me making another unanswered call. Copyright Baggage Reclaim

A few weeks ago, I shared with you about how buying my wedding dress had given me a crash course in commitment and chemistry. Well…a few weeks on, and attempting to get the wedding dress that I’ve paid for, has proven to be another crash course, this time in shadiness and doing right by yourself.

Always, always, always, listen to and trust your gut. Almost six weeks ago, I paid the deposit on my dress and in the twelve days that followed, I had to chase the designer about paying the balance and collecting my dress. Now bearing in mind that I was told I could collect it the following week, you can see why I started to feel a bit nervous. On three occasions I nearly sent a message saying that if she had changed her mind about selling the dress, fine, just fess up and gimme back my money! Each time I went to press send, I picked up the phone again..and went to voicemail. My gut said that I was going to be effed around. My gut was right.

Silence in a new relationship is never a good thing. This is especially the case when you 1) know that their phone isn’t broken and 2) see them on Twitter… Ever been out with someone who is blanking you but you can see that they’ve been on Facebook with their harem or surfing dating sites? Yeah, it’s infuriating.

Silence after you’ve got laid or handed over four figures in your hard earned cash is never a good thing. It’s not because the sex was so good that they lost their tongue; it’s that they’ve got what they want and also don’t want to give you the impression that it means more than it did. Likewise, when someone takes your frickin’ money, no matter how much it is, and then you don’t hear from them and you don’t know them, it doesn’t engender trust. What it does cause is anxiety and doubt.

People use silent treatment in relationships to manipulate you into the position that they want. It also controls the amount of communication when they ignore calls and only respond by text. Flush ’em fast and then cut them off.

If you have to chase down someone and basically make most of the effort, you’re going to get veeeerrry pissed off after a while. Do you know what’s really got on my tits over the past few weeks? During this whole debacle, I’ve felt like Natalie Lue, March-August 2005 when I dated Dot Dot Dot Man, the guy who triggered my epiphany about Mr Unavailables. After a hot start, I spent 4.5 months wondering when I would hear from him next and then trying to work out why hadn’t heard from him, and then planning to dump his bony behind, and then changing my mind. “Just give it one more week”, this time round became “She’s so busy, I’ll just give it a few more days…”

Nobody is that busy, even world leaders. They ain’t busy; they just think they can relegate you in level of importance and that you’ll accept it.

It doesn’t matter who someone is, whether it’s who they tell you they are, or who you think they are, you are never deserving of being disrespected and effed around. Ever. I buy a lot of stuff on recommendation, but even then, I still judge it on my experience. I dropped the ball this time because nobody recommended this woman but she does tout about being a celebrity stylist and yada yada yada. Next thing, I’m rationalising that surely this person wouldn’t screw me about. Er, what the what now?

Don’t let what you perceive someone’s status, appearance, popularity, intelligence or whatever, blind you to seeing their actions and hearing their words for what they are. Important, good looking, super-intelligent and whatever else people do screw up and can screw you over.

Avoidance creates very large problems. I’ve made excuses, denied, and rationalised with exes because it helped me maintain a very awkward status quo instead of making uncomfortable decisions. I really didn’t want to start a dress hunt again just like people stay in crap relationships because they don’t want to be single again, even though the crap relationship continues to take its toll. And I still have no dress.

You don’t have to act like a crazy person, but you know what? It’s more than OK to be angry, it’s even more than OK to lay it down, and you shouldn’t feel bad for chasing for goods that you’re owed, or standing up for yourself. I realised today, I have been too frickin’ nice about this and just like when you play doormat and you end up being a martyr, trying to be all nicey nice to trigger decency in another person is a crock, especially when playing the goody two shoes is not what’s needed; it’s owning your right to open your mouth and make your voice heard in the name of honouring yourself. You don’t have to rage or disrespect someone, but honesty with respect, even when you’re bloody annoyed or angry, is more than acceptable.

It’s time for you to stop pretending that you don’t get angry or trying to be all holier than thou so that you can claim the higher road.

Texts are the laziest form of communication. I don’t know what the frick is wrong with people, but communicating with customers via text is unprofessional and thinking that you can actually have a relationship primarily by text is delusional. In 40 days, I have never received a phone call, and prior to today, I’ve had two texts. TWO. TWO! Can you see me practically spitting feathers? I hear from readers who have spent months or YEARS being managed by text – I just don’t know how you do it, or at least I didn’t…until I was escalating the dispute with Paypal today and read back what I’d typed.

I could see it all there. All my effort. Me making all the calls, her returning none. How had I missed this? Because when you get caught up in this mind f*ckery, you go moment to moment. I was so focused on getting the dress and not being ripped off, I didn’t see it, just like many readers are focused on getting the validation or the commitment, while not recognising they have no foundation in the present. Hot tip – keep a list and a Feelings Diary.

Also avoiding conflict by using texts to ‘communicate’ is immature. Put on your big girls/boys pants and pick up the phone at least.

Don’t accept bullshit and mind f*ckery. Every week, I’ve been given a different excuse and even guilted on occasion. Just like you don’t need someone treating you like you’re needy or an irritant, you don’t need someone clogging up your emotional drain with bullshit excuses and causing doubt to mess with your head.

When someone refuses to acknowledge and accept the impact of their actions, recognise the difference in values and don’t bother trying to educate them. FLUSH!

Commitment is only commitment if each person holds up their end of things. It’s all very well me being committed to the dress, but if I don’t have it, I’m committed to hot air. Nuff said.

So where am I now? Well just like you’re typical shady relationship, now that I’ve raised a Paypal dispute and escalated it, she’s been in touch. By text. You’ll know this feeling well if you’ve ever ended it with someone who wouldn’t step up, only to suddenly be flavour of the month.

It’s hard. I love my dress, but I don’t love any dress or any person that much that I’ll accept being disrespected and effed around. The dress just isn’t that special and whoever ‘they’ are isn’t that special either. I’ve set my terms and if the dress isn’t here tomorrow, sayonara. There are plenty of other dresses, just like there’s plenty of other people.

**Update 7pm GMT 5th April** Our best man (a stylist) collected the dress a couple of hours ago and has checked it. The drama is over. I nearly let the dress go but then I realised that the problem was with her not the dress. The dress means whatever I want it to mean. Thank you to everyone for your well wishes and concern xxx

Your thoughts?

Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl where you can lots more insight into shady relationships.

Image credit Roijaune at SXC

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146 Responses to How Attempting To Get The Wedding Dress I Paid For Gave Me A Crash Course In Shady Relationships

  1. Unsaid it says:

    So sorry about the dress. However after all this negativity, getting the dress is spoilt. It will never be a perfect dress now. Only a reminder of how you forgot your self esteem. Isn’t that just like relationships? If you have to beg to get a response it’s just never as good as a genuine loving call made by a guy who cares, and you always carry the resentment even if he does eventually step up. Let it go Natalie, a wedding is about you, not what you are wearing. Enjoy the day, all the best. Xxx

  2. grace says:

    Aw, Nat, is it bad that I’m laughing?!
    You hit the nail on the head – we make excuse after excuse for them when we should be getting mad or, even better, walking away. And the texting, how rude! I know what you mean regarding silence – I manage people by silence myself. Trust me, as someone who does it – WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING.
    But you’ll find a lovely dress, I know you will, and you’ll look and feel gorgeous.

  3. Lauren says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve actually been dealing with a friend that has become VERY shady recently, texting one-word responses, if at all. I do feel disrespected and angry, and I’m tired! I refuse to chase someone & I refuse to be the only one putting in the effort. They no longer hold up their side of the friendship, and as sad as it may be I can no longer be this person’s doormat.

    • fallback no more says:

      I have been dealing with the same thing Lauren. Someone who I thought was such a great friend has been “managing me down” with texts and occasional public Facebook greetings! since last summer. (talk about cold and impersonal). I have no idea who she is and what she’s done with my best buddy. I respond when she invites me for a coffee and invariably she will cancel at the last minute. It has happened so many times that I can now predict it. I’d love to talk to her about it, but I literally haven’t been face to face with her since July. We used to get together several times a week. Anyway – it makes me really sad. I don’t give her too much of my energy, but I haven’t completely let go of the idea that I’ll talk to her about it. And when it first started I was really hurt. Now I just kind of sit back and observe what she does. Very odd.

      • sm says:

        Thats sad. I like to ask people what is wrong but sometimes they wont tell you, they will just avoid (azzclowns especially). I do have some friends who ‘drop out’ every now and again and its because they are conducting behavior they dont wont anyone to know about. And it is never good and most times involves dating an azzclown that everyone dissaproves of.

      • Lauren says:

        I haven’t completely let go yet either. It’s really hard, especially if you’ve been friends with the person for a long time. I am *afraid* to confront her too much, but only because I don’t want to lose her as a friend (although…ironically, in a way i already have)? So frustrating. I also get those feelings once in a while like somehow part of it is me…but I know that’s not true.

  4. tired_of_assanova says:

    I hear from readers who have spent months or YEARS being managed by text – I just don’t know how you do it, or at least I didn’t…until I was escalating the dispute with Paypal today and read back what I’d typed.

    Oh Natalie, you’ve been sucked into the Drama Meter going up and down! See, assclowns are *everywhere*, even in retailing!!

    I was managed by text the whole time I was with the AC and it was like a rollercoaster. Yes it is moment to moment, and HUGE amounts of time can go by very quickly as you sit with gritted teeth waiting for the next crumb.

    Living the text life could be a whole other post…

  5. Crystal says:

    Poo poo and big Doo Doo, Going to put your words back to you as they have helped me so much in the past week or so, I’m saying these like a blooming mantra. ….. ok, …. ready…

    “What other people do is all about them and has nothing to do with you, what you do is only to do with you”

    I’ve taken this deeper (cause i’m like that, i’ll pick something to death, including relationships) by analysing my thoughts and feelings in this way so really to understand the impact where generated from and what in fact it is saying about me or about them and I’ll allow the judgements, yet those to when by my self at my self will get the same mantra treatment.

    Root is I want x to happen (decide what x is)

    Thing that is in the way is that i’m experiencing a lack of and a want, that means i feel that i don’t have this inside of me.

    I don’t get to change the outside factors of any situation and neither does anyone, yet everyone can change their internal and choose different by choosing the feeling rather than the problem.

    I remember you saying that one can be in love without the other (natalie phrase) very true and its a much better feeling than loss of yet another idiot that isn’t actually there for you to shout at or reconcile with. (male or female)

    Yet I do know love and what love feels and i might be fuming at this lack thing in my experience, yet I can love something anything even if its the coffee, the internet, the music a bath a good joke, just anything and then do more of that…

    I can get happy about a wedding dress on ebay! I can get happy about seeing myself walking into perfume stores feeling a million dollars.

    I recon that is going to serve me a darn site more than thinking about someone whom obviously doesn’t have the time intelligence or thought capacity to contemplate thinking of me. xxx

  6. Alicia says:

    Grace…So the silence is intentional?!?! What’s the purpose if you don’t mind me asking? Is it a control or avoidance thing…and Unsaid it great comment

    • amanda says:

      I sometimes manage people with silence, and conversely feel managed by it, as well (the whole reason why I stumbled on this site). I never feel good about using silence… and work hard to communicate what I really think. I would never condone it, but I have resorted to it.

      I’ve been in situations where friends or suitors wanted/needed me more than I felt in return. They turn to me as their confidante. With friends, I use silence as a way of maintaining a boundary. I have one friend who will send me long e-mails multiple times a day telling me about the ins and outs of her love life. I respond no more than once every other day. I try to make up for my silence by being affirming about what she is going through, and being clear about what my boundaries are… but when I am busy and overwhelmed, I admittedly just turn off the tap.

      I’ve had a suitor who would do the same thing… if I wrote him, he would write me back within 30 minutes. If I re-engaged in kind, it would all escalate. I wasn’t attracted to him, and told him so very early on in our friendship, and made it clear that he *shouldn’t* hang around for my scraps if he wanted more. He deserved to be with a woman who would love him back, fully, but he didn’t want to let me go, and he said that he would know how to manage his feelings. I know that he ran up against them constantly. It was hard to watch. I had tons of compassion for him, because this is what I do with the EUM I’ve gotten messed up with and by. I tried to not be the EUW and tried throughout the course of our friendship to keep being clear… but I would also give myself 24-48 hours space to get back to his constant streams of e-mail because I was afraid of escalation.

    • Elle says:

      Grace is the one to respond here, but from my POV as someone who had a parent love managing by silence (and other methods), I think it’s all about control (both enforcing control and feeling control) – either to avoid something (a commitment, a conversation, a possible confrontation), or to discipline someone (to make a clear point, punish them, make them come to you to apologise, make them realise their mistakes, make sure they know that love or affection or respect has been withdrawn and can be at any point). One is more serious and potentially hurtful than the other, but they’re both about denying someone something. The person dishing out the silent treatment may feel entitled to do this – ie swamped in life, too pressured, anxious etc – but it is definitely the less courageous, and less healthy way of handling things, in my view (subject, of course, to situations where someone is forced into giving the silent treatment because they are being bullied and don’t know how else to deal with it – still not healthy, but sometimes deserving patience and compassion).

      • sm says:

        Yeah I’ve used the silence technique as a control method before but since it isnt my usual behavior, it’s like my body forced me into it. In my opinion the only time silence should be used is when going NC, other than that, if you care about the person then it might be best to let them know what is wrong. Silence is classic behavior for AC’s and Eu’s, you havent done anything to ‘wrong’ them, they just want to force you to do things at their comfort level and screw whatever is your comfort level.

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      I hope you don’t mind me responding and I’m not as far a long as Grace and she’ll probably respond more elegantly but as a EUW, I used silence deliberately as both an avoidance and control thing. It could get pretty silent when I was involved with EUM’s who would also use silence as a form of avoidance and control. As a EUW, I’ve also relied on text messaging/email when I just wanted to make sure the door was still open and wanted to avoid facing reality.
      My hands aren’t clean by any means. But they sure are burned!

    • grace says:

      Alicia and all
      When I had a falling out with a supervisor, I tried to talk to her about it. She walked out. We never spoke again. I liked the feeling of not needing to be nice and just NOT CARING. Though one could just as easily argue that she wan’t speaking to me.
      The EUM ex that I cut off a few years ago without any explanation emails me intermittently. I ignore him.
      When the ex who is married messages me via FB I ignore it without explanation. If he can’t post it publicly I don’t want to know.
      A friend of mine pestered me constantly about doing a certain activity with me. CONSTANTLY EVEN THOUGH I SAID NO. I finally had to ignore her for solid days before she gave up.
      Of course, I don’t owe any of these people any money, or, in my view, any (further) explanation, and I’m not in a sexual relationship with them, but I do know that silence holds them at bay. And I do know they don’t like it. I’m not busy, I didn’t forget, and it’s not a neutral position.
      The point of my reply to Nat isn’t “silence is a good way to manage people, you should try it” , it’s “don’t make excuses for people who are giving you the silent treatment”. I know in the distant past I’ve used it inappropriately. As a child I was so quiet I was almost invisible. so it’s easy for me to use silence (in the same way it’s easy for others to do drama, arguing and too much talking).
      Though all bets are off when it comes to NC. Silence then really is golden.

      • EllyB says:

        For many years, I did some volunteering for a sports association, even if I wasn’t an active member there anymore. I provided a lot of technical knowledge without receiving anything in return. What I did wasn’t crucial for them, but definitely useful.

        The point is, our president always treated me like sh*t. Even if I did valuable work, even if I was very reliable, and even if they didn’t have anybody else with my skills, he treated me as if I was a “totally unreliable bitch” he would like to sack at the next opportunity (even if, again, I wasn’t an employee, I didn’t get any payment, and they had nobody else on hand to replace me).

        For years, I tried to prove to him I wasn’t unreliable, I wasn’t a bitch, I was skilled, I was hardworking and so on. I went into a tailspin whenever he sent another nasty email (we almost never talked over the phone). Even last year, when I was already getting couselling, I was still hoping he would somehow “acknowledge my value” once I became “healthy”.

        I’ve gotten completely sick of it. I’m determined to stop it. I’ve e-mailed him (and all other board members) that I don’t have time to take care of the project anymore (which is completely reasonable given the fact that I live far away and have a very challenging job). I urged them to find somebody else.

        Of course, he acted totally astonished. I didn’t reply to his first email. Then I asked me whether I could… in the meatime, while they were searching… take care of this and that task? I didn’t reply. Then another (impatient) email came, asking why I didn’t reply?

        I feel “guilty”, but I know I have to stay silent until they realize they cannot “suck me back in” somehow. They need to find somebody else (and even if they can’t, honestly I don’t care anymore). I’m still willing to properly hand over my tasks to somebody else, but I’m not going to to anything more.

  7. Zsa Zsa says:

    Let us know what happens. And I’m glad you realise it’s about marrying the love of your life, not the dress. So many brides miss that point and get lost in the stress instead of being excited.

  8. Laurie says:

    This brings back so many recent bad memories. I can’t believe at one point I was actually begging my ex just to initiate a single text message or a date. Good Lord. And yes, infuriating, because meanwhile he was writing up and down other girls’ fb walls. When I confronted him about not initiating communication on its most base level, his response was, “I’m just not ready.” When nagging didn’t work, I tried being nicey-nice and pretending that I didn’t care that I was making all the effort: “He’s hurt. He’s wounded. And it’s all my fault. “Meanwhile, a ton of resentment was brewing beneath the surface.
    I’m starting to recognize that mature people actually TALK about their problems, hurts, and frustrations. Punishing people with silence is not exactly conducive to a healthy relationship. Also, trying to drag a text message out of your boyfriend isn’t a particularly healthy way to go either. Sheesh.
    Yesterday, I received a voice mail message from an organization I that I work for part-time for informing me that they were cutting their budget and no longer needed my services. Let-go in a voice mail? Seriously? I guess it’s better than a text message. Sorry you’ve had so much trouble getting your dress, Natalie. If this one doesn’t pan out, I’m sure the next one will be even better : )

  9. Intotouch says:

    Thanks for sharing your anger. Seriously. So much better than despair or “why me”. It’s reminded me how brilliant anger can be.

    Now you know the shape that suits you you can absolutely find someone who can make a similar dress. Maybe even a better one?

    Maybe the same is true of the men we fall for? At least experience of these gobshites lets us know what we do really like and need in a partner so maybe after all the crap we know exactly what to look for. Maybe I can find a designer to sew me an ideal man. I could probably knit one now that I think about it.

    Best of luck and thanks again for all the posts.

  10. Spinster says:

    “Don’t let what you perceive someone’s status, appearance, popularity, intelligence or whatever, blind you to seeing their actions and hearing their words for what they are. Important, good looking, super-intelligent and whatever else people do screw up and can screw you over.”

    Used to be a MAJOR stumbling block for me – in all types of relationships. Thank goodness for age & wisdom because looking back now, it’s like “How the hell did THAT happen? He/She is absolutely not worth it.” 😐

    To hell with the self-important stylist. No one is that damn special. Good luck with your NEW wedding dress search.

  11. Working hard says:

    so clear and so upfront and so true, you’ve made me feel certain about my latest choices. I can really see the analyses here. I love it. Thx.

  12. Broadsided says:

    “I realised today, I have been too frickin’ nice … Trying to be all nicey nice to trigger decency in another person is a crock, especially when playing the goody two shoes is not what’s needed; it’s owning your right to open your mouth and make your voice heard in the name of honouring yourself. ”

    —————————–Lesson learned, finally. I have been so guilty of this. Me being “nicey nice” did not trigger compassion or good treatment from any guy capable of neither…..With my last guy, when he started shooting petty criticisms my way (including criticizing me for being “too short”) – I should have looked him straight in the eye and said, “What the F@!#$&*!!?”

    The other big Ah Hah for me:

    “When someone refuses to acknowledge and accept the impact of their actions, recognise the difference in values and don’t bother trying to educate them. FLUSH!”

    I learned from my last guy who was on 2 heavy doses of antidepressants that even if they are medicated out of their ability to have compassion and accept the impact of their actions – flush, flush, flush. You can’t have a relationship with someone who does not two-way care. He cared very much what he felt, precious little or nothing what I felt.

    I’ve also tried so much to “educate guys” and explain too much what was wrong. Think it ever mattered? No. These are adult MEN. They know exactly what they are doing, much as we don’t always want to think so.

    Yes, someone communicating mainly by text and not returning calls is total avoidance. I haven’t yet dealt with a guy who communicated mainly by text. However, I’ve been broken up with via E mail!!

  13. amanda says:

    Thanks for this… right when I was getting mopey over the MM I’m trying eff-hard to get distance from. When I am caught up in missing him, or feeling hurt that he rejected me, it helps to have a reminder how badly I was letting myself get treated. That is the real story. It isn’t right to be evaded like this, whether in retail or love. I’m making a connection… the last e-mail I got from MM was 50% about how he’s sick (he’s been off and on sick for 2 weeks) and 50% about how after this same period of 2 weeks, he still doesn’t have internet at his new apartment. The old me would have thought, “OK… this explains why he hasn’t been in touch with me. I’ll keep waiting for the scraps” The more perceptive me realizes that he’s always gonna have an excuse. I’m more and more ready to walk away (we’re no longer sexually involved, but I am guilty as charged of hanging around, in the guise of “friend” for his stupid scraps). I remember once secretly rolling my eyes at a friend who, after two months, was still holding onto the illusion that she was in a relationship with a man who never bothered to call her because he was apparently losing his phone at the rate of 1-2 times a week. Easy to see when someone else has the wool pulled over her eyes. I’m feeling humorous about my situation today and am laughing at myself. ONE OF THESE DAYS I will learn.

  14. I love the analogy between the dress and a relationship. I especially liked the part about honouring your anger. Nicey-nice is really manipulation and just not honest. I’ve done it, too, I know. One thing I’d mention is that you likely weren’t meant to have this dress. I believe anything that needs to be forced wasn’t meant to be (including relationships!). The dress is not right for you if you have to work that hard for it and it causes you that much emotional stress (ditto relationships :)). My bet is you won’t get the dress tomorrow and that won’t be a bad thing. Or maybe you will and your dress hunt will end. Either way, you win.

  15. Natasha says:

    “Ever been out with someone who is blanking you but you can see that they’ve been on Facebook with their harem or surfing dating sites? Yeah, it’s infuriating.”

    Ugh, Nat I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. If it makes you feel any better, I have three bride-to-be’s in my life right now and every single one of them has had to do the one-hand-on-the-forehead-the-other-on-the-phone pose AT LEAST once! If any of them had a third hand there’s a good chance at least one would have ended up incarcerated by now. You are so right to realize that there is no dress worth being eff-ed around over. I’ve had to deal with business contacts communciating by text and it really doesn’t inspire confidence. Hopefully this woman steps up and acts like an adult and an intelligent businesswoman. Most importantly, may I say that you could literally show up in a cinched garbage bag and still be the most gorgeous woman in the room :)

    I almost choked on my Diet Coke at the quote above, because I’VE BEEN THERE and nearly given myself a rage-induced stroke over it, especially because the jackass I’d taken back because he claimed he missed me so much had the you-know-whats to say he was out of touch because he was “so busy”. AHEM. It’s actually kind of hilarious, because this guy barely ever called, so he expected me to believe that he was too busy to…text.

    Should I hear from him in the future, I should offer to play Cupid with him and this dress designer woman 😉

  16. jennynic says:

    “When someone refuses to acknowledge and accept the impact of their actions, recognise the difference in values and don’t bother trying to educate them. FLUSH!” Yes, so true.

    It sucks that there is no end to rude people. Sorry you’re having to deal with this kind of crap, especially over your wedding dress. Take a deep breath and count all your other blessings like two sweet little ones and your bf. Good luck with all this, my fingers are crossed that something positive will result. I don’t know how people who do this sort of shit are able to sleep at night. I know couldn’t.

  17. rosenfire says:

    So sorry to hear about your woes. I don’t know you personally, but I keep having this thought…sure, it’s based on what I know about MY personality, but here goes…even if this person finally delivers the dress by your new time limit, are you going to be able to look at the dress – and WEAR it on your special day – without thinking about all the anxiety and misery she put you through? You’re probably a better, stronger, more balanced person than I, but I would have a hard time not feeling my blood boil every time I thought about her – and the dress might be a trigger for me. I would hate for anything to steal your special day, and the accompanying utmost joy and peace. Feel free to flush my comment. :o)

    Oh, and the “managed by texts” thing makes sense, as does your advice to put on big girl panties and pick up the phone, but I’ve found that texting and emailing has become a sanity-saver for me. My partner does not remember what he says from moment to moment, so our therapist told me to stop talking to him and to start communicating via text and email so that the “conversations” can be saved and tracked and recalled. God Almighty, it’s brought sanity to my twilight zone. Is this ideal? No way. But it beats banging my head against the wall.

    • Magnolia says:

      rosenfire, maybe others will feel differently, but your share about your therapist made me stop chewing on my tamari almonds and reread. you’re with a guy who is not able to ever offer his word on anything, claims not to remember anything he’s said, and your therapist says communicate by email and text?? Maybe she’s trying to get you to see how ridiculous it is to have to try and “document” your relationship? What are you, a court stenographer?

      You: So, what are you bringing on our trip?
      Him: What trip?
      You: The trip you said you would take with me.
      Him: I don’t remember saying that.
      You (pulling out iphone … scroll … scroll): You said, quote: “Sure, let’s go on Saturday” on Wednesday afternoon at four-thirty.

      Tiring to type that out, and that’s just one dramatization! I’m not so sure the head-banging isn’t the better option.

    • sushi says:

      Oh dear, rosenfire, both this man AND the therapist need to be flushed, Magnolia is right, it sounds exhausting.

      • rosenfire says:

        All: Yes, “exhausting” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Cognitive brain problems, yes – and more. Neither needs to be flushed. Too much to explain via this forum, and I can see how ridiculous it seems, but I simply meant that sometimes it’s helpful to have a written record to refer to, especially in business. There’s a reason we sign contracts and have things in writing – no “he said, she said” or denials of how things really went down. On a personal note, I’d rather be exhausted and sane, than full of energy, only to be using my energies to bash my head against the wall. Then again, it’s my hope and prayer that someday, I won’t have to make this choice.

  18. sm says:

    THANK YOU NATALIE. “You don’t have to act like a crazy person, but you know what? It’s more than OK to be angry, it’s even more than OK to lay it down, and you shouldn’t feel bad for chasing for goods that you’re owed, or standing up for yourself.” This is what happened to me with my last guy. I was angry (I didnt act crazy or even raise my voice), I told him calmly and even asked what we could do about it. But he broke up with me because he felt my anger lasted too long (all of about 5 minutes). I’ve been feeling bad this whole time, not about standing up for myself or even getting angy, but I was worried that maybe my delivery of it scared him off. This post just squashed all that for me, thank you so much. I realize I legitimately stood up for myself and it wasnt ‘allowed’.

  19. sm says:

    Hope everything works out with the dress. Loved your analogy about not wanting to have to start the search again for another, and linking it to someone staying with an azzclown because they dont want to be single or start the search again. It is tiring.

  20. sm says:

    I get more angry about someone running off with my money than I do about someone running off with my heart. You know what, I need to reverse that.

  21. Magnolia says:

    Natalie, thanks so much for sharing this! The story resonates deeply because it is an. effing. wedding. dress. that you are having to give up on, and understand that no matter how great it looked, how much you want it, etc, there comes a point where accepting shady business or putting up with effery to get what you’ve negotiated just has to end. I’m sorry to hear that the deal has gone south like this – it was a vintage dress, right? Not like you can find it at another retailer. What a bummer. But great, great analogy.

    @grace: I have come to learn how to “speak” with silence, too. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the silent treatment, or the “no response” was not a tactic my family ever really used on one another. There was a lot of pouting and withdrawal, but always from a place of trying to get attention, never a place of gaining a power position and watching someone else grovel. Silence can be used judiciously, though, and sometimes it’s the only tool.

    I told a guy I dated recently (one date) that I thought we’d work better as friends, then the very next outing, which I initiated (as friends) his behaviour was abominable. When he tried to follow up a couple times after that, I just did not respond. I didn’t know him well enough to tell him all about himself, and I didn’t want any relationship, so it seemed the only choice. But learning how to “not speak” judiciously has made me so much more aware of people who are doing it unjudiciously, maliciously, or just lazily.

  22. Shannon says:

    Not to minimize the internal value of finding THE wedding dress, but really, it’s a piece of material….just like some men are pieces of s@#t. You don’t deserve to add more stress and unsurity to your life!! This type of treatment is always about them…but also about us…as in why we keep accepting it. I’m so much about giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. But after a bit of that, I’m done. I understand life can get crazy, but as you’ve said, it isn’t hard to pick up a phone and touch base! It’s called common courtesy…whether from a dress designer or a man.

  23. Natasha B says:

    OMG…how incredibly annoying though! You thought you had this in the bag…and then this crap happens. I don’t know about you, but I just assume that things are going to go well when you order a wedding dress from a celebrity stylist sort. Just like I used to assume that guys were like me and they would act in a decent manner. It’s incredible how many people have no decency…and sadly…how many have no compunction about putting you out. Then there’s the women like us…always worrying that maybe we’re jumping to conclusions, or feeling we need to see the best in people even when they are proving to be twats. I hope this woman steps up to the plate and you get your dress ASAP. I’m sorry that she has put you through this unnecessary stress in preparation for your big day. I’m glad it resulted in this post though! Love you Natalie Lue.

  24. LisaLise says:

    Hey Natalie and all the posters! You’re article is SO timely for me. I was dating an AC for about six months. I received a few phone calls whilst he was at work, but I was mainly managed by text and BBM. It really began to piss me off after a while but I was convinced that I loved him…plus he gave me the ole’ ‘One time in band camp…’ story about his ex treating him so badly and leaving him and taking all the furniture, so he doesn’t think he could love another woman like his ex (he actually told me that she was the love of his life…hmmm?).
    Long story short, in February he began to act distant and when I asked he said he was going thru ‘stuff’ (aren’t we all?) and he needed time to sort things thru. I suspected it was another woman, but I wanted him to say it to me directly. He told me to cool it with the texts/bbm’s and calls because he needed to fix his car (?). I did leave him alone for a couple of days, but I grew angry and sent some fiery texts demanding answers. He didn’t respond…until the next day when I was spending a lovely Sunday with my best friend. My phone rings and I see his number. I answer and an American woman tells me that AC has something to tell me…he comes on the line and says that the woman is wife! I am stunned and I ask him when did it happen. He said when he had gone to the US on vacation last November. Well, I hung up the phone. I immediately begin NC and go through my mourning. Five days into NC, AC has the audacity to text me to ask how I am. I ignore. A week later or so, AC texts again to ask if I am upset. I ignore. Yesterday, AC texts me: Can I explain? I ignore. My friend thinks I should be an adult and talk to him!?! I tell her he is married, he is no longer my problem and he is just not worth a conversation.
    When we were together, I would text/bbm him morning, noon and night. He probably thought I would be contacting him crying and begging and needing closure (my friend says him and I need closure…I tell her he is married…case IS closed). It’s day 23 of full-on NC and I am doing great.
    Everyday I read a different article and everyday I get stronger, and I maintain my resolve to leave that AC behind.
    Just like you’ve made up your mind as regards your wedding dress, Natalie! Thx for everything, Natalie! Coming upon your website was indeed a blessing. I found it before AC came clean,…

    • Magnolia says:

      LisaLise: well done sticking to NC despite your friend’s comments.

      • Thank God for That says:

        Ditto above. Your post is very inspiring, I’m glad NC is going so well for you – you have obviously started increasing your self-value. Stay with it :)

        I too find this website and all the wonderful people on it to be a constant pillar in my progress.

        • LisaLise says:

          Thank you, Thank God For That!

          I first felt ashamed to have been duped like that. I wondered if something was terribly unattractive about me. However, after I read an article by Natalie about how these ACs behaviour patterns have NOTHING to do with the women they hurt, I realised that this couid have happened to ANY other woman. And it does. His values and my values were congruent to each other, and the relationship would have crashed and burned eventually.

    • sm says:

      This is why I never listen to my friends, the advice is at time ridiculous. Why should you talk to him, he is not worthy. You are doing the ‘adult’ thing. The adult thing to do for him would be first not to get married when you are dating other people, second dont continue on with other people after you are married even if via text, and three what a wuss to have his wife call to tell you. I stick very closely to BR because I find that these are some of the only sane people I know.

    • Late Bloomer says:

      I’m just picturing the visual — Mrs. AC “making” him get on the phone to explain… You are better off letting her do the diaper duty. Hang in there with the NC.

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        “He told me to cool it with the texts/bbm’s and calls because he needed to fix his car (?).” This one made me spit my ice tea. And next week, his cat will be up a tree. These AC quotes are unbelievable but I’ve heard and believed my share. Trust me. Based on the comments on BV, AC quotes could fill an entire book. And then there could be a top ten.
        I’d like to lend my support to you in staying NC. Topline data: He’s married. It doesn’t matter now how or when or why. It’s a fact. You are being the adult in cutting contact. There is nothing to be gained from listening to his “explanation” regarding how he managed to get married while having a relationship with you. It’s a simple case of AC/EUM. You can get a better explanation by reading this blog. And, imagine how his new wife would feel knowing he’s still contacting you? As always, it’s always about their ego’s. I no longer listen to my “friends”. I only listen to Natalie and my BR friends. Oh yeah and I’m a former OW. Don’t go that route. OW’s never get upgraded. Also, be really careful. Having the new wife call you is NOT a good sign. The exMM’s wife hacked his email obtained our constant emails claiming our undying love for one another, has cell phone records of over 50-100 phone calls and text messages a day, and pics. Not good.
        You are on the right path. Case is closed. Semi-on topic Natalie, just like Nat closed the case with the wedding dress. I’d suggest BR to your friend and close the case with this joke of a mo. His poor wife!

        • LisaLise says:

          Yes Runnergirlno1, it is ridiculous the excuses AC tried to make me believe. LOL! So pathetic. I see myself as the lucky one who got away from this 50 yr old fool. Yup, he is 50. You would think age would bring maturity and temperance.

          Yes the postings here have REALLY been blessings for me. During my weak. sad moments, I just log on and read one of the thousands of articles/postings and I regain my strength and resolve to continue upwards and forwards.

          Thx to Natalie and all my fellow baggagerclaimers!

  25. Ria says:

    This article spoke to me great amount. These kind of actions happen on all other areas (especially proffessional field, as we now see on Natalies case). A very simple example – on a proffessional level to chase down someone (an email reply for instance) just to give one simple answer, so that project can process. OR having people giving you several promises and then just disapearing (not answering calls or emails). A bad boyfriend thing is obvious – ok he got lost after you had sex, but in all other areas its still kind of something unusual. I mean, on what planet is this designer on, may l dare to ask, to maintain her clientbase like this??? Sometimes l think people let this get away with too easily, like ok, cut off, next, when in this case her name should be out there as an example of her “masterpiece service”. Uhh, lm so angry with this kind of people.

  26. Elle says:

    I am so sorry that this diva putting you thru this for your dress.I know for me she has sucked the joy out of the experience . I’d just get the Paypal refund ad move on. I don’t know what size you are but decades ago when I married I bought a beautiful off the rack designer gown at Saks Fifth Avenue and it fit perfect. Your wedding is about more than a dress,so sometime with certain things we just have to live and learn. I know you’ll find something even better!

  27. Kissie says:

    Hey Nat,
    It’s been years since I’ve posted a comment but I’ve read every single post you’ve written and as always you are always on point and always brilliant! So sorry to hear about the hassle you are having with your dress. But I’m glad that you’re using it as a teachable moment in that you’re showing how any “relationship” can be toxic not just romantic ones and it is alwys in our best interest to remember “they aren’t that frivlib special and you aren’t that desperate” this “designer” is beyond unprofessional. Who the hell does he/she they are? You don’t treat anyone like that let alone a customer. Same goes for mr unavailables and assclowns. They do not have the right to treat us the way they do and once you put your foot down and draw a line in the sand and say this am mo damn more they either step up or gets to stepping. I wish you all the best in this episode. I certain everything will work out well and thanks for
    always being so true, so real and so honest with us. Your words keep me ontrack everyday!

  28. Assclown on Unavailable Street says:

    it is all about lack of control, both with man and with dresses.

    Honestly i wouldnt wear this dress now. It is tainted. Start afresh, and go into an actual brick and mortar store and buy one off the rack, or have them design one in store- never buy something such as a wedding dress from someone floating about in cyberspace.

  29. Charity says:

    How we do the text thingy lol a whole lot of future faking a lot. I am so happy I found your site especially on online dating and using web cam. Mr AC/Narcissist ended finally after 3 yrs we hardly every web cam mostly talk on the phone but the last 2 times we used the web cam I did not like what I saw at all his body language we repulsive. I asked him not to come after the last web cam convo but he still insisted. I think he just came to end it anyway. He left and had the nerve to go stay with some of my relatives saying the most horriable(sp) things behind my back and smiling in my face and playing the push pull stuff on me. From now if I ever online date again it will be a whole lot of web cam

  30. Reva says:

    Dear Nat,
    Please believe that you have coming your way the perfect dress. In order to get the most perfect dress, you had to pass this test and stand up for yourself, to the extent of saying no to the most tempting dress. Girl, this couldn’t be the “right” dress for you if you have to disrespect yourself in order to get it. See how much I’ve learned so much from you!
    wishing you the best in your search for the dress. XO

  31. Millan says:

    Sorry to hear this Nat – I read your blog almost daily as I have been transitioning some major life changes these past few months and your words were the final nail that made the penny drop with me. So THANK YOU. You blog continues to inspire and remind me of what’s important. Just recently I had the thought – but it DOESN’T MATTER if person x, y or z doesn’t love you – the ONLY person who’s love matters is my own. Every time a rejection is received it’s another opportunity to learn deeper how to be a more open, integral, loving and self-loving person, instead of taking it like there’s something wrong with me, or something I failed to do in some way. There are so many assholes out there and the only way to navigate them is to have your bullshit radar on at all times, which is actually an empowering and loving feeling – because it’s called REAL RESPECT and AUTHENTICITY to honouring one’s self.

    It’s funny, when I read your first post about this dress, I just had a feeling… I dunno – it didn’t seem like it was totally complete for some reason, and now this. It’s like, it took you a while to “commit” to “the dress” and when you did finally it was like you were following your own advice and once you realised that you made the decision quite quickly… I guess it reminded me of times I have done this and then lo and behold – spanner in the works. Something always to challenge us, eh, even on things that should be really straightforward. Who would suspect that a material purchase could bear such laborious lessons – yet again! No wonder you have been furious once you realised what was going on here. I sincerely hope you find a dress that you will love even more and I have absolute confidence that you will. With your blog and readership that designer should really have known better. How many brides to be will contact you to ask who to avoid? That designer shot themselves in the foot. Pity the fool as they say! And all best wishes to you and the search for a new dress! That is unless of course, it miraculously turns up tomorrow – fingers crossed.

  32. riotgirl says:

    One of the best things your blog has taught me to do, is to not accept bullsh*t and mind f*ckery! I had lived with it for years and I’ve always thought that it was my fault for anything negative or upsetting that happened in my relationships. It was a hard lesson because it meant that I had to face myself and -change- (that scary thing people do). But it’s been the best thing for me and has given me self-esteem and self-love in my relationships with friends, colleagues and partner.

    Commitment does requires consistent action and not just pretty words. Honestly, this “stylist” just sounds darn irresponsible. I can’t believe these people actually manage their own business! He/She can talk but obviously can’t deliver. Hopefully, you haven’t deposited too much on the dress and can get it back if they don’t pull their socks up. If you do choose to find a new wedding dress, I wish you all the best. I bought mine off the rack (it was a sample dress at a store) and managed to get at least $1K off the original price. Brought it home there and then! Good luck Nat! :)

  33. Elle says:

    I love this: “If you have to chase down someone and basically make most of the effort, you’re going to get veeeerrry pissed off after a while.”

    So simple and so true. It’s the major clue in the early phase of a relationship, to pull back and rethink your next move because otherwise you’re simply storing up feelings of anger, confusion and resentment.

  34. LP says:

    Brilliant post. Simply brilliant. :o)

  35. Fedup says:

    Loved the paypal metaphor- dealing with a dispute currently, coz I got screwed over. But how do these designers make any money if they rip off people? That’s bad business and people aren’t going to recommend them to others.

  36. Snowboard says:

    It’s strange how, even after learning everything, we can still find ourselves back in these frightening situations, even briefly… :( I hope you get your dress tomorrow, but if not, good luck on your new hunt! Don’t wait ANYMORE.

    Well I finally got out of my bad situation for good (and this time I mean it). I found out the trick to getting rid of jerks who keep badgering you is to say that you won’t have sex with them anymore. Within 24 hours, the playa was ready to move on. I’m just sad that I had to have sex with him in the first place in order to be completely sure in my own mind that he was a jerk. I **knew** he was pressuring me way too insistently for sex, I knew that my own boundaries tell me that if a guy is pressuring you for sex this is all the more reason to take everything even SLOWER, but I caved anyway. :( Now I’m definitely back to my old rule: no sex for two months. I need that long to get comfortable.

    At least I got out of this damaging situation faster than I did with any of my prior experiences with jerks. I held on to the first AC for six years, the second one for two years, and with this one I had only a half-hearted crash course relationship with him that lasted about a month. I think he is utterly perplexed by my behavior, and now believes “women are completely insane,” haha. He is so used to getting whatever he wants from women.

    Natalie, you really have changed my life. Thank you so much for BR.

    • LisaLise says:

      Thanks Magnolia!!!

      Yes Snowboard. The AC in my situation used to always say that he doesn’t chase women, so I keep that in the fore front of my mind. He is contacting me, I guess, because he can’t fathom my not chasing him down. Very empowering what a little self-respect can do for us ladies.
      AC will forever be perplexed.

  37. dancingqueen says:

    Nathalie honestly I hope that she does not send it: that dress, it is full of her lack of respect and sending loving thoughts that you find an excellent seamstress to make you a better one, cut just for you. Flush her and that toxic dress! You deserve bettee than dress-crumbs!

  38. Ace says:

    Just went through something similar with a mortgage broker. I found the perfect house, I was ready to buy it, and ….. no response. No text, no call. I spent days agonizing, the house got sold to someone else. Then she had the gall to blame me for the failure when I let her know.

    I should have recognized the mind-effing and moved on faster. However, I feel that everything happens for a reason, so tomorrow I am starting over with a real company. Financial transactions are a little easier to overcome, because there is always another dress, another house. So sorry about your experience, I hope you get the dress you deserve.
    Happy times ahead!

  39. fallback no more says:

    this just goes to show the craziness of the world we live in and the ridiculousness of people. all of the basic principles of having self-respect and keeping boundaries … showing people how they may and may not treat us … that are talked about on this blog apply in all of our interactions. i’m going through something similar with my mechanic … doublespeak, gas lighting, vague statements that mean nothing ….. i love you expression “mindfuckery” . i always try to remind myself that other people’s bad behavior and lack of integrity isn’t my fault. i’m only in control with how i respond to them. do i let the assclown lothario continue to lead me on? with my pie in the sky dreams? do i let the guy who I’M PAYING to fix my car jerk me around? good luck with that dress whichever way you decide to go.

  40. Story says:

    Managed by text–oh no. I work in customer service, and we are taught never to treat the customer this way! Sorry to hear this about the dress.

    You are absolutely right–silence can communicate something we don’t want to hear.

    I think the lessons of “Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl” are finally starting to sink in and I’m getting to the practical side of my former relationships. I must have really been blind. Yes, I was a Facebook friend and I do recall my ex-whatever-he-was writing in response to a woman’s post on his wall: “If I was in the city, we’d get together.” And of course that would be the time when he was dodging calling me. I used to say, even in the midst of wanting to talk with him, that it would be hell to marry into his family: he didn’t speak to his father or his brother, so there weren’t many people that he WAS talking to! It sounded like drama central, but I wanted to be there…Never again.

    I think one of my major red-flag alerts was when he posted, “you’re still awake?” on my FB wall. I thought how cute that was (he was in another time zone) and I answered it. He never responded back to the post, though we talked later. Then after we broke apart (but were still–ahem–friends) I found he posted the identical comment to someone else! Made me think the original comment was not intended to reach my wall.
    Glad to look at this without rose-colored glasses, finally!

  41. runnergirlno1 says:

    It’s just amazing how this happens. It creeps up on you. I can follow totally your thinking that by giving her a few more days to respond, it would produce something. You are busy, she is busy and she’ll get back with you. Then, they don’t. Yeah, WTF. I’m so sorry this is happening to you, again. You’ve recognized it and nipped it in the bud, so to speak.
    This why your blog and your books are invaluable to me, the info pertains to all areas of my life, not just relationships with the opposite sex.
    I’m with you completely. Crap, you may have to flush this dress, get your money back, and get back out there. And yes, I can see you spitting feathers. I’ll spit some for you. But you’ve followed through and set a boundary. Since I’m still struggling in this regard, it’s wonderful to see how boundaries relate to everything, including the purchase of a wedding dress. Thank you for sharing, although I’m sorry. Maybe this lady is your “one last ass” (borrowing the phrase from a comment Blaise Parker).
    And Natalie, having been through the wedding dress thing three times, I looked great every time because I was me. It wasn’t about the dress. Congratulations on finding the bf and soon to be hubby. Eyes on the prize…YOU and your little daughters and hubby. Frick the lady that conducts her business via text. Flush anybody that corresponds via text. Tomorrow or you find another dress. Simple. You are getting married and found a healthy partner. That’s priceless.

  42. Sue says:

    Oh Nat! What a drag. Basically we are all decent people wanting to give other people the benefit of the doubt, cut them some slack, and hope they come correct. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up for doing that. (Problem with most of us is we usually do that for far too long) You recognized a familiar feeling and responded in a way that definitely says self-love. I don’t believe you left your self-esteem behind at all. Good for you! You can’t protect yourself 100% from these morons. The key is to minimize the time we are exposing ourselves to them. I have had my fair share of EUM’s busting my boundaries. I used to beat myself up about how stupid I was and vowing never to do that again. But people lie, and they fake, and they make promises and it does take SOME amount of time to figure out what the hell they are doing. Once you figure it out then the next step is to get yourself outta there ASAP. Your posts have helped me to do that! Thank you so much. About the dress. I can’t help but think of Carrie Bradshaw. She ended up wearing a simple no-name suit (but had a fab pair of shoes) and was happy as a clam. Besides, you would probably look great in just about anything. Good Luck!

  43. A says:

    Sorry to hear it, Nat. Ridiculous and frustrating regardless of the item/interaction, but so much worse when it’s someone screwing you around about something so important.

  44. bits says:

    I admire you so much, Natalie, for being so clear-sighted and appreciating yourself in such a healthy way! It’s been two weeks now since I broke up with Mr. Unavailable, and it’s been hard. I miss him and I miss us. I keep repeating all the shitty stuff to myself like a mantra so I wouldn’t fall into the trap of remembering the good times, and it does help. I’m trying to keep busy, and realize I’m avoiding feeling my feelings. I just don’t think I can take the pain. I feel like I’m still running away from him.

    I have cut off all contact, deleted him from my phone, deleted all our messages, even deleted him on Facebook. That seems rough since we’ve been friends for more than ten years and so my friends are his friends, but I don’t want reminders of him, and I don’t want to give him the opportunity of stalking me online and feeling like there’s some kind of a one-way “relationship” still going on.

    Still, I spoke with him twice, shortly, after the initial break-up moment. On both occasions he said he has a lot to say and that he is writing me an email. Well, it’s two weeks since the break-up and more than a week since that one short conversation (which hurt, but was necessary and helped me make an additional important decision), and no email. Of course not. What was I thinking? But that one stupid stupid “promise” has got me hooked: I am waiting, checking my inbox a million times a day, AS IF A STUPID EMAIL WOULD MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE, waiting hoping waiting waiting. It’s two weeks: he’s never going to write. If he would, it would not matter. I feel so embarassed that I’m clinging onto this hope of — what?? a hope of nothing. It’s like he left me with this last effing trap that I can’t seem to shake off. I have some trouble right now with liking myself because of this… and I’m thinking oh my god, this guy could not, in two years, give you an inch of commitment, and you’re sitting there thinking that a goddamn _email_ would somehow magic it all better? Ohhhhhhh.

    • grace says:

      I strongly believe that avoiding him is the best (only) thing to do. He’s promising you an email, so what?
      Yes, there needs to be a time of grieving but don’t get stuck there, waiting for him to come up with the goods. He will not. How he is treating you is completely within character and totally reflects the relationship you had.
      He may throw a few crumbs your way when he’s bored/lonely/ horny. They are worse than worthless.
      NC him, he’s had PLENTY OF CHANCES.

    • Polly says:

      You know an email won’t make it better – it will just be more mind f**kery to keep you from moving on so why don’t you either close down your email account – or if that isn’t practical just block him. Then even if he does email you you know you won’t get it. Taking away the temptation to keep checking my inbox by deleting the account completely was the best thing I did to keep from contacting mine. That and discovering BR! Good luck x

      • S says:


        So proud of you for cutting all contact. That in itself takes a lot of courage. But, don’t be so hard on yourself either. Its only been 2 weeks after a 2 year relationship. There’s a reason you’re holding out for that email. I think you need it to validate the 2-year relationship and it probably also represents closure for you.
        Be kind and gentle with yourself and give yourself time. You’ll see that as you start to heal and focus on yourself, your need and desire for the email will diminish. And, you never know he may surprise you with it one day when you’re least expecting it :)

  45. happy beginning says:

    Natalie, I’m sorry to hear that.
    I have these kinds of frustrations with my brother. He has two gorgeous little girls and if it weren’t for them, there are times I would have walked away. But as it is, I seem to have little choice but to chase. It really upsets me sometimes and because we were once close it feels like a rejection, I’ve internalised it so much. I think it holds some of the key to having such low self esteem.

    • happy beginning says:

      I’m still upset about this, even after a run. I think I just remind him of family issues that he can’t deal with -that’s my guess because he pushed me away when the family fell apart- but it’s not my effing fault, I was a kid and he even tells his family what a tough time I had. So why does he make things worse and undermine my confidence so badly? When I’m ignored like this (it’s 1 month since he said he’d ring and has ignored 2 messages since), I go through all of my flaws and everything I’ve done wrong, like cringeworthy things I did 15 years ago … it really hurts though am learning to talk myself out of it.

      But what makes me annoyed, is learning from these comments that it’s not something that’s done unknowingly. So why? I don’t text or ring him every day, barely every month, don’t make any demands, don’t ever complain except 2 times in the past when I’ve given him an earful for being an absolute shit. If I was that offensive, he wouldn’t ask me to babysit, which I’ve done on many mornings. I can say with confidence that I haven’t done anything wrong and am not that annoying, and he gives me plenty of encouraging crumbs, doesn’t seem to want to lose me entirely, so WTF?!

      I can’t go NC because the kids mean so much to me, so I don’t know what to do. What happened with the dress, I get this all the time, from someone who used to look out for me.

      This site is such great therapy, really helps to order thoughts and empathise with others and thank you for giving me a place to vent (and vent I did!). More than anything, it has helped me to expect better, know my boundaries, and validate my own thoughts, but it makes a situation like this hard to deal with.

      • crigri says:

        You are right to say this site is therapy. It helped me through my second darkest period of my life, the break-up from my cheating LTB (the first trauma was losing my father at 14 years old).
        Keep strong, reading and posting. We can help each other through hard times with advices and good words.

      • Mymble says:

        Happy beginning,
        I emphasise as the males in my family – father and brother – are both somewhat like this. My brother likes to be the big chief in our family and control everyones access to everyone else, deliberately keeps me out of the loop in relation to certain family happenings. He has never shown any interest or affection towards my kids either. My father i have not spoken to since last may, i have emailed him a couple of times and he has not replied, apart from a “round robin” sent to the entire narcissistic harem boasting about his new job. I call him Mr Me.I didnt bother to reply. In the past I felt very hurt and upset,
        much less so now.
        This is all about them, their controlling behaviour (brother) and selfish narcissism (father).
        In my brothers case I have sometimes seen the jealousy monster rear its ugly head too. He is still trying to “beat” me, by being the most popular family member.
        It’s just like it says here, you have to concentrate on loving yourself, being with people who are able to have healthy relationships, and understand that their behaviour is about them not you, don’t take it as a judgement.

        • happy beginning says:

          Thanks for these comments. Mymble, I agree that not taking it as a judgement is the key. It feels like it because it’s someone I looked up to, whose opinion counted the most and who’s known me the longest. I am hurting on your behalf about lack of affection to your kids. I bet it will be the same for me (if I ever move on and have them). But haven’t we ALL been in some way disrespected by the people we’re closest to and trust the most, and so many people here are learning fast and doing fine. I need to grow up! Most people I know have sibling issues.

          I think jealousy issues are a big factor in my case too, have always felt that. He isn’t narcissistic, just unable to process grief I think, but what I have learned from Natalie’s dress is that it’s not ok to mess people around. Yes it sounds obvious but it’s something i’ve let happen over and over because after all the upset of being ignored, i’m relieved to be warmly accepted in the fold again and don’t want any tension. Well this isn’t good enough! He is disrespectful and discourteous to me over and over, knowing it hurts, and he CHOOSES to do this over addressing his own issues.

          Wow, ‘Natalie’s dress’ should become some kind of law. Next time someone complains about being managed by text and having no control, I will tell the story!

  46. ChaisingRainbows says:

    Natalie, that is really effed up. I hope you get a dress or your money back ASAP.

  47. Go Natalie! I hope that the dress gets here today, but if it doesn’t, like you said, there are plenty more dresses out there, and I know you will find one that you love.

  48. elaine says:

    This is so so true! I’m a big believer in being treated right when it comes to consumer buying & I wouldn’t want the dress now either! I had this texting waiting for texts last year with a man I love whilst he made his decision that yes I was for him, actually had been split up for 18 months from his wife and was chasing the most appalling woman ive ever known (miss unavailable) however I’m glad that he did because he knows what hes got with me, but there was a time a few months later when I was going to give up & I did, but then he came to me! I just played the game too, and although it was difficult he did realise that I am for him! Took a few months but once he knew that I will not be effed about he stood up and took notice! Just like the women who now has to give you your deposit back & a risk her name may be dirtied, he too thought oh dear I’m going to lose her, however he has been true his word and we are in love, but my guard will always be up!

  49. posyzadok says:

    Dear IntoTouch – if you are going to knit your ideal man, do make sure you have a cable needle handy! And also check the “Mature Content” section on! From one knitter to another!

  50. Sam says:

    Sounds like she has tried to bust your boundaries Natalie! No trust, commitment, respect for you, or your wedding dress and special day. But wow what another great lesson to learn from.

    You will have a wonderful wedding dress, because you won’t let anyone mess you around :) x Go Girl!

  51. Helsbels says:

    Fantastic comparison! I can see it exactly! It’s so inspiring, thank you :-)
    I hope it all works out well with your dress!

  52. lioness says:

    This post has so remindered me of a recent experience with a client (I’m a part’time virtual assistant). Initially, before we met I didn’t have a good feeling about him due to an email he had sent me about some work. It was the tone which put me off…something along the lines of “let’s see how quickly you can turn this (ie work) around”. We’d not even agreed that I was doing any work for him yet, we were still at the discussion stage. I sent him an email in response to state this and alsostating that I didn’t like the tone and that I was fully booked up with work until the New Year.

    In Jan this year he contacted me again about work and as I needed extra cash I agreed to meet him to discuss this. We met in a local cafe and when I returned home I received a text from him asking me out for a drink! I replied no, and I was busy.

    Later we had another meeting (I didn’t refer to his text and kept it all business) we agreed on some work I would do for him and payment terms etc, which I emailed to him to agree to. He paid me for the first bit of work, albeit I had to prompt him. For the second lot of work I had to chase him for 3 weeks for payment. He kept saying had set up payment for Fridays to my business account – when I checked no payment had been made. When I told him this, he said he would sort it out. This went on for 3 weeks. Me sending strongly worded emails or tel calls and him saying he would sort out the payment. Over that time I felt he was just playing games was not going to pay me. Eventually, he wanted to meet to another meeting to discuss work, which he cancelled on the very day of the meeting. I sent him a strongly worded email about no more work if outstanding payment and that I was disappointed that I had done work and he had not paid me according to our agreement. I asked him to pay the outstanding amount into my account before a specified date. When i checked my account that evening the cash was there. Like Nat I had a gut feeling I should have listened to. I wish I have gone with my gut and not taken on any work with this guy. In hindsight have work on my confidence and self-esteem and read Nat’s posts. I stood my ground and realised that him paying had nothing to do with me but was down to his own behaviour/issues. Also, I was still listening to my gut all the way and decided that if he paid me or…

  53. sorrel says:

    A thought provoking post that reminds me of some of my own unanswerable questions.

    A month ago I ended a connection with a man I’d known for three months. I was VERY grown-up about this one in a sense- though (or because) I was very fond of him I never jumped into the sack, was very cautious, we usually met for tea and walks!, a lovely person but certainly an EUM- he’d a logjam of incompleted and unhappy relationships with women and I was not going to get tangled up in his messes. He’s seeing a therapist, and who’s to know if he’ll pop up in the future with a cleaner life and open heart- currently I’m trying to let go of any hope that I’ll ever see him again and redirect the energy into my own life. Not easy.

    Anyways. I’ve been reading Natalie’s blogs through the duration of my encounter with this man- which helped to remind me of my own bottom line. I’ve also been very observant of my own responses to the situation, sensing that there’s been very important things I need to learn about myself in this. For one- historically I’ve always pulled an Annie Oakley with a shotgun when I’ve felt emotionally threatened, and I knew, this time, I had to find another way of responding. As soon as I began to see this man was EU, my gut said ‘chop chop’ (Nat’s blog reaffirmed this), but I held back for a while. Ok maybe a teeny reason for this was to see if he’d change. But more I was trying not to react to my own uncomfortable feelings (of affection and fear, both) by nuking their external ’cause’. Now that it’s over, and we haven’t had contact for a month, I’m wrestling with how to be in the silence. This week he sent me a book in the post with a short note. I think the gesture was his way of keeping me hooked even though nothing in his end has changed. The book bugged me. I put it back in its envelope, it’s now in the storage room in my cellar. I couldn’t have it near me as if it was radioactive. At this point I’m not going to respond to him. But I don’t want to use the silence as a weapon or punishment or power trip- which I find manipulative and a bit sleazy, but I can feel myself going there because the book threw me into a spin, touched my raw feelings all over again (perhaps his intent) and so I felt threatened and angry, not by him but by my feelings, and it’s easier to attack than to feel something painful…

    And so a messy…

    • Kit Kat says:

      sorrel…. I resonated with your post… Sometimes I get NC and the silent treatment mixed up in my head…. My mother used the silent treatment as punishment with me as a child and I tend to do that as a learned behaviour thru out my life… My adult children (25 & 22) joke around with me a bit that I give them the silent treatment… I am a work in progress on that and try to do better with them and others in my life with expressing why I am mad/upset with them and my reason for being so… Anyway, with the AC I have not/ and will not ever respond to him when he has sent a short email with : Hope all is well with you…. since his cheating/lying to me about it. Anyway I have no intentions of breaking NC with him but sometimes I feel like I am giving him the silent treatment out of anger and punishment to him ??? Anyone else have these feelings out there ??????????????

      • LoveyDovey says:

        Hi Kit Kat,

        My first time responding here cuz I love this blog. I’ll respond to you the best I could due to my own life experiences and what I’ve learned about people in general:

        I think that going NC and giving the silent treatment IS essentially the same thing but it’s used for different purposes, most importantly: One is for temporary effect and the other is for permanent effect.

        When you use the Silent Treatment, you cut them (anyone) off temporarily to “send a message” or punish that person, for whatever reason…hoping to get a response from them. You don’t want to stay mad and out of contact from that person forever and you do this hoping to get some kind of positive reinforcement .

        You respond differently when said response/reaction you were looking for is given and IF satisfied…the silent treatment is no longer in affect. You feel better and you want continue on.

        Then again…you may NOT get said response/reaction by using the silent treatment, so what has been your response to that? More pent up anger and resentment, and sometimes you end up having to swallow your pride and the next thing you know you’re back to square one with the same issues that really needed to be dealt with left unresolved.

        Realize this is EXACTLY what AC’s do to people from their own perspective. They give you the silent treatment as a way to put you in your place… but when YOU are giving them the silent treatment, they somehow manage to not “get the message” and manage to turn tables all the time. It’s like they are laughing at you when they don’t feel like they are feeling punished and the truth is…they don’t, because they never cared about you or your feelings to begin with.

        Think about it: If the Silent Treatment was designed to dish out punishment, keep someone at bay, or send a subliminal message that you’re pissed off at someone, then why does it never work when we are using it on the AC who seems to always come back into our lives? It kind of loses its meaning if they are not responding in kind, especially long term where they don’t change their disgusting behavior towards us.

        That’s why , unlike the normal Silent Treatment, NC is designed to be permanent: They need to get gone, because they will never change as long as they keep thinking you ARE using it as some kind of fake punishment mechanism. They WILL see it as…

        • sm says:

          Right on Loveydovey!

        • Kit Kat says:

          LoveyDovey…. Thanks for responding and yes your are absolutely correct… I see by your post where the silent treatment (I really need to quit doing that) with the people that I care about is not forever , it kinda like I just want them to realize they did something that upset me…. But the NC I am dishing out to the EUM/AC is FOREVER…. and its silence no matter what he wants .. Friends is not an option , I will not be downgraded, I know he was shocked I just walked away with my head held high…Why wouldnt he be shocked , I was shocked I did it as well… So very thankful I walked or I would be one of his HAREM members… NO THANKS…. He just isnt that great :)

          • tired_of_assanova says:

            I don’t know what it is but sometimes I wonder if all this electronicalisation of our lives has something to do with it – so many ex dates, exes and ex hookups (well, they might be still active!) get sent to the ‘harem’ bin after their guy/girl is done with them. It is all too easy to manage these days with the crumb control panel that facebook is.

            Natalie is right – when I go on facebook and look through my friends, SO MANY have the ex on there, even if they were a total and complete ASSCLOWN. It is like we just can’t let go anymore – we want to hold on to everyone and everything in our lives and it detracts from us.


    • tired_of_assanova says:

      It is JUST a book.
      Read the ‘It’s JUST cake’ post :)

      Yes, you will struggle for a while with NC. I know I did for a few months…

      At least he didn’t send you a wedding dress!

  54. Arlena says:

    Nat, I’m sorry to hear about this unexpected trouble when everything seemed to be in place.

    Yet, why do I get this vision of knocks on your door and tailors/designers bowing with due respect saying: “Natalie, it would be my honour to customize the dress of your dreams for you.” ? You’ve done your homework: you know your perfect fitting cut, material, price range and the date of your wedding. It just needs someone to sew it on your lovely bones.

    I very much hope you’ll refuse the dress by now regardless of the makers reactions as I too think it would show – though not visibly – but a nasty stain. (BTW I wondered why this designer couldn’t do the math and see the wonderful advert opportunity coming along with your order as I am pretty sure that we will in due time be given a tiny glimpse of you in your dress.)

    Since last post most definitely we won’t opt for being a harem member of hers and hoping she’ll might make our dresses when time has come for some of us 😉 we won’t morph and pretzel to fit into her celebrity niche craving being validated with a dress of her makings.

    Aside the troublesome aspect there was a smile on my face, still is, as I am very grateful you shared this with us. It means even growing out of bad habits, it’s smart to stay vigilant and if confronted with old patterns it doesn’t mean it’s all about us. It means a lot to me as you show not only brilliant talk but how committed you are to WALK your talk. PRICELESS! You incorporate and live what you are writing about and that makes you very special and trustworthy. It is a pleasure to follow you and heed as much information as possible and this post is a full-packed one! I love it and your determination! Should I see a wedding dress from now on it will have this wonderful lesson stitched into its hem.

    So whatever your decision finally will be, I wish you the very best for your special day and beyond. xxx

  55. rachel says:

    Sorry you’ve been so stressed.
    I’d like to add, that even if your bloke does come good (fat chance on any planet) there’s every chance you won’t like them half as much as you thought you did anyway, because when you look at them, you associate them with feelings of knotted tummy, migraine and tense shoulders.
    Anyone who causes me too much headwork now, is like the equivalent of that boozy drink you had too much of once, and now you can’t even sniff it because it makes you retch.
    I sincerely hope your dress turns up asap, and that you’re over the moon with it.

  56. Arlena says:

    I adore British Comedy and as an afterthought there sprang to mind a scene. In the episode “A Vicar in White” from the series “The Vicar of Dibley” lovely French Dawns character gets married. When she has her white dress on and stands outside awaiting the car to get her to church, the moment it pulls up it drives through a big puddle and she gets splashed with dirt from top to toe ruining her dress. Only minutes before the wedding takes place. All she can come up with last minute is to put on her white flowery-décor pyjamas. Absolutely hilarious!

    It’s on YouTube. Maybe it puts back a smile on your face. It won’t come that far for you. Good luck, Natalie.

  57. sorrel says:

    kit kat,

    RE silent treatment vs NC (you made my muddle about it more clear, thanks)-
    certainly each of us must decide how we want to be in an experience, how to respond. In trying to figure out how I want to deal with NC with this man, if I feel and act hard-assed and angry then maybe it’s a cue for me to sit with some hurt feelings rather than focussing on him as the enemy against which I use silence as a weapon. In the end, maybe too (I say this blind in the dark) none of this is really about him.

    • grace says:

      The EUM I know has tried to send ME a book too. He emailed me for my address. Except he has written this book. And I’ve no doubt that, like the other books, there will be a cameo character in it based on me. It SEEMS nice but it’s not. Because when the chips were down, and when I needed some support, he started texting me (always the texts) about my breasts (which aren’t even noteworthy). When I forgave him for that and tried to meet up with him he texted me last minute (always the texts) that he couldn’t make it.
      It’s not about being hard or using silence as a weapon (though it can be a weapon), it’s about protecting yourself from CONSTANTLY BEING LET DOWN BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THEM.
      Of course, your guy may be a stand up guy and a reliable friend. That’s your call. I know mine wasn’t and isn’t and should he change for the better he’ll have enough self-awareness and peace of mind to LEAVE ME ALONE . I’m just someone he has romanticised as the one who got away. Even though he dumped me. You gotta remember, when you handed it to him on a plate he didn’t want it. Now you’re out of range he feels it’s “safe” to reach out to you. Should you respond, watch him head for the hills. Rinse, lather, repeat.
      Even if the man is thoroughly decent but can’t give you what you want, and if being his friend would be too hurtful, it’s OKAY to no longer have contact. It’s normal. Otherwise, our lives would be cluttered with people we didn’t quite hit it off with. That would be quite an entourage (or harem).
      Sometimes being emotional available is about having boundaries and not worrying about how it looks to other people.
      I agree that any deeper issues you may DON’T have anything to do with him. That said, it doesn’t mean you have to make all the flotsam and jetsam part of your life just because they send you a book.

  58. Anna says:

    You’ll look prettier in the new dress without the stress that woman is causing you.. Even if you have to start again… I’d try negotiate a discount for all the hassle. People who send a lot of texts in general tend to be quite immature and annoying, man or woman…. ( my experience:)… Have a great wedding… Sure you’ll look stunning whatever you wear!

  59. Atrophy says:

    Nat, sorry for your troubles! I hope you get it all sorted out.

    Could you write a post explaining NC vs Silent treatment as quite a few of us are confused.

    I ran into the ex EUM last week. I felt if I broke NC it would have been a slippery slope and we’d be back in a casual relationship.

    I was proud of myself for displaying self control and he didn’t notice me. Problem is I feel childish and also feel like moving on. Not thinking of being NC and simply being!

    I don’t know if we can or should be friends. I don’t really care anymore!!! Instead of thinking of it as fate or the universe bringing us together, I thought of it as a step that I didn’t fall for that trap again! Yay me!

    • Atrophy, silent treatment in a relationship is a form of abuse when done on a habitual basis. If you’ve broken up with someone, it’s not silent treatment, it’s moving on. No Contact is used by people who have been in unhealthy relationships and the normal route of breakup has proved to be unsuccessful, whether it’s because you have no self-control and keep opening yourself up to pain by for example, trying to be friends but having a different agenda and in fact ending up in a casual relationship, or because the other person will not respect boundaries, in or out of the relationship, leaving no choice but to cut them off, or call the police.

      All healthy relationships have a period of NC after they end – it’s not called nC; it’s called getting on with your life and having the space to breathe and grieve the loss. A half decent person would not use your vulnerability post breakup to their advantage.

      NC is not the same as silent treatment by a long way, unless you are using NC for inappropriate purposes which is to play games and manipulate the person into doing what you want. Then it is silent treatment by another name.

      You no longer wishing to communicate after breaking up is your right. Use it.

      Also read

      Suggesting that NC used appropriately is silent treatment is to suggest that the entire adult population is giving silent treatment to their exes. The relationship is over. Life has to move on. To expect to continue on as is, is foolhardy especially when dealing with someone who has behaved in a far from respectful manner when you were together.

      NC is a choice. You either want to move on, or you want to play games. If the person was going to breakup reasonably, you’d never have to consider NC in this form in the first place.

      • Stuck says:

        what if they don’t give you back an appartment frontdoor key that you can’t duplicate and is expensive to replace.. Mister AC, whom I ended it with myself, thinks he can give me silent treatment (or he thinks NC) and NOT returning my key in the meanwhile. I get so angry and it keeps me stuck. I need that key, also, it makes me feel unsafe (he’s not violent but still) that he can enter the building. I don’t know what to do because I have sent him 2 emails already to ask for that key. Should I just go after it. I never want to see or hear from him again though.

        • grace says:

          Get a Saturday job or eat potatoes and cabbage for a month. Don’t contact him anymore.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          I vote for replacing the lock. Think of it as an excellent physical reinforcement of your commitment to keep this man out of your life.

          Expensive perhaps, but money well spent. (If it makes you feel better, I spent thousands in therapy trying to “lock” an AC out of my life. Consider yours a bargain.)

        • Mymble says:

          Can you co-opt the assistance of a large male or two (colleagues, friends, or relatives) and go and doorstep him without warning? Its your property, and your security. He is taking the p***.

        • Natasha says:

          Stuck, I was in a similar situation. I left a sweater that my late grandmother had given me and had a lot sentimental value at my ex-AC’s place and he refused to send it back, even after I calmly explained why it was important. (Nat, you’ll recall talking me off the ledge over this!) I was livid and I think, in all honesty, it had more to do with the disrespect of the whole thing than the actual article. Yes, it sucked but I also had plenty of other things to remember my Nana by. It’s the combo of being treated poorly and then not getting something you want/need back that’s infuriating!

          For what it’s worth, my father is a landlord and he has key replacement fees written into the leases, but if it’s a good tenant he waives it. If you’re in the US, you generally don’t have to fess up to being short one until the end of the lease, so if you’re able to, you could put money aside periodically and then replace it when you’re able. If this guy enters your home without your consent, call the police. Hope this helps!

          • Stuck says:

            Thank you for your replies! I’m weighing my options between just leaving it at that ’till the end of the lease and the fessing up to the landlord (he is actualy quite an amical guy) or indeed stopping by at his house and being ‘demanding’, telling him to give it to me ‘now’. But that’s drama all over again and really, I’m so done with that! After getting some rest these past few days and clearing my head by doing all sorts of other stuff, I’ll just let it be. If he comes by, I’ll call the cops for sure. But untill that happens, I’m going to move on. Plenty of people around to buy my leftovers (him), I’m so tired of this second hand market, I’m out. After all, he has to live with himselve and the presence of MY key, not the other way around. Thank you all and NML especially again, I’ve been visiting this site for over more than 2 years, I wish I could say I wasn’t (no harm intended, but you know what I mean) most of all, this site, you visitors and commentors, have ment so much to me. I’m still learning, but I’m a bigger girl than I was 2 years ago, 1 year ago and even last week. You all give me guidance by expressing thoughts, opinios, guidance and most of all your courage, something I have been missing since kindergarden. I appreciate it so very much!

            • Stuck says:

              and oh, I have changed my name, because he found me here a while ago, and has used it against me. So just want to say, to Grace in this thread, thank you for always being bluntly honest. I love it.

      • Fantasy Girl says:

        Natalie, you are my (s)hero. You are brilliant.

    • grace says:

      Butting in here, because I’m an expert in both:
      Silent treatment = trying to manipulate them into calling, apologising, missing you, making a move or trying to punish them. You’re trying to get them to do something even if you don’t know what it is. All the while you’re stewing about them and you’re stuck.
      NC = cutting off someone harmful and NOT EVEN WANTING them to call, miss you, or make a move, and GETTING ON with your life.
      At first, it can feel muddled – am I doing the silent treatment or NC? But with boundaries in tact and your self-esteem is improving, it won’t be the silent treatment anymore; it won’t even be NC – it will just be you getting on with your new improved life and not wondering every day what a jackass is getting up to.
      It’s good you don’t care. Keep not caring. There’s no need to be friends with him. It’s not a sign of strength to be friends with people who hurt you. You don’t have to do it.

      • sorrel says:


        An aha moment. I’m giving ‘im the silent treatment trying to detach enough for it to be NC. Not totally clean motivations but I damn well wish they were. Alot of emotional garbage stirred up on my part. But at least I’m slowly, surely, taking my attention off him and back to me.

        I quit smoking three days after I ended the friendship or whatever it was, life’s been a bit intense, and sometimes I cant tell whether I’m longing for a fag or the bloke, which is funny but fitting somehow.

      • Late Bloomer says:

        “It’s not a sign of strength to be friends with people who hurt you. You don’t have to do it.”

        Wow. So simple, but makes so much sense. This one goes in the toolbox.

        • Tea Cozy says:

          That statement clicked with me too. I sometimes catch myself ever-so-slightly doubting my choice to not be just-friends with exes, but grace just gave me the perfect rebuttal to those thoughts.

          Grace, thank you for that excellent post.

    • Lia says:

      Scientists say that when in love, our bodies are literally riding on the high of hormones, something like a drug addiction. Even when addictions turn sour, addicts continue to chase that good feeling until they find that the drug does more harm than good, but even that is not enough in some cases. So think about it this way, the when someone first decides to give up an alcohol addiction, he or she has to be proactive in not taking a drink because the body craves it so much. But the longer they go without, the easier it becomes and eventually they don’t have to give much thought to it at all. Even if you know that this man is bad for you, it’s still not going to take away the memories of the initial good feelings that were there. You’ll be fine, and good for you for exercising self control.

  60. sincereluv4life says:

    get em! I’m so happy you’re standing up for yourself regarding this shady situation. I look forward to hearing about you either getting this dress (hopefully at a discount) or finding an even better dress!!! best of luck!!!!

  61. Lia says:

    LOL oh wow I would have been HOT, I can’t believe someone would play around with something as important as a wedding dress. But then again, as you have also pointed out, people do just the same with other people’s feelings. I’m glad you did what you had to do and handled it respectfully.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I can’t believe someone would play around with something as important as a wedding dress.

      This struck a chord with me. When we want something so badly, be it love, a proper relationship, the person that they were to return, or the intimacy, closeness and affection that they don’t want to gives, our desire to get these things, and our willingness to sacrifice ourselves at almost any cost to get these things transfers huge amounts of power to the other party, weakening our own position.

      One should always have pre-defined limits. If it is too hard, it is too hard. Without these, we lose ourselves in the process.

      My guide:
      There are two deals to sign

      – Deal 1# dating deal – we are dating, exclusive and they are interested (maximum 1 – 2 months in this zone, if no progress, see ya)

      – Deal #2 relationship deal – we are in a LTR, exclusive and they commit.

      I recently asked someone out who I thought might be interested because I liked them and they were giving me looks, small talk etcetra. This went on for a few weeks, until I decided that I needed to burst the bubble and EXPLICITLY ask them out (i.e. Sign up to deal #1). Well, as soon as I asked, they went cold! This is an excellent result as even though it is not the information I was hoping for, I now have the answer, and that answer is ‘fish elsewhere’.

  62. Blaise Parker says:


    We are living parallel lives because I am having weddings dress drama, too. Ack!

    So glad yours got worked out.

    • Oh dear ((((hugs)))) I’m sorry to hear this Blaise. Have we got the same designer? Hehe. This experience has taught me that there’s nothing wrong with laying it down. I found that forcing it to a head and setting a time limit for resolution, meant that I knew there was only 24 more hours of this BS to put up with. It’s your wedding – bridal designer is selling an experience along with the dress. Some of these people like to think that they’re irreplaceable – they think that they have the power. But when you tell them to basically honour their end of the contract or shove the dress up their backside, they realise, they’re just not that special. Wishing you the best of luck with getting this resolved – keep me posted. Oh and if you need a list of other options, let me know – I was inundated with offers after people found out on Twitter and my Facebook.

  63. Ange Fonce says:

    Business or personal relationships. The principles are the same. Both are based in Trust, Respect and Integrity . If I treated My Clients in such a manner. I would not have a good name.

    No business Man or Woman who is professional would text you if there was a problem. They would phone you direct and keep you informed. It is called “Customer Service!”

    If a business treated you badly and gave you a crap service, you would complain. And yet people put up with “crappy” relationships and lousy treatment from their partners. Why?

    Maybe if more people viewed their relationships through business principles, they would not make such lousy investments. Your Life is priceless. Money you can get any time.

    • Ria says:

      Agree 100 times, that was what l was saying before!

    • sm says:

      You are right Ange. I have high standards when it comes to business, I thoroughly vet a client before I take them on because if not they will end up costing me money in the long run instead of the other way around. I need to start looking at a man from that angle, ‘is being in a relationship with him going to cost me or add to my life?’. Will this be beneficial to both of us? I try to do this in the beginning but somehow it goes awry and I have reluctance to pull the flush buttom for whatever reason. I do know right in the beginning what the deal is with any guy because of experience, but I will always go ‘maybe I’m wrong’, nope, havent been wrong once on my first impressions.

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Well said, Ange!

      There is such an opportunity cost in getting involved with bad characters. All that time squandered that could’ve been better spent in so many other ways. That to me is the truly painful part. Life is precious, peace of mind is gold.

  64. sm says:

    Nat I’m using your advice in my professional world. I needed to tell a guy I didnt want his business so I phoned to tell him instead of emailing it. I am however doing the silent treatment with a lady who continuously calls to get my business even though I’ve made it clear I’m not interested and have ignored her calls.

  65. Atrophy says:

    Thanks for responses Nat and Grace. That makes a lot of sense. I was NC for the right reasons and it doesn’t feel like NC anymore, I am just getting on with life.

    I choose not to be friends since he wants to keep tabs on my life and have me as his fallback girl. Thanks for all the support. I am much happier everyday in my new life!

  66. letting go says:

    Happy to hear you got the dress!

    I was trying to eat lunch and read this post but found myself choking with laughter.
    Not because what you are saying is funny by any means, but because what you are saying rings so TRUE for me too.

    Especially this line…
    “Ever been out with someone who is blanking you but you can see that they’ve been on Facebook with their harem or surfing dating sites? Yeah, it’s infuriating.”
    He told me he was so disappointed (with life, etc.) that he couldn’t talk to anyone…but there he was on facebook every day. It seems likely that he IS disappointed and some of what he’s doing on facebook is keeping up the facade of the successful image he has created but knowing that doesn’t make me feel any better about how he’s treated me.

    I always wish I had known of you BEFORE I met this guy but I guess I had to go thru the experience with him in order to find you. Your blog is one of the best gifts I got from him!

  67. Tulipa says:

    Very happy to hear the dress is now in your possession.
    Can’t wait to see the photos.

    If you have to chase down someone and basically make most of the effort, you’re going to get veeeerrry pissed off after a while.
    Memories of 2011 when I was chasing and chasing for a crumb, makes me wonder if I’d have chased the woman for the dress up to and even past the wedding date.

  68. chloe says:

    My boyfriend and I have been going out for almost 5 months, we are both also older. He does not use any words of affection, he is affectionate, but hasn;t told me he loves me, too soon he says, he’ll say it when he means it. But he also doens’t say anything affectionate or intimate, and after sex he doesn’t say anything either, yet he calls me sweetie during sex. I never get a sweetie outside of sex. I have told him about my need for affectionate language and he has tried, like your hair looks nice, but nothing intimate, and he feels I am comparing him to my ex boyfriends. We have had some other issues, he feels he’s walking on eggshells around me becasue I can be abrupt or react. Yet, I am reacting to not getting the ‘love’ language in any way. I am willing to work on my part, being less abrupt, and then I guess I’ll see if things get better. I want to work on myself and this isn;t the first relationship where I ‘ve been told I’m too intense (learned behaviour from my dysfunctinal mother that mostly seems to come out with men). So, I am planning to see if he is willing to work on this with me, it will be good for me and then I’ll see where things are at. Anyone have this kind of scenerio come up for them. Glad you got your dress Nat, sounds a little like a sex in and the city episode…

  69. FinallyDidIt says:

    In my book, there is such a difference between giving someone the silent treatment and going NC. Silent treatment means – I hope by doing this, you will realize how much you want me. NC means – I don’t give a rat’s ass. Took almost 4 years to get where I am right now. Is it easy? No way. I still struggle every day. But no way am I going to give him the “get out of AC jail” card (I so love that!). He is right where he is suppose to be and he ain’t moving. TY Baggage Reclaim – no way I could be doing this without YOU!!

  70. Here Again says:

    Wow I haven’t been on this site in over a year but really needed to get here today just for a “REALITY CHECK” It really holds true that EUM’S can use the silent treatment into manipulating you into the position they want. Just to share a glimpse of my story of why I am here; I was talking to a guy who I met online(dating site) for about 6 months going on now. We haven’t physically ever met in person but were just about getting close to doing so this month . We are miles away from each other and he knew that when he met me. I really was straightforward off the bat that I really wasn’t too keen on a starting any kind long distance relationship but that I would give it a try and explained that any two people willing to date long distance would have to know what they are getting into. Its a “BIG Deal” especially if you are not near each other; you have to eventually take that first major step and actually MEET otherwise its just it becomes a weekly skpe/text/talk infatuation and frustration sets in and that is what we have been doing for 6 months daily until he can make the trip to see me. Can’t believe we had gone this long.

    Here is a guy that has not gone one day without talking to me for the past 6 months. Just this week he gets upset (or claims to be salty) over a comment that I made through a text message earlier this week. My comment was nothing more than Oh you have a date?? He got really pissed and said that If I was so insecure and if i couldn’t handle long distance I should just find someone here in my location. I apologized to him for the comment once via text message and once by voicemail and I haven’t gotten any response. He’s giving me the silent treatment and I believe it has to be more than just him getting upset over a comment. Reality check please!!

    • Magnolia says:

      Dear Here Again,

      You haven’t even met in real life? Doesn’t it seem clear that he’s picking a fight when you say you’re “getting close to” finally meeting? Here again, I’m more interested in why you would give your valuable time every day for six months to someone you’ve never even been in the same room with. What kind of expectations do you have of this involvement? I wouldn’t call it a relationship. If he has stopped talking to you, maybe consider it a blessing and move on, before you waste another six months.

    • grace says:

      here again
      You’re not in a relationship with this person. This is way too much time and headspace for something illusory. I know, I’ve been there.
      And I’d like to narrow down the definition of “talk” and “chat” to sitting/standing in front of someone and seeing them with your eyes, close enough that *gasp* IF YOU REACHED OUT YOU WOULD MAKE BODILY CONTACT.
      Phoning is acceptable as a back up to the above.
      Messaging need not apply.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      He is Mr Unavailable!
      FLUSH!! RUN!!

      He’s sleeping and dating other people – you aren’t even exclusive, love, care, and intimacy and progression is missing here. This is a fantasy! I’ve BEEN here, and it is nothing but PAIN in the long run.

      As for blowing up over something little – he wants out and he is desperately trying to find something – ANYTHING – to not only get out, but give him the cover that he needs to pin the blame on you. These guys don’t take responsibility – ever – and it is ‘buyer beware’. CUT HIM OFF AND LOG OFF!!

  71. runnergirlno1 says:

    Excellent Natalie, it’s great you got the dress and the drama has ended. I also like the distinction between the dress and the person. It certainly isn’t the dress itself that caused the problems. It was the person who is responsible for the issues, not the dress! Nice.
    For some reason this post has had a profound affect on me. As I thought about your reluctance to start the dress search all over again, it really struck me. I’m not a fan of clothes shopping and I’ll do anything to avoid it. Even though the break occurred a while back, I realize I’ve been staying stuck in order to avoid the search for my life (plus or minus a him). Staying stuck has been an avoidance technique just like I’ll avoid clothes shopping at any cost. I could feel your reluctance to start the dress search all over again. I see I’m feeling reluctant to start the search all over again and staying stuck is convenient, although it’s getting really boring.
    Your analogy with denying, rationalizing, and minimizing shady behavior in relationships because he’s the one, just like the dress was the one, also helped me. Once I drag myself out clothes shopping, inevitably I find the perfect outfit but it’s never in my size. So rather than face the fact it’s too big, I buy it anyway, take it home, and then have to face the sad fact, it doesn’t frigging fit. I keep the stuff because one day I may gain weight and it’ll fit! You see why this post affected me. Combined with my Taurus stubbornness, I do the same blessed thing with guys. I know at the outset, he doesn’t “fit” but I take him home anyway determined to make him “fit”. Of course, that doesn’t work. Then I used to keep them around just in case one day they spontaneously combust into the perfect fit. Your previous post regarding the issues surrounding committing to the dress also resonated with me.
    I’m sorry you had to go through the stress and drama but I really appreciate your willingness to share and, as always, the brilliant insights you provide. Your wedding dress may have provided me with the insight to get out of stuck. Dying to see it and I”m happy for you.
    I felt very different today after thinking about this post. I could see from the outside that you will be gorgeous no matter what dress you select and there are many beautiful dresses out there. But I could see that from the…

  72. yoghurt says:

    Oh, I’m really glad you got the dress :) Hurray!
    Really thought-provoking article as well – thank you.

  73. sm says:

    Agree Natalie! That dress is a material item and cant hurt anyone. I’m glad it worked out and you got it. Wonder if it had something to do with you blogging about it…hmmmm.

  74. Forever21 says:

    Thanks Natalie and glad to hear that you got your dream dress.
    I’m a single mum, separated 4 years ago and only started dating last year because I needed to search myself gain courage to put myself out there.
    Your articles have really given me some insight to walk with my eyes wide open when dating. I have been on 2 relationships and have been able to detect the AC and EUM behaviours hence not allowing the candidates to string me along and waste my time. Thanks once again.

  75. MaryC says:

    Nat so glad you got your dress, can’t wait to see you in it. You’re so right the problem wasn’t the dress it was with the designer. I think you can say that about alot of problems, you have to find out what the real problem is and alot of times its not what you originally thought.

    When’s the big day??

  76. Here Again says:


    I never said we were in a relationship. It wasn’t a relationship to begin with and we clarified that until we actually were going to meet we both knew that we were just “TALKING” as friends for THOSE 6 MONTHS.

    You are right . Its like NOW he is picking the fight (making a crazy comment something that wasn’t so petty all OF A SUDDEN its NOW a “BIG DEAL” when it really wasn’t.) He blew that out of proportion which really makes me think that he knows that we really have been talking 6 months; “FRUSTRATION AND REALITY HAS SET IN” and now HE KNOWS VERY WELL in his mind that it is pass timing to make an effort to see each other and BOOM HE dissapears. And the craziest thing is we had already clarified that we wanted to continue talking and he said he wouldn’t have continued talking to me this long if he wasn’t interested.

    I know that I have to move on from this “emotional” roller coaster that I am dealing with. I even sent out one last email to him this morning just giving it a last shot to ask what was the problem of him not responding cause we were just talking and skyping three nights ago. And no I haven’t been calling and hounding his phone so that is why I sent out an email. It just doesn’t add up to me. And yes I know the I should not have emailed him. I am moving on from here. I cannot believe that I set my own self up for this 6 month ILLUSION that wasn’t going to lead to anything. If it was going anywhere we should have agreed to meet much sooner than now. He sent me so many pictures of his family; his daughter who I guess I will never get the chance to meet now and it breaks my hurt. He did most of the pursuing and the only thing we hadn’t done was an actual face to face meet. I would have rather for him to had just tell me that he is no longer interested and he never game that indication. We were on skype Monday just talking; laughing and just having great conversation like any other time and two days later he disaapears; and completely shuts own me. Right now my heart is Heavy and Hurting but I have to look at this for what it really is and MOVE ON. OUT OF MIND OUT OF SIGHT..

    • grace says:

      here again
      Messaging etc via technology for six months is a sign that he is VERY FIRMLY holding you in the place that he has allocated for you. My concern is that HE WILL BE BACK. They ALL do this. They retreat when you make them uncomfortable (you got too close, you called them out, you stepped out of your “box”, you didn’t play nice) or something comes along (ex, new squeeze, “pressure”, the wind changes). Then, when they think you’ve learned your lesson, or they need an ego stroke, or a laugh, or flirtation, or the new squeeze turns out to be a psycho (funny that), or they’re a bit bored, they’re back.
      Until WE can decide for OURSELVES what it is we really want and what our limits are, we’re forever at the mercy of whoever comes along with a few crumbs.
      You’re focused on the SIX MONTHS. I too thought it meant something that certain “situations” were carrying on for significant lengths of time. I don’t want to present myself as a sob story, but you really don’t want to end up at my age with a relationship history strewn with non-things that went on months or years. The only significant thing about most of them was the waste of time, really and truly. In the grand scheme of things, six months can be written off to experience and if you can learn not to repeat the mistake, it’s no real harm done.
      I don’t do internet dating but the general consensus from those who are doing it and SERIOUSLY looking for a relationship is to meet SOON. I think they learned that from being burned like you have.
      And these men never tell you that they’re not interested in anything serious either. They ALL just waft off and drift back as it suits them.
      Everything you describe is standard operating procedure right down to the daily contact and show ponying their children. It’s depressing, yes, but at least it’s not just you!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Fantasy relationships ALWAYS have four elements

      1. Distance, in space or in time
      2. A moderating excuse that controlls the flow of information/contact
      3. Crumb communication
      4. FAIL THE TOUCH TEST – can’t physically touch them on three different days of the week consistently

      I have to say, NML’s wedding dress communications so far meet this model. My limit is now set to 1 month. If they haven’t signed deal #1 or deal #2 or any deal for that matter, FLUSH!

      I’m offline as well. It took 9 months to get over the fantasy, and the last 3 months since then have been bliss compared to the shite I put up with. Constant excuses and disappointments and that rollercoaster feeling. In fact, the presence of excuses is a BIG giveaway!! RED FLAG!!

  77. Here Again says:

    @ Magnolia @ Grace

    We are both miles away. He lives in VA and I live in Atlanta. Just wanted to clarify that. But if you are serious about MEETING you have to do just that; MEET. That is the mistake that we both made.

  78. Here Again says:

    @ Grace

    Thanks a bunch cause after just having a crying spell earlier (in front of my best friend- My mother who knew something was bothering me and she also knew that he and I had been talking for a while with hopes of getting a chance to soon MEET). I feel alot better now and I had to let it out. My mommy so understands. She told me that honey no man is going to cut you off completely from a comment and there are some other “DEEP ROOTED ISSUES” going on in him so count it as a “BLESSING”. Its funny that you mentioned my concern is “HE WILL BE BACK”

    @ Grace I also did myself a favor today and blocked his number so that if he ever does decide to “COME BACK”; I will never know. :)

    God’s Child
    Here Again

  79. Here Again says:


    you are so on point with the 4 elements of a “FANTASY RELATIONSHIP” and it should never take that long. I like your concept.

    Absolutely….Flush right down the drain!!!

  80. Mary says:


    You are awesome and I LOVE reading you; I watch my email for the next one…

  81. Jewel says:

    Great post. What about the relationship that has all the hallmarks and landmarks, and words and actions match only to discover 8 months in that he has been lying behind my back the whole time and seeing other women. Is there anyway I could have protected myself? There were no red flags at all, unless you would consider him not having any pics of us together on his Facebook, claiming he was a private person and dint want to display our relationship so publicly. I ended it as soon as I found out, but feel I have invested 8 months with a chameleon. I have just chalked it up to experience, but don’t want to find myself in this situation again. has anyone else experienced this?

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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