getting blinded by principles

  • It’s the principle of the matter; why should he/she get away with making a mug out of me?
  • It’s the principle! He/she said that they loved me / would do _______ and I’ll be damned if they get away without delivering. I would never do/say _________ if I didn’t mean it!
  • I don’t believe in ________________ {insert stepping away from or addressing unhealthy behaviour}.
  • Can you believe that they’re saying / doing / believing _________? I don’t believe in it and people like that are _______ and I don’t understand why they won’t change and see my point of view because it would be better if they were _________.
  • It’s not right that he/she has had an affair and is able to go about their merry life while I’m left with nothing / feeling miserable.

We can suddenly be very clear on what our own beliefs or even our ‘rules’ about our personal behaviour or that of others when things don’t go our way. When I see people going for the five hundredth round of rumination on the same thing or they’re stuck on doing a lather, rinse, repeat with someone that they desperately want to change instead of ‘admitting defeat’, or they’re just feeling the pain of living with too many assumptions, it’s a sign that they’re being blinded by their principles.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s very important to have your principles (or personal commandments) which are really your own guidelines for personal behaviour based on truth, assumption (although be careful of running with assumptions that don’t hold true for you or others) and law but, if you don’t address the bigger picture when there is more than one person involved and basically evaluate your own position, the true result of those principles will be warped by stubbornness.


Are you really going to drag out something for days/weeks/months/years over your principles that someone else is not abiding by? Why do you feel that you have to ‘teach’ or ‘show’ this person?

Are you okay with being a martyr, so recognising that you’re being taken for a ride or even abused but then quoting your principles about why you’re still there?

Are you going to continue trying to impose your principles on someone who has shown or said that they’re incompatible with yours?

Where do you draw the line?

Somebody said to me recently, “It’s my policy not to get angry.” Apparently it makes people look “childish” and “unsavoury”. Of course they’re deeply unhappy and I suspect that they’re going to erupt one day with all of those suppressed feelings. This would be one of those times when I would say “Eff your principles!”

When a friend said that it felt wrong that her married ex was “getting away with it” by being able to go back to his marriage that incidentally, he was never leaving in the first place, I asked, “What are you going to do? Turn into the married man vigilante? What are you going to do when the vigilante for Other Women turns up?” and we ended up having a laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.

Sometimes you’ve got to know when to fold. Principles are wonderful for fighting on your behalf (stepping up for you and representing your needs in a respectful manner for instance or for driving a cause) but can be problematic when you’re essentially making you miserable by going toe-to-toe with someone who you’re not compatible with or who at the end of the day in the bigger picture, it’s not worth your misery.

Don’t get blinded by principles especially when they kick in belatedly. Yeah sure, you could make it your mission to make someone abide by your principles and even play deliverer of what you determine their karma to be (which incidentally is skewed because it’s based on your perspective and ‘justice for you’) but actually, it’s best to get out of the situation or distance yourself from that person as quickly as possible so that you can get back to being you. Or… agree to disagree.

It doesn’t mean that they’re getting away with anything, it’s just that you trying to drive your agenda through isn’t really a natural consequence and ultimately it’s not up to you to spend your life clobbering lessons into others when you could be living your own life according to you.

Your thoughts?

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites
Tagged with:

154 Responses to Getting Blinded By Your Principles

  1. Took me a long time to just step back and let karma run it’s course (or not in some cases), and to stop thinking that it was my responsibility to make sure people got what they deserved when they had wronged me.

    I spent a long-time thinking about everything that should happen to the ex to justify my pain, but in the end, it is not my decision to make. If he changes for the better (ha!) perhaps it doesn’t matter whether or not he suffers.

    What’s more important is to stop pushing principles on the society and others. My principles are mine, though it winds me up when people follow supposedly ‘wrong’ principles. But then, who am I to decide?

    • Crystal says:

      Natural to be angry and to go through those motions though, it’s when we harbour it in and allow those horrible things to chew us up.

      That’s a little of what annoy’s us when we become judgmental about principles.

      It’s like the newly non smoker trying to convince the smoker not to smoke by trying to convince them selves that they have made the right choice even when it’s tough for them and actually they want a cigarette.

      We are used to our pains and our judgments and need to be kinder on our journey’s and by loving self for the good and the bad we become less angst about others.

      Not always the guru, however more often than not :) a little more easier with the idea… It’s natural to make mistakes to reach the success.

      It can feel all sorts sometimes, yet the bliss is in the feeling… We are alive and get to have another shot, and another each breath a gift and we don’t have to think that for it to happen.

      • What a beautiful reply!

        You’re right, those feelings are only natural. But it is the consuming desperation for revenge that ultimately harms us more than them!

        I am trying to learn to be more open minded towards other people and not automatically red-flag them simply because they have different principles (in friendships and in romantic relationships!).

        It’s time to be as forgiving towards others as I wish people had been towards me.

  2. Lexi says:

    This is a very interesting topic. Principles are just another word for values. And if this kind of thinking applies to our personal relationships, then what about out in the world? So say-we want Monsanto to change their policies on GMO food.But they won’t, so what do we do? Force them? Burn them down? How about walk away from any and all of their food? Just like we walk away from people who do not fit into our world view, our value system. Hmmmmm? I dunno, just caused me to think about this.

    • Crystal says:

      Be the change you wish to see in the world x

    • FX says:

      Lexi, It’s funny you use this example because this is a cause in which I am actively engaged in promoting education and regulation. Every one of us has the power to incite change our food system by voting with with our dollars and fork every day. Unfortunately, there’s no hope for legislation regulating or outlawing toxic ACs and EUMs, though…

  3. Heather says:

    Thanks again for your honest, clear and much-needed perspective! You’ve kept me sane through the worst heartbreak I’ve experienced. Luckily, things ended with this person and I found your inspiring blog just in time for my 30th birthday this year! It’s going to be a good year :)

  4. Dilemma Girl says:

    This has come at a good time for me – I’m trying to work out what to do about my boyfriend. He’s wonderful in every way except I find myself always having to mention his personal hygiene (or lack of) and I’m wondering if I have the right to “bully” him in this way – is it just my principles dictating that he should shower daily? Any advice gratefully received! x

    • Crystal says:

      don’t mention it about him and keep it as a reflection on your own preferences and standards…

      Such as I feel really annoyed when I see stuff all over the floor, surely there must be a better way to handle this, can you think of one honey?

      Something like that…


      make sure you focus on him doing the things you like and praise him for them..

      He’ll naturally want to do more.

      Just don’t make it a judgement on him and a request for help and you’ll have the man…. Helping you.

      That’s what they do naturally. x

      • Lilia says:

        Sorry Crystal, but I don´t agree with the praising when they do it right – tactics. That only sounds adequate if you´re teaching tricks to a dog or potty-training a toddler, not when you´re dealing with a grown man.
        I think it could even be insulting to a guy´s intelligence, treating him like that.
        And really, if he just doesn´t want to shower he will probably enjoy ignoring those hints.

        I´ve read similar advice on how to relate to men, it all boils down to adapting to their whims and – God forbid! – not to make a fuss whenever they´re being offensive.

        • Crystal says:

          Guys are the first to admit they are simple, especially when you listen. Food, Sex, Warmth, Feeling good about them selves, having their partner appreciate and respect them, Paramount.

          Praising someone should be exactly what you do when you respect them and also owning your own preferences is taking responsibility for this issue being 100% yours, after all it’s not his.

          He’s quite happy at the moment not helping and just defending his own position.

          I wonder why. Well I don’t really, it’s pretty obvious.

          I’d be defending my self it someone put their preferences as my responsibility.

          and everyone works better when they are praised for their efforts, it’s just respect.

          Either you have it for your guy / partner or you don’t, however if you don’t, don’t expect them to do anything for you either regardless of how right or wrong you think you are.

    • FX says:

      DG, I see this as a respect issue. If you tell him it bothers you and it is offensive and he persists in the behavior, he is telling you that pleasing you is not important to him and you don’t share that value. I see this as a deal breaker on a few counts, especially with my BR education.

    • Lilia says:

      No, it´s not your principles but just common sense. If he´s a grownup he *should* shower daily. (just my 2 cents)

      • Crystal says:

        where is it written that anyone should or should not do anything just because another says so?

    • Ms Determined says:

      Dilemma Girl. Bullying? Is that what you call reminding someone who lives in the world with the rest of us of their obligation to make it the least amount of offensive possible? Where I come from we would call that *Exhibiting extreme fucking patience*.

      I suspect there can only be three reasons your guy would consider bathing optional. I imagine the thought process goes something like this:

      1. I have a massive fucking ego, and the rules that apply to the rest of society for the purposes of social cohesion do not apply to me. BECAUSE IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT I AM A WALKING SLAB OF MEAT AND CHEESE, MY SHEER AWESOMENESS OVERCOMES ALL WHO BEHOLD ME!

      2. I am a junkie.

      3. I am 3 years old (please tell me this one isn’t true because, jail).

      Actually make that 4 reasons.
      4. My girlfriend tolerates me, in any physical state. EVEN STATES WITH CHEESE.

      Girl, that shit is just gross. Replace him forthwith with a dude familiar with the concepts of soap, self-respect, and your comfort/happiness. If he won’t do this one basic thing, and I mean BASIC (right?) what is he going to baulk at down the track? So much EW.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Amanda. You may not necessarily have 25% of healing left to do. It was a terrible hurt which one does not forget easily or quickly. My experience was over 2 years ago and I’m totally over it and with a good man, now, but I remember the hurt and pain as if it was yesterday. It’s normal I think. It doesn’t mean a thing. You won’t go back for more of the same. THAT’S what important.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Expecting your boyfriend to shower daily has NOTHING to do with principles. His refusal or lack thereof, shows that he doesn’t care enough about himself to be clean (God forbid smell good), nor does he care about you having to deal with the issue. I have a thing about METICULOUS personal hygiene in myself and certainly in my man and it never even occurred to me that principles had anything to do with it.

    • grace says:

      If it’s the only thing you don’t like, then I would bully him into it unless it upsets you both too much, in which case you may have to break up. I’ve bullied my boyfriend into eating more vegetables. My sis in law has bullied my brother into better clothes.
      I don’t believe we’ve crossed the line into abuse, but you’d have to ask the guys!

      • Mymble says:

        I agree. I had a problem with a colleague with severe BO – it was AWFUL and sometimes I’d have to work in another office – I tried all the gentle hints etc, to no avail, and in the end had to straight up say it directly and clearly exactly how bad. Problem pretty much sorted (still minor issues at times) albeit mutually
        Some people aren’t just very aware (dont have much sense of smell) and have to be told loud and clear. Repeatedly if necessary. Soap dodgers beware!

  5. Spinster says:

    This reminds me of a post you wrote about saying (something to the effect of) “If it were me, I would/wouldn’t do (or say or be or insert anything here)”. (forgot the name of that post) We can’t make people do what we want them to do, nor can we assume that everyone’s experiences are the same as ours. It’s way past my bedtime, so hopefully this comment makes sense.

  6. I'm the one you speak of says:

    That is a very interesting way of looking at things Lexi, I like where you went with that, made me think, what do I do in other situations where the values or principles don’t line up? In a faith community, or a work place, or even with elected officials… we may just pull up and find a better fit for our efforts or support. I continue to ruminate on the ex’s ability to up and leave a minor child, parents, friends, siblings, job, and church to relocate thousands of miles away, not only in direct conflict with my principles but also the very values he claimed to believe as well. There is no changing it, and he’s not going to have a moment of clarity where hits himself on the side of the head and says “What was I thinking?!?” I’d like to admit defeat. Lather, rinse, repeat, and the same outcome. I’m still puzzled and he’s still relocated and not coming back. I think I have done enough research, enough arguing, enough “One False Move” reviewing of conversations to know that its done. Why keep using my brain for this maddening thought process that changes nothing?

  7. Crystal says:

    It’s like the holy grail when you find you have complete access to your guiding principles and can re configure your Own operating system and instal new programmes, just don’t expect others too. Instead enable yours to accept and integrate with others in line with your now chosen state of operating.

    If we go about considering our way the only way then we are no better than the politicians and religious parties that cause war in the name of “___” Being right about something which in all fact not possible to be right about as it is entirely experiential and individual.

    Relationships are about discovering who you are through the experience of them and not having them define who you or they are.

    You are who you are. They are who they are…

    Accept it, Reject it, Connect with it, Agree with it, disagree with it..

    All choice, all perspective, and entirely only and ever yours…. Sincerely.


    • amanda says:

      This is beautiful (and I love the geek analogies!). Yes, it is so disappointing, when, after we commit ourselves to the hard work and humility of self-improvement, to see that the object of our affection is nowhere near ready to embark on the same journey. But, if they aren’t ready, we are only holding ourselves back by hoping and waiting that they will see the light WITH us. More often than not, they can only see the light WITHOUT us. We have been their enablers. As much as we need to be cut off from them, they need to be cut off from us. Will they change? We have to even let go of that hope. I am learning, now that I feel about 75% healed from my EUMM experience, that life is better spent letting go of that hope, investing that energy into something or someone less damaged from the onset (starting with ourselves).

  8. meerkat says:

    Thank you Natalie – I crossed boundaries because of my principles and did everything I reasonably could to make life uncomfortable for a particular person. Karma did come around for him but I also helped it along – I can honestly say that I have no regrets for doing what I did. However it gives you a temporary high but that is all. The underlying issues that I need to face and work on are still there and I have to live with myself everyday. What makes this difficult is I have moved countries again and am pretty much alone. Some days are better than others.

  9. Kriss says:

    At the end of the day you can say whatever you like to someone who’s intent on getting what they want from you regardless of the cost to you. They’ll ignore it until they have a better reason not to than a rant from some woman they’ve abandoned, or are about to. It’s satisfying in the moment, changes absolutely nothing about the situation.

    The energy’s better spent on sorting your own head out and making your own life better, IMO.

    • meerkat says:

      He actually gave me silent treatment so I would leave him alone to enjoy his new source of narcissistic supply. This actually made things worse so I resorted to becoming a Ms Marple to find my own answers and to learn that he was still an AC. I also did things that we are told not do but again, I have no regrets. Now I am working at moving forward and sorting out the issues that made me want him in my life in the first place.

      • Kriss says:

        It reminds me of that story about walking down a street and falling down a hole. And eventually learning to go down a different street.

        If you need that much evidence to help you move on, and if it helps you trust your instincts to get rid of the AC quickly next time round, then it’s worth it. But time after time, very self destructive and hurtful :-/

  10. YellowDaisy says:

    But what do you do when someone has made a promise to do a couple of things with you that are very important to you- something you asked them repeatedly if they REALLY wanted to do- like go away for a 12 day trip and they said they did. There was absolutely no pressure whatsoever because the trip is with a group. Then suddenly three months later they cancel behind you back and tell you they’re not going after they cancel. I have ‘principles’ that I keep my word, my commitments. I gave the engagement ring back. Some thing similar happened several years ago and I took him back once. Now he wants to come back again. The good times are really good. But do I not deserve more respect?

    • Ms Determined says:

      Daisy. You do deserve more respect. What you don’t deserve is an assclown, and that’s what you’re dealing with here. Sashay your sexy ass over to that handle and FLUSH girl.

      PS: Next time that happens, KEEP the ring, sell it and buy whiskey. Invite us all over, we’ll have a drink and toast the the back of his pathetic ass.

    • grace says:

      You can’t force someone to respect you. Even if you waterboard them.
      If they have shown you who they are, you can either say nothing and walk away or say “I find this unacceptable” and walk away. What we do is stick around waiting for them to “get it”. It’s a waste of time and opens us up to more disrespect. And it tells them that you don’t mind because .. you’re still there.
      I had a rabbit and if I disrespected her(she didn’t like being picked up or me messing with her stuff), she would move away whenI went near her and refuse to make eye contact. It was as if I did not exist. You not being there says it all.

      • Natasha says:

        Well said girl! I could have gone full Zero Dark Thirty on some of the guys I dated in the past and they STILL wouldn’t have caved. Honestly, one thing I’ve learned is there is no point…NO POINT…in trying to deal with someone who you have to flatter/cajole/outwit into respecting you.

        p.s. Your bunny sounds just like my bulldog. If he is Not Pleased, he goes to his bed and turns his back to me. Point taken!

        • Suki says:

          Natasha, You are so right about the ‘ flatter/cajole/outwit into respecting you’.
          I often see this as ‘beg/coax/plead/yell’ which is what it becomes once the fighting has set in, and you’re getting desperate. I sometimes think that i stayed precisely because the behavior was so bad. Sadly, I could not imagine that anyone could treat me with such little decency – so I assumed that of course it is easy to treat someone with decency, so I proceeded to Ms. Marple and coax and cajole and outwit and be nice and be angry – just tried every possible way to convince him to be decent. However, some people are not into decency or not into it with you. No one should make you feel like decency is negotiable. And very often the process of being with someone like that is hardly making you the nicest person to be around either.

      • Revolution says:

        Dammit, Grace…..are you sure about the waterboarding? 😉

        • Revolution says:

          I meant to say more in my first comment, but that “Post Comment” button just looked so damn sexy, I had to press it…

          Anyway, along with Grace’s comment, I too had a rabbit at one time, and when he got pissed at me for breaching his boundaries (i.e., petting his highness when he wasn’t in a petting mood), he’d run away, kicking his back legs at me. So, see? You have many options for removing yourself from an assclown once he’s effed up. Now my pet hamster….THAT’S another story…. 😉

  11. Naira says:

    Good point. I think it is good to have principles but sometimes they just get in the way of what is right for us, what will make us happy and put in peace with our inner selves. I agree we should hold to them but when it is the right thing to do to let them go and do what’s right

    • Allison says:

      Arent principles and the right thing in sync with one another ?

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Right, Allison. They go hand in hand. You don’t throw out your principles in order to be happy. If you have to do that then it’s not the right situation for you to even think about, much less be in.

  12. fran says:

    Once again Natalie you seem to be peering into my mind! You call them principals I call them unrealistic expectations” and demands. Why do we expect other people to behave as we would like them to and why do we feel let down when they don’t?
    Wasting too much time on people who don’t measure up to your expectations or follow your personal principals is just wasting your valuable time and energy.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Fran. NO!! Principles are YOUR OWN, standards. Codes that YOU live by. They are not unrealistic expectations or demands because then that would involve others. You are not demanding that others behave according to your principles. You try to find a way to be happy within the framework of your principles, by adapting if the person or issue is worth it, or you simply flush. I agree however with your last sentence.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Yes. I have learned I cannot teach people how to act. Or make someone with no empathy notice how it hurt when they said, did, or didn’t do something. When I spoke up about these things, because if I don’t it just gives these people permission to do it again, it was met with resistance and “Did I do something wrong, I dont think I did anything wrong! you shouldnt feel this way. You want the knots in your stomach to go away, just accept me for the man I am” When I felt so totally overwhelmed, burned out and consumed by his needs, wants, and emotional dumping, blaming, and complaining and needed some breathing room, he refused to accept a compromise, in the counselor’s office no less. He wanted to stay in my house full time, while not contributing to bills, mind you, but some meals for me, crumbs that he thought were sufficient. He could put money in his 401K though. He was not willing to spend half the time at my house and half at his 90 mins away. He was obstinate at the counselors office and refused. Making me think all the more, you just want to be at my house because it is convenient for you.So I asked him to leave so that I could have some space to think and get some work done. I spoke with him, saw him a few times, he claimed I had BPD, and I had lunch with him. In less than a month, he found another girlfriend, proceeds to tell me how wonderful she is, hurting me terribly and if I had just said I loved him none of this would have happened. I am heartbroken, but know I have to fold. If he really knew me or cared, he would know I didn’t turn off emotions and stop loving him just because he wasn’t in my house. It it me, or my house you wanted? Nat, you have kept me sane as I move away from this dangerous, mentally ill, man. He takes the rest of his stuff saturday and I have friends coming for moral support. Thank you for your posts, they have saved my life.

    “every meal I spend on you is a day I eat cat food in retirement cause I didn’t put enough into my 401K”


  14. Selkie says:

    As a recovering ‘woman who talks too much’ I find this post a very good reminder. I’m getting better and have managed to flush people and situations without too much discussing beyond the initial ‘WTF, did he just say that?’ moment or ‘what’s up?’ chat if things are not lining up. If we have a discussion and try to find even ground but then their subsequent actions don’t match their words then I know I’m wasting my time and don’t bother with another discussion, or keep it very limited if I have to interact with them ( coworkers or family). It’s been freeing to learn to let go of things and not take on someone else’s shit. Why struggle with someone who is EU or an AC? I don’t have to prove anything, just make up my own mind and stand by it. Someone who is compatible or even incompatible with you but has an intact moral compass may not always agree with you, but you won’t have to teach or coerce them to respect you. If you find yourself reminding or teaching someone what it looks like to respect you, then you’ve picked a very tough battle to win and what would you be winning anyway?

    • Tanzanite says:


      ” If you find yourself reminding or teaching someone what it looks like to respect you,then you’ve picked a very tough battle to win and what would you be winning anyway ? ”

      Exactly !

      Knowing when to fold is the thing that keeps the pain to a minimum.

    • Rachael says:

      challenging, Selkie. Thanks for this comment

      • Christine says:

        fantastic comment Selkie, I feel like I should print it and stick it to my fridge. Absolutely. I have a long letter here that I wanted to send my ex, as he is refusing/making it incredibly difficult/making it be entirely on his terms, to meet up and talk. I felt annoyed by this avoidance so I was going to send him this letter outlining my perspective and feelings about his behaviour (letting things become ambiguous with me and getting back with his ex without telling me).

        But you’re right. If i have to TELL him that this is incredibly hurtful and disrespectful to me, why am I bothering?

        • Selkie says:

          Also Christine, if he is making it incredibly difficult to meet up and its all on his terms then, frankly, he doesn’t want to hear all about your perspective of HIS behavior. He knows he he acted. You can make it clear you disapprove of his shit show by not giving him the time of day and leaving his mess of an ass behind you. I’m sure HE feels your feelings are YOUR problem, otherwise he’d be listening and he’s not. It ain’t pretty but actions really do the speaking. Say it loud and clear that it’s not okay by going NC. Don’t waste any more time trying to get through to him. He doesn’t want to face his behavior, especially on your terms. You deserve better than that. Believe that.

          • Christine says:

            Thanks Selkie.

            I gave him an option, I said I wanted to sort it out with him before I went away on a trip in early May. He said that he didn’t want a massive row and maybe we should wait until late May to meet.

            I replied that that wouldn’t suit me as I don’t want to go away with this hanging over me. I gave him several dates that I was free over the next few weeks. He replied that he was very busy with – insert excuse here – and either I could ring him in late May or leave it as it is.

            I told him fine. It’s goodbye then. I’m not playing by his rules anymore. 6 days NC so far X

    • Moving On says:

      Yes, Selkie. Thank you for this comment. I am also a “woman who talks too much” and need to learn when to fold much more quickly, not only with incompatible people, but with all choices/situations that aren’t working out. Historically I have been relentless with “trying” but perhaps I am someone who just keeps going back for more abuse or neglect or whatever.

      There is some dynamic there to explore and understand about myself….

      • Rachael says:

        Tanzanite and Moving on (and Selkie)… Kenny’s words came to mind…”You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
        Know when to walk away and know when to run.”
        Moving on, I am tired of ‘trying’…it starts as willingness, then becomes effort, then work and ultimately slavery

  15. jennifer says:

    Dilemma Girl: I had to tell mine about showering as well before he went to work. In his case I think it was a depression issue. He did it but grumbled a lot and sometimes just refused.

  16. Ira says:

    In my view to know your values/principles is the most important things, it makes life choices easy and if we can’t ‘agree to disagree’ with the other person ( I can in many situations but not in every one) we still need to let them know about ….and if genuine compromise is not made by the both party in the name of peace and love, than for me choice is simple – I have to go….~ Life too short to fight with someone for your peace of my mind , I just have to have it and it is in my own power…. Well, with Monsanto and the other….. , I would look labels, never buy the products, sign petitions, talk to my friends, do what I personally can to change for the better… it is too personal ….I will try… Greate article, THANKS NATALIE!!!

  17. noquay says:

    I have always tried to stick by my principles (read values) and have walked away from those whose own values do not mesh. Am learning to do this much more quickly thanks to BR. A good many of my values do not mesh well with mainstream society but they still define who I am. Just started on line again (eharmony) and wow! I forgot how many men hate a leftie, over edumacated, enviro, mixed race chick living in a mountain town. Guess I violate their principles.

    • Ms Determined says:

      Nope, you just make their brains explode. TOO. MUCH. AWESOME.

    • R says:

      Really? I’m a man and I don’t see your characteristics being a problem at all! Sounds good to me! Be careful about judging yourself by online dating standards. OLD is not reality.

    • Selkie says:

      Those guys can go ‘flush’ themselves. Because I am different than mainstream, I have encountered haters too, I just look at them as less evolved. Cavemen aren’t my thing.

  18. Lilia says:

    The thing that upsets me is that the really nice guys don´t necessarily go for women with great values. The ones I´ve met don´t seem to care about their love interest´s principles, they get involved with the hot girls just like any regular AC.

    So here I am, feeling all virtuous because I´m figuring out my values and trying to live according to them, thinking I´ll meet worthwhile men if I´m worthwhile myself, but then I notice that all around me the guys who are worthwhile are getting picked up by the frivolous girls. And they don´t care that their girls don´t have much character, they marry them anyway.

    Why does this happen? Shouldn´t people with similar values seek each other out? Or am I being overly pessimistic?

    • grace says:

      I’d like more data. How are you meeting these guys? What makes tthem worthwhile? How do you know their girlfriends and wives? What makes them frivolous and without character? How are you able to have this much insight into their relationships?

    • Mymble says:

      I have not observed this phenomenon myself. In fact, in most of the couples I know it is often (not always) the women I have more respect for. I don’t believe many men want an airhead, not for a wife or long term partner anyway.
      Some men might chat them up in a bar but that’s a different story.

      • Lilia says:

        I was actually thinking of a particular guy I´ve known since I was in school, he was always one of the nice good guys and has grown into a very responsible and enthusiastic father of three. Only he married this wishy washy woman who periodically puts him through turmoil, telling him she doesn´t know if she still loves him, and wants to divorce him (sure that she can find someone more exciting) but not really. It´s all very AC. I know about it because our kids are in the same school and as we´ve known each other since we were children he feels free to tell me about it. I think it´s all very unfair, he would be such a wonderful husband if she would cooperate a bit and grow up.

        Then, I hate to say it but one of my best girlfriends is a bit of an airhead, she is funny but also quite unreliable and she gossips too much. She married this very stable, monogamous, handsome and succesful guy who provides on his own for their family, making life extremely easy for her. He is considered to be a real-life version of prince charming.

        And then there are some other guys I´ve met through my church – admittedly I don´t know them that well but they seem worthwhile in that they are open about their emotions (no EUMs there) and have interests outside of their ego, helping others for instance. But their choice of partners has more to do with looks than anything else.

        Maybe Noquay is right that men prefer women who look up to them, be it professionally or morally?

        Mymble, I´ve observed the opposite. The women I admire are mostly single or divorced, while the men are in a LT relationship.

        • grace says:

          That’s interesting. I’ve been reading Steven Carter’s “Getting to Commitment” and he talks about the not so positive beliefs that people “like us” (with questionable relationship history) have about those in long term relationships/marriages. I thought the opposite of you, that women in LTRs are not as attractive (I can’t say now that’s true, it was my perception) and had to “nail down” a man early on as they had fewer options. I also thought that marriage was traditional, boring, unimaginative, sexless, unsatisfying (I no longer think this).
          I think what really separates “us” from “them” isn’t our looks or achievements, or even character, it’s what we think about relationships and our own acceptability.
          I haven’t come to this realisation on my own. I first came across it on this very blog. When I read Nat’s posts about our fears and beliefs I didn’t get it. It’s taken me years to get it and I’m still getting it.
          If I have a negative view of relationships and of women (and men) in relationships, then I’m not going to want a relationship, and so get myself into sticky situations that have little chance of turning into what I fear.
          Also, women who value their indpendence (and believe me, I really do) can see relationships as a threat. But I am overcoming the belief that I will be diminished and less “me” if I am in a relationship.
          My boyfriend had fears around relationships too, that it would stop him from doing what he wants and curtail his freedom. (I don’t mean shagging other women, but rather travel and mission work around the world)
          It’s natural to have fears and not be 100% positive about relationships, not all relationships are terrific, it’s right to be cautious, but it’s worth reviewing what we believe. Does it help me? Does it hold up to reality? And, particularly for myself – does it isolate me?

          • Lilia says:

            Thank you so much for your insights, Grace, I´ve been reading your post carefully many times and thinking about my fears and beliefs.

            I have to confess I have probably always been a bit reluctant to become one of “them” because I feared a serious relationship would be smothering. I´m not sure why, it´s probably how I saw my parents. They had a very strong emotional bond, and this made them very vulnerable to one another. Which is of course desirable in a marriage, but the sad thing is that they did cause each other a lot of suffering (not necesarily on purpose, but still). I am an only child and I also felt threatened by their intense concern for me. It was just too much, you know? They were too intense for me.

            On the other hand, I´ve always held the belief that I´m not good enough to be loved. This used to make me unhappy and resentful. But now I´m thinking it was probably a defense mechanism, so as not to take any relationship too seriously. Of course, thinking like that has probably harmed me more than opening up to an EA relationship.

            Anyway, you´ve given me a lot of food for thought. I will order the book you mentioned, it seems promising!

  19. HappyHeIsGONE says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this post NML , I just recently ended a yo-yo/boomerang relationship with a EUMM/returning childhood sweetheart that lasted almost 4 years.

    I was, unfortunately his emotional buffer for that entire time, but I had an epiphany a couple of weeks ago when he shared the news with me that he is interested in someone new, just in time for his divorce (go figure, that divorce had been in the works for 4 years, ha!).

    He even had the nerve to ask me did I mind or have any issue with him getting to know someone new (I guess he expected me to be OK with it and continue to be his “back-up option”, go figure), that one of his buddy’s wanted to introduce him to. I was, of course completely offended and told him to jog on, and that I absolutely would not expect that, that I will no longer serve as a “option” for him.

    He apparently thought that my response to such news would be different. I told him that I would not be allowing him to break my heart anymore than he already has. I explained to him that he is no longer to contact me in any way shape or form from here on out.

    I then proceeded to “shut the proverbial door and lock it and change the passcode”, access NOT granted. I blocked his phone number and email. I also informed him that he is not to just “show up” at my house or anything else he may be thinking of doing to make contact with me, I will no longer play the “fallback girl position”, I have initiated NC.

    I love that NML is ALWAYS there to inspire us ladies to be strong and have boundaries and respect and love ourselves.

    Now, I must say, it takes some of us longer than others, but the goal is to Stop, Look and Observe all Red Flags that are sceaming at us when there are dodgy things occuring in the situations that we are in.

    I just want to personally send a shout out to NML and say thanks for everything, I have made a lot of tough mistakes, but I am learning. Your website has uplifted me in many ways, it has pointed out so many things that I may have looked past, I am ever so greatful for you NML.

    Thank You for everything that you have poured into this website, it has really made a big difference in my life and I am sure the lives of many others, you are a true blessing. I am currently in NC as I type and don’t ever plan on discontinuing it with the EUMMAC ever again, no more falling off the wagon for me!!! Love you NML!!!!

    • amanda says:

      Congratulations, and Good courage. I’m really sorry that it came to this. May your EUMM-free life soon fill with people, activities, and thoughts that leave you feeling whole and empowered.

  20. Sheela Nandini says:

    Nat, I hope you are feeling lots better:-)

    This comes at the right time.I keep doing this most of the time which is like all the time:(

    I really really wish I could meet you someday soon.For now your brilliant posts will keep me going,dear Sis.Love you!

  21. runnergirl says:

    Oh hey Natalie, so absolutely perfect. Yeah, when my belated principles kicked in finally, I did try to bully the exMM into being honest. It was as if I could get him to be honest, it would make me honest? Hello. Swear to god, I’ve thought, written, and acted on the five bullet points in first paragraph. When the double heist didn’t go my way, I kicked, screamed, and threw a volcanic tantrum…umm thank you Natalie and all for listening, offering support, and guidance, she says with the appropriate amount of humiliation and gratitude. This really spoke to me: “Are you really going to drag out something for days/weeks/months/years over your principles that someone else is not abiding by? Why do you feel that you have to ‘teach’ or ‘show’ this person?” I guess the only person I can teach or show is me. If I value honesty, which I do, then I gotta do it. Wow. This really takes the focus off of getting the proverbial piece of flesh. I have refrain from kicking his chops because he’s a cheating, lying mof**ker. I think I’ve retired my MM vigilante badge. Anyone want it? The only person I’ve got to clobber lessons into is myself! Ah clobber is such a great verb when speaking to a stubborn Taurus. Clobber, clobber, clobber! You are incredible Natalie. You can clobber with such amazing skill that I walk away happy and empowered! You are so uplifting and empowering. I hope you don’t mind if I never go away.

  22. infinite corridor says:

    Truth. Additionally, once I distanced myself from trying to enforce my “principles” on others I realized it was more about wanting to get even and still hold onto my “better person” title. Not very noble at all.

  23. Tinkerbell says:

    This post, Natalie, reminds me of one of the lengthiest debates I’ve seen on BR. The discussion was: When you’ve been with an MM and it’s over, do you blast him in person, punch him in the nose, tell his wife, and ad infinitum. Practically the entire post was dealing with that one issue because there were so many different opinions and reasons given to support those opinions. I have to say, I hope some BR women will really take this to heart and perhaps decide that no matter what the less said, the less drama, the less perpetuation of the entire fiasco is best. I have and remain of the opinion that, as you mentioned in conversing to a friend, “What are you going to do start a MM vigilante?” So spot on. the MM’s principles, the OW’s principles, and the wife’s principles will never be satisfied as long as the threesome remains. When the OW engages in revenge of any sort, for any reason she’s prolonging the existence of that threesome. Enough said.

    • amanda says:

      amen. I chose not to go down this path, and I feel like I am 75% on my way to healing, despite all of the unsent letters I have drafted to both the MM and his wife. Another OW from his harem chose a different tactic. She told his wife when he wouldn’t divorce. Four months later, he is separated. He has yet to learn his lesson because yet another one of his OW took him into her house and her bed up in the hills (the rich part of town). The wife? Apparently, she is in complete misery, living alone with the two kids in a crime-ridden part of town. From a compassionate, uninvolved distance, my heart breaks, while it is also full of principled anger; he’s the one who cheats, and now his circumstances are IMPROVED! (living off the largesse of the OW’s trust fund). But, its no longer my problem.

      • amanda says:

        The fact that I still need to vent about it tells me that I still have 25% of healing to do. But, I’ll have a little compassion for myself.

  24. amanda says:

    This seems to tie in with the whole theory as to why some people (like myself) find an unhealthy pattern in our relationships. We unconsciously gravitate towards the same kind of problem-people and problem-situations in hopes that this time, we’ll right the wrong, and not only “win” this round, but “win” every past failed round, including, most importantly, the failure we experienced as a child or youth in our formative relationships. As we get older, we may be able to better articulate our values and principles, but we are doing ourselves no favors by choosing these flawed situations in the first place. The only way to move on from the formative wound is to consciously chose healthy situations from the onset. Sometimes, its hard to do this, when the other person or the other situation presents themselves in a false light (either knowledgeably, or not…), so there is no 100% foolproof path. But, yes, often, its too late to invoke our principles in the name of trying to fix a situation. When this happens, our principles become the excuse for staying on for more punishment.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Amanda. You may not necessarily have 25% of healing left to do. It was a terrible hurt which one does not forget easily or quickly. My experience was over 2 years ago and I’m totally over it and with a good man, now, but I remember the hurt and pain as if it was yesterday. It’s normal I think. It doesn’t mean a thing. You won’t go back for more of the same. THAT’S what important.

  25. KM says:

    I have to agree with the statement “they aren’t getting away with anything…” because as the saying ends with …”they’re still the same asshole wherever they go”. And individuals who live life constantly by a set of double standards are going to be found out sooner or later and will eventually only be left with others who are like-minded or the socially retarded who don’t know any better and that should provide for some dysfunctional entertainment.

    • Revolution says:


      Well.said. That is their eventuality. And I, for one, won’t be watching THAT reality show.

  26. lo j says:

    I used to think some people didn’t bathe because they suffered from low self esteem or depression. But sometimes, I think they don’t because they really do feel they are the exception … Entitled, smell like roses, their shit don’t stink. My dad doesn’t feel he needs to bathe on a regular basis but is quick to point out the stench of another. Of course, he still has golden luscious locks. (He’s been gray and balding for years!!!) When we tell him he’s gray he gets offended. Funny!!

  27. noquay says:

    I really think that successful guys really do not want to compete with an equally successful woman so they do pick helpless princess types, frivolous chicks, anyone that WILL put them on a pedestal but maybe that’s my lil bruised ego talkin.
    DG, Jennifer: someone with hygiene issues and refusal to wear clean clothes in this day and age is indicative of someone with major issues, and, speaking as a microbiology proff, a potential source of illness (some o them flu viruses can really hang around), and just plain gross-ewww!

  28. Tired says:

    So glad hes gone . Exactly same situation as mine ( no more i add with a bit of chuffed thrown in ) . Tinks absolutly i have a little ha ha about punching him but i walked away . No contact is the answer and blicking everything to do with them out . I couldnt figure out why it was still a bit tricky and then i sussed id actually gotten addicted to torturing myself with thoughts . I have blocked everything and person to do with him out . I think last weekend was the death nell for my behaviuor as i went out sat and felt confatable and didnt really think of him and since then its like i coughed the last bit of acexmm sputum out my system .

    The ex mm left for a richer women. Money does not change a arsehole . Shes oblivious and yet to find out . He went where his bread was butter best. The best option for him who wouldnt . Trust me if hes been a shady lying arsehole up until his forties , he isnt going to change overnight into a saint . Why would the shady crapbag send me a email and new number to a ex when just newly with new women ? . Once you start reaching the other side you really dont care what happens to them , my wish that i never have the misfortune to have to see his face again lol

  29. paolo says:

    O.K..I’m trying to keep up with the acronyms..I know what EU means and AC means, I even know what OW means, but i don’t know what MM means..Anybody??

    • NCC says:

      Hi Paolo,
      It means Married Man.

      Thanks for being here, have been enjoying your comments.

      • paolo says:

        NCC…Thank you :)

        • runnergirl says:

          OW means other woman. It sucks, BTW (by the way)….joking with you. OW’s all know what it means so you are fortunate not to know. Love your comments.

          • runnergirl says:

            Well, I twisted that response. What I meant to say is OW’s know what MM means and it sucks…I’ll stop now.

  30. Revolution says:

    Well done again, Natalie. I especially had a belly laugh at the “married man and Other Woman vigilantes.” Ha!

    You know, I read this article and thought of it from a slightly different perspective. When I learned the lesson of not having to teach others to morph to my principles, it was the most incredibly effing freeing feeling ever!!! There was no pressure anymore to convert the uninterested. It was just, “You dig? Nope? I’m OUT!” How simple is that? Of course I’m oversimplifying it, and yes there is pain when someone whom you thought was on your wavelength isn’t even in the same motherfucking ocean as you, but once you really “get” that, it absolves you of any responsibility but the one for taking care of yourself and your own house.

    • Selkie says:

      Yes, Revolution, isn’t it freeing? I mean, there are billions of people in the world and why we feel like we have to teach certain ones, who are not living on the same planet, to be the way we need them to be is really a pointless, uphill, prideful ego trip destined to fail. If we could put all of that determined energy into ourselves instead, imagine where we’d be. Sometimes the clarity is so blaring I wonder where the hell my brain has been all these years. It works both ways though. I have been told that my principles (no drugs, no lies, no threesomes, no alcoholics, no homeless men, no ex girlfriends stalking, basic stuff really, etc. etc.) are unacceptable and I don’t let people be who they are. I let them be whoever they are, but my walking means I don’t have to abide by THEIR principles either. My principles may be wrong or unacceptable to others, but that’s what makes us different…and incompatible. Compatibility can’t be forced or manipulated.

  31. Crystal c says:

    Great article once again and loving the comments from the women ….I relate!

  32. Crystal c says:

    Ok so I always try to get the most out of helpful articles like this. So I just wrote down a list of all the things I’ve been bitching about (he calls it harping) for the 6 years I have been in my current relationship. Do you know what I have discovered? Most of them are my principles ! Not only that but they are obviously things he is not willing to change and would probably be deal breakers for other women. Things like personal hygiene as already mentioned ,especially mouthcare, as well as lying /lies of omission , tone of voice and snarky attitude (on a regular basis) , ignoring me , talking to others about mine or our personal business , and to top it all off a lack of sex (sometimes my refusal due to the fact that he stinks or is wearing smelly clothes and turns me right off) in fact I can’t tell you the last time we actually had sex. And a host of many other things that bother and have bothered me since 3-6 months into the relationship. (Oh why didn’t I leave then!)
    I can actually label all of these into moral principles! Which I have but we obviously don’t share. I have had an epiphany! I’ve obviously being trying to get him to live by my principles and struggling and battling over it for 6 years … Have I really ? Wow … I either accept him as he is or I move on. How can I bring finality to this choice? I have many hang ups to ending it and just as many reasons to end it. I’m stuck. To quote some professionals DR Phil says a relationship is happiest when both individuals needs are being met ….not …….and Iyanla says when the pain becomes more unbearable than the fear of change then you will cross over. Oh God speed this process please!

    • Allie says:

      Is there something good about him?

      I know 6 years is a lot, I stayed in a bad relationship for 7. It never changed, it was just 7 years wasted. It is hArd to leave but staying will be misery.

    • Mymble says:

      Why ARE you with him?
      He sounds horrible and you don’t seem to like him at all. Is he your “uncomfortable comfort zone”?
      I’ve stayed in relationships that were long past their sellby date (though none of them were so unpleasant) through laziness, procrastination and an underlying fear that I’d never find anyone better. Its a big regret as time is one thing you DON’T have. Dump him already, don’t wait for the planets to be in the correct alignment/your nails to dry/your life endowment to mature/ him to be abducted by aliens.

    • Allison says:


      He’s not going to change!
      What are you afraid of losing because this guy sounds awful!

      How old are you?

      Please don’t waste another 6 years!

    • Tabitha says:

      Crystal, it sounds like you are in what Nat calls the Justifying Zone. You ask yourself why oh why didn’t you leave him 3 to 6 months into the relationship. Do you want to be languishing in this relationshit in another 5 years asking, why didn’t I leave 5 years ago? You sound like your self esteem has taken a battering being with this man, and you have already done some of the work by identifying issues with your sister that set you up for a relationship like this. You now think even a smelly nasty shit like him doesn’t treat me well, what does that say about me? It says you need to wake up and smell the coffee! Cut him off. Start to like yourself more by taking care of yourself. You are Queen of your own life Crystal.

  33. Crystal c says:

    Well it is a great question you ask and I would be asking the same thing. I am going to be totally honest. I hate that I feel this way but I do. I am 47 years old and I’m afraid that I will never have another relationship. My abusive older sister always told me that no one would ever love me and that I will eventually end up alone …. My greatest fear. I have had a few serious relationships and this is probably the best it’s been. I do love things about him but probably not as much as the many struggles we have. The other things I stay for are probably silly , better for me financially , loneliness , companionship , someone to share the chores. I am thinking what you are thinking lol ….but by far it is the being alone I fear. I have no family and very few close friends and not anyone I could depend on as they have their plates full and I doubt would be there if I were to get sick. I did have a health scare earlier this year and I was scared and thought what would happen if I was alone. All of this makes me very depressed and yes I am settling …. No doubt. So there I have finally said it.

    • Melissa says:

      I really feel for you Crystal. I am sorry that so far you have felt the need to settle and that you worry that you worry that you will end up alone. I think holding on to these insecurities/beliefs unfortunately turns them into self-fulfilling prophecies and you don’t want that. It is never too late to start believing in yourself, but you have to do the hard work! A lot of people worry about never finding someone to be with. I know I do. I am almost 32 years old, and I worry that I would be in the same place that you are right now if I wasn’t making any changes in my life (please don’t take offense by that). It is not too late to do something. I have never had a long term relationship. Almost everyone I have dated has dumped me and that is after they have put me on a pedestal. I have finally noticed a pattern. I am choosing emotionally unavailable men. I am so insecure that every time I have a breakup I feel like my world is falling apart and I can’t go on because I made that person my world. I can’t keep running away from myself and the feelings I have about love. I need to find security in myself before I enter another relationship. I am still hung up on my ex. Every time I am upset or lonely I think about him or contact because I have been looking for someone else to make me happy instead of doing the work myself. The thing that sucks is that I know that this last EUM can’t make me happy and that I am wasting my time thinking about him and that I am just avoiding doing the work, because I don’t really know how to go about making myself happy and there are no short-cuts. Changing your beliefs takes a lot of work. Realizing that there is a problem is a really good place to start. I am in the unique situation of living thousands of miles away from my home. (I moved 6 months ago and stopped dating the EUM 3 months ago)I don’t have more than a couple of casual/new friends. I don’t wan’t to jump into another relationship just to get hurt again. I am not that resilient. I always cling to the relationship after it is over. I take the demotion to casual fuck buddy/friend. I am done with that, it makes me miserable. I found BR after this last relationship and for the first time I didn’t take the demotion and I have been NC for 2 months. It is really really hard, but I have to do the work and start believing in myself or nothing will ever change. I want so badly to contact him because I have next to no friends, but I know that if I do that I am giving up on myself. I joined a gym, started taking classes, picked up jogging and joined a paddling team. I was not an active person before, so this is totally new for me. I lost 15Lbs! and I made the connection that I always feel better after I am active. Some days are much harder than others, but I know it is going to be a lot of hard work to do 32 years of negative thinking. I have to start loving myself before I can be ready to be in a relationship and to attract better quality mates. Crystal, I would suggest that you start doing things to boost yourself esteem, so that you can see and believe that you are worthy and capable of getting more in a relationship than you are getting right now.

      • Rachael says:

        nice reply Melissa, I wish u and Crystal c the best in these situations. being alone is tough

      • Allison says:


        You’re starting on a great path!

        Date yourself for a while. It will be a very satisfying, and life changing relationship!

    • Emerldeyez says:

      We all stay until there is no longer a payoff to stay.
      I have been off line for awhile, because I have been busy making some major changes in my life after ending my relationship in November with and EUM and AC. I bought a house, move in this weekend!!! I made some choices: to commit to stay where I am, though 1000 miles from family, it’s a better quality of life, and I can afford to travel to visit them. SO I understand the loneliness but I also understand the empowerment of doing things for myself.
      I haven’t started to date yet, but will. I understand my principles, and have learned either accept them for who they are or move on. It’s real simple I have been a vegetarian for almost 30 years. And people used to try to convince me to start eating meat in every way you could think. But you know what it never worked. So why would I think I could change someone else. or even get them to understand. They either do or don’t pretty simple. Today I’d rather be alone then give up me anymore!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Em. Congrats on your new house. How exciting. You sound like you are feeling more at peace and intending to keep it that way. Good luck with dating. I’ve perceived you to be smart so just use all the knowledge you gained here. Men can really be crazy-making. Best of luck and let us hear from you how everything is going.

    • Suki says:

      Crystal, did he treat you well when you were sick? I have friends who say ‘well, I need someone to take care of me’ — men are more likely to leave their partners if they get very sick than women are. If a person is not even capable of hygiene how can they take care of you? And if he falls sick? — then you have to take care of him. If he’s snarky now, he will be worse if he’s dependent on you in any way.
      Cultivate some good friendships and keep up with your family instead.
      Anyway – I do understand why you are with him, so perhaps then you should find your peace with it. But there has to be something that you see as the tipping point, something where you will get out. You might have difficulties in life right now which make you put up with less than is good for you – but there should be a line below you should not go no matter what the conditions of your life. This is our only chance to live, and it is not worth it to suffer so acutely. There is plenty of pain in life without inviting more.

      • Mymble says:

        I was thinking about the sickness issue too. My partner becomes resentful on the rare occasions I am ill. The dynamics of our relationship are that I play the “caring” role, and he finds it threatening if the roles are ever reversed. My 11 year old son shows
        more concern than him.

        • Tulipa says:

          Yes, funny how when they are sick they require some form of attention and sympathy.
          I had a medical condition caused partly by the ex AC and I told him about it and when I would be seeing the doctor, what procedure I would go through.
          His response I can’t ring you that day to see how you are I’m playing pool with my brother, I’m jogging with a friend and going to a show. Sorry my phone will be switched off most of the day.
          I got upset and had a go at him he then got angry said I was too hard on him he was concerned about me but why couldn’t I understand he couldn’t possibly take time out to call me to ask how I was and how things went.

          • Revolution says:

            Oh God, ladies. Your stories remind me of something. I wasn’t sick, but I was at the hospital when my niece was born, and the AC I was dating at the time knew where I was. When I hadn’t heard from him all day, I finally texted him that my niece was born. He texted back something like, “That’s great. I just finished the demo. Still in the studio.” or some such nonsense. (He was a musician.) I remember texting him, “You’re such an ass. Thanks for the congratulations.” Yep, the beginning of the end.

            • kayakerkathy says:

              These stories remind me of my own situation with the 57 year old AC bus driver/attached/living with his girlfriend/I was head over heals for him experience. His girlfriend had an accident where she fell down the steps while doing laundry (his, no doubt), and ended up breaking her foot and fracturing something else. Well, long story short he came over three times during her injury expecting to get laid. Luckily I was not at home at the time, because if I was, in my emotional state there’s no telling what would have happened. But I was appalled because in my mind, and here we go on the whole principles thing, he should have been home taking care of her instead of prowling around the neighborhood looking for sex. Ugh. To think I liked this guy. I’m still working through my feelings, but I have to say that I observed the two of them the other day while on a bike ride and you know how, when two people are in love or like each other, or at least are fond of each other and enjoy being together, there is that certain something you see between them, a spark or an aura or something? Well, not only was all of that missing between them, he snarked off at her, bossed her around and basically treated her like a big steaming pile of dog poo. Barked her name, made her walk across the back yard just to pick up a hammer for him, a hammer that was lying right by his foot. I think I was meant to see that because it showed me what I was missing by not having him in my life like I originally wanted. LOL LOL

    • Mymble says:

      I thought you must be much younger. I am the same age, and in a similar position, and I understand your fears. It is true, there is no guarantee that you would find someone else. However many women do find themselves single in middle age and do have good happy lives
      The question for me is, how will I feel in the future, if I stay in my relationship and am looking back? I think I would probably feel very regretful that I lacked the courage to
      make changes. He is not a bad guy but there is a gulf between us and a lack of respect. Fear of being alone isn’t a good enough reason to stay.

    • grace says:

      Well, lots of men croak in the “heart attack” years. I know quite a few widows and widowers. Unless you die together in a pact or an accident, someone is going to get left behind. A relationship doesn’t guarantee against ultimately being alone.
      A sketchy man is unlikely to be there for you if you get sick anyway.
      People our age and older do get together. I’ve seen it. But it’s not going to happen if you cling to an ex or if you are full of fear.
      If you really want a guarantee of companionship into old age, join a church. We are commanded to take care of each other!
      Financially, I have taken big steps to take care of myself. We can no longer rely on men to do it. My boyfriend has been made redundant and finding it difficult to find a job. I’d be screwed if I was dependent on him.

  34. Amanda says:

    I discovered your book about 4 months ago and it was the key to getting me out of a 5 year nightmare with my own particular Mr. Unavailable (now someone else’s problem). During these 5 years of misery I knew his behaviour wasn’t normal, but he was so convincing with his passive-aggressive ways I was unable to make sense of the jumble of nonsense that was going on in my head. He was so good with his mind-f**kery! When I read your book it was as if you walked right into my head, as well as into my miserable ‘relationship’, and put everything down, in a cohesive understandable way, on paper, just for me. When I finished the book I “saw the light” and had the strength to put an end to him being in my life. It has been about 2 months now and I don’t miss his pot-smoking, mind-game playing, cheating ways, I don’t like him and I could care less about what he does or who he sees. If I feel my ego acting up and I start to feel like I might slip all I have to do is open up your book (to any page!!) or head to your website and within moments my ego is put to rest. I am so grateful you wrote your book and continue to post on your blog. It amazes me how well you know these men (and us women) and how clearly you are able to communicate who they are. Thank you!!!

    • runnergirl says:

      Amen Amanda. Congratulations on your new life and for flushing the pot smoking, cheating AC. I felt the same way after reading Natalie’s books. You are right about opening the book to any page. I carefully bookmarked and highlighted sections. When I go back, I see I bookmarked and highlighted the whole book!

      Have you read the Dreamer book? That one really helped me to sift through my dreams vs. reality.

      I can see! Thank you Natalie.

  35. Brighterside says:

    Natasha – You are right! There is nothing to be gained by forcing anyone into anything. You don’t win & you end up feeling so sad/angry/frustrated. It is so freeing when you let go of that! In the early days after my breakup with the ex EUM (about 2 years ago) I tried to repeat the mantra to myself every day “Give me strength to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, & the Wisdom to know the difference (think that’s how it goes) I knew I had to keep moving forward until I really accepted that. That last part – Knowing the difference – Is the hardest part. I believe all of us here will get there (: I am so grateful for all of you!

  36. teachable says:

    listening in the background from my sick bed in cc’s genie bottle. too ill to contribute except to say can someone please send some chocolate bikkies down the bottle neck? I have a craving for sweets. finally back to living by my OWN priciples; day 5 of not smoking…

    • Selkie says:

      Yay! on the quitting smoking! Boo!…on the being sick in bed. I don’t know what chocolate nikkis are but they must be good if they’re chocolate. Hope you feel better soon Teach. Take care.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Teach. I was wondering where you were and knowing about your less than optimum health I guess you were ill. So sorry and hope you will be getting better soon. But, I must say you are doing one of the best things ever for yourself. Quitting smoking. I did it years ago with Chantix. It’s hard, but you will be so much better off if you can kick the habit for good.

    • Lilly says:


      Sending 3 packs of Tim Tams in your direction. Get well soon. xx

    • Revolution says:

      Dammit, Teach. Where you been, girl? I’ve been keeping an ear out for you. ;)You know I’m always good for chokkies and perfume and any other thing you need me to throw down the genie bottle shoot.

      And woot woot on day 5! You’re an amazing woman, Teach.

  37. Furry White Dogs says:

    “Are you okay with being a martyr, so recognising that you’re being taken for a ride or even abused but then quoting your principles about why you’re still there?”

    This quote got me really thinking about my principles and values as I look back on a seven year relationship/marriage with a pathological liar and cheat and has helped me gain an understanding of one of my influences on how I came to stay in that relationship.

    In some of your other articles you talk about ‘the flipside’. For me my unconsciously very strongly held value of loyalty and commitment was actually a negative as I always told myself to ‘stick it out no matter what’ when I should have been working to leave. Heck, I would have been better off if I had had better boundaries, higher self value and trust, not ignored the red flags and the love bombing and the boundary pushing and not become loyal to the ex AC in the first place. At least I’m learning these valuable lessons now.

    I wasn’t trying to impose my value of loyalty on him (although I certainly did with other values and failed thoroughly). I was simply living by my principle which unfortunately became one of the things that blinded me to the bigger picture of how unhealthy our relationship was for me. My assumption, fostered by his lies, that he also held this value had me completely blindsided when he suddenly left me (not so suddenly on his part as I later discovered).

    I’ve been rereading all the articles on values and trying to get a much clearer understanding of my core values. Both to define boundaries as I start to date again and also to understand how they can be a trap if you make assumptions or lose sight of the bigger picture.

  38. Confusedd says:

    After reading BR for months, I took a break from dating. I have started again and I am much more aware of my own patterns of behaviour and red flags to watch out for.

    I have made alot of changes in my life and I’ve moved to a new country for a job. I am now struggling in my new friendships and unsure what to do.

    Does EU affect friendships too?

    I am sharing an apartment with a coworker. She was very friendly and welcoming and acted like we were ‘best friends’ from the day I moved in. While she made me feel very welcome she has also at times been overpowering in her attention.

    She’s a very different person when we are out with other people. She invites me everywhere she goes and insists I come along, but practically ignores me when one of her other friends is there (another coworker). The two of them exclude me from conversation, whisper, walk off without me and generally leave me looking like a third wheel. I feel like I’m back in school dealing with cattiness.

    Her friend doesn’t like me and is very obvious about it. I think she feels threatened that I’m trying to steal her buddy.

    My housemate acts wounded if I don’t go out with her, but has treated me like this on every occasion. Meanwhile back at home she is needy and full on, she insists we do everything together from food shopping to watching tv.
    She also likes to tell me about other peoples opinions of me, and ive begun to wonder if its actually her opinion. I feel like I’m in a marriage that I never asked for!

    A guy I was dating for a few weeks told me he had slept with her on a one night stand before I moved there, and felt I should know about it before we continued to date. She never mentioned that they had any history together, but demands details of my relationship with him. If I even pick up my phone she’ll ask who I’m texting.

    Moving is not an option because of my contract.

    How do I deal with this?

    I could handle her behaviour in social situations if she didn’t act completely differently with me at home.

    • paolo says:

      Confusedd..This all sounds very delinquent and immature….Think you should move out and into your own place..You don’t need that kinda rubbish going on in your life.

    • Suki says:

      Dont go out with her, and definitely not with other people. Sure, she might insist. If you are firm, and you don’t cave, then you will feel better. Find new friends. To maintain your relationship with her since you can’t move – go out just with her once in 3 weeks or so no more, somewhere low key. E.g. ask her if she wants to go out to a cafe to work with you or read the sunday paper. At home also you can distance yourself, sit and read. ‘Oh that sounds like fun, I just want to finish this book. No, I’m not really in the mood. etc’. Dont let other people hijack your life. There are ways to deal with people without being honest and without aggression.
      On the issue of honesty – do not tell her what she’s doing and how it makes you feel – it never goes down well. She’ll deny it, she’ll say you’re too picky, too touchy, too sensitive, paranoid, not friendly, not a team player and on and on. If she asks you, just say that work is really busy, you need to decompress at home with reading. Take up yoga. Go out more by yourself if you have to, to the mall, to movies, to museums, etc.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Confusedd. Suki has said it best so far and you should follow her suggestions to the letter. Stand up to this woman in a non-confontational manner but FIRM. You are grown woman and have a right to spend your own time as YOU PLEASE. Every problem has a solution. Look into how you can get around that contract. Do whatever is necessary. The woman acts like a 6 yr old and can cause you all kinds of problems with others because of a devious, controlling nature.

  39. espresso says:

    I really appreciate your honesty about why you find it difficult to leave the relationship. I think there are many women and men who stay in unsatisfying relationships because they fear being alone. I relate so much to your hope that “something” (God or something else) will end the relationship for you so that in a way you don’t have to make the decision. I remember about 4 years ago realizing my marriage (long long term) could NOT go on but I felt powerless to end it. I wanted somebody or something else to make that decision for me (anything!) and of course that was NEVER going to happen. I had a blinding insight one night at a wedding actually when I realized 1. the relationship would never get better and 2. I would, like everything else, have to be the one to make the decision to end it.

    In order to end the relationship I had to reclaim MY power and that was/is a good thing. Still going on, BTW. I don’t think it is good for people to stay in destructive situations unless they absolutely have to temporarily. Not only does he sound like he cannot meet your needs but he sounds like he might not even like you enough to be a real loving partner or is so deficient that he can’t be.

    I am facing the challenges of more loneliness is my life and sometimes it does scare me. I too am facing big economic losses – something that I am worried about. But in the end…all we have is ourselves. What would you do if he upped and walked out on you? There are NO guarantees in unhappy relationships.
    I wish you all the best in finding your way through this. And hey your sister is abusive – don’t listen to her.

    • shattered says:

      It is difficult to leave when you’re older and ‘used’ to someone, even if it’s an AC. I knew I couldn’t go on turing a blind eye to his hot/cold/disappearing behaviour and then found out he had at least one other woman on the go so I was NC – and told him why. He still got in touch though (thick skinned or what?) even though I mostly ignored him. Recently after a long silence he’s got in touch again because he’s depressed and has business worries. He wants to be ‘friends’. When I said he’d be OK and mentioned the other women in his life and there was no point in us being good friends, he became upset and said he thought we could be friends as we’d been seeing each other for over 2 years and that I’d hurt and upset him. He said he’d told me he didn’t want a committed relationship, but that was no reason for me to just ignore him now in his time of need. I feel a bit awful as I know he’s going through a bad time, but I can’t seem to get through to him how much he hurt me. I don’t want to be downgraded to ‘friend’. Is there an easy way out, without me feeling guilty? Though heaven knows why I should feel that.I think I feel even more rejected now with the ‘friends’ offer and I was doing OK. Not great, but OK.

      • grace says:

        Just tell him that you want to move on and that you don’t believe in being friends with exes. Imagine how weird life would be if everyone of us remained best friends with their exes. Who’s got the time?
        Just keep the door firmly shut. The best way to assauge guilt is to be firm and consistent with him and yourself. NC.

      • Tabitha says:

        Yes shattered, there is a really easy way out. It is called NO CONTACT!!!!!!!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Shattered. STOP FOCUSING ON HIM!!!! What about YOU in all this. You don’t count? You make him out to be some poor pitiful puppy dog that you have to adopt. He’s not that at all. He’s playing the “friend” card to continue intimacy with you. He’s disguising his real intentions by playing on your sympathy. Poor baby is depressed – BooHooHoo! and his business isn’t going right. BooHoo!He’s a typical EUMAC with his other women. Do you want to be in his harem? Go ahead. You’re just allowing yourself to be sucked in by someone who isn’t worth the steam off your p—. Wake up! Why do you have to browbeat him about how much he hurt you? You really think he cares? Grow a backbone and have some dignity, woman! Go NC and keep it that way. Don’t listen to his crap. BLOCK HIM. Your feeling sorry for him is just what he wants to break down your resistance. NC!!!!!!!!!

        • Allison says:


          Tinker is spot on!

          C’mon, Woman, this dude cheats on you and you’re concerned about hurting his feelings!!! I can’t understand why the hell you even talk to this dude, as he does not care about anyone but himself.

          You’re allowing yourself to be used and are being his doormat!

          Cut him off! Time to show yourself some live and respect!

      • Melissa says:

        Hi Shattered
        Sorry you are going through this. I would suggest that you tell him once and once only that if he wants to be friends with you that he needs to not contact you for at least 2 months (or pick any amount of time) and if he can do that there is a chance that maybe you can be friends after that. And then close the door. This is you putting boundaries in place so you can move on. It also will show you whether he is able to respect your boundaries. If he can’t respect your boundaries he is not going to make a very good friend. Don’t feel guilty for having boundaries or establishing them. You may find that after a couple months of enforcing your boundaries that you no longer care what he thinks anymore. He is acting selfishly and you need to put yourself first right now. Also, once he realizes that the door is firmly shut he may no longer come knocking because he will know that you will no longer respond. Best of luck!

        • shattered says:

          Thank you all for your responses. I think I have been too nice and understanding – that’s how I am with everyone, but you’re right. Why should I feel sorry for a lying cheating AC. I’m going to put my phone out of reach and remember why I went NC in the first place. He has other women to comfort him – and no I don’t want to come across as a doormat, so I’ll keep my dignity and ignore. I do still miss the way he was in the beginning, but as Natalie has said, that’s just a charm offensive to reel us in – and then we’re left confused and blindsided when they morph into their usual egotistic selves. I feel a fool for listening to him now, but I’ll keep in mind that’s how he operates. I don’t know his other woman who’s replaced me, but I still can’t help wondering if he’s different with her. I will stay NC and keep busy with MY life!

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Sounds great. You see? You have it in you after all. As far as the other woman is concerned, he may be doing exactly what he did with you – the angel morphs into the devil. They don’t change for someone new. Anyway, you don’t have time to worry about that. Best of luck. Keep reading here, as you’ll get lots of strength and support from us on BR.

          • Allison says:


            It doesn’t matter if he treats her differently! He treated you like garbage! Isn’t this enough?

            Hon, it is not about us being “too nice and understanding, it’s about letting people walk all over you. You can be a compassionate person, without allowing yourself to be abused.

            Time to move on from the ‘good days’ and focus on the crap period!

  40. espresso says:

    Just a follow up to my last email. I would really appreciate some of the veterans on this site telling us newbie NCs and ended relationship types some tips on how to handle the bad spots of the fears of being alone. I think I understand the logistics of it but would love some wisdom on where to put the feelings of panic, fears about being isolated and rejected and giving MYSELF bad messages about myself. Will this also improve over time as I structure my own life? I don’t want to “wait around for somebody to rescue me” but I want to active, creative and forward moving. What about the days when I don’t have enough courage and everything seems daunting?

    • Tabitha says:

      Espresso I am not a BR veteran but I can think of lots of great things about being single.
      This is probably because I am pretty EU myself but anyway…………..
      I can see the movie I want to see, go to the museum I want to visit etc. None of that compromise malarkey. I can eat what I want when I want, and have nobody criticising me for my child rearing/housekeeping skills ( or lack of them)
      I don’t have to deal with some blokes washing, or his extended family *shudders at the memory*
      This year I am going on holiday alone and am so looking forward to it. I can lie around reading when I want, go and visit the sights when I want.
      Seriously, being single is GREAT!!! I admit I do have a lot of friends to fall back on and am fairly, Ok, very independent anyway. The only things I struggle with are sex ( lack of), touch (massage is good for this) and blokey DIY stuff that I am frankly incapable of.
      I have a fair few single friends and they all seem to be very happy. I have some very happily married friends, and rather more unhappily married ones.
      I don’t know if this will help at all but it’s honestly how I see it.

    • Little Star says:

      Espresso, I can call myself veteran by being with this WONDERFUL SITE for 4 years…I learned a lot, but did not 100% use BR knowledge that’s why I am where I am:( I try to keep myself busy: I am working, going to gym three times a week, MeetUp group, cinema and theater, have plenty friends/colleagues…I am generally happy and positive and I do not need a man to make me happy, BUT I have days when I feel very lonely and want a man to have mental and physical contact with, it is only natural for human being with another human…DO not lose hope, try to be busy and positive and who knows maybe Universe will bring all of us happiness and whatever we are looking for!

    • Emerldeyez says:

      Espresso, one thing that happened to me is that I realized that I was really alone being with him! So what was the difference? I moved 1000 miles to be with this guy. So I understand the fear of being alone if I let my mind go there. I don’t. I have a strong spiritual belief, that helps me through. And I also know that I have control over my thoughts and my feelings. I know I have vulnerable times, later at night, some times on weekends, when I’m tired. So if it’s late, I go to bed, if I’m tired, I give my self some slack, and I try to keep myself busy on weekends. Even if it is going out to the mall, and window shopping, it’s getting out being around people, that gets me out of my head. I too, don’t want to sit around and wait to be rescued. I believe the healthier I get the healthier person I will attract into my life. And you are on this site! Lots of support here!

  41. Confusedd says:

    Thanks guys, yea moving just isn’t an option right now. Maybe in a few months but not now. I’m going to work on boundaries and distance with her, but in a cordial way like you suggested.
    I’m going to work on getting to know more people outside of work too. It’s just frustrating that she’s so blatantly two-faced. She’s also really popular and so is her other friend, so I feel like I should be playing nice with them because I’ll look bad if I don’t….childish I know!

  42. paolo says:

    espresso..I wouldn’t say im a veteran on this site but i’ve been a regular for a few months now and visit it daily. Sometimes multiple times..Seem as your worst fears are describing my life at the moment i thought i’d reply..I came out of an LDR with someone in august last year which left me heartbroken..I won’t bore you with the details but basicaly, I have no friends and anyone i have contact with is on facebook because im a mature age student doing distance learning..Isolation is a way of life for me and it too was my biggest fear. Whilst i have online contact with people, it never compares to real life..One thing do have is studying..Studying keeps your mind occupied, it broadens you as a person. Enriches you as a human being, and can be used to align yourself around better jobs/career in the future so it gives you a dream to hold on to that doesn’t involve another human being bringing you happiness like a gift wrapped christmas present..It reminds you that the buck stops with you in your life. When/if the days arrive where you don’t feel so hot, you still have study draw on..I say to anyone..If your down, study. It can only enrich you and there’s free courses online..Study, study, study…It hightens your self esteem, makes you feel more confident, gives you hope for your life, brings you structure…As time goes by, you become more and more indifferent to heartache from ACs or EUs and between visits to BR and my studies i feel better about myself and my future more and more each day..Study.

    • Lilly says:


      I agree study is saving my life! I started back last March and although there is pressure I’m enjoying it so much. By the end of the year I expect to have replenished the self-esteem bottle even more. I would recommend it to anyone trying to pick themselves up. Good luck espresso.

  43. teachable says:

    Thanks for thinking of me Tink. Hope.yr well there too. I was a non smoker for 14 yrs until the ex now deceased AC came along. I honestly thought I would never smoke again. I’ve tried a zillion times to stop since (I’ve smoked for 2 & 1/2 yrs now) but failed each time. Ex AC died 15 mths ago & I’d maintained full NC for 6 mths prior to that (one of many attempts, this one final & binding). Smoking has been really awful. Let alone the health impacts, which are frankly, suicidal, I just can’t afford to smoke. Trying desperately to stay stopped this time. Some massive crap to deal with in a week or two so feeling uncertain. I had a week off smoking before my died & then relapsed for 5 days between the death & funeral due to being in my sis & mother’s company (both smokers). Telling myself take things one day at a time. Day 6 today… sigh xx

    • Revolution says:

      Oh Teach,

      Was your grandmother’s death just recent? I couldn’t tell, reading your post. If so, honey, I’m sorry. Here’s me wrapping a nice, thick afghan around you and giving you a big squeeze.

      **Day 6!!!!! :)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Rev, hon. It was Teachable’s grandmother who passed away, not mine. I hope you were able to follow the rest of the post which is rather complex, way off topic, but informative to anyone with the deathnell habit of smoking.

        • Revolution says:

          Hey Tink!

          Yeah, I know it was Teach’s grandmother. I responded to her post, but through the great art form of the comments page, I think our comments crossed paths and so it looked like I was responding to you! Anyway, I enjoyed your loving and informative thoughts to our lovely, strong friend Teach. It’s so great that we can all give each other love and understanding on this site. I’ve learned so much and I’m so grateful.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Teach. Believe me when I say I totally understand your struggle. My story is this. I had bilateral knee replacements in 2007. I developed MRSA which was highly resistant to antibiotic treatment. I had a total of 6 surgeries in my right knee because the infection would clear up for a few months and then return, I was in and out of the hospital followed by 10 months of rehab after each hospitalization. My immune system went crazy trying to fight off the infection. After my last surgery in which I was supposedly finally cured from the MRSA, my cousin who had been evicted from her apartment came to live in my two family house. I was recuperating and she was supposed to be a help to me as I was still using walker. Also about the same time Mr.MM came into my life. Actually he had been a friend who took advantage of my vulnerability and compromised health. (It was my fault also). My couisin was using me, screwing me over in any way she could, plus she was a SMOKER. I ended up bumming cigs from her and then started smoking a pack/day like her. I had quit for 32years! But was at such a low point I went back to them. Eventually, I was totally recovered from my surgeries but then i noticed some deformity of my hands, and more generalized pain. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. After learning of my diagnosis which is an autoimmune disease, I did alot of research on the disease. i learned that one of the causative factors of RA, esp. in women is smoking. To this day I am convinced that if I had never gone back to smoking during my weakened state, and period of recuperation from the MRSA, I would not have contracted RA. This is why I strongly advocate NO SMOKING. I feel like I gave myself this disease. So please, Teach, you admit it is doing you not a bit of good. Quit, FOR GOOD, before things get even worse for you than they are now. I am physically ok, certainly glad to have both my legs, but I still have this disease and it’s no fun.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Teach, Sorry about your grandmother’s death. Being around other smokers is the WORST because it is an addiction and no matter how many years pass, grief and pain will send you back to it. Our stories have some similarities so I totally get and support your effort.

  44. Crystal C says:

    Thank you so much for the responses ladies . I really appreciate the feedback.Suki you asked how he treated me when I was sick . He pretty much ignored me although he did go with me the day I had my operation (had a lump removed that turned out to be benign Thank God!) I had cooked food ahead of time to put in the fridge so I wouldnt have to worry about that . But I didnt get a card or flowers and he didnt have to do anything for me so he just went to work and I took care of myself as Ive always done. In times past he hasnt been been the attentive type with other sickness although as one lady said I am the caring type (Im a nurse) and always take care of him when he is sick and otherwise.
    Melissa thank you for sharing your thoughts and I am not offended at all it is very true that my fears beliefs and insecurities are all becoming self fullfilling prophecies for sure and that is what scares the hell out of me. I know I must make changes in my life starting with asking him to move out. I am not financially dependant on him , although the sharing the rent and bills helps …..actually I could get a room mate for that! and actually we are room mates lol
    I dont have children with him Thank God again !
    Actually for me I have the opposite problem I have never had a man leave me I am always the one to end it …probably because I put up with more crap than a pampers! lol
    I relate to being a Love Martyr most definitely and always seem to end up with crumbs for sure
    such a blessing to find this site! I am learning so much about myself and the patterns in my relationships.
    The main issue right now is definitely the lack of respect for me …even today he was disrespectful yet again.
    I feel like it is at the end.
    I have been working on myself for awhile and getting stronger , I do do things alone shopping movies beach etc etc so I wouldnt have a problem doing that. I would like to get involved in some women’s groups or something.
    espresso ….you will be happy to know that I divorced my sister in 1996 after years of horrendous abuse but unfortunately in spite of counselling and other things I still have some old tapes that play like the one I mentioned. When a relationship ends I hear her say “see I told you so” Ive literally had to say STFU and get out of my head lol (a counsellor once said to do that)
    What can I say ladies …It is a work in progress for me . I hope to be free of the pain I feel over this.
    I often listen to songs that have meaning for me …..Landslide Stevie Nicks is one I particularly relate to.
    Insensitive came on the radio today and that describes him to a tee.
    I will stay glued to this site and read as much from here as I can.
    It is true we will eventually all be alone …for me it is finding that love of self and comfort knowing I have my own back and learning to enjoy solitude and being ok with it that I have to work on. thanks again and please any other feedback suggestions are always welcome!

    • Allison says:


      So he’s not there for you when you need him. Please remind me what you stick around for????

  45. Crystal C says:

    “You didn’t just get into the relationship in a hot minute (hopefully) so you’re not going to be *over* it in a hot minute either.” — baggagereclaim
    Ha! just read this at the bottom of the page ….yes it is a process isnt it!

  46. Iwaslost says:

    I think I have been guilty of wallowing of late. I recently found out that the ex EUM is living with his new girlfriend very close to me. (I call him a EUM but I probably just as much as deserved that title as him when we were together. This website has been illuminating on both sides of our sorry story.) I guess what I am struggling with at the moment is that tired old voice that keeps saying “It must have been you…he has gone on to have a successful life and relationship without you…you cannot get past date number three with ANYONE! It is you you you…you were the one at fault…all the guilt and blame lies with you”. I have tried to take Nats and all the posters comments on board whilst I have been lurking here on and off when I feel like I need a good dose of reality, but it just seems super hard since this new information has come to light. It is three years since I said my goodbyes to the man who I believed I would spend the rest of my life with. I thought I was carrying on quite well. This last year especially felt like such a positive one. I really wasnt having even passing thoughts of him anymore. I have been lucky enough to forge some very good friendships after our split and have gone out into the wild world alone,and with friends, travelling as much as I can. I have felt strong for these experiences, ones I feel had I stayed with him I would never have known as it was difficult to ever get him to leave the house! There was so much to-ing and fro-ing in our toxic relationship and I am glad that I had the courage to end it, because we were both unhappy, but neither of us seemed to have the power to change. We were both drowning in our own self perpetuating misery. I have felt guilt on and off for years that it was me who said the words, but then I try to think in these times that the part of me that had that courage was the small part of me that believes that I deserve better. I like that saying “Courage is like a muscle…it is strengthened with use”…Now I guess I just have to keep on flexing…

  47. Peanut says:

    Amen. And I hope you’re feeling better Natalie. Principles. Ha. I was just in my therapist’s office yesterday crying over all the success I assumed the ex was having (based on info via Facebook) and I said, “How is it that someone can have their way with you, effectively using you, cheat on you, lie, seduce you, break down your self esteem and skip on merrily to conquer strange vaginas In a new, glorious city?!” She thoughtfully looked at me and said, “You were a participant in this.” She was right.

    Truth is, I wish I were a charming male musician who galavants around sampling women and acquiescing to every whim. But I’m not. I’m a twenty-eight-year-old bisexual woman living in an incredibly small-town-minded city who hasn’t had sex in seven years. This is not my exe’s fault. So what if he’s used this past year to grow in his craft musically? So what if he’s exploring sex with a variety of people? So what?! You know what, good for him. If he’s being shady about it, that’s on him, but quite frankly, it’s none of my business what he does or doesn’t do.

    My principles, well I don’t have much in that department, but my values are important. I have values that go against my desires and whims. That’s my choice to own. No one else’s. And it’s not my job to convert people to my values or anything I believe. I wish my ex success and happiness. Why not? I know it can’t be with me, so what good does it do to mentally persecute him for not suffering for ‘love’ as I thought I was!? I was suffering out of habit because it’s all I knew.

  48. teachable says:

    Hey Rev, Selkie, Tink & Lilly – my beautiful BR ladies!

    Just a short note to say I saw everyone’s messages & really appreciated the support. Yes Rev, my died a little over a week ago. She had a ‘good death’ (if I can put it that way). Still, a lot of emotions & processing for me around family has been triggered, in addition to grief. I’m managing as best as I can. Have bolstered my medical / psycho-social support team & am focusing on various treatments I have to have regularly. Day 7 off smokes ending & Tink thankyou so much for sharing. Yr story really touched me very deeply. I understand the seriousness of continuing to smoke yet I have been unable to stop. Please keep wishing me well. To bring this bk to topic, not smoking is a very important part of me living with integrity & in accordance w my principles for ME. I must succeed at staying stopped before I will ever be ready to date again (not to mention health impacts, which for me given my particular health profile & history, are likely to eventually be quite serious). Simple as that…

    Hugs, luv n mungbeanZ to all. May the universe bless your days & nights with peace & joy. T xxx

  49. imagine says:

    OMG. Once again this is just what I needed to hear. I was NC for a month. Blocked his number but left the email open and sure enough I get an email from the EUMM professing his love for me and how he’s been on 6 dates with OW and he can’t stop thinking about me. I had 24 hours of asking if he’s ready to go to counseling with me!!! Ha! What was I thinking? This post has helped me tremendously. Why spend my time getting him to see the light. I’m already in counseling. Dragging a dead horse to water won’t make them drink. lol

  50. Astrid says:

    I totally did this…I was convinced I could prove that I was worthy of better treatment – that he was wrong to treat me this way and I had images in my head backing this up. I imagined how it would be when he realised, when I succeeded, when I won and he loved me as a reward. Well in the end he really disappointed me…and weirdly after the hurt died down a bit it was great – I suddenly saw him as a person, making choices, that this was the way he was and that I was completely disregarding who he was as a person and that this was disrespectful in its own way. I was denying who he was as a person and pretending I had the right to choose how he run his life and how he treats me. I suddenly realised that I did not have that right – it was his life. The only right I had was to make decisions that suited me. Suddenly I was able to forgive him mostly because I was able to accept that if I was stuck with him as he was that I actually didn’t like him all that much, he was in my view kind of flawed – I was in love with the idea of the him with my improvements made not the reality! I do have to admit that the with my improvements he would be fantastic! I would really want that man! But alas he doesn’t exist at all and never will – however the fantasy does give me a guide for what I want in the future. Honourable is on that list. And then I was able to choose to move on to look for someone who I like and respect just the way he is. Someone I actually like a lot more than this guy – who is ok guy really just not what I want.

    • Tabitha says:

      Astrid your post really made me laugh. Yes, the fantasy version of my ex narc would have been a most excellent life partner. Unfortunately the real thing fell far short. He knew this and was just waiting for me to catch up.
      The other thing I have learnt is that often some of the positive attributes we generously give the objects of our affection are actually projections of qualities we ourselves possess. It is US that is actually That Special!!!

      • Tanzanite says:


        “The other thing I have learnt is often some of the positive attributes we generously give the objects of our affection are actually projections of qualities we ourselves possess. It is US that is actually that special ”

        Brilliant !

  51. lo j says:

    Tabitha … Awesome. I actually came to that conclusion during a therapy session regarding my ex b. It wasn’t a, “I’m better than him” moment, but a seeing things for what they were, that he was separate from me, not a projection of who I thought he was (you would have thought he was superman … not necessarily projection but fantasy, blowing hot air up his butt, believing his words over action and not letting things unfold) and I saw how he projected his stuff on me. (Man, the things I thought I had to prove to him, which really were his shortcomings.) I didn’t necessarily feel that I had to work to prove myself, but that I was who I was and with time he’d see. I was clueless as to what really was going on.

  52. WL says:

    Hi Natalie, am a fan (bought your book) and I respect your insights on relationships. Been dating my fiancé for over a year and he has been good to me.

    Unfortunately in last September, I caught him flirting sexually on Facebook (and he even asked the gal to meet). The convo ended when she shared a sex website where they could chat. He said he knew it was “fake” from the beginning and was just playing along to “see her reaction”. Claimed he was never interested in meeting her nor did he visit that site.

    After which, he showed remorse and it never happened again. However, nine months later I am still as bothered by this incident. And it causes strain on our relationship whenever I bring it up to state “my principle”. I don’t buy his story and am hurt he could do such a thing.

    Please share your opinion on this. Would like to untie this knot and truly move on.



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


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