You deserve better than being with somebody who keeps putting a question mark over your head.

Decision-making and decision sticking issues means commitment problems. What we don’t realise when we keep our options open, when we engage in comparison, when we question the hell out of the decision that we’ve made, or somebody says something and we immediately wonder if we should switch to what would please them, is that we’re uncommitted.

Commitment is something that we do in all areas of our life, not just in our relationships, and what we do have to realise is that we can’t have it both ways. We can’t be uncommitted and doing the equivalent of writhing around in our own lives while clinging to the fence and then expect everything and everyone to fit in around us while not experiencing any negative consequences.

It’s this fear of missing out and fear of getting it wrong, but the truth is, we can’t have it all. I’ve had enough men sit on the fence in my life while also sitting on that fence with them but trying to get them to get off it first to know that we have to make choices and there’s no such thing as a Decision-Free Lifestyle. Choosing not to make decisions is a decision in itself.

If you get a new job, accept it, but then continue shopping around for other roles, meeting with recruiters and wondering if you’ve been too hasty when you haven’t been there five minutes, are you going to put in your best performance? Will you work as hard as someone who actually wants the role?

When I brought my wedding dress, I stopped looking, focused on my dress and didn’t have to experience any anxiety from sizing up other dresses (although I had a headache getting it…). If I committed to the dress but then found that it wasn’t for me, that would be one thing, but exploring other options to see if I still liked the dress a lot or whether I could do better would have meant that not only was I still shopping around, but I was really undermining my decision. The thing is, what I could have done with my dress is exactly what I see people doing every day with their relationships.

They continue dating other people to see if it makes one particular person “really special” while also making sure that they’re not ‘missing out’. Why do they need another person to validate their feelings? Why does the person effectively have to compete, often unbeknownst to them?

There are some people who are married or in relationships who basically haven’t stopped dating because they still have a profile on a dating site, or they’re flirting it up, eyeing up other options, sleeping around, or still getting their ego stroked by an ex who they’re keeping as a backup plan. If you’re with someone who is behaving like this, they are not emotionally bound to you. They’re not willing to step up with both feet in.

Some people object to dating one person at a time as if giving someone our attention span even if it’s just for a few dates is too big a ‘commitment’ to make. The trouble is that when they’ve still got their options in play, the people they’re with get the short and shitty end of the stick. It feels great for the ‘multitasker’ but there is an arrogance that comes with believing that your split attention is so great that it’s as valuable as someone who is giving their full attention.

Most of us have been guilty of this at some point – you’ll know the feeling well if you’ve ever dated someone while still being emotionally tied up with someone else. When I was with the guy with the girlfriend, I went on a number of dates. What did I do? Try to force him out of my mind and then I compared and I looked for reasons to legitimise my feelings for him, often claiming that my dates weren’t as exciting / interesting / showing as much of their feelings…. as a guy who most of our sneaky get-together’s finished by 8pm, just in time for him to slip home and me to watch Eastenders while making my dinner.

Commitment comes in various guises and it starts with saying YES or NO and making choices that support your decision – both mentality and with actions. What commitment doesn’t involve, especially in romantic relationships, is having a safety net, because most people don’t want or like to be your “safety net” aka Fallback Girl / Guy or backup plan or option.

There’s no such thing as a Decision Free-Lifestyle. Some we’ll get wrong and others we’ll get right, but we don’t learn how to make solid commitments by making flaky decisions. We also don’t learn from the insights gained if we are unwilling to cut our teeth with our decisions and make mistakes along the way.

We have to make choices and we have to commit even if it’s as simple as learning to commit to being ourselves, learning to feel our own feelings, respecting our own needs and values with the appropriate decisions, following through on arrangements and promises made (instead of trying to backtrack after agreeing to them), and letting a decision stick long enough to see how it goes.

We might be “missing out” somewhere, but really are we? This idea of missing out only matters if our heart and feet aren’t in the present, or our present sucks but we’re sticking with a poor decision. The grass always appears greener on the other side, then you get there and realise that you want to go back.

If you get into the habit of making decisions and making even small commitments, it makes it easier to face the bigger ones. This gives you the opportunity to accumulate self-knowledge through the experience of listening to you, making decisions, and listening again and acting appropriately. I’ve found it a hell of a lot easier to make and stick to decisions since I understand and respect who I am, because this is the knowledge of your needs, expectations and wishes, which are linked to your values, that you use as your foundation to inform your thinking and choices, which are of course all supported by your boundaries.

When you stop diving into situations and relationships with your eyes and ears closed and your hands tied to your sides, you can be conscious and this means that you are able to make a decision in real-time based on reality because you do some due diligence and relate it back to who you are and what you need, so you can be more confident making your small, medium and large decisions and commitments.

It’s demeaning to be somebody’s “safety net”, Fallback Girl / Guy or backup plan and you deserve better than being with somebody who keeps putting a question mark over your head while shopping around. The questions are about themselves, not you. They lack self-knowledge. Some people (unavailable folk) rely on having one in play, another in the background and the truth is, until they understand themselves better, they will always be comparing and vacillating on their decisions. It’s not about your worth; it’s about the fact that they’re so afraid of getting things wrong and missing out, that they’re getting things wrong and missing out anyway.

In the end, sometimes your first tough lesson in commitment is committing to opt of a situation or relationship where the other party won’t commit to an outcome. It’s hard, but it’s nowhere near as hard as hanging around hoping that they’ll commit once you’ve jumped through enough hoops to remove their question marks, especially since they’ve raised more than enough about themselves in the meantime.

Your thoughts?

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177 Responses to Getting Committed About Commitment: There’s No Such Thing As a Decision-Free Lifestyle

  1. cc says:

    i find it is essential to first commit to one’s self, to commit to being responsible for one’s own happiness. i don’t look outside myself (as much, i still catch myself sometimes) for fulfillment – it really, truly helps. but i KNOW that i can make me happy. and…y’know why? yes, yes i did, its exactly what natalie said, i committed to myself, i made myself a promise that i would ALWAYS be there for me. and i am! also, i am so lucky, blessed, to have friends who demonstrate similar commitment to me everyday. it all starts with us.

    and…we can’t shield ourselves from getting screwed over by not committing. i’m dating someone new. and we are now *gulp* exclusive. i’ll admit it, it is scary. but all i can do is try to make good decisions based on the information i have that i assess as clearly as i can. i’m still coming around to this idea of commitment with him. i have moments of panic, of insecurity, and i have to breathe and tell myself that all i need to do is stay balanced, maintain my commitment to mySELF first, and see. i can’t stop him from doing (or not doing) something that hurts me (or makes me happy). but i can stay balanced and keep making decisions rather than just automatically opting in. but i’ll be nowhere if i try the one foot in and one foot out thing. its either in or out.

    speaking of committing to one’s self…ms. option? you out there? doing ok?

  2. Chrysalis says:

    “Its not about your worth; its about the fact that they’re so afraid of getting things wrong and missing out, that they’re getting things wrong and missing out anyway”. WOW Natalie, did that resonate with me! I always felt that my ex husband was only half in the relationship, and boy did I burst a gut to try and make him like me. (When I look back with enlightenment is nearly makes me cry how cruelly I treated myself). I jumped through hoops and in focusing all my strength on trying to keep US alive somewhere along the way I lost ME. The straw that broke the camels back was when I discovered he was having an inappropriate relationship with a woman who was a customer of our business. When I challenged him about it he was totally dismissive of me and I snapped and for the first time in a long time I stood up for myself and made a decision and followed it through. I ended the marriage. He has moved out and I heard from his sister that he has been whining to his brother that he is really hurting and going through a tough time. Yes he’s missing out. He’s missing out on me. Thank God I saw the light and managed to get things right. Not that its easy by any stretch of the imagine, but its RIGHT.

  3. EUM Roberto says:

    My divorce was finalized about a month ago. I did really good being alone and not dating during my year long divorce. Actually towards the last couple months of divorce process i started going out dancing and met a super fun to hang out with woman. We became very close as friends and we fooled around alot (being naked and kissing) but no sex was my boundry. During this time I have been having sex with x-wife. At first i had to give her sex to get her to sign papers, but now that divorce is done she still wants sex and I had been giving it until a couple weeks ago i stopped. Well this fun party girlfriend has major red flags and she was cheating on her boyfriend with me so i was starting to distance myself from her. My goal was to just cutoff both x-wife and the party girl and start fresh with being single.

    I’ve been going out to these parties and it is referred to as “the scene” i’m making new friends and really having fun. I met 2nd girl and we had sex and it turns out that she was very good friends with the 1st party girl that I was distancing from. Turns out 2nd girl was also distancing from 1st girl because she had realized all the same red flag behaviors that I noticed. 2nd girl was broken up from her boyfriend for couple months and did not want anyone to know about us, so i had to act like just friends at party. Red flag 1st girl was in hospital and when i visited her she left me hickey. 2nd girl figured out i had been close to her friend and got pissed at me because of hickey and ignored me at party even though we went together.

    3rd girl = i met her a couple weeks prior and I am very attracted to her unlike the others. I was very surprised to feel this attraction that i had not felt since I was just out of high school when i got married (i’m now mid 30s and divorced). So at this party that i am being ignored by 2nd girl the 3rd girl shows up and i am totally enchanted by her. We danced till sunrise and we go home to her place for most wonderful sex and breakfast.

    2nd girl is pissed and puts me to NC but wants to meet in couple days to give her clothes/jewelry she left at my place. Red flag 1st girl noticed that i am distancing and she is pissed off flipped me off at party in front of everyone, but she wants me to visit her to drop off her clothes she left at my house. x-wife is pissed because I don’t want to give her sex any more. 3rd girl is going out of town for holidays and i hope to see her once more before she leaves.

    • dancingqueen says:

      EUM Roberto:

      This post was about getting committed. It was not called “Bragging about what a playa I like to think I am” Seriously, the bragging is obnoxious and you really make yourself sound like a jerk and also, insecure. All that bragging is just hiding your insecurity.

      You had to “give” sex to your wife to get her to sign the papers…yeah right.

    • Magnolia says:

      Hi Roberto,

      You didn’t ask for any advice so I don’t have any to offer.

      I do wonder, because you call yourself EUM, is your story meant to be an example of EUM behaviour? It is an eye-opening account of how easily an EUM moves between sexual partners while still having everyone “in play” and not making clean breaks from any of them.

      I’m particularly struck by the phrase “distancing from” the one woman, because I have no idea what that entails for you, but it doesn’t sound like saying hey, you know what, this isn’t working out, and then not calling. Visiting a woman in hospital and managing to have her (is she not bedridden) give you a hickey is just about the very opposite of ‘distancing.’

      I hope 3rd girl doesn’t hope for anything long-term or stable from you because you’re not in any position to give it right now.

      If you are looking for support here on BR, we’re happy to help.

    • truth=freedom says:

      Dear EUM Roberto,
      You must be totally exhausted! All the dancing, returning clothes, the sex with people you want to and the sex you dont want (ex wife to get ex to sign divorce papers I presume). I am not sure the point of you posting ???????? but if you need help you have come to the right place!

    • Ria says:

      Girls, you are missing the point here. Rob is a perfect example of someone, who does not want to *miss out*

    • cc says:

      well (hi!) mags, i’ll give advice, he paraded it all here, he gets feedback:

      EUM roberto-
      some observations, if i may. none flattering.
      I did really good being alone and not dating during my year long divorce – while you may not have “date”d, but you were NOT “alone” – you were having sex with your ex-wife. sex = not alone. so it doesn’t count that you didn’t have sex with girl #1. and…please…do not show up here and try to fool us that you “had to” have sex with the ex. that’s just… ugh…. for that matter, what are you doing getting hickeys from women in hospital beds? are we 12?

      – “distancing” – this is coward’s behavior and is NOT excused by girl #2 cheating on her boyfriend. i cannot believe i’m going to say this but: act like a man!! if you want to live by your trouser snake now that you’re divorced, ok (were you NOT living by it when you were married?), but at least be up front about it!

      – what do you care if your ex-wife is pissed? you’re divorced! if you don’t have children (you don’t mention any) then just move on. your ex-wife is NOT a fallback girl, even if she offers sex. go NC.

      i think you like the drama. you like feeling desired by these women. oh, i wish to god that women didn’t let on to men that they desire them like this. all this AC behavior would get nipped in the bud.

      and, dancingqueen (hihi!): i don’t think EUM roberto is bragging. forgive me, EUMR, you sound like an overgrown child. i am not the least impressed.

      oh, and do the world a favor: WEAR A CONDOM!

      • dancingqueen says:

        Hi Hi CC! I am so happy for you and your committment to yourself and your new man!

        I know I seem hard on EURoberto but I don’t buy that he is here for help, I think all that drama and airing it on a post about committing is bizarre…it is like going on and on about eating meat at a vegetarian site…it just seems to have no connection with the post at all, except in its opposition to it, which was why I was so all over him. Plus I just get annoyed with people who totally exhibit red-flag behavior, talking about noticing others read-flag behavior. I just don’t get the point of what his shenanigans had to do with this post.

        Have a good holiday!:)

    • grace says:

      Re EUM Roberto
      Not to let EUM Roberto off the hook but everyone seems to know what is going on. It seems to be equal non-commitment all around. No-one is behaving like they want to be in a proper relationship.
      That’s if this is true. Reads like a bad soap opera.

      • natashya says:

        right. if everybody is happy as a clam with all the non-committal drama, that is none of our business. however, after reading roberto’s hot mess of a party life, i am once again convinced that all the hard work i’ve been doing and will continue to be doing will pay off. never again will i fall for that kind of playa – thanks to BR!!

    • Revolution says:

      Roberto,

      I’m not sure what your purpose is posting your liasons, or what direction you would like to see your life take, but I can honestly say this: As a healthy, loving, attractive, emotionally available woman with integrity, I would see a guy like you and R.U.N. (literally RUN) the other way.

      If you want red flag girls, it’s not my business. But if you’re looking for someone worthwhile, then I would suggest you start treating yourself and others with dignity and respect.

      In the immortal words of Aretha Franklin: “If you want a do-right woman, you gotta be a do-right man.”

      • Lilia says:

        EUM Roberto:
        Agree with all the other commenters. I want to add one detail: what´s with the No sex with girl nr 1 as a boundary? While kissing naked? Doesn´t that sound like you´re just playing around with everyone else´s emotions?
        I really think you´ve misunderstood the concept of boundaries, Roberto. They´re not intended to manipulate party girls into giving you a hickey.

    • Grizelda says:

      Ah thanks for the reminder! *licking the tip of the pencil lead like they used to do in 1920s films then pressing it firmly to a mean scrap of paper in my mitten’d hand* That’s one “He’s… Just… Not… That… Special…” Mug to be added to my shopping list.

    • FX says:

      Roberto, LOL. Girl #1 is unacceptable because she’s cheating on her boyfriend? Did she know you were fucking your wife for money?!! (Or whatever else you wanted her to give up in the divorce process.) I don’t care if you were in the process of a divorce, you were still married so for most here, that would be a flaming scarlet flag right there if you were were leading a woman on for everything naked shy of sex. And, you thought you would just cut them both off after leading them on to meet your needs because it didn’t fit your new agenda? If this is not an example of selfish Assclown and EU thinking, I don’t know what is.

      If you are not a troll, which I suspect you may be from this comment, I hope you will take time off from being a fence-sitting indecisive player long enough to learn how to become a decent human being from NML and the comments here.

    • AHM says:

      LMAO – Roberto – you’re on the wrong blog dude!!

      Ladies ladies – either he really thinks he’s getting “better”, trying to piss a girl off on this website (maybe girl#1, #2, #3 or ex-wife) found this website or trying to get a rise out of us.

      I don’t even want to repsond to such crap – that was the mistake I made with all the a**clowns in my life – I responded instead of flushing!!!!!!!!

      LMAO

    • Jennifer says:

      EUM Roberto,

      Sounds like you have a party problem. Also, thanks for posting. I had a shite day and this gave me a good laugh. Party on.

    • Jennifer says:

      As you may know, I was being sarcastic in my first reply and that doesn’t sit well with me to leave it at that. All this partying really sounds like using in order to avoid reality and life in general. It all sounds like a terrible and even dangerous chaotic mess. My life used to be messy like this, so I am jaded by this kind of lifestyle now. NO one wins. Using each other in the ways you described is one of the worst things we can do to our fellow human beings. We really need to be better to ourselves and others. We can all do better than partying and sex. We are made/designed for so much more than that. It’s a superficial life that leads to deep pains.

  4. dawn says:

    Love your Blog…and read it religiously…I have been involved with an Ass-clown for 4 years. Not in a relationship…just involved….He pops in and out when it works best for him. Hot and Cold. Hot and Cold. He is so text book too..He constantly moves the goal posts of our relationship as it suits him. Well, now he has met someone and is in a relationship…He actually had to go out of his way this time to tell me he met someone..Usually he hides it and they go away after 3 months. This time I think its different and its setting me off in a panic.. As painful as the last 4 years have been, I always thought he would come though in the end, I don’t know why, he has never come through for me before….never… Its not fair…Why does someone like “that” get to find a relationship and someone like me (the doormat) just gets kicked to the curb and alone. For months I have been obsessing about the things he has said and done to me and how humiliated I am now. How could I have let this person treat me like this? And then there is the new girl. What is so special about her that he conforms into a human, but with me I get the monster. I can not stop thinking about this. I am sick of this pain,yet can not let it go.

    • Sm says:

      Dawn, if there’s anything I’ve learned from reading this blog is that She will get the monster too, eventually. I often wonder myself how these dirtbags get to have a relationship anytime they want, it’s because they are not really in the relationship, their partner is. Yea think about it, with them it’s one sided. Who wants to live with someone who puts a question mark on everybody they dates head.

    • maya says:

      Hi Dawn, how long would a monster in the guise of a human remain human like? I had an ex like this – all charm and sweetness before the spell wore off.

      If he has changed because of her, then there will a high possibility he will morphed back into what he really is. Pretending can be a really hard act for monsters, of that, I am pretty darn sure ;)

    • Magnolia says:

      Hi Dawn,

      First you say “not in a relationship, just involved” and in the next breath say he keeps moving “the goalposts of ‘our’ relationship” – clearly you are entangled, and had hopes for more. You’re in a relationshit, as some of the BR women sometimes say.

      You don’t have to let this person treat you like this any longer. Don’t be so sure that a guy who finds someone else while he’s still involved with you is any catch, for you or for her.

      Have you gone NC? Have you stopped all contact with him? Take care of that first, deal with the pain, and the swirling questions and obsessive thinking will subside.

      Sending you strength!

      • dawn says:

        I have gone NC for a month now…Funny thing is that this is the first time I have ever gone NC with him. Blocking him from my phone and spaming his email. I tried before in the past, but felt so bad that it would only last a day. I am sure he will never notice. One of his fun things to do to me when he felt I was getting to close or my expectations were to high for him was to block me from from his phone and ignore my emails with out notice. (I think he is doing that right now as in our last correspondence I confronted him about the new girlfriend who I think has been in the picture for 4 months now that I put all the pieces together.) One minute I would think we were moving forward and then the next he would turn on me. Then when he felt he had taught me a lesson he would swoop back in until the next lesson or hooch appeared. Looking back at all the ugly and cruel that has spewed from him the last 4 years I wonder what it was about me that he hated so much. How does one treat another human in such a manner while the other turns the other cheek and always responds with love and care. He lives down the street from me so I get to see his new girlfriend at his home on a pretty regular basis. She gets to enjoy the beautiful home I ignorantly help create and sleep in the bed we selected together. I own my home so selling right now is not an option due to the economy. At least not for another year or hopefully this spring if the market picks up. I try to drive the long route when ever possible to avoid the pain, but like a moth to light I find myself regularly driving past his home to see if she is there..yes like a crazy stalker..There..I admit it.:( I feel no anger towards her only curiousity. I have never seen her only her car. This starts the “what is wrong with me” cycle. I have finally made an appointment to see a therapist. I def have issues to work out.

        • AHM says:

          Dawn – I felt the same way a few years back. I had a difficult time letting go as I had had tons of loss in my life while going thru this w/ my AC (mother died, blah blah)When I read this – I thought you might be seeing my AC – he had a habit of screwing his neighbors behind my back. Anywho – if it lasts – it’s only because she is doing all the work – not him. He is who he is and always will be until he does MAJOR work. I am writing this for you and myself, to remind myself!!

          Stay no contact, make a deal w/ a friend that everytime you drive by there you have to give her $5, JOURNAL and getting therapy is great!!

          YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS AC!!! He’s disrepectful, dishonest, mean, emotionally abusive, immature, a control freak NOT EVEN RELATIONSHIT MATERIAL!!

          You are so in the right place and I look forward to watching you grow and get your self esteem back on this website – but that will only happen if you stay away from him and do your work!! Love to you!!

    • natashya says:

      dawn, he did you a favour. he has treated you like crap for the past 4 years. how could he have treated you this way? because he’s an assclown and you let him. it’s very simple.

      as for the new girl… what makes you think he is ‘human’ with her. seriously, an assclown does not change its spots unless he makes a conscious decision to change – FOR HIM.

      i hope for your sake that he stays away. as for you, read nat’s ebooks. they are excellent. you need to work on your self esteem and you need to upgrade your chooser. if you stay away from him, you can only win.

      don’t get me wrong, i do understand the obsession, the ruminating, the asking ‘why, why, why?’ but if you are committed to working on yourself and healing, you will find that the pain will subside.

      even about 3 weeks ago, i found myself crying in bed wondering how the ex EUM could have gone from being all over me to basically not seeing me at all — overnight! for whatever reason, i had to know.

      now, after 3 weeks NC i am finding some calm and peace within me again and i realise it doesn’t matter. i still get upset and do cry almost every day, but i am slowly but surely seeing the light that it doesn’t matter. HE doesn’t matter. i am better off without him in my life.

      i seriously never thought i would ever get to this point. i was beyond psychotic after we split up. i am not out of the woods, yet but i now have faith that eventually i will get there. if i can do it, you can, too. ((hugs))

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey Dawn,

      I hate to sound cliche but you will know this later…he did you a favor. She got no prize. They don’t change, they really don’t. I saw my ex who brought me here a few months ago and he was being rude to a barista, men who are not kind and who take advantage just get a new victim.

      You need to stop blaming yourself and start questioning yourself; what made a man like this attractive to you? For me it was wanting to right the wrongs of the past and “win” with a man who was just like my dad. Ick, huh:)?

      Big hugs. This is your new year! No more asshole!

    • V says:

      One does not discover new continents without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

      — Andre Gide

      :-D xo

      • V says:

        Hi Dawn.. :-) you sound like such a beautiful person with a huge heart…and there is nothing wrong with you…I am going to say that aGAIN..JUST SO YOU HEAR IT… THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.. :-D and there is everything right with you and congrats for going no contact with that dip-stick who wasnt treating you with the love you deserve..I am glad you are giving YOU the love you deserve now… CONGRATS.. HIGH FIVE GAL! You are growing stronger :-):-) time for a celebration dance…… Yank the music on full ball..dance around like crazy..and know that you are awesome.. :-).

        OMG he lives close to you though..are you able to move? ..sometimes when we let go it helps to rid picures and reminders and the like but when you have his ACTUAL F’ing HOUSE on the same street argh..what torture..I would not be able to do it..it would be too easy for my brain to be like a broken record in the old resentments rather than enjoying my life….

        You deserve better than the reminder of the past in you face everytime you enter your street..it is making you feel bad about you when you deserve to feel awesome about you…… you deserve a fresh start….Dawning of a new Dawn..or the real Dawn…:-D …is there anywhere else you have ever wanted to live?…preferable wherever he isnt?…

        makes it tricky not to always remember him when there is reminders of him..therepists can be good but at times though sometimes they keep us stuck in our cycle of pain..going over and over and over the old pain so that we end up cementing it even more….therepists can be good though..i jsut hope it is one who gives a positive new focus and turns the old into a blessing in disguise… You deserve a new fresh start,,full of all the wonderful things you deserve in life… then a better man will swoop you up and you will be glad to be rid of that old dip-stick :-D.. And he can have his shitty new girlfriend…(don’t worry he will flip-flap her around too..BUT he is her problem now..sucks to be her!).. .but he won’t ever have the awesome you again.. you will be too busy being happy…:-D xo
        take care, kind regards
        Vel

        • V says:

          ps..the moving comment was based on long ago past experience when i once borrowed some “sugar” from a neighbour.. ( so to speak) I borrowed a lot of sugar..

          and I fell deeply in love with that sugar….but the sugar wasn’t good for me….. and to let it go it helped to move away… moral of the story …..

          I have never borrowed sugar from a neighbour ever again haha, no matter how sweet or tempting it is ha.. ( or how charming, tall, dark, artistic and handsome) cause some times.. some sugar is a ltttle bit rotten for our teeth..and toxic to our health…and to keep on being around it can keep us unhealthy.. and there is other things that will fill us up in healthier ways :-D THAT sounds really wrong..but you know what i am getting at…and I am not talking about a carrot..

          not to mention it can be a pain in the butt to move ha…x
          wishing you all great things
          xo
          oh boy I am talkative tonight..amazing what a lack of sleep does..

          • dawn says:

            Thank You V:) I am working on the moving thing…Trust Me!! As I have read to many stories about people in my position who finally moved and were then able to heal. Its so sad when I purchased this home I loved it so much and had such big plans for it. I just want out now. Where I live the economy and winter make it difficult to sell homes..so I have to at least wait til spring.

  5. phy says:

    I can vouch for this, from the multitasker’s point of view. I had a good woman, together for a long time, though never living together because of kid situation. But I chatted and flirted with women online frequently. I relied on her as the steady, not as glamorous as the sharp women I flirted with online. I broke up with her annually for five years and she always took me back. I was always devastated each time, but I just did not learn. She had her own issues — we fit the “Women Who Love Too Much” pattern VERY well. You are right, I did not have self-knowledge, and I realize now after our final breakup that I have addiction and abandonment issues. So I lost her because I did not get a handle on these while we were together. I pray for us both now, for her a healthy and happy relationship, for me to learn how to be alone in a healthy way and take care of myself. No relationship for me for a long time. Bitter lesson, but some of us have to learn the hard way. Good article.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      phy.. I am glad to hear you have decided not to have a relationship for a long time. I have the same desire but for totally different reasons. I was on the other side of your relationship. I was the one that got away. Went NC & never want to see him again. Its very impressive that you now realize that you have issues that need addressed. SOmetimes we dont know what we have until its gone. And after so much damage is done there is no turning back. You can’t redo what has already been done. I wish u all the best..

    • Magnolia says:

      Hey phy,

      Thanks for this. It really helps me to hear a guy talk about that kind of behaviour and own it, because I certainly have been in a place of making excuses for / trying to ignore / questioning my feelings about a guy’s flirting.

      I’ve spent time in a recovery group where I often heard men talk about struggles and learned that for many guys, who find it relatively easy to find a woman who wants a relationship, the issue is not taking advantage of that vulnerability and trust for a quick hit of feeling (insert whatever feeling – powerful, loved, manly, numb, etc – here).

      It really helped me hear and begin to discern the difference between people who were making excuses, someone who could admit mistakes but was avoiding change, and someone who was walking the talk.

      Sounds like you wanted hits of validation from the “sharp” glamourous, unavailable women that your familiar gf couldn’t provide. Sounds like you didn’t really “want” your ex, but took advantage of her lack of boundaries for years(when she kept taking you back).

      I have done the same, believe me – there are lots of similarities between your story and mine with my ex of over a decade ago, that I was ruminating about last week.

      Thanks for sharing your story – it sounds like you’re still not totally over your ex, but are focusing on you now. You can build your self-esteem to the point where you don’t need women’s attention to validate you.

    • phy says:

      Kit-Kat, Magnolia, thank you for your kind comments. I think another factor for me is (cliche alert) I don’t think I’ve ever been able to really feel love for myself. I have some good qualities, which I think kept my ex trying, but in the long run, I did not have what it took to sustain the relationship. Looking back, I think the chats with the women online did give me “hits” of approval, not quite love but as close as I could get to it. And the reconciliations with my ex had enough of that “new relationship” energy to it that it was kind of like love. But my inability to love myself made it impossible to really accept her love, and to really love her consistently, and it kept collapsing.

      I am not that young, and I may or may not be able to really learn to love myself enough to be in a loving relationship with a woman. But even if not, at least I can serve as a warning… no matter what good qualities a man has, if he cannot love himself, all the love in the world from you will not make the relationship work. Sad to say, but you will have to walk away.

      Best of luck and best wishes to everyone here.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        phy… My ex had alot of good qualities that I was looking for in a man. We were also ,like you, in a long term relationship. And I suspect, actually I know now, that he was on a dating site the entire time we were together,there were clues that I brushed away that he was getting his ego stroked when he was out without me ect. In the end I dont think he can ever be in a totally committed relationship. I think he loved me as much as he was capable of but he has issues that even he doesnt understand. In his words “he is messed up”. Anyway, I read a great book called Men Who Cant Love by Steven Carter. I saw my ex in many,many pages of that book. You may find yourself in the pages also. If not its a great read for anyone who has been involved w/somone that appears to want a relationship but isn’t capable for whatever reason. To end , I know he is aware that he has issues with relationships. He is not a young man.He is in his early 50’s but its up to him to seek help or stay the way he is. Not my problem anymore. I can finally say after a very long roller coaster ride of healing & self discovery I have gotten to the point where I just dont care about his life anymore. Halleluja !

  6. Miss. Option says:

    Hey CC,
    I’m out here but doing ok? Not really. I’m going through an anger stage right now. Don’t know if that’s good or bad. But I rescued him yet again today from a screw up at work. And now I’m mad at myself and him. I’m sick of him and myself. Anyway thanks for asking about me :)

    • cc says:

      option-
      i’m going to go out on a limb and say anger is good as long as you do not direct it at yourself. anger means that some part of you is sticking up for all of you, and that’s exactly what you need. you are likely to be pissed off for a long time.

      however – continue to break patterns with him, even if you cannot go cold turkey. keep putting one foot in front of the other to march yourself out of this situation.

      if you rescued him at work? if that’s the MOST you did? so what, blow it off. keep clearly in your mind that he is an insect. use the anger to keep cleaning your AC goggles, to keep yourself in a position of choice.

      you can do it, honey. you CAN. just stick to it. you will not be ok for a while, but this anger, this being sick of it, is FAR better than how you were and is headed in the right direction. imnsho.

  7. Monica says:

    I made a decision to end a relationsship that no longer made me happy, there were times when he lured me back in but my heart had enough.I want the real thing. Not a half ass relationship that would never end in a happy marriage. It was hard to let go and I shed a few tears but I know what I want and I am not going to settle. I am young (39yrs) and fairly attractive and I am sure there is someone out there for me who feels the same way about relationships and will do everything to love me and to make me happy so, I had to let go of the dead weight I was carrying.Now I am free to recieve what I deserve…

    • Bellaninha says:

      Well done Monica. It’s really brave to up and leave but its so good that you chose yourself. I’m 39 too and have been through the same process of ending it when it becomes obvious you don’t have the real thing. It hurts a lot at the start but the alternative, ie staying with someone who you don’t have a shared future with, is much more bleak. I can tell you my life is so much better now, knowing myself and what I want, and you can look forward to that I promise you. Sending you lots of love and strength at this time xxx

  8. Paris says:

    This is great. I just got out of a relationship two months ago. I met a new guy this weekend. I was very cold, and he was very polite. I’m so scared to try because of what I recently experienced. I need to not let that azclown keep a hold of me and make a commitment to myself to give this guy a fair chance. The moment I see my boundaries being disrespected then leave but until then at least try. Thanks Nat

  9. Sm says:

    This reminds me of a guy I used to know. He had a girlfriend and a fiancé. On the day he got married he sent flowers to the girlfriend and once he was back from the honeymoon with the wife, he and the gf resumed. Yep, I was in my 20’s at the time and thought it was the craziest thing ever, little did I know that I’d be involved with my own craziness later.

  10. louise says:

    I made the mistake of letting my ex flip flap around for the last year of our 3 year relationship and be all “i dont know what i want” blah blah blah.Only for him to leave me and move in with someone else..so lesson learned big time here..If you take too long in making a decsion like nat said thats your decsion..Great post…

    • Lau_ra says:

      Excellent thought from some magazine that I’ve read ages ago (but didn’t take that into account at that time) – if a guy says he doesn’t know what he wants, he definitely doesn’t want you.

  11. Sandy C. says:

    Yes, yes indeed, He keeps saying we will get married but it’s always somewhere over the rainbow. I don’t even talk about it I just observe. He’s been married three times and that is a red flag right there. Maybe wants to commit when he does but half-heartedly? I had to stop putting his interests first and now I am taking care of me. It’s hard to learn to do if you’ve always put others first but it appears to be what they mean when they say act like a woman, think like a man …..?

  12. K says:

    Funny…

    When I reflect on commitment, something I’ve been doing a lot of lately, I see how UNCOMMITTED I was. Not just in relationshits that were not healthy for me or really available (I was OW in last one), but in other areas of my life too. Focusing on this now, I realize I have let a lot of people down in my relationhits too because I would keep a promise and not stick to it. I always had an excuse ready to back out. While I was aware of it, I was very frustrated as to why I was doing it, but until my last relationshit ended a couple of years ago, I never really sat down and gave it much thought until my life started to unravel with my health and financially, along with issues with a disordered child.
    What I had was undiagnosed PTSD. My inability to follow through on commitments was related to fear. I feared being away from home, being in uncomfortable situations. I feared being around people I didn’t know well and had a morbid fear of authority.
    One of the mantras my psychopathic father use to say to me was that I will always fail and never be able to commit to anything. Those words resonate in my mind even today and I have had to work very hard on changing it. Much of healing involves doing this that are less than comfortable in order to integrate new behaviors, boundaries, value and change. It is really, really hard work.
    I don’t make promises now. I’m honest about my disabilities, my PTSD and what I can and can’t do right now. When I feel pressured or obligated to do something because I feel a people pleasing, doormat signal going off in my head, is when I have had to work the hardest. I have made commitments and promises that I knew I could not keep in the past to make others happy. I didn’t know myself and I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint people, but in not keeping commitments and promises this is what happened ANYWAY. I lost a lot of credibility doing it with my family and some friends.
    So now I’m committed to me first. At 49, I’m taking major baby steps in recovery by keeping my commitments to the barest essentials. I stick to a tight routine now, that I know i can follow. I keep my commitments to my children and in being the best Mom I can be. This year, we are not going to have a Christmas because my car broke down and I have to put out money for that that was unexpected. I promised my son that I would get him his fourth generation my little pony comforter for christmas lol! And I intended to do just that, along with a desperately needed pair of shoes and now I can’t. I sat him down and explained that I would not be able to follow through on this for christmas because of the car. He was very understanding and I told him I would purchase it at the first of next month for him. Before I would have just ignored my promise and let my kids be disappointed. It felt good to keep to my commitment to be HONEST if I couldn’t keep a promise.
    I’m holding to my commitment to keep all of my doctor and dental appointments. The doctor appointments are a bit overwhelming at times because there are so many, and therapy is a no brainer lol! I keep all of my children’s appointments. I’m committed to a no drama zone at home and it has worked well for us. There is stability here, ie: I am sober, no toxic relationships and working hard to manage my triggers and to be more communicative. I’m committed to being and staying single, until I feel prepared to date again. I realize this may never be an option for me again. Not because I can’t necessarily, but I may not want too. I’m learning to enjoy being committed to me, my life and my kids. I’m committed to integrity, honesty, and healthy relationships. I have new friends that I have made in my journey where the pace is slow and yet mutually trusting. I really like that.
    How funny that the first thought was not a relationship. I think that’s good news! sorry this was so long. I haven’t committed to not being long winded yet. :)

    • cc says:

      k-
      good for you, sooo good. i have ptsd (that is healing) too, and i know the feeling of wanting to hide and have nothing expected of me.

      but being honest first (as in being impeccable with your word as in “the four agreements”, maybe get and read that book, it will echo everything you’re doing) is terrific and a wonderful self-esteem builder. so happy for you!

    • phy says:

      Hi K,

      I like your idea of keeping your commitments to the barest essentials. I am also struggling to take care of myself, forget about any kind of relationship with anyone else. Thanks for the good ideas.

    • dancingqueen says:

      k,
      “One of the mantras my psychopathic father use to say to me was that I will always fail and never be able to commit to anything”

      Don’t listen to any voice that comes from that one. That makes my blood boil! What a jerk of a dad. Please don’t take that voice on as your internal one K.

      (((Holiday hugs)))

    • runnergirl says:

      K,
      You are awesome. I liked what you said about committing to the barest essentials. I didn’t realize that is what I was doing two years ago. I stuck to a tight routine too, although I didn’t realize it. I’m sorry about the car and the economic hardship. Crumbs, I want to buy your son his my little pony comforter and his new shoes. Good for you for being honest with your son.
      I’ve done the same thing regarding creating a “No Drama Zone” period. My young adult daughter is back home and I think she is finding the stability and lack of drama comforting. I know I am.
      I’m glad your post was long winded, I identified with everything you said.
      Dang, I got to get back on keeping up with drs appts though.
      Give the kids a hug and keep up the great work. You are an inspiration.

  13. Elysia says:

    I have been indecisive and afraid of real commitent my entire life. Yet i am always in a relatiomship…I want nothing more than to have a stable relationship(marriage) and kids, but when the relationship starts having issues, I start second guessing everything and then it’s hard for me to stay 100% in it. I also almost always have a back up plan too if things starts to go south in my relationship. I’m sure I have some addictive relationship issues and possibly some co-dependency issues as well. It’s very hard to get a grasp on what I really want when the fear of being alone is running most of my decisions. I finally have realized I might just have to let go of everything I think I should be doing and just do what feels right. Even if it means dealing with a painful breakup and being alone for awhile. Thank you for this article and for all of the other ones you have posted. They really help keep me in check an give me encouragement that I can be in a happy healthy relationship someday.

  14. miskwa says:

    I am looking for a committed relationship and when I meet someone that disrespects me, is really looking for casual, or that I can tell right off that I can never even force myself to be attracted to, he’s gone. Cannot imagine dating multiple men, one, how the heck can one find the necessary amount of time, and two, around here, you couldn’t even FIND multiple quality older men around here to date, period. Some colleagues, not knowing about the AC, have been trying to fix me up with a temporary employee. A bunch of us met for drinks; within a half hour, he managed to make both a racist remark, an anti cyclist remark, and disclose his weight, about 50 pounds over what he healthily should be. I am an avid athlete, including cycling, am triracial, and am dealing with a dying father, most of whose problems stem from obesity. The only thing I see that this dude and share is that we are the same age and belong to the same species. Yep, I am probably hung up on AC’s incredible looks and that we DID have so many common values (and honesty, alas, not being one of them) but really, not only does the man hafta commit to you, you have to see enough in him to make YOU want to commit. Right now, I am not sure what my future is and wont till I get the final assessment on the house AND can find a job in an area that’ll work for me. Besides, If you are not feeling it, accept it and don’t use the poor guy for attention when you know it aint gonna work.

    • Lau_ra says:

      Miskwa, so true what you are saying about not knowing how to date multiple people at time! I’m really tough (and always have been) on saying “definite no” to married men/ men in relationships and guys that I’m not attracted to in any way. I’ve never understood those who date people whom they don’t really want just to pass the time, until they meet someone “more interesting”, but what is really ridiculous, I would often appear on the receiving-end of such crumbs:)

    • Lau_ra says:

      Sorry for the spam: accidentally posted the unfinished post;) To continue what I wrote before – so I’m not really up for making people feel used or whatever, when they realise they weren’t the only one that I’ve dated. My best friend says I’m foolish saying a guy “no” straight up if I’m not interested, instead of dating several guys at time and “checking them”. She says – “you are single, cause you don’t play that “game”!” But hey there, this “game” makes me unhappy, when played on me, so I’d better make a person hurt for five minutes with my honesty than make them feel bad after they’ve made time and effort for me just to know I was bullshi**** them.

  15. Learner says:

    Natalie,
    “It’s demeaning to be somebody’s “safety net”, Fallback Girl or backup plan and you deserve better than being with somebody who keeps putting a question mark over your head while shopping around. The questions are about themselves, not you. They lack self-knowledge.”

    This describes the exMM to a T. Never making a decision about his wife, OR his lovers, in case he “chose the wrong one”, or “made a mistake.” He blabbed on about valuing commitment, and yet has really committed to no one. Not his wife, not his long-term OW, not me.

    While I was in OW hell, I was also suffering from not enough self-knowledge. That is changing. His question mark is no longer over my head. I have exchanged it for the exclamation mark of NC! I am committing to being myself, feeling my feelings and living my values with boundaries intact. He can continue his illusion of a decision-free lifestyle. I have decided he is NOT for me. As you say Natalie, we all deserve better than to be someone’s option!

    • Lilly says:

      Learner, OW hell it is indeed! I wished I’d committed to full NC when we started all those months ago. I’d be feeling as you do now and CONGRATULATIONS because you do deserve better than to be someone’s option. I made the decision yesterday to go fully NC, including NO working together. I can’t do it anymore. I’ve been trying hard to keep it professional, but it has proven impossible. I’m getting dragged further and further down and I can’t stand seeing myself this way. I’m run down, stressed and full of anxiety. It will mean a new direction for work, and I’m nervous but like others here I can do it. 2013 is going to AC free. Happy 2013 sis and to all at BR, xxx.

      • Learner says:

        Lilly,
        I am so glad to hear you are doing full-on NC! Congratulations to YOU. Strict NC really has been a life-saver for me. I am lucky that “my” exMM has respected the “no contact unless it’s all-business” policy, and we haven’t needed to email for a long while, but I know it will be hard when I have to see him face-to-face in a few months when our work group gets back together for some more sessions. You have had the added frustration of your exMM trying to lure you back in, which would be tough for any exOW to deal with. You don’t need him to stress you out, add to your anxiety, or suck the life out of your emotions. You have your new university to look forward to – and I hope you find this will be like turing a new page in your life, while slamming the book *closed* on Mr you-know-who! A very Happy “AC-free two-zero-one-three” to you, too, “lil” sis xxxooo

        • runnergirl says:

          Learner and Lilly, congratulations for digging out of the OW Hell. As K said above, I’ve been committed to committing to the barest essentials. Just me, my daughter, and her new little kitty! The exMM has tried to lure me back in via a “work project” and it isn’t working! I’m sure he can’t figure out why all his charm, allure, mystic, and unavailability doesn’t work anymore.
          Even though my online dating experiences haven’t resulted in meeting The One and sometimes I want to run screaming into the night, I’ve learned that I deserve much, much, much better than the OW Hell I put myself through. Even though I have been on some pretty humorous dates, some miserable ones, been stood up on a second date, and given the heave ho after I mentioned to third date guy that I wasn’t keen on jumping into the sack with someone I didn’t know, everysingle guy has treated me better than the exMM. Once I committed to treating me with love, respect, and care, it’s been different. Committing to my boundaries has made dating fun. Even the bad dates are fun.
          I’ve been rooting for you Lilly and Learner. There is so much more out there than an old MM. It is committing to the barest essentials for a start. Guys can and do call when they say the will. Guys can be on time. Guys can make plans in advance and follow through. The busy guys can just jog on and be busy. Now if they could only get dressed and not grab the left over fries off of the plate being cleared! Too funny.

          Compare this comment to my comment two years ago…I gotta find it. I would have never thought this was possible two years ago. Hang in there ladies. In a mere two years, you could be writing about the guy who showed up looking like he just rolled out of the hay. It’ll be two-zero-one-five!

          • Lilly says:

            Runnergirl, Lol! I loved hearing about the date with the scruffy guy, made me howl with laughter. A much needed moment I can tell you. I’m also rooting for you Runner and our amazing Learner. Keep flushing the bad guys; one day you won’t need to. I’m busy preparing myself for 2015 and I’ll be ready when the time comes!

          • Learner says:

            Runner,
            I would love to read your comment from 2 years ago! Which of Natalie’s post was in under? I am so glad that you, Lilly, and myself have made the decision to be exMM-free! You have both had to resist advances by your exMM’s, and I applaud your commitment to yourselves in maintaining your boundaries. Thank you both for sharing your stories and your strength xo

  16. Tinkerbell says:

    Dawn.

    You have to let go. That’s all there is to it. He is not going to commit. He lacks the “commitment gene”. How do you even know there’s a “new girl?” I suspect it’s his WIFE who is putting the squeeze on him, so he has to tell you something to hopefully cool you off and lower your expectations. Guys like this LOVE to pull the rug out from under you, especially at holiday time so that you get good and angry, leaving them free and available to take care of their more pressing and justified obligations. He is putting someone else FIRST. You are the FBG and he has no intentions of committing to you. He’s making his decisions and keeping you in the dark. Come into the light and flush him. Four years of this bullcrap is long enough! I hope you are NC.

  17. finallygettingit69 says:

    Yep. Been there. Lived it. Dated someone who was my “BF” but had an active match.com profile. I broke up with him after realizing I was the rebound girl and that he hadn’t figured out if he was in or he was out. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t torn but it came down to choosing me. Finally.

  18. maya says:

    My ex did everything his way, and did it when it is convenient for him. And I mean, everything. God, religion, family, friends, work – we all had to dance to his tune.

    So, when it was convenient for him, I was his girl, his woman – I regret not telling to never refer to me as his woman – it sounded like I was a piece of trinket he found at a village fair. At other times, I was his best mate.

    When I got tired of him flip flopping, I asked him whether he wanted to remain exclusive, or go on our separate ways. He didn’t answer, so I made the decision for both of us and left. That was a shock, since until then, I accepted everything about him. One of the biggest problem I had with him was he wanted me to commit, but he should be allowed to run free. He must have thought I was a loon. And I was one for a while. How did I let myself become so stupid. I still wonder sometimes.

    The sad thing is, he still doesn’t understand why I left. Or why his wives left him. Or why he couldn’t keep the other ladies committed to him. I wish I could tell him why should we remain committed when he won’t. But then again, it won’t change anything about him.

  19. Enlightened says:

    Natalie,

    I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that your blog has changed my life. I stumbled across it as a relationship with a Mr. Unavailable was ending. I went through denial, despair, anger and finally apathy, and I thought I was maybe ready to date again.

    Back track to last weekend with the first person I’ve tried to date since the dramatic conclusion with the MA. New guy says “I’ve never been in a relationship where I was faithful, but I have changed a lot in the past few years.” Ahaahahahaa SURE you have.Then I see, on his FB wall,a very suggestive post from a former girlfriend.

    At one time I would have made all kinds of excuses or convinced myself that I am somehow “different” from all of the other, perfectly fine I am sure, women he cheated on in his Four, yes FOUR previous marriages. You’ve helped me to become honest with myself and not afraid to Flush It, even if it means spending Christmas (such a banal holiday anyway as you said in another post) alone. Thank you, Natalie. I think I will spend some time loving myself for a while. Considering that I still have Major trust issues I now realize I am Not ready to date and anything I do find will most assuredly be of the unhealthy, non-committal, asshat variety because whatever vibe I am sending off is drawing just that.

    Thanks Again,

    Enlightened, finally

    • Lau_ra says:

      Enlightened, they don’t change (there was a post in here on that too). I had a short fling once with a guy, whom I knew as a friend. It was me who left him, and it was easy, cause there were his stories stuck in my mind (from those times we were just friends and didn’t think we’d ever have a fling) on how he cheated on his long-term girlfriend, so I didn’t think I can trust such a man and start a relationship, though he wanted us to. Now he has a nice girl, they live together, still when she left the town for the weekend once, he started dropping me hints on Facebook, on how he doesn’t have any friends to go out with that night, ask, if he could visit me at my new home, bringing a bottle of wine and etc. So the conclusion is – you can feed a wolf with niciest meat, yet he would look to the forest.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Lau_ra…
        “you can feed a wolf with niciest meat, yet he would look to the forest.”
        SO sad but true :)

  20. natashya says:

    “In the end, sometimes your first tough lesson in commitment is committing to opt of a situation or relationship where the other party won’t commit to an outcome.”

    this hit home. you’d think getting married would be a commitment, but when i did get married, there was always the little voice in my head that told me ‘if it doesn’t work out, you can always get divorced’. this voice never left, but i certainly did leave.

    it was the same with the LTR that followed my marriage. i was never totally emotionally invested and a self proclaimed commitment phobe.

    i certainly did get my first lesson in commitment in spring, when i got involved with the EUM. for the first time in my life, i was committed and it actually felt really, really good. so good, that it didn’t dawn on me that my feelings were not reciprocated at all. he ended up dumping me, after i pressed the issue.

    a rude awakening, for sure, but the more i’m healing, the more proud i am of myself for not letting it drag on and on.

    and this whole experience has taught me so much already. yes, it still hurts very much at times, but i know i can commit. i WANT TO, but to the right person who feels exactly the same way as i do.

  21. Magnolia says:

    I like the job analogy – I can relate to that! The dress analogy is also good; I’ve been watching episodes of Say Yes To The Dress and they do say finding the right dress is like finding the right man, once you find it, STOP looking.

    I actually learned a lot from that show, watching the women suffer who a) didn’t know what they wanted so couldn’t look without getting overwhelmed, nor decide without questioning their own decision and/or b) let themselves be influenced by what other people (often their moms or friends) thought and chose dresses based on what other people said they looked good in, not what made their heart sing and their faces light up.

    I could see the vast difference between the faces of women who were like, “Hmm, really? Do you think this is the dress I should pick?” and the “OMG! I love this dress!” faces. I could also see that the women who could put on a dress and say, “nice, but not quite,” or “no” rather quickly when they put something on were also going to be the ones who were more confident about their “yes.”

    There are hundreds of gorgeous dresses in every store; seriously, if after you found something great, you kept looking to see if you could find something just *that* much greater, you could be at it forever.

    Being decisive is about knowing what turns your crank. I’ve thought for so long that success was about the ‘best’ decision or the ‘right’ decision – and was miserably confused at not knowing what best or right was for me. Now I get that “what makes me happy” is my “best”, rather than wondering why society’s, or my sister’s, or the university’s, idea of best isn’t making me happy.

    Still new to this making myself happy game, but since I figured out the gut-thing, and the face-light-up index, decision-making is now way more fun.

    By the way, the teaching term is over; I’m home at my folks’ place (quite peacefully, and really enjoying my parents’ company, having figured out so much since my cousin died), *finishing* my dissertation. Deadline Jan 7. I’m calling the season Dissmas 2012. You will be hearing about it when I hand this sucker in!! xo

    • grace says:

      magnolia
      yes, stop looking! These days more men are showing an interest in me and I might find myself thinking “is this man more suitable?” then I remember I am in a relationshp (doh) and simply do not pursue the thought.
      I could go the other way and think “oh, I have doubts! my relationship is not perfect, maybe I can do better etc.”
      I don’t think it’s possible to “decide” to love someone otherwise we could all decide to love just anybody. But I feel and know it’s possible to decide not to look around.
      The relationship will succeed or fail on its own merits, not because either of us (I hope) starts entertaining other options. It’s never the answer to insert third parties, however innocent it may seem.

  22. ssmith says:

    “It’s not about your worth; it’s about the fact that they’re so afraid of getting things wrong and missing out, that they’re getting things wrong and missing out anyway.”

    Thanks Natalie!I needed that!

  23. RachelC says:

    I have been trying to break away from a work colleague that I have been having a fling with for the past year. It’s all about sex for him although he has said he doesn’t want to hurt me he does constantly.

    I have been reading BR for about 3 months now and it all makes so much sense and all the posts are so true to his behaviour and I beat myself up that I know that he will never come through in the end but I live in la la land thinking just maybe he will.

    This post however has made me realise that I need to start with my self.

    Thank you

    • Grizelda says:

      Ah RachelC,

      ‘I don’t want to hurt you’ is something they ALL say. And it translates directly in human-being-speak to ‘Hey thanks for letting me crap all over you without complaint. And if you’d be good enough not to, like, cry or anything in front of me as I’m walking out the door, I’d be much obliged.’

      Strength to you RachelC. Reach for the flush handle. Taking back your dignity is what you need.

      • dancingqueen says:

        “I don’t want to hurt you” is AC speak for “I am warning you that I will hurt you and I am clearing my conscience now, by ‘warning’ you, so that I can tell myself that you should have known.” RUN!

    • Kit-Kat says:

      RachelC… The first steps are the hardest .. I know it’s hard when u work together but go as much NC w/him as possible. Once you take that first step back away from the situation you begin to see a clearer picture and the more steps you take the easier they get… From what you wrote you know what you have to do . DO it for you, your self respect, your dignity. He will latch onto someone else for sex . Sad but true.

  24. Chrysalis says:

    Maya, my ex was the same. It was his way or the highway. My chronic lack of self esteem kept me paralyzed in people pleasing mode until I finally saw the light and opted out of the relationship. Not easy, still struggling (that’s why I’m on here!) but I’ve made a decision and I’m committed to seeing it through. Magnolia, I too am new to the making myself happy game but enjoying finally putting me first and discovering what makes me tick. I was so over invested in my marriage that I had no clue as to what made me happy any more. Good luck with your dissertation. Dissmiss 2012 – love it!

    • maya says:

      I still have episodic nightmares, especially when I’m not feeling right. I’m thinking when does it finally end? Really. The only relationship I’m into now is with my diss – it gets pretty intense sometimes, but at least it is not manipulative ;)

      Hope we both find some comfort and healing vibes on here. Hugs.

  25. Melissa says:

    I’m a commitment phobe, I believe. I can’t even sit down to watch a whole movie these days. Can’t decide.

    Dating? It’s been awful, flat out awful. Through the Internet, I’ve gone on dates with over 30 men in the last 6 months. All one major problem after another (missing teeth, criminal records, not really divorced, you know). Seriously, almost every single one. The few that I even felt an attraction towards (really, just one) turned out to be a major assclown who would call his ex wife and mother the C word in front of me.

    Anyway. Now, I find that I can barely commit to meeting for a drink because I’m just sitting there waiting to hear the news, the bad news, the major disaster that will be this man’s character flaw.

    I would love to meet a man in person rather than the Internet, but we all know that people don’t talk to strangers any more in public, so….

    If I could get past the initial first date commitment, perhaps we could talk relationship ;-)

    • Lau_ra says:

      Melissa, the part of your post that says
      “Now, I find that I can barely commit to meeting for a drink because I’m just sitting there waiting to hear the news, the bad news, the major disaster that will be this man’s character flaw”
      perfectly describes what I’m thinking when on a date after I’ve started reading BR.
      I’ve become more aware of my ill patterns of behaviour that attract EUMs, but yet I’ve become somewhat worried too, cause it seems that decent men is smth that you can only find in a museum. I live in a small country. Though I’m in the capital, dating when you’re 29 is really complicated, cause all good guys seem to be taken (are married or in a long term relationships), and the “free” ones that would do well according to their age (30-something) seem to be “damaged” in some way- be it EUMs or ACs.My red-flag radar started working really well, and I must admit I become somewhat sadsometimes realising that a lot of men are unavailable not because they already have someone, and I’m not getting younger, so the possibilities of meeting someone available are getting smaller every single day;/

  26. Jennifer says:

    Ahhh, commitment. I saw myself as such a liberated woman because I didn’t ‘need’ commitment from men like all the other women I saw as dumb and needy. I thought I was so evolved and superior. I was a sad, deeply hurt child in a woman’s body walking around zombie like with a narcissistic fortress of beliefs of my own construction. I was dead inside. I guess I thought I needed a bad boy type to wake me up, save me from my depression, lack of direction and superficial social life. I wanted an interesting and exciting man to motivate me to live instead of just going through the motions. What I got was a whiny, manipulative/addictive wounded who seriously fucked with my head and emotions. He was looking for someone to motivate, fix, heal and change him too. We just got more and more sick together. Our addictions sky rocketted. Me to him and him to alcohol. The more he drank, the more shady behavior, the more I wanted him. On some level he knew it too and used it to his advantage. It’s been 8 months of no contact. I’m still heartbroken and I still obsess about him but there is no going back. Going back is death quite literally as I developed near fatal anorexia during our dalliance.

  27. Simone says:

    I’ve definitely been on both ends of the spectrum. Not committing is a major factor of not wanting to deal with the outcome of your decisions. By leaving the person hanging, you are giving yourself the option to flip-flop whenever it’s most convenient. The best way for a reality check is to find someone who treats you exactly the same way you have been treating your ex-mates.

    Not that committment-phobes are bad people. They just have bad behavior that limits the possiblity of ever having meaningful relationships. Not to mention, they damage anyone who crosses their path. Once we take the stigma OFF of making real decisions, we can become more comfortable with choosing that which reflects who we actually are.

  28. courtney says:

    Oh man did this post come at the right time. I really need advice from BR readers. I am still in limbo. I’ve had three dates with this guy who I thought was great in numerous ways (his sweet treatment of me, the way we connect in our sense of humor and intellect, our physical chemistry). Of course, I recognized the possibilities of “unfolding” and treated it as a discovery phase.

    Until our third date…which was a long one and we started having a discussion which I brought up about the girls he was seeing. It was more impulsive on my part. He told me he traditionally dated one girl at a time, but in the past a girl he dated didn’t disclose to him that she was seeing other people, so he did start dating multiple people because he assumed that’s what most girls did. Currently he is seeing two other girls, but that I was his “favorite” and he thought I was seeing other people too (I wasn’t) which is why he pursued dates with them as well. I suggested the idea to be exclusive, and could tell he was struggling with that idea. He wasn’t sure if I would change my mind and he didn’t want to, well, let’s just put it bluntly, give up those other options in case that happened.

    Long story short, we recently had a discussion as to whether we had an incompatibility with our expectations. He said he’s not opposed to something long-term, but that it would take more than three dates to really learn about each other. While I agree, I also wonder if this is just to prolong something that may never be serious. I told him I felt that if he’s going to continue seeing other women, even casually, that’s still an investment and it would be harder for him to “let them go.” He told me that that’s operating the assumption that he would feel the same way in 8 dates versus 3 regarding the situation with me.

    It seems this situation is a BR no-brainer but I’ve been struggling over the fact that we are going on another date. On one hand, I really enjoy his company and want to continue enjoy dating. I have also decided to try to date other people as well.

    On the other, I am not sure if I know what I am doing. Did I rush the exlusivity discussion? How many dates can you have before you decide to be exclusive? It makes me feel really envious to know there are other people who decided to be exclusive quite early on, and yet no matter how much I think I *deserve* that commitment, it’s harder to bring it up in real life. I am also somewhat unsure if I DO want to be exclusive too. So it’s so confusing for me and not as black and white as just labelling him as a commitmentphobe. I have no idea what I really want, and maybe neither does he.

    My current position is just to enjoy the next date, see how it goes and keep my options open. While I agree with the post about getting committed to being committed, I am in my early twenties and I am not even sure if I should be overthinking these things. Ugh! I really have no clue. Insights, anyone?

    • sushi says:

      Courtney,
      my advice is ,no matter what your age, do not waste your time.
      Follow your gut, which says you are uncomfortable with being an option. If there is the one most important messsage to always remember is that one, never be an option and listen to what your gut is telling you. Your gut is 100% correct. Don`t doubt yourself, you are not asking him to marry you, you are asking to be respected and for a time to discover (both of you) if you want to persue a relationship with each other. You are willing to do it but he isn`t, you have an imbalance already and a difference in values and a red flag in my opinion. When you meet a man worth his salt he will run if you try to treat him like an option. take care.

    • Sm says:

      I think after 3 dates it is too soon to be exclusive but I don’t see how he has enough time to devote to 3 girls. By the 3rd date one should be coming out ahead of others. Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable dating him anymore.

    • Espoir says:

      Don’t sleep with him – or is it too late ??

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey Courtney,

      My last several relationships were all exclusive within 2-3 dates. I honestly think that if a guy is serious about finding someone, he knows a good feel when it happens, just like a woman does. I had no prob telling them that I don’t casually date ( I lived in Europe, so I always mention how charming I found French men, who would date exclusively right off the bat). Bottom line; you know your needs. Your needs are your priority. He might have different ones. Sounds like you are already not compatible because he likes to hedge his bets. I would walk, that is me though:) Good luck.

      • Sm says:

        If some guy ask me to date exclusively after the first date I would freak out. I’ve had that happen to me and they are usually the worst most desperate people I’ve ever dated. Stackers too. Now if they are only seeing me but wait til we get to know each other a little better to state exclusivity then that would be fine.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Courtney…

      I think looking for a commitment after 3 dates is jumping the gun a bit. You’ve spent, what, 12-20 HOURS of your life with this person and you’re already talking about exclusivity???

      Slow your roll, hon. Think more along the lines of 2-3 MONTHS of steady dating before you talk about the exclusivity part. You barely know anything about him and you already don’t want him to date anyone else?

      DATING is about DISCOVERING if you have common values; if you even like the guy as person; if you want to get to know them better; if you would still like, care for, respect, love them at their worst; if they are a good fit for you. EXCLUSIVITY and COMMITMENT are for when the answers to all of those questions are leaning heavily to “yes;” the dating has been consistently progressing and you both want a relationship – with each other.

      Hope that helps you clarify your questions.

    • Lilia says:

      courtney,
      It sounds like you´re really uncomfortable with this situation. Being committed to yourself would simply involve stating honestly what you´re feeling, and not overthinking what he wants or what his reaction will be. It really seems like you stated an essential need – that you both be monogamous at this stage of dating – and that he tried to turn things around by his rationalizations and explanations. He threw in some story of old hurts and now he has you doubting yourself! You´re trying to juggle your need with his preference to date several women.
      You don´t need to understand WHY he wants this. Just listen to how that makes you feel and why you need things to be different.
      Once you´re fully committed to yourself, you´ll be able to see more clearly what you want to do. And I think any woman who respects herself like that will be respected by guys who are worthwhile.

    • Magnolia says:

      There are competing opinions – folks around here would say that after the fourth or fifth date you should know whether you want to give not dating anyone else a shot.

      Cloud and Townsend are horrified to hear of anyone going exclusive before six months – but of course are not advocating sex, just going out with people for quite a while before deciding to go exclusive. Basically because once you do, you can’t go back to seeing other folks so you’re basically considered to be on a marriage track (they’re Christian counsellors).

      Personally I have a hard time not wanting to kiss someone I like after the third or fourth date, or at least hold their hand, and I would feel weird going out and holding different guys’ hands or kissing more than one man with real feeling. What feels right for you?

      • Sm says:

        Mag I’m a big fan of theirs but I agree with you. I would feel weird kissing and holding hands with more than one guy at a time. I think their method works if you are 20’s but not so much for older people. Also the other thing they advocate, dating in groups, is almost a bit impossible for me due to my work schedule. I do believe its ok to date other people in the very beginning of seeing someone but also think after 3 to 5 dates one person will be more special and you’d be wasting others time, but not have the exclusive talk for at least quite a few more dates.

    • Snowboard says:

      Hi Courtney,

      Personally, I don’t accept multiple dating. It is one thing if the person has been casually seeing someone else and maybe needs to tie up some loose ends (e.g., within the first week or so), but this guy wants you to wait at least another five dates before he feels he can make up his mind if you are someone he wants to pursue exclusively.

      I think you did the right thing by bringing up the issue. And rather than turning EU yourself – (“I have also decided to try to date other people as well.”) – I think you should tell him that you realized you two are incompatible in terms of expectations, and that you wish him well. Keep your standards high. Anybody – male or female – would admire that.

    • Victorious says:

      Courtney I may have a different viewpoint as i am English and we tend to date one person at a time anyway. I think what it boils down to is what do YOU feel comfortable with? If you don’t want to date someone who is dating other women ( I wouldn’t) then don’t. It really is as simple as that. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else says does it? This is about you and your feelings.

    • natashya says:

      courtney, do what feels good to you. i have never done the multiple guy dating, but then again, i’m european and we tend to date 1 person at a time.

      also, what always blows my mind is where on earth do you even find multiple people? i only met 1 guy in the past TWO years who i thought was worthy of dating. i cannot even imagine having 2 or 3 on the go.(though feeling lonely and sorry for myself, it seems like a wonderful concept – haha.)

    • cc says:

      courtney-
      dating is a discovery phase. there is no reason to rush into exclusivity unless it is what both parties explicitly want.

      whatever you do, for now:
      1- DROP the exclusivity discussion with him. don’t bring it up again. don’t worry about it, either.
      2- go out with other guys if you can. if it were me, i wouldn’t sleep with ANY of them until one of them made it exclusive (and by that i mean THE GUY brought up exclusivity, not the other way around).
      3- go out with him too if you have fun with him. if you’re not having fun, stop seeing him.

      do not feel insecure. you’re fine. he is not the last man on earth, he is not that special until he proves to you that he is. do not wait around for him to prove this to you. in fact, DO NOT WAIT AT ALL. do not be impatient. do not think about his other dates.

      you live your life until he asks, explicitly, to be a part of it. because if he doesn’t, you’re going to need to breeze on.

      stay. on. your. own. side.
      big hugs

      • Sm says:

        Cc I totally agree with you. He is not the last man on earth. She (we all) should do what makes us comfortable.

    • courtney says:

      Wow! I did not expect so many insightful comments on this issue. Thank you so much to all who responded – I really respect and admire all of your opinions and appreciate the different experiences you shared. I also did not expect such a variety of responses either – which makes me feel a little better about my confusion. There are so many different dating customs and philosophies, it’s hard to decide which one I am really comfortable with for my current needs. In the past, monogamous dating has always held the appeal, but I think I also made the mistake of always committing too early when the guy asked – which is why I am careful about not being black and white about taking it very slow. The guy himself told me that it wasn’t a matter of me vs. the other girls, it was a matter of the short time we’ve known each other. That night that we talked, I could tell he was willing to be exclusive just to please me – which is not what I want, and after he reflected upon it, he did not wish to be pressured either. The fact that I felt that I was pressuring him (even while bringing up a legitimate need) ultimately is what made me feel like maybe I was rushing things.

      You all have brought up really good but different points and I can see the value in both. On one hand I think it’s good to pay attention to how comfortable I am. At the same time, in retrospect, I also think I may be jumping the gun.

      Although I am not attempting to reconcile diverse perspectives, I think there are some main points to be gained which I intend to integrate into this situation: 1) follow your gut, recognize when there may be an incompatibility of expectations and goals, 2) don’t waste your time – if you’re dating him, set a time limit then walk away and 3) do what you’re comfortable with, your needs come first. I think cc said it best when she said to be on your own side.

      And don’t worry, I have not slept with this guy nor do I intend to! I think it is good to just keep it to kissing for now. I will keep you guys updated…

      Thank you so much to everyone who responded. I really appreciate the time you took to write these comments. Regardless of what happens, I am very grateful to have this blog and its supportive community.

  29. AHM says:

    BRAVO!! This is the best yet!! And that is hard to top with you Nat!! Amazing, uplifting and self-affirming. Thank god for all the mistakes and non-mistakes I have made. At least I made a decision and saw them through!!

    Again BRAVO!!

  30. teachable says:

    I’m making a committment today. To ME. That I will NEVER AGAIN abandon myself in the hope of gaining the love of another person. That I will NEVER AGAIN settle for less than I deserve. That I will NEVER A6AIN allow someone to mistreat me & not hold them to account. That I will NEVER AGAIN place someone elses needs ahead of my own in an inappropriate way. This is my committment to ME. If this means that I spend the rest of my life unpartnered SO BE IT. I am COMMITTED to LOVING MYSELF!

  31. grace says:

    courtney
    we don’t date multiple people in the UK. I’m sure some do but it’s not generally accepted. The only time I would see it as okay is if you were online dating where you’re having to see a lot of people quite quickly.
    I would put a time limit on it – maybe 8 dates if you are comfortable with that (seems a lot, I think 5). Don’t have sex in that time. I wouldn’t go further than light kissing. If he still isn’t sure, then walk away.
    If don’t like the thought of him seeing other women, then walk away now rather than keep telling yourself you don’t mind when you do. That way lies madness. Don’t start recalibrating what you want because he wants less or more. What you want is entirely reasonable, it’s not like you’re asking him to move in.
    If you start dating other men because he is dating other women, and then he continues dating other women because you started dating other men, and then you don’t want to stop dating the other men because you only started seeing them, so he won’t limit himself either where does it all end?

    • cc says:

      grace,
      i mostly agree. except that, if courtney is right for him (or any guy) and they ultimately share the same relationship goals, that guy will make it exclusive.

      so, courtney, don’t hang around too long with this guy. if he’s not giving you want you want, then he’s not the right guy. and we do not waste our time with the wrong guy. that time is better spent being available to someone who will want what you want, want to give you what you want, and not want to share you with anyone else.

      • sushi says:

        cc,
        I`ve tried to get my head around your opinion and just don`t get multidating at all.I think it`s a wrong message to focus on waiting to see if courtney is right for this guy. I would say it`s more important for her to see if he is right for her. She is uncomfortable with him multidating and is now considering morphing into a multidater to fit in with what he wants.
        I know there is a different attitude to multidating on both sides of the pond. Personally, I just don`t see how you can start off the discovery phase with a clear head and even have fun and start trusting the person knowing that you are in some sort of a race for the precious exclusivity, like it`s a gift he might bestow on her(if she wins)and to win, I all too easy to fall into try harder mode. I realise, 3 dates is early days but you should know if you want to get to know that person more. She is starting off in a fallback position of sorts and he has a harem of sorts, even if he says she is a favourite. That statement bothers me, a horse can be a favourite in a race. We are talking humans and respect, that should come before the love, care and trust methinks. I agree with grace, with online dating, by nature of it you talk to/ see mutltiple prospects.There are enough people there who just can`t get off the mill because the suply is endless. In real life, what`s the pressure? So, say she continues to see him – that will be on his terms, isn`t that both of them crossing her boundary? Would that be her inviting him to cross more? Dunno, I vote for standing by your gut.

        • cc says:

          sushi-
          ok, to clarify.

          i’m not advocating that courtney morph into anything. i’m suggesting that she not put all her eggs (no pun) in a basket that isn’t offering her exclusivity. if she is only comfortable dating one guy at a time, then she is better off finding a guy who feels the same. what i DIDN’T want her to do was die on the vine with the guy she’s seeing – the value of her heart, her time and her spirit forbid that approach.

          and – would i rather everybody in the US dated one person at a time? yes. but they don’t and i won’t either UNTIL i find a guy i really, really like who says “i really like you, i want to have a relationship with you, i want us to give this a chance, i think we have long-term potential, and i’d like us to not see anyone else” (and, right now, i have such a guy, and am not seeing anyone but him).

          multi-dating is NOT the same thing as a harem. and it isn’t even the point i’m making.

          what i’m saying is that it is really hard to find a person with whom one is compatible. and, in principle, until i find such a person (which i may have), i will keep dating. i will not be dishonest, or sleep around, or string people along, or waste someone’s money or time. but nor will i wait around for a guy to decide he wants to be exclusive/commit to me. i will date until a guy stands in front of me and flags me down.

          yes, some guys will never get off the mill, not because of the mill itself, but because that’s the kind of guy they are.

          i’m looking for a husband. but i want a husband who wants a wife. the man i’m seeing now wants a wife and we are giving the relationship a real shot. but if i hadn’t found him? i’d still be dating.

          • cc says:

            sushi, more-
            in my view, multi-dating doesn’t go on forever. especially when we are a bit older, we know in 1-2 dates if there is real potential. so i’ll see someone a few times (or once) to see how i feel. and if i feel good about them, and they keep asking me, i keep seeing them. if at some reasonable point they don’t start offering me what i want (REAL relationship), then i stop seeing them. if they offer me what i want, i stop seeing anyone else.

            i also handle things this way because i tend to overinvest early on. i am a classic cleave-r. i get wrapped up (in the wrong guy) and i get hurt. keeping my options open early on (say <5-8 dates) is one way of making sure i am staying balanced, on my own side, and am making the best decision i can. also, it doesn't hurt to be busy and not be so available to a guy unless he steps up.

            BUT – i am responsible, fair, and honest. i do not exhibit or accept EU or AC behavior.

            • Sm says:

              Again totally agree again Cc!

            • cc says:

              ….sorry, sushi (and natalie), more…

              i agree entirely that “she’s his favorite” rankles. the whole idea reeks of potential AC behavior. honestly, when i read that in courtney’s post, a quiet voice in my head intoned “fuck you” to the guy on courtney’s behalf.

              also, so you know, the idea of multi-dating is NOT to get in a race to try harder, its to see what fits – that’s why i was counseling courtney to defang the beast, not think about him too much, not think about who he’s seeing, not give him endless time, not see him if he bothers her, see people with whom she has fun.

              bottom line: i’m advocating for courtney to act in her best interest and take care of herself. and the hell with him if it comes to it. and not much space between here and there.

            • sushi says:

              cc,
              thank you, I`m really glad you clarified,this sounds miles better, especially with a shortish time span. Somebody mentioned six months….what?? I do prefer the straightforwardness of how it`s done in this part of the world. If you are in a multidating culture ( or online) your way is the way to go. With as you say, a resonable time limit. I talked to someone online years ago, he lived too far away but seemed a great person and we hit it off and enjoyed chatting, but decided not to meet as we both did not want a LDR. He sent me a message at one point that he had met someone he saw twice and decided to see if things will work out between them so he was removing his photo and letting everyone he chatted to know, as that`s only fair to everyone concerned. Stopped contacting me and put his photo up again a couple of weeks later. It`s that easy! Straightforward and easy to trust. Btw, congrats and best wishes, the new man sounds good !

              • sushi says:

                ok, cc more then, lol.
                The “favourite” comment makes my gut do a twist, and I do have an uneasy feeling about the general flavour of his behaviour. I get these reactions reading some of the comments I guess because I recognise the situations from my past, where I thought I was being oversensitive and then it turned out that I wasn`t at all. Maybe I am overreacting and being too negative as an ex FBG, but I really feel uncomfortable about his treating her like an option. Your advice about focus on her and what she wants is very sound, will be taking a leaf out of your book to a point for me when the time comes.

                • courtney says:

                  Thanks cc and sushi. Your internal “f-you’s” to the guy really do make me smile, haha :) Yes I agree that the favorite comment unnerved me too. It’s confusing and disturbing because his assertions about himself as a feminist, as someone who respects women, was so contradicted by his actions at many points.

                  We did have one final date and it gave me the closure I needed to move on honestly. It was going great until I discovered he slept with the other girl he’s seeing (he did this shortly after our exclusivity discussion) and also told me he would want to be more physically intimate before he would decide to be exclusive with someone.

                  Of course, as all of you have been saying, this isn’t about dating philosophies or customs or who’s right/wrong at the end, it’s about what I am comfortable with.

                  I did not feel comfortable with the fact that:

                  a) When he told me he wanted to figure things out, he was really just sleeping with another girl (yes, someone he was also dating, but come on!). How can one do that with a clear conscience shortly after our discussion, knowing that it would be better to just step back and evaluate things first?

                  b) He referred to the other girl as “boring” compared to me because of the intensity of our conversations. I realized I was disturbed. If he could talk about her this way, I could easily be on the other side some day. Even as a “favorite,” I am STILL an option that can be disposed of when a better someone comes along.

                  c) Even though he said he admired and respected me for asserting my boundaries and staying true to myself by not trying to please him, he had an expectation of physical intimacy before emotional security which was ultimately incompatible.

                  Thank you all SO much for your insight, by the way. This guy and I actually had a long, intense and open-minded discussion about all of this and I really was able to bring in my perspective with strength. Couldn’t have done it without y’all!

                  Here’s to no longer being someone’s option, “favorite,”…or fallback girl.

  32. teachable says:

    I agree that EUM Remberto is barking up the wrong tree @ BR (just my opinion, pls don’t anyone SHOOT me for it, lol).

    Again, only my opinion but my impression is that most ppl at BR are recovering FROM precisely the behaviour u describe.

    There are many excellent men’s therapy groups around for AC’s with sincere desire to change. My suggestion would be that you look for & join one of them (online & IRL).

  33. teachable says:

    PS Also VER HAPPY for Cc!! Does this mean I have to share our tim tams three ways though now? ~guards tim tams a little protectively from the new visitor to the bottle & looks askance~ lol x

    • cc says:

      teach-
      what’s a tim tam? whatever it is, no, the guy doesn’t get any.

      • natashya says:

        chrysalis, it doesn’t seem to matter where you are in the world. in the past 5 years i spent lots of time on 3 different continents and the situation was always the same.

        please focus on yourself first and get as strong as you can. i am feeling a bit bitter today, so keep that in mind, but i personally do not find it easy to find a decent man these days.

      • natashya says:

        haha, a tim tam is an australian delight! it’s a chocolate covered biscuit with a yummy soft filling.

  34. Melissa says:

    Lau_ra.

    I agree. On the one hand, knowing about all the red flags is helpful for long-term but also….I feel like I am not having any fun!!! Like, at all! It’s all an interview, a ‘wait for it….wait for it…’
    People who are married talk about the fun of being single and dating. Sure, it was fun in your early 20’s when you were sleeping around at college. There was a great available pool of undamaged, horny partners!
    Now, we have many, many issues to contend with. I’m 38. The men in my age range are ANGRY. They didn’t want to get divorced and have their wives take all their money and kids. Most on dating sites are not healed…they are ready to get laid, sure, but not ready to date.

    What is really troublesome to me is that the ONLY way to meet men is through the Internet. That’s it. Why is this? What happened? Surely there must be some single men who refuse to shop online ;-)

    • natashya says:

      melissa, i was just thinking the exact same thing. i’m 41 and only met 1 guy in the past 2 years i was attracted to. he turned out to be highly EU.

      i don’t meet healthy, unattached men. i have asked my friends to introduce me to their single, healthy male friends. you know how many of them turned up? not a single one! i got offered to be introduced to a guy who has a bad relationship with a psychotic girlfriend. as if!!!

      i did go the online route and i just find it even more depressing. one of them i flushed as soon as i found out he was, after THREE YEARS, still living with his ex, who is his ‘best friend’. 3 others i started writing with just stopped replying to my emails. that’s another thing i find very disturbing. if you’re not interested in further communication, at least say so.

      one guy was nice, but there was no spark. he was honest and courteous and said he didn’t feel the ‘connection’, yet he was looking for a partner. we are still in touch, as friends and he’s great.

      then there’s the one i did start something with, but he found out he is still in love with his ex and not ready for a relationship, so basically looking for FWB. back at the ranch, he still has an online profile stating he’s looking for a relationship and even started chatting up a friend of mine (he didn’t know that). UGH.

      as for angry, i guess i’m angry myself. i am 41, nice enough looking, well educated, smart, funny, in good physical shape, adventurous, don’t keep my man on a tight leash, i believe in monogamy, i don’t need a guy to buy me expensive things, i’m independent and a great catch. i seriously don’t understand why nobody is catching me and why i can’t find anything decent to catch myself.

      there must be some good men out there, but i’m starting to believe that most of the healthy ones are simply taken and there’s a lot of rubbish left.

      time for the serenity prayer.

      • Melissa says:

        It’s so funny….we probably all hear, “I can’t understand why you’re still single!” All my attached male friends say that.

        I know a LOT of women who are un-caught “catches”. We are all successful, good looking (in many cases actually quite pretty), in good shape, kind, caring, wonderful people. BUT- at our advanced ages (LOL) we are unwilling to put up with obvious BS. We know when we are being played, or just used for sex, or treated poorly, or not getting what we are giving…and it’s down to the point where we expect literally NOTHING in terms of monetary gifts (remember when men used to try to impress ladies with gifts and nice dinners?). We just want a good guy who isn’t broke and has a personality. That’s all I want, anyway.

        I was married. The good news is that I am not at the point yet that I wish I had never gotten divorced…that needed to happen. But, I do feel like unless I dumb myself down or look uglier or gain weight or something, I will not get a man to approach me…

        This world is so weird and not at all what I was expecting when I got divorced and started dating again.

        I am angry too, I think. It’s BS. I am spending all this time NOT having sex. Seriously…that part really makes me mad. I am not even saying that I want to get married right now. I would like a boyfriend to have as a steady man in my bed…NOT a booty call or a FWB. A steady boyfriend…that’s all. I think that men like that too? A steady girlfriend? At least I’ve heard legends.

        • natashya says:

          melissa, i also know a lot of uncaught female catches… yet no male equivalent. it made me think, why is that? and then it dawned on me that i know some great guys who are with not so great women, yet they will not leave. they might prefer to have an affair (which would make them a lot less great) but they just seem to put up with a lot of nonsense and won’t leave. unless they meet somebody else, perhaps. whereas women maybe more often leave the relationship when it becomes intolerable. am i onto something or am i spewing garbage here?

          i was married for over a decade. when i left, almost 5 years ago now, i never thought i’d end up alone. now, after 2 failed relationships and a few short flings, i am not so sure. i did enjoy being single for a few years, but i don’t enjoy it any longer. i don’t need to get married. i don’t even need to live together, but i sure would like to meet a decent guy who is actually single, treats me with the love and respect i deserve and isn’t some addiction prone basket case with myriad ‘ex’ issues.

          • Melissa says:

            Natashya- I think I agree with you! My ex husband would have NEVER left me…he would have just gone through life, miserable together. But, I couldn’t hack being that miserable forever.

            Men, I think a lot of them, at least, need a place to go. They “need” women more than they care to admit. They have a far harder time being alone.

            So, terrified of being alone, they will have affairs (in my low point, when my self esteem was in the tank right after I left my marriage) I had a couple of flings with married men who had no plans to leave their wives. For those guys it’s affairs or internet porn.

            I will date a wide age range. I don’t care if the guy has kids.

            I can’t believe I’m alone myself, LOL.

            • natashya says:

              same here, melissa. my ex husband would have preferred a miserable marriage over a chance of happiness. then again, he’s been single ever since and miserable. i had to get out not because i stopped loving him, but because he was abusive.

              yes, i have met guys who are into ‘affairs’. not saying i’m better than anybody else, but i will not get involved with a guy who is attached, or one that has just come out of a relationship. so that counts out a whole chunk of them!

              i will also date a wide age range, but i’ve actually had guys shown interest in me who were the age of my father. my father is a wonderful person, father and devoted husband to my mum, but come on… i don’t want to date a guy in his sixties. it just feels wrong to me.

              guys with kids… mmmm… i’m a bit divided about that. i never wanted children myself and i’d prefer a guy without kids. i did have a relationship with a man who had a bunch. we were living together for a while and his kids were there half of the time. i found it very hard dealing with that. the guy will have to be really special in order for me to entertain that scenario again. also, there’s often drama involved with exes. if the guy has kids, the ex can’t be avoided. i’m tired of that as well.

              when i’m in good spirits, i trust that the universe will send me a good man when i’m done doing the work and are fully and truly ready for it. in the meantime, i will have to take care of myself and stay out of sticky situations with assclowns and EUMs.

        • Anon says:

          Yes, these are indeed difficult ‘choices’ (seriously, can you even call it that?) for women closer to forty. More like, you are at the mercy of the market- the small fraction of available men at this age already have had families at the age appropriate time. Meanwhile, while we were busy at college, they gym, traveling, etc. waiting hopefully and chaste for “Mr. Right” ….the divorced man now wants to offer you- the leftovers (they have already had wife/kids/house/most important memories- all the ‘firsts’ with some one else. Read these blogs (or any google search) on dating divorced men with kids; http://la-st.hubpages.com/hub/Dating-or-marrying-a-divorced-man-with-kids SO, NOW WHAT? Do you make peace with being perpetually single (IS that humanly possible? Google ‘never married’ blogs) Or, dredge through bleak online dating? Or settle for feeling like you got leftovers from the most important years of a divorced mans life? Or, go for a much older man? Or,…Become a club going bed hopper like Roberto? :) Holy Sh&t?! Choices. Which one?

          • Victorious says:

            Yeah Roberto is sounding more and more attractive to me.

          • grace says:

            Anon
            So men who are divorced are only giving us leftovers?
            I think divorced people can love again, it,s not about leftovers. I,m divorced and if I want to be given a second chance then so do men deserve that.
            I,m glad my boyfriend didn,t think less of me for being divorced even though he is never married.
            When you,re ready you meet someone. I,m sure of it. Until then, best not to keep telling yourself it,s impossible as that is very self fulfilling.

            • Anon says:

              Grace, My posts does say divorced men ‘with kids’ because all divorcees are not created equally. Kids pose more of a challenge because they will always come FIRST – which means he is a great dad. Their real mother, comes second- she gets half his paycheck, new car “to bring my kids to school” memories, ongoing continual communication with her, she factors into every decision including where to live, how to spend weekends, holidays, (which is 100% on his first families terms)etc, etc. Bad news for girlfriend is the Subtext – you are last, always! Very, very different from a carefree divorcee who has no kids. But THOSE guys KNOW they are a catch, and act as if they are as marketable as a never married, no kids guy. Ugh. EU, option-creators. Single girls of a certain age can either be choosy and single for a long time (too lonely!) or “get back out there.” By this age, most men are married at work, church, gym, in most of real life. That leaves what? online dating? So, it comes down to; pick your poison. The upshot of these divorced with kids men is that they Do Commit- quickly. Yeah! Finally. Happy joy. Until you realize what you are getting into. Divorced men with kids typically don’t have enough time/money/energy or ‘game’ to act EU or have a ton of options, since most young & attractive girls eschew them instantly, wanting a family of their own. So, although it is great to have a man pushing for commitment after all that agony of EU men, you quickly realize it is another crummy offer, with you getting the short end of the stick. Hope that clears it up some.

              • Anon and anyone else commenting about divorcees – can we ease up on the slagging off divorcees / divorcees with kids? It’s your prerogative not to be interested in these people and it would mean that you’re not right for them or their children anyway, but there are plenty of people who would judge these people on merit and be happy to have a relationship with those who they shared values and mutual love, care, trust and respect. As the child of a single parent, it never fails to surprise me how much stigma is still attached to single parents and divorcees.

                I know that readers would be up in arms if for instance, a man came to this site and said that female divorcees / single mothers were best avoided when a man could go out there and find a woman with an unused womb or that women over a certain age are best avoided while painting a variety of scenarios. It’s the same when there have been over the line comments about weight, beauty, mental health and even how a race of people are best avoided.

                I personally am friends with a number of women who are now married to men who have been through a divorce and have kids. They have kids of their own too. There are also a lot of blended families out there and it’s not all a nightmare on Elm Street.

                Being a divorcee, kids or not doesn’t make one a social or relationship pariah. Someone can be unavailable, never married, no kids. Is being with a divorcee with kids easy? Not necessarily but what is? And actually there are plenty of people with amicable arrangements. You could be with someone with no kids or ex wife and still have problems.

                While I’m at it, I also personally know women in their 30s,40s,50s,60s and 70s who have started new relationships and I might point out that some of these women live in New York and London, some have met men online and some have met them, shock horror, out somewhere in real life. Most of these women were told not to bother and that there’s no decent men by ‘well meaning’ friends and family. Thankfully they didn’t listen nor was it their thinking.

                Please keep in mind that BR is read by women and men from a variety of backgrounds, some of whom are vulnerable and/or already weary from feeling judged.

                • pinkpanther says:

                  I met someone with a kid, at first I was scared to date her because I had such a bad stepmother that I didn’t want to inflict that thing of inserting myself into a kids life without their consent. But I ended up liking the kid a heck of a lot! One night I came over for dinner, and as I was leaving the kid threw herself on the floor and grabbed my ankle and cried “don’t leeeeeeeeavae!”.

                  To this day it is one of my best memories ever, that kid never disguised her love, it was one of the best feelings ever. Her mom never came close to loving me like that.

                  I know it doesn’t always turn out that way, and the relationship didn’t last but that moment was priceless.

                • grace says:

                  A woman i know with three daughters by three different men did meet and marry someone when whe was in her 50s. Still with him over ten years later.
                  It can absolutely happen.

                • Revolution says:

                  A to the MEN, Natalie! Preach it.

            • natashya says:

              “When you,re ready you meet someone. I,m sure of it. Until then, best not to keep telling yourself it,s impossible as that is very self fulfilling.”

              i agree with this. i thought i was ready when i met the ex EUM in spring. in an emotional way i was, but the relationship did teach me that i still have other things to work on. i’m working on them now and it feels good.

        • Little Star says:

          Melissa, maybe we are too fussy? What do you think? I am fussy, wish I was not:( but yet again keeping end up with EUMs! Most of my friends married to “Not Right enough”, but at least they do not feel lonely, like I do!

          • natashya says:

            little star, i’ve never felt as lonely as when i was married. personally i think that kind of loneliness is worse than feeling lonely when you’re not in a relationship.

      • Chrysalis says:

        Natashya, regarding the dearth of good men in your locality, you and I must live in the same village :-) Seriously though I am no where near dating yet. Just coming out of a 25+ years relationship and am focusing on me at the moment. The thought of ‘getting back out there’ makes me feel like I will be entering a totally new and alien world. The rules have totally changed since I last dated. No internet, no such a thing as ‘exclusivity’ and no expectations of sex on a first date…. Oh help!

    • V says:

      hi Melissa.. :-) my names vel
      surely there are some good guys on the net..Ive met a lot of dodgy blokes though….however there is bound to be lotsa’ great available ones out there who would love to spend quality time with you and who thought the internet may be a good place to start looking for that special someone……

      I may be wrong cause dating sites do have tons of unavailables on it..but who knows… maybe it depends on which site your on..some seem a bit more professional in terms of matching up to compatiable people….
      I agree…it can be a bit tricky to meet men out and about…often the good ones cans be a bit shy too and second guess themselves for too long that they miss their chance…..and I find pubs is not the place to look.
      I am in the music industry so out and ..theres a lot of slezes in this industry..amazing how many people can meet at work though…however the internet can seem like a possible solution to meeting a nice guy though since it is the internet I do have to be more wary..
      ….tons of men love to hide behind their computer screen and promise the world and tell white lies to impress people.. damn those internet NERDS! ha pretending to be something they are not..when they are ..in fact..a Lying computer NERD… :-D

      .your pictures arn’t saying the wrong thing on the dating sites are they?..mine used to..even my head shots..they came across a bit too sultry. ..and I was attracting the wrong kinda guys..I had to put up some more gentle and very consevative vibe shots..
      then i stopped attracting as many men who were unhealed and who crap on and omg on and on and on about their exs..because ” a man who wants to know you..would be too busy ‘getting to know you’ than blabbering on about his ex” that has always been a red flag for me…. and you deserve better than a half arsed unready man who is trying to fill up in all the wrong places…or to buffer up his ego so he feels like hes “still got it” but still isnt going to “give it ” anyway.. I hate those pricks haha, I even had a man on a first date say the actual words once…
      ” Oh i can STILL get a younger thing.” … I could see his ego fluffing up right before my eyes…. what a prick haha, that was the ONLY date I gave him ha..I guess
      “he didn’t have it” after all hehehe

      .It is improtant to know about their past but if they are gunna use you as a therepist rather than treat you with romance and connection..they don’t deserve your time..they mose well pay you $100 an hour for counselling fee..or sit at home and mentally mumble on about their ex in their unhealed heads to themselves and avoid their sence of responsibility rather than waste your time…. :)

      there are a lot of slezes on the net…. sometimes it is easy for really stunning women to attract more wankers..AND i can see your pic there..you know youve got it :-D.. Anyway it is easy for stunning women to attract LOTS OF WANKERS..And instead of raining men..it Rains tons of wankers pretending to be men…..cause their groin starts doing the thinking… I am an entertainer and have to dress up all attractive for my job and when i dress more plain.and just being extra natural…even when Im a tad scruffy…I definitly attract more decent men who are wholehearedly interested in knowing me..for me…and i have less pricks to sift through.. and then good men enjoy when i dress up too as a bonus..but i already know when the make up and glitter comes off..I know they like and respect me for me.. cellulite and all..

      And anyway..if you are commitment phobic..why are you dating anyway?..Hope I didn’t offend saying that. I’m only saying it because I read your previous message. I had to boot myself up the butt for dating when i wasn’t ready..I even tried to Fool myself into thinking I was ready once too..but even I could see through my own bs and of course I kept attracting unavailable men…because it is what i was..and if they were available I would’ve found a way to stuff it up.. and it would’ve caused people pain..so I had to turn inward and take myself off the market until I could say 100% I am ready and I have good boundaries in hand and i will not tolerate nobs who crap on n on and on about their exs….cause we tend to attract what we are or need to resolve in ourselves.
      And are you choosing men based on chemistry rather than the ones who you actually feel safe, secure, cared for and great about being you around?… OMG…isn’t it weird how some actual good men can be less desirable and even a bit…need I say..BORING… but once they get going..they are way better in more ways than one..

      And I found out in the real world..off the dating sites..that I attracted the best kind of men when i looked unmade up..and let myself be me and happy and doing what i love to do and letting it shine out of me..hope that shines onto the right guy who sees my uniqueness.. same for you too…

      I hope I didnt offend in anyway..its probably obvious from my openness and bluntness that i have very few friends haha…
      take care, best wishes. we all deserve the absolute best…..
      kind regards
      vel

      • Melissa says:

        I have become committment-phobic, I think…just from what is happening out there! I feel like everywhere I turn, something is about to bite me in the butt, maybe even quite literally!

        Even sitting down to a movie is a disappointment, hence my hesitation to commit. LOL.

        Internet dating…I have tried them all. Match, OkCupid, POF and Chemistry.com. Funny thing with Chemistry.com is that I collected all my “matches” – hideous, HUGELY FAT men- created a powerpoint, essentially saying, WTF? and sent it to Chemistry and got my money back, a full refund.

        I would love a boyfriend, like I said. Someone to date and cuddle with…have dinner with…laugh with. Ooh, maybe even vacation with! That seems like a very impossible dream at this point.

        My pics (by the way) are very basic and not at all too sexy. I never want to get the wrong kind of attention.

        • grace says:

          Melissa
          If you have got time to build a PowerPoint of fat men you have got time to go to church, volunteer, go to singles events, dance classes (not online) etc.
          If the online isn,t working, then do it differently or do something else.
          You have to be more than attractive, or a catch, you have to be commitment ready and that does mean taking (not stupid) risks and being optimistic.

    • Lau_ra says:

      Melissa,
      being angry at someone is no excuse for treating other people crappy, is it? It seems to me like most men have no decency considering others feelings. I’ve been really struck by a comment of a male friend when he found out my latest crush just vanished-he aid “we all get hurt sometimes” but not in a comforting way, more in a manner that said “yeah yeah, you are hurt, I don’t care”. While he is playing with his rebound-girl after a longterm relationship;/
      Internet is the easy way to find somebody, but the problem is many EUMs and ACs are there, while lots of women, looking for comittment, are there as well! Pre-programmed failure! Though I know several married couples who met online, it happened when they were 22-25, so with wayyyy less baggage than people, who are 30-something, have, regardless if they admit it or not.I’m on a dating site for some time too, with no real expectation, just chatting with guys and checking the knowledge I get here in practise (recognising EM/AC talk and etc.). No wish for dating at all – its only 4months as a man I deeply felt for and trusted after I thought I’ll never be able to trust a man again pulled a vanishing act on me, so I’ve told myself I’m not dating until I’m able to think of him as somebody that I used to know without any sentiment.
      And those single men who don’t shop on Internet…ehhh…not so sure about them as well, cause all of my EUMs/ ACs I’ve met live, not through Internet!

  35. Jule says:

    This post was right on and reminded me of my ex husband, my recent AC and my own issues with commitment. I admit that the idea of my commitment to someone now after 2 marriages that failed and several experiences with A-clowns has made me shy away from the big C. I think though that I just haven’t met the right one yet. I’m being much choosier.

    Thanks to BR, I also get the idea of committing to MYSELF, discovering MYSELF and taking a look around to see what I like, want, and need.

    I used to be a little too willing to overlook what the other person had to offer (or didn’t have to offer me) and they would get the best of me without being fully committed to me — that includes my recent ex husband.

    I’m pretty proud of myself with recent weeding out the assclowns or people with major red flags. Two men I recently became acquainted with online are not even officially divorced yet but they call themselves single. I said goodbye, and stated I wasn’t interested in a hook up or casual dating and that I don’t want to date someone who won’t be really ready for anything like I WANT (a relationship) for at LEAST a year (probably more time) after their divorce. Why waste my time and energy? I also find myself ASKING the questions first and getting the info I need to make better decisions rather than giving all of my info right away. I don’t have to divulge so much. I can weed them out early. Yes I’m scared of commitment but I think I would be willing to try again one day if he passed the initial test.

  36. phy says:

    If I was dating several women at once, I would never tell one she was my favorite. That would be pitting the women against each other. Not polite. And I would keep it VERY light with all of them. Just socializing. Of course this is all theoretical; I have not been on the market for years and won’t be for a while. :(

  37. Vic-Tori says:

    Thank you so much for this article, it is exactly what I needed.
    I just started no contact, I have been trying for months and every time I build up the strength and belief in myself that I can do it, it’s like his radar goes into alert and he starts throwing me crumbs, and with hope (Due to my starvation) I actually believe the crumbs are a feast and accept much much less than I deserve.
    This article is nearly a literal description of his back and forth, and all I know now, is that I am no longer jumping through hoops because he doesn’t know who he is. 18 months of learning about myself and in the new year I know what I am no longer- his fallback/question/secret/lies. Thanks xx

    • Pandora says:

      Vic-Tori:
      Love the name. Oh, I can totally identify with exactly what you are saying. The person with whom I’ve been involved does the EXACT same thing. I feel geared up and ready for NC, I begin NC and it’s almost as if he has a sixth sense or something…. he begins to throw out the crumbs, and I foolishly believe he is sincere. The thing that has remained constant in this “relationship” is his inconsistency and unwillingness to commit, to be forthright, and to have actions that back up his words. Through the wisdom, experience and compassion of Natalie’s articles and these posts, I am seeing that all of this is about HIM, not me.. not me unless it is in the sense of me not having proper boundaries and the guts to enforce them. I – and you- deserve better than this poor treatment. Keep reading, these posts and this site is amazing. The support is wonderful. I am trying to do NC again this weekend after another fail last weekend- he actually showed up at my door after I did not return a call- and swayed me into thinking he wa so “worried” about me. Bull. He was worried, alright, but it was about losing his fallback girl. He thought perhaps he’d gone a bit too far. Now, it’s another Friday night and he’s out again, without any word. He keeps pushing and pushing to see how far he can go and will I still be there? I can honestly say, NO. I need to be done, period.
      I wish you all the best, Vic-Tori.
      God Bless.
      Pandora

      • Vic-Tori says:

        Thanks Pandora, it actually means alot to know that I am not the only one who wanted to believe in something special….I often wonder, because it seems so genuine when they show ‘concern/sadness etc etc’ – do they know that it is BS and it is part of their strategy or do they really believe those feelings ?

        I started no contact this week, and made sure I avoided him (we work together), ignored his texts and did everything I was supposed to (including arranged to stay at a gfs house the entire weekend rather than going to his place as usual) and when I was out on the town he kept sending me texts where I was and I didnt reply and the next thing I know he shows up at the club I am at and follows me around. The thing that annoys me the most is that I tell him to leave me alone (admittedly I am scared that he will but I know I need to do it regardless)and even when he keeps chasing me, he still doesn’t have any answers, I am just expected to accept the fact he wants me but not enough to commit to me. For the first time though, I didn’t go home with him so that is a big step for me. This website is now shortcut on my phone so I can remind myself often why I dont want less than I deserve. I think we should make 2013 the year we respect ourselves for REAL. No more BS and lies etc. Be strong Pandora- they are the ones that are missing out on great things, not us.
        Vic-Tori :)

  38. Melissa says:

    Little Star-

    Maybe I am fussy….I don’t know? You tell me…

    The last few dates I’ve gone on were: a two-time ex felon, missing teeth, had a live-in girlfriend that I didn’t find out about till after we slept together, was a smoker and lied about it, wasn’t really divorced, wasn’t really divorced (happened twice).

    Those are all separate guys, ha. Am I too fussy?

    Grace- yes, I had time to make the PowerPoint because a point needed to be made to these websites that make the promise to find some great match but don’t take into account any sort of fitness level.
    It’s funny that the assumption is made that I am not actually getting out there. Though my work and kids keep me busy, I am also a performer in an improv troupe and I belong to a couple different clubs that meet out doing different activites. I try to meet as many people as humanly possible. I am rarely home. I get ‘out’ and stay out, ha.

    As far as being divorced goes? Perhaps I am not as ‘marketable’ as a single person, but my situation is pretty easy. My ex and I rarely speak. We have 50/50 custody so I have enough free time so a man can date me without ever meeting my kids. Most of the dads I’ve dated have been the same.

    I know this is a tangent…but it came up last night when I was talking to the theater owner at improv (I was pitching a concept for a new show based on Internet dating) and I was telling him my dating horror stories. And he said, (his words!) ‘Melissa, you’re tall and pretty….if you want a guy, you are going to have to go get him. Even the good ones aren’t going to have the guts to make the first move and get you.’

    Wanhhhttttt, wahhhhh (sad trombone) right?

    I don’t want to ‘go get’ men. I really don’t want to establish myself as the alpha from the start. But…I will, I’m not shy.

    Anyway, group…thoughts on this? Do we really have to go get the men now?

    • Magnolia says:

      Melissa – that’s a whole other conversation. But you might find part of it here:

      http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/dealing-with-asking-guys-out-and-no-you-dont-need-to-do-it-because-you-think-hes-shy/

      • Melissa says:

        Thanks!

        It was a guy recommending it though (that I have to go get what I want)…not just my own delusion…

    • Lau_ra says:

      Melissa, you are not fussy. All this “being fussy” thing is usually put down on women by other people,and its very very comfortable for all the ACs.
      You indeed are a beautiful woman, and it might be quite challenging for a man to start a conversation or smth, still that advice to go and get the guy… duhh… bad bad idea. not because you can’t-I’m sure you could get any man. Still “getting men” makes me feel somewhat…unwanted… Like you‘re „too good to be chased“, which is so so untrue, still pushes your „assistance“ button: ohh, I’m so bold, beautiful, strong, that men are affraid to approach me, I have to help them. Then the pleasing game begins so that men aren‘t scared of „real you“ (that strong and bold one), and after some time we don’t even notice how we become the worst stereotype of a woman, who suffers in the name of love that doesn’t exist.
      I’ve experienced this insight several years ago, after a longterm relationship.
      People consider me quirky, but in that relationship I became absolutely dull, cause I did things to please him, while not even thinking if hes doing anything to please me and he still kept critisising everything (my looks, my friends, my job, etc etc) and pointing out I’m too proud about myself.
      Looking back I can see he felt a threat I might dump him, cause I was better educated, had a better paid job, and I would attract attention of other men, though my eyes were all on him. Still instead of stepping up himself, he chose beating up everything that was important for me. And from the outside he seemed to be a normal guy, whos ready to settle and have a family (he wanted kids). He asked me to marry him, I refused, cause deep in my gut I felt thats not a right thing to do, so he dumped me, saying I’m not a family-type girl and asking if I realise I might stay unmarried (jesus, he really considered himself as a saviour – I was 26yo then, almost 30now), completely forgetting, it was him who was jumping from a relationship to a relationship all of his life, not even giving time of a day to consider he must do smth wrong that nuobody wants to marry him.Now he has a silent wife, whos just plain jane, almost 10 years younger than him – he started dating her in month after me and got her pregnant after 3 or 4 months, which means the threat she would dump him is pretty small now. See the point? How can you be not fussy after similar experiences?
      In my view, its exactly all that “dont be fussy or you will stay single” crap that makes women think its them who should always be responsible for everything and give chances even for those who shouldn’t be given a single thought, and leads us to worthless relationships. We are taught to addapt, when we should first think if it goes for us,to be patient and wait, when theres nothing to wait for, to silence ourselves when we are screaming inside.As if this settling down for less could contribute to us in some way.

      • grace says:

        Laura
        You weren’t selective enough about the right things. You chose someone who was blatantly unavailable. That’s down to you. His crappiness is his but your choices are yours.
        I don’t consider myself fussy but I sure did put a very high premium on shared values. They aren’t really my values if I’ll walk over them to get to the EU. I hope that you no longer care or know what this man is up to.
        I spent a lot of time in the EU/AC wilderness so I’m not better than you but I can see,having been through it, where this is not working for you. It is not to do with your beauty. last I heard Michelle Pfeiffer has had a loving husband for some times. We like unavailable men, they push our buttons and we think that our beauty and accomplishments will bring them round. It’s a pervasive myth and untrue. He has to be ready before you even met him. It’s the difference between something you have to self-assemble from Ikea and a lovely piece that’s suitable as is. I can take no credit for my boyfriend being a fine man. he was like that when I met him. I wasn’t going to be dragging him up to “my level”.

        • Lau_ra says:

          grace,
          don’t worry, I’m completely over that guy, 3 years have passed – I’m crying over another guy who broke my heart several months ago, lol:D with whom, I thought(!), I had the shared values;/
          the case was just an illustration how stupidly we can sometimes ignore bunches of red flags:) I only know some details of that guy I wrote about just because we happen to live in the same city and have a couple of mutual acquaintances.
          Of course, its not our beauty and accomplishments, that keep men around and it shouldn’t be. I was going to that relationship without any intention to change him or whatever, but with little experience with men as well (he was my first serious relationship actually, and the only one so far). I’ve never given comments on his education or salary,I’ve never even thought about that until he raised the question of that kind – I was always supportive with his plan to go back to school and etc, but that didn’t prevent him from saying I’m too proud of myself just because I said I’m a lawyer when some friend of his asked what I do. It was his inner demons whispering “not good enough”, not me “rating him” and nagging for change and then crying over being dumped for a “simplier” girl. Actually I should have gotten out when he told me he only goes into relationship with girls, who are “simple enough”- that was a a clear statement I’d be always measured if I fit this concept of his. Luckily, I know all of this now and flush a guy if I hear him saying “you are too much of this, too little of that”. Its actually so hilarious when I remember that guy would say I wear too much make-up, whereas somebody after him said I wear too little (yes, the second one got flushed in a short time)!!!

      • dancingqueen says:

        I don’t know if I can add anything to the conversation right now, except to say that I honestly don’t care when I meet someone; when it happens, it will happen.

        I also think that worrying about how “marketable” one is, is crap; I just got back from CA for a family visit and I ran into multiple 40- somethings who are divorced and dating and many engaged and who are all lovely people. Some are very beautiful/handsome, some are not; what does not seem to matter, is this supposed “beauty”, in getting and keeping a man.That is a big crutch and unless anyone is a super model here (which who knows, maybe someone is, lol) I think we need to stop the comments about other “plain” women who get men; it is unproductive and not really kind.

        I gotta say, as someone who used to think that way, and who does look pretty and presents myself well-“I am quite pretty, I take care of myself, hence why isn’t this relationship appearing, I look great and I have good credit”- all that is really superficial. What I think makes someone attractive is someone who stands for what they believe, who really is a rock for themselves and others, and who does not let their neediness dictate their life choices; I honestly would rather be alone than in the relationship that brought me here, the last one that I was in, or some of the others before; they were mostly based on either addiction to a feeling or fear of being alone. I don’t want to live my life anymore bored by my partner and my relationship because it is not the right fit, but I am in it because I am too scared to be alone, or anxious that my partner will leave me, because I am dating a shallow, loser, ego-driven sex addict.

        So that is my take; now on to my oral exam studying and my language studies; hopefully this time next year, I will be teaching French, not English:) Ladies lets not rely on “beauty”, or “lack” of it, to tell ourselves what we can or cannot have in life. We are all going to be wrinkled and less attractive at some point; lets try to remember to cultivate our inner lights: our compassion, our emotional intelligennce, our intellect and our moral codes.

        • Lau_ra says:

          Dancingqueen,
          my comment about my ex’es plain jane wife was not in a sense “how is that possible, shes so plain, and she gets the man”. No.
          I actually believe she is a nice person and I hope he is a better husband to her than he was as a bf to me.
          Maybe I wasn’t clear enough-the thing is that this guy tried to change me into some ideal of a girlfriend, and whats worse, I surrendered at some extent(not 100 percent, luckily).
          So I wanted to show how delusional we sometimes are when going that “I will get/keep a man being the way he wants (be it gorgeous or plain)/more womanly/less independant/more modest/whatever road.

          • Lau_ra says:

            Missed a sentence: Thats exactly where we may appear when hearing people say “you are too fussy” and “you’ll have to get a man yourself”.

        • Mymble says:

          DQ
          I’m sure I read about a psychology experiment that demonstrated that people substantially overestimated their own physical attractiveness, as to how others viewed them. While one may be thinking “how he has traded down to that mousy plain jane”, she may be thinking
          something similar, and feeling herself very much the “upgrade”.LOL! and who is to say either one is right or wrong?
          I seem to remember reading good posts on here about not trading on looks, or feeling that looks are your strongest card. They never are (or they shouldn’t be).

  39. teachable says:

    Inducts Cc into the secret wimmins business called the TIM TAM RITUAL! They are oblong shaped chocolate biscuits, with a creame centre & hard CHOCOLATE covering on the outside (grins wickedly). Now, wot u do, is bite tiny bits off OPPOSITE corners & suck yr tea up through the buscuit like a straw, then quickly pop the whole thing in your mouth, where it MELTS & tastes DEVINE!

    Lilly & Rev, you both must joint us for this sacred ceremony! Sure glad you said the boys don’t get any Cc! (teach is still a wee bit greedy, & they’re ONLY boys, & as Nat taught us, not THAT special! LMAO) Not yet anyways! If you get married Cc you can have a packet to SHARE on yr wedding night as a gift & only then are you allowed to share our secret ceremony & seal it with a yummy chocolately kiss! LOL xxx

    PS Cc is bang on in my book re her dating formula! Way to go Cc!!!! Whooo hoo!!!!!

    • cc says:

      teachable-
      wow, you are beyond adorable. thank you for the tim tam tutorial – oreos have nothing on those, they sound completely yummy and that method sounds delectable. um…can i have them with milk?
      *smooch*

      • dancingqueen says:

        CC don’t even bother with Oreos; Tim Tams are really where it is at. With Chai…mmmmm Happy Holidays everyone!!!!!

    • Revolution says:

      I’m in, Teach. Bring on the Tim-Tams. (Heard about them from my other favorite blogger from Australia, Shauna Reid; They sound divine.)

      • Lilly says:

        Teachable, If I could I would send you a years supply of good ole Tim Tams because they are great comfort food. Thank you for the invite, I would love to join the Tim Tam Ritual and with such esteemed company! Cc who has helped me so much and Rev who reminded me that I can laugh again. Thank you ladies and Teach sending you all the love, strength and support I can, xxx.

  40. teachable says:

    Victorious, of you find EUM Remberto REMOTELY attractive (no offence EUM R) you are hereby GROUNDED in Cc’s genie bottle untill u do re-read Nat’s books & write on the genie blackboard 100 times: AC’s & EUM’s are toxic poison & stink to high heaven. I cannot STAND the THOUGHT of them let alone the sight of one! LOL (i do realise u were joking btw) x

    • Victorious says:

      My dunces cap is well and truly on Teach and I am standing in the corner til I have learnt my lesson!

  41. miskwa says:

    Melissa
    Although from the look of you, you have to be at least 20 years younger than I, it sounds as though we got stuck with the same guys on the same sites. Maybe I shouldve tried the powerpoint thing and gotten my money back; I just didn’t contact them. I think this is a sad consequence of our countries incredible obesity rate and has little to do with either of us. I also think, at least in the west, that it has become a culture of casual, superficial relationshits, probably a result of the area ski resorts and a lot of recreation based culture where folks are here to play, not to stay. It is better to meet men IRL rather than on line but in some areas its just not possible. Winter driving here can be a life threatening adventure and there’s no public transport. After my AC fiasco and having to offload some local toxic friends, I’d rather date men that do live farther away. In a small town, it’s too easy to find out where a lone woman lives, especially a multiracial one. Being stalked is really scary. As for dating divorced/ divorced with kids, certainly by my age (52), most anyone who hasn’t been married/in some sort of a ltr by now is a red flag unless he just bailed out of the priesthood. I don’t mind kids so long as they’re out of the house AND not likely to return. I raised a brother at a young age and my parenting days are over for good. I date men over a fairly wide age range, mostly older as I value maturity. As for EUM Ricardo, ladies, I think we really had a view into the mind of one of these dudes who cause us such heartbreak. It truly isn’t because we aren’t young/cute/savvy enough, we truly are little more than objects to such men. This is probably how my AC feels about women though he was a little less blatant about it. Beings as how I do not celebrate that other December holiday, I want to wish all of you a Happy Solstice, longer days from now on!

  42. Melissa says:

    Hi Miskwa…how sweet of you to say, but I will be 39 next month.

    Doesn’t seem to matter what age we are though…we’ve met the same fools.

  43. teachable says:

    Pleasure Cc x

  44. Victorious says:

    TEACH!!! You OK?xx

  45. hlady says:

    im sorta stuck right now so I am re reading articles on your site. I am recently married but ready to call it quits cause the person I married is an excuse giver and a blamer on why he cant do xyz. xyz being get a job, walk the dog, stop lying about smoking and holding money over my head (i spent x amount of $ on you)

    my life has not been easy and although I am married, I had a line that i can only tolerate. 5 months of arguing over money and him some we can have a honeymoon, yet we can barely put food on the table is irresponsible to me. I am working and taking care of my kids. he is not contributing other than getting benefits from military.

    so why am I here? cause I think i am ready to call it quits, yet also questioning if I was never fully committed cause i know I can walk away if i must. I am married but i have also been divorced to a man who cheated on me for 5 yrs. i stayed another 2. so after that, I can put a wall up if my new husband does something that triggers those memories. i admit I am not perfect and have flaws. I’m a nag and I yell. but I also am calm and listen and talk when I have an issue.

    at this point an altercation came up where he felt he wasnt going to win so he did what he knew would hurt me and he thought he would win. he is oh so wrong. he called the police twice to my home one day w my toddler here and she had to see that. I remained calm while he made told police things that were untrue. they saw I was honest and they advised him to leave but he didnt have to. that made me more angry under my skin. he is treating me like property and taking my identity away. he says, I am married to you so I can do what I want- this home and car are mine. (both I have in my name and owned for many yrs w out him) so as a previous single mom raising children and owning a home and him threatening that too… I am just beside myself.
    I feel at this point I need to get an annullment. i believe we qualify. we have no children together so I feel its probably best to let this go.

    or do I try some more? ironically most of our fighting orginates over me having to nag him to get things done and get got a job yesterday from someone I sent him too. its doesnt pay much but its something. he is sleeping in a hotel for the 3rd night tonight. I am so happy he is gone right now. I feel me again. I can think straight, I have more time for my kids. I feel more sufficient just by not having to “take care of him.”
    I dont have much love left after the police incident. oh and he called my ex and talked to him for a long time cause he felt it was his job to call – its NOT his child. I was also livid. he just called to stir the damn pot. not a thing I ever thought he would do. a person I am to stay married to would not betray me like that or jeopardize my childs safety.

    I’m confused what decision to make yet my instinct is to end it. enough has been done.
    advice?

  46. hlady says:

    my second paragraph is suppose to say I just found out he was hiding money… he says it was for a honeymoon, yet we can barely put food on the table.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!