speak loader than words. He said that he deliver fantastic sex, so I said: “OK, lets carry on to have exciting sex and not talk about future, I will have future with someone real, not YOU”.. His answer was: “You hurt my feelings”…Yeah right, like I believe him. I am glad I told him that, I do not want him to think that I am “buying his illusion”, at least he knows now that I am using him as well…

    • Late Bloomer says:

      Little Star:
      Two questions to ask yourself: why do you want to continue having sex with him? Why do you even care what he thinks? You can’t win this one. Be careful.

    • Demke says:

      This post is brilliant!

      When you finally see that person for who they are and what their intentions were all along… it won’t feel so much like rejection. You’ll feel relieved and like your seeing sunlight for the first time in years. I feel 100x’s better in every way since finally waking up to this… feel like a 210 lb weight has been lifted off my shoulders. We get so wrapped up in the things that really don’t matter, the sex, the attention, validation. I have come so far from where I was 5 months ago, it’s unbelievable. It took me 7 years to kick that bad habit. But I did it. And I am making sure he doesn’t come back. He’s blocked from my life (everything… email, phone), and it is staying that way. I see so many possibilities now for my life, and I’m full speed ahead. I choose to never speak to him again. And we did have a pattern for years of me breaking up w/ him, him showing up weeks later, me going back. Definately not happening this time. The jig is up!

      • kelley says:

        I love your post!! I am at the beginning of your story, I know I need to do alot of work on myself but it is really hard getting over being deceived when your intentions were completly different. I have a little mantra that I tell myself everyday and that is DO BETTER! Oneday I will be at the end of your story : ) Thank You

    • yoghurt says:

      little star:

      I hate to point this out, but if you do this all you’ll teach the AC is that, if he messes someone around enough, he’ll eventually get to the point where he doesn’t even have to PRETEND to respect them to get what he wants. You’ve just agreed to let him use you and you’re acting as though that’s all you deserve.

      It’s not. Obviously it’s your life and your choice but the truth is that you could get the amazing sex AND a fantastic relationship from someone who thinks that you’re brilliant, but only after you’ve faced up to the fact that this man is a total waste of space and stopped talking to him altogether.

      I should also point out that you’re highly (highly highly) unlikely to meet some nice, healthy and available while you’re shagging someone who’s not and you’re also highly (highly higly) likely to feel absolutely awful about yourself and your life while you do.

      Hugs, because I know that it’s horrible being stuck in this sort of situation, but there’s only you that can get yourself out of it. He is who he is and there’s nothing that you can do to change him or what he’s offering you, which amounts to no care, respect or honesty whatsoever.

    • Daisy says:

      Little Star, I’ve run into three reasons for the faking so far;

      1) They usually can get away with it.
      2) They actually BELIEVE it or want to believe it as much as we do.
      3) They say things while in a blackout from drinking too much and don’t remember later.

    • Intothelight says:

      Little Star – “I do not want him to think that I am “buying his illusion”, at least he knows now that I am using him as well…”
      You sound like a strong woman but the way forward from dealing with an EUM/AC is not to become one yourself. The belief that you are in control by hurting him like he has hurt you is the illusion – I know this sounds harsh but if none of us really cared about if a man was using us or if we were just using them none of us would be reading the posts and blogs on this site. Like I said you sound like a strong woman – use this strength to go NC, I’m not judging because the best sex I ever had was with my now ex MM AC, it kept me invested when I knew deep down that I really should have been looking at why I was allowing myself to be treated like I was second best. Any attention – even bad attention is an ego stroke for these men – let him know your REAL value by ditching him out of your life.

      • Little Star says:

        Thank you SO much Ladies for your honest opinions, it mean a lot to me!!! As Natalie said in her previous post, I probably feel comfortable in uncomfortable zone:-(
        I am not strong at all, I think I am weak, as I cannot let him go after 4 years. You are also right, I want to hurt him as he hurt me in the past, it feels like a sweet revenge, but still it does not make me happy! Regarding sex, it is nothing extraordinary, it is JUST him, his body, his perfume, I used to him and I just cant let it go… He is like my safety blanket, drug.. I love him and too scared to commit/ trust him…
        Hugs to you all xx

  14. Bhoot says:

    This post really resonated with me because I’ve been in this situation twice. The first guy was an abusive jerk and the second one really “wooed and pursued” me until we ended up engaged. In 2008, I called it quits after putting up with his indecisiveness and melodrama (amongst other things!). After the break up, I felt angry, bitter, and disillusioned especially because he was achieving everything he wanted and I had given up and sacrificed opportunities to enrich my own life in the anticipation of marrying him. Ugh!!
    Fast forward to 2012 and I am now achieving what I want, have more happiness and peace , and I feel and look better than ever. I realize now that I was the impediment to my own problem and I feel relieved to be where I am.
    It’s kind of funny how KARMA can work. My ex took off for the Middle East to get a better job and further himself. He certainly got everything he wanted – a great job, much success, new opportunities, new fiancee, etc. And maybe he is happy and maybe he isn’t. I remember when he contacted me and told me he was engaged again, I was dumbstruck and had nervous breakdown. Later on when I got better, I fooled around FB to see his new fiancee and wondered what she was all about. A quick search revealed a perfectly ordinary girl (younger than me) with a lovely smile and a good job. And I looked at their engagement picture and suddenly wonedered what it was I ever saw in him and why I put him on a pedestal…ugh!
    But as I said, it’s funny how Karma works. This was a guy who called me fat once after I refused to come back to him, lectured me ad nauseum, and felt superior over me. *Yawn* Last December, he contacted me under a fake name and wanted to know how I was. I gave a neutral response and answers and he fled – he was only concerned if I remembered him or not. But what was surprising was when I looked back at the Messenger display, I saw his picture. And what did I see? Gone was the slim, lithe, gorgeous young man and in his place was an old looking black haired guy who looked tired, well-worn, and older than his real age. It gets better….his hairline was receding a little, he had gotten FAT, and he looked scruffy with his teeth kind of yellowing (the result of smoking since 17). I have to admit I was extremely shocked at his appearance. We are only a year and a half apart and he looks like he aged 10…

    • Bhoot says:

      I also wanted to add that a quick look at his FB page revealed that he had gained about 40-50 lbs and had a significant double chin. Sure, he had a gotten a new better position and job – but he looked terrible despite his nice suit. He looked careworn and scruffy and he’s only 30 and looks like he’s pushing a hard 40. And surprise surprise, after 2.5 years, he still hasn’t married his fiancee yet. Looks like he got his payback in spades.

      • yoghurt says:

        A friend of mine was heartbroken when she split up with her AC boyfriend and even though she met and married a lovely bloke afterwards, there was always a part of her that wondered about the player (who stayed in a ltr with the woman he cheated on her with) and hankered after the fairytale of ‘converting’ a player.

        She looked him up on fb not long back and saw that he had gone from being totally hot to a nondescript, chubby, balding dude with yellow teeth – still posing in a glowery way at the camera. It certainly helped her to exorcise her demons.

        Not that there’s anything wrong with being chubby or balding or nondescript. But if I’m going to grow old with someone, I’d like it to be with someone who is beautified by their character, not superficially good looks.

  15. Arlena says:

    My MM literally asked me “Do we have a future?” which I remember as odd as he had neither seen nor met me yet. I remember my inability to say “No, that is inappropriate under these circumstances and wouldn’t work for me.” Unfortunately I was not in a place to be really authentic and speak my mind, partly because I literally didn’t have the words.

    He clearly tested waters, leaving the decision up to me, warnings included. Craving a relationship I took the future-bait without paying enough attention to the worm I was fed.

    I remember how pleased I was about having a two-years-period at hand to sort out my issues, but indeed it was the prospect of being able to engage in long-shot mentality in the hopes tomorrow might provide all the answers, being good-willed is enough and that therefore I don’t have to do all the little, tedious actions like day-by-day reframing of negative thoughts which doesn’t have much effect in the moment but adds up significantly if done repeatedly and with intention. I can’t claim to have been an action hero. I liked the idea of “thinking/conjuring it up”.

    Nevertheless word has travelled that women like “future” as to be inclined to give up their goods more willingly and men like to do their “providing job” only – as so many things have changed in dating and relating – by selling us our future canned as hot air and a nicely designed label listing all the bio ingredients. We have to do the equivalent of “Foodwatch” and do “Futurewatch”.

    • Broadsided says:

      “Nevertheless word has travelled that women like “future” as to be inclined to give up their goods more willingly “……exactly the explanation that a good male friend/ex boyfriend gave when I discussed the Future Faker with him. He said for most women, “future”, “many years”, “you are THE one,” are very high cards men play to get us where they want us early on, and it’s a major red flag when these cards are played too soon.

  16. Lyz says:

    Talk IS cheap thats something I’ve learned and the relationship is based on ACTION YES. And people are like ‘sheep’ in that they all flock aroud these people. It’s good when you let yourself off the hook and come to the realisation that they weren’t that special and they are in fact not nice people just that you had to be the one finding this out after a big fakery

    • pixieinthedust says:

      My now ex-bf of 4 years was future faking with me and (as I found out later) other women from the very first date using the same lines.. ‘our baby will have your eyes and smile’ etc etc.. You would be surprised how many women fall for that, especially women with their ‘clock ticking’.. I learned the hard way. Two years into our relationship I became pregnant as he was dreaming of babies and he practically forced me into terminating the pregnancy.. While I was left on my own to deal with the situation, he took off for Paris with his daughter to visit a “friend” who ended up actually being his other long term girlfriend whom he was also trying to impregnate.. Yes, both of us and God knows who else were introduced to his friends and family and attended family functions/parties at various times.. And after discovering all that.. I took him back for another two years.. Removed from that situation now, I struggle to explain how I could allow myself to remain in such a low place for such a long time. I was grieving the pregnancy I couldn’t afford to keep on my own, I was mentally destraught, my nerves out of control and diagnosed with graves but I remained with the abuser.. He never hit me but it was all mental.
      I finally left him for good four month ago when I discovered that he was paying and using on-line dating services posing as God fearing man who lost his wife to breast cancer etc etc.. It made me sick. I packed my stuff while he was out of town and left. Until this day, almost daily I still receive his ‘love letters’ via text or e-mail in which he professes his undying love and describes the ‘pain’ over our break up.
      Some people just do not have morals or boundaries and will exploit at any cost. Sadly I learnt this lesson the hard way. I am currently practicing the no contact rule and experience great improvements in most areas of my life, including my health.
      I think most of us know when something isn’t right or the man is slimy or talks bs. We choose to remain in bad situations for various reasons. I have to deliberately remind myself to keep it real. All the time.

      • jenny says:

        Wow, you’ve been through something really awful, and you should be so proud of yourself for taking action and not falling for his current proclamations. I dated an undercover dirtbag who I eventually learned had created a situation quite like yours, probably has done so his entire life. He has a local “serious “girlfriend, as well as a long-distance “fiancee” I found out about, who knows all of this sort of thing, is still with him. Recently he stepped it up, convinced “fiancee” he loves her, that they have a great future ahead of them, that she’s the only one that matters. She bought it, in spite of having hung in there for 6 years and many many betrayals. She clearly works at the KoolAid factory, otherwise how could she convince herself they will be happily married? She is only postponing the pain. A week ago, a friend of mine sent me a link to an ad he put on Craigslist, looking for a “one day a week Asian girlfriend”.
        Be strong. You absolutely did the right thing.

        • pixieinthedust says:

          Talking with this guy’s ex-wife of 6 weeks, his other girlfriend, who at the time lived in Paris, I can attest that they are very intelligent women with high achievements (med doctor, executive with a large company) who did buy into this guy’s garbage FOR YEARS, dancing leave and comeback dance..
          This man perfected and fine-tuned his craft for years. He lacked basic morals and knew how to tap into your inner vulnerabilities in order to exploit..
          What I do like about this site is that Natalie is so spot on with her posts. One of the most valuable advices I see here is to keep it all in reality and to be real with yourself. Assess by actions. It is too often we rely on hope and dreams instead of reality.

      • A says:


        What a horrible man. Good for you for walking away. Can you block his email address and phone number so that you don’t have to deal with his attempts at contact?

        • pixieinthedust says:

          I tried to block his mail/texts but I actually find it helpful for me to read them. When I had it all blocked, I would start questioning myself, ruminating, giving excuses, maybe’s and what if’s. When I read his garbage now, it reinforces my decision to stick it out with myself because I can see how over the top and insincere his proclamations are. They are also mostly about how hard it is for HIM which makes me cringe. After all that went on between us.. he actually asked me for compassion..

          • grace says:

            Careful with that. You’re still looking to him for affirmation. You already know enough. The danger with this is that one day he might catch you in a weak moment. And then – shzam – you’re back in it! Even if you don’t get drawn back in, it’s not adding goodness to your life.
            We’re not talking about an ex you had a nice relationship with that you keep in touch with after the dust has settled. He’s a nutjob

            • pixieinthedust says:

              Thank you so much for your reply. I have spent some time today reading posts from others here and I ended up blocking him for good. You are absolutely right in that reading his messages is not adding goodness to my life. I’ve got to cut this last cord in order to be free. So I did it, I blocked him from my e-mails and texts.
              Keeping it real.
              Thank you so much for your kind post. I really needed it.
              I am so grateful for finding this community of others who had experienced similar circumstances. It is like a group therapy. It is very effective.

  17. dancingqueen says:

    I hate to admit it but I am like Lawrence….I think that I fake a future too. Looking back at this relationship that I just ended at five months I think that whenever I had a bit too much wine I laid it on a tad thick. In the beginning. Then when I pulled back and started to get real and look at the relationship with more open and adult eyes I think that my ex took that as me holding back….I dont know….we are supposed to have a closure talk in a few weeks when both our heads are cleared and I hope that we can both put our egos aside and be honest. On his end he seems to be a good guy but I guess I will know officially once we have that talk…breakups tend to bring out the “real”. However he went along with my future faking and added some embellishments of his own….ergh….so hard to sift through it all

  18. teachable says:

    Lyz (& nat!) are spot on. Talk IS cheap. All talk, no action? FLUSH!

  19. cc says:

    recognizing the signs can be hard if you don’t know any better, if you have never encountered future faking before. I mean, who could fathom it … until the guys bursts into tears on the phone during your fourth conversation, before he’s even met you, and blubbers that you’re the one and then proceeds to show you engagement rings during week 3. I mean who would do that? answer: a crazy guy who then runs away from you viciously criticizing when you turn out to actually be a human being. I can’t believe I participated with him.

    at least I’m not a total moron. I was the little kid for my best friend when everyone else was telling her that a guy she was dating actually cared about her, I mustered the courage to point out the truth that he was leading her down the garden path, laying out a barely believable future in the hopes of getting into her pants but failing to actually show up in a way that would make it seem truly true. it was hard to tell her, i hated that it would hurt her, but I knew it was right, which it indeed turned out to be shortly thereafter. and I couldn’t let her subscribe to that conspiracy, not when i knew the truth.

    thanks, Natalie

  20. kelley says:

    I am still beating myself up over my ex AC, I lost everything I have worked for believing in his empty promises, what hurts the most is that I work with him and I have to see him EVERYDAY in an enviroment where he turns on the charm. There are days when even though I know the “truth” about him it HURTS deeply.

    • Oula says:

      I’ve been there Kelley, it gets better – just stay strong & know that really really as bad as it feels, being with/not with is worse.

      I understand feeling like you gave up everything. During the course of my relationship with Mr. AC, I chipped away every inconvenient part of myself, trying arranging my life around his schedule & friends. When we broke up all I had was his world, his career, and a handful of real friends I’d badly neglected – I felt so alone & humiliated, and I was so angry that no one seemed to see him for what he is. That was, of course part of his plan – he wanted me dependent so I wouldn’t leave, then despised me for being weak.

      For me it helped was removing myself entirely from our shared lives. I got a different job, different hang outs, I let our mutual “friends” fade off of facebook – It wasn’t easy – my entire career was tangled up with his, and yes, it still smarts: I had to see him after 8 months to settle some financial entanglements & I was shaking, terrified & almost threw up – But that was ONE day. (well, to be honest it was more like 2 weeks – the week notice I had that he was coming over, and a week after while I processed, freaked out and cleaned my bathroom A LOT) The rest of them are ok, I get on with my life, mostly resist checking his FB and feel 100% better about myself. And you know what? After 10+ years of not having someone who was interested in my dreams or talents except insofar as they benefitted him, I’m finally giving myself permission to have my own back, dreams my dreams and believes in myself. Again, not easy but so much better.

      • kelley says:

        Thank you Oula!!! Its comforting and disheartening at the same time to know others have been through the same thing, but I would rather get a message from a total stranger who has been where I am now and be able to inspire me to move past with valuble information. Close friends and even co-workers can be there for you but if they haven’t gone through the emotional pain it doesn’t help when they say “just get over him”. I very much appreciate your response and this website : )

      • pixieinthedust says:

        I couldn’t have said it better.
        Part of my issue in having stayed in my unhealthy situation for so long was looking for someone to ‘be there for me’, to help with advice (raising a son on my own) BUT what I realized in the end is that I was never going to get that from this man and that I am infinitely better off giving my energy and effort to myself and to my son and that while it would be nice to have a partner, I have to live in present and in reality, to ‘have my own back’ and to believe in myself.
        We all have what it takes to accept and love ourselves just as we are.

        • Oula says:

          Yes, exactly. It would be nice to have a partner – as long as that’s what they really are, and not someone who requires constant maintenance. My AC was like a rickety car, and I was the mechanic that could read the nuance of every squeak or rattle. Once my life was no longer consumed with listening for signs of trouble, I suddenly found I had an abundance of free time to devote to other things. My big challenge is allowing myself the luxury of devoting that time to taking care of myself.

          • pixieinthedust says:

            yes, I can relate to that as well. Once you find all this time and energy freed up (it is amazing how much they took from us), it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with it. It is like a vacuum. We must take care to fill it with what benefits us and what enhances our lives. I know that carring for others sometimes feels easier than carring for ourselves BUT I have a hunch that if I figure this one out and what to do for myself, I will benefit from it. Right now it is difficult for me to even come up with an answer for “what makes me happy”. So I am planning to spend some time with myslef to find that out.

  21. teachable says:

    I’ve been future faked twice but didn’t quite understand the game at the time (because I wasn’t playing it in return).

    One guy, talked marriage & babies after 4 mths of dating. I flushed him when at the 6 mth mark, on the first evening of supposed to be spending the whole evening at my place, he got up & went home, in the middle of the night….to his MOTHER, whom he’d lived with for all his 36 yrs!!! I quickly realised he was never going to marry anyone who didn’t agree to live with him & his Mother! WTH? I’m an independent woman & NOT interested in living w my MIL, (no matter how much I adored her – which I did). He was just living at home b/c it’s cheap (like him in fact) & waiting for his Mother to die so he could inherit the house without having to bother getting out in life & buying his own!! (She’s a widow & he’s an only child). Needless to say, FLUSH!!

    The other time was xAC. Any idea of a future w him was almost laughable (unless one is truely a complete idiot). Still he talked the talk (again marriage & kids) while I said, sorry but you need to sort yourself out first (I didn’t know the full extent of his ‘issues’ at this stage)!!! Then, when I told him his alternative plan, which was to move into my house & collect welfare whilst lying to the Gvt abt being a cpl (!), while I presumably would keep working (despite being in serious illhealth), was a figment of his drug f*cked imagination which was NEVER going to happen, I think REALITY hit (him). Funny how that’s about the time he made himself scarce! FLUSH!!!!!!!!

    Reality for me has never been an issue. I just wish mine wasn’t quite so harsh atm!!! It happens though. I ‘broke’ my life & only I can ‘fix’ it… No future faking there!

    Thanks for the post NML!

  22. wizzy says:

    I love these posts so much.

    I have committed to not waiting for really shady behavior to jolt me out of my dream relationships. While it is tempting to fall for a good session future faking, I must admit there has always been an uneasiness deep down inside about a stranger wanting to have babies with me. An uneasiness that I ignore to my own peril. I also realize that having an opinion for other people about myself is total B/S!!! I have been so wrong about what I thought people were thinking about me.

  23. TwinFlames says:

    This post has me spinning in so many directions, and I’m not quite ready to articulate…, but my “new cloths” definitely include tbinking that I’m the exception to the rule; wanting to be the exception; needing to be the exception;…believing it; …demanding to be it; “twisting” to be it; imagining to be it; trying to rewrite the past by seeking it; knowing that I am not it, but not making the connection; wanting, needing, and struggling for others, situations, …circumstances to be the exception; asking for the exception…finding self-worth, validation…purpose in thinking I have achieved any of this…still finding value in this twisted tool…confusing aspects of it with
    more functional ideas such as “the puruit of excellence, “perserverance,” “positive thinking,” etc.; and being so comfortable in the unfortable, not batting ane eye or losing sleep because I depend on plan B: “Can you make an exception…well, there is always an exception….”

  24. Intothelight says:

    “So…they’ll keep going along with the charade, except for that because the future is catching up with them, they then have to either disappear, behave in a shady way to get you to end it”
    Really related to this – my ex of 2 months a MM said he wanted to be with me when his daughter was older (she was 12 when we met) and future faked that it was only ‘circumstances that kept us apart ‘. Ive said in previous posts his reason for not leaving straight away was that as his wife was foreign he was certain that she would take her out of the country if they split. Now at 18 his daughter is making her own way but he ‘suddenly’ decided our relationship could not continue. I considered him my MBF, for 6 years we spent every weekend together, and as much as possible through the week, spoke 2 or 3 times on the phone every day, then suddenly he said the relationship couldn’t continue with no real reason – he certainly doesn’t have any social life with or love for his wife. He couldn’t keep up the charade because his excuse had ceased to be, the emperor’s new clothes were truly revealed and I should have seen them for what they were but like a fool I only saw what I wanted to. It was a hard lesson, but it led me to this website and for that I am truly grateful because when it comes to relationships I have definitely pulled the wool over my eyes too many times. Its not going to happen anymore.

  25. Stephanie says:

    I encountered one of those charming future fakers. I’ve told the story many times on BR, however this guy totally swept me off my feet by taking me to nice restaurants and bars, he cooked me dinner, complimented me all the time and really made me feel special. I had been single for nearly a year so I was sooo happy to meet someone that was adorable, single and willing to treat me so well. It was all very whirlwind, he was blowing hot and within a month the gaps between seeing each other got bigger he started calling less and I then became confused. I questioned him and got the same old story of “I’m busy with work and family”. After 2 weeks of not seeing him he arranged to take me to meet some of his friends, on the day he sends me a text to cancel whilst I was already dressed in my best outfit waiting for him at the underground station. I felt like a complete idiot, on my joinery back home on the underground I became tearful because I looked so foolish, he was just using me, we talked about marriage, holidays and more kids in the future on our 3rd date. Why didn’t I see the signs at the time? I internalised the whole thing and thought it was something I said or done to turn him off. However I’m more or less over it I still think about him but I realise that this is what he does and how he lives his life.

    • Ria says:

      Stephanie, be no hard on yourself – Natalies instructions werent found yet by us, if they were, lets say, published in eighties, for instance, probably now, this time, our world would be all different in so many levels. And men, actually do respect women more, because l think these days, men are not AFRAID of treating women badly because they have been long getting away with it.
      I remember Nat saying in some of her previous blogs, that this *fast wine and dine and all that jazz* it is, in fact one form of future faking, and be, therefore red flag, or if not red flag, then at least not the currency of relationship.

    • Little Star says:

      Please Stephanie, do not blame yourself… YOU did not do anything wrong!!! It is good that he showed his true colours so soon, so you did not waste 4 years of your life, like I did:-( You are right that these guys are very charming and they know how to “treat” women (in the beginning) and make them to believe their fantasies! My AC also talked about marriage and kids in the beginning of dating and four years later still promising…I already told him several times that I DO NOT BELIEVE to all the crap he was/is saying!!! AND he cant get it, he thinks that if other girls are buying his BS, so he can sell to me…
      Stephanie, stay strong and do not allow this guy to question yourself, you better off without him:-), all the best!

  26. teachable says:

    Hi Wizzy,

    There’s an old saying, (I know, I know; I’m full of ‘old sayings’ lol!), which goes, ‘what ppl think of us is none of our business.’ It’s not an easy one to embrace at times, esp re ppl whose thghts of us matter the most, but really who cares what some ol AC thinks abt ANYTHING, let alone US? I say, let THEM worry about what WE think of THEM instead (which is nada, zippo, nothing at all once we ‘do the work’)!

    All the best to you. T :)

  27. Hannah says:

    I too was future faked by quite a charmer. He pursued me heavily in the beginning. After our first date, we set a new one for the following Friday. He asked me if he could see me earlier. Very eager. Constantly texting me throughout the days from the time I woke up (he went to work in the early morning hours) to the time I went to sleep. I thought it was a bit much, but I hadn’t experienced such attention before and I was flattered. He went from saying sweet things to me about how he was very attracted to me, how much he liked me, how I was special, how he had never met anyone like me before…compliment after compliment. He said he had told his parents about me and that they said I was a keeper. Within three weeks we were spending our weekends entirely together and after 5 weeks, he wanted to plan a cruise to go on at the end of the month. Again I told myself this was too fast, but I told myself to be open, to not call him out, to go along with it. He joked about how we would be rivals during football season, which was 4 to 5 months away..and I thought “Oh, he sees potential!” One day he said he knew it was early on but wanted to keep going forward. I was happy and said I did too. The next week he turned cold, started pulling away, made up an outrageous lie about his job making him leave the country, dumped me, and then started dating some girl who was just a “friend.” Looking back I remember several instances where I knew he lied about this girl (referred to her as his friend’s wife), about his phone dying, about his past relationships, etc..but I ignored. This post woke me up to what happened, and I will definitely pay attention to my gut instincts next time.

    • Kerry says:

      Could you imagine if a woman pursued a guy this way? Calling all the time, right from the get go? Planning a future together when you hardly know each other? Would the guy be flattered, the way we get? Uh, no. In fact, he’d call the woman crazy and run for the hills. He certainly wouldn’t fall under her spell, eat up her every word, and spend every precious moment analyzing her every gesture as if his life depended on it.
      Seriously, girls, these guys aren’t taking control. We’re handing it over to them.

      • yoghurt says:

        Very true.

        One mistake that I made was to think “Wow, this is really undignified. He must really like me to be sacrificing his dignity to me in this way”.

        Nah, it just meant that he didn’t have a lot of dignity or self-respect.

        • nikki says:

          lol Kerry and Yoghurt!
          you two said what I was thinking.

          Undignified in a man =Psycho behavior in a woman.
          The next time I find a man acting toward me in a way that I wouldn’t, because I would be afraid he would run for hills, I will run for the hills!

          • SM says:

            I love the way this behavior in a man is considered ‘undignified’ but same behavior in a woman is considered ‘crazy’. Remember that movie with Kate Hudson ‘How to Get Rid of a Man’ or something like that, the last guy I dated sort of acted like Kate’s character in the movie. I thought it was a bit strange and seemed surreal but was enjoying the attention. Should have put the brakes on but didnt and then the ‘Emperor’ was gone as sudden as he appeared. Live and learn.

      • Hannah says:

        Ha. I didn’t think about it like that. If the tables were turned, the guy would say, “Woah, she is needy.” One of my female friends has commented that he did seem emotionally needy, but again I brushed it off. I totally threw all logic out the window because I was just that hungry for attention. While we started off talking on the phone, I allowed us to turn to texting. He communicated all of those sweet messages through text about how special I was, etc, etc. When we were in person, he was affectionate but definitely did not lay it on thick like he did in text. I really hope I’m more vigilant about lazy communication and future faking.

      • Little Star says:

        Haha, Kerry next time when I meet a future faker, I will remember your post:-) YOU are spot on!!! Thank you!!!

  28. Aura says:

    Regarding future fakers, if he genuinely wanted to be with you, he’d do everything to make that happen.
    If a man tells you that he’s ‘waiting for the right time’ to be with you, what he’s really saying is that ‘he’s waiting for the right time to break up with you’. But he’s happy for you to hang around in hope. It makes him feel good.

  29. Aura says:

    Also, some men lie so much and so often, because they constantly want to make everyone believe that they are lovely and want to see themselves in a good light. They don’t like to think of themselves as liars and so they will keep lying and turn the tables on you if you point anything out. But trying to win a mind game with a liar is not very satisfying and terribly exhausting. 
    Some women want to believe that the man she in her heart knows is lying, is telling the truth, because she wants it to be true. He keeps lying because he thinks he’s making her happy,( because it does, momentarily).  He thinks he’s the nice guy because he’s telling her what she wants to hear, even when he knows it’s not true. He still wants her to believe in him. It’s an exhausting merry go round ride.  
    Also, some women feel that they’ve  put in so much time and effort into the lying bastard that they don’t want that to all be wasted. Better off accepting your losses, rather than letting them snowball. Stop lying to yourself and get the fxxx away from the lying man.

    • jenny says:

      Oh god, so true. So many of the little lies I heard were about casting himself in a good light, or making me feel good in the short term. And he lied about silly things, unimportant things, things you wouldn’t question. When I was faced with the big picture, it was impossible to sort out what was real from what was fabricated, and it was extraordinarily painful. I wasn’t even being told the big whopping lies, like the other women were, I was kept in the dark, under the guise of “business travel” and supposed weekends with his daughter. He didn’t take me ring shopping or house-hunting. When you’re involved with a really gifted liar, you really can’t win. Once you notice that you’re pointing out a lot of inconsistencies, or worse, holding your tongue when you notice inconsistencies, you have to think about if you’re willing to support that pattern in order to stay with this person, because it only gets worse, and the lies become more significant. The more emotionally invested you become, the more you feel you have to lose. I rationalized insensitive behavior. I didn’t even see it until I discovered major, undeniable lies. Even after, a lot of his lies were about casting himself in a positive light, to the point of absurdity. (“I’m a terrible person, I’m so ashamed” etc., while on a plane to win back the “fiancee”). It was painful, made me feel like a complete idiot, to have believed so many silly things.

      My point is, Aura is right – the uncomfortable comfort zone is lying to yourself, giving a liar more power than your own instincts. Someone you really love can convince you the sky is green, but it will take a lot of work to keep that illusion going, and it’s exhausting.

      • pixieinthedust says:

        it was impossible to sort out what was real from what was fabricated, and it was extraordinarily painful

        Jenny, I feel the same way. I have decided that what I did find out to be a definite lie is bad enough that I don’t really want to dissect further to find out more. You can possibly rationalize when it is too little lie or too much. Lie is a lie and betrayal of you and your trust is just that. It is not to be measured by how much.
        Your ex sounds so similar to mine. Mine periodically would have these moments of ‘truth’ when he would say things like ‘I am a terrible person etc’ or even would shed a tear but those were just moments in a large scheme of his game. Sometimes people say stuff like that or cry crocodile tears so to evoke your empathy or to tell him that he is not that bad.. to keep you right were you are; hooked and confused.

      • Hannah says:

        I did the same thing. I noticed inconsistencies in his stories, and they were little stories in his past. So I thought “Okay, that’s big deal.” For instance a story about going to a particular amusement park initially involved going with his unnamed female friend (who I believe to be his ex gf) and two friends later turned into “I went with my parents and brother.” He said he took a friend’s’ wife to go shooting before he met me. Once we became FB friends, I saw he was tagged by his female friend (the current gf) at the shooting range.
        I thought that maybe I should say something, but I didn’t want to be annoying or seem jealous. He also talked about her several times but called her a friend, and still I didn’t ask anything (I mean I have guy friends too). I don’t know if he would have ever told the truth, but I guess my point is that I ignored my instincts too. Maybe if I had trusted my instincts…then maybe I could have walked away a lot earlier before getting too attached to a big walking lie.

  30. Arlena says:

    I’d very much like to inspire (comments or posts) along the lines of this fine analogy: “What can we (the kid) positively say about the male and female in general that is true?” Which gender differences do we really have to acknowledge and take into consideration? Before that we have to really understand our gender DIFFERENCES and what does that mean broken down into bits? What are the lies about male and female, their make-up, their sexuality, their needs…? I’ve come to a place where I want to understand my own feminity in new ways. What is the essence despite current fads or illusions about being feminine. Same goes for maleness. It’s said the feminine is about receptivity, but providing for ourselves in jobs and careers often let us switch into man mode. What are the consequences? – Guys, I’m just brainstorming and as I am not a native speaker I feel a bit at a loss of expressing myself on a more deeper level.

    • Tanya Z. says:

      Interesting question. I am a lesbian. Most of the women who post here are writing about their experiences with men — and yet I always find myself reading their posts and thinking, “Oh, I felt like that too!” My ex was future-faker, and EU, and I’ve since come to realize that I’ve been EU also. So, I don’t know. I’m tempted to say that EU is just EU, no matter what your sex or orientation. Though I will say that I think it’s much easier for men — gay or straight — to just have sex, and walk away. I think that women are more inclined to feel, or want to feel some kind of connection with someone they’ve had sex with.

      • pinkpanther says:

        Me too gay over here…

        Pretty much everything I’ve read on this site I can apply to my own life and the relationships I’ve had. My last one was a future faker. That woman was a great writer of love letters! She made me believe that she saw a future, talked about getting a little house, keeping a garden etc… but she was just just in love with her own poetry. Little sucker that I was, I fell for it. Real life wasn’t matching up with her words, so finally a gay guy friend of mine told me I had to stop acting like such a wuss, and come out and ask her to make a commitment, be bold and stop mincing around. When I did, she did a great impersonation of a slinky toy, and off she went…

        I’m trying to make better choices for myself now. I’ve been EU too, and now I just am ready to grow up and make a good life with someone.

        Women are at least as hard to have good relationships with as are men.

        • MissusHeron says:

          Gay over here but have experienced the same in EU women, myself included. As PinkPanther says it’s just as difficult to read the signs with women as it is with men.

          Still, I haven’t given up yet. And when I’m ready to court again I’ll be a better catch for a better catch. My last relationship was a wake up call for me. 6 months apart and 3 months NC – I’m really only beginning to see my part in a particularly difficult relationship. It’s not pretty.

  31. steff says:

    I think sometimes people say things when they are in “a moment”-especially some guys I’ve known. Then they struggle later to merge the gap between what they’ve said and making it actually happen, even if what they said was true to how they felt “in the moment”. I am drawn to spontaneous and passionate people who sometimes say exactly what they feel, even if what they are saying (trips, moving in, etc.)it can’t really be possible later down the road. So what I’ve accumulated is a mound of very passionate moments with promises and hopes. I think for most guys it’s less malicious and just irresponsible. I think what happens is what they are saying is actually genuine to how they are feeling in A MOMENT, but us who want this so badly or have been alone for a long time, eager to lap up any hint of a future, take it to mean more, or bet on hope. I always wait for actions now, even if words have been spoken to imply more will happen. People who say “I want to marry you, or what would our babies look like?” Is just the passion speaking of the moment if there is no shared length of time or consistency behind them. This does not apply to those who actually go through some of the motions with us and who look to be genuine and then we get slammed….

    • grace says:

      I think it’s irresponsible to go shooting one’s mouth off about marriage, kids, future plans etc. It points to a lack of self-awareness, an inability to learn (they’ve probably gone through this charade before) and shows they don’t take these things, you, or themselves seriously.
      I would be more pre-emptive myself. If someone starts talking this stuff too early on, I’d see it as an amber to red flag. I wouldn’t be thinking “I’ll wait for the actions”. These too-early declarations mean that there won’t be any actions, they’re almost mutually exclusive. Or you might get what’s promised, but not in the form you want. You could get the marriage or the kids or whatever but he’s still not acting responsibly.
      It’s all about the moment. Then tomorrow comes and the next tomorrow, and where then is that golden promised future?

      • Broadsided says:

        I’ve been with “in the moment” people. One such longer term boyfriend was an EUM, and said a lot of his feelings about things were “day-to-day”, yet he never future faked me or made things up about his feelings, and thus I have way more respect for him looking back, then for my last guy who was a future faker that casually toyed with my heart. I don’t think a person should speak on the fly, without careful thought, about such deep things as their future intentions with you. To me, if a guy comes on that hot and heavy then his mirage suddenly evaporates and he bails, it’s high up on the hurtful and irresponsible scale – especially if you’ve had fun together and have no clue it’s coming – I went through it twice, for I gave him the benefit of the doubt and tried again, which seems my silly way. I think whatever the cause, this behavior indicates an inner instability and lack of self awareness as far as relationship skills go, so good riddance, and thanks for the heartache. The only thing I’m bummed about is it’s taken me 2 months to heal from it, while he was hitting the singles bar and picking up women a week later. Shows how deeply he was invested in the “relationship”.

  32. Shell says:

    WOW…… Future Faker’s, who new? LOL. I just got off the merry go round after a year. I spent more time trying to figure this guy out, making myself Loopey in the process. My best friend (who is happily married) got drawn in to . We spent hours analyzing, dissecting his behavior. What does he mean? Why did he do that? It is laughable how easy these guys get you blaming and second guessing yourself. You start to think you are the crazy one! My story. I had been single for 3 yrs. My previous AC had passed away. I decided to try on-line dating. After many bad dates/meetings, I thought I had meet the most amazing guy. He was polite, considerate, and no talk of sex! I thought I hit the jack-pot. He fast-forwarded me. 3 dates the first week, key to his place within a month. Dinners, weekend get aways. I was perfect in his eyes. He was showing me off to his Family the second month. Before you know it talk of moving in, marriage. He was blowing hot, hot, hot. Wow,was I floored the first time I stood my ground on an issue and he broke up with me. Did you think I learned the second time I stood my ground on an issue and he broke up with me How about the third time? NOPE. LOL. This cycle continued for about 5 months. Moving me up and down the scale so he could achieve his comfort zone. I broke it off for the fourth time, he got back onto a dating site within a few hours. I was devastated. How could he? I thought he loved me, wanted to move in, get married. What did I do wrong? How could he want someone else? Of course, I made the mistake of confronting him about the dating site, instead of NC. Where do you think it lead? me right back on the merry go round. I felt that I had invested, my time and effort. I wanted that “return.” I thought by sticking around, I would get that pay-off. I finally went NC on him. I was doing good. Keeping myself busy with work, family and friends. He sends me a cooking video after three weeks, with a “hope you are doing well” attached. Are you f” ing kidding me? Contacts me like nothing happened. Instead of doing the smart things and not responding, I went ballistic on him. Were do you think that lead?? To another 2 months of on again and off again. LOL. Still trying to get that return on my investment. LOL Why do we go back time and time again? We want them to validate us, to say ” I did you wrong, and now I am gonna fix…

    • Little Star says:

      Shell, your story reminds me of my experience. Yours even more intense! I am like you, still cannot get it, why and why we keep allowing these AC back to our lives??? They are not even that special, but I think we just used to them, as you said we want our “investment” back. Instead of forgetting this nightmare and move on, we still digging and investigating and wasting more of our precious time!

  33. cc says:

    I’m sorry this happened to you, and for so long, but don’t go painting the sunset you think he’s going to ride off into with her. he’s still full of shit and a narcissistic, punitive, mean-spirited moocher, it’s just that now he’s doing it to get rid of you, not keep you. it’s in his selfish best interest to make her seem like a goddess and you a lowly cur, and to make this new start seem so fresh, but don’t buy into it – he’s the same taker/fast-forwarder he ever was, and she is in for a rude awakening. and there is no way she’s as great as he’s making her sound. and he’s smart, smart enough to turn the tables on you more than you know – notice who he is describing when he says he felt so neglected in your relationship – YOU. he sounds … well, kind of sociopathic and totally manipulative.

    ixnay, seriously, don’t fall for it. he’s onto his next victim and will do to her what he did to you – no matter how hard he’s slamming the reset button on his whole life. (it’s funny how you can see it so clearly when it’s someone else) the chance that he’s actually going to turn into this great guy for her, given how egregiously abominably he has treated you, is approximately zero. he does not have It in him, at all, however much he wants you to believe (notice how hard he’s trying to convince you) he does.

    truly. he’s a sicko. don’t take the bait.

    • ixnay says:

      thanks,cc. LOL slamming the reset button on his whole life.

      I am totally buying it, too. And he is wearing actual not metaphorical awesome new clothes for his new life. It’s all black-tie events and I guess you need a wife.

      LOL, too, “now he’s doing it to get rid of you, not to keep you.” That is subtle and so true. All-purpose tactic.

      Yeah, I heard it loud and clear when he told me he’s never been so neglected in a relationship. That was a couple of years ago, and I really think (he denies) they were already getting involved. He is very smart and absolutely knows that implying I let him down and didn’t step up to this fabulous love story sends me in paroxysms of self-flagellation. He used to say, “I’m not going to wait forever,” and i would feel this icy panic, because, wasn’t it *me* who was waiting? He was threatening to see other people, i think, justified by my neglectful-girlfriend-ness. But I felt, as you said, manipulated, because how could I be loving him up when he was disrespecting me, without betraying myself? Total paralysis.

  34. cc says:

    ….omg. I just realized that my unavailable man from a couple weeks ago was a future faker.

    he kept pursuing me and i kept resisting because I was concerned he wasn’t ready for a real relationship. y’know how he got me to meet him? “you wrote the profile of the woman I want and if you are that woman then I am ready for you. period.” and we had a date, which he said he loved and it could have gone on forever and then it was only a matter of HOURS until he started making ‘I’m not ready’ noises, at which point I pulled the plug on it. but still – FUTURE FAKER!!!

    at least he had the decency to take his profile down, take himself out of the dating pool so he doesn’t do this again. I swear, men separated/divorced for less than, say 2 years, are just walking biohazards. ugh.

  35. cc says:

    Son’s father and ixnay’s AC are very similar. go back and read the uncomfortable comfort zone note i left you, i hope it helps.

  36. Sue says:

    Can anyone answer this question for me? Why would a EUM/AC who refused to make any effort stalk me for over a year? I don’t get it. We were acquaintances, then friends, but when I saw an ugly part of his personality, I disappeared after only a handful of conversations. He snapped at me and insulted me. We never dated. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • grace says:

      Stalking doesn’t mean that they love you or even like you. It doesn’t point to good intentions. Many who’ve been stalked end up killed or maimed. I’ve had friends drop me in the past, I’ve called them a few times, left messages and then I let it drop. I had to respect that they were no longer interested. It would have been disrespectful of me to keep hammering at them. Plus I have my pride!
      Stalkers don’t care about you. They want to have control. It’s hard for us non-controllers to get it so you just have to accept it without understanding it. What you are like is not what they are like. What motivates you is not what motivates them.
      That a friendship ended is not that unusual, though it can be sad. Snapping at you and insulting you is a no-no. I’ve done it a very few times and when I have, I’ve apologised quickly. Stalking is also unacceptable.
      You only have to know that he’s behaved badly towards you and that you’re better off without him. That’s the only insight I got.
      Some things are unknowable. And that’s a good thing. You’re not supposed to know that stuff.

  37. So much wiser says:

    Unavailable men do marry the fallback girl she is called the flogger. The flogger is a catergory of fallback girl that is able to get Mr. Unavailable down the aisle but they are still unhappy. She is the fallback girl because eum use them so they can keep up appearences or having financial troubles. Natalie wrote a whole chapter on the flogger and the cheater all eum at one time or another are involved with different catergories of fallback girl miss independent the renavotor or florence. Just because he marries it means nothing you could be his settling option when getting married is the last resort when he runs out of options and just wants to appear normal. You want a man to marry you because he loves you not because he’s getting to old or cannot support his self on his own. You would be nothing but a glorified roomate. When he no longer has a need for you he will be gone or make you life miserable so that you leave them.
    These men are nightmares anyway imagine living with them! These men almost always cheat. Be grateful that you didn’t end up the flogger.

  38. Atrophy says:

    I would like to say thank you.

    The title alone of this post made me reflect on the relationship I was entering (first one since the 6yr EUM one). I noticed the red flags and didn’t think of it as the last chance saloon. Today, I was brave and called it quits, something my old self would have never done.

    He understood and it felt good to be honest with myself and not chase affection/a relationship with someone that I didn’t have many shared values with to begin with. Nat, you are spreading a lot of wisdom and for those of us here eager to learn, it is making a difference!

  39. Sue says:

    I agree. Some things we’ll never know. Doesn’t make sense to stalk a women you never dated or stalk at all. I’ve notified the police to patrol my block, but it still goes on. He even has family members helping him. I just wish it would stop. Makes me apprehensive to come and go freely or even garden in my yard.

  40. Kerry says:

    Most of you have probably seen this by now, since it’s gone viral, but this is what it’s supposed to look like when a guy is into you, cherishes you, and wants a future with you. This, or some semblance of it, anyway.

    • Little Star says:

      Kerry thank you for the link…I am afraid, it will never happened to me:-(

    • nikki says:

      wow! either he’s one hell of a future-faker or he’s just given ammunition to every other eu/ac who now won’t propose because they could never top that.

      wow. I am a cynical B!! lol

    • Magnolia says:

      Omigod, I cried. I hadn’t seen it yet. Thanks.

    • Sunshine says:

      Okay, wow, yes, thank you!! What amazes me, is that 60 people had to get together and make this all work. I don’t have *6* friends that could be bothered to show up on time for anything, much less put even 1/10th of the energy and effort it takes to put something like this together. (Heck, after culling out the BS, I don’t think I even have 6 actual friends..more like 3. Super High Quality!)
      Now I have a model for what I’m going for in life…!

    • Nelly says:

      That’s incredible. I think it speaks volumes about the quality and emotional soundness and connection of any person, male or female, who can enlist the cooperation and support of that many people to that extent. Thanks for the picture of what it could look like – one day maybe!

  41. Spinster says:

    A few years ago, right before finding out about this website, my local newspaper had an article about certain “types” to avoid in relationships. The main one discussed in the article was “the runner”. Of course, I didn’t know it as future faking back then, but yeah… “the runner” – talking about what will be, can be… then running away without any of it coming to fruition. 😐 I encountered one who future faked to the high heavens via a whirlwind courtship (I discussed him on here a long time ago), and he was the first & LAST – never again. 😐

    Off to read some comments.

  42. ChiTownKitty says:

    Well, I am making progress but I wonder….am I just falling for a better class of AC? Namely one that has better lines and delivery? I met someone through an online dating site. He contacted me. On the surface he wasn’t what I “wanted”—lived an hour away, had two teen sons. But I thought I would give it a shot as neither was a total deal breaker (yes, the drive–in Chicago traffic-could be tricky and while I would prefer an empty nester like myself in order to avoid situations with the ex that other friends have dealt with well, I thought let’s see where this goes)….

    We IMed twice and although I was very wary in the beginning I found myself drawn to him. Then we talked on the phone a few times and it was great. Then we finally met…and the chemistry was off the charts. He was sweet, attentive without being suffocating, open and understanding…we met when we could and talked…one night we were talking and deleting our online accounts. He said that it was like making a commitment to each other (I know, oy vey!)

    His version of future faking wasnt the moon and the stars variety but more in terms of how the relationship would progress…us spending weekends together, biking, taking daytrips, the promise of more late night phone calls and the same level of communication as the relationship deepened.

    How did it go? The communication slowly petered out—no more phone calls unless he was driving home, and most interesting no time spent anywhere but my place. I kept suggesting I go to his place (his children dont live with him) and got the standard “my place is a mess” (name a divorced guy who has a nice place!)…no movie nights, no bike rides….just my place for sex (he called it a “refuge”)…it took me a bit of time to realize just what was going on given the distance and our schedules meant we didnt see each other more than once a week and I did call him on it and ended it.

    What gets me is that I am so on the lookout for my previous AC/EUM that I missed this one (I look back and can see that the man wasnt over his divorce at all)….how do I balance leeriness with keeping my heart open?

    PS No more online dating for me—too many weirdos and jerks!

    • Sue says:

      CHItown Kitty, I know there are a lot of creeps in CHItown, but don’t give up! It only takes one. Maybe try social events instead of online dating. That’s what I’m going to do.

      • ChiTownKitty says:

        Thanks Sue! For the present I plan on “Taking the summer off” if in my travels I meet someone, that’s great-if not, I have more than enough to keep me busy.
        The suburb I live in is heavily family populated but there have to be some single guys in their 50s around here somewhere.
        Im not so much upset as a bit jaded. Im proud of myself for getting back out in the dating pool and avoiding the obvious sharks! I have also really gotten into my head that its okay to be beats waking up next to a snoring AC any day of the week!

        • Sue says:

          CHItown Kitty if you need a partner for the guy hunt, let me know.I also live in a suburb of CHI town.

  43. Magnolia says:

    Okay, feeling a little – no, more than a little, annoyed. This isn’t really a future faker situation but apparently there was some faking going on.

    I’m attending a big academic conference just now and a prof I met a couple times over the past couple years through school life (thought he was young-ish, turns out he’s a bit older than I thought but that’s not the issue) asked me if I was in town, and if yes, to coffee.

    I liked this guy. He seemed like the opposite of all the ACs we talk about. Relatively soft spoken, not a drinker, hardworking, nice conversationalist etc, not to mention sharing some of my quirky perspectives on literature. Because I knew I liked him, I said to myself, well, just go for coffee – it could be nothing, just a professional meeting, so I’ll conduct myself accordingly and see if there is a vibe or not. Also if he’s with someone he’s certainly the type to tell me.

    We met and chatted for a good couple hours, then decided to grab a quick dinner before heading to a social event at the conference. More than once, I thought, well, if this guy is ‘into’ me, then he’s kind of self-absorbed: talked a lot about himself without responding with questions about me. But otherwise the conversation was friendly.

    Then after dinner, as we’re walking back, he says, “Magnolia, I’m sorry, I’m behaving like a deceitful shit. I don’t want to be a deceitful shit. I should tell you I have a partner.” I was like, ‘oh, okay, thanks,’ but then dropped it. We went to the social event, talked to others, then went our sep ways.

    I’m pissed now and can’t quite tell why I’m angry. Maybe because I thought I’d met someone cool and STILL there was deception, or because I didn’t just walk away for him assuming that he was leading me on when I was still trying to just stay open to what was … I guess I’m bummed, too. I was a little excited about this one. Not just friendly and “not interested,” fucking ask-me-to-coffee knowingly “deceitful”! Grrr!!

    • A says:

      I’m guessing you’re pissed because of the way he delivered the news “I’m a shit, I’ve been deceitful”….so he enjoyed behaving as though you were on a date and deliberately had not mentioned having a girlfriend. It also carries a hint of “oops, I’ve led you on and you’re obviously into me, I must now let you down!”

      I’ve been in situations before where I’ve been the one in a relationship and I’m not sure if the guy asking me to meet up was doing so on a friendship basis or for a date. I never wanted to be presumptuous, but would slip a reference to my bf into the conversation at some point just in case (e.g., “that place is great, i went there with my boyfriend last month). Anyways, my point being that he could have done the same earlier in the evening in a more natural way. But really, you said he sounded boring and self-absorbed anyways–so no big loss!

    • jennynic says:

      That would irritate me too. A lot! He was ‘trying on’ deceit to see how it felt. He fessed up, but you were still a target of deceit and there is nothing respectable about that. The confession doesn’t excuse the crime. The upside, at least you know you dodged a future hollow tipped bullet, instead you got a stinging BB. Be thankful for that under your rightful anger. It’s discouraging that we have to keep encountering these men. They are like fungus.

  44. Magnolia says:

    Oh yeah – forgot this – it was only after, as I was thinking about it, that I remembered that at a couple points I asked what else he did besides work. Seemed natural enough, we were talking about work-life balance. He evaded the question once and the next time, he said, “I bike around the city.” It seemed a little weird, but I just thought, okay, too bad, maybe he’s more boring than I’d hoped, maybe he’s a total workaholic.

    It’s not like I ever asked if he had a gf, I believe I conducted myself well, and yet I still got lied to AS IF we were on a date, as if I’d come on to him? Sorry … I’m more pissed about this than expected.

    It’s just … I took him as a sincere person, just nerdily into himself and leading a dull life outside work … I was getting SIGNS that he wasn’t into me and I assumed it was just his nerdy character. Instead it was signs that he really wasn’t ‘interested’ in ME, but maybe interested in something else, until his oh-so-noble change of heart and confession. I feel devalued, as if he saw me as cheap without me ever realizing it, until that moment.

    Okay, venting over.

    • Thea says:

      Don’t feel bad about it – bet he does that to all the women he encounters. “I have a paaaaartner!” This guy used you for an ego stroke. That’s why you are angry – you know there’s something fishy going on. Decent people don’t do that.

    • yoghurt says:

      No, I totally get that. It’s like shooting a civilian. Fair play, if you’d put yourself out there to be shot down but you DIDN’T and you STILL got the ego-kicking (small, mind you, but still) of being shot down.

      So it’s like a little ego-boost for him without any risk or effort or anything! “Oh hey, it makes someone feel bad when I say I’ve got a girlfriend. Cool. I’m still da man”. Nope, it made you feel bad for a variety of OTHER reasons, it’s just that bucket-head won’t recognise the subtlety of that particular social nuance.

      I hate it when they do that, gitfaces.

      • yoghurt says:

        …although whenever it’s happened with me I’ve found it helpful to laugh at them in an “ohmywordyouthoughtIwasINTERESTED??!” sort of a way. Little kick in the testicles right back at them.

    • Snowboard says:

      I think this was very impolite of him. I feel like he got a big ego boost out of your little date, and then gets to relieve his guilt, by letting you know at the very end he has a partner!! I am sure you felt embarrassed, and that was wrong of him to put you in that position. I also don’t think it was a coincidence that he forgot to mention her; I think he wanted to keep his options open at least for a little bit. It’s also possible he is not happy in his relationship and is considering leaving, but that doesn’t excuse it. He has no place to start looking for other women until he is single.

      • ixnay says:

        I’ve posted about this before, and it is totally real and icky, magnolia. Men who tell you, unasked and as if claiming the moral high ground, that they have a partner, when your only connection to them is being a woman and being in proximity. It makes me feel like they are telling me I must be so desperate for a man that they had better pre-empt how into them I’m about to get. And this is like, totally random people, not even coffee date people. And then I feel like they feel really good about themselves and their boundary-setting honesty.

        It’s creepy and presumptuous. It’s like future-faking-fakeout. I know you’re dreaming about a future with me because, let’s face it, I’m a guy who is standing less than 2 feet from you. I’m gonna let you down easy.

        • Magnolia says:

          Ha ha Ixnay, you nailed it. I mean, one thing to let me down if I’ve made it clear I want to go on a date, another to behave as if by agreeing to have coffee with him that I’ve confessed my lifelong crush.

          Thanks ladies. I have to say this little drama faded pretty quickly into the background because today I accepted the JOB! Will say a little about it in the current post.

  45. Em says:


    I haven´t been here for a while, but I just wanted to say that I´ve been dating this guy infrequently for a few months, and now I´m realising he´s just not that into me (I called him and asked him if he wanted to meet me, he was going abroad for work but said he´d check his calendar and see when he could, and then never got back; and that was five days ago and he´s been back in the country for two of them).

    And I am now able to stop it. To cut it off. Not to pursue him anymore. It hurts. A lot. But I am not going to start another mad “relationship” that´ll last for years. I´m cutting my losses and moving on so I can find someone who does want me. And I am SO grateful for all I´ve read here.

    It is off. It is not going to happen (unless he turns around and is consistently interested and available, but chances seem extremely low that that´ll happen).

    Plus, I realise he has a lot of my mother´s negative traits. Have you read A General Theory Of Love, Natalie? I think it adds scientific weight to a lot of what you´re saying.

    • Polly says:

      Hi Em,

      Is this the same man you were writing about a few months ago or a different one? It is good that you are recognising that this isn’t the sort of relationship you want for yourself but I read into what you wrote that you are not really fully behind no contact as you still seem to be waiting for him to turn into someone who is going to suddenly commit to you. If he hasn’t demonstrated anything that would suggest he will do this it is just a fantasy keeping you invested. I hope you are sticking to it and also that you can stop waiting and hoping he will change and accept he won’t so you can move on. That’s the trick really. I know it’s hard though.

      • Em says:

        Hi Polly,

        thanks :)

        This is a new guy, who I´ve only known for a few months, and only dated very briefly (a couple of dinners, long, good conversations, lots of laughing). We don´t know each other well at all.

        So yes, I´ve moved on from being in love with my best friend who didn´t want to be my boyfriend :) As for new guy, I guess I´m being very strict while it´s still early exploratory days, but I just don´t want to get sucked into another story like the last one, which means I´m not calling him again now.

  46. GinaMarie says:

    Pretty much all my dating encounters consisted of future fakers, but I realized that the truth was that I was drawn into the illusion because I wasn’t ready for a healthy relationship. It’s true that when you are honest with yourself and your feelings you aren’t drawn to the lies because you are in reality. It brought up a recent experience I had. I haven’t really been dating all that much but decided to give it a go. One guy who wrote me on the dating site suggested that I text him so we can make conversation easier. I wrote back and told him I prefer the phone. He left me his number and I left mine. I did end up sending a text that night just to make a little small talk but to mention to call me on the phone to have a conversation and make plans. What I noticed was that his words and actions didn’t match. He kept saying over the internet that he wanted to get to know me and for me to tell him about myself, although I mentioned I don’t do well randomly talking about myself and asking him to ask me questions he didn’t follow through. I did give him some information about myself yet when I did, he didn’t even comment about what I said. Anyways, we agreed he would call me to make plans over the weekend to meet, even if it was for a cup of coffee or something. Two days later I receive a text “Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while, wanted to see how you are doing” – I text him back “Was it just my imagination or did we agree that you would call so we could make plans, plus it’s only been 2 days” He wrote back and said that “I wasn’t really sure what my friends and I were going to end up doing all weekend. That’s why I was trying to get in touch with you tonight. I was going to see what you were doing tomorrow”

    At that point I didn’t respond. The guys who make pretend a conversation, or agreement didn’t even take place are being not genuine and there is something not right there. That was the end of that.

    • jenny says:

      Good for you, nipping it in the bud!
      That sounds to me like a guy I dated in SF. I later learned it’s it was part of a technique. Here’s something I’ve witnessed: there’s a type of online dating ass who’s playing several new prospects. He can’t keep track, so he throws out a generic broadcast, sees who replies, and then responds with something that sounds vaguely more specific. You try to pin him down, and he makes an excuse that’s basically “sorry, I’m so busy, but I’m Really interested in you Now. Tell me all about you. What are you doing tomorrow/next week/etc.? We’ll make a plan written in stone.” He’s playing this with several people simultaneously, and making last-minute plans, possibly while he’s still in the middle of a date! Keeping it all text and email – not only lazy, but he can use these as notes to keep women straight in his mind. If you don’t know better and get reeled in and attached, it gets pretty hairy.

      I would’ve forgotten the dynamic of the doubts I had at the very beginning if you hadn’t written this. I put it down to his work and his totally believable excuses, and my willing suspension of disbelief and naivete, having had very little dating experience after a marriage of 15 years. Live and learn, I guess.
      It’s a crazy old world, that online stuff makes it so much murkier.

  47. Sue says:

    Magnolia, I don’t think he saw you as cheap. He prob had the change of heart because he could tell you weren’t the type to be the other woman. I think he is a player and was testing the waters. Good for you for not taking the bait. You kept your cool and went to the social event , then went your separate ways. Poor girlfriend. She is with this LOSER!!! Don’t be mad, be grateful you dodged a bullet.

    • cc says:

      i agree with sue. there must have been something about you that screamed, in a good way, “too good to mess with”. so he put himself on an ego trip and implied with his “i’m a deceitful shit” statement that you were into him at all – he really is a loser. but you must have been exuding something special and irreproachable that even this loser picked up on – so he had nothing to fall back on but his own ego. small comfort. and you win.

      seriously – reinterpret this as a win, as you doing something right. but yeah, it is friggin irritating…

      • Magnolia says:

        I appreciate this thought, Sue and cc. Wouldn’t it be nice if simply being self-possessed and having self-esteem could produce an aura that would make all ACs suddenly tear their hear and proclaim: “She’s way too good to mess with. I am a deceitful shit!”

        Laughing at the idea. I don’t think we’d be able to walk 100m down the sidewalk.

  48. Lizzy says:

    Dear Natalie, I can so relate to the subject of this post (and many of the comments especially Ixnay), after being future-faked for 10+ years, up to the point of a booked (then cancelled) wedding back in 2004, followed by a miserable and protracted split in which we were “friends” for two years before it dawned on me that not only was my AC was completely naked but he was still expecting me to put up with his sulking and scrounging ways!
    I’ve just come back from a solo wander round my local park and was musing on how I’m happier than I’ve ever been because everything seems clearer and simpler and ‘righter’ and no longer murky, miserable, muddled and wrong – and it is all because of Baggage Reclaim. Reading every post and comment every day for nearly two years now has been an education in self-esteem and boundaries for someone who was taught that it was wrong to have either, and acted accordingly for 4o years.
    The tiny steps I have taken have all added up and the positive effect has trickled through to my work and my relationships with friends and family.
    I just wanted to say thank you again. I can honestly say that finding BR is the best thing that ever happened to me. Please keep drumming this priceless information into me. I’m so grateful to have stepped off the hamster wheel. Thank you x1000000 xxx

    • Little Star says:

      Yes, I also want to say thank you Natalie, Baggage Reclaim the best thing that happened to me for the last three years! God bless you xxx

  49. Gina says:

    Thanks Jenny, that makes sense now… probably exactly what he was doing, not like I care, but I didn’t think of it like that.

  50. Aura says:

    He made you feel like crap and now you’re making yourself feel like crap.
    There is a reason that you kept asking him. He obviously had you on edge. Your intuition didn’t trust him. You have to trust your intuition.
    By the way, a normal guy’s response would be to reassure you and tell you he loves you.
    You are one of the people who’s story I recall. Think he sounded really cruel. Wasn’t he the
    one that made you physically ill and was smiling
    about it?
    Do you really want to be putting yourself through angst for years and years?
    There are some really good men out there. You can berate yourself for what you call your mistakes, ( and I call your intuition), or you can accept that you’re a work in progress, ( everybody is), and if he doesn’t love you, then he doesn’t deserve you.
    You deserve better.

  51. Kitka says:

    Aaah….future faking. This was a real turning point in my relationship with my AC, back in February. He was off for two weeks in Florida visiting his mother. The first week it was just him and his son, and the second week his gf was coming down (which he said he was dreading, blah blah). So the first week was awesome, he called me first thing in the morning, all day long, last thing at night. It was great, and completely out of the norm as he LIVES with his gf and normally wouldn’t take the risk.
    By the end of the week I am feeling so connected to him (amazing what having real conversations can do) and he starts talking about having a family. Wants to marry me, and hasn’t ever felt that way about anyone before. Wants a daughter with me. Wants a future and is going to take steps to move forward quickly, wants it to happen. He also told me that he told his mother and brother about me. Meanwhile, I start feeling this weird sense of panic about the true reality of moving forward with him. I of course stifled it because I was enjoying the fantasy and the connectivity.
    His gf comes, and he still calls me at least 2 times a day, things seem good. We make plans to get together the day after he gets home. We live two hours away from each other so I drive up for the day. Depressed (he also suffers from bipolar, which he refuses to take meds for, instead he smokes weed), and made me so uncomfortable I wanted to get up and leave. I’m thinking, wtf, here we have the opportunity to make plans and explore the feelings of intimacy we just experienced…and he’s such a self centered brat that reality is staring him in the face now that he is home. He can’t handle it. Ugh.
    After that, he never ever mentioned any of the things we talked about in fl. It was as if it had never happened. A few times I tried to call him on it, because he was writing checks he never intended to cash. He put me off with how busy he was, I needed to be patient, he was taking baby steps to move out on on with our relationship (baby steps?!?)
    Interestingly enough, the last time I “broke up” with him, he brought up the fact that he knew it bothered me he never talked about what he said to me. And started to say that he really meant it and wanted those things and knew it was important to me, but I was so disgusted I told him I was over it and didn’t want to revisit. He…

    • MissE says:

      I can very much relate to wanting the fantasy & “connection” so you stifle the actual sensible thoughts that arise. I have been in a non-relationship with an EUM for over a year that has brought me incredible anxiety, yet I lived for the moments of fantasy, future faking & “connection”. I know I must be EUM as well, but in this case, I’m the one who seems to want him more, even though I realistically have told myself time & again that we aren’t even a good match. We have shared interests & some shared values and I have learned a lot from him, but not enough to sustain the kind of relationship I want, yet I chose to stick w/ him & the fantasy. I told myself a commitment from him made no sense, as we wouldn’t make it as a serious couple, yet I wanted him to at least want to commit & be serious about me. When the relationship didn’t progress, didn’t have emotional intimacy and he showed little effort -I’d be upset, albeit I KNEW it made no sense for him to invest in me in that way. Yet I still wanted him to. When he spoke of the future or shared w/ me emotionally I lived on that high & replayed it for days/weeks, feeling so good….then I would crash back to reality realizing, I wasn’t his real girlfriend, we had no real plans, we don’t do anything real couples do, except talk and have sex smh.

      I don’t want to beat myself up although I “should know better”. The patterns I’ve learned in attracting EUMs have been deeply entrenched so it will take a while for me to unlearn them. I’ve come a far way in even admitting what the problem is & being able to reflect on & analyze my situation. I feel ridiculous on one hand because “I KNEW” and still fell for him, still wanted his validation etc. I am on an up and down rollercoaster of being frustrated & tired of this non-relationship & wanting to throw it away so I can make room for something better, yet still attached to it, still scared to let go, still sickened at the thought of him finding another woman, actually loving her, commiting to her. I know realistically it has nothing to do w/ me & I also know I have a choice too and truthfully I don’t choose him either, yet why do I make him choosing me so important and necessary? I suppose knowing it intellectually and actually believing it deep down where it changes your behavior are different.

  52. dove says:

    Wow, MissE, sounds like you and me have had the same relationship going on with the same guy…this is scary to think that there are so many of us in situations so much alike. I am trying to be NC with the guy I was seeing, not being successful at it yet, but its like waking from a fantasy, I wanted to believe in the fairy tale even though reality was pounding at my door. I still want that fantasy even though I know it isn’t real. Its been a couple of days this time. I’ve tried walking away before, only to let him reel me back in with more stories and just enough effort to get me hooked and landed, but no real substance behind it all. I find myself looking under the act, to the scared little boy on the inside, and want to protect him from the big bad world…and all along he’s taking me for a ride and I let him.

    • MissE says:

      Dove, yes you said it perfectly. The knowing that the fantasy isn’t real, but still wanting it. Allowing them to not do so much and then when they show 3% of effort, we act like they moved a mountain *rolleyes*. I intellectually know I am worth more, but have to admit to myself that I don’t actually BELIEVE it deep down….or else I wouldn’t allow this at all. It reminds me of Natalie’s article a while back on women who talk too much…i.e. we talk and talk to these guys, our friends, ourselves about what we want and deserve, but our actions show the complete opposite.

      I do know though that the fact that we’re here means we’re aware and we do want change, so it may not come over night, but eventually we will get to a place where we genuinely believe and act like it :)

      • Dove says:

        I just had to come back and re- read this, last night the guy texted me…classic move; almost made three weeks this time before his first attempt, to see if there was anything. I also read the time of day post, and that is right on with what he texted, he was just testing the water, chancing his arm to see where I stood and if there was still something. Regrettably, I did reply to his question on if I wanted to get together, I asked if he was asking me for a date…his reply, not a yes or a no, but ‘something like that’…amazing. Logic tells me he is a two-timing four flusher for sure…but I still do miss the fantasy.

  53. Teddie says:

    I’ve recalled the myth of Ariadne and Theseus recently, the one where she gives him a thread which helps him find his way out of the labyrinth after slaughtering the Minotaur. He promises to take her to Athens and wed her. Do you know how the myth ends? He abandons her asleep on an island.
    Myths have something very universal about them, don’t they?

  54. Dragonfly says:

    Miss E and Dove,
    I’ve been in that same relationship too for the past year. He came on strong and sucked me in. He was going to rescue me from the abusive relationship I was getting out of. He talked about all the stuff we were going to do together. He wanted to take me on vacations, he talked about having children, he talked about how he was tired of being alone and watching life pass him by. This was all while I was going through a divorce. Once I was free and available to finally partake in the dreamy life he blathered on about, he started the slow fade. The daily communication started to slow up dramatically, the talk about doing anything real besides our evening stay at home dates dwindled. He was in the process of moving out of his house and went through a transition where he had to stay at a “friends” house for about 7 weeks. Funny how I never was clued in to who these friends were. When I finally started to push for details, it became even more strained between us. After he moved out of his house, he became completely unavailable. It was obvious, he was living with another woman. I confronted him and got the typical “you know how much I cherish the time we spend together…you know how important you are to me…I just think that dating at work is a “recipe for disaster””
    Yep, he actually said that. Dating at work is a no-no but apparently having sex with co-workers is perfectly fine. I came to find out through another work friend that he’d had a girlfriend for almost the entire year we were involved. At one point he did get in touch with me and was crying about how devastated and miserable he was over his screwed up life. He said he and his GF had broken up and how he had been torn between us and he mistakenly chose her and he wanted another chance with me. I said that it was obvious that we weren’t a good match. We swore we would always be friends no matter what but after that happened, over the course of the next several weeks our communication dwindled more and more until now it’s pretty much NADA. I think they have been having ups and downs but are still together, and I think he comes looking for me when they are going through downs. Lucky me. The last time we saw each other was 3 weeks ago when he asked if he could come by my house after work. He can’t ever take me out in public and he can’t invite me over to…

  55. Sandra81 says:

    Dear Natalie,
    Speaking of future-faking and fast-forwarding, I often read in some of your articles that some people “over-estimate their own interest” at the beginning of a relationship. Is it really possible in grown-up people? I think I used to do that sometimes, but when I was a teenager. I though I fancied a guy, I was moving fast on him or let my immagination go into overdrive, but in a few days or weeks I was loosing interest for one (silly) reason or another. Now, as an adult, generally I have clear ideas, but I have discovered people who act like my own self. Nat, can you please write about this “phenomenon” a bit more someday? :)

  56. Nelly says:

    Hi – newbie here to the site. I’ve found the discussions here very helpful and supportive over the last few months since my breakup. Especially on the subject of the EUM. I think I read here somewhere that the Emotionally Unavailable Man sits somewhere between the Bad Boy and Mr.Nice Guy and is one of the most dangerous men you’ll meet because of the potential he shows.

    Yes, the ‘future talking’ was a big element in my getting totally emotionally invested in him way too soon, plus he’d “never felt this way before”. I still have no reason to doubt his sincerity from his point of view and actually, commitment was not the issue. If anything, he pushed the commitment agenda.

    However. I do know that my self-esteem suffered from the mixed messages received from inside this ‘committed’ relationship. The hot and cold, ignoring messages, playing the nasty/nice game until he finally sabotaged it and then blamed it on me. He even said “If you want more than I can give you, then you need to find someone who can give it”. Honesty, at last, straight from the horse’s mouth! And a kind of admission that my expectations would never have been met, expectations that I now realise are normal and reasonable, now that I have some distance from him and his ability to manage those expectations.

    After a confusing time following the breakup, I instigated the 60-day No Contact Rule which he has respected. This is coming to an end but I’m still only just beginning to really focus on me and build up self-esteem again. In truth, I’m still in love with the great, good guy in him who showed up on many occasions. I don’t know how long it will take to truly let him go and ‘un-invest’ my heart. I may see him at an event I’m committed to in a few weeks. I still feel a bit vulnerable. Any advice?

  57. confused? says:

    i found this website and article after trying to figure out what happened to me just this past week. Apparently there was this guy who had a crush on me at work for a couple of months but because of his position at work, he never said anything. a couple of months later when i found out he had a crush on me, some coworkers planned a lunch for all to go and him and I to get to know each other. Honestly I had seen him around before but never really thought much of him. Anyways, he seemed like a nice guy so a week later we were able to finally exchange numbers and that same night that we exchanged numbers he took me on a date. It went so well that we hung out all weekend long although sex was never involved. I made it pretty clear that i was pretty conservative when it came to sex. he said he would wait as long as i wanted even if it meant marriage. it took me a little by surprise that he would say “marriage” in the first couple days together but i didnt think much about it. After that we spent EVERYDAY together. By the second week of dating he made me his official girlfriend and even changed his status on facebook so everyone could see. Since i don’t have facebook he talked about a joint account and i put my foot down and said no. the entire time he kept talking about “us” and “we” and our future. he asked me when i wanted to get married and he asked if waiting 2 years was ok because he had to take care of some things in his life. he said that he wasnt planning on getting a girlfriend for a while because he wanted to work on himself but then he met me and he couldnt help himself and now he wanted to do all he could to make us work and his goal was to make me happy and be good to me. He would even tell his friends that i was the only girl that has ever made him want to be a better man and he would even tell me that he wanted to change and he needed help from me because he wanted to do it for us. This whole time i had my reservations as he said all these things to me. I kept my guard up and told my friends and most of them were concerned how fast he was moving. He was also very controlling and wanted me to be with him all the time. If i wanted to spend time with my family or friends, he would get upset and say ” but i’m your boyfriend, we’re suppose to spend time together. we’re a team”. He left for a business trip for a couple of days and it gave me…

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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