YOU WON'T GET PEOPLE TO HOLD BACK THEIR OPINIONS JUST BECAUSE YOU HOLD BACK YOURS SO YOU MAY AS WELL STAND UP & BE COUNTED.

As many of you know, I’m on a low BS diet and so while I don’t go out of my way to call people out on their BS, when I’m in a situation where the person is trying to get me to agree with it, I struggle, like when I had a relative complaining about a mutual friend.

Her: I don’t like being ‘told off’ and she’s made me feel like a child! Why did she have to say that? Who the hell does she think she is talking to me like that? I’m a grown woman. You know, I don’t go around criticising people!

Awkward pause and shuffle.

Me: Er…yes you do.

Does a double take and puts her hands on her hips.

Her: No I don’t.

Me: Er, yes you do. You love telling people off and you’re not exactly shy about letting people know when you’re p*ssed off.

Examples were requested so I gave her some and she quickly called a halt to it.

Her: But that’s different – I’m being honest and those people have done something to p*ss me off.

Me: And you don’t think that she was being honest with you? You don’t think that what you said upset her?

Silence.

Sometimes we don’t see ourselves as we are and often we have a habit of doing things that we don’t like in others and repackaging it as something else.

It’s criticism when it’s coming at you and it’s love, help, and honesty when it’s coming from you.

I hear from a lot of readers who tend to feel very upset if they feel that they’re not being listened to or given the opportunity to express their opinion but these same people act like they’ve taken a bullet to the heart when others express their opinion to them.

When you struggle with two-directional honesty, it’s perceived as nastiness when it’s coming in your direction but honesty when it’s coming from yours. You have good motives they have dodgy motives. You’re expressing your opinion whereas they’re hurting you or overstepping the mark.

It’s important to note though that not all honesty and criticism is created equal. Honesty is only genuine honesty when there’s truth and respect. Some people do package up nastiness that cloaks their own dishonesty in a bag tagged with the label ‘honesty’. Some people are also so distanced from the truth that what they’re saying to you isn’t the truth but the lie supports a rather convoluted framework of lies that if you even attempt to make sense of it, it’ll have you tangled up in a rather sticky, smothering web.

Often the things that we don’t like in others lead back to some sort of lesson within ourselves. It’s like when I hear someone complain about how such-and-such is a beep because they talk about people behind their back and I scratch my head and think “Er, aren’t you doing the same thing right now?” If you’ve ever complained about not being able to make a decision because you’re involved with a fence sitting flip-flapper, has it occurred to you that you’re also sitting on the fence? Basically, if struggle with letting honesty cut both ways, you need to learn how to be more honest to yourself and to others.

Everyone has their own realities which is all the more reason why it’s best to make your journey in life around people who share similar values and an affinity for keeping their feet in reality and not talking out of their bums.

That said, you cannot expect honesty or claim to be an honest person when you don’t allow it to cut both ways and you’re not receptive to feedback. You also can’t expect to have the right to criticise or give ‘feedback’ but censor what is said to you. That would mean that you would have high sensitivity about something that you are lacking as much sensitivity about with others.

If you feel “hurt” every time you experience honesty even if it’s actually well-intended feedback, you limit the opportunity to grow out of these experiences. I should point out as well that if you avoid being honest in the hope that others won’t be honest with you and that you’ll avoid conflict and criticism, you’ll just end up feeling like you’ve been done over.

People won’t silence their opinions just because you silence yours so you may as well speak up.  

When criticism and honesty don’t cut both ways, you have a rather big bullshit issue. And keep in mind – if you’re dealing with someone who seems to think that they can be ‘honest’ with you but then turns on you when you attempt the same and metes out some sort of ‘punishment’, alarm bells should be ringing. They’re not some perfect human being absolved of feedback.

Ultimately, make sure that you’re not ‘double standarding’ yourself because you undermine your credibility. It’s not that you should stop being honest or giving criticism (that won’t shut people up anyway believe me) but you do need to learn to listen before judging someone as being ‘bad’ for giving you feedback about something that may give you a lesson from the insight gained.

It’s very difficult to have a mutual relationship with someone who gets upset or even goes into combat mode around honesty. It’s like saying “Lie to me / hold back what you really think.” Really?

If you won’t let it cut both ways, you’re implying that you have absolutely nothing new to learn and that you don’t need to change in any way – you do, we all do. Not everything that we do is working for us – being unable to tolerate two-directional honesty is one of them.

I remember when one particular ex (the controlling one who would get antsy if the blinds weren’t pulled the right way) told me that he was tired of me apologising all the time (I went through a phase of just apologising for pretty much everything) and that I basically didn’t handle things in the most ‘mature’ manner. I was really offended but actually there was some truth in there and I used the insights to get the hell out. It’s the same when someone is saying that they don’t deserve you and that they can’t give you what you want, or that you’re not the right person for them. It hurts, but that honesty is actually showing you who they are or what they’re about but it’s also giving you some insight into the fact that for whatever reason, you’re around someone who doesn’t appreciate you. When you’ll heed the lesson, you can be honest with matching actions and words.

Your thoughts?

Updated 29th October: An audio version of this post is now available on Soundcloud.

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218 Responses to Honesty’s Got To Cut Both Ways

  1. SM says:

    Oh this post really struck me. I remember my last ac telling me that he couldnt give me what I wanted and you know what, he really couldnt. I dont think he could ever give any woman what she wanted based on his own version of his relationship history. And I was angry about it..duh, how stupid was I. It was like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

    You are dead on Nat about taking honest opinions from others. I have no problem voicing my preferences. One time a friend told me, in front of a group of people, that she disliked that I was so open with my likes and dislikes. I did actually consider what she said and realized that it was probably more the words I used and that I needed to choose my words more carefully when stating my preferences. Basically I had said that I ‘hate’ yard work, it was the word ‘hate’ that she didnt appreciate.

  2. vhs says:

    so beautifully put. I have had the biggest headaches trying to grasp honesty for what it is. I can speak my mind quite well, but I do admit it sometimes has to ‘come that far’ and it’s only then that I can get quite direct and don’t butter things up. I have known several situations where I have scared people off that way because they didn’t see it coming.
    I do however feel there is a difference between getting things of your chest to a friend or a family member about somebody and vent for a while, this isn’t the same as going around criticising as you’re suited, imho. Sometimes you just need to vent, and sometimes you don’t care much for it to sound nice about a specific person (an absent one of course) , as long as you keep your perspective wide open at all times and you behave at all times.
    Because you see, trying to be respectful all the time, and seeing things from a zillion points of view, has made me feel very confused in the past. Now I try to roll with my gut feeling more than ever, and yes, listening to the other person comes first and foremost, but I do have difficulties to keep my initial boundary in check if I listen too carefully to what somebody else is trying to say (or trying to lie). I blamed it on trust issues for a long time, and I had to do a 180 on that. I was blaming myself for not trusting enough, but now I blame myself for not listening to *key* words and my gut feeling instead of wandering off into a million possible points of view. If you can’t keep your manners in check, go passive agressive or pull some reversed psychology on me, pretending I’m too dumb to notice, I’ll speak my mind. Period.
    I’d love to get some more feedback (or even criticism) from people in general, instead of the soft glove style many people use, a style I can’t read into. That’s when I get those trust issues in full force. I’ll think they are saying the one thing but intending the other if they’re not direct with me. I also think, though I could be wrong, that you know in your heart when criticism is in its place or not. When I get it, not saying it doesn’t ache sometimes, but I’ll know when it’s something I can work with or when it’s just pulled out of thin air.

    • Freya says:

      I’ve never told anyone I do not feel I am good enough for them though I HAVE felt that way. I just didn’t date them or respond to their advances in any way – if they even made any. Which they usually did not.

      I’ve had lots of men tell me, or imply in some way, that they felt they were not good enough for me or could not make me happy. Looking back, it was true. If what they were offering at the time was all I was gonna get then I would not have been happy. In fact, the ones I dated that said these things I most definitely was not happy in the relationship and not happy with them specifically. So, is that a lie? I don’t think it is.

      I think men are pretty straight with women right at the beginning. If they tell you right off the bat they aren’t interested in a committed relationship, or they aren’t good enough for you, or that they are seeing several women, they are letting you know what they are about and if you go along with it then you have just told them with your actions that you are on board for what they are offering. I’m sure some guys lie right at the beginning but, seriously, in my experience men will tell you what to expect from them within a couple of dates and sometimes within a couple of hours of knowing them.

      • Allison says:

        Freya,

        You’re right!

        Men are not so complicated, as they usually show us early on, who they are. In many cases, we choose not to listen, or try to change them into someone they are not; especially, men who are already involved with others.

        We have to listen to what is being said!

  3. Khandis says:

    Is it really honesty when someone says they don’t deserve you? It seems that it may just be a cowardly way to let someone off easily rather than telling them the REAL reasons why the relationship isn’t working out. ‘I don’t deserve you’ is the oldest line in the book; it’s like a variation of “it’s not you, it’s me”. Is that truly honest?

    Maybe people really mean it when they tell a person that ‘I don’t deserve you’ but I am curious if anyone here has used that line on someone and if they actually believed it to be the truth at the time.

    • vhs says:

      Hi Khandis, no, it’s not honesty in pure form, but you can take it as such. It’s honesty where as you don’t need to know the real reason, the ‘truth’ is he won’t commit.

    • Grizelda says:

      Khandis,

      Good point well made. ‘I don’t deserve you’ is entirely misleading. It’s a hamfisted way of admitting they’ve been playing you along and have probably been acting as if they like you a lot more than they really do so that you don’t leave them, you don’t get upset, you don’t stop having sex with them, etc. What they really want to say is ‘I don’t deserve to be unfairly exposed to your, you know, sickly emotional expressions and stuff. So just stop it, come over here, and take your clothes off.’ haha

      I’ve never used IDDY, nor have I ever heard IDDY used at me. However I did once get the flipside of IDDY, which was when I was trying to break up with a weird guy I dated for a few weeks, and he screamed at me “I LOVE YOU! So you OWE ME!”

      Yeah, interesting. Like telling someone you love them is akin to forcing them to accept a payday loan at 1439% interest, I guess.

    • Ashley says:

      I have heard “I don’t deserve you…” before. They also said, I can’t give you what you want. I think to an extent, it’s definitely a line…but then at the same time in essence, they really are telling the truth. It may be a line for the person speaking it, but it still rings true!

    • Mymble says:

      The EUM said once that I needed something better than what he has to offer and that I was making poor decisions. I was too hurt to ask which were the decisions he was referring to, but I suppose it was probably the decision to become and to stay involved with him. It stings when it is the person who is themselves hurting you who tells you about yourself and the ways in which you are making a mistake. It shows that they know very well what they are doing.

      • Victorious says:

        yes the ex EUm told me I “deserved better than him” and “what I am giving you isn’t enough” but added ” I just don’t know what I want and I know that isn’t good enough.” I believe all of this was true.KNowing what I do about his relationship history and his family background I think he is so effed up emotionally that he really cannot properly commit. He genuinely thought he could/would with me and overestimated his interest only to find he had disappointed himself ( not to mention me) yet again.

      • Sunshine says:

        I can totally relate to this. This is exactly what my ex said to me too. It really hurt me, but now I’ve just come to realize that I really do deserve someone better than him, even though what he was really trying to say to me was: “I don’t want to be with you anymore, can’t you finally get that?!!”

        On a different note: I have a friend that can be very honest with me about everything, but when I try to be honest with her, she gets offended and simply wouldn’t accept my opinion. I feel that’s really unfair and that you can’t really be friends with someone around whom you have to be really careful what you say etc.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Khandis, my two cents. If someone says he doesn’t deserve you, that is a way to get out. You probably already know the reasons that it was not working.

      The last breakup I had I was not really into the guy. There is no point in telling someone you are not into them and at that point he was probably over me as well. I said it just felt like it was not a fit. I think that is just as accurate. and he agreed.

    • HS says:

      Kahndis, I had a date few weeks back and I met a nice guy, but I didn’t have chemistry with him, I wasn’t attracted to him at all. He wanted to see me again and he was planning our second date etc. I told him exactly, what you mentioned in your post. I didn’t want to lie to poor guy, I don’t know if he believed me or not, but I was honest!

  4. Grizelda says:

    Honesty is only genuine honesty when there’s truth and respect.

    This is worth remembering. Truth without respect is only nastiness. It’s ‘trueness’ is cancelled out by the fact it is information which is too poisonous to consume.

    Honest feedback doesn’t hurt if it’s delivered gently, in private, at an appropriate time and place, and with respect.

    Take the same honest feedback and hear it spat out at you by an angry loudmouth ‘friend’ in a public place in front of other friends and it’s not honest feedback, it’s ammunition.

    • sushi says:

      I agree Grizelda, truth and respect are vital, and good communication skill and tact essential as well, you can kill a truthfull and well intended message if you don`t communticate it well.
      Also, if you treat yourself with respect it`s easier to respect others. My last relationship was with a functioning alcoholic who also had control issues and alcoholics companions;lies, manipulation and denial. I was trying to enlighten him about the fact that he had a problem with drink and honesty, thinking that I will be able to explain and he will become honest with me and himself, and then reward me with a relationship I was trying to extract from him. With perspective now I know that I should have respected his choices in life and be more honest with myself about the situation. I would have left him sooner and it wouldn`t be such a painful drama.I had zero respect for myself when I engaged in that.

    • dancingqueen says:

      “Take the same honest feedback and hear it spat out at you by an angry loudmouth ‘friend’ in a public place in front of other friends and it’s not honest feedback, it’s ammunition.”

      Brilliantly put!!!!

  5. Debbie says:

    I love this line: Honesty is only genuine honesty when there’s truth and respect.
    However, I go around and around about what exactly is “truth” Whose truth? Isn’t “telling the truth” just that person’s opinion created by how they see the world? I guess you can evaluate what people say to you, and if everyone is saying it do a self check, but their truth can’t define who you are. Most of the time when you hear “the truth” from someone you can point the finger right back at them anyways. Just saying…

    • Grizelda says:

      Agreed Debbie!

      Most people are so eager to dole out feedback to others and feel… dramatic sigh… like they’re messenger angels sent from heaven casting pearls before swine. No one appreciates their words of wisdom. When actually — it’s only their personal opinion. If they can back up their criticisms with recent real life examples, then at least they’re proving their opinion has a basis in reality. But it’s still only their personal opinion.

      I never try to volunteer to appoint myself the Righteous Doler-Out of ‘truthful feedback’ to other people because, frankly, ‘who the hell do I think I am?’ etc. Only when someone seems genuinely confused or troubled about their situation, they’re looping their thoughts, and I see that they’re battering their heads repeatedly like a bull at a gate, do I try to offer them something to consider. It’s more of an alternate point of view than telling them straight out they’re being a hypocrite or whatever. I might say something like “Yes I remember you telling me this has happened to you before. What did you do about it last time? Did that approach work? It didn’t? Well perhaps you need to rethink how you’re responding to him. Have you tried this or that or…?” And then reassuring them, even if it has to be in reverse. Example, if I actually think they’re being weak and weedy about something, I do not tell them I think they’re being weak and weedy. I tell them they’re strong, and that it’s clear to me they know what they have to do to resolve the situation once and for all.

  6. FX says:

    When something really gets under my skin about someone else, I automatically ask myself why. I believe that “The thing that bothers us most in another is that which we like least in ourself.” I don’t know when I first heard that but when I was about 13, my father bought a weekend house where he and I spent quite a bit of time alone together for the first time. My parents divorced when I was a baby and my older siblings were otherwise occupied by then. I take after him much more than my mother in appearance and temperament. He had a lot of annoying characteristics! I started calling myself out when I recognized him in me and trying to change my interactions with others. Nearly 40 years later, he is still a neurotic, insecure, oblivious EUM. I don’t know that I eradicated his nature/nurture legacy entirely but it was a valuable process then and is still useful to me in my interactions and accountability with others, too.

    Because my father was so self-absorbed and I know I am a bit still, I did think about it when the ex AC said “It’s always all about you.” However, I have now learned enough about Narcissistic Personality Disorder to recognize he could likely be professionally diagnosed so I think in that case it was probably entirely projection. (There’s even a book on NPD called “It’s All About Him” LOL)

    Projection is always something I look out for now, too, in someone’s criticism because… The thing they like least in you may be something they like least in themselves. It isn’t an objective judgment.

  7. Demke says:

    My ex AC would make comments that my responses to certain issues were “immature”. And when I would describe certain scenarios to my girlfriends that were happening with me and the ex, they would kinda say, “er, that’s kinda immature.” So, that’s when I was like… ‘okay, i need to step up and be more womanly and grow a serious set about my situation cause I’m obviously making an immature @ss out of myself, lol’.

    And ‘honestly’, how we handle these situations with our AC’s (or ex’s), it kinda is immature. My mother even said to me not that long ago, “umm… it’s not very womanly how you’re handling things… it’s kinda immature”. Okay, that word “immature” seems to pop up often. I need to re-evaluate, shut my mouth, and have some self-respect and dignity, and be confident enough to stop complaining, if I don’t like it, leave it. If he did x,y,z to me.. I need to see it for what it is… be honest about it, stop complaining, and make a ‘womanly’ decision. Work at it, or leave. When I decided to ‘grow up’ and not be so darn emotional about everything, I was happier, more confident… and decided to leave.

    I can’t say that I was always right or honest about certain things… but I denied the fact that me and the ex AC, just weren’t a good match. Period.

  8. lawrence says:

    Ha. I once had a friend who insisted his insults weren’t really insults because they were just and he was just offering tough love. :)

    One complaint I’ve heard many times from women is about the guy who suddenly turns cold and/or disappears like a wraith (or weasel?) in the night. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few guys who’ve done that, and usually their excuse is that they don’t want to hurt the lady’s feeling and they just aren’t that into “confrontation and drama.”

    My guess it that most women, while hurting badly at first after a man tells them honestly why he’s breaking up with them, would still vastly prefer that to the “disappearing act.”

    Maybe I talk too much after breaking up – wanting to explain and get explanations – but I think that just disappearing is grossly disrespectful and cowardly.

    Lawrence

    • Freya says:

      I agree with you Lawrence it is cowardly and disrespectful to just walk away and not say anything at all. Especially if you have known this person for some length of time. I’ve had it done to me a couple of times and seen it happen to friends. Wanting to talk about it and get explanations and stuff is getting closure. I think its perfectly healthy and good for you. Walking away with closure feels way better, and I think it shows respect for the feelings of both partners. It still hurts but at least your not left with a gaping whole in your heart and left to guess what the F happened.

    • SM says:

      Lawrence disappearing is the cowards way out. I’ve never disappeared on anyone but then again I dont have a problem with confrontation, which sometimes is a problem in and of itself. LOL

    • HS says:

      Lawrence, my ex done this to me few years ago and it was the most awful experience I ever had. I would NEVER forgive him for that, I am glad that I moved on and I don’t want to hear or see him ever again! COWARD!

    • Grizelda says:

      Usually the runners run because they’re hideously ashamed of their own behaviour and can’t face the repercussions.

      They know they’ve done something so goddamn awful behind the back of their gf/bf that they’d rather die than (a) admit it to his/her face, take the impact, and show the world what a complete and utter shit they are, or (b) lie about it to his/her face with all sorts of made-up reasons why they ‘have’ to break up while sweating from every pore and trying desperately not to be caught out for the shit they really are.

      It doesn’t surprise me they pretend it has anything at all to do with the feelings of the person they’re breaking up with. Crocodile tears, all of it. If they’re suddenly so into the feelings of the other person… yeah I don’t even have to finish that sentence.

      I agree a reason is necessary, but depending on what it is and how it’s delivered it can actually increase the person’s pain by a factor of a million rather than reduce it. If you’ve done something so heinous that it’s going to destroy your gf/bf on the spot, then carefully constructed lies and stages of letting go over time are definitely in order rather than just dumping on them all at once and leaving them to sort themselves out. There’s no respect in that, none at all. Coming out and saying “Your best friend and I have been screwing each other behind your back whenever you’ve been working late for the last six months, and now we’re in love – yeah, I mean the kind of love I could never offer to you. We want to move in together, so would you mind packing your stuff before next Saturday when he/she turns up with all his/her stuff in the moving van?” is NOT somehow going to appear respectable. Nothing should ever hit anyone out of the blue or make them feel like they’ve been shoved off a cliff. Those are situations when ambulances are called.

    • Allison says:

      Lawrence,

      The guys who do not want to hurt feelings by have a proper break up talk are cowards. Nothing more!

    • dancingqueen says:

      I had someone semi do that to me once; he acted outrageous enough to where it would have been undignified for me to even go about talking to him ever again…he just acted crazy and abusive and horrible. Then after about a month of silence he sent me a text *offering* to talk as if somehow I was immature for not speaking with him “I hope at some point we can talk about this to leave things on better terms” and then his number because he knew that I probably deleted it. I never responded. It was really though the most awful breakup that I ever had with anyone. It was like someone backed me into a corner and then was trying to take away my dignity by acting as if it was all normal and I was the one with the problem. Horrible, those abandoners and manipulative ones…

  9. Thatslife says:

    Because I have become so tired of the nonsense of others (friends, family and AC). I have been re-evaluating some of my relationships. For example I have a friend she is constantly always voicing her opinion about others, she starts off with “Don’t take this the wrong way”. She then goes on with the constant rants and raves of what she thinks, how she feels, how it should be and assumes I or someone else is going to take it.

    I have been tired of the nonsense of her always talking about certain friend’s marriages, her brothers and sisters marriage or relationships. So I didn’t hold back my honest opinion this go round. Let me tell you she likes to dish it out but can’t handle it when its dished back to her. I was being truthfully honest and I even questioned her with why are you concerned or consumed with that person’s marriage or relationship? Her response “I’m curious”. My response to that you don’t have a right to peek in and out of someone else’s marriage or relationship. It does not involve you, so stay out of it and focus on yourself and your own happiness. She thought about it and replied to me “your right”.

    I choose this time around to stand up and speak up because every lunch date or girls day out its the same old cycle of my friends constant criticizing of others (friends, family members, etc) relationships/marriages.

    I will say my standing up gave her something to think about and she will now pick and choose her words wisely.

    What I learned from this is you can speak up but its how you respond to the issue. In order for the other individual to react appropriately or take the response in a positive light/manner without being offended or angry.

    • dancingqueen says:

      “Every lunch date or girls day out its the same old cycle of my friends constant criticizing of others (friends, family members, etc) relationships/marriages.”

      I have done this. I have a few core gfs and t is like we just talk about what is not working and we think it is venting and sometimes it is,and that is fine, or getting perspective, but often it is just gossip and lack of other areas that are positive to connect with others. I am trying to make a broader range of friends because some of the ones I have here bring out the worst in me.

      What is hard though about this “honesty” thing is owning your part but still holding others to theirs. I have this woman I work with who is super devisive and catty and I am finding myself complaining about her to another coworker with whom I am freinds. But really, I too am now being devisive.

      Yet she is just so awful! Dealing with her is a constant battle of someone cutting down my ideas, not wanting me to have any ideas, wanting to be some gd queen bee and it just is not how we are supposed to work as a group; we are all supposed to give input, not just one person lording it over a bunch of newbies, which is how my team is; me and her, seasoned teachers and a bunch of brand new ones. It is like she can’t handle not being top dog all the time and if I would just shut up and let her dictate to me it would be fine but I can’t; I have ideas and I am sick of being rolled over for her ego.

      She has never been nice, even from the first time that we met and she came to my school with a cloud of drama behind her from other people who complained what a bulldozer she is I just find nothing to like even though I think that she is a good teacher; she is so arrogant that it makes it all negative. I feel like I am going to go crazy if I don’t get some validation about her behavior and I can’t vent. I don’t know what to do at this point. I have a whole year left with her.

      • Allison says:

        Dancing,

        I feel for you, but talking about her behind her back is not the right way. Gossip is very devicive in the work place, and may come back to bite you in the behind.

        I would suggest you have a one-to-one with this woman, if this does not work, try some sort of mediation with a superior.

        Stop the gossip, or you become part of the problem!

        • dancingqueen says:

          Alison you are so right; it will bite me in the bum if I don’t watch out.Thanks for the truthfulness.

          What I decided to do is go to our counseling center for some feedback on how to handle this; they promise that they won’t get involved, just give feedback. I am thinking of signing up for weekly sessions with them to vent.

          She is not open to talking; I tried, in her mind, I am just too sensitive. I think that that is what bothers me the most; she acts like she is not a problem. I saw her snap at someone today and I saw the person’s face and this petty part of me thought”Good, I hope she is mean to her too so she can complain as well.” I am becoming like her!!:)lol

          My boss has been great, she knows the situation and she told me to keep her posted. It just is so hard…I really miss my old co-worker from last year who was so supportive and great and we planned so well together and we were such a team.

          • Revolution says:

            Dancingqueen,

            Ever heard the expression “Crazy will out”? In other words, people who aren’t already hip to this chick’s game WILL have her tire tracks on them soon enough. The beautiful thing about all of this is that all you have to do is go on about your business and wait. It will happen. You probably already know this.

            In the meantime, weekly counselling sessions for venting is a GREAT alternative to venting and near-gossiping to friends. Sounds like you got your house in order. Good on you.

          • Allison says:

            Dancing,

            It sounds like a difficult environment!!!

            What is your superior going to do? Has she spoken to her yet?

            • dancingqueen says:

              Hey Allison and Rev,thanks for the support. I think that my boss has spoken to her on some level; I forwarded her ( my boss) a really rude email that she sent me, as well as the professional one that I sent back, despite her lameness…when I showed it to my boss she laughed, told me to keep her posted and said that she was glad that I showed her it. She also made a comment about her that was a bit sarcastic.

              The problem is that she is very good at what she does and good teachers are hard to find so I think I am stuck with her.

              Yes Rev I agree I have my house in order and it needs to damn well stay this way lol! On the flip side, I am just going to cruise along and do the best I can do at my job. I proposed a grant-writing meeting for a grant and two of my collegues responded and she did not..so we are going to go ahead and if we get it, kudos to us!:) She can still share the technology that we will buy but that will be on my resume, not hers:(

    • HS says:

      @I love your comment Thatslife!!! GOOD for you that you finally responded in the proper way! I am currently reading book “Chimp Paradox”, so many interesting things to learn:) about facts/values/emotions.
      @NML, love your article, another eye opener!!! Thank you.

  10. selkie says:

    “It’s the same when someone is saying that they don’t deserve you and that they can’t give you what you want, or that you’re not the right person for them. It hurts, but that honesty is actually showing you who they are or what they’re about but it’s also giving you some insight into the fact that for whatever reason, you’re around someone who doesn’t appreciate you.”

    Yes, this is helpful. The truths my last bf told me as he was dumping me really really hurt, but he was telling me who he was. After hearing who he was out of his own mouth, I knew he really wasn’t good enough for me. He had issues, his OWN issues standing in the way. I took it personal at the time, but his honesty was about his hang ups, not me. He did try to spin it as my fault, but with the gift of time, I am seeing through that.

    I try to be honest, but have found that many people are uncomfortable with honesty. It’s too real for them. I’ve been respected for my honesty and also condemned for it. I admit, my approach to honesty is sometimes a little sharp, and occasionally it comes out rather assertive (when someone is really shoving my boundaries ). I need to learn to temper the honesty on my part before it turns into telling them all about themselves. I could also use a little more grace when receiving honesty thats hard to hear.

  11. Heartache Amy says:

    Speaking of honesty, is it honesty if a married man tells you a) he’s very attracted to you, b) he thinks you’re beautiful, c) he would date you in a heartbeat if he wasn’t married, d) he thinks you’re awesome, e) no matter what happens, he wants to be friends for life…and then, at a later date, tells you that he’s conflicted, he’s still processing things, and oh, by the way, he’d be happy to give you advice about dating. What’s honest here and what isn’t? I’ve been down this road before and I’m still learning. What do I believe, if anything, about anything this person has told me? He’s married, and that’s that. But was anything real that he said? And why do guys do stuff like this?

    • sushi says:

      Heartache Amy, the first thing that popped into my head is: what would his wife think/said if she knew what he said to you? I think he is a douchbag. I think it`s not even worth considering if any of it is real. He is married, bottom line. I think guys say crap like that to let you know they are interested in having a fling and have no intention of leaving the wife. it`s an early disclaimer, not honesty. Take care of yourself, and I think- stay away.

    • SM says:

      Amy why are you getting close enough with a married man so that he feels comfortable saying these things to you? No female should be that close with another woman’s husband.

      • dancingqueen says:

        yeah Amy I agree with SM it is not respectful to be that near another woman’s husband to hear his slimy ideas. Steer clear.

      • Lilia says:

        Amy, he does it simply because he can. Don´t let him. He only wants an ego stroke.

        And honestly, giving you advice about dating? That sounds really sleazy, I can imagine the conversation going on to sexual positions and things like that.

        • Fifi says:

          Yep, he’s doing it because in his mind, you actually don’t matter. You’re not real to him. You’re just some light relief, his real life is elsewhere. He’s in fantasy land.

    • grace says:

      It’s dishonest of him to be telling you any of this shizz cos he’s married.

    • Al says:

      Hmm While i see the points of sushi and sm, I think it may depend on situation things youre not telling us….ie…if you have met as friends, then him telling you hes married is him telling you hes off limits/committed but, as a friend, he thinks youre lovely and thinks he can give dating advice because he is in a way a mostly un-involved 3rd party to your dating life who cares about your wellbeing and has perspective from his past as a guy. I have guy friends like this (not married but have been in very long relationships) and they are great friends to catch up for coffee with and do offer some great support/perspective. The alarm here is ‘c) if he wasnt married he would date you in a heartbeat’. Is that an actual quote or a paraphrase? ie….if he said youre awesome, i dont know why x did that/said that/isnt showing interest but id just forget it bc youre better than that and any sane guy, even me if i werent married, would be lucky to date you’ well thats a completely different context isnt it?

      Amy…..I think what actually matters most here is how YOU feel towards him. The way youve presented it, it kind of seems like you have feelings for him. He is MARRIED. Dont even hope for that to change. If on the other hand, all you see with him is a respectful friendship then I dont see the problem with male friend goss sessions….I love my guy friends and the no-drama support and convo topics they offer. I find the ones in relationships are the most honest to me about the way I go about or react to things as well. Theyre also good at sussing out new guys.

      And as to what SM said….if you feel like a boundary to your friendship/his marraige is being crossed, just ask him, are you sure X would be comfortable with you telling me this? or I dont think we should discuss this without X here or at all. You dont want her to end up feeling threatened by you through grapevine tales.

      I think it all depends on context and how you feel towards him, friendship is fine but if any more than stay away for the good of both of you!

      hugs :)

      • Heartache Amy says:

        Thanks Al, and everyone, too. Yes, I admit, I have feelings for him, and no, I can’t say that he’s a total sleaze-bag because I really do think he likes me in a friendly way. He’s a friendly person, by nature. He’s also told me a little about his marriage and how bad things are, but that he stays because he has nowhere else to go and he’s afraid his wife will take his kids away. Whatever. But he caught me off guard with his comments about him finding me attractive, etc. and how there was no doubt he’d date me…if he weren’t married. Yes, he fed me lines, and yes, I’m a fool. But, I called him on all of these things and he still told me that he thinks I’m “awesome” and he always wants me in his life, in one way or another. Oh, and yes, he did offer to help me with dating advice (which I found extremely insulting). But the long and the short of it is – I genuinely like him. He’s funny, good to talk to, nice. There’s no relationship, by the way. I’m just kicking myself for falling for him.

        • grace says:

          Amy
          Good to talk to and nice is not at all rare. Funny as well is not uncommon. He is not that special or such a rare specimen that you need to be carrying a torch for this length of time.
          And he fundamentally lacks character.

          • Heartache Amy says:

            Grace,
            Actually, for me it IS rare. While I haven’t been looking for anyone (friend or otherwise), I don’t often meet a member of the opposite sex who shares my sense of humor, can carry on a conversation that’s not 100% focused on him, and is (well, maybe not in this case) a nice person. I’m not excusing my bad behavior, but in my vulnerable state right now, I fell for it. Do I feel like an idiot? Absolutely. Did I enjoy his company? Yes. Will I learn from this? I certainly hope so.

        • Al says:

          Amy, I agree with Grace.

          Youll only end up hurt and in the meantime not open to other people and other opportunities.

          Youll meet someone nice and funny and who want to date you and who thinks youre beautiful AND is available soon enough.

          “Expect wonderful things to happen”.

          and LOL grizelda about recording convos.

    • Grizelda says:

      Amy,

      Sadly I think the only thing that divides Stage A (“You’re beautiful, I’m attracted, I wish I weren’t married”) from Stage B (“I’m conflicted, I’m still processing things, I don’t know what I want and I hope you go away”) is SEX.

      Stage A is the ‘before’ picture. It was a ploy to get to the goodies — whether that’s outright sex or fooling around or just your returned expressions of attraction/desire/etc to validate him. Stage B is the ‘after’ picture. He got the goodies he wanted.

      And obviously it’s not just married men who pull this stunt.

      Next time this happens and a guy starts in on the goody-seeking, pull out your smartphone and say ‘do you mind if I record what it is that you’re about to say? I just want to email it to your gf/wife to check its veracity.’ The next thing you’ll hear is a sonic boom as he runs away like an out of control missile.

      • Heartache Amy says:

        Yup. There was no sex, though. And even when he cooled off his pursuit of me, he still told me that I was beautiful and how much he liked me, but that he couldn’t get divorced. It’s hard, though, because I still like him…I know I shouldn’t, but I do.

        • Fearless says:

          Amy

          this guy’s lines are just the same old, same old that every OW (or potential OW) has heard a zillion times. Is he being honest with you? Yes, in the sense that he’s telling you he’d have sex with you “in a heartbeat” so long as you don’t have any expectations and can live of his married crumbs. Same old, same old. Is he an honest man? Nope. Obviously not or he wouldn’t be trying to lure a woman into OW position – he’s also trying to cheat on his wife. But you really need to stop worrying about what his problem is, wise up to these people and start worrying about why you are even interested in these questions about a married *UNAVAILABLE* man. He’s a waste of time. you’ll figure that out eventually – after you get very hurt by is shenanigans, is my guess.

        • Grizelda says:

          Of course you do like him — obviously he’s attractive. And it’s hard to put into words here in the comments when you’re writing a quick uncomplicated summary, but I know personally how MMs can manage their information flow so well and so precisely over time that it is NOT cut-n-dry as it sounds in summary. When it’s going on, you don’t see ‘the skeevy married man who is hitting on me’, as if he just stepped out of his wedding photographs and tried to shove his tongue in your mouth. You really see him as someone more like ‘the lovely man I’ve enjoyed working with for the last year and a half who will be leaving his marriage soon and seems heartwarmingly attracted to me at this troubled time’ sort of thing. ‘Ah, bless him’ you think. And at that point, no one’s done anything wrong, no one’s said anything totally out of order, no one’s doing any harm. Roll on days, weeks, months later, and you end up allowing him just enough benefit of the doubt so that you don’t exactly punish yourself for feeling some reciprocal attraction for him. It’s like he slowly acclimatises you to his situation juuuuuuust enough that it’s okay. And then when he makes a rather personal comment like the ones you described, or he wants to go for a drink with you, or whatever, it’s a very very long way away from where the whole thing started. In short, he ensures the boundaries are much more easily transgressed.

          Manipulative? Yes, he is. That’s where it takes a wrong turn and that’s where the tangible deception starts. Now look what he’s done. He’s deliberately hooked you for his own amusement and has walked away. Assclown Deluxe Edition.

        • amanda says:

          Amy, I feel for you. I’ve been there, and I am getting myself out of this. Sounds like your married-guy friend isn’t getting the intimacy he needs in his marriage, and he is looking for it elsewhere. He may not consciously be trying to start an affair with you or anyone else, but he senses that you are receptive to him, and he is acting on your attraction to him. It is giving him the ego stroke that he isn’t getting at home. I feel compassion for both of you, but this can lead to a dangerous conclusion. I wasn’t so concerned about your situation until you mentioned that your friend has been complaining/confiding that his marriage isn’t so hot. He is definitely looking for something from you, whether he knows it or not, but he will never be able to give you everything that you deserve. He may not see it this way, but he is using you. I was a MM’s ego-stroke for going on a year, and it feels just as bad as it did when I was his OW before he decided he wanted to reconcile with the wife. He still came to me all last year to confide in how hard it was to rebuild trust with her, resume intimacy, and I, being a fool, gave him a shoulder to lean on. He, too, is funny, sweet, charming, and it seems to me that be brings much good to the world in the realm of his work. But, he was confused… and despite the fact that we are no longer having an affair, he still forged an intimacy with me last year which I knew he wasn’t getting at home; it was as thrilling, yet soul-destroying as being in a sexual affair. He all of a sudden stopped coming to me one day, for god knows what reason (are things better with the wife? Does he have a new fallback girl as friend? Does he have a new fallback girl as lover?). it feels terrible, but it is a blessing in disguise, since I finally have the resolve to move on. This is just my cautionary tale… but intimacy comes in many forms… not just in sexual packages or Valentines. If he’s telling you about the problems at home, while drawing you in with compliments, then he is, at best, confused about how to find the intimacy he craves, at worst, manipulative, and regardless, is going to throw you for a loop. Take good care of yourself!

          • Heartache Amy says:

            Thanks Grizelda and Amanda. I’m glad you acknowledged how I feel because, frankly, it’s easy for others to tell me to run away, he’s a jerk, etc,etc. I know all this and I’m ashamed of myself. But it really did start out very friendly and before I knew it, it shifted. I did call him on it and I did tell him that he used me. Of course, he didn’t like hearing that and denied it. He still wants to be friends. Go figure!

        • Lilia says:

          Amy, you can like anyone. The thing is, you don´t need to open up emotionally to the guy just because you find him attractive and entertaining.

          Hell, I like Don Draper in Mad Men because he looks so masculine but that doesn´t mean that he isn´t a complete asshole.

          • Heartache Amy says:

            No, I certainly don’t, and believe it or not, it’s not a habit of mine to do that. I’m actually rather an introvert. This guy, however, is definitley a “people” person, very friendly and gregarious and that became my downfall. Very different, too, than a TV character.

            • grace says:

              Amy
              The boyfriend is v gregarious too. Easy to talk to, funny. Would I have been interested in him if I was still hung up on the mm of a couple of years ago? I doubt it.
              These feelings you have for this man may be understandable. I get it. They may not even be that threatening to his marriage given you halted it. But they are definitely holding you back. Hasn’t it been nearly a year, or more?
              It’s not a case of hurry up and get over it but the longer you tell yourself it was special and rare and honest etc, the longer it’s going to take for you to put it behind you and notice other opportunities.
              And it’s very easy to believe that someone has all these marvellous qualities when you barely spend any time with them and can excuse every shoddy thing they do because they are married to the anti Christ. You don’t actually know what he would be like in real life. Mind you, his wife has him in real life and I wouldn’t want what she has.

              • Heartache Amy says:

                Funnily enough, he kept saying to me, “You have all the power, you know”, believing that I could easily stop by his house and tell his wife everything. But in the next breath, he told me he didn’t regret one thing that he did. You’re right — once I stop the fantasizing, I can see him, at least in part, for what he’s really like. And no doubt, if he did this to his wife, he’d do this to me. I can’t help liking him, though, and I wish I could just put him out of my mind. It’s crazy. But I just can’t turn my feelings off for him. I wish I was stronger.

    • cc says:

      heartache amy-
      this is what i would call “convenient honesty”, as in, he’s as honest as he can be while still not jeopardizing his chances of you sleeping with him.

      kind of like the mealy mouthed crap a a guy says who doesn’t want to be in a relationship but still wants to sleep with the girl when she tries to have “the talk” with him. he says enough to sound like honesty but not enough to make her go away. because if he ever told the 100% truth – “i don’t ever see our having / i am not capable of a relationship but i still want to sleep with you, ok?” – she’d tell him to go jump in the lake.

      bottom line: is he making you a good offer? an offer you consider real and respectful that leads to your objectives? if not – what does it matter if he’s “honest” or not. flush.

  12. Tanzanite says:

    I really like this post.

    If there is one thing I can’t stand it’s people who vent their own frustrations at someone else and finish off by saying-” I’m just being honest.”If you are being honest with someone and you are doing it with a good heart and to help them, it’s all well and good but if you are doing it with spite in your heart and you say- “I’m just being honest” it is just your licence to be nasty.

    You are right though,you are more likely to have harmony with people of similar values and who accept you for who you are.Criticism from these people rarely feels like an insult.A good friendship will withstand honesty and clear the air talks.I find taking someone to one side to say something is better than in front of an audience.

    Do you ever hear people saying- “Iv’e dropped enough hints ?” I always say- “stop dropping hints and say what you mean.”

    I do find it easier to be honest with male friends than I do with female friends( possibly something to do with my mother)

    My friend gave me a lift home one night and she was telling me how a man had conned her out of £ 3,000. The conversation changed to my mistakes with the AC and she said to me-

    ” Tanzanite ( Not my real name obviously ) You’re a bit naive. It’s as if you can’t believe a man can look you in the face and tell you a lie.”

    I didn’t go straight on the defensive and say-

    ” It’s you that’s been conned out of £ 3,000 ” which I might have done in the past.

    It took me a second to think, she is absolutely right.

    Good honest feed back from a friend who didn’t want me to suffer anymore.

    • cc says:

      tanzanite-
      agreed. people dress up ruthless criticism and passing of judgment as “honesty”. as if what they’re doing is virtuous instead of asshat, selfish behavior.

      watching others do this and feeling the sting of it has made me be very aware of this in my own behavior, and i have really tried to be much more respectful and compassionate – this also helps in being respectful and compassionate with myself.

      and…as natalie says, it helps me force myself to really SEE the other person for who they are, not for who i want them to be. because they’re clearly telling me that i’m not as they would like me to be.

      • cc says:

        and, yes, honest feedback intended to be helpful is entirely different from “[insert criticism here], i’m just being honest.”

      • Tanzanite says:

        @cc

        I have been too soft with other people in the past,not wanting to hurt their feelings even when they were hurting mine.In regard to the AC,I knew he was treating me without respect but how could I dump him when he kept saying he loved me ?

        That would be mean wouldn’t it ?

        I chose to be mean to myself and tolerated the BS for far too long.

        I read somewhere that real loss occurs when you have loved someone more than you love yourself and for me that is probably true.

        The only way I could describe the pain I felt was comparing it to dieing only to discover there is no such thing as God and heaven.

        He just wasn’t that special.

        I have learned many things but these three things have helped a great deal.

        1) stop being naive.

        2) Toughen up.

        3) Be authentic.

        If you are not sure who you are, other people will decide for you.

  13. Magnolia says:

    I grew up with tons of criticism presented as ‘honesty’ in my house and grew up to practice the same kind of honesty.

    My attitude of “tough honesty” has gotten me far as an art critic but has, perhaps, cost me in the long run as the artists who’ve been at the receiving end of my criticism aren’t exactly lining up to collaborate / help me with other aspects of my career. I’m told I’m fair; I hope so.

    You’d be surprised how long it took me to realize that my “art criticism” of my relationships hasn’t been particularly well received. I sought out men who gave me the “tough love” I thought was honesty, dished it back to them, and then wondered why all this honesty didn’t make for feeling loved and supported.

    I then went into a period of listening to guys’ bullshit, desperately wanting to hear that they were amazed by me, intrigued by me, I was beautiful whatever, and believing them when they said they were being honest, even if their actions said otherwise.

    I am currently sitting on my hands not calling my mother back. She has been leaving messages, wondering where I am, but since her last change-the-subject move (that I described a couple posts back), I don’t want to talk to her. I let her know via FB that I’m ok and will talk to her later.

    There’s little precedent in our family for honesty to be tempered with love and respect, and I don’t think I can say anything to her in a way that she’ll hear it. If I get angry, and accuse her of avoidance, my upsetness will just cause her to dismiss me as overemotional; if I come from a place of being hurt, I’ll get the same – she may sigh and apologize, but she won’t hear it.

    If I could manage to stay strong and keep myself even, and actually say what her behaviour does to hurt me … she’ll just get hurt. Or maybe she won’t, but I kind of feel like I don’t want to try talking with her about this … again.

    She’s shown me she wants to avoid discussing certain things. For example, the 12-step group that has sustained me for a couple years – she changed the subject the two times I even ventured to mention I was going to one.

    So now, I don’t want to speak to her if I can’t be honest, and I don’t feel like being honest will do any good.

    Maybe I’m too old to still be feeling emotionally abandoned, or let down, by my mother.

    Maybe honesty isn’t the issue here. In any case, I don’t quite know how to start speaking to her again unless it’s to do the usual and press the reset button and go back to talking about the pretty pictures I’m making and the pretty flowers she’s gardening.

    • sushi says:

      Magnolia, I told my mum about my grandfather abusing me as a child ( not her father).her reaction was basically that she did not believe me. I have children and for the life of me I cannot fathom not believing and supporting my child. it`s a form of complete abandonment. I understand how painful it is for you and I am sorry.I processed that hurt somehow when I started taking over being my own parent, I kind of faced my pain over it seeing myself as a small child, cried buckets and imagined myself as a child I love, like my children. The result is I don`t really feel resentful towards my mum, just sad when I think about it but I have different expectations of her now and boundaries. I do talk about flowers with her and things don`t seem different on the outside. I am engaged with her differently though like she doesn`t have the power over me like she used to. I hope you can make sense out of what I wrote, it`s all about how I feel about it rather than how I worked it out, just don`t feel the need to dissect it to death to understand like I used to with everything. Hope this helps you.

      • dancingqueen says:

        @sushi,

        I hear you.I think that it is great that you are so forgiving or not angry. I can’t be like that with my dad. I still have resentments.

        I don’t know if it is the same for everyone. I think, for me, that sometimes wounds are too deep to get over, to still want the person in your life. I am kind of dealing with that with my dad right now. I don’t know if I want to see him ever again. I searched my heart, I don’t love him, he makes no effort and what effort I make he just disrespects. I am probably going to just hand off his financial papers off to my brother who he does not treat badly, and tell him that he can deal with them if he wants but I am not able to help anymore. I am I guess getting a bit cynical that there are different rules for family than for friends or lovers; sometimes even family can be too destructive and you have to let them go. That is just for me of course. Others have their own needs.

        • sushi says:

          dancingqueen, just wrote a reply and it disappeared, hope both won`t show up, cos i`ll be repeating myself.
          I am not sure if what I feel towards my mum is forgivness, its more like disappointment mixed with acceptance. I never had an honest conversation with her to tell her how disappointed and hurt I was by her not believing me about the abuse. I tried to make enough men change and it`s futile so not going to go there with her and try to make her more supportive. I put boundaries in place, much like yourself, because I can`t carry the responsibility I felt for her like I used to, but I would have done it regardless while growing into my BR reclaimed self.It is a form of distancing myself for my benefit.Staying angry would hurt me in the long run and she showed me that she does care the best she knows how. I`m sorry that you are not getting that from your dad, it would probably make a big difference.My mum was very supportive when my husband died when my children were young and she is a good grandmother, I won`t forget that. i can absolutely see how you might feel like you don`t want to throw more of yourself into the empty well. For me getting the hang of accepting people as they are makes the disapointment in them easier to handle.I think.Those feelings towards family are not as straightforward as towards men.

          • dancingqueen says:

            @sushi,

            Thanks that makes sense. I guess you pointing out the “empty well” thing clarified it.

            I tried really hard for a while when he seemed to be giving a little back but now it is the same dry well as my childhood. I had not made that connection. Now I understand why it feels so hard.

  14. Lilly says:

    This post has touched a sore spot and has set me off in a flood of tears! I’m sorry to rehash old stuff, but the deepest wound I have was inflicted in the name of honesty. It started when I lost my baby and he asked me not to mention his name at the service. I complied, but was deeply hurt and that’s when my journey to seek validation for my son began. With Natalie’s help I now realise that this is what I’ve been chasing all these months. My campaign started when I gently reminded him that my baby was a little human being and that his request not to be mentioned had hurt. I then asked him if he liked the name I had chosen and would he like to see his tiny hand and foot prints. His response began with the words “Here is some candor”. Then with “complete honesty” he proceeded to tell me that he didn’t like the name as he believed a bad character in a children’s book had that name. He also did not “have strong feelings about the prints – to see them or not”. That was it, brutal honesty, no empathy and no compassion. He did, however, sign of as “your man in Australia”! I was crushed by his ‘honest’ response and confused about the sign off. Conventional wisdom seems to favor honesty, but to me this was also cruelty disguised as honesty. I think that honesty is sometimes less important than kindness or at least try to be kind when you’re being honest. It wasn’t as if I was harassing him and he couldn’t shake me off. At any rate the campaign is now over. He knows what I want, refuses to give it to me and I am slowly accepting that he feels nothing for my child. I do and that’s enough. As Natalie says it hurts, but it does show me who he is and what he’s about. To say he doesn’t appreciate me is an understatement, but I’ve stopped crying now. My turn to be honest – he can p-ss off!

    • Lilly says:

      ‘P-ss off’ is not a very good example of kindness is it! Therefore, he can go away, depart or leave, oh bugger it, he can p-ss off!

      • dancingqueen says:

        “His response began with the words “Here is some candor”. Then with “complete honesty” he proceeded to tell me that he didn’t like the name as he believed a bad character in a children’s book had that name. He also did not “have strong feelings about the prints – to see them or not”.

        He is an asshole, just a worthless asshole, don’t feel bad about feeling unkind but-in the spirit of honesty-Lilly you must know that someone who says this, is so awful, that their validation is worthless, right? He is a tool, Don’t talk to him please because he is not worth the breath that comes with your needs being expressed. Hugs and don’t worry about talking your baby; it was your child, who gets over that easily or quickly?

    • Grizelda says:

      Oh Lilly your story is always so painful to read about.

      But I do think you already have all the answers you need. You’ve got it right about his cruelty disguised as honesty. You’ve got it right about his backpedaling and covering his own arse. He took advantage of you in the worst way. We have very, very bad names for people who do those sorts of things.

      If you don’t mind my saying so, that man deserves nothing of a good life, ever again. Karma will come back at him, rest assured. And you mustn’t be in any way connected to him when it happens.

      • Lilly says:

        DQ & Grizelda, thank you for replying. I was devastated when I received that response and literally sobbed. Sadly, it still makes me cry, I just don’t understand it. I was also angry, but just as Sunshine and Lilia discuss here I couldn’t keep the anger for long enough. If I had I would probably never have spoken to him again which would have been much better for my health. It’s clear I have issues with my self-worth and self-esteem because what self-respecting woman would put up with such nastiness. I will need to talk to him about our research, but I’m going to follow Natalie’s advice for NC when you work with someone. He returns to Aus early next month and I’m bracing myself. I’ll be strong because I’ll think about my baby who deserves love and care and I’ve just realised so do I! DQ, you’re right his validation is worthless and we don’t need it and Grizelda, I’ve sometimes daydreamed that he will someday be in as much pain as I am and that he might then realise the impact of his cruelty and hopefully, won’t behave that way with someone else. By then I will be long gone and will have a healthier level of self-esteem!

      • Lilia says:

        Lilly, I can imagine how that must hurt. It´s like he´s attacking your baby in the worst possible way. Only, he can´t. He doesn´t have the power to do that, so don´t give it to him. You are the mother, and far, far more important than his contribution in this manner – a tiny sperm cell. Your baby is a part of you and will always be, don´t feel threatened by this idiot. Hope that makes sense.

        • Lilly says:

          Lilia, that makes perfect sense “it’s like he’s attacking your baby in the worst possible way”. That is the perfect description! That is exactly what it feels like and by seeking validation from him I’ve allowed him to attack my baby again and again! I will ‘never’ allow it again. I feel disgust even thinking about him. This is a new feeling! It’s all becoming clearer and clearer.

          • Elle says:

            People are not being honest when they are not honest and compassionate or respectful as Nat says, they’re being honest and fearful or honest and emotionally stunted. It’s tainted.

            I was completely written off as a person (via email, text and phone) by the AC as part of his a surprise dumping. It took me a year to get over his cruel words and disgusted summation of me, and longer to get over the shocking delivery (i.e. let’s get married, no, actually, a few days letter, read this email!). Now I can see that he just did not like how we worked together, certain qualities of mine and how he felt around me, but I also know there’s a whole lot of stuff that has bugger all to do with me.

            I also can see that someone who has something valuable and workable to say about me and my life in a connecting, beautiful way rather than me having to learn as a movement away from a sh*t sling – there’s a difference! – is the only person worth listening to. The people who offer objectively crap forms of feedback (mean, said under pressure/on way out door, tormenting, extreme) are more for general, broad lessons about things like where you’re headed in life and what your values are and how to live by them, not specific and personal lessons, like how you could adjust parts of your personality or behaviour to get better outcomes in a situation.

            Lilly – I am coming in late to your story, but that man sounds completely disconnected to himself/his feelings and therefore anything real or worthwhile for you. He couldn’t offer anyone anything. I don’t say this to pity him – that is not my place, I just say that it seems like he’s very far from anything beautiful or truthful or safe. As others say, he doesn’t change the connection and story of you and your son.

            • Lilly says:

              Elle, I’m sorry that you had to go through that.I don’t think there is ever an excuse to be deliberately cruel to someone. There are ways to let someone down rather than brutal ‘honesty’. You’ve described it perfectly when you say you felt completely written off as a person. I felt that way too, for me and my son. I also agree that there’s a whole lot of stuff going on that has bugger all to do with me and I have to let it go. I am letting it go it’s just the ‘honesty’ post set me off. One step forward two steps back. You are right he can’t change the connection I have with my baby. He just can’t. A year is a long time, but I’m happy to hear you are over it. It gives me hope that I will too.

              • Elle says:

                Thanks for your sweet reply. It took me a year partly/mostly (?) because of the circumstances I was in – my living situation was not good, I was tired and stressed at work, I was away from family (living overseas). Looking back, a lot of it was about me feeling like a fish in a bucket (having been shot). I wasn’t able to change the water, let alone get out of the damned bucket! This prolonged my pain. You can definitely get through this. One of the main things that helped me, besides my own reserves and self-confidence (still there!), was this site and the contributors. I believed in what they were saying, rather than fighting it. Sure, everyone’s experiences are different, but the solutions (at least the immediate ones) are not: look after the crap out of yourself, be as nice to yourself as you would be to a friend in the situation, make small changes (or big if necessary) to your lifestyle or living arrangement or friendship group, use this as a reason to start a new hobby or more. I can’t even tell you how my life is soaring now, not just a little bit better, but much, much better. I still have my anxieties and flashbacks from time to time (unfortunately the AC was not even the main trauma of my life), but I have such a wonderful and creative life now and have so many positive people around me. This takes time, and it is a loop-process (not linear!) so be patient too. This experience with this miserable man isn’t going to mean the same thing to you forever.

                • selkie says:

                  Elle,

                  “I can’t even tell you how my life is soaring now, not just a little bit better, but much, much better.”

                  Wow, that is so encouraging to me, even though your comment was aimed at Lilly. I’ve been reading BR for two years now, and remember some of your older posts. You’ve done well, Elle! Thanks for sharing with us.

    • sushi says:

      Lilly, I`m so sorry. This man is devoid of any human feelings. Hugs xxx

      • Lilly says:

        Sushi, I have the opposite too many feelings. One of these days I won’t cry at the drop of a hat. Thank you for the hug. Hugs to you too xxx

    • dancingqueen says:

      Hey Lilly I just had a thought: do you think that his odd sign off and horrible response was also because he was afraid that some of those emails would surface someday and he did not want to have anything linking him to the crime scene? I am sure that you would not deliberately out him, but these married men are so manipulative. It might be fuel for thought…

      • Lilly says:

        DQ, yes, he was worried about the emails. Last April (3 months after I lost the baby) he was concerned that a colleague knew that we had both been at a conference together in Canada the previous year. He went cold of course, but I was sort of used to this behaviour, hot one minute, cold the next (typical EUM behaviour, but I didn’t have a clue at the time it just hurt). He arranged to speak with me on Skype and I was so excited I thought he was missing me! I could not have been more wrong. He just asked me to delete all of our personal correspondence. I was really upset as I still felt emotionally attached to him and of course was still trying to get him to value the baby. He also asked me to deny our ‘relationship’ if need be because he was worried about his job (he was my thesis supervisor). It was this that actually started to wake me up. The bubble didn’t exactly burst, but it started to leak! I don’t think he trusts anyone as he’s very secretive but I don’t think he’s worried about me outing him, although he’s certainly pushed me to the extreme many times. My sister thinks he’s got a destructive streak and he was lucky I’m such a calm person. I’m still confused about the sign off, but I think he used it as a hook. He was playing with my emotions and I let him even after those cruel, cruel words. I really could slap myself.

        • dancingqueen says:

          omg I am finishing my thesis and I am shocked at how unprofessional it was of him to sleep with you; so so unacceptable! He is lucky that you are who you are; he legally can get away with it, but ethically I think that it is a major flaw that he is overseeing your thesis…what a super tool! Augh! I hope he loses his tenure….hugs for your and keep your head up sweetie

    • cc says:

      lilly, honey-
      at some point, if it helps, you will process this deep well of pain that was inflicted on you and posts and new information won’t create floods of tears.

      yes, like DQ said, he was “honest”. but, he is also a “douchebag”. who is not even ashamed to be so heartless about his own son.

      and you’re correct: piss off, douchebag.

      *massive hug*

      • Lilly says:

        cc, sometimes I just can’t bear it. I’m off again, tears and more tears. I received an email from him this morning simply letting me know that one of our manuscripts has just been accepted for publication. I am happy, but the predominant feeling is overwhelming sadness. What is wrong with me!?

        • sushi says:

          Lilly, there is nothing wrong with you. You are grieving for your child and the person that should be grieving with you is going about his life as if nothing happened, he won`t even acknowledge your pain, and there are no consequences for his actions. There is so much pain and injustice in this. You are in my thoughts.

          • Fearless says:

            Lilly
            I know it’s easy said but I’ll say it anyway – your baby’s worth and value is independent of this man. It would be nice if all fathers acknowledged their children, cared for them, loved them and were able to grieve for them (in the event of passing) and showed support and respect for the feelings and needs of the mother. But they don’t. That they don’t doesn’t alter or diminish the value of the child. I feel for you that you have had no support from this man – that is very hurtful. He should be ashamed of himself.

            I have a daughter whose father took/takes almost nothing to do with her – ever – has shown almost no regard for her in 23 years, no care, occasional lip-service interest, no support of ay kind – emotional, spiritual or financial. She is precious, regardless. She is precious to me, regardless. Her worth is not tied up with his attitude and behaviour, and neither is your baby’s worth tied up with it’s father. It’s just not. These are separate things.

            I watched a friend of mine try to get her child’s father to behave like a man who gave a crap about their young son for years and it only caused her (and her son) more and more grief and perpetual disappointment. I understand that you have lost a child, and are grieving (((hugs))), and that is different, but I suspect the principle is the same, so I can’t help thinking, reading your posts, that what you need is to begin to see your baby as *your* baby, try to let this man own his own conscience and try to move away from the want or need for validation from this man for you or for your baby or for your loss. Your baby is. Your grief is. Your baby doesn’t actually need this man’s validation and, actually, neither do you. I hope I’m making sense here – I am trying to help. I think that you could use a mental and emotional ‘disconnect’ from the wanting, (even pining?) for this man to acknowledge the value of the child. Your child was precious. Your child will always be precious. Full stop. With or without this man’s acknowledgement. Take comfort in that, Lilly. This man’s appalling attitude doesn’t change that. Wishing you well.

            • Lilly says:

              Fearless, that all makes perfect sense and thank you for sharing this with me.I agree that I need to ‘disconnect’ from wanting him to value my son. Some days I really do get it and I feel strong and can see ahead. Other days, usually when I’m in contact with him, I fall to pieces, it all comes flooding back and I start wanting (yes, ‘pining for’ is a good description) him to value the baby. I can’t completely cut contact yet because we have some outstanding work together. It’s so hard because he obviously values this research. To him the research is very important, it’s worthwhile, but not my poor child. He’s also helping me with references and contacts to “further my career”, when all I really want is for him to have some empathy for my child. I will keep going. ‘My’ child was precious and he cannot take that away. Thank you Fearless.

              • Fearless says:

                Lilly
                Be careful that you are not using the research work etc. as a means of maintaining/seeking contact to alleviate your grief over the baby and over his disinterest. Try to be brutally honest with yourself about the contact you do have and the actual necessity for it (I get this is hard – I used all kinds of “essential” excuses to keep in touch with my ex EUM). The best thing for you really is to get as much distance from him as you can (perhaps you also see him as the only living connection you have with the baby, which is understandable, so you are perhaps reluctant to let it go, but that connection is not supportive, it’s destructive and prolongs your pain).

                He may “think” the research is important – but do you think it is important enough that it requires you to keep going back to the source of your pain? Is it worth it? It’s causing you great distress. I also distrust these kind of men and their motives – is the research really that important to him or is he also just having his ego stroked/maintaining you as optional/still likes to think that regardless of his neglect of you that you are still giving him the time of day? Is he really that “innocent” – does he really not get it? I doubt it very much.

                Also, perhaps you should make it more than plain to this man exactly what you have said here – that all you really want from him is acknowledgement/to value your son and how much pain his neglect of that has brought down on you. Have you really been honest with this man about what you think and feel? And if not, why not? These are questions perhaps for you to think about (I’m not asking for the answers). You need to get to a place where you are putting this man (not your baby) behind you. Letting this man jog on asap and deal with his own conscience (if he even has one) is the road you need to be on. There’s no comfort to be found from him, only more re-affirmations of his neglect and abandonment, which is not helping you at all. Prioritise what is actually good for you and your well-being. Good luck and all the best.

  15. books says:

    Khandis- I agree that “I don’t deserve you” is just a cowardly way to let someone down “easy”. When my ex-AC/supposed love of my life ended things with me, he told me I would find the person I deserve (just another variation on it). When I recounted this to friends, I have literally see their faces cringe. It is very cowardly and while it may certainly be true that he didn’t deserve me, if he was really truly being honest it might’ve sounded more like “I really don’t want a commitment after all, I met someone I like better, I’m not ready or willing to invest anything into this relationship, I got bored”…whatever the case may be- I’m still trying to figure it out as I got no explanation.

    • Mymble says:

      Books
      When they say “you deserve better”, they are not being honest, in fact they are lying because they don’t believe it themselves.
      Nevertheless, it is the truth.

      • Grizelda says:

        Books and Mymble,

        I so agree. These are lines they read somewhere on askmen.com, probably under the title ‘How to make a clean escape from the old pair of comfy slippers and come out smelling like a rose’ or somesuch breathtaking misogynistic crap.

        It’s pop-reverse-psych baloney which is intended to hurt, not help. ‘Get her to agree that your breakup is a good idea by telling her that you’re not good enough. That’s right! YOU’RE not good enough. This momentary swallowing of masculine pride will pay dividends when she recognises your expressions of both humbleness and sensitivity! Her tears will dry and she will be smiling in no time, and with luck, feeling so touched by your new-found humbleness she offers you a pity shag and becomes just another one of your fallback options! Win-win, bro!”

        • Victorious says:

          Thanks for this Grizelda it really made me laugh and I am in danger I think. Ex EUm told me all this crap about how he doesn’t know what he wants and he knows that isn’t good enough. Started with future faking and blowing boiling hot and then cold and when I tried to dump him slid into flipflapping. I finally dumped him about a month ago but fell out of NC when he repeatedly called after me asking him very nicely not to. Have met up once since as “friends” and there was no physical contact and we had the same fabby time we usually do, but he followed up with texts at the weekend and said he would call this week for us to arrange to meet up and hasn’t and I feel EXACTLY THE SAME AS I DID TOWARDS THE END OF THE RELATIONSHIT!!! I can’t even say I was unprepared as I have read all that Natalie had to write about how ex eums make rubbish friends and how it will still burn but I couldn’t stop myself. I have so little self control when it comes to him. I really wish I hadn’t agreed to be his friend. It was just he sounded so crushed when I refused to meet him, I took pity and backtracked, just like I did the other times I tried to finish the relationshit and he talked me round. Now if he doesn’t call I will feel rejected ALL OVER AGAIN. What is wrong with me? Why did I do this to myself? Just fobbing myself off with “because I love him” is pathetic. He is never going to feel about me the way he did at the beginning, will never love me like I love him. I just cannot seem to accept it. I think maybe I am at the depression stage of grief and am hoping acceptance will come riding in soon.

          • Grizelda says:

            Victorious, I was squirming on your behalf while reading your comment — GOD NO. NOT FRIENDS.

            I know that you know… that I know that you know… that he’s playing right out of the same assclown manual that all the others do. NC is heartbreakingly counter-intuitive. Our human brains were hardwired in neolithic times to switch automatically into search, search, search mode when our loved one went missing. Our ancestors automatically searched in caves, in rivers, under rocks, across plains, to find the missing one. That instinct is incredibly strong in us still, and it physically hurts us to resist it. But you know intellectually NC is the only thing that makes sense.

            On Sunday I detected — after six perfect weeks of NC — that my exMM/psych had a peek at my LinkedIn profile on Friday or Saturday. He now knows the big news — that since he dumped me I’ve accepted a fabulous new job with a major global corporation. But more to the point, he now knows that I didn’t go to him to tell him the big news. At any other time in the last five years, he would have been first to know and the champagne would have flowed. He will now have realised for the first time that I’ve actually cut him out of my life for real. At first I felt strong and happy for myself. “Hah. Now you know I’ve moved on!” But then yesterday and today I’ve been in sudden floods of tears, just anticipating when and how the other shoe is going to drop. I can almost feel him hovering. If and when the other shoe does drop, I will remember what happened to you and think of it as a warning to myself not to be diverted from my recovery.

            • Victorious says:

              Thanks so much for this Grizelda. It really helped. What didn’t help was me peeking at his facebook last night and seeing he has been flirting with a stunning girl I know vaguely. I was nearly physically sick and still feel nauseous now. He has told me repeatedly he isn’t seeinganyone else/has no desire to embark on another relationship which i s the reason I agreed to accept the friendship. Now I can see what has really been going on (not much probably, but enough to give me a knife through the stomach feeling)I guess I can see why he hasn’t called me this week as promised. I couldn’t understand why I had looked but your neolithic explanation puts it in perspective. Please stay strong and do not do what I did. YOu have come so far. I am in physical/mental/emotional agony and I cannot blame him. I have brought this all on myself by falling off the NC wagon when he contacted me and accepting his offer of/demand for friendship. I really thought I could handle it but clearly I can’t.

              • A says:

                Victorious,

                You need to put yourself first. You’re human, you felt for him when he kept trying to contact you and seemed upset–but you need to have your own back first. It does not matter if he does not like it that you’re not talking to him, or that you told him you would be his friend. You’re allowed to change your mind, particularly when he has gone back to his standard MO of blowing you off, and you’ve realized that this is not going to work for you. You just can’t be friends with someone who you’re broken hearted over.

                • Victorious says:

                  Thanks A for your kind words. I don’t know what to do now. I guess I could just leave it and ignore future calls from him, or answer and tell him (again) that he has to leave me alone. I just wish I hadn’t put my hand back in the fire.

                  • Allison says:

                    Victorious,

                    If you have to tell him “again,” then he is/was not listening and respecting. He will hear you loud and clear, when you do not respond. At all!

  16. oc says:

    You have to be very careful how you approach criticism in a relationship if you don’t want to watch your partner shut down and disappear. Fights and loveless criticism lead to singledom with anyone that has self-respect. Its one thing to be honest, its another to be cruel or blunt.

  17. Darlene says:

    Oh Khandis, you make a great point, and I look forward to the input on that one! I was in the I don’t deserve you/can’t give you what you want relationship and, while I don’t profess to be the most secure person in the world, he was quite cowardly in the end. So, I think that while it was a true statement – it wasn’t honest, if that makes any sense?? To me, it is a cop out reason to get out of a relationship where they don’t have the guts to say “I don’t have the right feelings for you” and I’m sorry. I say that because it came from someone I had known as a friend for almost 10 years, who pursued me hard after his break-up and who, after a few short months, turned out not to even be close to the person I thought he was. So now, all that “honestly” we had in our friendship, was really “bull#E$@%” – The “you are too good for me line” is definitely tough to take when you feel like it’s just hiding the real truth, which was his ex managed to lure him back and he liked sleeping with her more than me. :(
    Sad thing for me is that it happened over a year ago and I find it so hard to get my confidence and trust back….it’s taking me way too long to bounce back from this one :(

  18. Kristen says:

    Going on a bit of a tangent in the spirit of being on a Bullshit Diet … when a guy’s late for a first date, how long do you wait? If the guy and I live in close proximity, I wait 15 minutes, then leave. If the guy is coming from a bit farther away, I wait 20-25 minutes (I live in Los Angeles and traffic can be insane).

    I got stood up tonight by a guy who was supposed to meet me at 8pm in the bar area of a restaurant that’s a five to eight minute drive for each of us. I waited, then left at 8:15. I came home to a bullshit “what happened to you?” message. The guy claims he got there at 8:12 (not) and was bent out shape because I didn’t contact him to inform him that I was leaving because he was late. Though I didn’t give him my personal contact information because we met online, his position was that he couldn’t contact me about being late. I countered by pointing out that, like everyone, I have a smart phone and my emails from all sources are delivered immediately to my phone, so he could have emailed me through the dating site to inform me he would be late but chose not to. In my experience, it’s common knowledge that everybody’s emails are funneled to their smart phones. Plus, it can be a really, really bad idea to take communication off a dating site until you’ve met the guy.

    Anyway, though I left the bar at 8:15, I did so slowly and took my time strolling down the street toward my car so I could see if he arrived as I was leaving. So, I know that as of 8:20, the guy wasn’t there. 8:12, my ass.

    • Freya says:

      Good for you for sticking to your guns on something important to you. And just an FYI: I don’t even own a smart phone. I once waited half hour for someone who lived 10 minutes away because I knew he couldn’t call me to tell me if something happened. He turned out to be an awesome guy and we were together for 3 years. I am really glad I cut him a little slack.

    • Magnolia says:

      I’d likely also be gone by 8:20.

      However I don’t have my emails funneled to my smartphone and don’t assume that everyone does. If I were running late, I can think of lots of situations where I wouldn’t be able to get to a computer or area with wifi to be able to send an email message. Even if I’m in my car and stuck, I would have to pull over in order to text, and sometimes you just can’t do that.

      Mind you, even on a first date I generally exchange phone numbers for exactly that purpose – i.e. if something comes up and you need to be in touch, here’s my # – and so that I would know for sure whether someone tried to get in touch.

    • Grizelda says:

      I would have done the same as you Kristen. If you don’t really like him, you can probably in all fairness not see him again on that basis. But if you do really like him, perhaps this creates an opportunity for him to treat you better going forward. You have refused to reward his bad behaviour.

      There’s a fine line between being reasonable and being a doormat.

    • runnergirl says:

      Kristen, I don’t have my online dating account messages delivered to my cell phone. I don’t want to be that connected to my online account. I exchange cell phone numbers if I agree to meet somebody for just the situation you encountered. I agree that exchanging cell numbers could turn out to be a problem. So far, I’ve only had to block one guy. I’m with you totally on the 15 min wait. Only one guy has been late and I called him, no pick up, texted, no response. After 20 minutes, I was in my car and leaving when he called to say he lost track of time (he was golfing) and I agreed to wait 10 more minutes for a total of 30. He ended up being so ill mannered (taking fries off the plate from the former patrons as it was being cleared, banging on the table to get the waitresses attention etc) that the 30 min wait paled in comparison to his supremely bad manners.
      However, then there is Natalie’s situation when she was dating her now hubby and he really did fall asleep. And then there is Freya’s situation. Then there’s my former situation with the exMM who always ran 15 minutes late, which turned into 30 and into 50 and into 90…that may not count cos he was married but I probably waited for him longer than I actually saw him. Go with you gut girl.
      Being on a low BS diet can result in a crap shoot sometimes. If his being late and claiming he was there busts your boundary, it does. That’s your boundary, you get to set it and say it.

  19. Sunshine says:

    Perhaps this isn’t really the topic discussed here, but I’ve wanted to share this with you for a while … It’s about being angry in a “healthy” way … Namely, the problem with me is that I just can’t get angry about the things that are obviously not right or damaging to me. Like with my ex: he did really nasty things to me, and I got angry at him like for a couple of hours, but then I just cooled down! And what I mostly felt in these cases was primarily “sadness”, not anger! Now isn’t that weird or what? And of course this is then also connected with asserting my boundaries — which I really had none in this relationship. But it’s not just my relationship with men, but also just everyday relationships with my family and friends. Why can’t I get angry if my boundaries are overstepped? Has any of you ever had the same problem?

    • Lilia says:

      Yes that is exactly my problem!

      I´ve always had trouble remaining angry when someone lets me down, if I feel anger at all it is only very briefly. It´s like anger is very unpleasant because it shows me that people aren´t as nice and good as I want to think they are. So I guess this reactions has a lot to do with living in lalaland.

      A while ago I had a dream about his really sweet kitty that I had to handle carefully because if it got upset it´s head would turn into a bulldog´s and bite me. Apparently this shows my fear of anger. At the same time, I was feeling so angry at my ex EUM that I imagined killing him. When I mentioned this to my mother she said not to worry about it, that those are just feelings and that they don´t matter because I´m not going to act on them. This was quite a revelation.

      I think it may have something to do with the fact that I am an only child so I didn´t have conflicts with siblings. I grew up in a very peaceful home.

      Now I´m trying to learn to take my anger seriously because it´s an indication that someone is just not good for me, or busting my boundaries. I find it very hard, but I like to think that it helps me build my self-esteem.

    • Grizelda says:

      Sunshine, yes!

      I was the same until I decided to do some research into boundaries, and how to react when someone offends me. I learned that it’s okay to react calmly, quickly and rationally to being offended. This has helped me enormously in real situations.

      When someone offends you (particularly under the guise of ‘sharing’, ‘being honest’ or ‘just telling you the truth’ which gives them license to stamp all over your feelings), you should a) stop the behaviour, b) challenge the behaviour, c) spell out the absurdity, and d) underline your boundaries. Then watch him flounder and apologise. Do not go into “you do this” or “you are that” — stick to the behaviour at hand and point out how absurd/hurtful/embarrassing it is for you.

      Example, if he keeps bringing up detail about an ex that you DON’T need to know (ie a description of an intimate feature he liked, or her 365-piece lingerie collection which he ‘worked through’ every day of the year or whatever):
      “Ok stop right there. Just, can I stop you. Why are you telling me this? Have you forgotten who I am? I’m not one of the guys. I’m not one of your beer buddies and I’m not Crasher from IT Support who you said keeps his porn collection in his desk drawer. I’m not Rich from the famous stag-do you went on, and you’re not sitting in the Fox and Hounds Pub with him over a couple of pints of Old Bastard and a packet of cheese and onion crisps. I’m Grizelda, your girlfriend, and we’re sitting here in a tony Japanese restaurant in London’s chic Mayfair. This is not the place or the time, and I am not the audience, to listen to you guffaw about how you would tear into a piece of Pippa Middleton’s famous bottom and how your ex had this one bra that fastened in the front. If that’s what you wanted to talk about tonight, perhaps you should have asked Crasher to come with you for soft shell crab and a £40 bottle of wine. Do you get me? I’m not one of the guys.” Then just be silent and look at him for a response.

      The same thing works for other bad behaviour – if he brushes you off, says something uncalled-for, lies, turns up too late, whatever. a) stop the behaviour, b) challenge the behaviour, c) spell out the absurdity, and d) underline your boundaries.

      a) “Can I just stop you right there.”
      b) “You’re ___ing. Why are you ___ing?”
      c) “Do you think it’s a good idea to ___? Do you think I want to hear you ___? Why do you think I want to ___?”
      d) whichever applies: “Here’s what you’ve done wrong. ___ing hurts my feelings. ___ing embarrasses me. ___ing is inconsiderate to me and my family.” etc. Then round it up with a conclusion, ie “I’m not one of the guys.” or “You’ve hurt my feelings.”

      • Sunshine says:

        Lilia and Grizelda, thanks for your feedback:) But with me the problem is also that I just don’t seem to ‘recognize’ the situations where I should feel angry!! Instead it’s just sadness or shock (mainly referring to my ex here). I feel like some other woman would just flip out, whereas me … nothing … I’ve come to think that maybe that’s just how I am (my character). But I should really learn to react when my boundares are overstepped. Because otherwise people just walk all over you (this is literally what my ex told me himself!). I have made some progress already because I try to really listen to my feelings and act accordingly. But it’s still hard work (but I guess this is always the case when you start working on yourself, eh?). :)

        • Revolution says:

          Hi Sunshine,

          I hear what you are saying. But honestly (no pun intended), it doesn’t have to be the feeling of anger that alerts you to your boundaries being busted. You can just as easily use your feelings of sadness and shock (normal feelings, also, in these cases) as a gauge as to when your boundaries are crossed and when to opt out. Just because you’re not “angry” when you opt out doesn’t mean that you don’t have the same self-respect as any other person, angry or otherwise, who decides to opt out in these situations.

        • dancingqueen says:

          Hi Sunshine,

          This probably sounds like an odd question, but are those time when you can’t get angry, times when you have had anything to drink? I have noticed that that makes a big difference.

          • Sunshine says:

            Dancingqueen, no that’s not the case:) Alcohol doesn’t play a role here:) But thanks for asking. Revolution, I see what you mean. It doesn’t matter how I react to when my boundaries are being crossed, what’s important is that I react in the first place, let this be sadness, anger, or shock. Thanks for this insight:)

            • La Pintura Bella says:

              One thing I’ve learned is that sadness and depression are really anger turned inward onto oneself. I used to also have a hard time a) getting angry when warranted and b) staying angry. In my case, getting angry was not “allowed” when I was growing up and would be “punished.” And staying angry caused me to blame myself that I was bad…because of my anger being “punished.” It is OK for you to feel anger. Maybe trying to figure out when you first noticed why you don’t get or stay angry is a jumping off point to uncovering why you don’t feel safe expressing this particular emotion.

              That being said…you are having reactions, and that’s a good thing! :-D

  20. kendo says:

    I’m in a bit of a mess. I am so open to ‘honesty’ that I have been told in two significant relationships that their breakdown’s were all my fault. And I accept that feedback and feel desperate. My ex husband told me he stopped loving me because I was miserable. I was miserable because he was never there for me…mm as I write I ask is that just tit for tat blame>? Both of us wanting to be without blame?
    The last relationship (which has ony been my second relationship in my life) has been extremely stormy for 3 years. The latest fall out was because I wanted him to support me at a public event and he did his usual ‘I’m done in’ and wasn’t there, nor did he ask about it or tell me he wouldn’t be there – I got upset and said it had upset me and a torrent of reasons why I had a nerve saying that came at me.
    There is a pattern – he usually does something that I don’t like or find disrespectful, I tell him and ask to talk about it and he lambasts me with reasons why I am the bad guy.
    And I listen.
    This time I am the reason for the breakdown of the relationship because I didn’t tell my kids about him. This we agreed on, indeed he said he did’t wnat anything to do with my kids – I have pointed that out to him but he refuses to respond to the point – the fact is I didn’t tell my kids and I have humilated him. He called me a cold hearted bitch several times, bitch, cold bitch, that I used him, that I wanted him to look bad so the kids would love their dad. I feel none of that is true.
    I’m not sure of my point. I’m confused. He’s being honest but he’s shouting and being nasty and accusing me of things I simply haven;t done. I can’t convince him of that though.
    What I do know is that I wasn’t honest enough with him. I tried. I did tell him when he did something I didn’t like with a view to dealing with it. He would simply say ‘tough’ to me. Nothing changed and I moved my boundary to accomodate because I thought it must have been me, it must be all my fault because he is saying it is. Sometimes I went away for a few weeks to recuperate but I never stuck to my guns for fear of losing him. He saw these gaps as me off having fun without him and his insecurity increased.
    Honesty is a moot point. Without it we don’t learn and it isn’t a one way process but it can also cause much damage.

    • grace says:

      Kendo
      Talking and asking and ignoring key facts is not honesty. The honest thing to do is to assess this three years, ask yourself if you can live with it and leave if not. Telling someone how you feel only achieves something if they care how you feel. And even if they care they still may not have the wit or capacity to do anything about it.

    • That Girl says:

      Kendo-

      “He’s being honest but he’s shouting and being nasty and accusing me of things I simply haven;t done. I can’t convince him of that though.”

      That’s not honesty- that’s abuse, plain and simple. Anyone who calls you a bitch, let alone a cold-hearted one, and on more than one occasion, is, I’m sorry to say a worthless piece of…$%*& OK I’ll calm down.

      But I do think its very abusive and he has NO excuse to speak to you like that. ESPECIALLY if you have tried to communicate with him, with as you say, honesty. In my experience- which sounds, sadly, very much like yours, you will never manage to ‘convince’ him; that’s not how it goes.

      And the continuous ‘trying’ to explain things in the ‘right’ way, being honest, gentle, whatever- none of it works. It’s sad, as I’m sure there are some ‘good points’ to this guy, but he isn’t listening’ to you, or appreciating your honesty, AT ALL.

      Otherwise why would be shouting and being nasty and not just using normal language and ways of behaving to get his point across?

      Sorry if this sounds harsh but you sound like a lovely, considerate person and I truly believe you will be a billion times better far, far away from and his shouting, nastiness, ‘tough’ (you mean cruel) love.

    • sushi says:

      Kendo,
      he doesn`t accept you as you are, a woman with kids, he refuses to have a conversation (which is two people talking and trying to understand each other`s point) he is abusive and seems manipulating. moving your boundaries and accomodating him will not satisfy him. Grace is right, being honest to yourself about how this relationship makes you felel is all the honesty you need.

    • Fearless says:

      Kendo
      he’s not being honest, he’s being abusive. He’s a bully. You don’t need to convince him of anything – you are allowed to have your own opinion – you don’t need him to ratify it for you. Just cos he says stuff doesn’t make it true (is he God?). You have a mind of your own, I presume, maybe start to take more notice of it (and less notice of his bullshit).

    • kendo says:

      Thanks.
      My issue is that from him I have had some understanding and love after 15 years with someone with whom I got none. I haven’t wanted to let go of it – the few moments of joy in between the shouting. And to hear that the reason he shouts is because I wouldn’t tell my children – regardless makes it my fault and so within my capacity to change.
      Except I know nothing will change.
      Grace is right – the only person I have to be honest with is myself – why do I stay in it and what do I really want.

      • Fearless says:

        Kendo
        “why do I stay in it and what do I really want.”

        Yes, these are the hard questions, the ones we prefer to avoid dealing with. When we start to focus on those questions (the ones about ourselves rather than those we have about ‘him’ and ‘his’ behaviour), that kind of brutal honesty with ourselves, we begin to see our ourselves as the biggest part of our problem – because it is *our* problem, it’s not ‘his’ problem and the solution does not lie with ‘him’ or with figuring ‘him’ out (whoever ‘he’ happens to be). We tend to focus our energies on trying to understand ‘him’, figure ‘him’ out so that we can get the behaviour we want from him, but it is our own behaviour and mindset that is our downfall really, and until we understand this we are doomed to be searching for answers and solutions in the wrong place from the wrong source (him!). For you, it seems clear that you need to stop trying to please this man – he is un-pleasable because it’s all about him. Even your children are all about him (!) when he actually has no respect for them or what’s good for them; he wants you to neglect their needs and their rights, he wants them to undermine their own father so that he can feel better about himself and get his ego stroked (by your children! who are actually, plainly, nothing to him). selfish. selfish. selfish. Yes, why do you stay in it and what do you really want. Answer those questions with total and brutal honesty and you’re getting somewhere.

  21. Tulipa says:

    It’s the same when someone is saying that they can’t give you what you want, or that you’re not the right person for them. It hurts, but that honesty is actually showing you who they are or what they’re about but it’s also giving you some insight into the fact that for whatever reason, you’re around someone who doesn’t appreciate you. When you’ll heed the lesson, you can be honest with matching actions and words.

    It has taken a long time, but I have finally heeded the lesson, I will not be hanging around any guy who says he doesn’t see anything long term with me or I’m not what he is looking for because eventually they go away.

    If they are being that honest in the beginning though then why hang around and for ridiculous amounts of time?
    Is it really honesty or just something to fall back on when they want out?

    I have tried to be more honest with myself lately. I can see where my thoughts/words and actions don’t match. I would rant on at the ex eum about what my values etc were but I rarely matched it with action ie walking away and if I did walk away I always went back. Even he would say “why are you still here then?” and I’d shrug my shoulders and think I don’t know why the hell can’t I leave?

    • Kerry says:

      Tulipa,

      “Is it really honesty or just something to fall back on when they want out?”

      It’s both – they’re honestly telling us that they’re not going to stick around, that it’s all temporary. It’s a demeaning, horrible position to be in, and we put ourselves in it.

      I got into this cycle of thinking I was being honest, expressing my needs (complaining, really), and he’d say something incredibly indifferent like, “I don’t know what the future holds,” and then I’d get angry, threaten to leave, and ultimately go back. I couldn’t keep away, until of course, I finally forced myself to.

      Now, I’m working out why I allowed myself to be treated like a less than.

  22. SleepingBeauty says:

    I think the information in this post should be applied to relationships with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and intimate relationships that are otherwise healthy. To try to decipher whether someone who is an AC is being honest with you is pointless – most of the time, they are looking to say whatever they can to take the blame off of them. Likewise, it’s pointless to decipher whether an EUM is being honest with you – the fact that he is EUM and is likely removed from his feelings on some level makes this difficult as well.

    It’s important to take in to consideration someone else’s observations of our behavior, but sometimes, it has to just be taken as that. Maybe it is the truth, maybe it isn’t or maybe it’s just reflective of that moment in our day and/or life. When you start to hear the same things repeatedly from EVERYWHERE, then maybe it’s time to think about it. Likewise, sometimes when you hear something that you know is true, but just don’t want to hear it or aren’t ready to admit it, then you know it’s something to work on.

    I’ve only gotten a variation of “you deserve better,” AFTER a break-up. After I realized he was an EUM/AC, after I realized he had already been lying to me the whole time anyway, that’s when I got “SleepingBeauty, you deserve better, I just wish you had come along at a different time in my life,” as if he wouldn’t have been an AC or EUM had I met him 1, 2 or 5 years prior. It’s BS, but does it matter what’s underneath it? It still amounts to the same thing: HE IS NOT INTERESTED. Whether it’s because his dog died, he got a papercut, he met someone else, he’s not over his ex, he was interested to begin with, you wore 5 inch stilettos instead of 6 inch, he was working late, his car ran out of gas, it’s Tuesday.

    It finally dawned on me one day as I was racking my brain trying to figure out why the EUM/AC hadn’t just been honest with me and from the beginning and why he lied for so long: HE WAS A LIAR. Babies cry, fish swim, snakes bite and liars lie. It doesn’t matter why or what about or for how long. Once I KNOW someone has lied to be about some things, I assume they lied about others. Unfortunately, many of these people weren’t honest from the beginning, so they actually aren’t lying when they say “you deserve better, I can’t make you, happy,” etc. That was always the case. They ALWAYS knew that, it’s just that now, for whatever reason (maybe the paercut galvanised them into admission) they decided to let you know.

  23. Tinkerbell says:

    The ex-MM I had the misfortune to become involved with “didn’t say I don’t deserve you”, or “I can’t give you what you want”. He chose another way of warning me that he was an AC. And, this was fairly early on, I’ll never forget what he said and how I felt, because it was so spot on. He said, ” You don’t love yourself enough”. Inotherwords, and we BR women all know what he was inferring: That if I did, I wouldn’t be messing around with him. Incidentally, I found out by a third party his marital status after I got sucked in by all his EU charm. The devil smelled desperation and naivete. Not any more!!!

    • sm says:

      Tink to be fair, he didnt love himself either or else he wouldnt have been having an affair. He was just an opportunist (thats my new word inspired by a local politician). And you gave him an opportunity, that is all. But you love yourself now don’t ya!

  24. shattered says:

    I haven’t posted here for a while. I dumped the AC months ago and went NC. Thanks Natalie! I still get the odd ‘are you OK?’ text but ignore them. I decided to be on my own for a while, but in the last month I’ve heard from my first boyfriend (I was his first girlfriend) from 30 odd years ago. he lives on the other side of the world and got in touch through a mutual old friend. he’s sent lots of very sweet emails and wants to come to England to see me. I was widowed over 2 years ago and he’s never married. I was thrilled he’d got in touch and we’ve been reminiscing about our time together. Today I’ve had an email from him talking about us going to a friend’s wedding together and how wonderful it was. Trouble is, although I knew the couple he mentioned, I never went to their wedding! Is this a forgivable faux pas – he’s obviously mixed me up with another ex – or does he sound like a player? I could do without another of those in my life! Your thoughts would be welcome as I don’t know what to say to him.

    • grace says:

      Shattered
      I don’t know if he’s a player but you may both be dreaming and the distance is a big issue. Check out the returning childhood sweetheart post. This is more common than you think and I don’t think it usually ends well.

      • runnergirl says:

        Shattered,
        Natalie has lots of posts regarding returning childhood sweethearts. I wouldn’t focus on his lapse in memory regarding the wedding, I’d focus on the fact that 30 years has past. That would be a giant reset button. Geez, you took me back 30 years. I was exactly my daughter’s age 30 years ago, 23 years old. That is a perspective I need at the moment in dealing with my 23 yro daughter. In any event, I know it must feel nice after being widowed, so sorry, and fresh out of an AC situation. Read up on the returning childhood phenomenon and long distance situations. 23 years old? Was I ever that young?

      • shattered says:

        Thank you Grace, Runnergirl and Fifi for your advice. I did read the ‘returning childhood sweetheart’ – both parts and there’s some valuable insights there. I think my problem has always been to jump in without thinking. I guess I’m still naive and too trusting. That’s how I got entangled with a lying cheating AC. Maybe I’ve read too much into my childhood sweetheart contacting me after so long. Maybe he just wants to be friends and that’s it. I don’t feel I can ask him if he’s just broken up with someone as he might think I’m coming on a bit strong and angling for a relationship. I’ll try to stand back and see how it goes. I’ve beenn on my own for almost 3 years (I don’t count the AC as I realise now that he was just using me when it suited him) I guess I’m just an incurable romantic at heart, but of course should have grown out of that by now!

    • Fifi says:

      Shattered
      Be very careful with this – please take care to evaluate him as he is now, as if you had just met. When I got back together with first boyfriend, it turned out that the same issues were there, just buried deeper, and I hadn’t noticed a whole slew of others ones because I hadn’t noticed them then i.e. I hadn’t taken the time to completely re-evaluate him as he was right now, and what I needed, right now.
      Also check if he has recently broken up with someone, he may be feeling bad about himself and wanting someone to make him feel better.

  25. Jennifer says:

    It’s been six months of no contact with my ex. He went back to his ex gf. I knew he wasn’t over her and wanted to be with her, not me throughout our entire relationship. I knew he’d go back to her. He did. I didn’t chase him, yet I certainly don’t want to be with anyone else. Today I realized it hurts like hell that he went back to her. And it hurts like hell that we will never be a couple again. We cannont healthily be together. I’ve been in denial for six monnths. He’s not coming back and while I’m better off for it, it’s an incredibly painful realization.

    • Grizelda says:

      I’m sorry Jennifer, it sounds like a bad day. Six months on, and I’m sorry it’s so painful and raw still. Very sad.

      What can I offer you, I’m looking in my bag of tricks.

      Of course you don’t want to be with anyone else. But I think that six months on you could certainly do with the distraction of someone else. The company and conversation would be wonderful for you. God forbid he should make you laugh or have some fun you weren’t expecting — wouldn’t that be great? Keep meeting new guys. When one steps forward who is within reason, why not get to know him?

      Otherwise it’s like saying you can’t go to the movies again because the last film you saw turned out to be a bad experience — why not just try going again? Having a good experience at the movies will take away all the agony from the last horrible time.

      If you’re still hung up on your ex, meeting someone else will help you do something positive. It will either make you realise your ex was not so special (I know, sounds impossible right now), and/or it will lessen your feelings for him so that if you do encounter him in future you will have a clear head and a repaired heart. You will be able to protect yourself better.

      You never know what will happen in future, and the future is a long, long time. You’ve got to have faith in yourself. I’m a cynical old thing, as readers of BR comments can attest, but ultimately my own life experience has shown me that the guys do come back in one way or another, and things do have a way of working out.

      Eleven days ago I attended a work reunion for a firm I was with 15 years ago, and I hadn’t seen anyone from the firm in all those years. One old friend in particular made a beeline for me to reminisce and get to know each other again. We’ve been emailing and met up for coffee once already since then. He’s revealed — as a complete and utter surprise to me — how he felt about me back then, and he says there were other guys too in the office who felt the same way. Funny how time passing brings out all this stuff. When I was at that firm, I felt very unloved, unadmired and unfancied. Turns out my perception was completely wrong. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know.

      Be kind to yourself. Share your time and yourself with others. Things in the long run are never as bad as you believe they are right now.

      • grace says:

        Grizelda
        Years ago, long after I left a company I found out that my nickname there was the beautiful one. It’s what men and women there called me. At the time I was deeply depressed, chasing a man who was living with someone and who was borderline suicidal, who went on to dump me multiple times.
        I was beautiful, in my late twenties to early thirties and acting like he was the last man on earth.
        They are not that special but what’s really to be addressed is why we think they are. That takes the most gut churning honesty but it’s totally worthwhile.
        Jennifer
        In my experience things take a marked upturn after six months, and if you believe that to be true then maybe it will be.

    • Naz says:

      Jennifer, I hear and feel the same awful pain, I have had 3 weeks no contact, my AC cheated on me with one girl, has been seeing his ex again and hooked up with a gorgeous new girlfriend.
      The only one that knows there are three on the the go is me. I don’t quite know what the story is with this ex, but that is the one that hurts the most.
      Whenever she was ill or needed anything he would instantly run, he would actually call her while we were out.

      What I find hard is how easy it was after all he said to me for him to move on, just 3 weeks ago he was telling me how he knew he would never find someone like me that would care and love him as I had. Then in 3 weeks he moves onto supporting his ex and this new girlfriend who I might add is gorgeous, she looks like a model, she’s blond, blue eyed, works as a high end personal trainer, has her own successful business.
      I know I should be pulling myself up and thinking he was an ass, but today’s a tough day and I feel like the hurt is in my chest tugging, it’s a slap in the face, him laughing and having a good time…
      I was made redundant as well in the last 3 weeks, I also lost the flat I had signed for. I myself have been seperated for 4 years and finally I thought my husband would sign the divorce papers, he hasn’t. So that fight goes on.

      I have not felt at my lowest ever.

      I so wish there would be at least one thing that could go my way.

      • Victorious says:

        Naz I really feel your pain. You have an awful lot on your plate at the moment and you need to be really kind to yourself. I have similar issues, including the ex having a new g/f or certainly wannabe g/f who looks like a young Sienna Miller (vomit!) I have made myself physically ill with all of this. Can you go to counselling? I have had some and it has helped a bit, but not today. Some days are always going to be worse than others but you know as well as I do that “This too will pass.”

        • Naz says:

          Thank you Victorious, you are so kind and your words mean a lot. Just having someone there to say it will pass helps, it’s one of those days.
          It doesn’t help that I have no family I can talk to about this. I have one friend that has been there but she lives in a whole other continent.
          I am looking into counselling, my self esteem, everything has been completely shattered. He has reinforced the idea that I am unloveable, my father didn’t want me as a baby because I was a girl so gave me away to my grandparents and whoever would take care of me.
          I have had most relationships end up with a rejection.

          A lot to work through, thank you for the time to listen.

      • Revolution says:

        Naz,

        (((Hugs))) Just (((hugs))).

        Sigh. Lowest ever. Yep. I get it.

        It’s hard at those moments when you feel that the world is literally conspiring against you. It’s like “WTF? What NOW?” Those moments can make doubters out of believers. Pessimists out of optimists. For a time, anyway.

        I’ve been in that “holding pattern” in a sense in these last six months. A time where I’ve just felt like, “Okay, I’m going to get out of bed now. Okay, now I’m putting my shoes on. Okay, now I’m getting in my car to go to work.” Things got really simple for me. One foot literally in front of the other, just to keep in motion and keep the commitments I made,. Even though my heart wasn’t in any of it. I sincerely hope that you have friends that you trust and to whom you can talk openly. People who won’t judge you when you say “Eff everybody” and mean it.

        Oh, and FYI? Your ex-AC sounds like a pathetic opportunistic a-hole. Put that one in the “honesty” bank.

      • Allison says:

        Naz,

        Unfortunately, his words were not authentic.

        I went through something very similar. He was at the beckon call of his ex wife, while proclaiming his love for me- clearly he had not moved on. The signs were there, but I continued to excuse and ignore, as I thought he would change, talk about fantasyland.

        I might add, he was a serial cheater with his ex, and this should have been a HUGE red flag. She wanted to reconcile, but he declined. He kept her in his life for the ego stroke and because it would keep him safe from others, I mean who can continue to put up with that crap.

        These people do not change. Do not waste your energy on someone who treats you with so little care and respect, I know I never will put myself through this again – I am 50% responsible for involving myself with that mess!

        • Allison says:

          I would like to add: the signs were there for us both, but we choose to ignore.

          When I recognized my complicity in this drama, I was able to see it in other relationships. When you see you that you are part of the problem – choice in men – you will instill boundaries, and make choices which are healthier. I will never allow myself to get involved with this type of man again. Lesson learned.

  26. lo j says:

    The most difficult persons to be honest with is ourselves. My ex said to me after a tyrade after he felt I should be raising my son, “I’m sick of the excuses!!” It was funny, really, coming from him, as he was overweight “because of his ex-wife” … because “his daughter broke his back in ’09” (I never saw the x-rays … lol!!!) … and multiple other excuses for EVERYTHING. But he was right. I made excuses for staying with him, for my children, for my behavior. For me. I lied to myself. I saw me in him. I was stripped bare. But I remember that phrase a lot, I think, “Am I making an excuse? Am I yes … butting?!! Am I being honest with myself?” It kind of helps to keep the BS from piling up, though sometimes I’ll get a little layer.
    I listen a lot for yes buts in others as well.

  27. Gina says:

    Ladies,

    I have had many of the same experiences as you have described. It’s hurtful, and it does a number on your self-esteem. So I ask myself, ‘What can I learn from these experiences?’ First, their behavior of these men speaks to their true character. Second, their behavior has nothing to do with my worth or desirability as a woman. Third, the sooner they show me who they truly are, the faster I can opt out. Fourth, over-analyzing why they behave the way they do/did is an effort in futility. My job is too look at why I put up with it in the first place! The sooner I am able to be honest with myself, the sooner I will be to being able to make better choices when dating. Finally, I am learning to have a wait and see attitude when it comes to dating and relationships. My late mother used to say that you never ready know a person until you live with them. Until they consistently show me through their actions and words that they love, care, and respect me and want a relationship with me, I will slow my roll, sit back, observe, and enjoy the ride. Since it often takes 3-4 months before the representatives leave (sometimes longer)for my own emotional well-being, it is wise to keep my emotions in check because my heart is too tender and precious to give it away to someone who may not be special enough to deserve it.

    I have also sought out advice from women who are happily married. They told me that they knew what they were looking for (marriage) and they told the guy upfront: ‘Hey, this is what I am looking for in a relationship, if your goals don’t match up with mine, you are wasting your time and mine.” They also stated that they walked away at the FIRST sign of any b.s. behavior from a guy. Their attitude towards the men they dated was: ‘Yes, I want to be in a relationship with a man, but I am living a wonderfully interesting life on my own and can take you or leave you cause you are not the center of my world–I am.’ Their confidence and self-esteem was powerfully intact and the right kinds of men were drawn to them. Men are not stupid, they can spot a woman with low self-esteem and a self-assured woman in a heartbeat.

  28. Gina says:

    I just wantef to added to my previous post that Michele Obama seems to fit the example of the self-assured woman whom I described in my previous post. Anyone ever notice how Obama looks at her, and how proud he appears to be to have a woman like her as his wife? I truly believe that if he were foolish enough to screw up, she would kick his ass to the curb so fast, his head would spin!

    • Grizelda says:

      I look at Michele as a role model too!

      My mother (who’s American) was born and raised about a mile or so from where Michele was raised, though about 20 yrs apart. Before the last election, my mother would say “I just don’t see it. First Ladies do NOT come from my old neighbourhood.” Obviously, she was wrong and completely underestimating the value of the typical and familiar Chicago south side sensibility, no-nonsense and toughness that helped Michele become what she is.

  29. Darlene says:

    Gina – loved your post – so why did you put up with it in the first place? I am so tired of learning the lesson and my ability to trust is at an all time low.

    • Gina says:

      @Darlene: low self-esteem, getting caught up in the “hot” phase of the relationship–which after seeking counseling, I learned that I was looking to these men to give me the love, affection, and attention that I never received from my alcoholic and abusive father.

      I, too, am too trusting. That’s why I am working on taking my time and developing a wait and see type of attitude before investing myself emotionally.

  30. Tinkerbell says:

    I also credit his remark, which hurt me deeply, as being the catalyst for me beginning to look into my low self-esteem issues and try to love and care for myself in a wholesome, healthy manner. And, it was also one of the reasons I was so successful with NC. My attitude was, “Oh, is that right. Well, I’ll show you!”

    • Rosie says:

      Tinkerbell, yes. Sometimes hurtful remarks and even mean people can be catalysts to much needed positive changes. Even though it hurt that the last man I dated chose not to see me again as I did like him (what I knew of him at that point), I’m thankful that he opted out early on. Between his nonsense and my nonsense it was a huge hurt waiting to happen if it went on much longer. I’m grateful for it all, though, because I now see my own immaturity and I can work on that.

  31. Kerry says:

    I’ve learned that anyone who prides themselves on “being brutally honest” is usually just brutal.

    If criticism is given without respect and genuine concern, it’s just someone else’s crap.

  32. SleepingBeauty says:

    “Usually the runners run because they’re hideously ashamed of their own behaviour and can’t face the repercussions.”

    Totally agree Grizelda. As I stated in previous posts the AC/EUM I was involved with ALREADY engaged before we ended things. It was only after I found out and waited some weeks to question him that I got “You deserved better.” Incidentally, he also had the audacity to say that he beleived in his heart (as if he had one) that we was the right person for me, but circumstances (who knows what they were, if any)prevented that….huh?

    It’s really sad that men/women continue to use the excuse of not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings as a reason to be a coward. Any reasonable adult who has ever had any type of relationship with anyone over the age of 12 realizes that the truth hurts for a moment, but a lie hurts for a lifetime.

    Then again, these aren’t exactly emotionally mature honest people to begin with, so there you go.

  33. lawrence says:

    Some time back, a friend of mine put the “honesty is always best when parting ways” theory to the test. His girlfriend was a very ambitious, hard-driven business woman, and in the end my friend, while admiring her ambition and hard work ethic, decided he was looking for something more “laid-back,” the kind of woman who’d be there waiting for him at the end of a hard day, whose every weekend wasn’t spent conferencing or putting in extra hours.

    We talked about the honesty thing, and then he came clean to his lady friend. She instantly reviled him for wanting a “stay at home fifties woman” and not being able to “handle a strong woman.” So he basically faced every man’s breakup nightmare – a furious woman tearing him a “new one.”

    But this story sort of has a happy ending, because later she thanked him for being honest, and “saving them both a lot of grief.” Still, I think it reasonable to acknowledge that you may be punished severely *at first*, and perhaps you never will be forgiven. But even in the worst case scenario, you will at least know you did the right thing.

    • Naz says:

      Lawrence, I would commend you firstly being a man amongst predominantly women all bearing their insecurities and for the most of how bad they have been treated by men.
      It is a breathe of fresh air to get a man’s opinion that when a guy cowardly walks away and disappears without even as much of a word or explanation as was with me, that it is disrespectful.
      It is good to hear it from another perspective!

    • Revolution says:

      LOL, Lawrence! This made me LAUGH: “So he basically faced every man’s breakup nightmare – a furious woman tearing him a ‘new one.'”

      • lawrence says:

        Rev: You know what my worst breakup nightmare would be? Cool indifference. I’d take righteous fury any day. At least you know you meant something to them.

        Thanks, Naz.

        I enjoyed your rant, Griz. :) I think everyone bears some responsibility when they hurt someone. Unless you’re a god-like Stoic, you will be affected by others’ actions – especially when you love them.

        • Revolution says:

          Lawrence,

          “Rev: You know what my worst breakup nightmare would be? Cool indifference. I’d take righteous fury any day. At least you know you meant something to them.”

          Maybe I’m showing my hand here, but I’m doing this to my ex-AC right now. Totally NC after a very dignified explanation to him for the reasons why. And I’m not going back on it.

          But does that mean I don’t care? He probably thinks, “Sheesh, guess she never gave ME another thought.” While I, just about an hour ago, had a surprise crying attack in my car, thinking about him and hurting that he’s no longer in my life.

          This after 6 months NC. And not ever planning to have him in my life again. It still hurts. A lot. He meant a lot to me, still does.

          Don’t let our “cool indifference” fool you, Lawrence. Sometimes it’s a woman’s only weapon against having her dignity threatened.

  34. Robin says:

    I was watching a TV show a few days ago and this quote that one of the characters said hit home: “There’s a difference between literal truth and genuine honesty.” Not only must it cut both ways, it must come straight from the heart.

  35. Tinkerbell says:

    Shattered. Sorry, I don’t know what to say about this guy except that it’s amber-red that he has confused you with someone else. But, Natalie, has an article about returning old sweethearts. I don’t know the name of it, but check her list of posts. You will gain insight as to why you should beware. So he wants to comes to England to visit you from a far off land after a gazillion years. Why?

  36. Revolution says:

    Honesty….

    Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it goes…

    Towards the end of my “friendship” with the EU guy, I had a conversation with him where he said, “I wish that people would be honest with me about the things they see in me/what I need to change or do for myself right now.” These words weren’t verbatim, but the jist of what he was saying. My response was, basically (and again non-verbatim), “Okay, I’ll bite. I’m a good enough friend to tell you the truth in a loving way. I think you have problems with alcohol. I think that, instead of running away from your problems (which he was doing at the time), you need to face them with the support of your friends, myself included.” And on and on. He asked.

    I’ve never been accused of subtlety, but I also *try* not to give “advice” if it’s not asked for. And I don’t hide “asshole” behind “honesty.” I may be upfront, and I’m not perfect. But I’m not an asshole.

    Even in my later days, and last words/emails/texts with the guy, I told him that he treated me disrespecfully and that I WOULDN’t ALLOW it and DIDN’T DESERVE IT, but then ended it with, “I wish you well. Take care.” I told him the truth, I set a boundary. I was honest. I did not soft-pedal things. But I wasn’t abusive, nor did I try to rob him of his dignity, no matter how he treated me. I left firmly, but respectfully. So that’s my little story for today.

    • Gina says:

      “Even in my later days, and last words/emails/texts with the guy, I told him that he treated me disrespecfully and that I WOULDN’t ALLOW it and DIDN’T DESERVE IT, but then ended it with, “I wish you well. Take care.” I told him the truth, I set a boundary. I was honest. I did not soft-pedal things. But I wasn’t abusive, nor did I try to rob him of his dignity, no matter how he treated me. I left firmly, but respectfully. So that’s my little story for today.”

      Revs,

      I ended my last relationship with an EUM exactly the same way. What was weird was that I truly believe (based upon how he told me his past relationships had ended) that he enjoyed drama filled endings and was somewhat dissappointed that I ended things in a respectful, classy, and drama free manner.

      By-the-way, I liked your David Allan Grier wanna be blues singer impression from the “In Living Color” tv show!! You’re funny!

      • Revolution says:

        LOL Gina!!! David Alan Grier! I remember that!! Actually, I was quoting En Vogue’s intro to their song “Free Your Mind.” Remember that song? Talk about chicks with att-i-tude! Love it.

        Oh, I TOTALLY hear you on not giving the exes the smug satisfaction of being the “psycho stalker” chick. When we opt out with class and dignity, and DON’T GO BACK, they’re like, “Huh? Well…I guess I can’t throw her in the ‘Chicks that still dig me/psycho exes’ bin. Darn! But that’s my ONLY BIN!! HOW will I explain this to myself NOW????”

        • La Pintura Bella says:

          LMAO!!! “How will I explain this to myself now???” Absolutely perfect. I can just hear them all saying this to themselves with a very frightened and puzzled expression on their faces.

          “Free Your Mind,” one of my all time favorite songs!!!

        • Victorious says:

          That’s really funny Rev. If you don’t mind I am going to borrow/edit some of your closing lines for trying to finish the pseudo “friendship” I have stupidly got myself into with ex eum. I finished with him (again) but got manipulated back into being “friends” after a month NC, even though I had literally begged him not to contact me. My fault I know. He is bound to call again soon, and I have decided I will not answer as I have to accept I have no self control around him. I will let the call slide and then text him something along the lines of what you said. I would text him now but as he hasn’t been in contact for 5 days it would look a bit like shouting “don’t chase me!” to someone who isn’t chasing you. Thanks for all your contributions and to everyone for their support. I have finally accepted that the sexual validation I am looking for would be useless and the pain it would cost me to get it would outweigh any momentary high. Wish me luck!

          • Revolution says:

            Victorious,

            You can most definitely use any or all of my words in your response. Good luck. Stay strong.

          • A says:

            Victorious,

            “…even though I had literally begged him not to contact me.”

            I was going to mention this in my last reply but then questioned whether I was remembering your story properly. If this guy isn’t respecting your wishes after you’ve told him how you feel and what you need, then you can really say to hell with him. No explanation needed since you’ve already told him, but if you do text him, I’d resolve to make that your last contact–otherwise it will just keep going. You’re doing well, stay strong.

  37. Revolution says:

    Another story on honesty. Two stories, actually. To further illustrate my point.

    I had one friend who treated me with kindness and respect, who related to me with the dignity of an adult. She told me some pretty brutal things about myself without touching my self-esteem, without couching it in manipulative backhanded compliments or passive-aggressive digs. She wasn’t invested in “taking me down a notch.” She knew what I wanted in life, and she knew I was open to, and asked for, some pretty straightforward insights into my patterns, especially from the standpoint of the mature observer that she was. Some of the things she said made me sting a bit. But she was right. And when she finished, my dignity was still intact. I knew she loved me and thought highly of me, enough to tell me what I needed to hear to clear out some “blocks” I was putting on myself in life. Blocks that would frustrate my plans for getting what I wanted and needed, as I expressed to her. I’m very thankful she was honest with me. And the things she shared with me were helpful.

    My second story is an “I’m just being honest (while secretly envious of you)” friend who said things to push my buttons from a place of control and jealousy, rather than a healthy love. I left those interactions feeling slimed, bad about myself, weak, and lacking confidence to make positive changes in my life. While she left looking stronger. And like the cat that just ate the canary.

    It’s a gross analogy, but there are friends who will hold your hair back when you’re puking, and there are friends who will push your face into the toilet.

    • sushi says:

      great stories, Revolution, beautifully illustrate the difference.

    • Rosie says:

      Revolution,

      First, thank you for your kind greeting on the “Open Mind…” post. I like your analogy about friends who will hold your hair while you’re puking and “friends” who will slam your head into the toilet. The friends who will slam your head into the toilet may honestly believe they’re helping by showing you the error of your ways…Oh those poor, confused people…gotta pity ‘em…after throwing some puke in their hair…(just kidding…sort of…;) )

      • Elle says:

        Haha! I recently had a friend completely high off putting me down. I even said, ‘I feel really drained, even slightly abused after that conversation’ and she replied, ‘I know, I have a habit of flattening people to the ground, but then I just feel so good, I feel heard.’. What a beautiful, melodic voice! If it’s not empowering feedback, a step for the person, then it’s just a sh*t-sling.

        • Revolution says:

          Thanks for the feedback, girls. It seems to be a well-known phenomenon, eh?

          And Elle: Your friend saying she KNOWS she does that and she feels BETTER after it? Holy hell. Google “narcissist” if you haven’t already. See if the signs fit. If they do, give that chick a wide frickin’ berth.

      • Revolution says:

        You’re welcome, Rosie. :)

  38. Tinkerbell says:

    Heartache Amy. Don’t kid yourself. You know what’s going on between you and he. You are playing with fire, girl, and you will get burned by this guy. He thinks you’re too foolish to know what’s going on. I sure hope you’re not. Operating solely on emotions without reasoning is very unsafe. Forget about how much you like him. He’s off limits, especially since you’re enjoying the interaction way too much for it to be a healthy “friendship”.

  39. Rosie says:

    “It’s criticism when it’s coming at you and love, help, and honesty when it’s coming from you.” I smiled at this. I believe there’s a link between honesty and self-awareness. If a person doesn’t know herself, how can she truly be honest with anybody including herself regarding her own motives and poor character traits and behaviors? For example, the last man I dated may have only been after sex. I don’t know for sure as I didn’t have sex with him & he disappeared rather quickly as I went a li’l emo on him (explanation in a bit as it’s related topic). In his actions he pushed for sex while his words told me he was ok with my decision not to have sex. Thus, his mixed messages hardly paint him as being honest with me. If I call him a cad, though, I also have to call myself a cad as I sent him mixed messages too. We did make out like crazy that left both of us in a state of sexual frustration. Thus, my words said “no sex” but my actions said “oh yes we will…eventually…” Did I mention that the make out sessions started the very night I met him? That’s another story that I’ll explain as it’s related to the topic: The night I met him I was experiencing a controlling, abusive situation (not romantic relationship) and making out with him was an escape. Thus, I was using him. I wasn’t planning on seeing him again but felt guilty for using him and I did like him from the beginning. Even if there weren’t sexual attraction I would have liked to have built a friendship. He did ask me out on a date and I agreed and, of course, this date was mostly making out as was the second (and last), which ended at a motel parking lot (We didn’t go in as reality was hitting me that I hardly knew him & didn’t want any more oxytocin in my system than what was already being released through sexual arousal.) Anyway, without self-awareness I don’t think I could be so honest with myself as to admit that I was using him too and contributing to his belief that he was going to get laid rather quickly (he wouldn’t have).

    Ok, now the story about how I sabotaged by going a li’l emo so early on: I was already feeling insecure by his being so sexually aggressive and my enthusiastic response as he didn’t know where I’ve been, I didn’t know where he’d been and, since we weren’t exclusive, where he was trying to go when he wasn’t with me. Thus, when he called to cancel our (third)date the same day we were to have the date I told him off. The cancelling didn’t bug me; it was the last minute cancelling, I said. This was a lie, though I didn’t know it at the time because I didn’t have self-awareness regarding my own insecurity about the whole thing. I further lied without knowing it when I called to apologize. I told him that I was stressed out from work as I received many client cancellations and no-shows that week. This was true but was a lie at the same time because I wasn’t aware of my own insecurity that manifested in my emo moment.

    He disappeared, of course, and I don’t blame him for this. I think I would have disappeared too. What I don’t understand is why he got back in touch with me a couple weeks later, telling me he accepted my apology and we would talk again soon. Every couple weeks I’d get a call or E-mail but that would be it. If he really wasn’t that interested in seeing me again, why was he bothering at all? Why the lying? It doesn’t matter now and we don’t owe each other anything. His sins are his, mine are mine and a few misleading phone calls are nothing to ask God to smite him over. Anyway, I just wanted to share these stories as examples of the connection between honesty and self-awareness. Yuck. Just reading over my story I’m realizing how much I need to work on a couple aspects of my character in order to become more authentic (honest?). I am learning…

  40. Kelli says:

    Natalie,

    Excellent post and something to think about in dealing with the survivors that I do. I tend to be rather straight forward, perhaps too much. I think when I eee the bullshit meter running on high, a lot of denial, manipulation and shady behavior as a result, I become a bit triggered. I do this a lot when a survivor is spinning in ass clown shit.

    Some of the comments here are so interesting. We can use honesty as a way to manipulate, like many ass clowns do. During the first two months, mine said to me, “I’m going to hurt you.”…Um…ok..I told him, “Well, I’m a big girl and you can’t hurt me unless I choose to be hurt.” UUUUGGGHHHH!!

    Can we rewind eleven years now? PFFT. I should have listened to that “honesty”. Mine used this card as his license to abuse with my knowledge card. How many would believe such a blatant statement when you’ve already fallen for the person. Should have LISTENED, but I know I was UNAWARE.

    Awareness saved me from more pain and a lot more “honesty” in getting my ass hurt, just like he SAID.

    Blessings.

  41. Jule says:

    Revolution…holding of the hair and pushing face in toilet…oh boy do I know that! I have had some very honest conversations lately with girl friends and I’m finding the real friends and those who are NOT.

    Also, I had an honest conversation with a man recently. The other day, I guy I had dated asked me if we will get together again and I said “I don’t think so” so he asked why, and he asked what turned me off to him. I was honest but not brutal — saying that he hadn’t made a lot effort and didn’t plan anything when he had asked ME out. I said it wasn’t the first time he didn’t have anything in mind so I had to find something for us to do but he wasn’t happy with what I had picked for us to do and so he seemed cranky and tired and wasn’t fun to be around. (He is often tired or preoccupied and later says he’s sorry he was ‘out of it’ on our date). Well after I told him He got very defensive saying he wanted feedback on HIM not on how he should handle date planning on how to “win over the affections of a woman” (and that is verbatim). I was like “hey, you asked and honestly the way you handle yourself is the only thing I have to go on. I don’t know you that well to comment on your character” you would have thunk I deeply insulted him the way he acted after I told him. He was very argumentative after that. It made me feel doubly happy I didn’t go out with him again.

    This is off topic a bit but I want to say that I think BR has had a lasting, positive impact on me in terms of boundaries. AC has texted crappy things to me but I am not budging. Not only am I exercising the electric fence with AC but also a girlfriend who was very rude to me recently and now my ex H who has historically been a deadbeat dad. He hasn’t stepped up to the plate for his kids and so I am considering finally getting up the courage to take him back to court and get what is rightfully mine and all I have been is fair with him. I guess I want to say, I have been seeing a CHANGE in myself. I am still kind, open and loving — but not a doormat, a bank, or a pushover. I’ve said it before, but thanks to Nat and the many who visit here.

    • Victorious says:

      Wow Jule, i wish I was doing as well as you and it is inspirational reading your story and those of the other contributors who are getting their sh*t together. Although I have made a couple of huge cock ups with the ex eum recently ( sigh) I have managed to police my boundaries over some very difficult family issues and although the people concerned were a little surprised, I have managed to avoid being sucked into some really stressful arrangements and am rather pleased with myself. I am 47 years old and until I read BR I had NEVER even thought about personal boundaries. Suffice to say I had hardly any, especially with the EUM. THis site is a godsend. I just wish I could apply all the very sound advice consistently but I am getting there. Well done to you for making the changes.

      • Jule says:

        V– you will get there! Keep coming here. I have a long ways to go, trust me. But yes BR is a god send. I believe the universe brings what we NEED. I needed BR when I started realizing I had a complete assclown on my hands and there it was.

        He texted a nasty “still pissy?” message to me the other day and when I didn’t reply he said “I guess so”. I was mighty mighty tempted to text “Still an assclown? I guess so!”

        ha ha. We have to laugh!!

    • Revolution says:

      Sheesh, dodged THAT bullet, eh Jule?

      I HAD to LAUGH at the dude pestering you for “inside information” on why you didn’t want to date him, and then GETTING UPSET when you told him the truth. Um….huh? :)

      • Jule says:

        YEP! whew! :)
        Yeah what a headcase of a guy. I tried to break up with him in March and he was the same way. I should have learned then. But then we went out on just one date after summer for fun but…it was NOT.

  42. B says:

    I have always been the type to keep my opinions to myself, however true, because I was fearful that I would ‘lose friends’ or not be perceived as ‘nice’. I thought that if I kept ‘negative’ opinions to myself then other people would see me as ‘diplomatic’ and eventually follow my course of thoughts.

    I was lucky to have a good circle of friends in high school, university, and at work and have been spared of bullying UNTIL I turned 30, moved to London for post-graduate studies and met this lady (in the same programme as I was) who at first our first few encounters started criticising me for how I dress and how I walk. I suppose that was all she could criticise about me. That was only the afterthought that came a couple of months after I struggled with my self-esteem.

    She and a couple of her friends (they were also above 26 years old!)started letting me ‘do things for them’. I suppose it didn’t help that I was ‘Asian’, and they thought I was a bit inferior. I stood my grounds only after six months when they have already partially took advantage of me. I learnt to be more assertive, and never looked back. I only interacted with them if and only if I had to and I didn’t give a damn if they talked behind my back.

    I am still learning to be more assertive, though I could not believe, initially, that at that age, you’ll have ladies behaving like teens and bullying! This post reminded me of how I was, what I have become and how I can still work on myself.

    • dancingqueen says:

      @B
      “I am still learning to be more assertive, though I could not believe, initially, that at that age, you’ll have ladies behaving like teens and bullying!”

      That made me laugh. Ah welcome to my work world lately. Yes, “mean-girls” often turn into “mean-women” while actually still being girls. super teenage and glad that you have perspective that it is not at all about you B:)

    • Revolution says:

      B,

      Sorry to hear you’re dealing with the mean girls. I’m 35 myself, and can’t see an end to the “high school” classes of people that I meet in my age bracket. They come in all ages, unfortunately. So do the good ones, though, so thank GOD for that!!

      Good to hear you didn’t take these jealous, insecure bullies at face value, nor did you let it affect your self-worth. Keep walking, my dear. We all get it.

  43. lo j says:

    Amy … all he gives you is pretty words. He can give nothing else. That is good enough for you? It may move along to sex ON HIS TERMS where you have no needs, wants, can’t set any terms whatsoever ALL because you craved his pretty words. You are soul starved. Tell yourself you are beautiful, tell yourself you are worthy of a relationship, take yourself out, do all the thingsto yourself you imagine someone you love would do for you. (I know there are limits…) Men don’t determine our worth. We do. “Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” And … he ain’t that special, but you are. Believe it.

  44. Grizelda says:

    Something about ‘honesty’ and ‘honest criticism’ doesn’t sit right with me.

    Yes honesty is one of our best moral concepts. But I think what I’m trying to get at is this. People use it rather than abide by it.

    So many people think they’re a member of a tabloid talk show audience, leaping up and grabbing the microphone to give someone onstage a finger-wagging, hand on hipped piece of ‘honest enlightenment’. Everyone’s a critic. Everyone thinks they’re Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men shouting “You can’t HANDLE the truth!”.

    Rather than abiding by honesty in everything one does every minute of every day, people often suddenly discover honesty only when it suits them and they can use it to bludgeon other people and ride roughshod over their feelings.

    This invariably leads to a lot of very, very lonely people who fail to understand how and why they’ve been abandoned by most of the people they’ve ever known. Oh yes they learned all about ‘honest criticism’ (mostly uninvited) from all the tabloid talk shows they’ve seen since the late 1980s. But they learned nothing about moderating that ‘honest criticism’ with prudence.

    One of the most depressing periods of pop-psychology presented a few years ago was the whole ‘I am not responsible for your feelings’ thing. Clearly, this kind of thinking which seems logical superficially (after all, we can’t make people feel this or that) issued a charter carte blanche for people who behave badly and patently emotionally damage others.

    Example: “Did your spouse cry when you sat him down for an honest heart to heart and announced you’re walking out on him because he’s kinda too old for you and you met someone at work who is a bit younger and better looking? Did his tears make you feel bad? Hey, he’s being unfair! Do not take ownership of those tears! You are not responsible for his feelings!

    That whole popular concept made my head want to explode with rage. In any other generation, the response would have been “Now see what you have done! Your capricious short-term selfishness and disgusting behaviour has damaged your husband! YOU need to grow up and start acting like a responsible adult.”. But today? “Meh. HE needs to grow up and stop trying to get you to take ownership of his stupid feelings. I mean, c’mon. They’re only feelings, after all — they’ll go away. And he needs to man-up and get a grip.”

    Sorry all. I’m getting shrill. I know I’m getting shrill. But I do think this is somehow essential to many of the topics on BR. We’ve all been sledgehammered by moralistic ‘honesty’ when people discovered how convenient it is. They pulled it out as a ‘get out of jail free’ card after weeks, months, or years of lies and deceptions, or when they got bored and decided you’re just an old pair of slippers right now. And how dare they want to be congratulated for it. How dare they misappropriate the angelic halo that surrounds the word ‘honest’ and use it to dress up their shocking and hurtful agenda.

    “Well, hey I’m being honest when I tell you I can’t give you what you deserve (after having needed two and a half years to think about it)… I’m only being honest. I’m only being honest when I stop on the way home to mess with one of my fallback girls because if I’m honest with myself that’s really what I want. If I’m honest with you, I’ve never really loved you.”

    They use it rather than abide by it.

  45. Finally!!!! says:

    Mine actually admitted that he treats/treated me like shit! He said he even told his mother he did and that if he were me he would never ever speak to me again. I mean, ADMITTED this! He says (my BF before him) is actually a better pick, that he is a loser! He even asked me why I kept coming back and/or why I put up with it. I didn’t even know what to say back to him except that wow, I guess I have no self esteem, no nothing! Talk about honesty and making it hit me in the face.

  46. Tinkerbell says:

    Grizelda, I just gotta tell you. You can write your ass (sorry) off. You are so eloquent and unique in the way you express yourself. I’m always bowled over by how you tell it like it is such a inimitable way. Are you a writer? You go, girl.

    • Grizelda says:

      <:-) Now I'm embarrassed! Thank you so much, it means a lot to me to know my writing gets through to people.

      Sadly I'm not a writer by trade but it's useful in my career. I hope writing becomes my later-life career, though. I love writing and have made a conscious effort to work on my toolboxes of expression, reference and particularly vocab. I do read metric tonnes of high-quality literature — life is way, way too short to read rubbish — which goes a long way to help to form standards by which to write. Ah well one can dream.

  47. Tinkerbell says:

    @ Finally. I wouldn’t even call it honesty. Looks to me like a colossal display of low self esteem that’s been ground UNDER the dirt feebly your mercy. What could he have hoped to accomplish? Did you ask him to bring you a box of tissues? LOL!

    • Finally!!!! says:

      Tink, I don’t know what I would call it anymore. He admits he is a loser, I’d be better off with someone else but he has always said that because our lifestyles are so different. I’m the first woman he has ever been with that is self sufficient. The other two relationships he had the women were younger and they depended on him and I know he has control issues. He text me just the other night and said “you know I am a poor man”..WTH..so what, I don’t care. I’ve told him over and over that I don’t care about what he has to offer financially, its emotionally and mutual respect and love that I want. Sometimes I think he is so scared to death of being with someone like me its easier to push me away. Or maybe I haven’t taken the rose colored glasses off.

  48. Lucy says:

    My honesty moment was realising that I’m not that good looking. I never thought I was hot but I at least I thought I looked okay. But I’ve had enough guys tell me I’m bad looking and justify their behaviour that way, that it’s really sunk in. I had a boyfriend who’d be embarrassed going out in public with me and would secretly refer to me as his “friend”. Sigh.

    • runnergirl says:

      Lucy, Please don’t listen to those guys and hopefully the bf is an ex? Spend some time focusing on who you are. Sending you giant hugs. It’s not about physical appearance. Keep reading Natalie’s blog. Disrespect is disrespect. It’s is about them, not you.

      • Lucy says:

        Thanks runnergirl! I had a bit of a moment. Thankfully I feel better now. I love reading this blog and even when I slide back, I can recover much quicker. Yeah that bf is an ex. I look at my exes and I can’t believe I let them get away with certain behaviours. It’s liberating to start thinking that instead of blaming it on myself.

    • A says:

      Lucy,

      These guys are emotionally abusive assholes. Please do NOT feel ‘lesser’ in any way based on the mean things that they have come up with to justify their shoddy behaviour. Regardless of how anyone looks, they deserve to be treated with love and respect. But beyond that, I don’t believe what they said to be true whatsoever. Work on seeing your attractive (inside and outside) self once again as you did before these horrible men came into your life. Why is the opinion of some jerk worth more than yours?

      Any guy who dates someone and feels the need to lie about their status in his life has issues–that was all about him, not you.

    • SallyJane says:

      Oh Lucy! —

      Big, big,hugs!!! You have some great replies from Runnergirl and Tinkerbell already. My 2 cents:

      I am not sure that there can ever be anything “honest” or truthful in the thought that you are not beautiful!

      There will always be people who find you beautiful because they know and appreciate you, and then there will be strangers who think you are attractive just because you appeal to them in your own way, though you may not know it. You don’t have to be a super model for this to be true!

      I do believe that we are beautiful, both in body and personality, for qualities we cannot see and may never even know about ourselves. This includes you, Lucy!! And I am not just talking about the “homely face but inner beauty” concept here, though that can be true too.

      Think about your own perspective, the way you view the people you really, really love, or even just like. Don’t you think they are all quite nice looking or even beautiful? Not like a model or movie star, in every case, but like… themselves? When I think of my friends, former boyfriends, relatives, I love the way they look — qualities a modeling agency might see as “flaws” are utterly and endlessly charming to me.

      Listen, if you showed my picture to 10 random people on the street and said “Is this woman pretty?”, nine out of ten would say, “no.” The tenth would be a most discerning person, IMHO!

      Nevertheless, all the people who love me think I am lovely, and I have reason to believe those who like me think I am cute or at least attractive. How is that different from actually being lovely, cute or attractive? It is the same!! These people are not delusional. It’s not like they think I am Halle Berry or something! They just like the way I look. Because I am me.

      And I am sure people feel the same way about you, you just don’t know it. Or maybe you are listening to the wrong people.

      Once upon a time I was in a relationship with a good guy (not an EUM) who was so conventionally attractive (a part-time sports model) that hot women kept throwing themselves at him all the time. In a moment of insecurity I asked him what he saw in me, when he could have his pick of model-perfect women. He said something like “Look, it’s the ‘total package’ that makes someone attractive or unattractive.” You know what the key ingredient was that made me irresistible to him? My posture! He said the way I carried myself, my “self assurance and poise”, was what made me beautiful to him. He said the way I moved was the first thing he noticed about me. This is something you cannot possibly see in a mirror or photograph!

      Another example. I have had exactly 3 successful experiences resulting from online dating sites. I say these were successful in that the men I met were “relationship material” – good, decent, nice guys — and 2 were WAY better looking than their profile pics, BTW. (None resulted in relationships, but we had fun dating a few times.) Anyway, all 3 of these guys said, as we parted: “I’m surprised you replied to my email in the first place. Your photos are so awesome, your inbox must be flooded all the time.” Nothing could be further from the truth!!!! No flood at all. Dry and dusty. But I do believe these 3 guys were sincere. The point here: Even if you don’t think you are pretty, there are always at least a few people out there in the world — good people — who would sincerely disagree!

      So, if some don’t find you pretty, there are others who do. To each his/her own, and that’s fine.

      But, the arrogant JERKS who think they have some right to hurt you, and express their stupid arbitrary opinions about your appearance? Like they have a corner on the truth? They are just insecure SCUM! They are so messed up! To quote my late mother: “Pity their ignorance, and despise them!”

  49. miskwa says:

    Grizelda
    I agree, pop psych has let many an AC off the hook. “Not responsible for your feelings?” Maybe. It’s one thing to hurt someones feelings who emails you from a dating site and you tell them you are not a match immediately. It’s an entirely different situation when someone deliberately misleads you into thinking he’s available, not involved with someone else. You ARE responsible for your behavior and you ARE responsible for the hurt you cause by your continued dishonesty. Own it. It’s as though nothing is considered wrong anymore. I also don’t accept that a dysfunctional/abusive upbringing gives anyone the right to intentionally hurt others. I come from a very abusive family, I go out of my way not to cause hurt. Not by being a doormat, but by having boundaries and not using people I have no interest in just for attention.

    • Grizelda says:

      It’s as though nothing is considered wrong anymore.

      Aha. This.

      At risk of sounding like a relic from a bygone era, at what point did it become acceptable for people to continually treat others like garbage?

      • Fearless says:

        I think from the point that women,particularly, started allowing it by having low expectations of men in romantic/sexual relationships (under the guise of freedom/equality). Not that I think women should be the moral guardians of men, just that, on the whole, we need to raise our expectations, cos pretty often we get exactly what we are willing to accept. That said, I agree with what’s been said above.

        • Grizelda says:

          Fearless you’re fearless. You said what I was sort of thinking but tried to avoid saying.

          Women’s freedom to do whatever they want sexually — just like men — is wonderful and necessary progress for our species, but we’ve got the physical freedom of it before we’ve been educated and prepared mentally for it.

          From what I can see, it has so far only resulted in scores of otherwise unlayable men getting laid in such quantity that ‘third date’ (six to nine hours of getting to know that person) now has men demanding that the ladies ‘drop them drawers’ and stop wasting their time. It has been a boon for married men who want to cheat. It has been a boon for men who have no idea how to behave or how to treat other people with respect. It has been a boon for out-and-out misogynists and men with severe personality disorders because women’s standards have evaporated. These men who, in previous generations, wouldn’t have a fudgcicle’s chance in hell of making it to the altar are getting sex regularly and — of course — hurting all these women along the way. You’re so right.

  50. Tinkerbell says:

    Lucy. That’s absolutely disgusting that he was ashamed of you and would only introduce you as his “friend”. But, yet you were good enough for him to get the goodies, right? Let me tell you dear, looks are so overrated it isn’t even funny. I was married to an exceptionally good looking man, (by anyone’s standards). But he had the capacity to be as evil as he was good looking. I’m talking about worse than an AC/EUM. If not a psychopath he was undoubtedly a sociopath. In a long term intimate relationship such as marriage, there are so many important issues other than looks. And when a person is the devil incarnate, they don’t look so good anymore. And it’s a fact that good looking women have more man troubles than their less attractive sisters. I left the ex husband, after 2 years with our 18 month daughter in tow and never looked back. Don’t ever, ever, put yourself down, believing you are not good looking enough. There are too many douchebags in this world that’ll do it for you. Love yourself, pamper and take good care of yourself, try to fix yourself up as best as you can to please YOU not to attract a man. And walk with your head held high like you are royalty. You can attract a good man, the same as anyone else. There are lots of less than beautiful females going around with husbands who adore them. Good luck, honey. Tink.

    • Lucy says:

      Aw thanks Tinkerbell. It really brightened me up to read that. It’s hard. I think some people feel free license to comment on someone’s looks. But like you said they are not good people. Feel sorry to hear about your experience too but you sound really strong and inspiring and I have taken that from your post.

      About that ex, it turns out after he dumped me (yes I didn’t dump him. Oh dear!) that people were telling me I was too good for him and for ages I thought it was the other way round. It was only once that he introduced me as his friend. Sometimes he’d introduce me as his girlfriend. Well the time he introduced me as his friend, I was very very poorly and needed to see a doctor. After some prompting, he helped me get to the surgery but then said, “My friend’s ill” and it really irked me quite a bit.

      I started reading this after my last break-up. The bf hadn’t been affectionate or sexual towards me for 6 months. He didn’t even see how much it was affecting me but after continual prodding he told me that it was my fault he couldn’t do anything because I just didn’t turn him on. That really upset me until I realised that he’d said that as a diversionary tactic and that his sexual hang-ups were completely his own.

      I started losing weight recently (in April) and initially it was to become more attractive to the opposite sex. But now it’s just about me and me alone. And it feels really good. Thanks for your kind words. :)

  51. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    Well, I just got some honest feedback from Gina, Tinkerbell, and Jule, and honestly I was listening, but I wasn’t really accepting it because I was going to decide to go after my ‘nice guy’ co-worker anyway, regardless of…, and I was rationalizing ….

    Welp, the funny thing about changing for me is that well, I really have changed deep inside, even when on the surface I can still appear to be floundering: I just opted out of pursuing my ‘nice guy’ co-worker: I haven’t been able to ignore the fact that he triggered me with his initial kindness, patience, and gentleness, and that trigger was just me longing for the kindness, patience, and gentleness that my father never gave me–and he made my inner child feel safe–and I’ve got to deal with that… , instead of getting involved with him, and if I get involved with a co-worker when I know that I really think it is a bad idea, where does that leave me in the process of…?

    I would like to believe that I am farther along in the process of healing but–pursuing a guy because of the way he makes me feel–translation, once again chasing a feeling–ugghhh; carelessly deciding to get involved with a co-worker–translation, ignoring my own values….

    I refuse to sacrifice all of the hard work I have been doing, just so I can be with some guy.

    It took me toooooo looooooooong to reach this level of self-awareness to throw it all away by ignoring what I know to be my own truth.

    At the same time, he’s been ignoring me for the past three days, and I have no idea why, but I decided not to ask him why–I figured it was a good time for me to exit without explanation.

    Sure, I’m disappointed because I thought we were getting to know each other on some level, and I wanted to get to know him, but I think this is a good opportunity for me to practice some self-control.

    And, hey, I received a gift by discovering this pattern, and also, I’ve been thinking about how peaceful I felt with him, and I’ve been reflecting on what Rave said to me about…yep, I believe now that I can be at peace one day; if I can feel peaceful with him, surely I can reach that state on my own accord, and God is offering that to me, is giving that to me, so….

  52. Tinkerbell says:

    Sugarland.

    My,my,my. Looks like someone has gotten her head on straight and done a 180. Stick with it. You sound so much like me, emotionally, but when we finally see the light and come to our senses, lookout AC, don’t bust your head on the curb.
    You knew mentally that getting involved with a co-worker was very risky and had the potential for great discomfort down the road. But you stopped your heart from overruling your head. That is huge. And, I can so relate in that it takes a very looong time and lots of hard work to get where you are now and why sacrifice all that for a fling that has very low potential of being what you want. Congratulations! Buy yourself something nice as a reward.

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:

      Thank you Tinkerbell….

      Hmmm, yes, I need to treat myself to something. You should treat yourself to something as well. Let’s just celebrate ourselves, yes
      our beautiful selves. :)

      I’m wishing you well Tinkerbell,
      On Leaving Sugarland

  53. espresso says:

    My long long term marriage ending recently ex always said he was trying so hard to change and that he didn’t think he could offer me “what I needed and wanted in terms of emotional engagement, in terms of boundaries, assertiveness, shared decision-making etc” I wanted the marriage to work – he was decent and supportive in some ways, we shared a lot, including a business and both adored our kids…but I never really listened and heard what he really was saying. I guess I thought he was just being “honest and sincere.” But at the same time, I always felt that if I wanted something badly enough I would move mountains to make it happen.

    I can now see that these statements gave him an “out” for not really focusing, not really concentrating on what he needed to do which was a lot of self examination, pain and hard hard work. This so-called honest statement protected HIM for having to actually having to do that.

    Because he said this to me and to himself, he didn’t even grasp what the problem WAS. I guess I just assumed he was trying but instead I should have heard him….if somebody says well, I am not sure that I can meet your needs…that is the truth we should hear…whether it is being said to just drop us or IS some kind of truth. I kept convincing myself he was just being honest although it made me feel uncomfortable.

    We are now figuring out what kind of post marriage relationship we can have. He is in therapy and is still saying the same thing about ANY kind of relationship with me. I think I need to hear this more clearly, it saddens me but I guess he is saying that there are “no guarantees” so more of the same will be coming to me, whatever the reason (his motivation or the fact that his issues are very very deep and ingrained). So I need to listen up!!!

  54. Tinkerbell says:

    See how ignorant he is? Here you are ill, and he expects you to look good? Dumb ass! Then going to blame you for not being able to perform. Ugh. He was probably encouraging you to go see the surgeon for what ever benefit he wanted, not for your health. I hope he is out of your life. Read and heed, Nat’s current post.”He’s Not That Special”. It’s a repeat, probably because she sees too many of us are slow to “get it”. Keep posting and let us know how you’re doing. Much love, Tink.

  55. lo j says:

    Fearless … you wrote to Lilly exactly what I was thinking. I have a son from a man who has given little bits of attention and has gone so far as to raising another woman’s children. I spent years fighting for my son, for what he rightly deserved, trying to get validation for him from his father with his stepmother going so far as to even calling my child a “mistake”. She was a bitch nonetheless. Then I realized, he is who he is, I cannot change thatt and his validation does not make my son more “real” or legitimate, as he was born out of wedlock (though in the Bible belt one would think).
    It is WRONG what this man has done. That baby needed another parent to mourn for him, to cry with you, to miss and wish for different. What a terrible thing for you, for your baby. Mourn that, Lilly. And make for sure your thoughts of him are not a distraction from your mourning process. Your loss very tragic. His input wont change anything. T he way you can honor your baby, Lilly, let him know that his existence was so important to YOU, is by treating you well, nurturing/loving you, making better for you, and maybe someday, being with someone who will experience the joys and sorrows of life with you. With heartful condolences and peaceful thoughts, my friend.

    • Lilly says:

      Fearless & loj, you have both given me so much to think about. I truly thought I’d gotten over the need for validation hurdle! Your responses have helped me realise that I haven’t. I’ve been prompted to re-read Natalie’s validation posts and it is all there in front of me. I’m still analysing and obsessing about his behaviour and it is masking my fear and denial. I can’t avoid it, my beloved baby has gone. He’s gone, but not in spirit. He was beautiful, he was wanted and very much loved. He cannot take that away, and I need to learn to validate my own beliefs. I may be struggling right now, but I’m determined to get through this. Thank you all so much. I’m truly grateful for all the responses I’ve received and the kindness shown to me.

      • Learner says:

        Lilly,
        I can feel your strength growing by the day as you process all of this. Your determination to heal and to put this man’s cruelty behind you is incredible. It is normal to have steps forwards and steps backwards – you are grieving for a child, which is one of the most difficult stresses known to human kind.
        I know you have already told the exMM the ways he has hurt you by not acknowledging or grieving for your son, and that his response was a huge let-down, thus your resolve to return to NC. I know you have to have some contact with him for your research and career, but can it be done through email only so that you are exposed to his pathology as little as possible?
        And please, please, be gentle with yourself. It sounds like after the traumatic events of the last year, you need some “gentleness” in your life. Would listening to beautiful music, spending time with compassionate people, soothing your senses with lovely scents, sights and sounds help at all? Perhaps a retreat of sorts with a good friend or sister? I so hope that your therapist is helpful in guiding you through the grieving process for your baby. You deserve the best. Thinking of you Lilly as you continue to work through all of this. Hugs xo

        • Lilly says:

          Learner, thank you for your encouragement it means such a lot to me. Some days are still so painful, but I am definitely getting stronger. The good thing is that I’m slowly cutting those fantasy ties to the exMM. Even saying MM is awful and I cannot believe that I was so irresponsible and naïve to believe all of the manipulative garbage that came out of his mouth. What was I thinking? I know the answer lies within me somewhere and soon I will start trying to figure it all out. For now, I’m cutting the ties, all contact has and will continue to be via email and so far I’ve been successfully following NC when you have to work with someone. He’s tried to crack my ‘professional’ responses, with humour can you believe!), but I’m having NONE of it. I don’t want to hurt anymore and I’m the only one who can put a stop to that.

          You are right I do need to start being gentle with myself and do more nice things. I’ve cocooned myself in the safety of my home and have been giving myself a hard time. I’m trying to forgive myself, but I feel so guilty. My therapist is helping me to process these feelings and my sister is wonderful. It’s sad as some friends have been avoiding me since I lost the baby. I can’t blame them I think they’re afraid to say the wrong thing and I probably look like some crazed, grief stricken shadow of my former self! Thank goodness I found BR when I did. To communicate with wonderful women like you who have had similar experiences has been, by far, the best support I could have to work my way through this. Bless you Learner xx.

  56. lo j says:

    Amy … you can change your feelings. Stop thinking about what he said to you. Stop replaying all the scenes of you two. Stop dwelling on his “good points”. Stop thinking about how “awful” he says his wife is. How much time are you thinking about what YOU really want? You really want a married man who tells you sweet things, talks shit on his wife, is married, would talk shit on you and tell other women pretty things if you were married (history repeats itself and since we’re on the subject of honesty, be honest with yourself, its who he is. Its what he does.)
    Now, as I’ve been where you are, and as you are here on BR so i am going to assume you want honest feedback, and I’ll try to be as compassionate as I can. And I am. Cause I/we have all been there. Unless you want to wind up in a very dangerous, harmful situation with this man or another married or similar man. Get the focus off of him and put it back on you. I hope you have read Natalie’s latest post … really read … and applied it to you. Figure out why YOU would think he really is so special. Find out what makes YOU tick, who you are, what you are passionate about, what demons in your past put you here, your childhood, WHATEVER, but get the thoughts of the dead weight out of your head. And don’t say you can’t cause you can. Its not easy. It takes effort and moving forward, but it can be done. We are all rooting for you. Get proactive about YOU!!You’re better than the stagnant water you’ve been standing in.
    And change your name.

  57. lo j says:

    I beg your pardon, Amy, as my last sentence was quite harsh. Might I suggest a name change, as Heartache Amy somewhat suggests your lack of any control in your situation. It may be empowering for you to come up with a “strong” name. I don’t know. I know its been been suggested before and I don’t want t to call you heartache (for reason stated above) and see that no one else does either.
    I realize it is just a name, but it is a start. ;-)
    And again, I apologize for my harshness.

    • Heartache Amy says:

      Thanks lo j. I’m trying so hard to get him out of my head. Some days are easier than others. I know I need to figure out why I would fall for someone like this. I’m sure that a lot has to do with being recently divorced and previously married to a man who was verbally and emotionally abusive. I suppose that me feeling down on myself and looking for affection from someone opened me up to this man. No, I don’t want to be with a married man (unless I’m married to him!). I think I’m just down on men, in general and right now, I’m thinking that meeting a nice, single, caring man is not in the cards for me. In the meantime, I’ll try to think of a new name for me…it may take a while!

    • Naz says:

      @ lo j, your words ring true for most of us, I came across it by chance but it is one one of those I must save and keep to hand to remind me as well that in order to make change we need to be in charge of that change.
      All you say is exactly spot on, I have to keep stopping myself and saying he is just not that important.
      He is just not that special. He used me, damaged me and I allowed it.
      I need to nurture myself and think of what I want and need!

      Thank you all for your support and care it is a good place to be here…xx

  58. lo j says:

    Oh Lilly, not sure I can add anything to help, my heart goes out to you so!! We are truly hardest on ourselves and that can keep us stuck. Think of yourself as a friend you love … you would never judge, blame, shame her … instead … you would hold her, let her cry, nurture her. I think the words of Maya Angelou are comforting as well, because though they keep us accountable, they don’t beat us up, and allow us to move forward: When we knew better, we did better. Something like that. (I’m not the greatest recollector.) We all want to be loved. But because of our childhood, our “baggage” , we get a warped sense of what love is. In our heads, we know some relationships are “wrong” , but we continue despite because we crave that “love” (its not … but try and tell us at the time). We just don’t know better, in a sense. Almost like a child, maybe? Can you be mad at that little girl? Nurture her. Love her. Heal her. Protect her from this MM at all cost.

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!
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