make sure that your 'tell' communicates

When we have low self-esteem and/or we are not being ourselves and even going so far as to misrepresent ourselves, we actually have ‘tells’, unconscious actions that are perceived to ‘betray’ an attempted deception or what we’re trying to put across about ourselves. We can find ourselves saying, doing and agreeing to things because we think “I can handle it!” or “I want to give the impression that I’m ________” or we don’t want to give off any vibes that may scare them off or bugger up the ‘relationship deal’. We overestimate our capacity for a relationship, we overestimate our interest and yes, sometimes we overestimate our readiness to date and how over our ex we are and yes, sometimes we exaggerate. Let’s be real – some people just talk out of their bottoms.

Like Chris Rock said, when we first start dating someone, it’s not the real us that we’re sending out but our “representatives”. I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again; people unfold. Unless you’re dealing with a skilled con artist, most people including the personality disordered have “tells” that if you’ll heed the feedback, you’ll be able to get a more realistic picture of who and what you’re dealing with.

We communicate messages about ourselves not just in what we say and do but also in what’s left unsaid and undone. We also communicate messages about ourselves when our actions and words don’t match (the all-important inconsistencies) and we communicate even more when our actions and words take us away from our own values and essentially who we are.

I’ve had so many readers left perplexed by the question of why somebody felt that they could be or do something around them. The question of what was it about you that gave the impression that you’d tolerate something can keep you awake at night. “Why me?” or “Why him/her and not me?”

An ex colleague actually told me that he didn’t talk to me about career opportunities (that didn’t exist anyway and were a ruse to get ‘dates’) because I wasn’t “agreeable” enough. That was my ‘tell’ which prevented him from chatting all the BS to me that he had to so many other women in our office.

If you’re wondering why someone did something when you feel that at that point they wouldn’t have had the security of knowing how you’d respond, it’s highly likely to be because they were chancing their arm which means that they take the risk, not because they’ve assessed the situation and got a cue from you but more because they’re taking a chance and if they get the desired result, happy days and if they don’t, they’ll go to plan B. Or split. It’s like asking you for £100 when you hardly know them. Hopefully you say NO, but you might give it to them, or say “Yes, but I can only manage £50″. The risk has paid off but by giving them the money, however much it is, irregardless of how you think that you should be perceived, they may decide that you’re an easy mark for taking advantage. It’s the same when people reply those 419 scams or reply to claim their lottery win for the lottery that they never entered. Apparently some people have been scammed by these several times because the criminals figured their first responses made them good ‘marks’.

Your ‘tell’ can be determined by your response or lack of it.

If for instance you have an active assertive response around someone who is passive aggressive or aggressive, they might decide that you’re “too much effort”. If you have a passive response, that same passive aggressive or aggressive person works out that you’ll be more malleable and receptive.

Examples of ‘tells’:

  • Giving them the time of day. Seems so unfair but some people are so aware of who they are and may have already given some subtle or even obvious clues, that they decide that they can be and do certain things with you because you’re interested in them.
  • Believing their lies or promises even if you hardly know them or they’ve already given you reasons to distrust them.
  • Going from being guarded and even aloof or cool, calm and confident to letting yourself be swept up in Fast Forwarding and even abandoning all of your boundaries or friends and family.
  • Apologising and even sucking up to them even when you haven’t actually done something wrong.
  • Showing eagerness to be with them or to work at the relationship even when there is code amber and red behaviour or it’s not a relationship.
  • Letting them back into your life after radio silence and no explanation.
  • Participating in a virtual / text ‘relationship’ for a lengthy period of time.
  • Disclosing all of your insecurities to them which is a bit like giving them the blueprints to screw you over and even making them promise not to hurt you.
  • Staying after disrespect, neglect etc., especially when no remorse is shown.
  • Being willing to take the blame for ‘everything’.
  • Treating them like your power supply and your life source.
  • Being a people pleaser.

These actions all unconsciously communicate messages about you that betray any perception of you that you’ve tried to put across. These ‘tells’ communicate your vulnerabilities and / or areas of contradiction.

But don’t forget that it cuts both ways and that anything that falls into code amber and red behaviour is a “tell” particularly:

  • Actions and words not matching.
  • Fast Forwarding where intensity is used to speed you through the early stages of dating and blind you. It’s not flattering; it’s a danger warning.
  • Abusive behaviour including even considering someone to be narcissistically inclined and ‘chopping’.
  • Lack of empathy, lack of morals, not seeming to know or respectright from wrong and telling lies or even dripfeeding lies.
  • An unwillingness to accept responsibility, lack of remorse, fake remorse and pressing the Reset Button,
  • ‘Referring to all of their exes as psychos/stalkers, talking about their ex on the regular or being in touch with them to ‘negotiate’ getting back together.
  • Addictions and anything that affects them being emotionally, spiritually and physically available for a relationship.
  • Being willing to talk and meet as well as text, and more.

Anybody who is doing any of this stuff is not giving you their poker face; they’re showing you who they are.

Aside from making sure that you conduct yourself in an authentic manner by living by your own values, having boundaries, and essentially being you, plus handling anything that has been a “tell” in the past, it’s important to realise that particularly in the discovery phase of getting to know someone, you have to process all of the information and begin to recognise cues that indicate a conflict in values and trouble ahead. Only someone who suffers with Those Who Doth Protest Too Much is going to try to tell you who they are but everybody shows you who they are. The key is to take in all the feedback from the communicated messages (including unsaid and undone) instead of being ‘selective’ and only focusing on ‘good points’ or overvaluing something that in the grander scheme of things doesn’t mean much if your relationship cannot get off the ground.

It’s also important to remember that you can have a good “tell” in the form of your boundaries and also in being assertive by stepping up for you when you need to. These can only communicategood information about you. Having boundaries and being assertive aregood acts of self-care that will keep at bay or keep out those who don’t add good to your lifeanyway.

Your thoughts?

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294 Responses to How Having a “Tell” Can Give Someone The Impression That You’ll Tolerate Their Behaviour Or Issues

  1. Tracy says:

    Great artical. Enjoyed reading as a reminder. Thanks

    • Nancy says:

      I like the reminders in this post. I saw a lot of my behaviors in my previous relationships as well as the “tells” my Exes gave me that I ignored during the relationships. I am in a new relationship now and really examining my behavior with the desire to present my authentic self as well as determine if this person is a prospective long term partner for me. Thanks.

  2. P. says:

    I still do not understand what a “tell” is. Does it have a different name, too? Is that like a “sign” or something? A mistake?

    • yoghurt says:

      I always thought it came from a poker game – a ‘tell’ is an inadvertant clue that someone gives about their hand. Like twitching your nose when you’re excited etc.

      • P. says:

        Thank you, Yoghurt. That makes sense – as in a clue, or a signal, albeit unconscious? I guess I was a little confused by Natalie saying above “make sure your tell communicates that you have got boundaries…” but if it is not conscious, as you imply on the example of the poker game (where people do not clue in their opponents consciously, that’s for sure), how can we influence this “tell”?

        • sushi says:

          P.
          I think that you can only influence your tell by firmly installing your boundaries, trusting your gut and following with assertive action- your tell will be confident and authentic, because that is honestly how you are. To me a tell is a bit like a vibe. An additional layer of information for your gut to proccess.
          For example; no boundaries situation; you meet someone and they seem a bit stingy with their time, will return calls with delay or insist on texting only, leave making plans till last minute but keep telling you how they really like you and want to see you. Your gut reactions: you start to feel anxious and it feels ambiguous, feels like mixed messages. You are confused but you keep tolerating this and being available, maybe starting to play a bit of a game to see if he`ll step up, and stepping up yourself in order to win his interest.He gets the vibe (or tell) from you that he can do as he pleases because you have no boundaries and self respect and are desperate so will accept a crumby relationship. Now, if your boundaries are firmly in place and you listen to your gut your automatic, no need to see if it gets any better reaction will be ; buddy, that is not how I get treated, I am not an option. Your acting on your boundaries will say it all. BTW, with your self esteem and trust in yourself increasing the reading of the tell is an easy job, I thought it was some magic thing other people do and I will never manage ,but yay…!

          • P. says:

            sushi,

            You are so right! That is exactly what I used to be doing!!! I stepped up till I was so down I could not take it anymore. However, I do not know if I had a “tell” or not, since I was so open, I knew I was messed up from my divorce and did not know what to do… I did not even *know* what the word “boundaries” meant (see my response to Peter below), and like you, I thought it was some magic that other people were told and taught and I was not. (Actually, my boundaries were destroyed systematically by my narcissistic mother till last year). I am happy to report that somehow I managed to develop boundaries and even though to my surprise some people get “offended” by that, it is much easier to shrug such reaction off than to suffer from being trampled upon.

    • Peter says:

      Hi – I cannot define the word ‘tell’ either. I looked it up, at least I have tried, on different sites, but to no avail. As I am not a native speaker of English, can someone who is please try to define it ? Clearly it is a noun derived from the verb ‘telling’, so the ‘tell’ possibly tells something about a person ?
      Is it like an aura ? Is the the ensemble of subconsious positions and attitudes that one transmits or communicates to the other person ? Please enlighten us ?

      • P. says:

        Peter,

        I am also a non-native speaker, even though English is my dominant language and I could not find an equivalent in my native language, either. It is interesting, but I find many more words in English to express my emotions, not so much in the first language. Perhaps the modal personality in the old country was EU? People talk in self-deprecating manner all the time, and parents do not tell their children “I love you”, but “I like you”, since “I love you” is only reserved for romantic lovers/sex. I wonder if it is for historical reasons as that country has been conquered and oppressed many times, and a sort of double-speak evolved as a result.

    • P am I missing something? This is from the first paragraph ” ‘unconscious actions that are perceived to ‘betray’ an attempted deception or what we’re trying to put across about ourselves.”

      It’s a term that’s commonly used in poker but is used for all sorts of circumstances where unconscious and even contradictory actions give away the truth or the fact that you’re being deceptive. Some people have a game face or poker face so hide their tells better.

      When people tell lies they also have “tells”. They look in a particular direction, maybe they sweat. Or in context the lie is obvious.

      There’s also a list of tells in the post.

      And actually not all boundaries are conscious and more importantly when we recognise that the things that we do that run counter to a perception of ourselves that we’ve been trying to put across (the list of tells) then we can become conscious about those tells. Equally recognising other people’s tells (there are also examples in the post) means that you won’t be thinking that you’re running off into the sunset for a perfect life with someone who is doing these things in spite of other impressions that they’re trying to give.

      • Peter says:

        Hi Natalie and others, thanks for explaining and defining the ‘tell’. I think I got confused because the definition clearly states it is unconsious, which is re-confirmed by the above reaction. And, where becoming consious of ones unconsious actions and positions may help the process of ‘becoming aware’, I really do not believe such awareness makes a big difference – contrary to the content of the post I think that unconsious positions, and the actions derived from them (the ‘tell’) are deeply engraved in us at childhood time and in childhood experiences. Even when we are fully aware of such positions (which often we are not because we fear looking at these with an open mind) it is nearly impossible to change such unconsious actions – awareness alone simply is not enough, I am afraid. Recognizing the *function* of these positions and actions for the childhood situation is of much more importance, in my opinion. Preferably in a therapy to work through these, re-defining these experiences as the needs one had as a child to protect oneself. Only after this process of re-evaluation ones (unconsious) conditioning will change for the better, with less vulnerabilities, and, hence, less ‘tell’.

        • P. says:

          Peter,

          I agree that awareness alone is not enough. In the past year I have started to research this (with an eye toward fixing myself, of course) a lot more, and the process does start with awareness (that took me at least 8 months with regard to childhood issues), then, roughly, processing (maybe 1-2 years?), then, hopefully “reprogramming”. In one of my books the author says that processing is where people get stuck the most, because it is the most painful – people want to do the healing exercises, but not the painful ones. Interestingly, I feel some resistance in my “reprogramming” phase, because I am already tired of listing all the negative things told to me and done to me, and it brings up triggers (that was also a word I did not know before). Maybe I am too detail oriented, bc when the book says to list all your negative this or that (beliefs, experiences, things that people told you), I have a long list and I am afraid to finish in case I forgot something. That is just funny, I know.

          • Teddie says:

            P.
            Your experience is so totally not uncommon: many therapies get the opposite of what they aim to achieve, in fact, even make the issues more permanent. What can you expect if you put more and more energy into a problem, if you constantly relive and revivify it, will it grow bigger or smaller? Also, therapists are just mortals with their own baggage and issues.

            • Lilia says:

              P.
              I don´t know what type of therapy you´re doing but I found that hypnosis was extremely effective to get to the core of my problems and “reprogram” my attitudes. It is the only thing that has really worked for me, I think I could spend years and years dwelling on past experiences with a therapist or alone, but hypnosis just cuts the crap and leads you directly to the source. Of course, not everyone is easily hypnotised, but for me it worked wonders.

              • P. says:

                Lilia,

                I do not know what type of therapy; the therapist I used to go to would not tell me anything “scientific”, and when I inquired, he joked:”Are you too educated for common sense?” I found it odd, and should probably find someone else. Also, he did not believe me when I said I was feeling good and kept trying to tell me I was angry and negative. Very confusing. Thank you for the suggestion.

      • K says:

        I have always liked the term ‘leakage’as described by author Paul Ekman. An enormous amount of concentration and energy is required to construct and maintain a mask of deception. Their true self inevitably leaks/seeps through the mask…the signs are ALWAYS there.

        I have been burnt big time by these monsters but I have needed to grow up and take full responsibility for that because I chose to gloss over the bad bits and remain in my illusions which led to my demise.

        The only break I can give myself is that I was so so young at 18 when I had my first relationship & intimate experience. Unfortunately he happened to be a ‘deceiver’. I TRULY had no concept of just how severe the life long consequences of compromising my values would turn out to be. The “excited by the opportunities of life, and can overcome anything ‘me’” died during the 4 years I spent with this monster and the’me’that came limping out the other side is now dealing with a daily reminder of my poor choices in the form of a soul destroying STD and at the age of 35 the pain from my mistake is worse than ever…probably because I am now at the age where I thought I would be raising my own family, I know that this dream will probably never come to pass.

        Long story short…these ‘tells’, ‘leakages’ are ALWAYS present and you always have the CHOICE as to whether you HEED them or IGNORE them….my advice for what its worth…HEED them and run for life, because it could save your life.

        • Teddie says:

          Seconded! I learned a great deal from Paul Ekman, from “Emotions revealed, recognising faces and feelings”, the real emotion always leaks up, there are cues that can be heeded, or, like NAT says, they always show you who they are, we just have to really process the data.

  3. truth=freedom says:

    Dear Natalie, I love this post and you are a gift from the gods. Your ability to plainly put words to paper and tell it how it is, is truly amazing. I fullfilled all the ‘tells’ in the order you wrote them and he responded with the exact responses! I was going round the justifying roundabout but thankfully found the exit.
    After ten months NC, except for one slip up having dinner with the clown, I realise now the real deal with this so called relationship. Recently the texting started professing he missed me, could not move on, etc etc and it was every day and was so upsetting. I agreed to meet, the first thing he said was that he should not have sent the texts as he was feeling low and melancholy and had drunk a bottle of red wine!!! WTH! His finger was resting on the reset button, but my finger was on eject! Took no responsibility and showed no remorse and actually tried a bit of chopping on how MY behaviour was the problem. Your posts have brought me clarity. He is older than me so I listened to his 60 shades of grey haired stupidity and told him we were never EVER getting back together. My fallback days are over.

    • Jule says:

      Truth, that is awesome news and you rock. I want to be where you are. I want to be at that point. I had dinner with my AC recently and I’m feeling pretty low right now.

      • truth=freedom says:

        Dear Jule, thank you for replying and sorry to hear you are feeling low. It takes time to get to where I am. In the past I too left dinner dates feeling low, trying to make sense of it all, he played on my empathy, reeled me back in, only to suffer the consequences again of him giving me the silent treatment, walking on eggshells, and making me feel that I was not that important in his life. I woke up and realised that this was not how I wanted to live MY life and had given too much energy, passion, empathy and support to someone who did not appreciate me. The dinner date was not enjoyable, it was not engaging, I could not bring back to the table what he had taken away by his cold selfish behaviour. The best thing to do is really maintain NC, as when you engage again it makes you feel worse, and they plant the seed of doubt in your brain again till you are out of your mind analyzing!! Your brain, body and soul deserves more. Keep reading BR, be kind to yourself and keep jogging on!

        • Jule says:

          Truth, well my situation is that we have known each other for over a year now but we were only casually dating here and there. Then This summer things heated up and we engaged in a physical relationship. There is a ton of stuff I haven’t mentioned here and to be honest, I’m too drained to go into it but we were on and off because of his erratic AC behavior and quiet treatment and of course he was seeing other women. If I could have just done with fwb thing without feelings it would have been fine but I can’t. So I tried to maintain NC. Then he eventually pulled me back in. After several months of not seeing him, I went to see him recently for his birthday (he was alone and had no plans, I was alone with no plans and I was lonely an he is sexy to me) and you know what happens then. That was last weekend. Now he’s playing it cool again of course. Total crickets. Assclowns don’t change. I told myself that as I drove to his place last weekend. “It will be the same damn thing so prepare yourself. Just enjoy the moment. Tomorrow doesn’t matter.” well as I expected, I haven’t heard from him except in response to a few of my texts. He doesn’t ask “how are you?” never “how was your day?” never “I had a great time and want to see you soon” No, he will wait until the very LAST MIN to demand I come to him when he’s horny. He will be surprised when I won’t. I know what I have to do. I have to block his number. I know that’s the answer. I just have to take that step now… I’m not feeling as low I did the other day. I will get stronger and then cut the ties. Thanks for listening :(

  4. Pam says:

    When people disrespect you are they doing it because they are thinking “I do not respect this person” or is it just sub conscious because somewhere along the way your actions or because of who they are they feel that it is okay to disrespect you?

    Can someone not respect you without it being malicious? can it be just that they do not think you warrant respect even if that exact thought has never crossed their mind?

    For example, can you treat someone a certain way then looking back you realise it is because you did not respect that person but in those moments though you had realised your behaviour was not right, you didn’t understand the cause of it.

    Can you love someone but not respect them?

    Do you always know when you don’t respect someone? Is it harder to detect than if you did not love someone?

    • Getting it! says:

      Who cares?

      The answer to those questions should probably be: do I feel bad or ‘less than’ when these types of things happen? If I answer yes, then I get out.

      I’m not burning energy wondering why someone did what they did. It’s not worth it.

    • yoghurt says:

      I’m not sure that I can give a seminal answer to those, Pam, but here’s my take on it.

      Emotionally healthy people respect other people because they believe that it’s the right way to behave and they live by their values.

      Emotionally unhealthy people either have scrambled values to begin with and believe that respecting other people is for wimps, or else they DO believe that they should respect people but for one reason or another either don’t live by their values.

      When you take away the personal and moral impetus for treating others with respect, you’re left with someone who only respects other people IF THEY STAND TO GAIN FROM IT. If they don’t – ie, if they know that they can behave disrespectfully and still gain all the net benefits as though they weren’t – then they’ll be disrespectful.

      Why wouldn’t they? It isn’t about YOU per se, it’s just the most efficient way for them to go through life so long as their pesky conscience doesn’t start troubling them. If you won’t put up with it they’ll move on til they find someone who does.

      As for the rest (and I’ll freely admit that this viewpoint ventures into personal opinion) I don’t think that you DO love someone if you don’t behave as though you respect them, because I think that love involves making choices to treat the other person with care and respect. I also believe it means choosing to treat them with honesty, so if you don’t believe that they’re deserving of respect (or time/care/attention etc) and yet you still let them have it then you don’t really love them either.

      Without care, honesty and respect, you might still experience the happy hormones and ‘feel’ as though you’re in love, or they might reinforce your beliefs about the world and yourself in a way that is gratifying, but I don’t think that’s real love. It’s hormones, emotional dysfunction and ultimately self-gratification.

      • yoghurt says:

        should add…

        imo, the healthy response to someone that you can’t respect is to steer clear of them. Whyever would you want to spend time around someone if you don’t feel that you can/should treat them with basic human courtesy?

    • Magnolia says:

      A person can not know what respect is.

      As someone who for a long time had no problem telling other people what I thought they were or how I thought they should behave, I never experienced it as actively thinking “I have no respect for this person.”

      I didn’t know what boundaries were and so trampled all over others’. Only once I learned what some of my own boundaries were did I understand how it felt when others crossed them, and I started to see how I was also doing a lot of crossing.

      I thought I loved people but I don’t think it can be healthy love without an understanding of respect.

    • Rosie says:

      Pam, I don’t think love and respect are exclusive. What I thought was love in the past was really just compassion mixed with sexual desire. He was a “hot mess”. ;)

      People can be disrespectful without knowing they’re being disrespectful. I’m thinking of a certain person (a situation I’m stuck with for now) who thinks she’s “helping” by trying (without my permission) to tell me everything she believes is wrong with me so that I can “grow as a person”. When I react negatively to her…uh…”helping”…she is offended and says that I’m being disrespectful and proud. Huh??? She honestly doesn’t have the self-awareness or insight to recognize that she is being disrespectful. Sure, I can blame myself for somehow giving a “tell” that it’s ok to mistreat me but I don’t think this is the case, at least with her(though I’m working on how to better respond). I don’t know but I’m wondering if she has some sort of mental problem.

      My point in all this is that, yes, it’s possbile for somebody to be cluelessly disrespectful and not ever mature out of it. Whether the person’s aware or not, the person’s toxic so why poison yourself with his/her presence if you don’t have to?

  5. yoghurt says:

    This is a great article – thanks Nat.

    I think I’ve got all of the ‘tells’ that you mentioned, and I’ve got another for the list… explaining to someone why blatantly disrespectful and unfair behaviour is ‘wrong’.

    I remember (in the very early days) explaining to the EUM that coming round at 4am was really very inconsiderate. Good grief. As if he didn’t already know…

    • P. says:

      LOL, Yoghurt! That is like me explaining that being 2 hours late is not right. That the dinner is cold. That having a relationship (was it?) and talking about marriage also means I should be “allowed” to call him or to visit him in his house. WTF was I thinking? (To my defense, many people told me maybe he was shy, maybe he had a special situation…)
      Even in my marriage (pre-rebound heartbreak) my ex would “not allow” me to call him at work (office job, not an emergency medicine or anything), after 15 years of marriage! Again, WTF? Again, my mother and others implied his work was more important than whatever I needed to call about, but, well, of, well, this did not stop when he lost his job and then his unemployment became more important. That should have been my LAST clue (tell?), not the FIRST!

  6. Lavender says:

    This is such a great post!

  7. Heartache Amy says:

    How can you “tell” when you’re faced with a tell? This has happened to me twice now, and I’ve been told that my “vulnerability” (meaning, of getting divorced) led two (married) men to take advantage of the situation and make the moves on me. Obviously, a big red warning sign was that fact that they both are married (duh!) but still, both of these men, very different from each other, slithered in and before I knew it, I fell for them. Yes, the fact that they’re married should have stopped me cold in my tracks, but sadly, it didn’t. I don’t want this to happen to me again, but I’m a little at a loss as to how to prevent it. I think I’ve smartened up a bit this second time around, but I need to nip things in the bud in case some other married slimeball starts in on me. Just not sure how…

    • Tea Cozy says:

      Amy, perhaps you can sit down with yourself, and write out some self-defined limits on your own behavior. For example: “For my own well-being, I will no longer socialize one-on-one with married men.” Stick to this rule until you’re confident you’ve developed rock-solid boundaries, and won’t be tempted to develop inappropriate attachments to married guys.

      I’m not one to think women can’t be friends with coupled-up men, but if it has been an area of vulnerability for you, you may want to make that a hard-and-fast rule (for now).

      There are plenty of unattached men and women to befriend instead.

  8. Heather says:

    Great article and it’s very true. I’ve had guys I’ve talked to online who wanted to meet for a date, but suddenly showed alot of code red/code amber behaviors, and I immediately pulled the plug. They’d try to beg/plead/argue with/yell at me, and I’d just tell them, no, sorry, you’ve already clued me in as to how this is going to play out, and I am just no longer interested, have a nice life. A few would try to come back later and hit that reset button, but most often, the only thing they got for their trouble was the following response. “Please leave me alone/do not contact me again. Thank you.” And that was the end of that. FLUSH.

    Once I learned how to play that game, so much of my dating drama, disappeared. It was refreshing to have that go on, and made me feel much more powerful.

  9. Pauline says:

    I wish I found your blog earlier!! Could have knocked some sense into my thick skull 2 years ago! You’re like the older sister who is looking out for me. You give so much content; it’s direct and liberating. Thank you.

  10. Grizelda says:

    If you have a ‘tell’, you’re showing people by subtext how they might or could treat you. But in laying it out straight like this, it’s actually scary how so many other people can spot those ‘tells’, or ‘vulnerabilities’, and respond by seeing it as an opportunity to take advantage of you in some bizarre, or perhaps not so bizarre, way.

    If you meet someone and you read them and think ‘ah he’s really shy and insecure’ or ‘hmm she’s trying to sound like she doesn’t care but she’s obviously hung up on some bad things in her past’, why would you do anything except be understanding of that person in some way? Would it even occur to you to wheedle your way into them to somehow profit from their problems or weaknesses? And yet we’ve all been in hundreds of shituations where our own vulnerabilities have been taken advantage of– often for significant periods of time.

    Yes of course it’s ‘live life at your own risk’ etc, and teachers like Natalie bolster our healthy defences, but it’s nevertheless astonishing how there are so many people who perceive vulnerabilities as a special invitation to go right ahead and run rampant over them.

    • Lilia says:

      Yes, yes, that´s exactly what I´ve been thinking, only I couldn´t put it into words as nicely as you.

      I was wondering if this is part of the male DNA, a leader-of-the-pack attitude? That in their weird survival instinct it´s okay to stomp all over the weaker ones? I find this very scary and it´s not helping me to trust men again. Perhaps there are also women who do these things, but somehow they don´t seem as threatening to me.

      • Victorious says:

        Lilia believe me when I tell you you would find it threatening if it were your mother who did this to you. My mother has always been blatantly and unrelentingly vicious to me, pouring salt into any tiny paper cut she can find, maximising any unhappiness and generally using any weakness she detects for her own distorted satisfaction. Women are just as capable of this behaviour.

        • P. says:

          Victorious,

          I am not sure if you have dealt with your mother issues already or not, but here is an excellent book that is helping me Karyl McBride: “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” I am working through the exercises righ now, and have been for a few months, but even reading the Introduction and the first few chapters made such an awesome difference because I found out I was not “making things up” (as my mother claimed), I was NOT alone in being a victim of abuse, and yes, beating up and emotional putdowns are abuse, and, maybe most importantly, that often we do not realize this till we are older (over 40 for me) and, for example, divorce brings these things up. Because, initially, even therapists, and I tried many, had the attitude of: oh, everybody had a bad childhood, don’t be a victim, don’t bring up old stuff. However, at least in my case, dealing with the old stuff is the only way to move forward. It hurts and even many therapists will get impatient with you (mine did, to the point of raising his voice, and he was not the only one), but it takes time, and is worth it. I hope sharing my wobbly progress here will encourage someone…

      • Grizelda says:

        Lilia I think you’re right, but I think it’s more to do with boys/men being allowed to behave badly these days. It might not be in their dna, but it’s definitely in the makeup of society. Men receive little or no repercussions for doing awful things to other people — and don’t they know it!

    • Freya says:

      ” Would it even occur to you to wheedle your way into them to somehow profit from their problems or weaknesses?”

      Some people are predatory by nature. I know this because I have a little of this in me. I call it Spirit of the Wolf. I can sometimes “smell” weakness in others. They give themselves away with a look in the eye or choice of words, etc. Most of the time I can control my initial reaction to pounce but sometimes I go in for the kill. Mostly, in the form of a subtle comment that makes them revel in their weakness. I like to see them squirm, helpless against their own ridiculous self deception. It’s their arrogance and self absorption that makes them feel weak and powerless. They are lost looking at themselves in the mirror..like I said, Spirit of the Wolf. It’s instinct for me. It’s in my nature. And there is many a time it has been used against me by those more or less conscious of their own inner wolf.

      This is why it is best to have a realistic image of yourself and others and to have very healthy boundaries. Inner strength will reveal itself in your actions and your words.
      And if you are paying attention and not lost in your own fantasy of victim-hood you will see the wolves for what they are.

  11. Healing One says:

    It’s interesting. Women are(typically) so analytical about relationships. Men aren’t. Simple as that. Pam asks “Can someone not respect you without being malicious”–is a perfect example. I am not being critical. It’s simply a different way of Being. Men are simple creatures. No matter how smart, savvy, interesting they may be, we need to acknowledge that we are DIFFERENT and that does not make them EVIL.
    I feel like Natalie’s whole mission is to help us see this!!

    • Alex says:

      That’s a shocking thing to say, and think. Do note that you allow women a ‘typically’, but don’t grant the same favour to men. Of course there may be differences in our wiring that are related to gender, and there are certainly social influences that can cause gendered differences in the way men and women relate both to each other and to relating.

      But it is a nonsense to suggest that men qua men are unanalytic about relationships. I am blessed to have a social circle whose male members are every bit as thoughtful about and sensitive to such things as the female ones – in some cases more so. It’s a delight.

      • Allison says:

        I agree, Alex! I was also offended by the “simple creatures” comment.

        I think when you carry this type of attitude about the opposite sex, you will inevitably end up with another jerk.

        There are a lot of great guys out there, it’s time that we start to date them.

        • P. says:

          Alex and Allison,

          I have no idea if men are simple or complex, but a lot of men do tell women they are simple, as in “we are just a very visual creatures (i.e., “you need to be skinny, sexy, and hot to warrant our attention”) and “all we care about is sex” (i.e., “don’t even think about relating to us unless you have sex with us first). I believe this is done to manipulate women. Please, note, I did not say all men, but there are many. hence the stereotyping; men propagate that.

    • Lilia says:

      Healing, I agree that they are different but the “Men are simple”-myth is sort of freaking me out because I´ve encountered the most complex incomprehensible varieties of male minds, including that of my father and my exEUM. It is possible they were particularly neurotic, but still. There are no simple human beings and the thing that bothers me about this idea is that we women end up like the exaggerated, over-analysing fretting freaks when in fact we are the ones with simple (as in not contradictory) aspirations – finding an honest, mutual relationship.

      • Sadder but Wiser says:

        The idea that “men are simple” would be an interesting discussion for another post. Maybe Natalie would write about her views on the differences between male and female relationship psychology. For example, many of us are utterly bewildered at how some men can seem perfectly normal, loving and “committed” one minute and then are sleeping with someone else the next. How can they turn it on and off like this? It seems incomprehensible to most of us. There is a theory that men think in “compartmental” ways, which allows them to treat one woman like a queen and another like shit at the same time – and have no problem living with this. They have some special ability to keep their experiences separate, in “compartments,” while women tend to integrate all their feelings and thoughts together. Don’t know if this is true but I thought it was interesting to ponder.

        • EllyB says:

          I refuse to believe it. I had a woman friend who was every bit as toxic with her harem of boyfriends as those AC guys were with us (and she was very toxic for me too). And I grew up with a narcissistic mother whose patterns (sadism and total lack of empathy) weren’t any different from male narcissists. I think if we focus on “gender differences” we might oversee much bigger (and less scientifically questionable) issues, such as personality disorders.

          • EllyB says:

            And so that means if a guy treats me like shit and another woman like a queen, it’s just that I’ve hit the wrong “compartment” in his brain? I mean… please. I can’t stand those “scientific” justifications of behaviours that are just assholery, plain and simple.

            And as to the men who can seem perfectly normal, loving and “committed” one minute and then are sleeping with someone else the next, that’s manipulative/dishonest behavior. Some human beings (women and men) are capable of this, yes. But that’s just assholery too. How could anybody justify assholery with “gender”???

            Sorry for my rant.

            • yoghurt says:

              Ooo, that strikes a nerve with me as well, ellyb.

              I’ve come across a lot of men who say “when ‘The One’ comes along then I’ll treat her properly, but in the meantime I’m justified in being horrible to all those people who aren’t ‘The One’”.

              Translates into ‘people who aren’t pretty/clever/cool/whatever-it-is enough for me don’t deserve honesty or consideration’.

              Great. If that’s true then I may as well give up now.

              • Little Star says:

                Yoghurt, it is scary, I remember myself having the very thoughts: “If he is not THE ONE I would not bother to make an effort, sometimes I was mean to my ACs, somehow I wanted to punish them for absence of my father and a very painful break up with my ex bf…But somehow I feel different with a musician guy, who I never met (just talking on the phone/emailing) I respect him, maybe because he is nice and considered?

                • grace says:

                  Star
                  Don’t get carried away. You haven’t met him yet. He may be lovely but you don’t know. I worked hard not to let my thoughts run away with me when I started dating my boyfriend and I’d already known him over six months and saw him several times a week.
                  Let it unfold and slowly. And not too much of the virtual. That’s a pitfall for dreamers.

                  • Little Star says:

                    Thank you Grace, that what Tinkerbell advised me as well:) Sometimes, I can carry on “building dream castles” in my head! I have to stop!

        • yoghurt says:

          No, I’m not buying it.

          You can be simple and kind. You can be simple and honest. You can be simple and forgo something that you want for the sake of not taking it from someone under false pretences.

          I also know plenty of men who are perfectly manly but who would rather lie down in traffic than cause someone else emotional damage. I think there’s a degree of social conditioning in there (more and more so as more people continue propagate the myth that men ‘can’t help’ d*cking people around) but that’s not an excuse. I was socially-conditioned to be a doormat, but it’s still my own fault if I carry on behaving that way.

          This “oh men are automatically wired to be immoral” business is just insulting to men in general, imo. There’s no reason why they can’t exercise a bit of logical reasoning and common decency same as anyone else can.

          • yoghurt says:

            …and I should add that plenty of them DO.

          • P. says:

            Yoghurt,

            I agree with you. I have had the “nature” professor and the “nurture” professor and I took the evolutionary psychology class, too (from a well-known guy in the field, no less). Any extreme is suspicious to me, bc while biology does influence our behavior to say we have no free will is also ridiculous. For example, PMS influences my mood (now that I am older), but does not make me be promiscuous even though I might consider it at the time. So, I am sure there is a similar process going on with guys – perhaps they (some of them) want to sleep with women all the time, but I do not believe for a second they “could not help it”. The biggest difference is that men get free pass from society for this behavior, and women are pushed and put under pressure to not be bitches (i.e. social conditioning).

            • yoghurt says:

              Absolutely P, I totally agree.

              The older I get, the more I think that you do people a disservice when you start telling them that ‘they can’t help it’ in ANY behavioural context. It looks very kind and understanding on the surface, but really it’s just disempowering and it actively stops them fighting to make sensible choices.

              I’m sure that there is a teeny tiny minority of people who DO have periods in which they can exercise no physical control over themselves whatsoever (and how scary musst that be? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_hand_syndrome), but I’m pretty sure that most people have more power over their actions than that.

              The worst times of my life have been when I thought that I ‘couldn’t help it’ – it was like being on a highway to hell with no brakes, because I couldn’t guarantee that I wasn’t going to stuff up my life completely. And I only pulled it together when I realised that I jolly well COULD help it and should start trying.

              I won’t even get started on the social conditioning…

          • Sadder but Wiser says:

            I didn’t mean to imply that men are “wired to be immoral,” not at all. I was just intrigued by the idea that IF men and women do process information differently (and I don’t know that they do), then what does that mean for relationship thinking? I’m just trying to understand how immature men manage to justify their incongruous behavior to THEMSELVES. I have a good friend who has been a couples therapist for 30 years and she brought up the “compartment” idea based on her experience and discussions with hundreds of men.

            But, the bottom line is that, of course, we should never accept anything less than honesty, kindness and respect. There’s no excuse for men (or women) – no matter how they “think”- not behaving with common decency.

            • yoghurt says:

              Sorry sadder – I didn’t mean to be directly critical of your comment, it just triggered a bit of pent-up steam!

              When it comes to this though: “I’m just trying to understand how immature men manage to justify their incongruous behavior to THEMSELVES.” – I think that there’s your answer, they tell themselves that they can’t help it and that it’s just what men do. And, sadly, there’s plenty of people out there churning out fake evolutionary studies to suggest that it’s true.

            • Revolution says:

              I have read all of your very interesting comments, and here’s my thoughts on this in a nutshell. Let me go to a metaphor:

              Say Person A (male or female) is the engineer type, an analytical, empirical thinker. Detail-oriented.

              Person B (male or female)is more abstract, possibly more creative, has more of a “treetop” view of things, rather than details.

              Now, both of these people will have VASTLY different ways of thinking, exploring the world, explaining things to themselves and to others, and interacting with people. But does that absolve EITHER them from the responsibility to treat other people with kindness, honesty, and respect? NO.

              End of.

          • dancingqueen says:

            2 Yoghurt

            “No, I’m not buying it.

            You can be simple and kind. You can be simple and honest. You can be simple and forgo something that you want for the sake of not taking it from someone under false pretences.”

            So well put; whoever thinks that it is okay to pounce on someone, when they show weakness and vulnerability, is giving in to their own weak nature…strong people are not predators. Weak people prey, strong people protect themselves, and others, from humans’ emotional frailties.

            • Revolution says:

              “whoever thinks that it is okay to pounce on someone, when they show weakness and vulnerability, is giving in to their own weak nature…strong people are not predators. Weak people prey, strong people protect themselves, and others, from humans’ emotional frailties.”

              Dancingqueen, I am clapping like mad for you from the audience. A TO THE MEN!!!!!!

        • Grizelda says:

          I think you have ALL pointed out the total tsunami of bullshit that has been washing over society thru the media in the last few years that tries to ‘train’ women to accept nothing but bad behaviour and disappointment from men.

          ‘Men are simple, so hey, don’t expect anything from them.’ ‘Men avoid emotion, so hey, don’t be surprised if they never, ever love you.’ ‘Men need all hot women, every time, all the time, because they’re visual creatures, so hey all you women who aren’t hot can step off now.’ ‘Men compartmentalise, so hey if they’re in a relationship with you it means they’ll never stop looking for an upgrade, so live with it.’

          RUBBISH. All of it. It all amounts to an undermining of women and a pathological hatred of them. How dare they try to excuse the way men behave today and brainwash women into approving of it.

          • yoghurt says:

            ‘Men are simple, so hey, don’t expect anything from them.’ “‘Men avoid emotion, so hey, don’t be surprised if they never, ever love you.’ ‘Men need all hot women, every time, all the time, because they’re visual creatures, so hey all you women who aren’t hot can step off now.’ ‘Men compartmentalise, so hey if they’re in a relationship with you it means they’ll never stop looking for an upgrade, so live with it.’”
            :D
            And there goes my tea, all over my laptop…

          • grace says:

            Grizelda
            It also undermines men

          • Kit-Kat says:

            Totally Agree Grizelda..RUBBISH

          • EUM Roberto says:

            everyone is unique. There are articles on BR that focus on our perceptions and assumptions that if we go in with expectations of AC behavior then that’s what we get. Other people do what they do for their own reasons. It is not our place to change or control their behavior. All we can do is look for the TELLS and maintain healthy boundaries and know when to flush.

            So all we can do is keep our side of the fence clean/honest.
            I think Grace or Magnolia gave this gem of wisdom:

            Whatever qualities you are looking for in a partner then be that person yourself. Like attracts like. If you want an honest partner, then be an honest person.

            It is not men vs women. I really like BR for this reason that much of what is on here applies equally to both genders and really it is all about introspection and self improvement. The new 2.0 version of ourselves will be awesome :-)

            • dancingqueen says:

              Roberto I am sorry if it is uncomfortable for you here, on occasion. You are a very enlightened person to be hearing us all sounding off about your gender, and not getting strident back. Thanks for showing us an example of a quality man:)

  12. selkie says:

    I’m getting better and better at recognizing tells. It’s become like radar just recently and I sit back in amazement at what I see. Looking back through my relationships, I remember the tells that at the time I completely didn’t notice or understand. The last three guys I met, in this month only, gave up their tell’s within an hour. I just grin, like the Cheshire cat and let them talk a bit, considering it an educational experience, then move along politely. The harder part of this for me is recognizing my own tells. I tend to put myself down when I’m nervous, tell people it’s no trouble when it is, laugh at disparaging jokes, avoid seeming confrontational when I should speak up, and from Nat’s list above, “going from being guarded and even aloof or cool, calm and confident to letting yourself be swept up in Fast Forwarding.” Yep. That is (or was, fingers crossed) my signature move. My insecurities were pretty easy to spot. Ha! I’m entertained lately watching people reveal themselves. It’s not ‘why me?’ anymore but, tell me more, with a mental pen and paper ready so I can take notes. Going from feeling like a victim to feeling empowered is well….empowering. Love this post Natalie.

  13. MRWriter says:

    You freak me out sometimes, Natalie. My friend and I were just having this discussion 48 hrs ago. He pretty much said the same thing you did in this article. I’m guilty of silently observing their cues but NOT standing up for myself. I used to think I want to see how a person treats me without my interference. Ironically, I do believe we teach people how to treat us. These are contradictions of logic. I think there’s merit to both but it’s about balance. I don’t want to be a shrew but I must stop being a doormat too. I’m kind to a fault and then I crack open like an 8.0 earthquake.

    Since I’ve been burned so much I tend to lie in wait and give them enough rope to hang themselves. I don’t, as my friend put it, “Use my voice.” He’s right. My last EUM wanted me to “lead him by the nose.” I rejected that because I think a modicum of reasonable care and consideration should come from the other person by their own volition. Part of my anger though is that I didn’t speak up when I should have and finally did when it was too late. EUM was an avid reset button pusher. If I had used my voice when it counted, I would’ve walked away with my dignity intact rather than in shambles. He took advantage of my good nature but I allowed him to test my patience. By the time he had pushed me to the outer limits, there was no going back, just a big brouhaha and peace out.

    My friend also said that these men were probably testing me on some level to see what they could get away with, which makes me ill. When I tolerated more than I should have, they kept busting my boundaries while I suffered in silence.

    The above lists help immensely. I will start speaking up for myself and observing my tells. If my voice and dignity scares the guy off then that in of itself is the biggest tell. I’ll show him who and what I am and if he can’t tell that I’m quality then he can hit the road pronto.

  14. runnergirl says:

    I’ve always been struck by the synergy between EUM/AC’s and FBG’s. We were perfect dance partners, only I wasn’t ‘dancing with a star’. As I read the examples of tells, with a few exceptions, my tells and his tells matched perfectly: My tell: “Giving them the time of day” (Giant mistake giving a MM the time of day.) His tell: “Actions and words not matching”. My tell: “Believing their lies and promises”. His tell: “Fast Forwarding where intensity is used to speed you through the early stages of dating and blind you”. My tell: “Going from being guarded and even aloof or cool, calm and confident to letting yourself be swept up in Fast Forwarding and even abandoning all of your boundaries or friends and family”. His tell: “Lack of empathy, lack of morals, not seeming to know or respect right from wrong and telling lies or even dripfeeding lies”. My tell: Showing eagerness, letting him back into my life, participating in a virtual text relationship. The tells match and we both did the “Those Who Doth Protest Too Much”. Seriously brilliant Natalie. I used to wonder how he could tell!
    In the US, the big TV show is “Dancing with Stars”. Every time I hear that now, I’ll be thinking “Dancing with AC’s”.
    PS. You are right about a good tell in the form of boundaries. They can tell that too.
    PPS. I love the ‘chancing the arms’ reminder. Happy days indeed.

  15. Maggie says:

    I’m going through the break up of a friendship right now after finding out that the friend I thought I had has been lying to me about every aspect of her life. I feel like it’s something out of a movie, she’s lied about her education, family background, employment, and even went so far as to lie about being seriously ill. It’s like the person I thought she was doesn’t exist, and in speaking with mutual friends who have found out about her deception, we’ve been wondering how it is we were all bamboozled by this woman. I imagine we must have had some obvious tells that we were trusting and easy to manipulate, and in hindsight I can see how obvious she was with her lies. But I ignored the red flags and am left feeling like an idiot. It’s a tough pill to swallow, and I feel like I’ve been targeted by a predator of sorts.

    • Revolution says:

      Maggie, honey.

      I’m so sorry that you had to endure this kind of treatment. Even not knowing you, I can confidently say that you didn’t cause or deserve this type of treatment. None of us do.

      I have had this type of experience with a best friend of several years who I had to distance myself from. At the time, I read everything about manipulation that I could get my hands on. A GREAT GREAT book that I found is by George Simon, called “Dealing with Manipulative People.” It is revolutionary in that most books stroke the manipulator with explanations of their “low self-esteem” causing these bullying tendencies. Well, Dr. Simon is like, “No you di-in’t!” and puts the onus squarely back on the shoulders of the manipulator/bully, explaining that it’s actually their grandiose egos, not fragile self-esteem, that causes this behavior.

      And don’t feel like a chump for being prey to these predators. Just be on your guard. You don’t have to become a hardass, but just lock your doors at night.

      Wishing you the best.

      • Freya says:

        Being something of a predator myself I will have to say that this Dr. Simon is probably right. A predator or manipulator has a huge and weak ego that needs to be fed regularly. I think sometimes they have such a good understanding of the victim mentality that they can play as if they have low self esteem. Especially, if it gets them what they want. An ego stroke. I think it is easy for an egoist to convince THEMSELVES that they have low self esteem as justification for their behavior.

      • Maggie says:

        Thanks for the well wishes, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Honestly I’ve felt like somebody close to me has died, because the person I thought she was didn’t exist at all. It’s the weirdest thing, realizing that the personality she showed and the interests she claimed to have weren’t even her’s. She cherry picked from other people and essentially took on their personas as her own. It’s a bit scary. I have had a few mutual friends to talk to about this though, and they’ve been a great help to me. I don’t know how I’ll handle the next new friend I make though, it’s going to be hard for me to trust somebody new.

  16. Tyla says:

    Wow. Your entire list here of code red and amber “tells” from guys was literally ALL my ex EUM! Amazing. I also possessed some of the qualities especially “being guarded and aloof to being swept up in fastforwarding and abandoning boundaries”. Oh yea, this was me! Thanks for the reminder that having boundaries actually keeps the bad out of your life!!!

  17. njoy says:

    Thank you so much. I found your website through a lady who recommended it on a forum at a online dating site. And I thank God that she did.

    I got caught up in a “casual” relationship that deep down I hoped would turn into something real, and one year later it hasn’t. It turned into nothing and I did much of the things we shouldn’t do. Gave myself away to him.

    I went from that to online dating and started to get involved with someone (via calls and texting, it was long distance) who said all the right things but there were red flags I really wanted to ignore because I have been so desperate for someone in my life. It became obvious, today actually, that he was just blowing me off and nothing was real to him. I’m glad I found out before I got in too deep like I did last time. I was once again trying to ignore the signs.

    I come here to get a dose of reality to remind me of what I’m worth. I forget. Thank you for helping me remember.

  18. Summer says:

    I have vry low self-esteem. I have been in many bad relationships. I hate myself, I think I’m ugly and nobody will want me. So I stay in abusive relationships

    • Stephanie says:

      Summer – the opinions you have of yourself sound very negative. Have you considering therapy/counseling?

    • Teddie says:

      Uh, Summer, who has put these thoughts in your mind? Because I’m sure they are not yours. Please take a step back and examine them!

    • Victorious says:

      Summer it sounds like your abusive partners have managed down your self esteem to the point that you think you are ugly and nobody else will want you. They are nasty tossers so why would you let them tell you, directly or indirectly what your value is? what does ugly even mean? I can tell you, it is the mean and disgusting behaviour of someone who will deliberately try to break you so that you end up hating yourself. That is ugly. Please stay with us summer and read all Nats posts. The fact you have posted seems like a tiny little cry for help, so maybe you are ready for change? I really hope so.

    • pinkpanther says:

      Summer,
      Yes, please stay with us. I’ve been here a while and have changed so much. I’ve watched (through reading the posts) pretty much every other women change for the better too. If you stay here with us, I’m sure you will begin to value yourself more each day.

      Hope to see you around here again. Best of luck!

  19. Teddie says:

    Well, from what I know, only 10 percent of what governs us is conscious, the other 90 are unconscious, and comprise also things like habits, that’s why habits are so robust. A big topic currently in neuroscience, the Subliminal, just now finished reading Leonard Mlodinov’s book about it, a short review here: http://www.economist.com/node/21553413

  20. Ria says:

    Natalie, it is about time someone will give you a medal. Not only will you teach people about AC-s and EUMs, but the general self awareness, that is so essential to acknowledge in the days we live now. My biggest respect! Please dont ever stop preaching!

  21. Victorious says:

    Ah yes I have done most of these. And on top of that, *cringes with embarrassment* I actually told ex narc that I “was really easy going” and that he would find it ” hard to get into an argument with me.” I lived up to all this so at least my actions matched my words but it cost me a huge amount of self respect and caused immense anxiety. No boundaries, no self esteem, but now No Contact – Yay me!

    • P. says:

      yay, Victorious! Yep, I used to say I could get along with anyone, and I could, by completely replacing my needs with theirs. It is almost painful to think about it and for how long. I cannot even write this :(.

  22. teachable says:

    Heartache Amy

    I say this with kindness so please take it the spirit intended.

    Here’s ‘HOW’ you prevent a re-occurrance of getting involved with a married man:

    MM: Reveals he’s still married (either by you directly asking about martial status if you’re unsure, or him volunteering the information)
    You: Walk away (possibly with a few choice words in his direction for him having thought so lowly of you as to imagine that you’d be interested in his slimey cheating ways)

    It’s not rocket science.

    • Victorious says:

      I have been hit on by two married male “friends” since I split with ex narc. I found their proposals:
      1. For a shag to “cheer me up” as I am not getting any cos my wife has depression.
      2. Passing me a note in a meeting saying here is my number for a date/whatever.

      to be incredibly nauseating and dispiriting, and I was aware that they KNEW how vulnerable I was and so it was even MORE despicable. Amy promise yourself you will do exactly what Teachable says and just walk next time.

  23. SleepingBeauty says:

    I’m sorry, this whole “men are simple creatures” argument is starting to really irritate me and is quite frankly getting old. WTH does that have to do with anything? It’s okay for them to be AC’s because they are simple and don’t know any better? It’s okay for them to bust boundaries because they are simple and can’t help themselves? It’s okay for them to lie and be duplicitous because they are simple and that’s just the way they are?

    I’ve heard this argument from a number of men and women numerous times and it’s a crock each and every time. That statement is usually followed up with “it’s easy to get a man to fall in love with you and commit because we are simple.” Really? I must have been absent the day they taught that. Because all of the people I know who have been burned by ACs and EUMs practically killed themselves trying to stepford wives (or gfs) to these men that turned around and gave them their ass to kiss in the end. It’s funny how these “simple creatures” will know they are not interested in a woman and just want sex and the woman feels the exact same way, so they sleep together only for him to turn around and berate her. For what, you ask? – you guessed it -sleeping with him. Suddenly SHE has self-esteem issues. Suddenly SHE isn’t trustworthy because she MUST do this all the time. This is not simplicity but bullsh*t.

    Women are taught different things about men and about relationships than men are about women and relationships and until we are all taught the SAME information, there will forever be this disconnect. Yesterday I read a blog entry by this AC named Evan Marc Katz who calls himself a “Dating Coach for Smart, Strong, Successful Women” entitled “Men look for sex and find love women look for love and find sex.” Several of his statements pissed me off immensely but none moreso than “One of the most important – and frustrating – concepts that women need to get about men is that most things have NO meaning, beyond what’s being conveyed in the moment.” How are women not be neurotic and untrusting with men universally subscribing to this asinine thinking and women simply having to accept it. He goes on to say:

    “You may feel that: “I just want a guy to be honest with me. Believe me, I sometimes want to have sex, too, but I just want to know where I stand. I don’t want to get hurt. He should be man enough to tell me the truth.”

    Sorry. We’ve got a different truth.

    The truth is that we’re attracted to you in this moment.

    The truth is that we’re not sure if we want a relationship with you.

    The truth is that if we tell you that we don’t know what’s going to happen in the morning, nothing will ever happen.

    So we say nothing. And hope that you don’t get too attached.

    And this is okay how?

    Another person whose perspective I bought into was Steve Harvey, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. In his book he tells some of the ways to know that a man is interested in something serious with you and those things include: discussing a future with you, making plans with you, moving in together, etc. Clearly all of Harvey’s friends are upstanding citizens and would NEVER future fake to get what they wanted. I’m sure Harvey had good intentions, but do these men and “experts” never take into consideration that some men (and women) lie to get what they want? Therein lies the problem (no pun intended).
    Women buy these books en mass and think “Oh, he said he loves me, so he must mean it; Oh, he wants us to live together, so he must be serious” when the truth is maybe he just wants someone to split half the rent and play maid. Then you realize from other “experts” such as Katz that perhaps he was just “in the moment” and can’t be faulted for later changing his mind or retracting.

    Men are simple, they don’t know any better.

    I’m sick of all the cock and bull stories of men not getting enough hugs as children and never getting over how their 3rd grade gf left them for a 4th grader. The vast majority of these men (and women) that women (and men) like me have been involved with knew EXACTLY what they were doing when they did it. Tells or not – they had an agenda. No-one who respects people and is healthy emotionally decides they can or should disrespect someone else based on tells or the assumption that they don’t respect themselves, so I shouldn’t respect them either. They walk away from people who they feel have no respect for themselves.

    I completely get what NML is saying and that sometimes we project who we want or think we should be, but our “tells” let others know what’s underneath. But speaking from experience, when I’ve dated men who I knew wanted more from the relationship than I did and seemed okay with excepting crumbs from me, I was a PERSON and told them that we needed to end things. I didn’t continue to let men who I was not interested in sleep with me, buy me expensive gifts, give me $, take me on vacation, etc. and justify it with “I told them I was not interested so if they are still around and doing these things they must be okay with it too.” No. Clearly I saw that there was a disconnect and they were pretending to be okay with something with the hopes that the situation would change. Why can’t men be as responsible? It’s about being a person and having respect for other people. Just because someone may consciously or unconsciously allow you or be okay with taking advantage of them, doesn’t mean you should. What does that say about you?

    • Allison says:

      Sleeping,

      Great points!

      “Why can’t men be as responsible?” I have to add that there are plenty of women who will also take advantage of men when they are not interested. They’re are users on both sides!!!!

    • Jennifer says:

      SleepingBeauty,

      EXACTLY.”It’s about being a person and having respect for other people.” Yes, Yes, Yes. Just because we’re dating (men and women both do this) does not give us the right to use people for a free meal, sex, a cuddle or anything. Nope. Nope. Nope. We don’t get to put on our dating hats and say, “Well, because it’s dating I get to be deceptive and use someone.” Or, because I’m a man, a woman, it makes it okay to do X,Y or Z even though it’s shady shady city. If one thinks that in order to date they have to misrepresent, lie or use, they should not be dating. But many will. That’s why we have Baggage Reclaim :) And thank GAWD.

      • Victorious says:

        Yes Jennifer, i have a close female friend who openly admits that she has often looked at her cupboards and realized they are bare and it’s a long time til payday so she just goes online and gets a guy to pay for dinner out somewhere. She doesn’t give a shit.Part of me admires her but I know I could never do that, it just isn’t part of my make up.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      I am intrigued with learning more about how men think, but it sure can be depressing! Perhaps it’s not “simple” men who share Katz’s “truth” but just immature ones. And these poor dears can’t just magically morph into thinking like mature men until they struggle with themselves and do their necesssary inner work – so in their immature thinking, this does seem like “truth” to them.

      My ex was famous for his words and actions not matching, and when I called him on it, he looked crestfallen and genuinely troubled. “I know I do this but I don’t know why. It really bothers me.” Perhaps this was the truth – not that this made it excusable. But I didn’t get the feeling that he wasn’t just trying to pull one over on me. There is a difference between genuine confusion and deliberate deceit and manipulation.

      And when I asked him why he said all those (loving, pro-relationship, etc.) things to me if he didn’t mean them, he said “I meant it at the time.” Yes, I was on the receiving end of the odious “meant it at the time” lame-ass excuse, which saddened me deeply because I thought it was so unworthy of him to sink to something that crappy. But then again, maybe in his own mind, this was really true. I’ve heard this before, this “meaning in the moment” thinking ascribed to men. Which is why I brought up the possible “compartmental thinking.”

      On a lighter note, and to add a chuckle into this discussion (hope this eases the irritation a bit SB!), I remember when my ex-husband and I were at a book store and he commented on the dozens and dozens of magazines there aimed at women, all focused on how to be more appealing, more beautiful, more sexy, better hair, better makeup, better fashion, lose weight, look younger – all presumably on how to get a man, keep a man, please a man, understand a man (you guys know the type – and how come men apparently don’t need the same “advice?” What does this say about women? Are we so inadequate that we need all this help? Another topic…). He shook his head and said “I’ll let you in on a secret. Women don’t have to do any of that to impress men. You’re making it way too complicated. We don’t really care how you look. Just get in bed with us, and we’ll be perfectly happy.”

      This may give you a clue on why he is my ex-husband! :)

      • Sadder but Wiser says:

        meant to say: I didn’t get the feeling that he WAS trying to pull one over on me.

      • yoghurt says:

        I think that Katz and the like are brilliant for giving insight into the Game. Should you want it.

        But, let’s face it, the Game sucks and once you’ve twigged on that the ‘winner’ is the person who cares the least about the other then it loses a lot of its appeal.

        Similar story to yours, sadder. I once read, on a similar website, that the way to !!Get Your Ex Back!! was to apologise to him. So I did. I apologised to him for him prioritising drinking way above me and popping out for milk and then disappearing for days on end and shouting at me in public and breaking up with me in the foyer of the pub.

        And I got him back. So that was a great move :(

        Boy, was THAT a tell…

      • Anon says:

        Sleeping Beauty; I read that SAME article and had the same response. Furious over his basic ‘get out of jail free card’ response to “in the moment”. IN FACT, I posted it here on BR with the link to his website. Surprisingly enough, I did not receive the same sympathetic and positive response as you. The BR ladies replied to me go ‘let go’ and ‘relax don’t let it keep you awake at night’ I even got a bible quote from the book of Isaiah. Nat, I have been trying to google the link and can’t find it. UGH!

        • yoghurt says:

          I remember that anon – I think that I was one of the people who said ‘relax’. I’m going to explain that now (if it isn’t too off-topic) because it’s a point that I think bears making whenever these ‘Men’s Advice’ thingies come up.

          Katz’s advice was then and is now a load of drivel and the whole pua community is still awful. So that hasn’t changed.

          The difference is, as I recall, that the idea of it really seemed to be dragging you down and upsetting you – they aren’t worth your energy. By all means analyse this stuff for the purposes of pointing out the inconsistencies (if you can stand to, personally I can’t read it for too long – it depresses me), but if it’s an emotional drag then it’s only going to screw you up in a different way.

          Bottom line is that they’re silly boys who are Not Worth Getting Upset About. Laughing at, yeah, but being upset and feeling apocalyptic about? No. Don’t pay them that compliment.

    • yoghurt says:

      This is ace, sleepingbeauty. I keep re-reading it and punching the air :)

    • MissBliss says:

      SleepingBeauty, I agree with you about that Evan Marc Katz guy. It’s like he’s writing a manual for women on how to make do with the b.s. that ACs and EUMs are throwing our way – as if it’s the women who’ve got to adjust to their shoddy behaviour. I read one of his posts where he advises women to shave five years off their age when dating online because men just can’t help but want someone younger. That guy infuriates me.

      • Victorious says:

        Yeah I read a post of his that said women who want a man need to become much “softer” Fuck Off Evan!

        • P. says:

          Yep, I softened myself all the way down to a really, really soft doormat… maybe the softest doormat ever…
          Love the f-o, Evan line. Good for you, Victorius.

    • MRWriter says:

      I understand your position and frustration Sleeping Beauty as it mirrors my own moral compass, sense of fair play and concept of justice. That Katz article is something I read too and it made me livid because men seem excused every way but loose from taking any personal responsibility or ownership and women one way or the other are left holding the bag. I agree that women should be ever-vigilant now and more so. Men in general do not seem to care about integrity, they act entitled which gives them the perfect out from considering another person’s feelings. It’s like “If you’re with me, it’s your problem.”

      Feeding this frenzy are numerous advice websites that give blueprints to men (who might not be complete AC’s) and the green light to behave without conscience. I think there are men straddling the fence of being an EUM or AC that read this garbage or hear it from their buds and wind up being complete asses. The argument can be made that a good man won’t be straddling the fence to begin with, but I think there are degrees to everything and a man who might not otherwise turn to the dark side reads and employs these nasty tricks and when the result works then they continue to practice and perfect their tactics until he is a bonafide EUM/AC and probably won’t come back.

      On the other end is the Steve Harvey advice which I think used to be valid but I have my doubts now. Given my experiences, if I followed Mr. Harvey’s guidelines I would not have tangled with ANY MAN beyond a date or two and while that now sounds a whole lot better than the few that hurt me so badly, I also think there’s something unreal when you see the tells and flags early on and don’t get involved…but then no one better rolls around. Ever. Tumbleweeds.

      Harvey believes as many dating advisers do that if a woman eliminates the undesirables from their tells/flags early on she will keep herself available to a better man/match and not suffer the consequences of getting involved with an AC or EUM. That is correct. One of the goals, however, is to actually in the course of weeding out the un-potentials meet someone who is emotionally available or a non-AC. Unfortunately, I haven’t met that man and they are getting worse and more blatant in their disrespect. So the advice Harvey is giving out is predicated on the idea that if WOMEN hold MEN to a higher standard they will respect us and try to reach that standard to some reasonable degree. Uh, no, if I were to meet Mr. Harvey, I would disabuse him of that notion because men today are much more interested in having their terms met, getting as much as possible by giving so little in return that it really is astonishing and inhumane. They simply bounce off like Tigger to the next woman (prey) and while we can all say, “Whew! Dodged a bullet there,” if that’s the mindset of most men, I think the natural thing that occurs is that WOMEN who would otherwise hold themselves to a higher standard start bringing down their expectations or find themselves eliminating every man they meet based on his obvious tells and flags…Harvey’s advice operates from what I think is an archaic and naive premise that there are more good and decent men out there than not. I now actually believe otherwise. The ratio of men to women is certainly in the man’s favor and when they know that they don’t have to behave with a sense of fair play…they know the woman is already at a disadvantage and whether she has tells that alert him to her agreeable nature, high-tolerance, or just the desire to be with someone, he will take advantage. Why wouldn’t he?

      Add our social permissiveness, internet dating, ease of communication and the idea that if YOU the WOMAN won’t put up with their obnoxious, selfish behavior, no sweat, there’s someone right around the corner who probably will. Bye-bye.

      Harvey’s book was well-intended but frankly trite. He advised from the point of view that men do care, want to please and want a woman of quality. They don’t. Not from what I’ve seen. They want someone they can roll with and what switch is missing that says to them “I should treat this PERSON…(screw the man/woman dichotomy)…a human being without any care is beyond me. I don’t get it, I won’t get it. It’s below my pay grade and that they don’t even look back and acknowledge their actions and at least learn from them speaks volumes.

      Like you SB, I also stopped seeing men as soon as I knew they were getting too invested emotionally/financially and that I couldn’t return those feelings. I left because it was the right mode of action (granted this was 12 years ago and I was 24 at the time). Haven’t run into this problem since but I acted with good karmic intentions. I stupidly believed in my youth and over the course of years that people (men & women) behave with some code of goodwill. I do, which is probably why I wrongly assumed most other people do too. This attitude (misguided and naive) set me up for a series of grueling disappointments. When I look back on the few men I dallied with, I had the best of intentions and operated from a place of goodwill. I saw the flags/tells and through time accumulated more knowledge and experience to see and recognize these flags early on with each man. Great! Now I feel like I have a superhero power of EUM-X-ray vision. I’m Neo from the Matrix, “I can dodge bullets.” But I wish Morpheus’ response were true also, “No, Neo. I’m telling you that when you’re ready you won’t have to.” Guess I’m still practicing jumping from building to building without a net. Dodging bullets is great but when do I meet someone I won’t have to dodge or date wearing a bullet-proof vest? I used to begin with an open mind, judicious spirit and a basic level of trust that I don’t think was too trusting if men operated from a sense of fair play and reciprocity. At some point, you have to be vulnerable or else what the heck is going on? Maybe we inflate what the guy is showing and offer ourselves like a sacrificial lamb. I think every situation and dynamic is unique and again, there has to be some vulnerability along the way, but if the men are being disingenuous, that could take some time to figure out so what to do? Withhold? Be completely devoid of much feeling after when…months? If I have to keep my emotions under maximum security then I find it hard to believe that I can develop a healthy attachment especially when I’ve been in solitary confinement for the majority of my dating years due to the flags/tells.

      Harvey’s advice to make a man wait 90 days before having sex is an excellent rule of thumb and Natalie wrote an article about that recently. Personally, I don’t have some magic number, if it feels right go for it and hope for the best. Problem is that men do expect sex in a hot flash and yes, wonderful when we do not permit them to push us into bed because we’re afraid a relationship won’t materialize. If that’s the case, as Natalie said, it’s probably not a relationship you want anyway. So I sign on board for celibacy and the hurt that occurs when a man leaves from the lack of instant sex. Being hurt and disappointed is natural, human and when you keep running into that attitude it starts to twist deeper. The Harvey advice assumes that a good man with the right intentions will wait. The reality is most men won’t. Not anymore.

      Harvey believes that there are men who want to treat women right but now I have grave doubts. I think men frankly don’t give a damn anymore and there are NO REPERCUSSIONS for them either. They will find a woman who will accept their terms and make nice. There’s no approbation, nothing to inspire the man to behave morally or considerately. The few that still do are probably already married or in a committed relationship. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve been playing ball with the second or third stringers while acting as though they were the first round pick. They aren’t and there’s a good reason (ergo the flags/tells).

      Natalie brings this up in examples of tells: Giving them the time of day. Huh. Well, now really WTF am I supposed to do? On some level they know they aren’t deserving so instead of raising themselves up (yes, there’s a risk in being rejected and what not) they try to dial down our expectations. They bring us down because they don’t want to be bothered with being upstanding when challenged with a women that deserves and expects more from a man than belly lint. Nice. I think that sums up the modern man in a nutshell — they won’t be more so they wheedle and bring us down. A smart, healthy woman will jog (over and over) but eventually the man will hit on one that is either exhausted, or has been dialed down so much she doesn’t hear the sound of her self-esteem being flushed. We become conditioned — trained is the word they use on SoSuave.com.

      Another point Natalie makes, if someone takes a chance and asks for $100 and gets $50 in return then the payoff worked. They may not have received the whole amount but they took a gamble on someone’s good-nature and it proved successful. All they have to do is hone their skill and maybe the next person will give them $100. Maybe not. It’s worth the gamble because I think in most cases for a variety of reasons, women allow their boundaries to be tested and don’t want to come across as “bitchy” or “rigid” especially in the discovery phase and when they keep being hit up and apply their boundaries, they eventually do give in with a man they really like or are attracted to hoping or betting on the long shot. The men would rather gamble and receive a payoff then stand up and fly straight and true. Where’s the benefit for them? Just being a good guy? They piss on that notion.

      Your anger struck a chord with me and I write fast and furious (probably more than I should but it helps just to air out my thoughts so for all you who actually read my rants/raves and scribbling, thank you and bless you). I’m angry because I feel cheated out of something real and genuine that I can now give of myself without the fear of losing myself…could I do that 5-6 years ago…probably not but I never had the opportunity to be tested anyway. I have not thrown a good man back into the sea only to regret it years later. Nope. Did that have me attract EUM’s because I was EUW? I’m willing to accept some truth there. Since I never met a man that challenged me it’s hard to judge.

      I believe in my heart of hearts that I’m emotionally healthy with a few dings. The men I’ve encountered like a plague do not recognize they have someone good because they aren’t looking for something good — they want fast food.

      When I show that I’m loyal, trustworthy, caring, a (too good) listener, intelligent, funny, ambitious, helpful, non-vapid/not-shallow, moral, kind, generous, thoughtful woman…all that is great so long as it doesn’t get in the way of what they want when they want it. I’m not saying it doesn’t count for anything, they’re like pigs in s**t when they have it but they don’t VALUE these attributes and will use these qualities against you if and when need be to satisfy their own agendas. Sad but true.
      Men ply, test, ignore or abuse a woman with a kind spirit until finally it does get broken. She becomes EUW as a result.

      I know for me, I needed a hero somewhere along the way, not a zero. I needed a man with the ability to see beyond his bubble of personal agendas. I needed a man that frankly has some moral fiber that exists a priori and has been instilled in him in spite of our society, in spite of the self-centeredness not because he hopes to gain from it but because that is who he is through and through. I believed men like that existed more than the other. I’ve only seen the ‘other’ on a sliding scale of slimeball to assclown.

      The lie being perpetuated is that WOMEN are the cure-all. Wish it were that simple because if that were true then the men I was with wouldn’t have behaved as they did without accountability, without self-reflection, or regret. There would be some Ah-ha moment that would have them realize that behaving like a jerk is only going to cause them to lose a good woman. They’d rather behave like jerks, justify their bad behavior, and find a woman who will accept their jerkiness. That’s the path of least resistance and it is clearly marked. Why rise up when you can dial her down?

      You’re mad I think because the path we’re on is full of resistance. I don’t like to use the word “victim” but bear with me…the victim is victimized again when she reads this trite crap that men are simple, give them sex, love and emotional support and they will be happy, content and appreciative. Yep, did that and they were all too happy to up the ante, demand more with less on their part and be completely ungrateful for what I was willing to offer. Had I continued to tolerate the intolerable, had I agreed to a one-sided relationship, I would be with (married possibly) to one of those EUM’s or AC’s. They wanted a wife (to take care of them in every respect). I did not agree for long so it was so long instead of the MEN stepping up, I had to step out.

      That’s what I see and know to be true. If a woman wants the real deal she’s in for a long wait. If she wants a MAN at any cost, the price will be very high.

      I think back to the movie, “As Good as it Gets” when Jack Nicholson’s character says to a young, preening female fan

      “How do you write women so well?”
      “I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.” Funny to me because now that dynamic is completely reversed.

      Men lack reason and accountability. Maybe it’s a misogynistic reflex to women in the workforce, to equal rights, to our easy-come-easy-go society, but whatever it is the stereotypical woman being painted with this brush is simply untrue and it’s men who are the irrational, lazy and self-centered bastards. Women are being told the great grand lie of all sorts of mumbo-jumbo to camouflage the terrible, all-encompassing truth that men are in and out for themselves, they will find someone who will put up with their shenanigans and a woman who won’t go along with this program will find herself adrift in the self-help aisle of the bookstore or Googling “what’s wrong with men” to find herself hopefully here or wherever trying to make sense of the insensible. Men, by and large can behave as they please without stigma anymore. If he’s a good guy because that means something intrinsic to his identity, awesome, but he’s in the minority and the majority is swelling with inflated egos, callousness, injustice and selfishness. Show me something different (not even romantically…professionally too) and I’ll temper my current assessment.

      I feel now it is in my best interest to expect the worst and have folks show and tell me the best (convince me!) rather than go into a dynamic expecting the best only to be proved yet again the worst. This is not my authentic nature but after everything I’ve encountered who I used to be has been ripped off in a variety of stick-ups. I’m taking back my power and not giving an inch anymore. No justifications, no excuses, no considerations because none of the men I dated ever so briefly or for a season did any of the above on my behalf. They justified their bad behavior and loved that I did half the work for them by justifying, they had every ready-made excuse of why they can’t be or do more for me and I again accepted and created excuses for them too. They didn’t consider me or my needs but were all too happy and thrilled when I considered theirs (sometimes to my determent, sometimes just because that’s who I am).

      It’s not as simple as these experts would like you to believe. If it were, judging by most of what I read by intelligent, caring, brave and selfless women on this board, we wouldn’t be here in the first place trying to understand what we’re doing wrong. We aren’t doing anything wrong except operating from the Golden Rule. That’s not the rule anymore…sorta at best a guideline or something we teach out children but fundamentally it is rarely practiced.

      I don’t respect men anymore. They’re out for themselves so now I’m out for me. Is that a self-help book or advice people want to give? Nope. We keep wishing and hoping but I think I have about as much luck hitting the lotto as I do in finding an emotionally mature, considerate, empathetic man. By not respecting men anymore I think I’m actually following Harvey’s advice in “Think Like a Man.” Clearly, they don’t respect women and when they have a Lady in their midst, they do everything in their power to bring her down and if that doesn’t work they move on to a woman whose already down and out or isn’t much of a lady…and they will get as much as they can out of her because it doesn’t cost them a thing to do otherwise. Just my two & twenty cents.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        MRWriter. Love your post !!! I have felt/beleived so many of the things you wrote about… I am going to read it again ,and again, and again…Thanks for sharing :)

        • Kit-Kat says:

          I read a book titled “Men Who Can’t Love” by Stephen Carter & Julia Sokol. It was enlightening & I highlighted many things that I refer back too every now & again when I am feeling low. Anyway , I enjoyed it so much because they actually interviewed many men & got there “tells” directly from the horses (AC’s) mouth :)… 5 Stars for that book…

      • P. says:

        MRWriter, I am not sure what you write (as a writer, I don’t mean on here), but when I feel like what you described above I read military science fiction with strong female characters :).

      • Grizelda says:

        This is great prose MRWriter and I’m caught up in it.

        You know your own mind, you’ve nailed your colours to the post. Your analysis is thorough and insightful.

        I too have made (and make, and will continue to make), sweeping statements about men and what they are and what they do. We summarise and categorise and thin-slice; we judge and predict and determine; we sort and sift and analyse. We pontificate — because these are our experiences, our considered opinion and our knowledge.

        I just wish our perspectives weren’t so. I just wish we were all here talking about the agony of knowing two really great men at work who seem to want to date us and which one is going to ask first. I wish we were comparing notes about wonderful dates and asking for advice on whether to go for the ski weekend or the visit to the countryside — what to bring — and that three months of exclusive dating is probably about right for that kind of overnight talk. I wish we were getting tied up in knots worrying about when or where to meet our boyfriend’s family and what they’re going to be like. If only our pain was limited to things like the time we encountered his ex-girlfriend in a shop, or the time he cancelled a date because he had to collect his elderly aunt from the airport.

        Laughable isn’t it. Like I’m on some other planet. Instead? We’ve got guys sending us photos of their dicks, turning up at our doors to slob out on our sofas guzzling 12-packs, mumbling something about how this one girl hurt them nine years ago and so they’re unable to love anyone, and silently thumbing their way through another two hours of Call of Duty before pausing that and moving onto you – their real, breathing, female Playstation. This is being in a relationship, apparently, according to some — although that’s not what his still-existing online dating profile says.

        Any woman who is willing to settle for that kind of mouth-breathing rubbish can have as many of them as she likes, for she is the doormat in heavy lipstick of their dreams. I’ll take a pass. I don’t do charity.

        This is why the answer lies somewhere in the kind of standards we set from the off. It just does. When a man meets those standards, then he is respectable. Respectable men are visible to me. If he doesn’t… he’s just thieving oxygen, frankly.

        • MRWriter says:

          Thank you all, sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I write so fast, I don’t realize I left a novella until it gets posted and will try really hard to keep my comments shorter. I have a lot to unload.

          I don’t want to be the “Debbie Downer” of this group. If I were in a place where I could believe there were still more available good men to the rotten AC’s & EUM’s, I think I would be saying what I’ve been telling myself for years, “It’s just a bad run. Work on yourself (which I did for years) and you’ll meet someone who will at least affirm humanity not decrease it. I cannot keep fluffing myself up anymore. I’d rather embrace the practical and be satisfied and happy than keep telling myself that there’ll be someone I can share my satisfaction and happiness with at some point. I have a lot of anger. I have a lot of anger directed at myself for having fooled with the few jerks that I did. I’m working on forgiving myself without forgetting (which I think I did).

          Grizelda — you know all too well it seems. Misery loves company (not saying you’re miserable) but I actually do wish the number of women here were fewer and what boggles me is that I’d venture 90% of the women who comment and are BR readers are intelligent, insightful, emotionally mature and just jaw-dropping amazing with their attitudes and lives. I’m so grateful to have found Natalie at a low point, and appreciate what you all say more than I can express here. Yet, it hurts me to the core too. I can’t help but to stop and think, “Wow! If these women are experiencing what I have, then what hope is there?” It’s a compliment to you all and Natalie for attracting these kinds of readers. There are some witty, brilliant and confident women who have either risen from the ashes or are currently rising up like phoenixes. It’s inspiring.

          I have no idea what Natalie’s readership is but whatever the number is how many men are missing out on extraordinary women who could add so much to each other’s lives and relationships. That’s the tragedy to me.

          P — funny you honed in on that. I do write sci-fi. LeGuin, Heinlein and Card are some of my faves.

          Thank you all! Blessed by your support and survival stories. (-:

          • P. says:

            MRWriter,

            I can see patterns :). My favorites are (from the newer ones): Buettner, Scalzi, DePierres, E.Bear, MacLeod, Jean Johnson… I hope you write female characters that kick ass.

    • Grizelda says:

      Sleeping Beauty, this is GREAT.

      You’re onto something. You describe part of the Psychopathic Control Grid that Thomas Sheridan has written about over and over again (Google it and see). He does go a bit looney about it, but he points out that the successful psychopaths rise to the top of society, business, the media and gov’t, and the consequence is that there is an epidemic of male psychopathic behaviour encouraged and accepted these days. Look around you. Look at the men you work with. Look at the men described on BR. They’re every-sodding-where.

      Sheridan proposes that this is all part of a grand brainwashing/training plan which, aside from making sure workers continue to work for less and less money and expect very little from government so to enrich the leaders of business and govt at the top of the food chain, provides women with ‘special’ training. I’m paraphrasing but the Psychopathic Control Grid ensures that women are bombarded with messages to become, and remain, in the most manipulatable state on a permanent basis. Little or no self-esteem — you women are never good enough; pressure to not just be entertaining and fun to men but to be HOT; pressure to be mega-sexual from the onset of puberty to age 26 (after which, women are discarded for mommyhood and grannyhood); pressure to provide no strings attached sex to any male that wants it whenever he wants it; to be trained to accept ridiculous amounts of bad behaviour from men and allow it to happen unabated and unpunished; financial independence from men (so that men don’t have the burden of supporting them), but having only a tiny fraction as much economic or social power as men; almost universal full burden of childcare and childrearing; receiving NOTHING in compensation for rape, receiving NOTHING in compensation for sexual or physical abuse, receiving NOTHING in compensation for all the years spent married to serial cheaters who dump their wives and saddle ‘em with the kids (what ever happened to him losing half of everything when he dumps her, eh? Gone since the 1970s!); etc etc.

      You have to read it and weep. It may seem crazy, it may seem nuts. It may sound like a Machiavellian plot from hell. But then you have to ask yourself: Are females born to the life of emotional pain they’re given year in, year out? The answer is no. No, they are not born to this somehow. So where is this coming from? Society.

    • grace says:

      Sleeping
      I think the blog writer is correct. That’s pretty much what is going on in a man,s head when he is trying to get sex from a woman who may want more. We’ve seen many women here wonder if it,s because he’s not over the ex, is secretly in love with them but can’t admit it, is married to cruella de vil, is scared of commitment. No. He may have issues but they aren’t stopping him from getting what he wants. Note that not all men are like this. In my new life, I don’t know any man like this.
      We can get as mad as we want about it, I know I have but, ultimately, all you can do is not engage. Don’t have sex with him unless you are sure you’re in a proper mutual relationship. That takes longer than a few weeks.
      EMK doesn’t allow for the chronically EU who can fake a relationship. But most of us have had sufficient experience to be able to spot them. clues – too charming, too hot, boundary busting, pushing you for sex, future faking, flakey, visible exes, other women. And we have our own flags. We overvalue some characteristics, undervalue others, ignore red flags, are easily won over, make excuses.
      We can still get it wrong. He could still deceive us. But it,s less likely. And should it happen, it,s down to us to walk away. He won’t do us any favours. He,ll just carry on with what suits.
      Sometimes they flat out tell you. if he says he isn’t looking for a relationship or anything serious, squawks about bad timing, or remains eerily silent on the matter, keep your knickers on and exit.
      I don’t excuse their irresponsibility, lies and selfishness but only you can look out for you and one day all of this will be foreign to you.

      • Ellyb says:

        Grace, I do agree with you that weird things are going on in those guy’s heads. However, what I don’t like is those excusing undertone in all those dating advice articles. They often make it sound like fun even if it feels like hell for the victims. If we fall for this shit (and to be honest – there is a lot of this around), then we never learn to respect our own feelings. That’s why I am with SleepingBeauty here. It feels somewhat liberating, reading a comment like hers.

    • runnergirl says:

      Sleeping Beauty,

      I’m glad you and the others commented on EMK’s blog, particularly that article, which I won’t quote because it makes me furious. I ran across it a year ago and was confused back then. Now I see his blog as an empirical tell which provides me with further insight into AC behavior. I have occasionally tried to understand what he is saying but I’ve come up with the same question: “And this is okay how”? I’ve also posted on his blog and this blog about the same event, for example an online guy lying about his age (claiming online to be 49 when he is really 52) and got hugely different responses.
      I don’t buy for one instant that males are simple, meaning unaccountable and not responsible for their words and actions. Nor would I buy that if someone said it about females. It’s BS. Both males and females can be respectful, honest, and trustworthy. Respect, honesty, and trust are not innate traits. They are learned traits. And both males and females are capable of learning those traits in hetero and homo sexual relationships.
      It is the fundamental difference between an AC/EUM and a FBG. The tells are there which is why the dance occurs whether it is a female AC dancing with a FBGuy or a male AC dancing with a FBGirl. What I object to is the ‘oh well, boyz will be boyz’ philosophy as though lying, deceitful behavior should be excused as ‘he meant it that moment’. Of course, if he/she doesn’t mean it in the morning, FLUSH. That’s what I like about Nat’s blog. Males and females can be responsible, accountable, honest, respectful,and trustworthy and,if not, the flush handle is gender neutral. This applies to romantic situations as well as best friends forever and even family members. So let’s all flush, disrespectful, dishonest, untrustworthy PEOPLE!

  24. Tinkerbell says:

    I fell for a married man close to 2yrs ago. I told my girlfriend, who, at the time I’d thought we were quite close, all about my “relationshit” except who he was because she was remotely acquainted with him and his marital status. Big mistake. She told her husband, apparently. Before this we three, she and I and her husband had been good friends. I flushed the MM. Not long after, her husband was at my house doing some odd job for me and next thing I know, out of the blue he proposes a sex. He had never been inappropriate prior to this day. Silly me, (and I shudder to think of where my head was at back then) I was flattered, and politely told him, “No, thanks”. Wondering afterward why he felt he could approach me, I realized that his wife told him about my notorious behavior and he felt I would be ripe for the picking. I was already feeling ashamed and disgusted with myself and when he approached me I realized that my own blabbing had created an instance making me feel even worse. Apparently, he was not as decent a man as I’d thought because he wanted to sample me even though he was supposed to be happily married. I’d even attended their 25th wedding anniversary party shortly before. Men! They do not have to be in an unhappy marriage to be willing to cheat, especially if they think they’ll score. Glad I am no longer that person.

  25. Tinkerbell says:

    Sleeping Beauty. Thank you so much for that very wise, sensible, informative, down to earth post! WOW! You should have your own blog. I love your thinking, especially the part about not taking advantage of someone just because you can. My thoughts exactly. There seems to be a gross shortage of human decency in this world. I have always believed strongly in treating myself and others with dignity. My ONE huge indiscretion with the MM revealed the depth of depravity I was willing to undergo because of grief and loneliness after my husband’s passing. I feel that I and the rest of us on BR are becoming or returning to the people we are meant to be or used to be before our catastrophic mistake(s). I find that whether I can relate to Natalie’s topic or not, someone always says something that inspires me to express a story from my past or a current revelation. I went off topic because the posts from Heartache Amy, Teachable, and Victorious, regarding the shenanigans of MM cheaters, along with the topic of “tells” inspired me to comment. Thank you, SB. And also, what the devil made Steve Harvey think he was an authority to write that book? I’ve never thought much of him, anyway.

  26. Tinkerbell says:

    And glad I was not familiar with Evan Marc Katz. I don’t need to be.

    • Lilia says:

      Sleeping Beauty, I loved reading your post, it makes so much sense now.

      I was also used to this idea that there was something I (the woman) wasn´t doing right, and I spent most of the time from puberty onwards feeling inadequate, excepting the intervals when I felt approved by the bloke I was with (mostly during the first stages of courtship).
      Seeing things from the perspective you write about is actually a relief.

      I did read Harvey´s book some years ago and it mostly left me bewildered, wondering where the hell those considerate trustworthy respectful men were that he writes about. As for the Katz guy, I can´t stand him, I once took at look at his page and quickly decided he was a complete ass.

      It sickens me to see how society is making us doubt our self worth. Some days ago I heard about a mother of 4 who died during a liposuction, really, how can things get so far?

    • runnergirl says:

      Hey Tinker, I’d avoid EMK if I were you (or anybody). It’s good for me to have some reassurance that my cheese has not permanently slipped off my cracker. Until these comments, I was still a bit conflicted, although my gut said HUH?
      Boy am I giving myself the once over with regards to my tells. The absolute split second I gave a split second of attention to the exMM, it was a green light. So sorry about the passing of your husband.
      Heartache Amy has inspired me to post as well cos I walked in her shoes. HA, a MM is OFF OFF LIMITS. PERIOD. Some cheating prone MM’s chance their arms till they get a taker. Then they take your heart while remaining unhappily or happily married. I used to think it was my soap. Now I see it was because I gave them the time of day. There is no time for a cheating MM. Simply no time.

  27. Revolution says:

    Thank you for this post, Natalie. It’s very comforting to me, especially the “chancing their arm” bit.

    Yep, the ex-AC “friend” had lots of tells. He “blew hot” in the beginning, getting my phone number from mutual friends and texting me a lot, calling, asking me to hang out (go out? hmmm). The thing is, I WAS (or thought I was) a pretty saavy woman at that time. I thought I knew what was what. But early on, when we had gone out to grab a drink and some food, he layed out “the disclaimer.” You know, the “Oh, by the way, I don’t want to have a relationship or get married ever again. I’m going to be a bachelor forever. And boy are these chicken wings good! Have you tried them?” Inside, I was like “Um…..WTF?”

    Just as I was gathering myself together after that statement, he said (virtually in the same breath), “When I came back from going to the beach with you, my roommate asked ‘Did you take her to the beach? Did you kiss her?’” Uh. Huh?

    These “disclaimers” were thrown around throughout our “whatever-ship.” I could kick myself, because I even recognized that first statement he made and told my friends, “Okay, he’s layed out the ‘disclaimer.’ End of.” But guess what? He kept calling and texting, and hey….you wanna go for a walk on the beach? You wanna go to dinner? You look HOT. All this without trying to be physical with me. I thought it was “gentlemanly” that he respected my boundaries in that way. Didn’t realize he was still collecting an ego stroke, even if no other kind of stroke, from me.

    So yeah, I’m taking full responsibility for MY part in being able to “tell” his “tell.” I KNEW he wasn’t right for me, and that it wasn’t working out to be a real, honest, clear, loving relationship. I used to joke to friends that I didn’t need another “DIY” project. But I was going down that path again. Why, girls? Why do we do these things?

    However much I am responsible for my part, and for teaching him how to treat me, he’s not off the bloody hook. He frickin’ knew what he was doing.

    Bottom line: The truth is simple and straightforward. And actions match words.

    If you’re not getting the above in any type of relationship, if the lens seems foggy in ANY way, you’ve got problems.

    (I’m waking up slowly this morning, so sorry if this comment is a bit scattered.)

  28. Awakened says:

    @SleepingBeauty excellent comment. He could just want someone to split half the rent and play Maid. That’s called conveniency which is all too Common these days.

  29. Gina says:

    The title of this post pretty much sums up what a “tell” is. The school of hard knocks has taught me to talk less and observe more. I am a kindhearted person and have found that the wrong type of people will try to take advantage of my kindness because they see it as weakness. However, I refuse to change who I am (i.e. become hardened or bitter). Rather, I choose to continue to be true to myself, while paying close attention to what people say and do (I observe their “tells” while keeping mine in check). I have found that if I talk too much before allowing the person sufficient time to reveal their true character, the wrong kinds of people have morphed their personalities into what they believe they should become in order to take advantage of me. I also listen and take heed when my intuitive sense (I am an ESFP)tells me that something is not quite right, and act accordingly. When I act, I do so in a calm,respectful and firm manner (I don’t have to stoop to their level) letting them know that I do not FEEL comfortable with their behavior. If they respond by apologizing and making attempt to do better, depending upon the situation (deal breakers are non-negotiable), I may continue a relationship with them–I am talking both romantic relationships and friendships. If they respond by blowing me off and saying that I am too sensitive, overreacting, etc., without giving it a second thought, I politely cut them loose and walk away, without second guessing the situation, because they are clearly showing me that they are: selfish, lack empathy, and do not have my best interests at heart).

    I have found that when I see people for who they truly are and act decisively to eliminate them from my life, I only feel a sense of disappointment (which lasts for a very short while). Whereas, if I ignore the red and amber flags, and second guess myself, I end up getting deeply hurt (which lasts a long time!). Since I have a very low tolerance for pain, I will choose being disappointed any day over being heartbroken.

    • sushi says:

      Gina,
      I love your post and I think you touched on something very important. I am finding myself approach people much like you nowadays and it`s working so well for me. I allow them and situations to unfold as they may,with the view to simply accepting the reality and I don`t find myself rushing into conclusions, overthinking and trying to frantically change the outcomes if I don`t like what I see because I`m simply observing and giving myself time and space to note how I feel. I don`t know what it`s called but I know it`s got to do with intuition, I just give my gut the time of the day, instead of giving it to other people. I used to not even acknowledge how I was feeling about stuff and react with tells that were invariably saying “come use me, hurt me, abuse is fine as long as you say you love me, I`m up for any old crumb”. I think to change yourself in a positive way you have to be armed with knowledge, and there is everything you need here on BR for that- about how other people (ACs and EUMs) operate but ultimately the knowledge about ourselves so we can trust ourselves. Just occured to me, lately, everything I think/post about comes down to trusting myself. Ultimate bottom line for me.

  30. Awakened says:

    @Victorious I read your story. Perfect age; You have the career(successful psyche nurse) you have the house;etc an all too Great of a Life. Even after this he is still disinterested but he’ll still sex with you and send you on your way. A “Narcisstic AssHole”. I have had my share so I know. Relationships are tough and being with someone who’s actually capable of being who they say they are and “consistently”interested are really hard and becoming less rare. Keep looking ahead cause there’s nothing to look back at.

  31. Awakened says:

    @Victorious correction: Not less rare; but Rare

  32. EUM Roberto says:

    Been going through divorce for a year, It is almost done – will be finalized in January.

    Been reading BR for over a year. Thanks for helping me understand that i am temporarily EUM. I am not dating / not having sex. I am just starting to go out dancing recently and meeting women.

    I have lots of questions, but for now just wanted to introduce myself and say thank you.

    I also enjoy reading all the comments.

    • P. says:

      Dear EUM Roberto,

      Welcome to BR and thank you for your introduction! I know how it feels and it does take some bravery to get on here and post. I would like to offer a word of caution re: divorce. I was separated for a year and moved to a new town before I even filed. As a single mom in college I did not go out for the first 7-8 months at all, but when I did, I fell hard, for a wrong guy. Maybe just wrong for me, I do not know. Either way, people were telling me to not count from my separation time, you must count from your divorce time, and I did not do that. Big mistake!!! I dated during the divorce, and shortly after had a big heartbreak, and now I believe that I should have taken the “year off” after my divorce was finalized, not before. I could not imagine doing that then, and I am doing it now, 2 years after my divorce, actually, two and a half years now. I did hear that guys get over breakups quicker, but I am not sure if it is true. Good for you for reading BR, and commenting is also helpful – how many a time I received comments I did not expect and had to “recalibrate” my thinking!

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi Roberto,

      Welcome to BR and good luck finalizing your divorce. Natalie has created safe place to heal and learn to respect yourself.

      Memorize the tells.

  33. Scarlet says:

    You ladies all seem so strong and resolute about staying away from the men that are wrong for you.
    I feel so weak and hopeless about my future. Maybe it’s depression creeping back in, but I sit here in the middle of the night, not knowing what to do with myself because the battle to find joy seems insurmountable right now. I just want to be free of pain.

    • Allison says:

      Scarlet,

      I was also scared.

      I found that when I made myself very busy, it freed my mind as well as expand my life. Volunteering was a big part of this, as it took the focus off me and put it on others. Rewards all around.

    • P. says:

      Scarlet,

      I used to call such state “mental anguish”. I knew I was feeling bad and it was difficult to get help because every dr. invariably wanted to put me on anti-depressants. I think that would have been wrong (for me) bc despite feeling horrible I did not feel depressed (not even by most of the depression checklists). I think since you are posting on here, you do want to get better and are interested in the future. It does get better, but it takes a long time. Maybe take it one hour at a time, or half an hour. Unlike others, exercise did not help me, and I was also sick. Laying in bed thinking helped me, and later short, slow walks outside. If I may suggest, do not look for joy, that is too stressful. Having just a little bit less pain over time would be great to start with – by resting, eating what you like (shout out to potato chips – “healthy” eating puts too much pressure on us in the beginning, too). I don’t know what your situation is, but working too much was bad for me, too. I would say taking it easy, not associating with people that do not make you feel well is also important, even if it means being by yourself a lot. I am sure you are a good company. Hang in there!!!

      • Ellyb says:

        I agree and I might like to add that sadness isn’t always a bad thing. Just recently I’ve realized I’ve been fighting sadness for all my life. I didn’t allow myself to be sad about all the abuse I’ve suffered, about how my narcissistic/pedophile/alcoholic parents dehumanized me and about all the good things in life I missed out on. Yes, I cried a lot as a child, but I always hated myself for it and almost frantically tried to “cheer myself up”, to smile and be merry no matter what.

        There is a time for sadness. Truly embracing this feeling when it crept up has helped me more than many other attempts at healing.

        Of course, there is such a thing as chronic depression which requires treatment (but not necessarily drugs in my book). Anyway, deep grieving isn’t the same as chronic depression, although some people might confuse the two.

        • Magnolia says:

          I feel you, EllyB. It’s a good day when we realize that in our own minds we haven’t created a safe place to be sad. I was always looking for the guy who would tell me it’s okay to be sad. Now that I’ve realized it’s me who needs to validate that, it’s a little scary, because the part that wanted to fend off sadness had a function. Taming the self-attack dogs can feel like an invitation to be sad forever, but I guess eventually we become people who can be sad without worrying that it will never end, and with the trust that we (and the right other people) will not abandon us for expressing sadness.

    • yoghurt says:

      Aw Scarlet :(

      I found that thinking in terms of ‘sorting out my life’ or ‘finding joy’ just paralysed me – it was too big. So I ended up aiming to make ONE really small change every week – things like doing some sit-ups every evening or painting my nails or eating something nice.

      It ended up making a difference. The things that were bothering me are still kicking about but the difference is that they bother me a lot less. I haven’t exactly ‘solved’ anything yet, but I’m a lot more chilled out about the fact that my life isn’t always easy.

      Take little steps and look after yourself really really well – spoil yourself as if you were a small and poorly child xx

    • selkie says:

      Scarlett,

      I was a magnitude 10 mess when I started reading BR two years ago. I was fresh out of a four year emotionally and physically abusive relationship and was completely lost, in intense pain, and wasn’t even sure who I was. I had roller coaster ups and downs, wide mood swings, ate many bags of potato chips ( shout out to P.), and had two more short lived failed relationships ( that I wasn’t ready for to begin with) mixed with high hopes, good days, great days and small epiphanies along the way. I got damned depressed some days, but it started to let up and slowly moved to more and more good days. Today? I’m not in pain. I learned to trust myself and grew a little self esteem. I feel forgiveness instead of anger. The key for me was time and self kindness. I had days when I wanted to stay in bed, so I did. I cried when I needed to. I grieved and reflected. The important part was that I didn’t get stuck. If I had a few bad days, I’d force myself out to get dinner or lunch, even if it was my favorite takeout to bring back home, I’d watch happy movies, or go to yoga. Distraction helped. Most of all, I came here and read read read. I bookmarked posts that uplifted me and went back to them over and over. I posted comments and took in the advice, even when it was not what wanted to hear. For me, the incentive was to never ever feel the kind of pain again that brought me here. I knew I had to make better life choices and take some responsibility for much of my own misery. I also learned to take the focus off finding a relationship and just enjoylife that is all around me. I haven’t given up on finding a life partner, but my happiness no longer depends on it. Like I said, this all took time but it DOES happen. Hang in there. Find things that distract you in a positive way, but also allow yourself to grieve. The letting go is gradual, but relief is in sight.

      • selkie says:

        oh yeah, and if you haven’t gone NC…consider it. I went cold turkey NC, and I won’t lie, it was hard, but it saved my sanity. Two years later when I run into him (the abuser), it’s barely even a blip on my radar because I just don’t care anymore. I NEVER thought I would get to this peaceful place, but here I am. You can too. ((((hugs))))

        • vellhin says:

          selkie, I pray for the moment when i can find true peace again. I am in the 60th day of NC but when you bust your own boundaries and become involved with a co-worker it isn’t easy. I know the day will come but when.

        • Bellaninha says:

          Your story sounds so similar to mine Selkie, though mine was a 5 year relationship and I found BR almost 3 years ago. I have not posted nearly as much as some of you wonderful ladies, and I’ve really learned so much from your stories, thoughts and advice. Thank you. I keep coming back to read the blogs every week which help like nothing else. There is always something you can learn from someone who crosses your path.

          I too followed a really similar healing pattern, and just want to say Scarlett to hang in there. The importance like Selkie said not to get stuck. I have a sister who suffers from depression and an alcohol problem, unfortunately she gets stuck for long periods. So I see her and, though I will have my days where I just stay in bed, I choose myself and know that “this too will pass”. Yoga and singing help me, when I go long periods without them I can’t believe I’d miss them! Both so good for releasing natural endorphins.

          I’m turning 39 tomorrow and soon it will be 3 years without the EUM. It really is the best decision I made to go immediately No Contact.

          I used to panic with him that 35 was too old, that we were not progressing fast enough to moving in, getting married, having kids… Now I am no closer to those things, BUT I have had time to heal. And am now doing some amazing travel with one of my best friends.

          I also haven’t given up meeting a life partner but that’s not the focus of my life. In the 3 years a complete array of men have been put in my path, and I’m thankful to have learned a lot about myself through the experiences. (Some pretty embarrassing, but that’s all part of the healing…)

          Don’t give up Scarlett.. Have a day or two off at your home “hospital” like Grizelda suggests. (awesome analogy btw, I just used to think something was seriously wrong with me!) Then go out and do something nice for you, write a list of whatever makes you happy, so there’s some things ready to go when you have cried it all out and need a pick me up. Surrounding yourself with lovely people helps me, as does practising gratitude. I start with the simple things – if you live in a first world country that’s already a start. Huge hugs and thanks Selkie for sharing your healing thoughts Xxx

      • P. says:

        Thanks for the shout out, Selkie! I find I had a very similar timeframe as you did as far as healing. maybe not as far as history – for me it was an almost 20-year marriage and subsequent 8-months or so long rebound relationship that broke my heart and what self-esteem I had left. Plus a serious kidney infection, so no yoga for me, but it does get better, I agree.

      • Doubtful says:

        Selkie. Your response was so lovely to read. I hear you saying that it’s okay to make room for ourselves no matter the point at which find ourselves. Thank you.

    • Grizelda says:

      Scarlet, I still have bad days too. Half my days are ok now, half of them are bad. Do you know what I do those days? I put myself into my own little ‘hospital’ when I come home from work. On the way home on the train, I start planning and looking forward to my ‘hospital’ stay. First, I get into comfy clothing and sit down on the bed with a box of kleenex and talk myself into bursting into tears. I cry, hard as hell, for 20 minutes and talk ten kinds of rubbish to myself or the wall or the universe or whatever. I just let it all go. When I’m exhausted and clear goo is clogging every orifice on my face, I take my blanket and pillows to the sofa and I sit there and journal — I have lots of notebooks and lots of different colour pens depending on how I feel at the time. I make encouraging post-it notes and put them at eye level around the flat. I read BR. I read other helpful sites. I read books on psychopaths. I drink Complan milkshakes to keep my weight up in the normal range because I’m still not eating much. I treat my hair and nails because they’re looking pretty bad after all that sudden weight loss. I listen to the traffic passing outside. I watch the trees waving in the breeze or the rain hitting the window. When I’m ready to come out of my little place I skype for 20 mins or so with my mother or my friend. I never, ever put the television or radio on during my ‘hospital’ time because that is bad commercial ju-ju and it’s static interference with me.

      Six to eight weeks ago, I needed to do this every single day for most of the day. Now, two months on, it’s every other or every third day for a couple hours. By this time next month, it’ll be less. I found it works because it’s there when I want it. I allow myself a certain space in which to get it all out and do all the selfish blubbing, swearing, moaning, sobbing, dozing, ranting, daydreaming and generally being hurt that I want to do. I’m feeling goddamn hurt so I’m gonna act goddamn hurt! Holding all that shite inside is damaging, as is supressing it to a ‘slow burn’ simmer all day and night when what you need to do is hit the detonator button and let it all out in huge gushes of emotional energy. That’s what my own little temporary ‘hospital’ is for. Highly recommended.

      • Lilia says:

        Scarlet
        Some of the things I do: clean out closets and drawers, paint old furniture, disturb my cat´s nap, sit outside and listen to whatever is going on (traffic, neighbours, birds, the wind through the trees), re-read my favourite childhood books (things like Little house on the prairie, Anne of Green Gables, anything by Roald Dahl), bake bread, knit.

        I´m not really a religious person but I joined a church choir this year and it is the one thing – besides BR – that has saved me from a mental breakdown. The atmosphere is so completely different from the ego-driven BS I was used to, and the people are so positive and accepting that it makes me happier than I´ve felt in ages to go there and sing.

      • natashya says:

        grizelda, i find it so comforting to read that this is what you do. i do a similar thing but i go out into the woods with the dog and i cry and scream and get it all out. it has been 2 months for me, too and just like you, my ‘hospital’ time has reduced to once every other day, or 3 days. that’s a definite improvement compared to the first few weeks where i cried all day, every day.

        i’m also doing this now because i’ve noticed that my friends are getting ‘tired’ of the same story. so am i, but unfortunately, i am still processing. and i allow myself to do this at my own pace, and not just cry, but also writing things down and taking steps to lift my energy.

        i’m enjoying your posts on this board here. thank you, and everybody else here, so much.

        • Grizelda says:

          Thank you Natashya — yes we’re at the same stage I think. I’m glad to hear you’re processing and healing too. You’re not crazy, we’re not crazy, we’re just handling things in a mature way that hopefully means we spare our friends and family some annoyance, we don’t get fired from our jobs, and we permit ourselves our expressions of grief without wallowing. We are not attention seeking, very much the opposite. Although, hah, your dog probably now thinks he has a very fierce owner!

  34. Awakened says:

    @Scarlet if you woke up this morning to the sunlight that’s joy. You don’t have to look far to find it. Pray and God will give you something to hope for. I love my life inspite of the indifferences; failed relationships;EUA shenninigans;the list goes on and I would still be happy with or without a man. Why? Even if the perfect man comes and decides to leave I will still be happy cause my happiness is not based him. My happiness comes from above. GOD OVER EVERYTHING. Not sure who your God is cause that’s your preference; not trying to really go there and get into spiritual beliefs and all that but When you grasp this life will get better.

  35. Cija Black says:

    Such a great topic. I appreciate that you have really listed concrete examples. So often people don’t realize the behavior they are encouraging. Thank you for such powerful content, yet again. :)

  36. SleepingBeauty says:

    I always say it’s not dating and marriage that’s the problem, it’s that people who date and are married are not dating or marriage material to begin with…lol.

    I’ve dated some nice guys, but unfortunately, the bad experiences outweigh the good. In the past 4 years, I’ve had 3 horrific relationships back to back. This last one did it for me. I’ve decided that I’m done with dating in my early 30s. I do realize that while I didn’t cause these men to treat me badly, I did attract them in the first place and didn’t leave when I should have. Perhaps my approach is drastic, but I am truly exhausted and don’t feel I can continue to make an emotional investment in anyone and quite frankly am EU myself. Being in a relationship and/or dating just seems like way more trouble than it’s worth at this point. With all the double-talk, code-talk, out and out lying, cheating, EUMs, ACs, MM, etc. Not everyone is meant to be married and some people live happy fulfilling lives single and that’s what I’m looking to do.

  37. Victorious says:

    Scarlet the only way to be free of the pain is to stay away from the source of the pain. I really do know how hard this is as I fell off the NC wagon and got badly burned ( see Nats post on suck it and see) But I know now that even though I was sorely tempted to respond to ex narcs recent calls and texts, I feel so much better for ignoring him. At last, I am teh one in control. This isn’t about punishing him by the way, it is about taking care of and protecting myself by taking back control of my own life/feelings/behaviour. I gave myself to him on a plate and he was dangerous. Please stick with us and try to stay NC. I know it is incredibly tough but all of us on here will tell you that no matter what stage we are at, we have all had to toughen up considerably.

  38. MissBliss says:

    I remember with the ex-AC when we first started dating, we were sitting in a bar with his jerky male friend. I had my wallet open, and the ex grabbed my driver’s licence and read out my birth date. He and his friend then mocked me for “being so old, like you’re from another generation.” (I was six years older). I was obviously pissed off, and judging by the slightly fearful look on the ex’s face, he knew it.
    When we were outside, I said I was going home. He said, “But don’t go home. You’re so hot.” And that was good enough for me. I went home with him.
    There’s a “tell” for you. In that moment, I let him know that I could be insulted and disrespected, that I didn’t have boundaries, my self-esteem was in the toilet, and I was easily manipulated.
    There was a lot of that going on, and I’m really grateful that Natalie is helping me look back and identify how I sold myself so short. And of course, how I ignored so much bad behaviour being thrown at me. Never again.

    • Tulipa says:

      MissBliss,

      You are not alone I did exactly the same thing. Sure I ranted and raved and told him don’t you do that again only to have him do it again and even more outrageous things and yep I stayed on my words and actions weren’t matching anymore than his were.

  39. Heartache Amy says:

    Scarlet,
    I’ve been where you are and it feels horrible. My divorce was finalized in August after almost two years of separation, and prior to that a few years of verbal and emotional abuse. Last summer, I was pursued by a married man. This summer, same thing. Both times, I got hurt (and I still feel hurt and more than a little foolish). My mother passed away in September after battling cancer for two years. It’s been such a hard, lonely time for me and I’ve often felt like the pain is too much to bear. I, too, didn’t know what to do, either. I’ve seen a therapist who has helped a lot. BR and all the wonderful people on here have helped so much. I don’t have tons of friends, but the ones I have, I’ve confided in and they help me and make me laugh. Find something to keep you busy: work, reading, taking a class, blogging. Try to laugh every day. And it’s a cliche’, but take things one day at a time. Believe it or not, the pain lessens a little bit over time.

  40. kayakerkathy says:

    I guess this AC experience has paid off because I now recognize fast-forwarding and future-faking with this guy I’ve been seeing for (only) a month. First date he asks me what my dream vacations are. I tell him, he immediately says ‘we can go there. Let’s go!” And stuff like that. Second date he’s pressuring me to get physical. Yeah we fooled around a bit but all the while my red code sensors were off the hook, right? Tells me how awesome I am and how beautiful I am and how other guys have been stupid to let me get away, blah blah frickin blah. I told him I want to take things slow, he agreed yet kept dropping hints/guilt trips about how he’s a guy and all that crapola. I flushed him tonight. So, I guess this stuff I’ve been reading, and my experience, has actually paid off. Sheezuz….dumba$$es. LOL I’m getting better, more will-power, backbone, all that stuff. Feels pretty darn good, too!

  41. Me writer says:

    How’s this for a tell: ex-EUM says “People usually do expect better from me. I’m always happy to disappoint.” Wow! Just when I thought the man has a pulse I read that and think he’s a monster. My hair is standing on end…gotta go take a bubble bath and maybe find an exorcist. Gross!

  42. Tired says:

    I was alooffor most ofy adult hood , people actually took the piss . It was because i was shy really , i just watched and observed but it saved me from alot of twatts . Until my friends said youll never meet anyone . I was real aloof with ex mm for months just a cool non pulsed friend , wish id stayed that way . He carried on with kokes and crap in my inbox till one day i answered and bang in he wheedle and in till he found out i was low self esteem . H e said “i never ever thought uoud look at me ” bang he broke me there and then he became all powerful and me the victim . He left is wife or she asked him to go i dont know which and is now dating the ow i found out about . The wife found out and wont have him back . I remain nc . I am trying to process all the thoughts etc out my head , fight the the why her mot me , rejection. I still go to my classes , go out , go work . I have shite days , tues i cried all day . I hope it was coming out system . I come off fb for good just dont want to watch it moving on , rather mot know as i assume till it comes out my ears and enough is enough . I do and worry that my tell is that i come across as such a weak willed pansy that ill always be took advantage off. In english i sit nxt to a old boy of about late fifties we have stuff in common . Im not interested in him at all but i think he likes me get this . On the way back into class he asked who i was talking to on my mobile is it your boyfriend ? I tjought wtf! I just looked at him . Then when telling me a story of his yputh how he played two girls loke trying to impress me , i had had enough . So i made one up back where i implied if any one was inapropiate toward me thhey would get a fuck off ! I hope thats put a end to that

  43. Magnolia says:

    Grace (and anyone else who might jump in),

    I have been wondering if you have any details you could share around getting a handle on your depression. It sounds like you’re at a place where you don’t get ambushed by the darkness!

    I have some uterine issues that I have noticed mean that in addition to dealing with hemorraghing-like bleeding, I am also in a very bad emotional place for a couple days each month. I don’t know if I can say my dark moods are always moon related, but I do know that they often are.

    Yesterday I was at work, swinging from seething with anger (at my fucked up life, at the fucked up world, etc.), to wanting to sob with grief for my childlessness/waning fertility, to a kind of daze. I was also, throughout that, terrified to be feeling these emotions so intensely, recognizing them but unable to talk myself out of them, and particularly terrified that I would have “tells” that my colleagues would be able to read, that would clue them in to my seething core of hatred underneath my work-politeness.

    Even just 48 hours later, I am myself again, but I am frightened that these moods could cost me my job. I’m also terrified that being relatively normal for 3 weeks out of 4 or 28 days out of 30 isn’t going to cut it with a healthy guy, if on my off-days I feel like playing in traffic.

    Is this the kind of thing you got control of, and how? It is a heck of a lot of work trying not to let people see what’s going on, and I am sure that there are “leaks”, as someone else put it.

    • EllyB says:

      Magnolia: Maybe I’m not struggling with feelings as strong as yours… but anyway, here’s my two cents: There is a certain time of the month when I tend to be depressed as well. Until recently, this drove me crazy. I believed I was “victimized by my hormones”, so to speak.

      My take on this has changed considerably. Yes, those feelings might come up at somewhat “random” moments, but that doesn’t mean those feelings were random too. Usually what makes me sad are some suppressed childhood memories (and their triggers) as well as my own tendencies to sabotage myself.

      For some odd reasons, those feelings often come up at that time of the month, but to me this means it’s time to process them!

      Now that I’m allowing myself to deal with those feelings actively (instead of fighting them), I feel much stronger. Often after suffering through such a phase, I decide to stop the self-sabotaging in some area. I’ve found this to be a very empowering experience.

      Did you notice that saying NML recently posted on pinterest: “Sometimes the strongest people in the morning are the people who cried all night”? It’s so spot on.

    • grace says:

      Magnolia
      I don’t think your colleagues can tell unless you are like it every day. They will just chalk it up to an off day, or tiredness, that’s if they notice.
      In my last job my boss a very traditional, conservative man in his fifties COULD tell but it had been day in, day out for months. It was when he noticed that I figured I needed help.
      I know the counseling is a well-worn path that you may have tried before but it could be worth trying again. With a counsellor you don’t have to hide anything and that’s freeing. It does depend on finding the right fit. All I can say about that is he/she may come in an unlikely pkg. Mine was male, a lot older, and didn’t share the same views as me on a number of key points but we just got on.We were happy to argue and challenge each other. I was at the stage where I could benefit from that.
      eat well, exercise, spend time with people you trust, only deal with difficult family members under controlled conditions. I ‘m fortunate enough to have very supportive siblings. But I hope that everyone has something/one they can be grateful for. Gratitude helps.
      And give yourself time and patience and permission to feel shite.
      As for healthy guys, you’d be surprised what they will put up with and gladly. friend of mine has recurrent problems with PMT and her hormones. Husband loves her so much it’s almost a joke amongst our friends. My sis in law is being treated for psychosis, my brother has never entertained the thought of leaving her. My other sis in law gets very dark moods but is a lot better now. My sis struggled with infertility (but has three kids now, ha) and her husband supported her even when she was being, erm, difficult.Man at work in his eighties had to put his wife in a nursing home when her alzheimers became unmanageable. He still loves her.
      I find that men can be very doggedly loyal. I’m not saying women can’t be but there’s a simplicity (yeah that word again) to a man’s. He doesn’t analyse it, question it, overthink it. He just does it. Maybe he just sees it like a duty he has to perform. But that’s okay isn’t it?

    • sushi says:

      Magnolia,
      try a good homoeopath. Hormonal imbalances can influence your mood hugely and homeopathy recognises that and helps with both. Tried and found it really helpful.

    • Linden says:

      Magnolia — After an adulthood of mostly uneventful menstruation, I was getting some serious PMS-related insomnia and headaches during that one week out of the month. I eat well, exercise and all that, but it wasn’t doing it for me. My doctor put me on a low level of Prozac, and the symptoms have almost entirely cleared up. He said the same neurotransmitters in the brain that Prozac targets for depression are also responsible for PMS. Who knew? So anyway, it’s a possible solution you might want to discuss with your own doc.

  44. Scarlet says:

    Thank you all so much for your support. I don’t really have anyone I can talk to because I feel a bit embarrassed that I have been involved with a drug addict. So this site is so valuable for me.

    Today it’s been 6 days of no contact. I am definitely keeping busy because of my job, however that is a bit of a double edged sword because, although it’s a very big distraction, I am in an extremely stressful management position and I find that plus everything else in my life just overwhelming. Hence, the waking in the middle of the night and stressing over life.
    Still I have a nice Saturday organised with my family so i will try to find some joy in being with them because they are people who love me.
    Again, thank you all so much.

    • Grizelda says:

      Scarlet, six days is good. It’s a solid start and you’re doing it right. One foot in front of the other.

      I’m afraid your ex being an addict is pretty much a 15 on an EU scale of 1-to-10. It’s impossibly hard. Mine wasn’t an addict but has a mental/personality disorder which too is clear off the EU-ness scale. It’s the void at the end of the relationship universe where the painful emotional unavailability turns out to be a byproduct dwarfed by a much, much larger and more serious deficit. Aren’t we the lucky ones.

  45. Freya says:

    I have been reading Natalie’s blog for over a year. I started reading it after I went through a really bad break up that shattered my image of myself. Talk about helpful. I only recently started reading the comments and have commented a few times myself.

    I have enjoyed the banter between you all and love hearing the stories and all the feelings and thoughts behind those stories. So many wonderful personalities.

    What I am about to say will likely not make me any friends. Like the majority of my comments it will just make me stick out as somehow not the same.

    Unfortunately, every time I leave here all I can think to myself is “God, I do NOT want to be a BR woman!” If I am to believe what I hear coming from your mouths it is that I will be a lonely spinster who never gets laid or goes on dates because I have found boundaries and some self esteem. If I am lucky I will meet a man that treats me well in about 5 years and in the mean time I will have to live sexually frustrated. And that’s if I’m LUCKY.

    Frankly, it scares the living shit out of me. At this point, I feel like I will do whatever it takes to NOT BE…THAT woman.

    Sorry ladies.

    • I want to say something here (and it’s not just to you Freya) because I’m a tad appalled at the tone that comments over the past few days in particular went into which seem to have transcended a collaborative, supportive, empowering atmosphere that has been cultivated over a few years. Yes people do share their experiences which include pain but there are also quite a few commenters who go out of their way to progress the discussion and to be positive. There’s also a lot to be learned from the difficult experiences that many share – it’s the realisation that you’re not alone or crazy but that you do need to take personal responsibility.

      The number of comments on each post represents less than 1% of the readers of this site which is read by nearly half a million people per month. I’m fortunate to hear from readers via Facebook and email as well as those who I’ve met face to face that none of their penises or vaginas have dried up, they’re meeting people, there’s been what some have called their “post BR marriage”, many have moved on to happier relationships, better relationships with family and friends, new businesses, better careers, parenthood and the list goes on.

      I’m not saying that you have to be happy clappers and I’m all for on-topic respectful discussions but there are so many sites on the web where you can slag off an entire sex whether it’s male or female, write off your futures, pull apart the appearances of your own sex, make strange statements about mental health, sexuality and race, and the list goes on (all things I’ve had to nip in the bud recently) that I’d prefer that you don’t do it here.

      This is not a forum.
      There is a full list of guidelines about commenting which are there to protect readers and the tone of the site. Respect my boundaries and respect those of other readers. I don’t come into your ‘club’ and decide to make it what I feel like. Don’t do it here.

      As Ashley Judd said several months ago when she found her appearance being attacked primarily by women in the media, “Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate”. Yeah it’s bad enough that some men avoid responsibility and think that women are weak. It’s equally bad that some women avoid responsibility and adopt weakness as their position and then blame men for that too. It’s even worse that most doom and gloom *about* women is peddled *by* women and even worse that women can be so damn critical of one another and even worse that some have the “I have all of my teeth, a good job, a nice car and money in the bank. Why would he choose her over me?”

      There is a line and some of you are over it. I’m not going to turn off comments because it is unfair to penalise the majority for the few. Have some consideration!

      I do my best to keep things on topic and sometimes it’s difficult to gauge what direction a comment is going to go in, but enough. If I have to ride people’s arses like Zorro to bring my site back to the atmosphere that it was, so be it.

      As for you Freya, be careful who you look down upon. There’s plenty of wolves out there who will give you a good run for your money.

      • SleepingBeauty says:

        Wow Freya, I’m actually surprised to hear that. However, you must be on to something since NML also agrees to an extent.

        I eventually started reading the comments and then responding out of relief that 1.) I wasn’t alone or crazy and 2.) fostering a healthy discussion and understanding.

        I think it’s important, as Natalie has pointed out, that the comments are but a small fraction of those who read the site. I have her facebook page as one of my “likes” and also visit it, there are literally hundreds more stories and lots of positive, insight that women have gained and applied going forward. I’ve never read any comments from the men or women about their dating experiences and concluded that I was doomed or there were no great people to date. Personally, my decision to call a moratorium on dating is about my experiences and where I am in my life and acknowledging that I still have work to do.

        I think most of us who post are still processing and thus comments from others are helpful in gaining insight. Some of the (mostly) women who comment openly acknowledge that they have low self-esteem and/or lack boundaries, but by and large, most people who comment, including myself are just like you and had/have healthy self-esteem and boundaries but allowed someone who they valued more than themselves or as NML says, thought was “just that special” make them think otherwise.

        I don’t read most of the comments verbatim, so if there is a pervasive negativity that has become commonplace, I may have missed it. But I think you will see there is far more positive than negative.

    • MissBliss says:

      Freya, I understand what you’re saying, and also what Nat is saying in her comment below. I enjoy reading the comments here and relating to other people’s experiences, but when the talk turns to giving up on men, “my dating days are over,” and most men kind of suck, I have to log off. It’s just too exhausting and dispiriting to think that way. I get a lot more out of healthy talk about taking responsibility and building boundaries as a means to finding happiness. Not a reason to crawl into a hole and give up.

      • Freya says:

        Thanks Miss Bliss. That really was the point I was trying to make. Venting mostly. I am such a positive person it is hard to see so much negativity. I’ve struggled for a long time to get to where I am and I don’t want to lose it. I do understand tho that everyone is at a different stage of development.

        The thing that helped the most in my life, and getting over any garbage relating to men, was to

        See The Good In Men.

        If you do this you will see good men everywhere. In addition, the bad ones will stick out like a red dot on a white piece of paper.

    • Tulipa says:

      Hi Freya,

      I read BR the opposite to you I would like to be a BR lady.

      I see a BR lady as follows

      1. She has boundaries and when they are busted she acts on it.

      2. She knows her values and lives by them doesn’t compromise them.

      3.She knows how to use the flush handle when and if needed, she doesn’t let those who need flushing hang around for longer than necessary.

      4.She likes/loves herself and knows herself

      5.She has self esteem

      Pesonally thses are things to aspire to if they are missing in your life.
      The people who are taking a break from dating I find it is their own choice and what is working for them in their life and not something you have to follow.

      • Little Star says:

        Thank you Tulipa for your comment! I agree with you, I want to be BR Lady too and I getting there:)

  46. Jelby says:

    Dear magnolia. Everyone has dark days. And we all need to develop ways to deal with them. That’s why we come here, to this site, to voice our opinions and listen to others and sometimes just to laugh and realise we aren’t alone in this world of EUM. But some things add to the situation. It sounds like your medical problems are pulling you even further into the abyss. Can you see your doctor again? I feel that although jumping on the medication bandwagon may not be right for everyone, it seems to me that if you tried it, it may give you some light relief so that your other problems seem more manageable. It doesn’t have to be antidepressants (although I do know from experience they can help PMS) there are other things such as different pills and even some herbal items that may just be able to take the edge off your suffering and give you more strength to deal with all the AC s and EUM that life may still throw at you. I’m pharmaceutically minded but not an expert bu all means which is why I’ve avoided using specific names of treatments but if you see your doctor I’m sure you could talk through the options again. It doesn’t have to be forever and it may not help but it’s usually worth a try x

  47. Tinkerbell says:

    Hey Runner, how’re ya doing? Yeah, girl having an affair with a MM is about the most soul destroying thing we can do to ourselves. I’ve found during my mission to become so much “better” ( you all know what I mean) that we also need to be very discriminating about what we read and take to heart. I read, and Kit Kat’s post reminded me, “Women Who Love Too Much, by Robin Norwood. The book had a lot of sensible info in it but I got the impression from the author that she was treating that tendency to love a man too much as a mental illness. She based this on the premise that these women more often than not have/had one or both alcoholic parents. From there she went off on how that situation could cause the offspring to be so screwed up seeking love that they could not get from the parents that they would tend to “love too much” a man. There may be a bit of validity in her opinion, but having had an alcoholic father who was actually very sweet and loving I’ll be darned if I see where he helped to turn me into a woman who loved too much (at one time). This may not be related to “tells” and recognizing or revealing them, but the discussion of EMK and other posts reminded me that some authors go a bit too far with their thought processes which they inflict on the reader. We need to also think for ourselves and not blindly accept everything a person writes simply because they may be brilliant and reknowned. If any reader of this book has a different take on it, please speak. Thanks, for tolerating my spouting off in a different direction.

    • Tulipa says:

      Hi Tinkerbell
      I have read that book still do from time to time it is what started me on my journey to been healthy.
      I must admit the first time I read it I must have been deep in denial I didn’t see me at all. But each time I read it it chipped away at my denial.
      Just goes to show how everyone reads and interprets things differently. My parents weren’t alcoholic either but there is a list near the beginning of the book that says all the types of parents you can have that may cause you to be screwed up .

  48. miskwa says:

    Magnolia
    Get the hemorrhaging thing checked out. I too have that but I am a lot older than you are. The sadness/anger probably is hormonal.
    To Freya and the rest: I am glad to be a BR woman. I only wish that I had discovered the site three years ago; it would have saved me a ton of grief. Those of us who were in relationships for a long time in the past really haven’t seen the full spectrum of AC/EUM “tells” out there. We just never dated large numbers of men. So we are often baffled and completely floored by some of these behaviors. By reading BR, I have learned a lot of danger signs to be aware of in the future. I have support where before I had none. Since I live in a small mountain town, I really have very few I can talk to since my AC is a co worker. What advice I do get here is in the realm of “settle” for someone who I could never force myself to be with or give up ever having a relationship forever. Getting laid isn’t worth that high a price.

    • Linden says:

      Magnolia — Yes, the hemorrhaging could also be affecting your mood, big-time. Could you be anemic? My mother was anemic once; she could hardly get out of bed and didn’t know why. Iron supplements can fix that right up, or eating more iron-rich foods.

  49. kayakerkathy says:

    Hi everyone,

    I got a response from the guy I was seeing after I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore. Here it is. What do you all think:

    Kathy,
    I would like to talk to you instead of writing this, but that does not seem possible now. I have been thinking about you and me all night and I need to say a few things. Do you remember at the party when we talked what I said about how my relationships usually end? We said that would not happen here remember? I know you want to take things slow and I have been fine with that. But now you want to go in reverse or perhaps you want to end things but just can’t come out and say it. You said we have moved to fast, Kathy we have been going out a month and we have not did anything but mess around some. We have not even went out all that much, how is that to fast?! We are 40 year plus adults here Kathy we know what we want it is not like high school! Or I know what I want and I am not afraid to say it, Kathy. Sorry if I sound a little pissed off but I am! I feel like you are pulling the rug out from under me without even giving me a chance.

    I like you a lot Kathy and I feel that we could have something great, but you have to take a chance and let that happen. Perhaps you are scared I understand that. But anything worth having involves risk. Yea you might get hurt, I might get hurt. That is a chance we have to take. Perhaps it is something else pulling us apart, I do not know.

    There are so many other thing I would like to say Kathy but I have to go to work now, I am going to be late as it is.

    I am thinking about leaving town this weekend and going kayaking somewhere so I am not sure if I will be here Sunday. Actually I am not sure if you really wanted to hang out Sunday or not.

    I hope you can write back and tell me your thoughts but I do not expect you to.

    Thinking of you and confused

    -Well, interesting response, I think. What do you guys think? I agree that anything worth having is worth taking the risk. I totally get that and believe that with all my heart. But what’s interesting to me is what he said about how all his relationships end. Yes, the girl is never perfect. None of us are. But, what is the common denominator here? He told me at the party that he wanted to do casual, nothing serious, just see where it goes. Fine. Our first dinner date he fast-forwards things about vacations and all the stuff we can do together. Then, our bowling date he’s inviting me into his house (yes, I went in, being caught up in the moment) and proceeds to get WAY too physical, compliments the wrong things (you’ve got great breasts, do you consider yourself a sexual person, etc etc. YES, I followed, being once again caught up in the moment. MY MISTAKE AND I’VE LEARNED), then barely another week goes by and he tells me he thinks he’s falling for me. WTF???? How is that possible so soon?? The night he stayed over he said he will bring some condoms over for “when I’m ready”. Continues to tell me how awesome I am, how beautiful, how can any guy be dumb enough to let me go, my breasts are awesome, etc etc…2 WEEKS INTO THE RELATIONSHIP!! Trying to tell me we’re both adults and we both know what we want…..pfhthphfhth. Wanting to completely usurp my time, to the point where I was feeling guilty for having a life and friends, etc. The last night he stayed over we went to a concert, got back late (he drank a lot), and I told him I was tired and just wanted to go to sleep. He was fine with that but in the morning he was trying to ‘start something’ but it was like 5am. I didn’t want to, and he proceeded to jab subtle hints about how he’s a guy, he’s horny, blah blah. Yeah, I know ‘he’s a guy’ and they are like that, but BARELY A MONTH INTO THE RELATIONSHIP!! Plus, his idea of hanging out (his version of dating, btw – “hanging out”) is grabbing a 12 pack of beer, going back to my or his place, drinking some, then gettin’ busy. I once suggested going out to a movie one night after he asked me what I wanted to do, and he immediately says, “or we can just hang out and play it by ear.” Ugh.

    I’m learning to follow my gut much much better now, especially since I’m reading about all the other experiences here. Part of me buys into what he says, yet the larger part of me is hesitant. I think it’s this larger part is my gut telling me something. I went to my eye doctor earlier this week and she’s turning 40 soon, is dating a 50 year old who’s never been married, been dating 7 months, and it sounded like they had been doing things at a slow pace. THAT got me thinking about my relationship. Another interesting thing happened this week. Last night I went to a church friend’s birthday party and was feeling crappy because I had just got off the phone with Mr. One Month (lol). I almost didn’t go. Well, the sister of my friend said she knows a great guy who is looking for a nice girl to do things with (doesn’t like the bar scene, says it’s hard to find decent people). She said he has good morals and values. They all know him, he had my b-day friend in math class (he’s 42, my b-day friend and his sister are in their 60s). I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I was pleasantly surprised. We’ll see. I guess it’s all trial and error. Like I’ve said before, the AC experience has opened me up to dating again, opened my mind to all the stuff I have to work on and the things I’ve overlooked in the past. What is causing me to slightly ignore my gut with Mr. One Month is the fact that I’m 41 and ‘still’ single. I’ve been alone before and have no problem with it. In fact, I enjoy it somewhat. It’s part of who I am. But that hesitancy comes from worrying about being alone the rest of my life. We all have those fears, but I know there are worse things than being alone.

    Anyway, I’d like to know your opinion about this guy’s response. I think I’m right in moving on.

    Thanks all!

    • pinkpanther says:

      Hi Kathy,
      It sounds like you guys don’t have common values. 41 is not too old, in fact it’s 5 years younger than 46. How’d you like to get a big beer belly hanging out with this guy for the next 5 years or so?

      Didn’t think so…
      best of luck.
      oh by the way I was tripping on your name kayackerkathy…made me think of the poet kathy acker

    • natashya says:

      he’s fastforwarding you. yes, i agree, you sometimes have to take risks, but it seems he moving way too fast. if anything, i’d keep him at the ‘friends’ level and try to get to know him better — definitely no physical contact.

      • Lilia says:

        It doesn´t sound like he´s concerned about “taking a risk” on a relationship, he´s more interested in having sex right away. I´ve had the “we´re both adults” argument thrown at me too, it was exclusively to pressure me into sex, not into a potentially loving relationship. Also, all that talk about your breasts…
        I would just tell him it seems you´re both looking for different things, that you don´t want casual and that apparently he doesn´t want anything serious.

      • grace says:

        kayaker
        i think i’d drop him. it’s the pushing you for sex, pouting about it, and then suggesting you’re childish for not wanting sex after a mere month.
        Going slow isn’t as basic as not having sex, oh that it was so simple. It’s taking the time and making the effort to learn about each other.
        The boyfriend and I do all kinds of stuff – restaurants, movies, walks, exhibitions, theatre, visiting friends, as well as hanging out at home. It’s not that hard to think of things to do that aren’t sex.

    • Snowboard says:

      Hi Kathy,

      From my experience and from what I’ve seen from my friends, this is all standard protocol for men who are attempting to pressure women for sex. When she shows self-respect and breaks things off with him, he immediately falls upon the following two lines to argue his case:

      (1) She is a prude/juvenile.
      (2) She is scared of taking a risk on him; she is afraid that he will hurt her the way other men have hurt her; she is pre-judging him; she is not giving him a fair chance.

      This is why, in my view, it’s better to not even tell the guy that the reason you are breaking things off with him is because you feel like he is moving too fast. Just say that you don’t have those kinds of feelings for him. And that should be the truth, because you should only have “those kinds of feelings” for a true gentleman, who knows how to handle the dating period – slowly but consistently.

      P.S. Also, after breaking things off with a guy, you *need* to enforce a period of distance (my rule is 12 weeks). If he asks to see you again, say you are busy right now. Because when he sees you again, he will just attempt to apply the pressure/guilt again, and you may give in. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have sex with someone until you are a hundred percent ready.

      • P. says:

        Snowboard,

        I would add (3): The guy implies that the woman “does not know what the world is like, does not know reality.” I.e., times have changed since she dated last and “now this is how we all do this.” Of course, the first impulse will be to prove to him that you know what reality is, right? Well, mine would, but then I tend to want to make decisions slowly, so usually that strategy did not work on me, but the impulse I did have.

    • Magnolia says:

      “I like you a lot Kathy and I feel that we could have something great, but you have to take a chance and let that happen. Perhaps you are scared I understand that. But anything worth having involves risk. Yea you might get hurt, I might get hurt. That is a chance we have to take.”

      This makes me retch a little. Reminds me of the AC, always suggesting that it was me not giving him “a chance”, not extending enough trust, and naming my good instincts as being “scared” as if I were a girl who needs to be coaxed into acting like a woman.

      Bee. Ess.

      His paragraph sounds cribbed from pop song lyrics. My ex’s did too, but my own fears/doubts about my boundaries and internal warning system made me ignore what I knew and listen to his lead (not silver!) tongued persuasions.

      This guy isn’t naming anything specific that gives him such confidence in “something great.” And if he doesn’t know what the “something else” is that is “pulling you apart”, you do:

      He has been pushing you for sex against what he knows you want and that gives you all the information you need about what kind of man he is. Trust your own opinion on this. Given the behaviour you’ve described of his, this letter just reads like an attempt to get the sexual return he expects on the investment of his time.

      • selkie says:

        Magnolia,

        A snippet of what you said,

        “This makes me retch a little. Reminds me of the AC, always suggesting that it was me not giving him “a chance”, not extending enough trust, and naming my good instincts as being “scared” as if I were a girl who needs to be coaxed into acting like a woman.”

        Gold. Your whole response was actually. Like when the puzzle pieces fall into perfect place, you put it together.

    • BRwiserNow says:

      SMH Kathy, OMG…My opinion about this guy’s response…the email is a desperate attempt by him to persuade you into giving more opportunity for him to score. After all, he’s invested SO much time and effort into getting to know you better in the last month…”we have not did anything but mess around some. We have not even went out all that much”, hahaha…PUKE! I’d say you’ve already busted some of your own boundaries with this fool, it feels very uncomfortable for you (because you’re wise with BR knowledge), so you’ve decided it’s time to FLUSH…you are undoubtedly right to do so! And KUDOS TO YOU SISTER, for recognizing the red/amber alerts so quickly…you should feel outstanding of that, seriously. Just so you know, if you feel the need to send a response, this would be a good template… http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/dear-so-so-sorry-my-heartlibidoegoimagination-says-yes-but-my-self-esteem-says-no/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BaggageReclaim-TheGuideToSingleLivingDatingRelationshipsAndOfCourseManTaming+%28Baggage+Reclaim+Relationship+Blog%29

      Now, as for this statement:
      “What is causing me to slightly ignore my gut with Mr. One Month is the fact that I’m 41 and ‘still’ single.”…stinking thinking lady, I’ve been that girl my entire life! BUT, I found BR nearly three years ago…had an additional EU relationship (when I thought I was fixed, LOL) like you had with Mr. One Month here…recovered (again) and continued to LOVE my single life…and then BOOM, now (at 45) I’m engaged to a wonderful man that I’ve been committed with for the past year. My point is (borrowed from Nat’s wisdom, of course) “he’s NOT that special”, “he’s NOT the ‘last chance saloon’”, “don’t jump out into oncoming traffic”, etc etc. Remember, you’re NOT that woman anymore ( http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/im-not-that-woman-an-ode-for-every-woman-who-has-loved-lost-and-forgotten-her-value/ )…stay true to you, trust you and your values, the rest will just be.

      Hugs to you :)

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        Kathy:

        After reading the email Mr. One Month sent you, my first impression and gut reaction was, Methinks he doth protest too much! This sounds like he’s trying to convince you because “YOU don’t know what YOU want” (in his mind.) Pppffftt! Arrogant much? Condescending? You been “dating” (and I use that term loosely) for one stinking month. And he thinks hanging out at his place or yours, drinking beer is dating? Sounds like he has the maturity level of a high school boy.

        Dating is not just about getting to know each other, it’s also about wooing each other. I see no wooing…complimenting your breasts doesn’t qualify. And trying to “start something” at 5am when you’ve told him you are not ready to sleep with him, is really selfish and manipulative.

        Just reading this letter he sent you smacks of control, manipulation and me, me, me. you’re scared. you don’t know yourself, your own mind or what you want. He’s pissed off. You’ve been dating a month already…when are you gonna give it up?

        Oh please!!! Listen to your gut. He sounds like a man-child to me. And who needs that??? You need a man. BTW, I’m 50, still single and it’s good. I’d rather be on my own than legally chained to a child masquerading as a man. I’m worth the whole package, so are you.

      • dancingqueen says:

        This probably won’t be read by you Kathy because it it soo late but I agree; you should dump him.

        Also, from someone with a background in sales…repeating your name ad nauseum is a sales technique to get someone to trust you; is he by chance in sales? Did anyone else find this repetition odd?

        • La Pintura Bella says:

          DQ…YES! I totally thought it was weird and it sounded really condescending and smarmy to me. Sales…could be the reason why.

        • kayakerkathy says:

          DQ,

          He’s actually not in sales, but maybe he should be. LOL

    • Grizelda says:

      All the ladies have said it already.

      I have been thinking about you and me all night = I want you for SEX.

      We have been going out a month and we have not did anything but mess around some = You owe me SEX.

      We are 40 year plus adults here Kathy we know what we want it is not like high school! = You should know better at your age than to deny me SEX.

      I know what I want and I am not afraid to say it = But I won’t use the word SEX when I mean I want SEX.

      I feel like you are pulling the rug out from under me without even giving me a chance = I came so close to having SEX with you, you can’t just walk away now leaving me feeling like a fool, who do you think you are?

      I feel that we could have something great = like SEX finally.

      You have to take a chance and let that happen = give up the SEX, already.

      Anything worth having involves risk = I AM the risk, when it comes to having SEX.

      Thinking of you and confused = why I just can’t seem to make you have SEX with me.

      Aside from ‘like you a lot’, I don’t actually see any evidence of any emotion from the man other than seething frustration and something of an acknowledgement that someone’s going to get hurt somewhere along the line but hey-ho that’s life.

      I hope you move on Kathy, there’s nothing to see here. And by the way, if a guy wants to see you, he can ask you out. Turning up at your house and hanging around is not dating.

      • Ellyb says:

        Grizelda – love your “translation”. I’ve copied it and saved it on my computer. Guys have (repeatedly) used the same BS on me in the past, and I always wondered what was wrong with me because it made me feel so uneasy. Now I’m going to use your “dictionary” should that ever happen again.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi Kayaker Kathy,

      I agree 100% with all of the responses you have received and I won’t reiterate, other than to say this guy is telling you quite clearly he wants sex, NOW. And he’s not being covert. Beyond the obvious demand and pressure for sex, I did notice something in your comment that caught my eye…maybe it would be considered a “tell”? Since I’m very new to the dating scene (6 months), I could be totally off base here but I’ve been implementing Natalie’s fab advice about dating as a discovery phase. After only two weeks, I’m wondering how is it that you describe dating (using the term loosely) this guy as a “RELATIONSHIP”? Then after a month you also describe the situation as a “RELATIONSHIP”? The grabbing a 12 pack and sitting at home and getting busy doesn’t actually even strike me as much of a date let alone a relationship, unless that is what you like to do when getting to know somebody or envision what a relationship consists of?
      One more issue that caught my attention, was when you described how he wanted to “completely usurp my time, to the point where I was feeling guilty for having a life and friends, etc”. For me that would be a YIKES.
      You’ve discovered quite a lot of info about this guy in one month. Is this the guy you want to spend the next 41 years with or even another month?
      In my opinion which you can ignore, of course, I’m not so sure I’d want to spend another day with him. He unfolded quickly. Based on his explicit tells, I’d fold if I were you and fast.
      PS. Horny guys don’t explode otherwise they would have all exploded by now, right? How old is he?

      • kayakerkathy says:

        Thanks, runnergirl (and everyone),

        He just turned 41 last month.

        And, he won’t stop emailing or texting me. LOL I’m just ignoring it. I mean, if he can’t get the hint after I’ve said what I’ve said, repeatedly, then well…sheezuz. LOL

    • Anon says:

      kayaker kathy; it sounds as if the guy is really attracted to you, and that’s fun! It is risky to get physical only if you feel like he will be shady, or you heart, health, reputation or self respect will be adversely affected during or after the relationship end. Do you get that feeling? Can you tell him you are physically attracted to him but don’t want to sleep with him yet until you know there is a probability rather than a remote possibility of a relationship? Do you even want a relationship with him? Sounds like he likes you and is being straightforward? He also sounds really simple. The beer and sitting around dates are a tell. Are there more tells of him being simple? Chronically? Is that boring for you? disappointing? not enough? Are you physically attracted to him as well? What is confusing you, he hasn’t cheated or done any thing shady? He is just not planning dates or making overly romantic declarations, correct? Sounds like you are just not compatible with him, but he hasn’t done any thing that’s deal breaker. He is also right that it is a risk, just ask him questions about your concerns as you go. Has he never been in a serious relationship? Is he shallow, immature, one dimensional, unsophisticated, etc? What? Is that beneath your standards? If hanging out with him is boring, then move on. Be specific with yourself (and maybe him without destroying his confidence, since he hasn’t done any thing wrong, except be himself) about what the obstacles are. Does it seem like he could be a ton of fun on a weekend trip out of town? Can you learn any thing from him? If it is just a drag with no future, forget it. It sounds like he feels a connection and is confused about you pulling away. And it sounds like you are ok being single. Sorry I am only concentrating on him, not your other two options, because he wrote you a quasi-love letter of sorts and that is sweet. At forty, it does seem harder to find some body decent, or some body period. Just read all the post on hearing crickets.

    • titi says:

      kayakerkathy
      He’s patronizing you. Every other word in his email is “KATHY”. It’s like he wants to express FALSE intimacy and familiarity, and he’s talking to you like you are his naugthy, immature child. I can almost hear him scream KAAAAAAATHYYYYY. He’s also convincing you you acted like a child cause you didn’t want to be his FWB. Jesus, what an ass. You are not supposed to explain anything. IMO, you did wrong by answering the jerk. You were explaining yourself to death and almost APOLOGIZING in your email. You are vulnerable and you showed him your vulnerability. It’s not good, so my guess is he won’t give up so easily, since you left the door opened. It’s necessary to show vulnerability to the right people, but not to some half-ass jerk. Just cut the contact and stop trying to be some dipstick’s friend. Women need to learn they are not obligated to be friendly with every dickhead who tries to invade their pants.

  50. lo j says:

    Ellyb … so TRUE the difference in depression and grieving. I was depressed for YEARS but grieved and grew in the past few. And I wasn’t depressed. My son watched one day as uncontrollable/unexplainable (at the time) tears fell down my face and he said “I’ve never seen you cry.” And he’d lived with me through years of depression. But I was PRESENT and connected and not even necessarily “sad”. Just FEELING. Now I laugh from the inside out, cry for joy or sorrow, get coldchills when I talk with someone or hear something that connects with my heart, hug others/LET THEM HUG ME, and trust and love and allow the same. And its wonderful. Some people like me, some don’t. It doesn’t matter because it doesn’t change who I am. And I like me.

    My tell now, I guess, is I am who I am. I will treat you well, because its what i do. Its my values, now, who i am, because ALL of us are deserving. It makes me feel good. I AM NOT PERFECT, i make plenty of mistakes and have to adjust for sure. I have been disrespect ed recently at my job, was told by a coworker to kiss his ass. He told my boss I made him look bad in front of other workers. That was not my intention. I was doing my job. I did not go around badmouthing him, but I advocated a patients care (our mutual patient) to our boss in front of him as he was denying her care. Different views. He took it personal called me names then and I stayed out of his way. Later because of another disagreement about care, he said that about kissing his ass. It was an attack on me. But, its about him. I was doing my job. He had been angry that whole time, because I “made him look bad”. That’s his ego, NOT my intent (and trust me, I had to think about that) but instead of it ruffling my feathers or attacking back, I walked away. He’s fighting his own war, I’m not involved. Time will take care of itself, I just have to stay true to MY values and continue forward. And its so freeing.
    Case in point,at least one EU man is repulsed by me now. Lol! And I don’t react either way. I just don’t engage because we have completely different agendas.

  51. Revolution says:

    It’s gettin’ INTENSE up in here! :) Thanks for the reminder, Nat. I hope that I’m not one that crosses the line with my comments (meandering though they are), but I am confident that if I am, you will be hard and fast with directing me back over the line. And I will be happy to oblige.

    And Freya. I’m not a huge fan of wolves myself. Put a few on their back in my day. Maybe you should rethink the system. Just sayin’.

    • Grizelda says:

      Likewise, Rev –

      No more comments from me whenever I’m feeling overstrung. I’m not the kind of woman who rings her best friend at 3.15am to wake her up so I can bawl and bark and whimper and unload when all I have to do is sit tight til daybreak when things look a lot different. No way do I want to do the equivalent of that here on BR. If I ever lose my mind and try it, I trust Natalie will put that phone down on me. I would not be offended.

      I still prefer a dose of edginess and controversy though. They can’t be shied away from, given the heady mix of the emotive topics at hand as well as — for me, anyway, and I’m sure many others — a tearing down of some of the beliefs instilled in us by our well-meaning parents/guardians etc at an early age about how to handle relationships. Hmm, ‘tearing down’ or ‘upgrading’? ‘Rehabbing’? ‘De-programming’?

  52. Andrea says:

    Boy could I use some advice and/or comments and help! My EUM was someone from high school (I’ve read Natalie’s posts about the return of the childhood sweetheart which are excellent). We have been off and on since mid-July. Once we had gotten together, meaning had sex, he told me that there is another woman in his life. Someone he is waiting on. The thing is, she was in love with a married man. So she also had an EUM! I know that I should’ve told him where to go at that point, not stuck around. But he’s pretty good and telling me things and feeding me lines, that I guess I haven’t heard in so long from any man that I just because almost addicted to it. I haven’t been in a serious relationship with anyone in over 10 years, have not called anyone my “boyfriend” in all that time. I’m 45 years old. So my EUM came into my life and I’ve tried to end this. I’ve “ended” it at least 3 times and guess what happens when I do this. He comes back and persists and wears me down and I fall back into it. This has been going on for 3 months. He’s definitely a hot and cold guy, it’s very predictable. After reading many posts on this site I can almost pinpoint exactly how he’s going to react and/or say and do. I realize that my self-esteem much be pretty darn low to accept this behaviour. The man has come right out and said he’s going to be in a relationship with this woman that he’s been pining away for in the new year. This also doesn’t make that much sense to me, if she really wanted him why does she need to wait until the new year? I then say, if he really wanted ME, he’d pick me now too and not string me along. Seems like it’s just one big mess and I don’t know how to stop it. I’ve tried no contact. I’ve even changed my phone number. He got it out of me and I hate admitting these things because it sounds very weak. This guy was my very first kiss at 14, my first love. I think that this is part of the hold he’s got on me. I remember almost every detail of when he dated back then, more so than any of my other high school boyfriends that I spent longer time with. I almost feel like I need addiction counselling because this is what it reminds me of. I’m addicted to him and I don’t know how to quit!! And I’m not going to get anything out of this, not long term. I realize this is a huge ego thing for me, as well as it is for him. I really do admire and envy all of you that have been able to break free and move forward. It almost feels like if I lose him I lose something of me??
    I would appreciate anyone’s comments and suggestions. I’m beyond frustrated and so tired of feeling this up and down and anxiety.
    Andrea

    • grace says:

      Andrea
      You are having casual sex with a liar. Been there. NC him even if it means spending your days weeping into the carpet.
      But I suggest you find more productive things to do.
      I’m being blunt because I need to cut through the romanticising.
      He is not that special.

      • Andrea says:

        Thank you Grace for your bluntness! I appreciate you saying it how it is, I need to hear that.

      • P. says:

        Grace, all ladies on BR, this is what we should print out in 20 point font even if we are not in a relationship:
        “YOU ARE HAVING CASUAL SEX WITH A LIAR”
        - as a reminder/warning/whatever. Enough said.

    • Grizelda says:

      Andrea,

      You seem to have all the answers already. In relation to the post, your hunger for a relationship and nostalgia are two big ‘tells’ — so much so that he was actually comfortable giving you a casual warning (which IMO can only have been calculated to hurt you) that his heart belongs to another woman pretty immediately after he bedded you. After, of course, not before! Naturally. He unfolded then. Like a badly made origami assclown.

      The whole story about the woman and the married man and her love and his love and oh the pining and woe the pain and their being unfairly kept apart and the apparent timetable in the new year and his ticket to board the 2013 Love Boat to Paradise (onto which your’re very specifically uninvited)… Lies. All lies.

      It’s a terrible ploy firstly to try to get you to ‘feel his hurt’ (*snort* sorry that’s rude) so you supply him with sex while simultaneously backing off and not hassling him emotionally. Secondly its purpose is to try to show you some kind of paltry ‘evidence’ that he is capable of love, oh yes he is, oh yes he really really really is, oh he’s just so full of love and loyalty and goodness and romantic long-suffering and… oh but sorry, what? Oh no no no, not love for you of course! Hah! Hah hah! That’d be ridiculous wouldn’t it! Thirdly, he’s frankly daring you to ditch him. Daring you. It’s like he’s challenged you to a pistol duel at dawn — he’s already taken his ten strides, turned around, and is aiming his pistol right at you, and you haven’t even taken your pistol out of its box. What are you going to do in your own defense? The audience here are rigid in suspense. If you snap your fingers and go NC, you disappear in a puff of smoke that will not only save your skin but will show him a thing or two about you and the strength you really do have inside.

      • Andrea says:

        Hi Grizelda,
        Thank you so much for your words and thoughts. I love your comments about the 2013 Love Boat to paradise, I truly did LOL. Apparently she has given up the married man (I’d say more likely he ditched her) and she has decided to “commit” to my EUM. BUT…not until the new year. This is pretty laughable. What’s more laughable is he believes this sh*t. I’m definitely drawing strength from reading all the posts on this website and sharing my thoughts and hearing advice like yours makes it a bit easier to not feel so silly that I let myself get suckered in by this very big assclown. Thanks again. I think that NC is my only recourse and once I get past the initial withdrawal of the validation I was getting, I hope to be moving forward and fast!!

    • Mia says:

      I read a book called “Women who love too much”. You spoke of feeling addicted and that’s exactly what the book speaks of.It helped me alot with my ex eum/boy:-) We all know how it feels to be on an emotional rollercoaster, but when you finally realize you do not need to put up with the foolishness, you GET OFF! You say: It almost feels like if I lose him I lose something of me?? Sorry honey, by staying in that losing situation…you are already losing you(your mind,sleep,prob.cant eat,self worth amongst many others)…TAKE IT ALL BACK!Think of it as a challenge! Many blessings on your journey, you’ll get there! Love Peace Happiness!

      • dancingqueen says:

        I hear you Mia but I have to say, I hate, hate, hate using the word “addicted” when talking about these nutty men…we have all been there, done that with these dudes. That is not remotely addiction, we have *chosen* that path.

        We have felt addicted…but that is not the same *as* addicted and when we say it, we are choosing to portray ourselves as at the mercy of something that holds us in its sway.

        Andrea; let me say it straight…if you get rid of this guy you will not have DT’s, you will not start vomiting and cramping, you will not have to be hooked up to an IV to feed you liquids and meds while your body struggles to right itself…stop giving him so much power! So WHAT you kissed him at 14; is that really so terribly important? I kissed someone at 14 too and he is still my alternate password (“Who was your first boyfriend?”)that comes up when I use a different laptop to access my bank. He is just a man who eats, farts, sleeps and picks his nose.

        • Andrea says:

          Hi Dancingqueen,
          Thank you for your reply! And I totally am with you about my comment, calling it an addiction. That was the wrong word as you are right, I won’t have any DT’s etc when apart. I guess it’s more of an anxious feeling, which isn’t nice either but certainly nothing that hopefully just NC will get rid of.

          • dancingqueen says:

            good for you Andrea; you are right, this is NOT an addiction this is you, for lack of a better phrase, gravitating to romantic junk food of the worst kind; pre-packaged, unimaginative, full of junk that makes you weak and ill. You could be feeding yourself healthy, real food that nourishes you…junk food ( and junk men) be gone:)!

        • P. says:

          DQ,

          After one breakup I was so physically affected I believe it was close to withdrawal symptoms. I could not eat, could not sleep, could not focus, stopped seeing colors (world in black and white = surreal), and eventually got a kidney infection (from not drinking enough?) and had to go to emergency room.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Mia I should have addressed that more to Andrea; you really were not the right person for me to reply to sorry:)!

      • Andrea says:

        Hi Mia,
        Thank you for your reply and comments. And you are right, I have lost myself for the past few months since this started. I have slowly started to take things back again. Focusing on him the past few months took my mind off of everything that I loved to do but I’m reining it in again. Thank you for the book recommendation as well!

    • Lavender says:

      Andrea, I have been in a similar situation and really you need to get out of it. The thing is that when I was in that situation it didn’t matter what anyone else said, I couldn’t give the guy up, I was similarly addicted. It was extremely difficult for me to get over it. In the end he was a terrible person and no matter how many horrible things he did I didn’t care. No contact really helps these situations. Even if it didn’t help before, try it again and again and again until it does work. For me it took about six goes before I stuck with it. You are better than this situation. Imagine how nice it will be to be with a guy who doesn’t tell you he wants to be with someone else.

      • Andrea says:

        Hi Lavender,
        Thanks for your thoughts and advice. It seems that NC is the best solution as I’ve been reading. I am so grateful for this website, not even sure how I came upon it but what great timing and reading all the posts and comments help so much with these situations. I often wonder what is it about me that makes me let these assclowns into my life and do what they do.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hi Andrea,

          “I often wonder what is it about me that makes me let these assclowns into my life and do what they do.” I wondered the same thing. Stick with Natalie and BR. The answers to your question are within everyone of Natalie’s posts, particularly this one and the comments from the brilliant BR folks. Start with the first ‘tell’. And get her books as soon as you can. It took me a while to get a grip, not that I’m fully gripped. While I was working through things, I held firm to not giving AC’s the time of day and/or flushing the minute they exhibited AC behavior, like there’s another woman. Once you flush early on, then you don’t open the door to their AC lines/crap. I don’t mean to sound holier than thou by any means. I was a former OW to a married man for two years. So I was dripfed those lines so much so I have them memorized. Flushing at the first hint of AC’ness is like AC repellent or in BR language, a boundary. Boundaries are amazing.
          Good luck getting out of that mess. If you lose him, you won’t lose a part of you, you will gain you back! You can stop it.

          • Andrea says:

            Hi Runnergirl,
            Thank you for your comments! I’ve read so many posts and I come to this site daily and so much of it has made me feel better and you always think that you are alone in what you are going through, but it’s never the case. I’m certainly not cutting my EUM any slack but I do know that I have let him do what he does, and as I have read and come to know people only treat you how you allow yourself to be treated. I also realize that when people show you who they are, you better believe them! I’m very glad to hear you got rid of your AC!!
            Thanks again. Andrea

  53. K_Anon says:

    I would like to know if AC’s act deliberately or unconsciously? Are their actions, like, pre-meditated, or just part of their nature? It seems to me that it stems from an extreme sense of entitlement, so extreme to be abnormal. But is it done voluntarily or not? Also, it seems: ACs are simply people who are fundamentally NOT relationship people, but come across as ACs when they interact with others in a relationship-like context?

    • P. says:

      I used to wonder about that, too, but now I think it does not matter. So what if they are not doing it “on purpose”? They are still hurting you… If you stop contact with them, maybe they will wonder what happened… not us.

    • Mymble says:

      Well they are not somnambulists so yrs their actions are deliberate. The questionis perhaps more about whether the have a course or plan of action from the outset and do they intend to cause pain? I think the answer is yes and no. Sometimes they are swept away by enthusiasm at the beginning. The AC said to me he felt like he was 17 again, even as infatuated as I was that struck a chill in me. But then the thrill and the high wear off, pretty quick, and I think they justify it as “just not feeling it any more”. They aren’t up for any self analysis. They mess you about with their half in half out; they don’t want a relationship but they don’t want to lose the benefits or the potential to get benefits whenever they like. Their exact level of consciousness is hard to say; some (mine) are in denial because they like to think of themselves as a good guy. Others are more upfront with themselves. But, yep, deep down they all know their behaviour is crappy. It’s telling (a “tell”!) they don’t usually show any surprise when they get
      dumped.
      Ultimately though it is a waste of time trying to work out what is going on in their heads and what they meant when they said x,y and z. In relation to any particular remark or action, probably not much, consciously at any rate.
      I’ve spent way to much time trying to figure him out.

      • Victorious says:

        I think we dated the same guy mymumble! also said he “felt like he was 17 again” and then also said he “just wasn’t feeling it any more.” followed by a few months of flipflapping. I am sure they have a handbook.

  54. kayakerkathy says:

    Thank you ALL for your responses. They’re a tremendous help. The more I read them, contemplate them, and rethink the whole experience, the more stuff I’m seeing, remembering, analyzing, and the more I know I did the right thing. Why does it all have to be so fricken hard??? LOL

    You guys ROCK.

  55. Vanessa says:

    I want to say I have been lurking here for about a year. I finally got rid of my EU guy. We were committed for about 10 months and I spent 1.5 years getting over him. I went NC two weeks ago. He text me last night and I was able to resist texting back! I am so proud of myself. Thank you so much to this site and the comments I read. It really has helped.I appreciate all of you so much!

    So I am in the process of rebuilding myself and putting together how to have a healthy relationship. I’m having a hard time understanding what’s ok and what’s not if that makes sense. I don’t want to be disrespected or neglected or anything casual. I’m not that kind of girl and I will bail if I feel like that. but fast forwarding could just be the guys style? And his big dreams? My mom always told me to give benefit of doubt and now I am confused. I am really bad at thinking people are lying. I am just so honest and kind and suggestions here seem so.. harsh.? How do you know? Are there any suggestions/advice? Should I keep reading?

    • yoghurt says:

      Hiya Vanessa
      I thought it was harsh when I started reading too, but now that I’ve gone over to the DARK SIDE, mwahahahaha…

      Nah, kidding, but I’d keep reading. I think that this http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/youve-got-to-call-it-as-you-see-it-why-you-mustnt-fear-judging-a-situation-or-actions/ helped it click for me (I used to really hate criticising people when they were just-being-themselves-after-all) but when it comes down to it YOUR decisions about YOUR life have to come from YOU, not him, your mum, Mr Smith down the road or the dog.

      Do you really, honestly, want to spend your life dancing attendance on someone who makes promises that he feels no obligation to keep (which is what future-faking is) and has no qualms about hassling you and preventing you from getting over him for eighteen months? Would you be able to trust him if he did turn round and change? Really?

      He doesn’t sound like a good bet. And your life and your choices are too precious to risk throwing away gambling on a three-legged donkey. If you’re going to trust someone with your future, make sure it’s someone whose behaviour/morals YOU feel comfortable with.

      I’d stick with it – keep posting if it helps and good luck x

    • P. says:

      Vanessa,

      good for you and, please, do NOT listen to your mother. I realized sometimes mother tell us to give men the benefit of the doubt, but what that really means is that they do not give US the benefit of the doubt, i.e., they are invalidating OUR judgment that way. Very difficult to get over that since we are conditioned to love them and trust them.

  56. Changing says:

    Freya,

    About you not willing to be a ‘BR woman’ . Two things. First, if at times you don’t care about emotional connection and just want physical why not to go for it? I mean you know what makes you happy this minute, for the next hour or for the next 5 years. Just do what you want;) If you’re the one who wants casual and the other person agrees or doesn’t care then what’s the problem? Second, if you don’t want casual and think that you can start off with lack of respect (towards you) bad treatment ( of you) and overall neglect and make your way into a meaningful relationship it prob won’t work. Don’t you think? Plus the way people treat us is not so much about us. It’s who they are. Are you planning to change them too? If you are.. in my experience the only chance these people change is if you treat yourself with respect and absolutely don’t allow bad behavior. Why to sell yourself short? People can sense it right away;) like you can judging by your prior post

  57. selkie says:

    Freya,

    In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who wrote Women Who Run With the Wolves;

    “Wolves never look more funny than when they have lost the scent and scramble to find it again: they hop in the air; they run in circles; they plow up the ground with their noses; they scratch the ground; then run ahead, then back, then stand stock still. They look as if they have lost their wits. But what they are really doing is picking up all the clues they can find.
    Though a woman may look scattered when she has lost touch with the life values most and is running about trying to recapture it, she is gathering information, taking a taste of this, grabbing a paw up at that. Let her be. As soon as she processes all the information from the clues she’s gathered, she’ll be moving in an intentional manner again.”

    This is many of us here. We are all at different stages of recovery. I identify with the beauty, resilience, and nobility of the wolf. Not the ability it has to sniff out the weak and take them down. It only does so when it has to eat, not to set itself above and apart. I respect your thoughts and your opinions, but in the spirit of the wild wolf in me, disagree with your assessment of us and stand with the BR pack. I find them inspiring. Excuse me while I go howl and hop in the air a little.

  58. Lavender says:

    I know exactly what a tell is because I see myself in what Nat wrote above. When I started reading Baggage Reclaim I realised that I had people in my life in all different contexts who treated me similarly, boyfriends, friends, colleagues, family members. There was something about me that they saw and made them think that it was acceptable to treat me poorly. I saw these people treat others well, but when it came to me, they would act in an abusive way. I didn’t understand it. I still don’t know what it is that makes people think that they can treat me this way, but I do know now that I am better able to spot this behaviour and not accept it myself.

    I really have to say that after my last dodgy relationship I read a lot of things on relationships and people and nothing helped me as much as baggage reclaim has. I don’t think I would have initiated no contact with the last dodgy guy and then been able to get over him if it wasn’t for the things I read on this site. The process of understanding that I was putting up with terrible behaviour not just from him, but from a lot of people wasn’t simple and it wasn’t easy, but coming out the other side, it was definitely worth it.

    I just feel sad that it took me so long to get it. Sad that I wasted so much time putting up with bad behaviour and sad that I made myself such a low priority in my life. I can’t believe how naive I was. I wonder if others feel this way too. The last dodgy guy repeatedly told me I was really naive and he was right.

    I’m trying to use these newly found skills in my every day life so that I can live a healthier and happier life emotionally and only surround myself with people who care about me. It sounds basic, but it was difficult for me to learn.

    • P. says:

      Lavender,

      Yes, I had the same experience. I saw this type of treatment from many people in my life, including professional contacts. It is difficult to deal with because I might need a reference from them. I am polite, but otherwise am NC with them, with family members who do this, as well. My social life shrunk but I feel better. Maybe over time I will have other people to relate to.

  59. Sumumu says:

    This is a great article. I have been reading your articles pretty faithfully for 2 years now and they continue to help me in my journey towards becoming self aware. I started this process at 34 as my epiphany ‘relationship’ fell apart and I stumbled onto your blog in a moment of ‘google answer desperation’, and I can honestly say the last two years of reading your blog, thinking and learning to look at events for what they are and not what i would like them to be or what is (temporarily) easier to swallow, have done more to prepare me for the rest of my ‘relationship life’ than the past fifteen years of actual experiences. With regards to this specific article, I have over this time learnt that the poor ‘relationships’ or interactions I have had with men are largely due to aspects of my own behavior and self esteem issues (many of which have escalated over time due to these same poor relationships) that I have to take responsibility for and work on. What BR has taught me is to be introspective and think about what I may have done to contribute to the situation. When asking myself as I often do at low moments ‘why did person x,y,z.. choose me to engage in AC behaviour with?’, it had previously occured to me that maybe it could be that the person I know (from numerous comments from friends, men, acquaintances over the years) I (unintentionally) portray to others at first encounter is very self contained and almost aloof, and for many men, especially arrogant men, men with something to prove, or men without positive values, this represents a challenge to ‘break’ me and prove that no matter my outward appearance, I can be ‘gotten’. However, what I have accepted is that they would quickly discover after giving me a little attention, that the person I appear to be on the outside is not who I am on the inside, as I would respond very positively and almost instantly to a little aggressive attention, future faking and fast forwarding, probably in a manner that may be surprising to them and encourage them to continue that behaviour as it was obviously so effective in their pursuit of me. This of course would only cause me great distress and pain when I would finally realise that it was done to get what they want (after which they would simply disappear or start blowing hot and cold until I got frustrated and walked away), and not from any real or sustainable desire to have a meaningful relationship with me. So thank you Natalie for couching and concretising the fleeting realisation I had already come to in this manner, I love the concept of a “tell” and I will continue to work on myself and understanding what ‘tells’ I may be showing, not just to suppress them but to also eliminate the reason I may have the tell in the first place. When I read articles like these and realise that I have come such a long way, I really look forward to the day when I will be ready to show this wonderful new me to the right man. Thanks again for your tireless efforts. You really are a special person.

  60. LetsDoItAgain says:

    This will sound radical, but at its core all of these problems many women here are lamenting over are rooted in SEX. Simply, we must change the way we think about sex. Because the problem is not sex itself, after all sex is natural, but the emotion we have been taught to force ourselves to assign to it does nothing but make women vulnerable to men. For women, we are taught that sex and relationships are inseparable entities, and that we must obtain the relationship after the sex or we have lost, or that we should ensure we are in the relationship before “we give it up” to keep from losing.

    This has women going to all types of desperate lengths and accepting all types of crummy behavior in order to get the relationship (and the pleasure of sex). Or it has a woman fooling herself into believing anything is a relationship/commitment in order to feel ok about having sex, but setting her up for disappointment once the curtains are drawn.

    The problem is that sex is much more fleeting and quick as opposed to a relationship, so women give men the upper hand in that aspect right off the bat. Women have ‘control’ over the occurrence of something that will last 15 minutes, men has ‘control’ over the occurrence of something that is supposed to last for years. This is why we see this drastic imbalance, and why so many women here express this ever present feeling of helplessness. Why wouldn’t they? The part of the interactions they feel they control is quite literally equivalent to 15 minutes of fame!

    I for one, do not believe that sex is naturally something any more meaningful to women than it is men. I think this is a lie that has been perpetuated by society for centuries in order to keep women under thumb and easily hurt and manipulated by men. The idea that we must consider any man we find sexually attractive boyfriend material is wrought with problems. Many women find themselves trying to forge relationships with complete assholes they are sexually attracted to but whom, if they were taught its ok to separate the two things, wouldn’t even spit on if they were on fire in terms of a relationship because their personalities and sense of entitlement are so bad. Yet somehow these women find themselves begging HIM to waste years of their own romantic lives with!

    Just think about it. If some of you women engaged these men whom you must have been physically attracted to at some level, but kept it at ONLY that level, what amount of pain would you be feeling right now? By all intents and purposes, the descriptions of these men’s job prospects, habits, and even personalities have been pretty wretched, or at the very most nothing to write home about. But instead of doing what would be smart, which would be to ‘value’ him for what he was worth and nothing more, we often see all these seemingly intelligent women desperately trying to create something more with losers. Why? Not every man you find attractive or realize can provide you decent company in the time being until you find the right guy deserves your emotions.

    But women aren’t told this. The only defense women are given is to get rid of the guy if he’s not a long term prospect. Problem is, this only serves to make the woman lonely and set her up for either more desperation to cure that loneliness, or depression, since being alone is not ideal for humans. There is essentially no in between advised for women, and it really keeps us under foot.

    Sorry for my rambling, but this has been a theory of mine for awhile. And reading the posts from the women here really got me to start imagining the BS women could forgo if we approached sex, love, and relationships this way. It would be hard for older women I know, but imagine the heartache this approach could save younger women?

    • Mymble says:

      Letsdoitagain,
      If you can do casual sex and be okay with keeping it on a physical level, then that’s fine for you. Personally men who are merely physically attractive are of no interest to me in any sense. For me it is the “whole package” mind and body. Good sex isn’t usually instant, it gets better over time as you get to know someone, and i don’t want to invest that amount of energy in someone who doesn’t interest me.
      The MM I was foolish enough to fall for
      was good-looking, but was also amusing, interesting, smart and – I thought – caring.
      As an older woman, it isnt difficult to get sex, if that’s all you want. But the thought of a lot of meaningless bedhopping is depressing. I did some of that when I was younger. I can’t change the past so regrets are pointless but I feel now that my time could have been better spent on other things.
      For me – if you like them, you want a relationship; and if I don’t like them, why would I bother? Sex takes place between the ears, not below the waist!

      • Mymble says:

        I would add that men too get hurt sometimes when they want more than just the sex. Perhaps they don’t blog about it here so much but it happens – I’ve had “casual” situations where the guy fell in love with me. The trouble with casual is that there is usually a driver, (who may engage in misleading, deceptive behaviour-future faking) and a passenger who is hoping for more.

    • sushi says:

      LetsDoItAgain,
      I presume from your post that you would like a mutual relationship and I understand where you are coming from, but I don`t agree.
      If what you truly want is a mutual, real relationship and you engage in casual ones to fill the time till you find THE one you just end up lowering your own expectations to start with, and by doing so you do end up accepting crumbs, even though you claim that is what you are trying to avoid.I think you might be also underestimating the fact, that if a real relationship is what you want you are in danger of developing feelings for your casual partners anyway, it`s human. I think that your theory is dependant on being able to switch into EU and EA mode at will and that just doesn`t sound healthy, not to mention authentic. That is what many people on here describe with ” why was he such an AC with me and now he is in a commited relationship with someone else” What would you be saying to the people you are in those transitional relationships with? Would you be clear to all involved that all you want is casual? Would you spend time with them, get to know them ect? It would have to be so controlled, otherwise human instinct will come into play and someone might involve their emotions. As for loneliness….it`s just more straightforward to have friends and have a full life rather than be dependant on a man to provide you with your life. As for the younger and older women bit- I`m in the older category…but you would be amazed how fast the time flies.

    • Teddie says:

      I think such a casual attitude towards sex is the fuel that drives this epidemic expansion od AC-ry. There’s never been a greater abundance of sex, if this is what one wants. In fact, these are golden times for men, it’s never been easier for them to get their supply of sex, considering that many women practically throw it at them. Do you really think this is a way to female empowerment?

    • yoghurt says:

      I’ll be honest, I don’t think that that’s a radical viewpoint. In fact it’s a viewpoint that I’ve been hearing on a very regular basis since adolescence. Women shouldn’t confuse sex and love. Women should be able to engage in casual sex without any kind of emotional engagement. Sex doesn’t mean love. Men use women so women should use men. Etc etc. And I tried living by it for a long time, told myself off if I did develop any feelings of attachment, or worthlessness, or whatever else. I ended up in a mess.

      Fundamentally, I think, I disagree with you on this:
      “I for one, do not believe that sex is naturally something any more meaningful to women than it is men. I think this is a lie that has been perpetuated by society for centuries in order to keep women under thumb and easily hurt and manipulated by men.”

      I’m not enough of a scientist to be able to deliver a conclusive lecture on oxytocin and bonding hormones and the like, but I HAVE discovered that the following are true, through bitter experience:
      a) Sex leads to pregnancy. Less so now than in the days before there was effective contraception (although that isn’t failproof, as I found out). Ergo, any woman who has sex with a man is effectively risking a massive change in the course of her entire life, and if he isn’t going to be supportive then (believe me) it’s likely to be a difficult change, whichever course of action she chooses.
      b) Sex generally involves showing yourself to someone in a state of abandonment, not to mention your cellulite. It is a deeply personal experience, and I tend to think that rejection afterwards is also likely to feel deeply personal.

      And I’m not even going to go into STDs, cultural mores, physical vulnerability or the ‘symbolism of penetration’, mostly because it’d make this way too long.

      Either way, it stands to reason for me that sex is going to have an emotional impact, purely on the basis of the nature of it, if nothing else. Seems pretty logical to me.

      I spent years and years and years thinking that there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t not take it personally when a bloke shagged me and blew me off, or shagged me and then laughed about it with his mates, or shagged me, got me pregnant and then carried on messing me around. I honestly genuinely believed that there was something inherently wrong with my emotional make-up because I wasn’t being a Cosmo woman about it.

      Nowadays, I think that the emotional impact of sex is rather wonderful – one day, when I meet a good caring man it’ll be wonderful and I’ll be sincerely glad of it, so I’m not going to attempt to suppress it in the meantime for the sake of a quick rattle with some loser. Celibacy in the meantime isn’t what I’d choose but it’s not the end of the world and it’s CERTAINLY not the massive deprivation and annihilation of my human rights that some people believe it to be.

      • yoghurt says:

        Sorry – to clarify…

        If you’re happy having no-strings sex and you feel no emotional impact then go for it.

        However, I think that it would be disastrous if that rule was applied to everyone and I know this because to an extent it is applied to everyone and it was disastrous for me.

        Your emotional response to anything is your emotional response. Obviously there are sensible and not-sensible ways of dealing with it and it isn’t always advisable to act on your emotions, but tbh how you feel and how you initially react to anything isn’t something that you should seek to change. Your emotions are there for a reason.

        Imo, it’s perfectly logical (although not obligatory!) to have an emotional response to sex and I get a bit tired of hearing people describe this as a culturally-devised and inconvenient piece of freakishness.

      • Sadder but Wiser says:

        Yoghurt, I’m with you. I’ve had some thoughts of this very subject recently that I wanted to share, because I think Cosmo era young women have been sold a bill of goods. This is just my opinion and I know that I certainly don’t speak for everyone. But I think there are some valid points to consider.

        It’s no mystery to me why most women cannot handle casual sex. It’s not casual at all.
        Sex is a powerful experience, with profound psychic, spiritual and emotional dimensions. It is NOT on par with other fun recreational activities such as “well, we can go to a movie or go bike riding or go have sex.” It is a serious activity that can result in creating another life. It is an activity that is meant to bond people at the deepest emotional level. It is an activity that I think for women involves allowing another to see us at our most unguarded and exposed state.

        Think about it. Women don’t show their genital area to other women (except for doctors – even that can be uncomfortable). I can’t remember the last time any other woman saw me naked. We’re very private about this. Men let it all hang out at public urinals, they don’t care who sees what. It doesn’t bother them, because that is not where their privacy lies. For a woman, the act of sex is generally deeply personal and deeply intimate. She is allowing another person to actually enter her body in a place that is enormously private. The amount of trust and vulnerability needed to do this can be huge. It is an “allowing” and an opening into not just her body but her Being itself. She is letting down all the barriers. When men open themselves and are unguarded and let down their barriers, I think the vulnerable opening for them is an emotional, not physical one. This really is a huge difference, which can’t be underestimated. I think this is why some men can have sex and it doesn’t touch their heart or their emotions. This is where women can get terribly hurt, because “how could we have both shared the same experience and it doesn’t mean anything to you????”

        This modern Cosmo world has done some wonderful things for women – but there is a dark side too. To turn sex into just a pleasurable frolic is to trivialize it. And when some women feel guilty that they can’t “get with the program,” because sex engages their feelings after all (surprise!) that’s a tragedy.

        Just my two cents…

        • LetsDoItAgain says:

          In short, it sounds strange to say, but a lot of women need to temper their expectations in relationships with men. Not in the way of lowering yourself in the way you want to be treated by them, but simply not expecting a person you’ve known for all of 3 months (hell sometimes for all of 3 weeks or days), has the characteristics of a person you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.

          Whether the women here want to accept it or not, a great deal of having that outlook will probably come with not viewing sex as some inner window to your soul and a reflection of you as a whole person, to the point where you are clinically depressed if you have it with a guy and wedding bells are not the result. Side note: Honestly it still surprises me that so many women view their vagina as a reflection of their self worth. Perhaps men are seeing you and treating you exactly as you see yourself if that is the case. If you consider one of the most important things about you to be the flesh between your legs, well…

          Anyway thanks to all the ladies who responded and gave their thoughts on my theory. Again, I admit my its a little radical for this crowd considering our difference in age, but its definitely a theory I pray more women look into as they raise their daughters.

          Look forward to hearing more responses if you have them :)

          • Mymble says:

            Letsdoitagain,
            You arelooking for comments, and the somewhat offensive way some of yor opinions are couched make me wonder if you are not actually a troll, and a man. Referring to your vagina as a piece of flesh suggests somone who doesnt have one themselves, and who dislikes those who do.
            However, assuming you are genuine I would pick up on one or two things you said.
            Firstly, you referto science that “proves” that women don’t really have feelings for those they sleep with and that have merely been condtioned to believe thy do. Where is this science? Can you direct me to any such research at proves any such thing? My understanding is that science is now coming to the conclusion that our minds, bodies and emotions are inextricably linked, and that what is going on in one ofthose areas will affect the others. To imagine tha you can treat your body as something separate and “other” than yourself is a misconception. For example, we all know we can be grumpy and say things we don’t mean when we are hungry. Even knowing this doesn’t prevent these emotions. Your mind isn’t separate from your body, it i physical entity located in your physical brain. Sex is making yourself vulnerable, in every way, physically and emotionally. That in’t an opinion, it is a fact.The risks of extrme consequences – of rape, assault, STD’s, pregnancy are all there and our emotional responses are there to protect us from harm, to ensure that we don’t put our trust in men who do not have our best interests at heart.
            Secondly, you mention your marriage. You are right, it doesn’t make you an authority. Unfortunately it is all to easy for two ninnies to march up the aisle, been there and done that myself. The ink is barely dry on your certificate. You can come back in 50 years and tell us how you got on with the challenges of children, bereavement, illness, redundancy and other hardships. If you survive all that and are still happily wed, then that may make you an authority.
            You mention that your husband chased you. Do you think that proves something aboutyou? Do you think that because a man pursues, it must mean you are healthy emotionally, and desireable? Do you find it validating? That seems alittle traditional for someone so keen to overthrow the status quo. Some men chase women like dogs chase cars; as soon as the car stops, and they “catch” it, they run off and chase another. Because it is all about them and their desire to chase, not about the desirability of the car. Many of us, myself included were chased hard and and hot by the ACs we got involved with. It says absolutely zilch about you. Why did you refuse him first time round? Were you enjoying the chase dynamic so much that you wanted to prolong it? Did it validate you? That would indicate a lack of self worth and self esteem, and an imbalanced relationship.
            Finally, it has been said by others, but your ideas are a load of old crock that was being peddled around in my mothers generation in the 60′s. She laughs about how men used it as a way to get a quick shag without commitment or even respectful behaviour. After all, you didn’t want to be accused of being uptight, clingy, or oldfashioned. (Which is the accusation you are bandying around). What women found, then as now, is that falling for that line is a short cut to getting shat upon.
            Again, this makes me think you must be a man who is getting pissy with women with all their unreasonable demands and “expectations”.

            • LetsDoItAgain says:

              “You arelooking for comments, and the somewhat offensive way some of yor opinions are couched make me wonder if you are not actually a troll, and a man. Referring to your vagina as a piece of flesh suggests somone who doesnt have one themselves, and who dislikes those who do.”

              I’m not a man and I’m not troll. And yes it is a piece of flesh. As are many other parts of my body and yours. It is valuable to me, but it is not the greatest part of me, nor do I believe what I do with it is any automatic statement about who I am as a person or my character, both of which I find to be much more important than the happenings of my vagina.

              “My understanding is that science is now coming to the conclusion that our minds, bodies and emotions are inextricably linked, and that what is going on in one ofthose areas will affect the others.”

              No, science isn’t doing that. I can tell you because I work in the field. But you are creating a straw man argument I never set up anyway. Your mind, body, and emotions being connected is not the same as developing feelings and attaching yourself to someone after knowing them for very little time. Many women do this, and almost all of them end up heartbroken for it. I am advocating against that. Women approaching every interaction with men with hopes of a long term endeavor is harmful and renders them easy prey to abusers. This is my belief, period. Hearing the stories of my friends as well as surveys and research reinforce my belief. But of course, I never said it had to be yours, I just shared.

              “To imagine tha you can treat your body as something separate and “other” than yourself is a misconception. For example, we all know we can be grumpy and say things we don’t mean when we are hungry. Even knowing this doesn’t prevent these emotions. Your mind isn’t separate from your body, it i physical entity located in your physical brain. Sex is making yourself vulnerable, in every way, physically and emotionally. That in’t an opinion, it is a fact.The risks of extrme consequences – of rape, assault, STD’s, pregnancy are all there and our emotional responses are there to protect us from harm, to ensure that we don’t put our trust in men who do not have our best interests at heart.”
              You are not an animal any more than the ACs who try to excuse themselves of their sociopathic behavior by claiming momentitis. You have a choice to not engage or to temper your emotions. You have a choice to change your thinking to guard yourself and you have a choice to change your approach so as to not be easy prey.

              The reason I originally focused on sex is simply because most women are not going to be fully able to (or even want to) completely give up sexual intercourse or swear off any intimate communication with the opposite sex until they find the man who is willing to propose. Therefore, I am advising that if a woman is going to engage, she will save herself a lot of heartache by not looking at the action as the Holy Grail, key to her soul that she has been taught it is. That way if it doesn’t end with her walking down the aisle, she is not destroyed because she thinks she gave “her whole self” away by engaging. I likened it to the argument of people who promote abstinence vs people who promote condom usage. Both want the same thing, safety, but one is just a little more sensitive to the current realities of the world, and bases their approach on that. Finally, I only brought up my own personal situation so as to share my experience the same way every other woman has, and provide more reasoning as to why I think the theory is valid (because of how it has positively effected my life thus far).

              And no, none of what you said is fact. While your mind is not separate from your body and your emotions are a part of your make up (no scientist would argue otherwise, and I myself have not even hinted to) you are in control of yourself. Your example is not a good one, because it is entirely possible to stop yourself from saying cruel things when you are hungry. Especially if you know full well that, for instance, the person whom you might say the cruel things to could smack you and scar you with a pain that lasts for months, even years.

              I’m not going to respond to the rest of your post, because it is clear that your emotions have gotten the best of you. I never once attacked any woman on here, and I am not going to counteract you offenses and begin to now. In addition, I never denied the possibility of anyone else’s viewpoint, I simply presented new ones that I’ve drawn from my life, the work I do every day, the woman around me and the stories of the women on here, and hypotheses that are currently being researched.

              But since you seem to have such a resistance to the plausibility of something that has been proven over a century ago in regards to conditioning, I’ll leave you with one word: Pavlov. Or any studies done on classical conditioning. If a so-called natural, “reflexive” response can be elicited in weeks of work, what more can years of socialization before puberty and all day every day thereafter do? Something to think about. You are more in control than you know.

              • yoghurt says:

                I apologise – I know that I said that I wouldn’t reply again but I do feel that it’s important to address two of the misconceptions and assumptions in your post.

                If you’re puzzled as to the number of rather irritable responses, here’s one reason – the idea that ALL women (apart from yourgoodself of course) are slathering after men, rolling at their feet and blindly accepting the idea that, because most people have husbands, they should too.

                I have NEVER (even in my darkest days) ‘approached all interactions with men with hopes of a long-term endeavour’ – quite the opposite, in fact. Your assumption that we’re all in ‘this mess’ because of some subconscious Pavlovian response to centuries of social conditioning and not as a direct consequence of a) our choices and b) other people’s (sometimes nefarious) actions indicates that you don’t have a great insight into the behavioural patterns addressed on this site.

                It also, I’m sorry to say, implies that you are something of a modern miracle, given that you and only you have been intelligent enough to recognise and break free from this subliminal conditioning. The rest of us are just sitting there and scratching our fleas, of course.

                “The reason I originally focused on sex is simply because most women are not going to be fully able to (or even want to) completely give up sexual intercourse or swear off any intimate communication with the opposite sex until they find the man who is willing to propose.”

                Why not? Last time I looked, all of us were rational and able to control our actions and our choices – the ability to do so is imo one of our greatest gifts. And embracing that ability to choose is incredibly empowering. This is why I dislike it when I read the suggestion that we somehow CAN’T embrace it and aren’t fully in control of ourselves.

                Choosing not to engage sexually with someone who ISN’T going to respect the fact that you are going to essentially put yourself in a vulnerable position for them (a factor that you haven’t yet addressed btw), not to mention gifting them of your precious time and attention seems sensible to me. I’m not saying that a proposal should be the goal, but surely a degree of commitment is sensible?

                Fwiw, I do agree with you that having had sex with someone is no reason to stick with them through appalling behaviour. However, I disagree with you that the way to address this tendency is to work to suppress and deny what are, to my mind, perfectly natural reactions, even if they do only arise from the logistical implications of the act (ie a sense of trust, a willingness to place oneself in a vulnerable position etc). To my mind, the way to address that tendency is to accept that it exists and modify behaviour accordingly.

                The idea that you should modify your emotional response before you modify your behaviour is, I think, unrealistic, dangerous and essentially denies folk the right to their own sense of judgement. That’s what I find worrying about your posts.

                • yoghurt says:

                  AND (would you believe there’s more?)…

                  …the fact that you’re writing off people’s emotional reactions as some sort of Pavlovian brain-washing doesn’t show a great deal of respect for their ability to assess and judge whether or not a situation is right for THEM.

                  As the inability to do this is one of the main reasons why so many people on this site have fallen prey to sexual and emotional predators, this is also unlikely to go down well.

                  • sushi says:

                    brilliant, yoghurt!

                  • Mymble says:

                    Yoghourt
                    Yeah. I was thinking that it was exactly this thinking that kept me in a bad situation instead of getting out, and it made it much worse for me. I thought, “Well it probably isn’t going to lead to a proper LTR but I like him sooo much, and enjoy his company, that I can just enjoy it for what it is, and don’t allow myself to get upset.”
                    Wrong.
                    If only there were an on/off switch for your emotions, how easy it would be.
                    This never happened to me when I was younger and I was thinking about why that was. The only thing that was different was that I was much less in control of my fiery temper. If the man wasnt treating me well then there would very soon have bern an explosion and they would be running for their lives! It wasn’t really better self-esteem or insight. But it did mean that bad “relationshits” didn’t drag on.
                    The better self control I have now is good in so many ways, as a parent
                    and an employee, but unfortunately it did allow me to remain for far too long in something wrong and unhealthy and consequently the damage was more severe.

              • Mymble says:

                LDIA,
                I expect everyone else is getting tired of this…
                So this is the last I’ll say.
                If Pavlov is the best you can come up with, that’s pretty lame. As far as i know he did no work on human sexual behaviour. There are some emotional responses that are innate, e.g. attachment to children and parents, grief on bereavement etc, and Pavlov’s work on salivating dogs doesn’t prove anything one way or the other. You are indeed entitled to your opinion, as is everyone, but don’t dress it up as science when you cannot substantiate it.
                I agree that behaviour can be controlled; and i would say that is what this site is about. Emotions not so much. The answer, for most of us, is to avoid the bahaviours that produce the emotions, rather than trying to suppress the emotions. i.e. avoid the sex until you can trust the man.
                You presented your own courtship and marriage as evidence of how and why your theory “worked”. If you do that you must expect people to pass comment. My point was simply that being chased by a man /married a short time says nothing much of and by itself. Maybe your relationship is great and will stand up to the rigours of life, I don’t know. But persistent “chasing” is a behaviour in men that rings alarm bells, for me.
                And finally – I love my vagina, and I intend to treat it with more respect in future, not less! No more random guys there, thankyou very much. Others can do what they like with theirs.

          • yoghurt says:

            Your reference to medical science fails to prove anything, unless you can find a woman (anywhere in the world, ever) who says “Yes, I destroyed my emotional health and wellbeing over a man because I read a scientific study that said that I should because of oxytocin”.

            “Honestly it still surprises me that so many women view their vagina as a reflection of their self worth. Perhaps men are seeing you and treating you exactly as you see yourself if that is the case. If you consider one of the most important things about you to be the flesh between your legs, well…”

            Pardon? I don’t consider my vagina a reflection of my self-worth, thanks. I consider my privacy, safety, life choices and health to be fairly essential to its maintainance though. That’s why I don’t sleep with strange men.

            I’ll say it again, this is not a radical viewpoint. You are essentially suggesting that we should allow men an easy ride (pun intended) and simultaneously stop holding them accountable for any of their rubbish behaviour. Wow! That’s a fantastic way of preventing patriarchal exploitation of women… oh wait, hang on…

            I’m not appalled, by the way, I just think that your argument is rather silly and that you don’t seem to know or understand a great deal about the people that you’re talking to, their viewpoints or their experiences. Consequently you come across as rather patronising and unaware, I’m afraid.

            I’m mindful that this isn’t a forum and that this is rather a tangent from the blog post, so thanks to Natalie if you publish it but I won’t be replying again. You haven’t said anything to change my mind on this one though, I’m afraid.

        • Revolution says:

          I totally agree, Sadder. Well said. Cosmo is only fit for one function, in my opinion. Well…maybe not even that, as those glossy pages may cause chafing on the derriere.

      • LetsDoItAgain says:

        I’m glad you brought up science, because its misinformation that fuels a lot of the seeming “appall” towards my comment. Oxycotin is also released in large doses by men during and after sex. In addition, prolactin, the so-called detachment hormone is released in great number after sex in women, yet it is never spoken about. There is a reason for this. It might be hard for you to believe, but as science begins to turn the page on finally researching women’s sexuality and biological make up, its showing there are other things at play affecting these things originally thought to be natural responses.

        And honestly, if you subscribe to sexual science as it is laid out throughout history, you should have no wonder or any qualms with the way you’ve been ‘shagged and blown off’, you should expect it. Because science indeed has gone out of its way to protect and promote male promiscuity and deny women the same sexual consideration, if not ignore our hormones completely.

        I am not saying that everybody should go around screwing everyone willy nilly, there is obviously the threat of STDs and pregnancy, but the mere fact that women approach every interaction with every male as a potential long term commitment IS problematic. Decry against it as you like, but your own heartbroken experiences merely highlight this fact. A lot of women simply go into interactions with expectations they have no business having. Just for the sake and hope of obtaining a relationship. My point is that knowing this left me asking why a relationship is even treated as the ultimate goal in the first place at every stage in our lives, and how this happens.

        My answer is society. All these reasonable and intelligent women aren’t chasing after losers begging them for commitment because of hormones or whatever your old science books taught you. Its because even they can’t escape the constant pressure that having a man committed to you validates you like nothing else can. This is what keeps you under thumb, believe it or not.

        And I will say just for the record, and not to be snooty because I don’t think it makes me better or even more knowledgeable than anyone here, but I am married. I’m not saying it makes my advice more valid, but I just wanted to share my own personal experience as other women have. I did not find my husband by expecting something, anything, everything out of every interaction I had with men. I was only heartbroken once and it was the very FIRST TIME I had sex. In all my dealings with men I knew my worth and it reflected in my interactions with them. In the end, my husband chased ME and it was not until the second time that he proposed that I accepted and we got hitched last year.

        There is something about having confidence, knowing you have other options and not being afraid to let your mate know or let him go/downgrade him that attracts mates for men and women. They will know they have something and will want to lock you down more than if you are sniveling behind them giving them total control over your emotions. My point is that the key to having the attitude mentioned above comes with not having such a deterministic outlook on all of your relationships, and approaching them more from a lax perspective.

        • P. says:

          Mymble and Yoghurt above have already answered your repetitive posts, LDIA. Yes, what you call “science” or “radical” is a bunch of chewed up stuff from the 60s, nothing new. If you are looking for something actually new, try Naomi Wolf: Vagina: A Biography, which is well-researched and supported by actual new scientific research. Otherwise, as Mymble said, if you do not have arguments to illustrate what you said, there is really no discussion to be had here. I was going to say something rude,but won’t.

          P.S. If a student submitted an essay like this (and they do say these exact words: “My answer is society,” as you said,) I would recommend further reading.
          P.P.S. It is true there is a hook-up culture on university campuses, but most students are not very happy with it, and some of them are male.

          • LetsDoItAgain says:

            Yes, I am familiar with this book. I read it already. I’ll spare you my personal critiques on it and just say it does not have anything to do with what I’m speaking about unfortunately. And if held to test, it would oppose far more than it agrees.

            And yes, again, the answer is indeed society. We give little girls little ovens and life sized baby dolls to take care of when they are babies themselves, and by the time they are in middle school they are searching for “love” and giving boys whom are told nothing even similar, if not completely opposite, control over their emotions. Rinse and repeat for 15 years, and in some women’s cases, far more. Men, knowing the goal in mind, can sit back and pull the strings, selling women whatever dreams necessary to get what they want and still stay in control even through horrible treatment just because he knows like she knows, she wants the relationship
            just
            that
            bad.

            You don’t think changing this type of thinking and the priorities of little girl’s would be a teeny bit helpful in preventing some of the issues discussed on this blog?

            • P. says:

              LDIA,

              I am quite familiar with feminist theories on patriarchy etc., even though I am not a feminist theorist per se. I do not see anything that I said that changing people’s thinking would be not desirable; to the contrary I have been arguing macro-structutralist perspectives here before.
              I have not finished Wolf’s book for various reasons, but it seemed well researched and innovative. Yes, it absolutely has to do with the discussion here.
              I do know about socialization into gender roles, and I teach about it, but this is not the place to debate it.
              Where I do have an issue is that you generalize and assume without knowing, for example I have not been brought up in this country and the concept of easy bake oven meant nothing for me. My toys were not gendered for the most part, and in my family women had more professional jobs, on average, than men. I might be an outlier or an anecdotal case, but that does not absolve you of not considering such cases given that women from many countries contribute here, especially if you are a scientist.
              I also consider it condescending to assume that older women (what does that mean older, anyway?) are not familiar with knowledge or science you are familiar with, because, well, who do you think wrote your textbooks and who publishes in those journals? Some are younger and some are older. It is difficult to argue when you are mixing emotions and family socialization (micro) with “society” (macro) as they are connected and contingent in ways we cannot cover here. The “nurture” theory that you seem to support has its place, but, alas, essentializing the behavior of a specific self-selected sample of women on a blog site will not move your argument forward. Further, I do not believe most or majority of women on this site have the attitude you describe, and you got responses more eloquent than mine that show that. Has it crossed your mind that maybe the issues we write about are a reduction of what life is for us, even though they could be put into forefront at times. I am glad you are enthusiastic about gender equality, and, believe me, we “get” you, it’s just not what we are discussing here. Many, many have posted about casual sex and being OK with it, but, again, this is not the topic here… BTW, many “older” women I know are a lot more “radical” than women generations younger, but, again, that is not the point.

        • Revolution says:

          Hello Letsdoitagain,

          Thank you for your comments. I can appreciate your thoughts, even while having a varied opinion on most of them. Still, you’ve expressed yourself respectfully, and that gets you points in my playbook.

          Having said that, the one thing in particular that I want to comment on is this: Something that strikes me in your comments is the sense(backed by your outright statement, in at least one case)that you are looking at the male/female dynamic from the standpoint of control, or trade, rather than of love. Love means two people coming together to merge and have true (emotional, not just physical) intimacy because they BOTH want to, and from clear (and not pistol-whipped) motivations. Maybe my statement sounds naive to you, but this is how I view a healthy “as-meant” love relationship between a man and a woman. By contrast, it seems that you’re approaching it from the perspective of a vigilante trying to spy out the enemy camp so as to have some sort of advantage over them. To have them “under your thumb,” or at least do your damndest not to BE the one under thumb. While there is something to that viewpoint (and the ladies of BR can attest to my refusal to be an “under-thumb-dweller”), I don’t think that that is the same as seeking to forge a love relationship with someone. Here’s the simple difference: Love seeks to merge. Power plays seek to dominate, whether from the perspective of wanting control over another or from not wanting to be the one on the bottom. This perspective, though, does the opposite of merging. It creates struggle and separation.

          I think the problem, maybe, in this (mis?)communication between the other commenters and yourself is a matter of definitions. It’s possible that you are speaking of a very different “goal” than they are: you are viewing love, not as a way to pursue peace and (healthy) compromise and merge with another human (mentally, emotionally, physically). Instead, you view it as keeping the status quo (the ace up your sleeve) so as to have the “power” in the relationship.

          Love and power are two very, very different things. And they are nervous bed buddies.

          So what does think, Letsdoitagain? Do I have your perspective right or am I totally off base?

          • Revolution says:

            I also wanted to mention, in case you draw me into a discussion about “generations,” that I am a 35-year old woman. So if anyone here “should” be touting a sexual free-for-all sans emotion, then (demographically), it would be me. But I’m not.

            I say this because in one of your comments, you referred to perhaps a difference in age from most BR women. I’m not sure you mentioned how old you are (I may have missed it), but I really don’t think this is a matter of age or generation at all. Anyway, that’s my two cents. Please take them in the manner they were given: respecfully and with peaceful intentions.

            • Mymble says:

              Two references actually to the “older women” one to the effect that this “radical new approach” would be harder on the older women. (not clear exactly what was meant by that, as you said it doesn’t really seem to me to be a generational issue) and secondly to the fact that older women might find it difficult to understand this
              radical new concept.

              • LetsDoItAgain says:

                @mynimble
                I never said a thing about it being hard for older women to understand, merely harder for them to adjust. If you’ve lived your life a certain way for a number of years well into your adulthood, its not exactly the easiest thing in the world to basically about face on. I was merely considering that.

                Of course you can say that there’s no generational issue whatsoever, but the references to Cosmo I’ve already seen and what its supposedly telling the younger generation of women to do make me want to beg to differ.

            • LetsDoItAgain says:

              Revolution,

              Thank you so much for your respectful response! I didn’t know I was going to get so much hate for saying what I did, but I’m glad at least one person did not take it as some personal affront to them or their viewpoints (because that is never what I intended).
              “Something that strikes me in your comments is the sense(backed by your outright statement, in at least one case)that you are looking at the male/female dynamic from the standpoint of control, or trade, rather than of love. Love means two people coming together to merge and have true (emotional, not just physical) intimacy because they BOTH want to, and from clear (and not pistol-whipped) motivations. Maybe my statement sounds naive to you, but this is how I view a healthy “as-meant” love relationship between a man and a woman.”

              I can see how you might read it that way, and in ways I agree. That kind of is my viewpoint. But the caveat to that is: I do not see that it needs to be this way for the entire relationship!! I am merely talking about the starting point, which is the point where I think the majority of women invest way too much, then don’t want to leave a horse they already bet so much on (prematurely) instead of looking at it from the standpoint of a sunk cost.

              Perhaps it comes off scientific and calculating (no surprise there, its my job) but I think its necessary. Your comment does not sound naïve to me, it sounds ideal, I would love if things could be that way. The problem is that you are only one side of the equation in a relationship. If by all intents and purposes the other person whom is supposed to complete the equation is looking at it from the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t you feel you need to do something to at least protect yourself from hurt?

              “ It’s possible that you are speaking of a very different “goal” than they are: you are viewing love, not as a way to pursue peace and (healthy) compromise and merge with another human (mentally, emotionally, physically). Instead, you view it as keeping the status quo (the ace up your sleeve) so as to have the “power” in the relationship.”

              No, not even close. I am very much in love with my husband and he I. It’s not about power, because power struggles are exhausting and I see no reason why I’d sign up for one for the rest of my life. The “goal” I am referring to is just the same as the one you claim the other commenters and yourself want. The difference is the execution. I do not believe that you can go into a situation with your nose wide open thinking of love, peace, and compromise with a person you’ve never even had that conversation with before. Or been with for more than a couple of months to observe them and their behavior without some forced attachment clouding your judgment of their characteristics.

              I know that with that last sentence some commenters will rush in to tell me how thoroughly they vetted their AC and he still turned out to be one so my approach doesn’t work. I won’t argue with anyone’s experience. But I will say in 90% of the one’s I’ve observed, especially when the female ends up devastated by just how short of the end of the stick she got, she attached too fast, went in with too lofty of expectations of the relationship, and got burned by a guy who manipulated those emotions she really had no business having in the first place.

              If you know how big of a risk is there, why do you resist making yourself less susceptible to it in favor of idealism?

              It seems many women are advocating to approach relationships from an idealistic, if the world was perfect standpoint. I just can’t get with that, but perhaps I’m being too solutions oriented? I mean, it doesn’t seem that society is in any rush to put pressure on men to not find masculinity in using and discarding women, so methinks its up to women to change their outlook so as to not get burned. I do not realistically see women as a whole just up and stopping having sex , since it’s not like we only do it for men, so the next step would be to modify the way we approach intimate (see: not just physical) interactions with them.

              • runnergirl says:

                Totally loved this thread. Thank you Natalie for allowing the comments and thank you all for commenting. Lots and lots of good stuff here. I’m paying close attention to my tells and paying close attention to his tells too. It’s going to be a while before I use the “r” word (certainly more than a month) and a bit longer before I have sex (way longer than a month!). Nicely done ladies.

              • Revolution says:

                Let’s,

                Thank you for the clarification of your thoughts. I 100% understand your position, though I still disagree that casual sex can be engaged in without repercussion. There are too many women in a heap at the bottom of that slippery slope to say otherwise. I DO, however, agree with you that women need to protect themselves and their self-respect by not engaging in a sexual relationship with the thinking that it is a definite precursor to commitment. My answer to this, though, is radically different than yours. I, personally, choose to forgo the sexual experience until I’m in a committed relationship because I (and most women I know) cannot engage in sex without being effected emotionally and psychologically. If you or anyone else here can, then mazel tov.

                This is the last comment I’ll make in this thread. I feel, in my periphery, Natalie about to say to all of us, “Don’t MAKE me stop this car!” because we’re wildly off-topic. :) Natalie, thanks for your patience. I’m done and dusted.

          • dancingqueen says:

            “By contrast, it seems that you’re approaching it from the perspective of a vigilante trying to spy out the enemy camp so as to have some sort of advantage over them.”
            well said and fanned:)

        • grace says:

          Where am I?

        • dancingqueen says:

          “And I will say just for the record, and not to be snooty because I don’t think it makes me better or even more knowledgeable than anyone here, but I am married. I’m not saying it makes my advice more valid”

          erm uh yes you are saying that lol! And you are right, it doesn’t make you better. In fact, it makes me wonder… Look, you are obviously not that happy in your relationship if you have so much time to complain on here about not getting your “enlightened” point across.

          Letsdoitagain, your own straw man argument is that somehow you are dealing with all these “older” and unmarried ladies, well no offense but maybe some of us are a bit more mature, not just age-wise but emotionally.

          How you live your life is your business but for those of us, myself included, who tried to detach our emotions from sex at *your age* and were failures at it, I love being picky now. I have not slept with one man in years that I have not been in a full on relationship with and I can tell you for a fact that that beats that slutty, confused time in my 20′s when I acted as you advocated; sorry, way too picky now to change and no I have zero interest in being what you think a woman needs to be to bag a man.
          Whatever. Really, if you are so happy why try so hard to force your ideas on others? Why not just accept that some women are happier having standards and not getting laid, than lowering their standards and getting laid, and also btw, actually I can pretty much go without sex for a while till I meet someone. It doesn’t bother me at all; I miss great conversation with a smart, sexy man actually more than I miss sex.

          • Freya says:

            I like you LetsDoItAgain. You are a woman after my own heart. I have had lots of sex with men I did not love, and knew I was never going to love them. I have had lots of sex and not gotten attached in any way to the man I did it with.

            I am living proof that women can separate their sexual urges and desires from their emotions.

            The greatest emotional bonds I have had with men were not formed in the bedroom at all. In fact, we bonded over conversation and we bonded over being there for each other in times of need. Nothing to do with sex at all.

            I for one despise that I keep being told that having sex with someone I don’t love makes me slutty, or that I should feel like a victim, or disrespected, or “bad”. I also don’t like being told that I should want a relationship BECAUSE I had sex with someone. I resent, even, being told that I should want a relationship at all! I know what I want and I know how to get it. How does that make me wrong?

            Before anyone starts getting in an uproar over what sounds like casual sex let me assure you = I do not think sex is casual at all. Its a gift, beautiful and magical. Unless its done with the wrong person. Then its kind of boring.

            Thank you LetsDoItAgain for validating my position. I feel 100% better about being me. I will never again let someone else tell me that I am victim.

            • Mymble says:

              Hi Freya
              I too have done the sex with men I don’t care about, and yep it is boring, and unsatisfying, so I don’t do it any more. Why bother?

              Sorry to hear that you have been called slutty and a
              victim. That’s appalling. I am wondering who would say such things, was it the men you slept with, friends or acquaintances?

            • Sadder but Wiser says:

              This is a fascinating thread! Thanks Natalie for allowing it. Freya, I actually get what you’re saying and I even envy the ability to have a positive sexual experience without having the “relationship” tagged on. This is the viewpoint I had when I decided to have sex with a man I didn’t know very well but we worked together, I was comfortable with him, and had a developed a crush on him that morphed into an incredible passion. I was thrilled I felt anything after being in the desert for many years. I remember the conversation I had with myself: I’m in my 50s for heaven’s sake! I’m a modern woman, aren’t I? I should be able to have a mature, enjoyable sexual experience, get some of my needs for affection met and not get all hung up emotionally about it, right? I have physical needs, right? Do I have to be celibate the rest of my life even if I never have a full-blown relationship again? Dammit, I want this and I’m going to have it!

              Ah yes… but somehow that nasty emotional entanglement snuck in. That need for real, not pretend intimacy. I even wrote about this previously on BR, I made the mistake of trying to turn a wonderful sexual experience into a “relationship.” My trying ruined all of it. I wish I could have done otherwise. I couldn’t, partly I think for the reasons I wrote earlier on this thread.

            • yoghurt says:

              Hiya Freya
              “I am living proof that women can separate their sexual urges and desires from their emotions.”

              If you can then go for it, and I’m sorry that you’ve been made to feel slutty, like a victim or ‘bad’. I can’t, but ftr I don’t think that that makes me better or worse than you in any sense – or indeed more or less radical, uptight or intelligent.

              I’m sure that it IS very annoying to be constantly boxed in by other people’s viewpoints on your behaviour.

              At the same time, though, I hope that you can see that for someone who can’t/doesn’t want to separate sex and emotion, it is equally tiresome to be constantly told that it’s because you’re prudish, a game-player, frigid, uptight, desperate, and oh by the way that’s why men treat you badly so you should change yourself and your reactions.

              I’ve gone to town a bit defending my personal decision to put boundaries on my sex life (and I apologise if I’ve made you feel bad about your viewpoint in doing so). But that’s purely because, frankly, we’ve ALL come under enough pressure from EU men and the like to question our own judgements, reactions and emotions to disown our choices without needing to get it from other women as well. Or on here.

              • sushi says:

                Can I just say something simple and unscientific here, LetsDoItAgain:
                This site is about people (not just ones with vaginas) learning to get insight and self respect to avoid bad relationship and to enable them to function in good ones. Because they want good relationships. It`s not about changing or lowering their expectations to CASUAL. A healthy person will live by their values and will not switch what they want at will. You and the majority of people on this site obviouly want different things. This is why this discussion reminds me of pointless conversations with my ex AC. We can`t agree because we want different things.

                • selkie says:

                  Sushi,
                  I agree and was thinking the same thing. I stand beside my values and respect people standing by theirs. But… there has been a tone of, ‘here let me tell you how clueless you are for your own good’ that I found lurking under the surface. I’m not clueless, so I just let it roll off. Who cares what someone else thinks, I’m not forced to agree. I just need to be sure of myself and my own choices. What works for me and what doesn’t.

            • dancingqueen says:

              Freya, no one is telling you you can’t enjoy sex with as many people as you want. However, telling other women that they should divorce their emotions from sex and sleep around is pretty much as arrogant and disrespectful as calling someone a slut. And in my opinion, “slut” is not about how many people you sleep with, it is about your attitude. Slutty for me is when I was told, as a younger woman, by people like LDIA that something was wrong with me that I could not just have sex for “fun” and I proceeded to try to do that…with disastrous results. Some of us are different; is it that hard to understand here? Slutty is when women pretend to be okay with casual sex when they are not…if you are okay with it great, but then there is no need to go on about how other women,who are not, are repressed and also oddly add in some ageist comments for added absurdity. Who you sleep with is you business, who I don’t sleep with is mine and no one has the right to lecture me on the path that I chose for myself, especially with some of the women on this blog, myself included, being more than educated enough to debate gender issues. I am not haul out my Judith Butler now but it is in my drawer somewhere…

        • FX says:

          LDIA, I think there is a kernel of truth in your argument for SOME women, but your simplistic view and patronizing tone are not helpful even to those here for whom it may be food for thought. I am assuming you are fairly young to not see this? Also, why are you on this site if you are so enlightened that you have not allowed yourself to be compromised in a relationship and are happily married?

  61. kayakerkathy says:

    Mr. One Month just doesn’t get it. Here is the email trail:

    My response: “Tim,

    I believe in taking things slow and getting to know someone, way before jumping into bed with them, rolling around on the couch with them and having them compliment my breasts, after only two dates. Yes, I went into your house, invited you into mine, and willingly messed around. I got caught up in the moment and take full responsibility for that. I am not blaming you for my lack of judgement. I understand your ‘a guy’, but there are some women out there who don’t appreciate someone they barely know attempting to rush into something after one month. Yes, I’m an introvert and yes I’ve been hurt, that is life. Everyone has. But it hasn’t kept me from living a life full of passion and getting to know people. I have lots of people in my life, from all walks of life. Being introverted does not mean being anti-social or someone who shuns human contact. Extroverted people get their energy from other people and social situations, introverted people get theirs from within, they need to recharge their batteries in occasional solitude. It does not mean introverts are hermits. This is what I mean by needing to take things slow and getting to know someone.

    You told me that I was the one who needed to put on the brakes. That’s what I did. Because it’s what I believe in doing. I simply believe that sex is a sacred thing between two people, two people who know each other well and love each other, it’s not an act to be taken lightly or casually. Telling me the first night you were over at my place that you were going to get some condoms to put in my bathroom for when “I’m ready” is not the way into my heart. Maybe for some women it is. It seems that no, it was never meant to be and that we simply have different values. As far as I’m concerned, we moved too fast. At the party you specifically told me you wanted casual, taking things slow and having fun, seeing where it goes. I was fine with that. Then barely two weeks go by, we’d been on only two dates and had barley seen each other, and you were telling me you had feelings for me. How is that possible? For me, feelings like this take a long time to grow. It doesn’t happen overnight. Two people need to get to know one another before these feelings blossom, if they do at all. We didn’t know anything about each other. It goes beyond the physical, at least it does for me. But, like I said, not all women are like me. You need to find someone that matches your values. I don’t.

    I wish you well in your search, and I do still want to be friends. You are a great guy, for the right girl. I’m sure we’ll run into each other somewhere.”

    His response: ” Hey I am sorry. I did not mean that you were not social and frigid. I know you are very active and social. I know you wanted to take things slow. I just thought we were father along then just having a couple dates. It felt like you just slammed on the brakes and came to a screacing halt just has we were getting up to speed. It hurt. I also believe sex is sacred and I did not mean for you to feel presseured into anything. I did not expect sex Friday. After not talking all week then briefly talking Thurs and your email saying you wanted to be single it felt like you did not want anything to do with me at all. I still not really sure what you want to be honest.

    I would like to take back what I said about us not hanging out together just the two us, that was stupid. I would still like to go on a hike or go kayaking sometime. That is if you think you can keep your hands off of me :) JK

    And I still would like to take you for a ride on the bike.

    Please call me sometime! I hate this email crap. :)”

    My response yet one more time: ” “I wish you well in your search, and I do still want to be friends. You are a great guy, for the right girl.” This is honest. I want to you continue looking for someone. I want to be single. I just don’t want to date.

    I apologize for hurting you, that was not my intention.”

    How do these guys not get the hint?? And how much more honest can I be?? Not one mention in his response about his actions towards me, not one mention about how different our values are, and if he REALLY thought sex was sacred he wouldn’t have fast forwarded. It’s like he only got out of my response what he wanted, then tried to switch it to being all about my fault again. You can bet your sweet molasses I’m not going to call him. I don’t know how much more honest I can be. Sheezuz.

    • Magnolia says:

      Kathy,

      You didn’t just hint, you laid it out. Responding to him in such detail was more than was necessary after your encounter with him. YOU are the one who noticed that he didn’t get it when you were with him, it shouldn’t surprise you that he continues not to get it.

      What I get is that he doesn’t care about a relationship, maybe never did, and doesn’t care much that you took the time to lay it out. He knows what you wanted and is now just retelling the story so as not to look like a complete jerk.

      My dense ex, the DAY after a tearful 3-hour breakup that came after months of his disrespect and boundary-busting, was all like, hey, we can still go for a hike or a ride, right? How about this afternoon?

      They don’t get it / do totally get it but don’t care and it’s not worth wasting your breath on telling them that they don’t / in fact do.

    • runnergirl says:

      KayakerKathy,

      There are so many tells in his response like “getting up to speed” and “I would still like to go on a hike or go kayaking sometime. That is if you think you can keep your hands off of me JK” Oh dear lord. Pleeeze. Lots of drama for one month.
      Now you get the opportunity to have your actions match your words. “Your ‘tell’ can be determined by your response or lack of it.” Flush, block, delete, and move on. You didn’t tolerate his shody behavior and it only took a month…wahoo for you!

  62. D says:

    How do you get rid of the impulse to chase once they start exhibiting the signs of being EUM or AC? That’s my problem..it’s that I feel like I have to make them like me and I take it extremely personally when they are acting like that..I need to know WHY when I shouldn’t even bother with them further.

    • searcher says:

      That’s always been my problem, needing to know WHY their behavior has changed, from being in hot pursuit of me to being indifferent. It’s true that once we lose that attention, we want it more than we did before it went away. It’s almost as if it triggers this desperate side of me that needs to know what I did wrong and how I can bring back that attentive, sweet guy that I fell for.

      What we are failing to realize in these scenarios, if we in fact did not do something crazy to push them away, is that we fell for the impression of the guy, not the guy himself. And as Natalie has so elegantly pointed out before:

      “From when you meet a person on day zero, they begin to unfold. Anything you think they are initially is an impression, not who they are, because who someone is, is based on experience of them.”

      So the guy butters up himself in the beginning to get you to fall for him, but at some point, for whatever reason, he’ll decide that he’s indecisive about you and that’s your cue to exit. It’s hard not getting an explanation as to why they are behaving like an AC and an EUM and treating you like you don’t mean much to them anymore, but in knowing that it’s not you, it’s about them and their issues, and that you’re not the first nor will you be the last to deal with this BS, take some comfort that you have finally met the real them and it is not something you’ll tolerate, regardless of how long you’ve been with the guy. It’s especially hard when you’ve been with him for a good amount of time and you thought that you knew him. Regardless, never allow a guy to exhibit that behavior with you. He will continue to do so until you show him you mean business.

    • searcher says:

      And to answer your question, you just have to realize that you should never feel like you HAVE to make someone like you. If they did at first and then decided against it, that’s their loss. The best thing to do when they are exhibiting signs of being EUM/AC is to leave them be. Chasing after these losers only makes you seem desperate and clingy, which is never attractive. I have found that showing that you don’t give a damn is the best revenge, because they usually expect the woman to care and come running after them, to further inflate their egos. And when they come running back after you’ve given them no attention whatsoever, you continue to not give a damn, showing that you have boundaries, and respect and love yourself too much to let anyone treat you like you’re not good enough for them.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Ahhh…that (“How do I get rid of the impulse to chase?”)is the real crux of this entire problem. This is why YOU have to dig into YOUR part in these relationships, this is why YOU have to work on YOUR issues. Because you chasing after him and trying to “get him” to like you or “convince him” why he should pick you is YOUR UNhealthy portion of this entire dynamic.

      Solve that old baggage and you are home free! For me, I have a narcissistic father whose “love (if he even knows what love is) is entirely CONDITIONAL. In other words, I was literally conditioned to chase for love, to jump through hoops, to dance to whatever tune he chose. If I didn’t, there was MAJOR emotional (and sometimes) physical abuse to suffer. That is MY issue to solve, because while this worked to help me survive MY childhood, it serves no good purpose at all now that I’m an adult.

      Hope this helps and answered your question. You will lose the impulse to chase after these jerks once you deal with and heal your old wounds and start giving the love and validation you crave to yourself.

      Then the right guy is just icing on the cake. YOU are the cake!

  63. K says:

    Sadder,

    One of your posts above really struck a cord with me when you were discussing your ex and his looking crestfallen, telling you that he doesn’t know why he does this, blah blah blah. I haven’t read any of the posts after yours yet, but I would like to share that that is a heaping pile of steaming bullshit he gave you.

    Here’s why: If they do this REPEATEDLY, they know EXACTLY what they are doing and they know EXACTLY how it affects you. That sad puppy dog look has been used by many personality disordered men, those who lack conscience and empathy, in order to illicit YOUR sympathy and it worked! Over and over again as it did for MOST of us. All we need to do is share with our partners ONCE that something they do is HURTFUL. If they do it again, FLUSH!

    This men are simple crap is just that, crap! Men know this too and the more disordered ones understand how to use this as an excuse for their behavior now too. I can’t recall the name of the poster now, above, because your post caught my attention, but some idiot teaching women how men feel? Something like that? Anyway, that dude is a SICKO!!!! MY GOD!! It is SO EASY to see the DISORDER in these men, re: LACK OF EMPATHY! There is NO EXCUSE for a lack of empathy, although if we don’t feel good about ourselves or have any self respect or boundaries, we will provide an excuse for them and for ourselves to remain in something incredibly toxic!!! All of that IS toxic. A healthy man and a healthy relationship will NOT create confusion! It will not create cognitive dissonance. It will not make you feel like you’ve got the spins!

    I personally think online dating sites are very dangerous and a perfect place for predators to scout out new prey. I’d never, EVER do it. I’ve seen too many women hurt by disordered men online. It’s sad to me that our society is less communicative in PERSON than we are online, text, email. I think technology makes it easy for AC’s and EUM’s to get away with what they do. They have the ability to create a FANTASY in your MIND online before you ever MEET them. It’s harder to have boundaries online than even in person! It’s easier for people to be vulnerable because it somehow feels “safer” online, but that’s bullshit! Boundaries are even MORE essential and critical ONLINE. My ex psychopath caught many victims with ONLINE dating. It was AMAZING how easy this was for him. UGH!

    Anyway, I’m in agreement that the men are simple line is an excuse to act in SHADY ways. My ex used this as well, “I’m simple, babe, why you wanna complicate things?”

    See how that works? If you don’t have boundaries, and you do not respect yourself, this line will do what it did to me over and over, make me feel that it was ME that was complicating the situation and in a way I was, by telling myself that anything that man said was close to the truth.

    Peace!

  64. K says:

    There is a great book called “Women Who Love Psychopaths” by Sandra Brown, M.A. EXCELLENT reading and for women who have been involved with AC’s and EUM’s, it’s very important reading material! It will help you understand yourself better too as women who become involved with predators have what Sandra refers to as “Super Traits”. There are not necessarily negative, but are explained in detail and in summary explained well to me why we need boundaries so we can protect the wonderful character traits we all have.

    It’s my opinion that healthy women do not get involved with unhealthy men and if they happen to be lured by one, it doesn’t take them long to flush. Boundaries and self respect, as well as being aware of our vulnerabilities is a key line of defense in protecting ourselves and our lives.

    Peace again and thanks Nat! LOVE your blog!

  65. genie says:

    I am currently in a relationship, where my lover continues to make promises and doesn’t fufill them. The empty promises are beginning to bug me and i have never called upon them, for fear that I might come across as petty or greedy.

  66. Freya says:

    Mymble, Yoghurt – typically it is the women in my life that give me grief for having relations with men I don’t love or have a relationship with. They comment that I should have more respect for myself, or will snottily say that it’s my business if I decide to have sex with someone I haven’t known for X amount of time. I also get comments that I am obviously being used by these men and I should have boundaries, or I must have self esteem issues.

    It has also been the women in my life that have tried to convince me that I am a victim of men. For awhile I started believing what I was being told and went into a deep depression where I could not even talk to a man, let alone let one get near me physically. I became afraid of the reaction I have toward men, a very very powerful physical reaction btw.

    The way I see it these are all situations I CHOSE to put myself into. Every situation is different and there have been times where I wanted sex to turn into a relationship and it didn’t. It certainly disappointed me, and occasionally hurt me. Usually the situations where I was hurt I had all kinds of fantasies about how it was going to turn out – so many fantasies, in fact, that I could not even see the guy for who he really was; which was usually no good for me. Ha ha.

    It will come as no surprise that the men are generally in favor of sex whenever I offer it. Actually, I have had quite a few men tell me much later that they felt the sex was casual and they did not really like having casual sex. It made them feel used. It really surprised me to get this feedback. It was these comments from men that led me down a very long road of self discovery and experimentation within relationships of both sexes (not sexual experimentation btw). During this time I discovered how sensitive men are. It’s very cute. Their emotions are just as powerful as women’s are. Most of the time, however, they have a great capacity to control their emotions.

    There have been a few men that put me down for being promiscuous. They will not usually say so outright like the women do though. Instead they resort to talking behind my back and encouraging other men to try to have sex with me to prove to themselves that I am not worthy of their respect. Or they will get very pushy and forceful. I find that kind of behavior very hurtful. Thankfully it does not happen often, and I am not afraid to put these men in their place by calling them out on their bad behavior.

    I completely respect anyone who makes a choice. After all it is our choices that reflect who we are as a person, what we believe about ourselves, and the world around us. I figure if it feels good, do it. If it feels bad, don’t. I would never tell someone that they should live their life the way I live mine. There are some very serious benefits to being fiercely independent, however. I love to hear about other peoples stories and why they made the choices they did. I love hearing from people with different viewpoints because it helps me to expand my own views; it keeps me from becoming to rigid in my own beliefs.

    I think BR has a real good group of women and have immensely enjoyed the discourse. It is important to me, and I think to other women as well, to feel a part of a community. Especially one in which women can talk openly about women’s issues. I don’t really have any strong women in my life and find it difficult to find help in answering some of the tougher questions that women are faced with. Kudos to Natalie for allowing this precious exchange to take place. Hopefully we have learned a little something we can take with us into the future.

    • sushi says:

      Hi Freya, enjoyed your post.
      I do find that to have the choice is paramount and value people who are honest with their outlook and intentions, whatever they might be because that in turn allows you to make a choice.
      All the different reactions you are having from men who are all up for having sex and then will critise you or put you down- well, they are not honest with themselves to atart with, or with you.
      And there is the men(and women) for whom casual sex, no strings and emotions is not enough: they want you crazy in love about them and playing to their tune as well as the sex and offer pathetic crumbs in retur. They are the ego vampires and I think it`s that sort that brings most women on here.

    • LetsDoItAgain says:

      Glad my comments were read without anger or bias by at least a couple of people. Thank you for sharing your experience Freya, it is the experience of a growing number of women, and they should not be shamed for approaching things from a practical standpoint, by man or woman. With your comment: “Before anyone starts getting in an uproar over what sounds like casual sex let me assure you = I do not think sex is casual at all. Its a gift, beautiful and magical. Unless its done with the wrong person.” You said a mouthful. The very idea that the act of sex itself is more policed than the person is mind boggling to me, but this is what I am seeing here.

      The funny thing is, women are hurling insults at me and claiming I am telling them to have sex with everybody with no strings attached when I couldn’t be saying anything further from that. It is simply the act of allowing it to cloud your better judgment that is problematic. I’m sure most people would agree with that, but because I framed the same comment in a way that said it’d be helpful to decrease the importance put on the act itself and thereby make it much harder to cloud your better judgment, I have offended the blog masses. Yet the act of sex itself is not causing any physical harm to the body, it’s the emotion that one makes sex the gateway to that cuts the deepest. Honestly, I don’t even think sex itself is the issue, I merely brought it up because it is such a sticking point for so many women. The actual crux of the issue is the controlling of the emotions and the refocusing of one’s perspective on what their interactions with the opposite sex should be (or, simply put, the fallacy of chasing a relationship with every guy you meet).

      I find it counterproductive and illogical to preach discernment about a woman’s sexual partners more so than about whom they give their emotions to. Or to allow a woman to wallow in the thought that she has no control over her emotions (as many here have perpetuated), so that she takes even less of command over her own romantic life (leaving room for someone else to control it for her, for better or worse). And yes, emotions and sex are discernible, just like emotions and work are discernible and so on and so forth. Control of emotions in certain settings is something that we learn as kids, it is not some unattainable dream. The irony is that, the deepest, strongest loves you will ever experience in life happen WITH NO SEXUAL CONTACT WHATSOEVER. You can live your entire life and love your mother/father/sister/brother/daughter/son with every bone in your being without ever having to have sex with them. So to pretend as if emotions and sex are inseparable because you are too stuck in your ways to even consider anything else is what it is, but don’t frame it as the inevitable. That thought process just reeks of the thought pattern of someone who is either too lazy or too “comfortable” with their victimhood to even consider what might help them in some way.

      The final piece of evidence would be to ask these types if they found themselves in similar heartbroken situations even when they did not have any sexual contact with the person. Chances are that person has so little self-control in regards to their emotions that they will give away their heart even without the sex, making it clear that controlling for when it happens is not even the root of their problem. But of course, people will keep saying how it’s simply in their nature to be reckless with their own emotions. Fine, do as you wish. But to me that excuse is no more acceptable than the “in the moment” and “boys will be boys” nonsense we can all agree is just that, nonsense.

  67. Michelle says:

    My dad actually emailed you thanking you because I talk about you and your site and how it has helped me in my present situation. It’s literally such a bad situation I’m in.i moved to another country to be with my boyfriend(met him in college while he was in america) and to start a life,future etc and turns out he not what I thought he was. We live under the same roof right now. It’s a damn mess. He has lied, he does sketchy inappropriate things on fb/internet. He shuns me and runs away in another room and locks himself in another room when I try to confront him on the bullshit he does. He shuns me completely.I mean one time we were in a fight/argument Because he crossed my boundaries.well we tried to talk about it via phone Bec at the time I was downtown and he was on the other side of downtown but basically he called all these girls in past and dragged whoever or tied to pawn me off or get me to meet up with a girl I met once that he graduated with in hs. Really.no. So that was a mess. I’m not okay wih him
    Doing that. Anyways since that all happend and we were at our worst he throws my boundaries/standards out the door. That whole weekend was a mess.I mean he stayed out till 5 am twice. Ha omg this is ridic. One evening he come to me as were still on the fight of that weekend it was a sat evening and he was like “look I am just going to go clear my head and meditate,read a book and be alone, i need the think. I need time to myself. So what does he do.He left the house at like 6pm, goes out till later like 5am (like i said earlier) All of what he told me with the “i want to be alone,clear my mind” BULLSHIT. It was a lie and he actually simultaneously was texting this other girl while texint me telling me hes alone and im at the house and called her and met up with her while I was at home,depressed alone sad. I mean come on! Right. So like he just doesn’t have his priorities or shit right in his brain. He is clueless. I mean I’m pretty sure were broken up Bec I told him In done and I am.. Like just recently again he crossed my boundaries while I was away getting a visa renewal this past weekend/Sun.Since he’s lied about stupid shit I have his passwords to his fb and what not. Which I think is fine. If have nothing to hide it shouldt matter. I saw all this ridiculous shit on his fb. Innapropriate stuff. He’s going out of his way to have these conversations with these girls in America (where I’m from) and they tell him how much they miss him blah blah and then even one girl dedicated a status to him saying how ” just talked to my longlost/BFF (his name) he said he’s going to conquer Bangkok haha. Miss the old days xoxoxo” Like who is this person. its just weird. Like im sorry but I don’t want to see that crap! Oh and the only way I even found out he was casually chatting it up with her was Bec her status to him popped in his newsfeed. He deleted it. He did more sketchy shit that I saw too. Ya,I know I get it it’s fb but you know what it’s a respect issue and in person/life or on Internet this is the crap he does and he is clueless and yet continues this crap. Ugh. Sigh. I am alone here ,I moved here and I mean you might at well say we’re practically married, we live under the same roof. He avoids me. After this shit most recent argument boundaries argument .. He just for ex. he went out didn’t tell me, just goes out on koh San rd(party backpacker street)till 4 am while I’m at the house. The next day I write Notes I re explain my self and shit and yes I read the one about girls talking and thinking too much. I know I know. I don’t deserve this its crap. We don’t even sleep in the same room oh btw we r living at his parents house for the time being.We had these plans we were going to get our own place bec he got the job over here and well basically i dont believe in the whole Living in two diff countries long distance thing. so we decided that its best if i move to be with him and i was finishing my degree(almost done online) so it was a good idea and i was fine with that but when i came here this is the shit i am getting ya know. Sorry this is all over the place. But yea he literally is clueless and thinks he has done literally nothing wrong. Like today I was in process of leaving to go to my hair app. Oh I didn’t mention my birthday is in three days:( I’m turning 24) but as I was leaving he’s asking me like nothing of his shit has happend “where r u going? I just ignored him and was basically like thinking to myself uh well you know you dont even tell me where ur going and after what u do and what I see u avoid me and say its all me and that I have done this and then u go out to party street till 3am with out me while im just at home studying. Well, I just rolled my eyes and just walked out the door to the hair place. I think I just need to book a ticket back to home and not be with a man child. I don’t deserve this. I really think its ambiguous behavior. I don’t do any or half the crap he has done. I respect him, i love him and honor him an i would never do anything to make him feel insecure or to led him to belive other men/guys come before him. I dont have guys messaging me on fb telling me how much they miss me xoxo. I mean of its on his wall and in public wishing him well or us well then okay,thats fine but when it’s statuses dedicated to him and xoxox this in that then going out not giving a f about my feelings or boundaries and continuing to involve these petty past girl shit crap in his life. Oh and honestly i would never lie to him tell him im goign to go et fresh air clear my mind when were in a rock bottem argument and then call and text some dude and then meet up with him. WHAT A JOKE. This person still is consantly texting him and just im so over this crap. I am not okay with that. I feel betrayed and really disrespected.basically in my notes and things I do say/said or what I last said on paper Bec he’s not concerned .. Was you need to really figure out wich is more worh it to you, all this bullshit crossing my boundaries these petty stupid past girl relationships in your past or being in a committed relationship with me and not losing me. He doesnt seem to still get it..hes downstairs, on his computer not talking to me about any of this, Liek literally and im up in my room alone. Like what hell! i want someone who is dedicated who is concerned not someone who is a man/child and doesnt talk to me about my feelings or the sketchy shit he does and thinks its completly fine or normal in a relationship. HE should respect my boundaries. I am doing that to him but hes not giving it to me in return. You know whats funny if i was doign any of this crap he would flip out and be like f off probably. HE is liek a one way street with a DEADEND. and Ugh I am so alone and lost right now. I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I wish I had ur phone number so u could give me personal advice and you seem like such a wonderful nice lady. Please help me as this is a really confusing,upsetting time I’m going through. Anyone please help or just anything..any thoughts would help. Thank you. Michelle

  68. [...] a good game we talk, we just can’t help but show people who we are. It’s self-evident. We have “tells” and yes, we say stuff that completely contradicts something else we’ve said. Our jobs as [...]

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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