how to spot an assclown

An assclown is someone that mistreats you and more often than not eventually proves to be a waste of time and space. He (or she) adds little or no value to the relationship and the cost to you of being with him is often your self-esteem, your well-being, and for some, your career, family, or friends. They only have one foot or possibly even a toe in the relationship, or even nothing at all, and they knowingly (even if they deny it) mess you around and enjoy the fringe benefits of being with you (ego stroking, sex, a reliable shoulder to lean on, money etc) even though they don’t actually want you or have no intentions of ever giving you the relationship that you want. Often mixed in with Mr Unavailables, while some Mr Unavailables are assclowns, because they actively and knowingly seek to mistreat, exploit, and abuse people they’re involved with, all assclowns are ‘unavailable’, are narcissistic or have narcissistic tendencies, and don’t mean anyone that they become involved with any good and veer between at best being users and at worst, being very dangerous.

You know he’s an assclown when he relies on The Outrageous Principle and busting your boundaries – He’ll take a chance and ask or do the most ridiculous thing to test to see what he can get away with, and with your little or no boundaries, taking this risk often pays off. He’s always trying to push the boundaries and has little or no respect for any that you enforce. Basically if you have boundaries, a relationship with an assclown cannot and will not work because they on do things on their terms.

You know he’s an assclown when he has an ‘I’m Not That Bad’ attitude and outlook – He’ll often compare what he deems to be worse to make himself look better and won’t consider something to be bad if he didn’t think there’s been a tangible severe consequence. He also may not think he’s ‘that bad’ if he believes that you don’t know the true extent of his dubious actions plus coupled with his selective memory (see below with The Reset Button), he sees himself in a near glowing light anyway. He then backs up his ‘I’m not that bad’ attitude justifying it with ridiculous utterings (see below).

You know he’s an assclown when he liberally presses The Reset Button – He possesses a ‘special’ ability to reset the relationship to whatever point that he feels most comfortable with, which is effectively like erasing the past. This is how he breezes his way back into various exes lives, disappearing for long enough and then bamboozling his way back in and trying to force out the memory of his misdemeanours. You’ll either remember them but be so fricking relieved to have him back and feel like you’ve ‘won’ that you go along with his ‘brainwash’ or you’ll try to reason with him and explain your point of view about past events and he reacts negatively, effectively teaching you (see below with passive aggression) that if you ‘remember’, he’ll be offski or difficult to deal with.

You know he’s an assclown when he sheds Crocodile Tears – He uses tears with little or no sincerity in them that are used to get what he wants. Often mistaken for evidence of emotion. Or remorse. Unfortunately it fits in well with pressing The Reset Button and shifting the focus off his bad behaviour or the impact on you.

You know he’s an assclown when he uses The Dripfeed Manouver – Instead of being upfront and giving you all of the information, he makes the private decision to only tell you what he thinks you can handle at that time. Then it’s drip…drip…drip. Unfortunately for you if you’re an eager listener willing to believe he’s reformed or keen to be honest, you’ll take his latest drip as the truth and then become unseated when it turns out that you’re basing your relationship on another half truth. You are very likely to be caught out by this if you’re in denial about who they really are and don’t want to let go of your illusions.

You know he’s an assclown when he engages in Future Faking – Letting you think that there’s a future so that he can get what he needs in the present, you’ll be spun tales, taken on whirlwind rides where he promises the sun, moon and the stars, says he wants to have babies, get engaged, get married, buy a house, and may even show pony you around to friends and family, and then shazam, the future’s not so bright and when you call him on his rinky dink behaviour, he looks at you blankly, says you misunderstood, says that you didn’t meet his standards, or starts saying that he just needs ‘time’ or that it turns out that he’s not over his ex, or even worse, he’s been shagging someone else the whole time while he’s been spinning tales. You’re very likely to be caught out by this if you buy into the fairy tale illusion and don’t think it’s very odd when a man you hardly know is making grandiose promises and gestures that start to dwindle sharply. In fact, you don’t find it odd when a guy wants to fast forward you through the initial stage of the relationship.

You know he’s an assclown when he amends the Terms and Conditions of the relationship – Constantly switching the goalposts after luring you in on a temporary deal where you probably didn’t read the small print, little do you realise is that he’s mentally tweaking up the ‘agreement’ with every boundary busting manoeuvre he can manage. Tied in with his future faking, this guy reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any time or to roll out a different deal and if you want to be with him, it’s his way, or no way.

You know he’s an assclown when he does the Showing You The Door act – Dumping you to gain power and control, or giving you periodical ‘opt-out’s’ – ‘If you don’t like how I roll, you know where the door is….’, he uses insecurity and fear and the prospect of telling you to beat it, to keep you in check. You’ll fall foul of this especially if you ‘cry wolf’ and engage in Women Who Talk (and Think) Too Much syndrome because he’ll realise that you’re crying and talking/complaining, but not going anywhere and recognises that the threat of him going or him disappearing after you voice any opposition will create maximum impact, possibly even silencing you.

You know he’s an assclown when you get caught up in his Passive Aggression – Despite appearing to be on board, he obstructs and undermines through resistance that let’s him do as he always intended. As an example he’ll agree to go somewhere with you and pick you up at a certain time. You hear nothing from him on the day and an hour after he’s due to show up, he says he’s got problems at work and will be there soon. You wait. He calls throughout the evening and then says he’ll be there about 10 minutes before the event is due to finish… It’s the same when he says ‘Of course I’ll be faithful’ and then continues shagging around behind your back, or claims that he’ll move in and then comes up with every obstructive move possible. If you don’t get wise to this very quickly and keep buying into his lies, you will be continuously let down.

You know he’s an assclown when he relies on The Status Quo – A behaviour seen with Mr Unavailables as well, assclowns also try to keep the relationship in their own comfort zone by blowing hot and cold and managing down your expectations. What separates an assclown from a Mr Unavailable is that he has lots of other dodgy or downright outrageous behaviour that he’s doing while managing down your expectations.

Look out for more follow up posts on spotting dubious behaviours from assclowns. Also check out my post on how to spot emotionally unavailable men

Your thoughts?


Dedicated to helping people improve their emotional and relationship literacy, think of me as emotional baggage declutter, shady relationship buster and self-esteem booster all rolled into one! Find Out More | My Books | 30-day projects | Weekly Podcast .
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186 Responses to Am I Involved With an Assclown?: How To Spot Someone Who Means You & the Relationship No Good

  1. Ray says:

    Well you have definately summed up what an assclown is. I guess these assclowns were once considered ok kind of guys, at the start of a relationship. Maybe they are very good at concealing their true characters from you unsuspecting women.

    I do though remember some girls enjoying the company of some of these dubious characters who showed little respect for the girls, and even began dating them.

  2. Movedup says:

    Yep Yep and Yep did all that plus EU on top with narc traits – oh yeah double whammy! Definitely the epiphany – all the aholes I have dated in the past rolled into one. The ONLY thing he did not do was hit me. Thou he did but me in fear of harm once if I did not comply with his wishes. It was a look in his face I never saw before and it terrified me. Only saw that face once – its wasn’t long after that it was over. I guess in my head it was over that night but it took some time after that for it to really sink in.

    Again you have nailed Nat! THANK GOD I AM OUT OF THAT!

  3. Movedup says:

    New email addres for you Nat.

  4. MaryC says:

    Wow Nat did you interview my ex cause that’s him to a tee.

    • Kim says:

      Yup, thats mine too, word for word. Its like we all went out with the same frickin guy Nat !!

      I’ve heard there is a website where women post up photos of dubious assclown ex boyfriends with a little resume written under it; does anyone know of this ? It’d be interesting to see if they all fit the ac profile.

      • Tina says:

        It’s called “don’t date him, girl” (, among others. What has truly amazed me, finding this site (a god send!) is that these assclowns are so consistent and predictable, yet think themselves so unique and special. I went down the list Natalie provides and my AC did every single one of the things listed. I had never heard of assclowns before. I had heard the term “emotionally unavailable” and “commitment phobic”, although to be 100% honest, I always thought they were sort of urban myths or guys who just hadn’t met the right girl yet. Now I know that, for these jerks, there will never be a right girl, just the next girl. They are bad news, a total waste of time and guaranteed pain and suffering. It is unfortunate that they learn so well what we want and need to hear and that they learned to give “the golden beginning”, in which they show up like a knight in shining armour, convince us to love and want them and then begin treating us like crap. I am seriously beginning to wonder if my AC didn’t pursue me merely so he could break up with me for the ego boost. He has a long history of dating really exceptional women – beautiful, successful, educated and accomplished and he has kicked them all to the kerb. It is impossible to believe they are all “crazy” or “needy” or whatever reason he gave himself and them to end it. My AC is now in his 40s, starting to lose his hair and has reached the age where living with his mother can no longer be hidden or dismissed as “temporary”. I suspect he will settle down with one girl or another some time in the next decade, simply because his act is getting very old and tired. The sad thing is there is a woman who has been hanging on in his life (part of his harem) who is literally killing herself to try and be with him. She has already moved countries once to follow him and is learning a new language and about to do it again. A lovely woman, a doctor and so much better than he deserves. I just want to take her, shake her and tell her to wake up (I would show her this site but she is still only learning english to follow him here to the UK). How these losers consistently get great women and then destroy them is beyond me. If I weren’t one of them, I probably wouldn’t believe it.

        • Tina says:

          Excellent post.

          I, a woman-dr.-friend, and an AC all have known each other since college, since our first year back then, when the dr. fell in love with the AC, who looked at her as only a friend. She clawed my eyes out when he showed an interest in me, but I saw him for what he was (AC and commitment phobe) and laughed about it.

          She wasted ALL of her 20s and alomost 1/2 of her 30s waiting for this guy to choose her. What did he end up doing? He married a girl 10 years younger in a very non-challenging profession, someone who is nice and from a rich family–DESPITE his always having hung out with intelligent, driven, professional women, and DESPITE his having had contempt for spoiled rich kids, who depend on daddy for money and good reputation.

          Thank GOD my friend found someone who is a complete gentleman, in every way.

          But guess what…she has the AC as one of her nearest and dearest friends. After all, she wants him in her life…somehow!

          He looks at all of us as part of his old “harem”–even the ones, like me, who didn’t make idiots out of ourselves chasing after him. Merely b/c we women all were “friends” with each other! …Hahhhh!

          I think that you and Aphrogirl have gotten closest to explaining the phenomenon of the ACs I used to know: these guys have serious ego problems. Their egos are fragile. They DON’T KNOW THEMSELVES or what they want. Still, no explanation/justification/reasoning for how they have treated terrific women in their past.

          But still also: we have to be smart, wake up, and look out for Numero Uno!

          It’s just so sad what the women do to each other. After all, when our “men” and kids will have gone, all we will have will be each other!


  5. alley says:

    Oh gosh, the guy I’m seeing is defintely a mr.unavailable and probably an assclown.

    damn damn damn,

  6. Aurora says:

    Awesome, awesome. totally excellent tool to analyze what’s going on if you aren’t sure and see it clearly.
    Will give you backbone to not delude yourself or let him delude you.
    I’m keeping this post on my ‘favorites’ list on my computer!

  7. JJ2 says:

    Even though my recent assclown didn’t cheat on me, he does fit some of the descriptions above. Passive Agressive, OUtrageous Principle, “I”m a good guy,” Dripfeed, switching the goalposts. I was living with this guy. Not to mention, HE was the one who started withholding sex, not me. I think it was a control issue.

    As I’ve said in other posts, mine didn’t blow “cold,” he blew “zero.” He didn’t “mistreat” me, he just failed to treat me at all. And still swore he loved me!

  8. Cynthia says:

    You’re website, has given me the power to face my weaknesses, and all out dillusions, whilst being comforted, that there are so many women out there like me. Sorry, ladies.I found you sometime within the last year, and this last one, pushed me to the edge of crazy. ON and off, hot and cold, and he’s now in his victim/ hero role again for those in his life. He’s got a girl, whom he’s just been friends with for 15yrs. before his suppossed fiances, death 6 yrs. ago. Lydia she’s there now, after the death of his brother 2months ago. She’s the one in the inner sanctum of the family. I don’t know what I was, but all the above fit our relationship, or so called. I believe he’s in love with her, as much as a narcassistic man can be, all except the sex, they both deny anything ever happening.
    I know now my boundaries will be like Fort KNox. Thanks for giving me the strength to continue the No Contact Rule, it’s only been a week or so now.
    NOw should I block him on Facebook, so he can’t look me up and vice versa? He unfriended me, when after our last rendevous(Less than 2 weeks ago)and false start, I confronted said friend via Facebook, he obviously made his choice, and she’s it. She was just at 6 Flags with him, his niece and her nephews, family photos..I feel so pissed and just want to be hurtful, but I won’t, karma. I realise his brother just died, but his martyr thing was in exsistence before this. He is sick with diabetes and not taking care of himself, and was depressed, angry, and homephobic, and could be so immature. Of course he wasn’t always like this. Hence my attraction and deep love for him, charming, smart, handsome, sweet, fun, best sex ever, and my 1st relationship in 7yr. after a horrible man, Scary thing is his abusive tendecies, remind me of my ex, and exes. A pattern I’m intent on healing..
    Maybe more strategies on letting go and getting over the assclown, such a nice way to put it, would help those of us that are in the limbo transition phase of “Never Again!” Thanks again. Cynthia

  9. trinity says:

    wow nat my X racked up the below, no wonder i felt so messed up, i new he was doing it but didnt no what it was, if that makes sense?
    You know he’s an assclown when he relies on The Status Quo
    You know he’s an assclown when he has an ‘I’m Not That Bad’ attitude and outlook –
    You know he’s an assclown when he liberally presses The Reset Button
    You know he’s an assclown when he uses The Dripfeed Manouver –
    You know he’s an assclown when he engages in Future Faking – BIG TIME !!!
    You know he’s an assclown when he amends the Terms and Conditions of the relationship BIG TIME, i felt constantly manoevered and tweaked !
    You know he’s an assclown when he does the Showing You The Door act –
    You know he’s an assclown when you get caught up in his Passive Aggression
    You know he’s an assclown when he relies on The Status Quo

    Ack, what was i doing !

  10. ME says:

    NML you have no idea how much I appreciate your post. I agree with all ladies here, this describes, once again, my last AC to a T. And I appreciate the reminder because sometimes I feel as if I didn’t do “enough” for the relationship to progress. How sad or stupid?. And even sadder is when I realize that these idiotic thoughts are nothing but the result of his control/manipulation tactics leftovers and I am still experiencing the effect of it.

  11. Cindy says:

    I have a problem. I broke No Contact but trying to get back on track. I have spent hours reading your site, bought your books, etc. I have to start over again with No Contact tomorrow. The problem I am facing is that I still love him and still want to be with him KNOWING he is a Mr. Unavailable, no good for me, uses me and treats me like crap. I can’t help but thinking: WTF is wrong with me?? It prevents me from moving on. My assclown didn’t move on yet himself. He is still single. I am not dating because I don’t want to rebound. Can someone help knock some sense into WHY I just can’t seem to despise him enough or stay mad enough to stay with No Contact?? I understand this takes time but damn….this is effecting my life too much.

    • AmE says:


      Based on what I know from Natalie’s blogs, as well as my own experience. You break no contact and want to have some kind of contact because you are looking for validation,.. relief of the emotional pain,..something to help numb what hurts…Perhaps you don’t have closure? Perhaps he can’t give you what you need in order to help you with closure?? Either way, you have to find a way to give closure to yourself. Read, read, read Natalie’s stuff… over and over to help you get through it… Go to the top of the homepage, and search the site for specific words,.. and read some more. What he does/doesn’t do is based on what’s ‘wrong’ with him… it’s inside of him to become an EUM or AC… Where you come in is when you decide to get him away from you,.. establish your boundaries… keep them,,.. live by them… etc. There’s a blog of Nat’s that talks about teaching people how to treat us…It really helps…Don’t blame yourself for HIS behavior… only “own” your behavior. Good luck, hunnie,..I know it hurts. I’m divorcing one who is both EUM and AC,.. and lost a friend who is also both. I still feel sick every day about one or the other. At least now, it’s only when I think about them,.. Instead of it being my “default” feeling for the day. My soon to be ex hubby just doesn’t get it,… and would rather not, I think,…because of the guilt. My friend won’t give me a chance to seek understanding. Again,.. find one’s own closure. I love them both dearly,..but, I love me too.

      • Cindy says:

        “Read, read, read Natalie’s stuff… over and over to help you get through it”

        Yeah, you’re right. I made it 7 days No Contact but I stayed focused. The moment I stopped focusing on myself (and refocusing on him), I got weaker and weaker. It only ended up in an argument with him basically admitting that he toyed with me for so long. (But left a disclaimer in there that at one time he *maybe* did actually want a relationship from me for awhile in the beginning but things took a different turn in his life). It is taking me awhile to accept it. It’s also hard when instead of doing me right by leaving me alone that he keeps popping into my life, abusing the boundaries of friendship (that I didn’t stick to anyway in hope of us ending up together – my screw up, I know) but this last argument, I had to tell him that what we had was over. I had to be harsher than I really wanted to be….but he wants all my attention, devotion, dedication all while not committing and not giving it back! I guess I am just in a state of confusion and shock right now. However, I do know I need to do No Contact, stick with it and push him out of my life. I guess what I do need the most is closure ( not from him – already been down that road and he doesn’t see himself as doing wrong ) . I did buy Natalie’s ebooks and will keep reading. Thank you for the reply!

    • Brad K. says:


      When you ask, “what is wrong with me”, I cannot answer that. I can guess, though, that you have low self esteem, and a lot of fear. Fear that you won’t find someone better, and you don’t believe you deserve someone that is actively working to make you and him better people. You say you know that he isn’t good for you, wouldn’t be good for your family or any children you might have, yet you aren’t acting like you know what to do – leave.

      Quitting any bad habit is tough. Think of quitting smoking, or alcoholism. It is life changing, and you must accept that real change is just that – life changing. When you read about the issues and prescriptions on Baggage Reclaim, don’t look for “the answer”. Look for the fundamental reasons underneath it all.

      The only easy answer is to pick a new guy, just like the old guy, and start the sordid story over again. The better answer is to understand why you are who you are. Why you would allow anyone that fits this guy’s profile to get close to you – or why you would allow someone hurtful to stay. You have needs, and visions of your own worth, that make this guy acceptable. Only when you address those needs, and change those visions, will you see and understand a better way – and choose (not wait to be chosen) someone healthy and joyful to share your life with.

      • judy says:

        I like this Brad, thank you. Your honesty when the advice is followed over time can heal and cause change.

        Personally, I am having to face my behaviors and how these behaviors have affected my life. The behaviors are derived from a deeper place: lack of autonomy, ego grasping, approval seeking, etc. What I want for myself I have learned will come from different behaviors, discipline and letting patterns and people go. It is taking quite a bit of time as I did not want to face that my stuff is causing the end result. That I must walk away without drama.

        I notice older people trapped in repetitive mind and attitudes. It is as if biologically they are indeed older but their emotional intelligence and thought patterns, things they talk about and actually do are mired in something they said and did decades previous.

        Thank you

        • Joley says:

          I can relate to you and your feelings. I dated Mr. EU for 4.5 years where we broke up twice (both times out of the blue). I believe we feel like we “cant move on” because we don’t love and respect ourselves enough to say that we deserve better.
          My Mr EU continues to try to pop and out of my life. In the last 4 years, he has also moved 4 times “looking for that fresh start”. Little does he realize, that has to come within and he needs to deal with his own personal issues.
          I was told by a counselor that “he behaves the way he does because has the emotional maturity of a 11 yr old and he will continue to try to use you as a security blanket as long as you will let him. He doesn’t love with his heart, because he can’t”
          My Mr EU continues to pop in and out because I let him. We have been in NC since May 1. I will not sit here and say it’s easy– it’s not. But when you realize that your happiness outweighs all the pain he makes you feel, you will want to make a change. I am having a hard time moving forward myself, but I do take it day by day. One of the hardest feelings that I think Natalie addressed is “is he going to contact me today?” Im taking it day by day!
          Good Luck, you’re not alone.

    • Nikki says:

      Keep yourself busy! Think about how you can fill out your day. What have you always been wanted to do or accomplish? Tennis lessons, foreigh language, different types of meet groups with different interests ( go online and find them), gym, zumba, photography class. Anything. I know it cost money, but maybe this will be the best investment you ever done! That’s what I had to do and I feel perfect plus got some new skills and met new friends. Belive me, it’s much better to start over than to fix the old relationships. Not because of you, but because of him. They just do not want to grow up -phisically and emotionally. Good luck!

    • JJ2 says:

      Cindy, I had the same problem. I broke NC a lot. Yesterday, someone, out of the blue, handed me some bubble wrap, not the tiny ones, but the big ones, and asked me if I wanted to “pop” them. I did, and it was theraputic! I don’t have the A/C in my soul any more.

      BUBBLE WRAP, ladies. The big stuff!

  12. learningtomoveon says:

    He was guilty on all counts. And what’s amazing is he was angry that I spoke out after the break up. Yes I did talk to people who I didn’t know were grapevine kings, but it was all true. I didn’t embellish a thing. But I don’t generally talk such personal stuff in the open so I feel guilty that everyone knows everything thanks to my big mouth. That said I know breaking up was good for me. I am just appaled at what all I let happen. Parents especially moms only warn you about sex hungry leches, they don’t tell you about emotional vampires, how are girls to know otherwise. Atleast now with the net there are people like you Nat, but in most cases people come to you after the fact.

    • AmE says:

      There was a time I was emotionally involved with an AC,… and I remember telling a few people that I felt “emotionally raped”…. They snarled their foreheads, declared me crazy, and stated they just didn’t understand how that could be. I’m sure there are many many many of us who know exactly how that feels….

    • Used says:


      That’s O.K. Now you know the grapevine kings (and, more likely, queens/”princesses”) are not your friends and are people you should just stay away from!

      Funny how these jerks/AC/EUMs have your “friends” on their side, in terms of learning how you feel about everything after things end, while your “friends” tell you NOTHING about how they feel/are! No wonder they continue to feel that they can continue to behave badly.

      Then again, this is something societal. We learn from our teenage years that we (“should”) want to be friends with certain people, and, lots of times, becoming part of their group involves acting like a jerk, and betraying our other, true, friends.

      That’s O.K. I am a firm believer in “what goes round, comes round.” It happens.

  13. Elle says:

    I am still having flashbacks because of how hideously my ex treated me. Conformed to the classic AC crap of promising big, chasing hard (actually encouraged me to leave a relationship), told my parents we were engaged before he had told me, but, then, once I started to settle into the relationship, he began scaling it back, providing obstacles, avoiding any future talks, devaluing me. Then a week before he was due to move in, sent me an EMAIL (with an accompanying text telling me he had sent me an email and was going out) outlining over seven paragraphs that he was not in love with me, that I didn’t have the qualities he was looking for in a wife (OK, not sure why the wife thing came into it), that he couldn’t be with someone just because she was ‘hot’, and he knew he would be happier with someone else.

    What sucks is that he’s brilliantly articulate – these charmers can often be very good at using words to achieve certain desired effects – so he made it out that, actually, it was very responsible for him to end things as he had to love in the right way and I brought anger out of him that no one else did, that I was very kind, but he was not ‘with me’, and therefore it was the ‘most responsible’ thing for him to do, to move on.

    The thing I have difficulty with is that I can see his perspective – that is, if you’re not loving someone in a way that you can live with, it’s probably best to move on. I can see that I just wasn’t the woman for him – and he said that he just didn’t feel our personalities were compatible and that I wasn’t needy enough and was too funny for a guy to handle. He was within his rights to leave me.

    On the other hand, I feel like a donkey clambering up a mud slide, trying to trust my judgment about things – ie that, yes, he is right, but only now, after 10 months of emotional distance, random acts of cruelty and fits of anger. Basically, his emotional purge in dumping me has allowed him the role of knight, whereas I am still suffering from after-shocks – partly shame about my behaviour (ie ignoring red flags, hoping that time together ‘in real life’ would improve things – we were due to move in after 2 months in different countries), but also just this information overload from having someone reject me in such a comprehensive, unmitigated way.

    Anyway, the only way out is through…I just wish I could stop the sudden flashes of his email in my head (and the picture of me innocently opening it, it was like a round in the ring), and quieten the obsessive thoughts…and then, the shame, that he is now on holiday with friends, and, as he said, in a follow-up email ‘relieved’.

    …Of course, I know this is silly and that I am well-rid of someone who has such sh*t relationship habits and such an absurd relationship with himself…but that little voice keeps coming back into my head doubting my judgment, saying that I was foolish expecting things from him, he just got to know me and felt like I wasn’t the right one, quit whining about how it happened and deal with the sting of rejection you big bloody wuss.

    Essentially, I want to let go of this, but I am struggling with the terms to which I come to – the final synopsis to tie a ribbon around.

    • judy says:

      I don’t think it is silly, I think receiving an email such as the one you received no matter how good of him to be honest, etc. is emotionally upsetting, like seeing a scary movie. There are flashbacks.

      if he would have told you in person and you could have read his energy and facial expressions, you would have smelled the dying roses, if you were in denial you may have not wanted to go where that day was going but at least you would have had a preface. Instead, there was an email in your box that could have been about anything at all. It was truthful, ok great good riddance buddy, but rejection, it hurts.

      watch your thinking, and don’t deny the pain when it comes up. living well is the best revenge…succeed, take great care of your body, and develop a spiritual base if you are interested in that. watch drinking or anthing or anyone that is depressing.

      i say this to you because these episodes can suck months out of your life. in time, the email nightmare will dissipate, best of luck.

      • Elle says:


        Yeah, I feel like the email should have been sent to himself, as a form of therapy, and then he should have told me the diluted form to my face after it had been through the ‘necessary’ test…I feel like it was his way of getting rid of guilt and bolting (which is what he did, with absolutely no concern about the fact that I was then homeless – well, had to scramble and find new living arrangements), more than anything about my feelings or predicament. It just went on and on about how I was not perfect for him, and was so humiliating…But he then got to feel so sanctimonious about his so-called honesty.

        Anyway, I really do appreciate your affirmation and advice about how to harness this into more healthy channels. I do feel like I will get through it as a wiser, happier person, I just wish that the morning and late evening panic/reliving the episode would subside now!

        Thanks again.

        • judy says:

          i do a trick now that helps my morning anxiety, when i forget to do it, the angry feelings, etc return.

          i can’t fix the unhappy thing but i can feel gratitude. gratitude for whatever is good in your life, your nose, your job, your dog, etc. the smallest thing, anything. don’t let any other thoughts in but the gratitude thoughts, how lucky and grateful you are to have this things you love in your life.

          its a great way to start and end the day.

      • jupiter says:

        You’re well rid of this guy. It doesn’t feel like it now, but with time, I’m sure you’ll reach this conclusion as well.

        Someone who could so callously send you an email like this is awful. “Random acts of cruelty” don’t just happen because we are not ‘the one’; they happen because the person acting cruelly has some type of defiency. Oh, sure, they’ll look for people to blame and scapegoat, but it’s all to mask the fact that they are often just assholes. It’s actually really disgusting behavior.

        You should block any of his future emails and pretend he fell of the face of the eartch. Better to do this now then to do it later. I’m sorry this happened to you, but I know you’ll be fine.

        • Elle says:

          Haha! Thanks…Something about the dry, no-nonsense tone of your email made me laugh.

          Yeah, I think he might just be a bit of a bast*rd, and has, for his own shame-ridden reasons, packaged this break-up as me just not being right for him…I am (fortunately) smart enough to know that these characteristics are stable/ default positions – no one person suddenly, as an adult, makes you try out screaming, belittling and threatening for the first time.

          Anyway, I appreciate you saying that I will turn out fine. I needed to hear that. I think it’s true…I just have some problems with the shock/reliving and obsessing, and some classic ‘How could someone dump ME?!’ ego problems to overcome! Plus, it is a bit concerning to me that I thought this guy was it for me…that’s worrying, as with my attachment to the sympathetic and fun elements of our relationship. Actually, I said to myself that I’d probably have to have a whole lot of trouble in my marriage…but it would be worth feeling the rest of it. That’s no good… ; )

          (oh, and I have been NC for a month, have blocked his email, having told him that I accepted his decision as the best for both of us, his multiple reasons for ending things were of no use to me, that he would have to seek justification elsewhere, and to not contact me in any form).

          • jupiter says:

            Congrats on the month’s contact!

            The reason I know you’ll be fine is because there were moments in my relationship that were so painful that my chest actually hurt, and I thought I might die from the sheer weight of my pain. But I didn’t.

            And I feel so much better and know that, even though it might be hard, I can walk away from anyone that hurts me.

    • Enlightened says:


      I really felt for what you shared with us and I understand totally why you would feel what you are feeling. It is completely natural and with good old ‘TIME’ you will work through it and put it behind you.

      Healing is always quickened when one does not dwell too much on it or give it much air time. The people that naturally have this skill or learn to acquire it, learn what they need to from the situation, move on and definitely lead MCUH ‘happier’ lives for doing so. The people that dwell, in complete contrast, lead lives that replay the situation over and over and over and cause themselves unhappiness so much so that they condition themselves into a negative mindset that drains their energy from being able to set about doing something positive in their lives.

      I know, from experience, it is easier said than done to let go of something when you are hurting, traumatised, angry, etc. but it all starts with ONE positive step forward. That’s all. One step every day. It doesn’t have to be any more than that…… but it can be the massive difference in moving forward or staying stuck!

      Elle, what you already realise is that your ex when he wrote that letter, he just wanted to be the one ‘on top’, ‘the one to make the final cut’. The one to reject….so that he could feel better about himself. What you may or may not have realised is that most of what he wrote was purely projection. What he was saying about YOU is actually what he feels about HIMSELF (and probably ‘feared’ that you felt about him too…..). However, his ego could never take responsibility for his flaws (that he very wellKNOWS he has). He couldn’t take responbislity for how he sabotages everything, so he had to make it about you……. before you got in there and rejected him for those flaws.

      These people are the Masters and Mistresses of flipping the script and turning things on others and the more articulate they are, the more plausible it seems to you and anyone else who listens/reads them and the more (if you are not strong within yourself and KNOW exactly what they are doing) you question your own sanity and whether you are to blame in some way! Indeed that is what totally sucks about the situation…… there is always an element of reasoning in their madness!

      Put the emphasis on and CELEBRATE the fact that he actually did you a favour although that wasn’t his REAL intention. His real intention was to stroke his own ego, that is why he was so brutal in his delivery but he tried to dress it up like you quite rightly said, as if he was being a ‘hero knight’. He told himself he was being ‘kind’ (coz he’s a decent good guy, right!).

      If one is not experienced or not sure of oneself, one can easily be seduced and buy into that crap when fed it and miss them and want them back on that ‘illusionary’ basis……

      However, in your case your ex didn’t even have the courage, decency, respect and to put it bluntly…… ‘the balls’ to even speak to you face to face! This was a week before he was due to move in? What a complete ‘coward’. These AC usually lack any moral fibre or integrity where needed….so no real surprises. He never had any real intentions of moving in with you and when it became a ‘real’ prospect, he sabotaged it, played ‘the blame game’ and made it about YOU and your perceived shortcomings.

      Don’t waste one second of your time or energy lamenting about this guy. To be with someone like this is only sabotaging yourself and your own happiness and in that way you are actually mirroring what he is doing.

      Like I said, celebrate, thank your lucky stars and look forward to raising your own confidence and self-esteem and grow from the experience. Make efreshing, mouth-watering, thirst quenchin, sweet lemonade from what were lemons! :-) .Eventually you will meet someone who actually ‘mirrors’ that positive place where you will be, if you are not there already!

      All in good time Hon, all in good time!

      • Sofie says:

        waw. So similar. I’m shocked more and more each day to see, this is a ‘type’ of man. I thought I this situation was formed by very individual circumstances and all I can see here now are quite identical patterns.
        And especially, that the ‘victims’ are such witty, smart, sensitive and independant women.
        I love your reply Enlightened, gives a lot of comfort for somebody who can not only now see patterns in how men have treated me in the past but also friends.
        I tend to have a weak spot for people who challenge me into thinking, but it soon turns out to be very energy-taking and little energy-giving.

        • Enlightened says:

          Hi Sofie

          It’s true, we think it was just our ‘individual’ circumstances that produced such a specific and damaging ‘relationship’ (I hesitate to use the word as in most cases it is anything but ‘relating’). However, when you are dealing with a particular ‘type’ of person it really does simply become a 2+2 = 4 situation. In other words, whether you realise it or not, the answer/outcome/conclusion is going to be the same every time with these ‘types’! Once you recognise the type (and previous attraction/need for them), it becomes so much easier to walk on by without glancing in their direction.

          You touched upon something in what you wrote that is so true. It IS our ‘inner’ weak spots and patterns that lead us to allow such types into our lives….. nomatter how intellectually intelligent, smart, sensitive and witty we are. Our choices always reveal us and where we are. Our choices highlight to us and others that we are not loving ourselves enough. If we were, some situations would never in a lifetime have been given a nano second to germinate.

          Moving the emphasis away from them ie AC/EUM for a minute (and what they did) and instead recognising our own weaknesses and patterns actually is the vital step to steering our lives completely away from such ‘types’. They add nothing (intentionally) to our lives and like you said……in reality, they are energy draining and leave you depleted.

          I’m really glad my words gave you even a smidgen comfort.
          I felt exactly the same when I read some great insights from Nathalie and many others on this site.

          • Sofie says:

            hi enlightened,

            as I am having a lot of ‘epiphany moments’ these last two weeks, as I am turning the focus on myself, rather than on him and his issues, I even feel completely detached of my ex in only 10 or so days, I can really start to see the problem is in my own behaviour/thinking/preferences I thought were ‘good and wholesome’ (haha). While I was thinking I was being ’empathetic’, that my listening qualities and the sticking around was nothing more than pure evidence of my ‘love sweet love’ for the man, I begin to see that I was looking for something in a man I wasn’t going to get in the first place, and I KNEW this. That ‘hard work’ I was facing, was actualy the kind of work I wanted to do.
            Other men seem/seemed so easy, and honestly, even down right boring !
            But ever since reading a lot of NML’s posts (gratefull :-) ) I know I have to work on a great deal of characteristics developped in my childhood, with an alcoholic dad and a crying suffering mother who stood by him. (He is now actualy doing great after an addiction of 30 years, he’s 4 years sober, a totaly different person who I can share my feelings with, dreams and idea’s and who makes my mother think she was reborn aswell, very sweet and positive, so it is possible is what I’m trying to say I guess).
            I look for that one man who will ‘see’ my inner soul and see me for who I am and love me for it, almost instantly, no not almost, just like that, instantly (how unrealistic) but I guess I was choosing men who reflect what I think of myself in the first place. No emotionaly healthy man wants a ‘broken’ woman who needs to be ‘fixed’ unless they share that same kind of hurt in them aswell, they recognize it and fall for the wrong type of woman aswell as we fall for them.
            It’s a cycle really, a relationship like that. If you let it, that is.
            I am glad and even a bit releaved to know I have to start thinking and working on my past experiences as a young child and a young woman for me to be able to open up in a good way towards others, and hopefully attract people who are worthy of my attention and efforts.
            Fjew. Great.
            I’m sorry if my feedback seems to be more of a story of my life than actual thoughts on the subject, but at this stage I am just so full of trying to comprehend my own situation.

      • Elle says:

        Englightened – you legend! Thank you so much. I feel like I’ve been given love from the ether. I will read your message a few more times, but you’re so right – about so many things, especially the bit about mirroring behaviour in my obsessive lament, and the skills associated with more functional, optimistic people.

        I feel like I am in that liminal state between two places, definitely not floored or anything, but there is still something hesitant about my willingness to back my judgment on this, and probably an arrogance that I could have misjudged someone, a desire to be right. The moving in thing STUNG – having to cancel it with the agents, find somewhere else, all on my own, all in a rush. He’s never even asked about that, which is TELLING in the extreme. In fact, he never mentioned it in the break-up, as he’d already reduced the whole thing to me being something little and less worthy.

        Anyway…I am veering towards that self-pity stuff again…so, back to celebrating, yes, that’s what I want to really know and feel. I do genuinely think this is a real opportunity for me to declutter my mind of some unhelpful beliefs, to go through the full process of backing myself on my own, to feel less afraid about a few things, and, like you said, in time, attract that healthy, positive person.

        What I need to do is what you say in the beginning and take my lessons and head forward, whereas I have my lessons and keep wanting to mentally apply those lessons to the past as if I can ‘solve’ it, but I am going to get there, I am moving in the right direction.

        Thank you so much.

        • Enlightened says:

          Hi Elle

          Aaaah thanks! Again, glad I said something that resonated with you.

          I heard you loud and clear and I so got you when you talked about the moving thing! Of course it SUCKED! How could it not?

          I had a similar situation when I, unbeknown to myself then, was with an AC/EUM. He begged and pleaded and pleaded and begged if he could move in with me, as if his life depended on it!

          What I didn’t know then was that he thrived on creating conflict and the push/pull scenario. As long as someone was resisting some ‘totally unrealistically’ created request/expectation of his, then he would ‘push’ for it harder and that was his excuse to ‘blame’ the person for the event not happening! E.g. You met for the 1st time one week and he would push to move in the second week! Highly unlikely, especially if you have children, right? As long as he knew there was no real prospect of it happening then my ex could play the blame game, colour me bad and paint himself as the good guy and the ‘victim’ of me and say, ‘I’m the one that is SERIOUS about the relationship and you are not!’ Whine, whine, whine…..

          Anyway, after some acceptably decent time and looking back what was tantamount to harassment from him (but he insisted was ‘LOVE’ and I wanted to believe it, so went with it….), I finally agreed he could move in with me. That meant taking the important decision to sit down and gently broach the subject with my young daughter. She was fine about it all. Well he moved in of a sorts. Surprisingly, came with what was just a week-end bag! Said he would come with the rest of his things later on in the week. 3 days later he DELIBERATELY caused some conflict over something so incredibly trivial and nonsensical all so that he could pack his stuff, walk out and run back to his place. His bizarre actions forced me to realise that he had never ever intended to leave!

          I realised then that he was a game-player, a saboteur, an ASS-CLOWN EUM!

          Although he had been pointing the finger at me, he was never SERIOUS! Projection at it’s finest. I realised that he was the ‘type’ that would push for something but when it became a ‘real prospect’ he would sabotage it and bail and accompany it with a smear campaign of lies against the person so his ego could live with it and he could absolve himself from any personal responsibility.

          He had a complete disconnect and lack of attachment to anyone’s feeling but his own. He didn’t care whatsoever about the impact on my daughter or myself.

          These people are damaged people, total energy drainers & TIME-WASTERS. Once you spot them….run. Don’t yearn for them or lament over them!

          I learnt a lot about the negative dynamics of relationships between people generally, from that relationship. This site just confirmed every conclusion I’d managed to stumble upon in the dark by myself and that was all the validation I needed!

          I certainly never entertained for one second getting it from him! When you look for validation from such AC ‘types’, you are continuing on the road to guaranteed unhappiness.

          I ran ONLY forward with that ‘experience’, leaving him aside, and it was incredibly EMPOWERING.

          I hope it becomes so for you too.

  14. Elle says:

    …And I do struggle with not having the recognition that he was such a arsehead and some validation…and that sickly feeling to which Cindy refers – when you think about the point at which they pulled out (if they were ever in), while you were still giving like a dancing monkey.

  15. Elle says:

    …that and I still, on some level, desire him – for all the things that you fall for…humour, paternalism, wit, looks, quirks, but are not about integrity and character.

    • Eve says:


      If it’s any consolation most decision making is done based on emotion not logic, so when we’re feeling on a high we ignore the red flags. Of course when you get kicked around once too often we start to interrupt the process and reality starts to creep in.

  16. Elle says:

    OK. So I am planning for this to be my one spew about this guy on this (wonderful) site, so I may as well just get it all out…

    My (shouda, coulda, woulda) question that keeps going around my head is: Had I better managed the hype at the start, instead of getting swept up in the excitement of someone else’s apparent certainty about me, and romantic offerings, had I toned it down so that we could have seen whether there was legs on what seemed to be, before we got together, a nice rapport, do you think things would have turned out differently?

    Geez. I know I am being ridiculous, as things have turned out how they have…But I guess I keep thinking that had I spoken up a couple of times (eg when he was demanding Skype sex after being an ingrate of epic proportions), then maybe I could have kept my dignity, won his respect… we’d be happy ever after… Instead, he sees me as this sexy girl who he couldn’t see as a wife.

    Far out. I have a fair way to go… Bugger.

    • SmarterNow says:

      Elle, I completely understand what you’re struggling with! I have been doing that recently, too… now that I have actually developed better communication skills and boundary-setting… “if only I would have been that way with my ex-AC, would things have turned out differently?”

      But I think the resounding answer is absolutely not, it would not have turned out differently. Because the things these guys do (demanding Skype sex, blowing hot and cold, etc.) are just symptoms of a MUCH larger issue within themselves… they are not capable of having an emotional relationship. They are all about control, and they are simply unfit for ANY kind of genuine connection. I know we’ve all heard this before, but you can’t have a healthy relationship with an unhealthy person. No matter what you would have done, it would never have changed their mind or their behavior because THEY are the problem, not you!

      I have to believe that once we finally get to a better place in our heads and hearts where we no longer accept crap behavior, these kinds of men will cease to be attractive. So really… if you had been in a place to be upfront and honest with this guy, YOU probably would have left! Because you would have seen him for what he was – a guy completely incapable of giving you what you deserve and should expect.

      So just keep reading this blog and making progress with yourself, because honestly better people will come into your life who WON’T push your boundaries and won’t try to constantly see what they can get away with. I know they are out there – I think it’s just a matter of “reprogramming” ourselves to see them! GOOD LUCK!

    • Wised_Up says:

      I haven’t posted in a long time, but I’ve been consistently reading and, wow, did this post really hit home! Thank you, Natalie, for your wisdom and insight! You see, I fell off the “assclown” wagon a few months ago when mine came to town and had a graduate school interview with one of my professors. I really thought that maybe the year + apart (a period during which there had been pure NC) had done us both some good (on my end, I knew that I had made positive changes and wasn’t willing to settle for less) and, more importantly, that if he was suddenly going to appear in my department and be a fixture in my life/social circle, maybe it was time to let bygones be bygones.

      And it all started off just fine: he was nice, solicitous, apologetic and remorseful; it seemed like he had grown up a bit (we met when he was 23 and I was 25) and was willing to participate in what he himself referred to as a “supportive” friendship given the “connection” that we had and that he wanted to repair.

      Not even three weeks later, he forgot my birthday (the big 2-7), started asking me to get him scholarly articles (a user if there ever was one) and, as for the real kicker, started a) complaining about his ex-girlfriend, whom he had dumped in January having finally seen through her “empty ways” (his words, not mine), but then tried to get back with her in late February/early March (not at all coincidentally enough, right around the time he started sniffing around me again. When did I discover this? Not until after our “friendship” had already been re-established) and b) asking me for girl advice!!!! Needless to say, with my new boundaries in place, I shut that down quickly, telling him I didn’t feel comfortable talking about such things with him and that he had forfeited the right to ask me for girl advice back when he treated me the way that he did.

      What do I get in return for asserting myself and trying to live with the self-love that was lacking the first time around: pure passive aggressive nonsense: “I was always open and honest with you. I was never attracted to you romantically or physically. And you know I used to talk to you to the extent that I did because I had nobody else to talk to.” Yep, so much for that connection that he valued, as well as the supportive friendship we were supposed to be building. It’s hard to believe he didn’t see anything wrong with talking to me in this insulting manner (most people don’t even treat their pets the way these men treat women), but, clearly, that would be expecting too much. He doesn’t even know himself; how can I honestly expect him to know me?

      Needless to say, I extracted myself from the situation, telling him I wasn’t into a friendship–any relationship– that was built on lies and disrespect. And I decided that, while it’s good that I’m able to give somebody a second chance and to believe in the possibility of change, I needed to work on myself more, so I decided to start therapy. Thus far, it’s been really positive and productive; I already feel lighter, more in control of my feelings and ready to let go both again and, this time around, for good. I had already decided more than a year ago that if this was as good as it got, then that was a sorry way to live; I deserve and _want_ more than the status quo, information drip-feeding and emotional stagnation.

      • Elle says:

        I love these guys – how you can lay your feelings out there in an obvious ‘this is how I feel, can you meet me there?’ kind of way, and they feel so attacked (they’re so much more touchy than any female friends) and therefore go ‘prison rules’ on you.

        Sounds like it was a very healthy thing for you to go through in the big picture – to practice boundary-setting, and also to realize that this person really is a bit of a pr*ck and, therefore, you can finally get rid of some of those nagging questions you may have had about your role the first time around. My father says that some of these men don’t just have a touch of narcissism, often psychopathic tendencies too.

        • Wised_Up says:

          Hi again, Elle,

          Thanks for your message. I agree with you completely; it’s just sad that, when you try to express your feelings, some people feel the automatic need to lash out (“to go prison rules”) and undermine you and the message you’re trying to convey. Or to lash out without any form of provocation. But it’s important to remember that this kind of behavior (in addition to emails like the one your ex sent) stems from people who are not only reactive, but who are unable to deal with their emotions in any other way. After all, anger is easy; it takes real integrity and strength to confront a problem, communicate it to another person and mutually look for a solution.

          I suppose I am glad that I had the “Suck it and See” experience that Natalie has recently been writing about; to some extent, it shows me how truly removed from reality I was all those months ago…and even how dysfunctional my own conception of love could be. It also shows me that it doesn’t have to be this way forever and that change _is_ possible, even if it’s not easy. But really, once you’ve seen and finally accepted an assclown for who he (or she) really is, it’s not hard to want to avoid returning to that dynamic. I want to live on my own terms, not have somebody create those terms for me.

          How can a person even genuinely want to be with somebody who says things like, “If talking to me makes your life at all worse, then there’s no reason to do it?” It’s honestly sad to think of somebody recognizing that he/she causes pain and not to have any desire to fix it. But it really is different strokes for different folks.

          • Joley says:

            Wow, Wised up…I’m with you. What scares me is that after a year of no contact, you can still fall back in the old patterns. I am always fearing that could happen to me too (which is has but our NC has only ever gone 4 mos).

            How did he get in contact after a year?

            I heard a story about my ex that he dated a mutual friend of a friend. Apparently he talked about me constantly and our dating situation which really bothered me. I guess he was sabotaging it from the get go. Anyways, he ends up standing her up on a date. To me this was such a light bulb. His EU has no boundaries, he will tear down anyone in his path and he is continuing to only think of himself.

            Ive always wondered if their patterns have been the hot/cold and the pop back in your life every few month episodes….does that ever just stop cold turkey? That hasn’t been the pattern thus far….

            Good luck

          • Elle says:

            They’re so self-pitying. My ex would always say things like, ‘I will never be happy’, ‘I am good at detaching’, ‘I can relate to George Clooney and his need to be alone’… But it’s the fact that they seem so rational and self-aware, in this sense, that triggers the ‘But we can talk about this, and work through it together’ impulse…But they don’t actually want a solution to it. They are VERY attached to this narrative of them being the tortured, misunderstood poet-genius.

            (Thanks for your advice)

          • Elle says:

            “After all, anger is easy; it takes real integrity and strength to confront a problem, communicate it to another person and mutually look for a solution.” SO TRUE

        • Used says:

          Wised up–

          What an asshole.

          Let’s make clear the definition (asshole):

          To the guys reading this (and I know you are out there): THIS IS AN ASSHOLE. Also, any element of what he did = ASSHOLISH.

          LOTS of guys I knew in my past did what he did. They KNOW you like them, they KNOW you are the honest one; yet they USE you for advice/psychotherapy on women who (let’s face it) play the game (a game that we refuse or don’t know how to play). Hence his calling his ex “empty”. You are “deep” and shit on, butu the “empty” one “wins” him.

          I don’t know about psychpathy or narcissism as to this guy (though I do think he is a bit of a narcissist), but he is definitely a selfish ASSHOLE/prick/overeducated-but-with-no-common-sense-DORK!


          • Tina says:

            I love that you note that these guys actually read this type of site – my AC admitted that he learned much about “relationships” from the internet and watching Sex and the City so he could figure out what women want and how they think (in order to better fool them off the top I would imagine). I know the shock I have felt when I recognize myself and my behaviour on this site (the delusional thinking, the trying to change him thing). If I were one of these guys, I would be sickenend and horrified to recognize myself in these posts. I guess its a good thing they have no soul, no empathy and no real emotions and don’t hold themselves accountable for anything. Otherwise, the “good guy” image they so careful cultivate and maintain might start to crack.

            I am extremely thankful for this site and its support and help. We may be damaged and hurting as well, but at least we are trying to do something about it and the only ones we hurt were ourselves.

    • mina sorvina says:

      I just read the book: Emotional Vampires

      The person you are describing is what is called a “Used Car SALESMAN!” The remedy this book gave for such a lemon was: “Please do not bang your head against a wall on this creature.” Your BIGGEST responsibility is to 1)know what happened to you and 2)KNOW THAT IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN.

      My heart goes out to you and ALL OTHER WOMEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED THESE ASSCLOWNS! You sound like a SMART BEAUTIFUL WOMAN. Don’t get it twisted. He KNEW you were such thats why he TARGETED you for a bum run. You made him feel better about himself at your expense. That’s what they do……..

      You are a gem. Again don’t get it twisted.

  17. prickly says:

    @JJ2. I have been wondering for some time about this witholding sex lark. My ex/AC/EUM/narc was really good at this, and although we can see someone using you for sex, it seems harder to pinpoint the witholding game. It became a huge issue for me and I was made to feel insensitive and deranged for asking. Any attempt to discuss it lead to sulks and threats (him, not me). Yet, he was not impotent, in the medical sense. In fact, all the time he was witholding from me he was shagging someone else!!! After I left him I found out this is an ongoing issue in his relationships. Anyone else got experience of this? It just seems so abnormal for a man; most blokes I know are up for it regardless of their feelings for the woman. Most blokes would fall into either ‘get it while you can’ or (if they are decent) would be honest and say ‘I’m just not that into you’.

    • Enlightened says:

      There’s no deep analysis about it……. it happens a lot. It is simply about CONTROL by withholding. Some people will see the situation for what it is……game playing……and say ‘F–k you!’ and move on without a backward glance when they see someone acting like this. Others will stay put and let that person play their game of psychological manipulation and abuse that is purely calculated to bring all the rejected person’s abandonement and validation insecurities to the forefront in a long, protracteds, drawn out and painful way.

      It is the WORST type of passive aggressive, dysfunctional behaviour ever. The more the rejected person appears distressed, pleads and is obviously in pain and self-esteem lowered over this behaviour…… the more the withholder feels in control and stronger.

      The person feeling rejected and affected, if they continue to indulge such behaviour, is basically giving their power away.

      The only way to break this dysfunction to dis-engage emotionally (and maybe physically) and this breaks their power over you and gives you back your power in the proces. When you at least act like you don’t care and you don’t acknowledge at all that what they are doing has any effect whatsoever.

      It sends them in a complete tailspin. Literally.

    • mina sorvina says:

      Please do yourself a favor and google ROMEO IS BLEEDING. It is a good read for men who simply HATE WOMEN and play with them because they never got the love they wanted from MOM. Well that is my take on it, but I really think that some men just like to DANGLE THE CARROT!

      May you find your answer and be in peace.

      • Enlightened says:

        Mina, do mean ROMEO’S BLEEDING: When Mr. Right Turns Out To Be Mr. Wrong, Part 1- Control by Roger Melton?

        I have read it and it is one of my all time favourite sequence of articles (there is part 2: The Malice Artists and Part 3: The Mirror Men).

        Roger Melton essentially writes about people, in particular men, who walk around as if they are normal, charming, intelligent people but what people don’t realise is that they actually are high-functioning people with Mental disorders known as ‘personality disorders.’

        This is something that is not highlighted enough, as personality disorders play absolute HAVOC and absolutely impact the areas of RELATIONSHIPS. People are so unaware and wonder what has hit them when they have had some interaction with someone that appears normal on the outside but actually has ‘a mental disconnect’…….

        However, that is not to say every AC has a ‘personality disorder’ but like everything, AWARENESS of what is infront of you can help to ultimately protect your emotional well-being as people with these conditions can traumatise and damage you in a devastating way..

        Yes, EVERY woman should read these articles! Google it!

        • judy says:

          i took a glance at this work, vivid!

          unfortunately, my relationship behavior was awful and i was so damn needy. however!!!!! being needy masks the ability to see the truth behind the charachters i was often needy about – unavailables.

          its one thing to be involved with someone, or think you and have the health and vision to see it is going nowhere or they are not following through.

          it is another to not have the health and vision, to be so hung up for all the reasons we can read about on this site and to remain hung up on the hurtful behavior.

          that is the key, the health. i saw myself in some of the things he talked about, but that was past and i am not behaving that way now now am i pursuing anyone.

        • sule says:

          I read the “Romeo’s Bleeding” series and would recommend it for the women drawn to this site. Not all assclowns have borderline personality disorder but the articles are interesting because it brings up the issue of labels and diagnosis, as does this and other posts on this site. When I first ended things with the assclown, I struggled to “define” him – was he an assclown, a commitment phobe, an emotional unavailable man, was he gay, was he a “Peter Pan” or momma’s boy? What this article, and the “Romeo’s Bleeding” series highlight is that there are diagnostic criteria for each label. What is interesting to me is that my AC matches every diagnostic criteria listed here for “assclown”, virtually of the criteria listed in Natalie’s post on “emotionally unavailable men”, 38 of the 43 criteria listed for “commitment phobic men” listed on two web sites and the books by Carter and Sokol and all the criteria for men having “Peter Pan” syndrome as defined on a number of websites and in the seminal book on the subject. What does this mean? First, that there is a tremendous amount of overlap in the “diagnostic criteria” for alot of these labels – the differences between a commitment phobe and an assclown are subtle, a matter of degrees and probably insignificant when it comes right down to it. Second, that alot of these criteria are so general, virtually every man may exhibit at least a few. For example, “managing down expectations” is something we all recognize but isn’t clearly defined. It’s like charm – we know it when we see it but its tough to describe. Finally, I began to wonder what the benefit to me would be in identifying my ex’s label – would it help me understand him more? Would it absolve him of his accountability in the relationship? Would it ease my pain or relieve my hurt? No. Whether he was a commitment phobe or a Peter Pan, the end result was the same, at least for me. He didn’t want the relationship, he lacked the maturity and respect for me to end it clearly and properly and there is no reasonable basis for believing he is going to change or that any continued contact with him will benefit me in any way. Whatever name you put on it, he is a waste of my time.

  18. Elle says:

    AW. Thanks SN. I really appreciate it. You’re right. I know that a man who says all his exes ‘ruined his life’, who shamelessly belittles, avoids responsibility (not just with me) and is incapable of or not willing to share feelings before they get to ‘impulse spew’ state would not have changed had I been more sensible and self-respecting. It’s interesting that you mention me being the one who would have eventually left. I did tell him I wasn’t happy with how things were going and that my bare minimum expectations were not being met, and he yelled at me about how he had his work stress to deal with, that I was being disrespectful, and asked for some more time…only to dump me days later.

    Funnily enough, my relationship pattern has gone from: less than healthy (teen drama one), to very healthy but lacking in sexual chemistry, to fairly healthy but def not compatible in terms of life goals and lifestyle, to this latest foray into the 30-plus ACs – I really did not see it coming…I thought I was naturally evolving and selecting better…but I am not, really. Two lovely guys sandwiched by two very selfish guys – though I can tot down the first guy’s crap to teenage immaturity. This last guy, in his mid 30s…not as easy to write-off…I really do have to think about my own fears too.

    But, what you say, really cheered me up and helped me. I will come back to it…

    In the meantime, I have decided to quit the monkeying from relationship branch to relationship branch, to work on my own boundaries and sense of integrity, and to enjoy being single…for the first time, really since my mid-teens (now in early 30s – trying not to put imperatives of biology onto my plate of panic as well!).

    Thank you. It was v kind.

  19. Elle says:

    Oh, and SN, I think you’re spot on about the control thing. He said that he did not feel like he owned me and felt jealous of other men (in his head, there were NO other men) who, he said, could be better boyfriends.

    I am just going to remember that line about healthy relationships with unhealthy people…that should see me through for a while… Thanks.

  20. Pushing.Thru says:

    @ prickly…

    I know what you mean, i was never married to my AC or had a serious “relationship” with him…. however the sex was mindblowing (according to him and obviously, i felt the same since it was the only way we “connected”)
    it was so difficult for me to understand why he would disappear for 2 or 3 weeks after we had the best F’ng sex ever.
    I learned that their need for CONTROL over you and themselves is much greater than their desire for sex, no matter how great it is. They can put it off until you beg for it, while they go on their marry way feeling good about how much your craving him, and obsessing over him… probably even getting off with another broad. just to spread himself thin.


    • judy says:

      I have experienced this behavior. You can have a marvelous evening and then time passes and I was astounded not to hear some follow up or future plan. I seized up, went into a fear mode and lost my power.

      Once the man I was recently with said, I would like to take you to the beach. At the moment I thought this was great and my heart did a little flip, but did he make any real plans? Nor did he come forth with any plans in the following weeks. It was simply “bait” or likely what Natalie calls “blowing hot”.

      These are the kind of behaviors to watch out for and the only remedy is getting out.

      • billy says:

        Wow. Are these guys really that lame? Not delivering on something as simple as a day at the beach?

        Maybe it’s true what they say — if you want a woman to like you, treat her like shit. I don’t care. There’s gotta be a woman out there who appreciates the fact that I treat her well and doesn’t walk all over me and f*** around on me because of it. Maybe it’s best to be alone… but the sex is kind of lame. lol

        • judy says:

          I left him billy, I am not interested in men who neglect me.

        • Gayle says:

          Many of us do want a man who follows through on their word and treats us with respect, but if you are an EUW, you seek these creeps out because you are incapable of a loving, healthy relationship.

          It’s all about what you believe you deserve.

        • Elle says:

          People who can’t see kindness as kindness, and as something eminently strong…and, instead, see it as a weakness and therefore terrifying (and therefore a reason to act like a petulant sh*t) are miserable sods, and you’re better off having sex alone than with any of them.

          Yes, being an arse might attract any woman, with a few, minor issues, but only those with major issues will stick around for the long haul…In any case, the arse-man and the screwy-woman are major energy-grabbers! It’s not sustainable for most of us.

          Judy: (admiration feelings)

          • Used says:

            Exactly my thoughts. Also, those miserable people who can’t appreciate a kind person very often are:
            1. insecure and/or
            2. jealous and/or
            3. followers and/or
            4. people who will backstab you when you are not around, but smile to your face when you are, as well.

            I think that they actually hate themselves, or have learned to live with their own hypocrisy and “negatives” (see above!) b/c they see some sort of social “benefit” in it.

            I just smile and let them think they are “fooling” me, but keep my distance at a long arm’s length! Oh, and never say anything I dpn’t want repeated, about myself or ANYone/anything!!

            The best word for them: yes, miserable!

    • Used says:

      EXACTLY the case.

  21. Sofie says:

    hi, I am ‘new’ on this commentboard, but I have been reading this site for a few weeks now.
    I know my question might not be in the right place, but I can’t seem to find the right discussionpage to put this.
    I really need some advice right now, because I don’t know how to feel or think at this stage.
    I broke up with this man 10 days ago after being in a relationship of 14 months, since I felt more and more he was not being fair with me. He hasn’t treat me all that bad at all though, he has in many ways a beautiful mind, wich makes it hard for me to think all that bad of him. Which I don’t, but then again, I do.
    And I know in many ways, I should.
    He definitely was emotional unavailable, although we made great plans together, like opening our own business, it would all be planned in a rush, a feeling of excitement, only to be put on the shelf to step to the next idea, it was driving me crazy.
    But the most important thing is,
    the ‘love of his life’ died suddenly 3 years ago, which was of course and understandbly a very big issue for him to deal with, allthough things started to look brighter. I made him feel better, I am sure and he said so and I could feel it, and he also assured me of that many times. He could start to make plans again, think of me as a future partner for life etc.
    But he would be mean when I asked for true commitment, like listening or not asking for irrealistic things, calling me all sorts of names, claiming I was selfish when all I wanted was a conversation, communication, even if I was willing to wait a while for it to come, it was never good enough. He always said that my need for conversation killed the conversation in itself.
    That I blocked him out of talking, he would go franctic, again call me many names and say that even his daughter didn’t think highly of me (which is not true, and he also has corrected that, we were starting to have a really great bond together)
    Anyway, 10 days ago, he went out, stayed out untill morning and he refused to give me straight answers. It is not that he can’t be trusted, because I know he is very trustworthy, but, and this has happened many times, he would only give me short answers, morse-style, and say that I should ‘respect’ his hangover, though answers never came.
    I have been cheated upon in my previous long relationship which left me very heartbroken and very scared of trusting somebody, but with him i know this was safe. I also told him many times, that I trusted him, He would throw it in my face, I have issues, I was being paranoid, when all I really wanted was a simple explanation, a step towards me of being open with me, sharing things, which includes telling your partner where you’ve been and with whom. And why should this be such a problem in the first place ?
    Anyway, I broke contact after saying I’d had enough, not sharing enough, keeping me hanging on, leaving me feeling empty and guilty for wanting too much, one-sided information in conversations, me being all enthusiastic but having to ‘walk on eggs’ for him while he would never do the same for me.
    I know he wanted control over me, but that doesn’t make him a douchebag right away no ? Or does it…i don’t know…
    But my real question is, after i broke contact, he tried once to get us to talk, I answered that I needed time. He only replied with ‘are you seeing someone else’ and after I assured him I wasn’t I haven’t heard from him since.
    The anniversary of the death of his girlfriend is today, I sent him an email 5 days ago that I would prefer not to talk after this difficult period is somewhat over.
    He didn’t respond.
    Today, on this anniversary, I send a text with some kind words, saying that I was hoping he could make this day positive and so on. Short but caring.
    I got nothing back.
    Now, it’s not that I want him to think of me today, but a simple thank you on a day like this, after being the shoulder to cry on (or at least the person he was intimite with after that drama), is that too much to ask ? AM i being unreasonable ? Afterall, I was the one left crying so many times, and who has been very understanding of his behaviour since he puts a lot of the blame for his behaviour on how he still has to cope with his loss.
    It is like he is the one now who is hurt by ME in our fights.
    I have seen this coming, but now i am stuck with the feeling that it really IS me, who is seeking attention.
    It is like he now is using the NCR on me, instead of the other way around and I am starting to feel really a lot more upset than I was all these 10 days.
    Have I been selfish to think this way ?
    Am I the EUW ? Have I been inconsidered ?
    I’m so in the dark since today, I know he shouldn’t use the excuse of her death for his behaviour, but today has left me feeling empty and guilty again, like I have been feeling a lot during our relationship.
    Have I done wrong for contacting him on what I know is a hard day in his life ?
    Should the NCR also be applied on days like this ? Have I done wrong by breaking it ?
    Is he an assclown ? I don’t know what to think anymore.
    (excuse me for my bad grammar, I am not a english speaking person)

    Thank you for reading,

    • Nicole says:


      I feel a lot of sympathy for what you are going through right now. It’s a very confusing place to be, and it does not help when the man makes you out to be the one who is wrong. It can make you crazy.

      When I started dating my ex-boyfriend, it had been just over 2 years since the love of his life had died suddenly. He told me about it the first time we met. I think we both used it as an excuse for his hot and cold behavior. I know I went back and forth on how I felt about it. On the one hand, I wanted to be understanding. On the other hand, sometimes I was not so sure he was over it and even ready for a relationship. I was certainly not the first, second or third woman he had dated since her death, and I think I assumed he was ready because he had already been dating since her death.

      I also had an ex-husband before who was unfaithful to me, and I am scared to trust now. It’s a red flag if your man stays out all night, and then gets defensive if you ask questions. He is turning it around on you, when he is the one who was being inconsiderate. Of course, we do not know for absolute certain that he cheated, but his behavior is not the kind of considerate, trustworthy, behavior you want in a healthy relationship.

      It’s hard, I know, to not reach out to him on this sad day, but if we are going to do “no contact”, I think it needs to apply all the time. Because if we make one exception, we might make another, and so on. And it also just sets you back in your healing, because he does not respond to your kindness. It is just one more opportunity for him to reject you. Be kind to yourself, and don’t give him any more of those opportunities.

      I hope you find more strength and courage to keep up the no contact, and find that you will start heal.

      • Sofie says:

        Hi Nicole,

        what a very good feeling it gives to get a reply from somebody who recognizes this feeling. Somebody who is grieving over a lost love is a special situation and often requires a different approach. That’s what makes it even more so confusing.
        But I have never disrespected his grieve, always put a step aside when it came to the subject and always let him do the talking, only gave my opinion when asked for.
        I do believe he uses this complex personal drama for an excuse for his behaviour and came to realise, although he claims it was all roses and pink skies, that his previous relationships hadn’t been all that easy either.
        Patterns if you will.
        Yesterday I felt so stupid for breaking the NC, showing how I thought about him and making a positive step in his direction, while all the time that was what he should be doing with me, but I was starting to forget that.
        Left me feeling selfish and guilty again.
        And starting over with my healing indeed.

        I now decided not to give in no more, even if he would come to me with texts or emails or whatever, I think he has gotten a lot more time than I ever got from him, to proove he thinks about my feelings too. It would always be this way, and indeed, clearly he is not over her.
        He says he needs to find somebody who can ease him down, who is understanding and patient, who can laugh at his silly attempts of a joke or leaves him alone when he needs it.
        I can not say I did not do all these things, people around us say they had never seen him this relaxt, but it was undermining my own personality and life.
        I stood up for what I believe in, only leaving me empty and drained.
        That’s what hurts so bad I guess.

        Again thank you for your understanding words, it has helped me today to be more firm about my decision and to not compromise anymore when it comes to my own believes.
        They serve me well, and if they offend somebody who should love me for who I am, clearly that person is not really in love with me.

        (only he turns everything around, saying I don’t love him for who hé is, driving me crazy, still, I will choose for myself)
        I think I should read the Parents-issue part a bit longer, because I find it so hard to ‘choose for myself’ without thinking I’m being nothing more than a selfish self-centered person.

        Thank you Nicole, and all the best for you too !

        • Sofie says:

          he has now responded to me
          saying thank you for the supporting text, and that he has responded to this because ‘afterall he is a decent man’.

          Why do I feel like he isn’t, just becàuse he says this to me, what about being decent on other parts in our life together?
          And saying you are, does that màke you decent ?

          I will not respond, but it doesn’t feel good.

          • Elle says:

            Forget about it! Anyone who has to say they’re decent is struggling with their integrity. Truly decent men don’t need to verbalize that. Just ignore. It’s your only choice.

        • Elle says:

          My ex also told me all sorts of things that he wanted in a person, and how I wasn’t these things, wasn’t perfect for him. But it’s bull*hit, and, what’s more, should not even be said (why the hell do they think that information is good for you?).

          The woman they think they want either doesn’t exist or else is easy-going to the point of almost detached, if not vapid. Remember, it’s hugely important to have boundaries, and real communication in a relationship, not to have the other person as this shadow to your ego.

          To be fair, I had a boyfriend who was very calm and had a wonderful, soothing quality, which I loved, but the fact is the price of this was that we had completely different emotional realities, and both of us felt terribly lonely in our own different ways. So I wouldn’t let his romantic ideas about this perfect, easy-going woman fool you too much.

          And, anyway, if he finds this person, it’s not you anyway. Don’t forget that your ‘intense’ qualities have some hugely positive connected attributes, like strength, responsibility, intelligence, loyalty, compassion and maturity. You can’t bend for him, become smaller and so-called more relaxing, if it costs you all these other great things about yourself.

          Besides, there are two versions of easy-going: one that is real communication, gentleness, warmth, adult space, and respect between two people, where BOTH people are easy-going…and then there’s easy-going meaning passive, where ONE person is the ego-supplier for the other (who has big issues). That’s an important difference, I think.

          (I have, of course, wondered whether there is a gender element here – in which it is more desirable for a man to have a girl giggle at his jokes, be less intelligent and discerning etc, while woman tend not to find that as appealing…but I am hopeful…)

          Anyway, don’t be too hard on yourself for texting him – it shows that you’re a kind, thoughtful person. But now, back to NC!

          • Sofie says:

            yes, thank you so much !

            I think I just needed to hear that from people who don’t have to live with ‘us’.

            Who are more objective and thus more reliable.

            And it is true, bending in a relationship is ok, only when the two can bend towards each other and not one up and the other bend down.
            I do not feel secure with this man to be myself and when I try I feel like I’m doing it wrong.

            Can not be a good thing.
            I will come here back more often, to read and reply to others, this is very healing indeed.

            And Elle, thank you for your compliments, I see them as such, and it is heartwarming.

          • Eve says:

            “But it’s bull*hit, and, what’s more, should not even be said (why the hell do they think that information is good for you?). ”

            Why? because I’ve thrown the ‘I’m too good for you’ card at someone when I was angry.

            Do we think it was or wasn’t the decent thing to do to reply to her well wishes? I think it was decent.

    • Eve says:

      “I sent him an email 5 days ago that I would prefer not to talk after this difficult period is somewhat over.”

      Ok. he or both of you may be EU but here is what I’m seeing.
      You broke up, you told him you didn’t want to talk you then contact him, not just contact him but on his dead ex’s anniversary. He doesn’t have her and he doesn’t have you. Have a nice day!

      I’ve begun to notice how literal men are when we tell them things. You said NO TALK- which he did. He did what you asked of him. You now want him to come after you? Why? Talk about mixed messages.

      I’m not saying his own behaviour is perfect but please be aware of how your own can come over.

      I told my ex-ac. Don’t contact me ever again. Guess what? He didn’t. Not only did he do as I told him I got mad because he didn’t ignore my request and come chasing like in some rom-com lol. We tell ourselves, ‘if they cared they’d they would make the effort!’ perhaps or they recognise an angry emotional woman, can’t figure out what caused it or what to do about it and we’ve just told them leave me alone….hardly rocket science.

      When I broke NC some couple of months later, he was pleased but surprised as he thought I didn’t want anything to do with him. See mixed messages. They may not be fully aware how their behaviour winds us up but we don’t always help matters.

      IF you want to try and work things out if you think he isn’t a EU or an AC, my suggestion would be to apologise for snapping- yes apologise – and suggest you give each other a little time to cool off and when you’re both ready you can talk and see how it goes. I wouldnt even mention things like fixing or relationships because you’re both likely to be a little wary of jumping back in.

      • Sofie says:

        well uhm, no not exactly, I left him standing at his door because he said ‘I wasn’t being very helpfull’ because I didn’t help him carrying something. While I still hadn’t gotten any answers from him about his whereabouts that friday and I could see they weren’t going to come, instead I wasn’t being very helpfull and I ‘should leave if I wasn’t planning to be’.
        So I left, starting the NC right away.
        He then send me an email informing me I had to give him back his stuff, he is fed up etc. I didn’t replied, it was Drama-seeking behaviour.
        He then stated in a second email 5 minutes later he felt so down because he now knew it was really over.
        Uhm, okay, over you say, fine !
        He thén send me a text if we could talk, which I answered we could do, but in a few days or so, to let things cool down.
        After those few days, and seeing him posting pictures of his lost love on facebook, I told him in an email ( how tired can one become of emails) that I didn’t think it was a good idea to talk now since I could see it wouldn’t be about us, but again about his loss and how he felt. Mind you, we have talked about this throughout the year. It is a painfull period, but he could have thought about that earlier before giving me the cold shower on where he had been.
        The text I send on the day of the anniversary, I send because I have shared this man’s life for 14 months and I was feeling very attached to this whole story.
        I also know he would take it hard if I would go cold turkey on him.
        Now he finds himself decent for replying on my text.

        My only point is, that my feelings never come to be discussed, even when I try.
        He makes me feel selfish and self-centered when I try to get something out of him, get him to do something about it.
        I may not be the most perfect person in the world, or even emotionaly totaly in line with myself, all I wanted was a decent explanation and a heart for my feelings.

        The differences between men and women are certainly there, and I even consider them to be good in many ways, but opening your mouth is just as easy or difficult, no matter what you have there hanging or not between your legs.
        It’s a matter of effort, not a matter of gender.

        • Eve says:

          Hi Sophie,

          Thanks for the extra information, it certainly adds more to the story. If he’s still feeling so down about her I would suggest counselling whether he is with you or not, simply because grief like that is likely to wreck every future relationship. It can be very confusing hurt people hurt people whether they’re doing it on a conscious level or not.

          He could be a douche, it could also be because he hasn’t dealt with his feelings about her death to even notice your frustration.

          Good luck.

          • Sofie says:

            yes, I think he rushed into things with me and he needs help for sure. Everybody grieves in his or her own terms, but none the less, I think 3 years for a relatively young man is a long time.
            But I know he also very much wanted to move on, only it seems he’s not dealing with it properly.
            Hence, taking me through a rollercoaster of emotions, I didn’t even knew I had.
            And maybe that is the positive thing I could get out of this.
            That I am here and talking about it, which I have never done before, no matter how severe the situation, and I hope I can grow out of this by learning about myself and seeing I fall for the type of man who needs a shoulder or who gets that analysing urge out of me, when really that urge is making me feel tired and drained.

            @Elle, I will read enlightened’s comments better, I have just been so busy today trying to spell mine correctly :-)

      • Elle says:

        I am totally aware of the fact that being angry and feeling powerlessness is the reason why one would list off reasons why someone you are leaving doesn’t have certain particular qualities and therefore it’s OK to leave. I just think it’s reactive, pretty mean and definitely unhelpful. But, yes, we don’t always say and do the most admirable things in break-ups! And, it’s all about context – in the context of a calm discussion about relationship needs and wants, it’s reasonable, once you’ve already had the relationship terminated (as in my case), it’s not so helpful! (If you’re dumping a person for reasons that have nothing to do with them being a bad or unworthy person, I think you have some duty to the person to leave their ego in tact). But less straight-forward in Sofie’s case as she ended things, but is still left feeling like she didn’t meet his expectations.

        As for the decency thing, I think it was decent of him to reply, but just a bit patronising for him to point out that he is a decent guy. It’s not coming from a simple, non-defensive place, is all I am saying, when you have to verbalize its meaning like that, and Sofie has picked up on that. But, more than likely, he’s just hurting too, and needs to feel powerful and like his actions make sense, and maybe he just wants some recognition that he’s ultimately a good person…. Who knows…but it’s defensive behaviour, in any case, to point that out. I think you’re right – some space and time needed…

        And, yes, I definitely agree that we can end up being borderline ACs too – with our mixed messages, tests, and fantasy behaviour. It’s good to remember that we’re not these poor people being swept along! If we want NC, we have to mean it.

        • Sofie says:

          Yes, i know he is hurting, I know he probably doés feel guilt and all that, like I said, he does have a beautiful mind, I wouldn’t have gotten this far with a man if he was a total jerk.
          But why do I have to think about that by myself all the time, and come to terms with it on my own, and slowly feeling the shift from my initial hurt, to his.
          Not even getting a single sorry for example for leaving me out on information like that.
          10 days have passed and I still don’t know what happened that evening (I know it won’t be much, but that is just beside the point)
          and I feel it turning to be around him again, not me.

          Eve’s comment made me feel back to being that little girl who wants to much of a grown man, I have not been inconsidered towards him about his loss, I have tried to be there many times, have let myself be set aside for it aswell because I think all other behaviour would have been competitive behaviour towards a dead person, and you just don’t want to go there.

          Timing is definitely off at this moment, but when is it ever right ?

          As I said, and also feel when I read many of these comments but also the posts, of course we ladies are no angels ourselves sometimes, we too make mistakes and get the fire in our eyes and hearts when it comes to relationships, love and emotions.
          But it’s how you deal with it, especialy afterwards, and how you can get your priorities straight.
          Every human being, being it man or woman, has a capability to look things over and concluding stuff, deciding how you are going to handle the situation.
          Taking responsibility.
          And all I can say from my perspective in my matter, is that I have tried and tried hard to be part of this man’s life, and all I felt was that my efforts just weren’t good enough, not only that, that I was being selfish.

          And my real problem is, is that I am starting to believe that, making a lot of my feelings towards myself fall out of balance, leaving me empty and very tired.

          If he is right, were does that leave me on so many aspects in my believes and how I come across to people, when all I wanted was to be there for him.
          What was I doing wrong here, or elsewhere for that matter.

          • Elle says:

            (My above reply was actually to Eve’s comments, btw)

            I have a feeling, Sofie, that both of us need to back our judgments, spend some time building confidence, liking ourselves a little more, giving ourselves more credit (geez, we’re too hard on ourselves) and going through that whole process on our own. That’s the test I am giving myself: whether I can accept my version of reality confidently and securely without the approval of my ex (or others). Also, I have had to consider that my ex was cheating on me too, but, as a friend said to me, ‘an evil mustache is still an evil mustache whatever its shape’, meaning – would that information actually help you or make his character/treatment of you all that different…It’s a matter of degrees, I think, when someone is already emotionally disrespectful and remote. You are not responsible for his idiosyncracies, choices and problems. We’re not that powerful, unfortunately! 😉

            Read ‘Enlightened”s comments to me again…

  22. Sofie says:

    oh my, this looks like a vèry long comment, I’m sorry :-s

  23. Gaman says:

    Yep, yep, yep, yep and yep! Looks like my EUM fits the bill! Hows this for pushing boundaries – after a month NC he suddenly gets in touch (and like a fool I take the call) because – wait for it – he wants to invest in his friends new invention and – get this – he wants me to research different ways of scooping up dog poo! Oh, man! Hows that for the Outrageous Principle??!!!

    I`m sorry but I have taken his calls and emails just because this is all so highly amusing to me now – now I can detach myself from it emotionally I am finding his outrageous behaviour is actually great entertainment fodder for me and my girlfriends! We sat by the river last night with a few beers and I regaled them with the story of how he called me and said he wanted to have a baby with me (yes!!! My married effing obstetrician who DELIVERED my last baby!!!) how I was his “number 1” (out of how many one wonders???!) and how he misses me (well dipsh1t, my house is 1 km from your office), and THEN 2 days later after he thinks he has “greased the wheels” I get another call asking me to research poop scoops!

    I know I`m supposed to be NC but honestly, please can I just have permission to take these calls and emails because this is so damn funny now in the cold light of day, I can`t believe the nerve of this guy!!! What would my girlfriends and I have to laugh about if I went NC on this guy???!

    • Gayle says:


      Sorry, but I don’t know why you would waste your time with this?

      It sounds to me like another way to stay connected, if you were really over him, you wouldn’t fool around with this. Also, by taking his calls. you’re only feeding his ego.

      • nubienne says:

        I agree, watch out, because while it can be amusing, you are only feeding in to their vicious cycle. My ex-EUM began recontacting me after I foolishly broke NC (to try to have one last booty call, yes, I was dickmotised!) only for him to then try to reject me again and then he begin sending bizzare ambiguous messages. At first I wasn’t going to respond because it was amusing but I noticed how my adrenaline rushed when I got messages from him, and I knew that there was something sick going on deep in my subconscience. Just because we intellectually know someone is wrong from us, it doesn’t mean we wont keep feeling for them. I also noticed that when I initially broke NC and scheduled a booty call with him my stomach immediately tied in knots and I felt physically sick.

        Anyhow, I decided to stop participating and so sent a last message and now will not respond to anything. Better to cut him off so that you don’t waste your time, even the time you spend thinking and reading his messages is time you could be doing something else!

  24. Eve says:


    All these replys are getting confusing! :-)

    It is very difficult to communicate in a way that feels good to use when someone is communicating in their way. It’s like we’re speaking two different languages. They may need a shoulder to cry on – they may also need someone to turn round and say snap out of it. Sometimes doing the contrary of what is expected gets results.

    of course it doesn’t excuse shitty behaviour.

    I’ve found some very good insight here

    • sofie says:

      Thank you Eve, for the links and such.
      I know for myself, working on my own issues, as many people do or should, is a big thing to be considered. If we were all emotionaly healthy and steady persons on a daily basis, we wouldn’t seek for explanations or insight this much, like some of us do right here. It would come from within naturally, without doubting what comes to mind.
      However I do know, in my own situation, I am not ready to call my ex an AC, to come back to the article above, allthough I still believe he didn’t treat me in a fair way and doesn’t make the effort to even try to acknowledge the slightest aspect of my feelings, maybe he thinks he does, and maybe he tells his friends that he really tried, but I have not seen, heard or felt this effort. Literaly not. Not in my head or my fantasy, just simply NOT.
      So I guess I’m just being swept from left to right on what to think about him.
      He would not use lame excuses to get out of things, get all closed up on me nor would he be ‘typical’ in his manlike behaviour. Quite the opposite actualy :-)
      Saying or stating, men tend to be more like this and women tend to be more like that, may well be true, but this is just not a quarrel over the choice of dinner.
      It is being able to merely recognise when your partner is in distress and when so, making the simple effort to try and find out why.
      I love the nature of men, I like a strong man and him being that ‘Man’ but in my view, a ‘Real Man’ is also in balance with his feminin side. This is 2010, they can also read stuff and project, feel insecure, rethink things and come to terms.
      When they don’t it is no longer a ‘programmed biological thinking pattern’, to me it seems more of a choice.
      It becomes more clear to me, that in my situation, I have met someone who is gentle by nature but lacks any ability to show this gentleness further than his own doorstep. Not only now, but when I look back on it, in many of his relationships. After all, the woman who passed away and who he loved so dearly was barely two years in his life. What might have been the outcome, no one will ever know.
      I feel for him, because if you need to divide the nature of people into men and women, this is something a woman truely desires and will allways desire for from her spouse, attention and attentiveness.

      Cliche, but a woman is a flower who needs water, if not, she turns into a weed that is in many ways hard to get rid off and will stick around and get nasty untill she eventualy gives up and searches for god knows how many reasons why it didn’t work out. Like sites like these. (Why do men don’t search for answers on a scale this big ? And don’t they ? He would always laugh so hard if I said I searched for a tip/trick/solution/advice on the internet/blogging sphere)

      I know I have dealt with an EUM, but that doesn’t make him an AC right away.

      That, and many other things, makes this relationship very hard to swallow.

  25. Posh says:

    I so love Reading back on this site as it has given me so much strength I never knew I had! Now on the road to recovery from Assclown! I’ve been on no contact for 5 months and was tested at the weekend on a night out bumped in to AC whilst with friends he had the cheek to come over to my friends boyfriend to try and talk to him but he blanked him due to the way he treated me so he walked off! Then he had the nerve to ask me if I he had upset me and if he had he was sorry! I thought what the nerve of it I never replyed then I left then happened to see him again samenight stood with another victim poor girl he just stood there looking for me to give a reaction but I didn’t rise to it and walked off to enjoy the rest oft night! And boy it gavee such a boost knowing I so did the right thing in going NC it’s the only way forward to being happy there would of been a time i would of gone running to him but no more I’m a stronger person now due to this site a now know what I want and a big no no to AS thanks Nat

  26. shattered says:

    My EUM is definitely a prize Assclown. After several failed N/C attempts as he always got back in touch, I decided 3 weeks ago to finally end things and told him, Two weeks later he texted and phoned me several times and asked to see me. Stupidly I agreed – he asked me to marry him as he wanted to settle down. Stunned I asked him if he was sure about this and he assured me he was. Three days later – he told me he wasn’t ready to be with just one person. Since then he’s said he didn’t mean that. I’ve seen him twice in the last week and left with his vague’ see you next week sometime’. I feel so stupid and angry with him. Obviously he’s got someone else on the go. I don’t know whether to just ignore him completely or tell him that as he’s so undecisive I need to move on. I feel I have to have the last word (although I’ve done this several times in the last year and he tells me we’ll always end up back together.) I feel as if somehow I’ve ‘lost’ and that I’ve been duped yet again. Will I ever get him out of my system and realise he’s just a liar. He’s very plausible and seems very sincere when he says things. I know I need to be stronger but I always think that ‘this time he means it’. How can I overcome being so gullible and available.

    • judy says:

      I am sorry to be blunt, but please move on.

      My dear, please drop this person with a kind note, email, in person, whatever do it nicely but finally end it completely. Do not entertain a man for one minute longer who pushes and pulls and tools you like this. You will ruin your life and lose your emotional and mental health, eventually it will affect your physical body and your money flow. You will lose your friends because it will stress you to a point, you will become unbearable. You will look back at weeks, months, years possibly of your life lost to a tailspin from a reckless driver.

      There are millions of men out there all over the world in the country, in the city, out of work, in work, on the internet, on the street, men that ride in trucks, men that ride in cars, men that wear white shirts, men that wear blue shirts…. I bet at least 100,000 of them would not pull this stunt.

      The best place to be is when it doesn’t matter and you really don’t care nor need anyone, including a man. Then, the right one comes along like a little birdie tweet tweet.

      Do not waste one more minute of your precious life.

      • Elle says:

        Yeah, run now when the costs for you, while significant, aren’t astronomical. The guy sounds like a candidate for jilting someone at the altar or leaving the mother of his child because she’s too tired to tend to his needs. He is a TWERP, without any sense of honour. There is real responsibility attached to a proposal. It’s not something you just say one day, and then renege another. Honestly, I would see him in your mind in a clown outfit because he is playing genuine party tricks, whether he believes his crap or not.

        As this site affirms: actions over words. You don’t believe him because his actions don’t match the dribble that comes out of his mouth. You need to run away…and, in time, you will be able to see things more clearly. But, right now, you just have to take it in good faith that it’s the only thing to do.

    • Enlightened says:

      Hi Shattered,

      The truth is…. you KNOW all the answers about him and what you should do. You’ve known for a long time. We can’t tell you anything more on that point.

      You need to STOP playing games with yourself and take action to COMMIT to yourself and your own happiness and stick with it.

      You are expecting someone to commit to you when you can’t even commit to you. Because you have not committed to yourself, you are hung up on a guy that WILL NEVER give you what you SAY you want. However, he is absolutely giving you what you really feel inside about yourself…. a lack of commitment. He is mirroring exactly how you feel about yourself. If you were committed to yourself, you wouldn’t be entertaining such an immature man who can only repeatedly BLATANTLY let you down. That is complete time wasting.

      If you are finding it difficult to make progress forward, invest in some quality counselling support.

  27. Allison says:

    I agree with Enlightened!

    You know he’s a “prize Assclown” but are choosing to stick around for the same old, same old.

    You need to ask yourself why this is all you want? This isn’t about him, but why you choose to stick around for someone who has shown you who they are.

  28. shattered says:

    Yes you are right. I need to be committed to myself and my own well being. I’m feeling angry now that after being strong and accepting that it was over, I allowed myself to be duped yet again. No more. As NML says , EUMs are all about whims and short term highs. Thanks for all your insights.

    • Enlightened says:

      You go girl!

      We fall, we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves down and we simply move forward and leave behind the mistakes of the past.

  29. BlahbLahBlahDarkSide says:


    When I’d speak to my ex he’d constantly say, “and you have expectations” as a response to my statements. He wouldn’t say that as an agreement, he’d say it as a defense. When I’d tell him that I valued the relationship and wanted to stay with him, he’d bring up the fact that I have expecations and made it VERY clear he HATED expectations. Before we broke up we had a fight and he told me that I shouldn’t come back unless I come back in a better mood. Is he just unavailable or also an assclown?

    • Allison says:

      He sounds like a total waste of time!

      This guy will never give you or anyone else what they need in a relationship. How old is he? And how long did you date?

      You’re lucky to be rid of this one!

      • BlahbLahBlahDarkSide says:

        He’s in his 30s now but he was in his late 20s when we dated. We dated for roughly over a year. I’ll tell you the pain I felt after being with him…I could crash my bike 50 times and it probably wouldn’t be as bad…

        • judy says:

          Blah blah

          The Pathwork of Transformation by Eva Pierrakos is an interesting study because she talks about the inner child not wanting to fail. That kind of pain you wrote about after this guy rejected and mistreated you might be the pain of not wanting to fail. I really doubt that you are a masochist and enjoying the pain from this person. You want him to approve of you and he doesn’t. What is so refreshing is when you get to the point in life when you don’t give a damn what others and I mean others general think about you. I am finally getting there and it feels really great. Imagine for a minute or two this man and how he has treated you and you don’t feel pain but inner bliss for being alive and being you. He doesn’t mean a thing but he has been valuable for you to learn this lesson in this lifetime. You must learn this and not let people hurt you with their rejection. When you get this, you will feel good.

        • Allison says:


          I can relate! Just be glad he’s no longer around. When you have an attitude like this, it only translates to every aspect of your life: I’m certain he can’t be depended on for anything.

          Make this one a life lesson, so that you never have to experience this type of pain again.

          • BlahbLahBlahDarkSide says:

            Thanks you guys. You know one of the biggest problems I have with giving myself closure in this relationship is the realization that he doesn’t hold all the blame (even if he is an assclown/mr unavail.). I learned that generally from life–that people aren’t responsible for my emotions, etc. Although deep down inside I can’t imagine any humanly future with him because of what he says and does (mainly the issue of him hating expectations and mutual reciprocations). The last couple of months he’d just leave whenever I’d push an issue. Some of those times were confrontations but an equal number of times I truly, geninely wanted to sit down and just talk to him about something that was bothering me or leaving me insecure. And some of those unconfrontational times when I just wanted to talk, it would somehow escalate to a fight and he’d just leave…

            Till this day I feel like… he’s justified for leaving… I don’t even know if I would have listened to myself. Perhaps I am being too harsh.

  30. Allison says:


    Time away from this individual will give you clarity. I hope you have gone complete NC?????

    • BlahbLahBlahDarkSide says:

      It has been years since I last spoke to him…

      He’s one haunty bastard…

      • Enlightened says:


        If it has been ‘years’ since you last spoke to him…….

        Maybe the excruciating pain that you say you felt about this relationship was not actually about him but about something that your interaction with him, triggered that was within you.

        You speak about him as if this was something that was relatively fresh…..however, years have gone by. He is living his life out there somewhere (maybe wreaking havoc in someone else’s life…… maybe not….. who cares? Who gives a damn? It’s not your problem).

        The point is, that relationship is very much in the past but you are taking all the negativity that you felt you experienced with it and you are bringing into your FUTURE, reliving it and replaying it in detail, speaking in the present tense about it and STILL looking for answers for that relationship, instead of letting it go, years on.

        This is NOT good for you, your peace of mind or your happiness.

        You are giving his memory WAY too much ‘power’.

        Hon, you want to be in a position where years on, you barely remember his name. When a girlfriend says to you…. ‘Remember such and such?’ Then you say, ‘WHO?’….. because it genuinely does not register because he’s the LAST person you would be thinking about in 2010. Especially as so much has happened in life, in between, in all those years that have passed.

        You and your life are worth more than the sum of this past relationship.

  31. judy says:

    he probably doesn’t care. i am sorry to be bothersome. i can’t imagine he cares at all. ruff stuff but possibly true. cant be bothered with issues. the best way to get on with a guy like this is to mirror him – have no concerns, no hang ups, no yearnings, no criticisms. just swing from a tree like a monkey, play cards and drink whiskey. don’t talk about feelings or needs! never yucky stuff. different language, don’t understand and dont want to understand. dont like it.

    until they get hit with loss or pain, some people are childish and possibly narcisstic for quite a while. they don’t feel or unable to discuss feelings. so they have no empathy for your feelings. its not a good match for a feeling, emotional, sensitive woman.

    • BlahbLahBlahDarkSide says:

      Sometimes I’m appalled at the things he WAS there for. It confuses me sometimes. I can’t say he was 100% dismissive, but during the last 6-8 months he was much more dismissive than before, although he came through a few times and did well. It makes me wonder exactly why he came through and if I did anything to make him act differently all those other times. Why was I deserving those few times it seemed like he genuinely loved me and came through for me? Was I undeserving the rest of the time?

      Judy, you are saying he’s still a kid emotionally. If this is the case then he’s never been any better and probably never will be until something clicks. If I could trust in that and eliminate my own responsibility in what made the relationship go wrong, I’d probably be the same person I always was. If I could magically somehow find the truth in betwen his childishness and my own responsibility in the relationship–perhaps I can be relieved. I need to figure out the objective in between all the sides and stories…

      • Allison says:

        How long has it been since you’ve spoken with him? How long were you together?

        Are you seeking counseling to deal with issues of low self-esteem????

      • judy says:

        i hate that feeling when you beat yourself up for losing someone. i did some wacky stuff because i was so needy and dependent and immature and believe me, i drove an army away.

        you do get to a point where you really don’t give a damn. it took me a long while as i had a ruff childhood and emotionally i was too dependent, really bad. when i finally got my teeth into this knowledge my feelings about myself, my life and my past improved.

        i dont what you can do about relieving this burden, i dont think it has to do with him but some old guilt business you have to learn, so you have to eat this for a while. go in and in, maybe think and obsess over it for a while until you get so sick of it you are over it. like taking an alcoholic out to get sick drunk to get him to quit. might work. good luck

  32. Elle says:

    I hate that feeling too, Blah blah. I am figuring that we will never know these things for sure, because we might bring shit to the table or we might bring what we think is an open, mature heart, but if two people aren’t healthy, strong and loving, there is always something that doesn’t work, no matter what. You may have been super needy (:)) at times, but his erratic behaviour may have created and certainly at least exacerbated things. You can’t really know.

    So I don’t know if it matters how we precisely divide up the responsibility, because we can only really take one or two simple lessons – any more and I think we’re being too hard on ourselves and therefore remaining in a state of classic AC-bait.

    I think we have to see the innocence in what we do and who we are. Most of us are doing our best, trying to be better at being ourselves, better at giving and receiving love, and we almost invariably have to have a few dud runs along the way. I think getting stuck on blame and who is right and other related issues is good for some time – so that you can isolate your lessons for the future, the parts of yourself that may need some work, and also see the crap they were bringing to the relationship and not take it all on – but, over time, I think (and hope) that these responsibility questions soften to issues of reducing fear, and increasing self-worth, a healthy detachment, consciousness and, as Judy says, inner bliss. The responsibility/blame constructs come from the same tree of shit feelings as the need for approval, quick attachment, devastation at rejection.

    I say this as someone learning these things…again…

    • BlahbLahBlahDarkSide says:

      I see where all of you are coming from, but I think one of the most important lessons Natalie has tried to teach us over the years is that we aren’t “too needy” or “clingy”. In her posts about feeling rejected by EUMs, she emphasizes that EUMs and assclowns are marked by their complete and utter disgust for expections, future plans, losing control, and others. For someone to be too needy in the eyes of someone else who will leave at the drop of a hat, you wouldn’t have to be very demanding…

      I intentionally went over some of these posts today because I think life made it easier for me. My ex said it to my face–he doesn’t want expectations and I had them. Can he get any more clear? I need to stop blaming myself. Because even if I do go over the coulda shoulda woulda’s, then I’d realize had I been different, then he probably would have been too–and we’d still be together today. I guess that’s the big point in my story. I did the best I could even if I had control issues, security issues, abandonment issues and the like. It took me this long to realize them but even then when I didn’t realize them as much I still knew other things. I still had my morals, my values. The only difference is that now they’re conscious–they’re stronger.

      • Wised_Up says:

        @ BlahbLahBlahDarkSide,

        I basically had the exact same experience (surprise, surprise) with my former AC/EUM! When we were attempting friendship (a foolish error on my part) back in May/early June, he told me that the reason things were going to work this time around was that “nobody had any expectations.” I corrected him and said that I always have expectations in any relationship with another human being–at least for trust, basic care and respect! Talk about the outrageous principle! The “manslation” of that is simple: don’t expect because I can’t deliver and, though I’d like you to be my friend and accept these shoddy terms, I really don’t have “expectations” of you either (it doesn’t even make sense because expectations are a quintessential part of the human experience, but to try to wrap to wrap your brain around this nonsense is like beating your head against a wall). These men could write a whole new dictionary and put Oxford out of business with the way they redefine words.

        But I guess the point is that we’re allowed to need and want; it’s natural and good. We just need to be more wise about who we ask to deliver and learn to opt out when people consistently show an inability to meet our needs, instead of letting our expectations go unmet. It’s just a painful lesson to learn because, with these men, there are so many layers of deceit–theirs, ours, etc.–to unravel and to find steady ground again takes real effort.

        Coming out on the other side, however, and learning to call a spade and spade, to take responsibility for yourself and your actions and to forgive yourself your mistakes, is a really amazing thing. In some ways, even if we’re all ultimately works in progress and we’ll stumble again (but hopefully not as ignorantly or as badly), it makes the whole experience worthwhile.

      • Elle says:

        Blahblah – totally with you. What didn’t come across in my post was my tone: was being tongue-in-cheek when said ‘super needy’ (was trying to take it to the extreme for sake of argument.). I completely agree – it doesn’t matter on what spectrum of the emotional band you fall with these people, they simply can’t cope with it. I had way more intimacy issues in my early 20s but, fortunately, had a very mature, emotionally stable boyfriend (which, of course, ultimately suffered from other problems because of the inequality there). Now, I would see myself as pretty stable, relatively speaking, but my recent ex-AC couldn’t, like yours, cope with any emotional expectations and demands, right down to asking for mild reassurance about the relationship or my value in his life. He panicked and framed it as bratty. What obviously didn’t come across in my message was not to blame yourself because whatever you brought to the table was going to get either magnified, messed up or thrown back at you by this guy. And the stuff you brought was not unkind or degrading to him. It was just the stuff that we all have to deal with in life. You sound like you’re on your way to knowing that! Good luck

  33. JJ says:

    @ Judy great great point that you made. Until they(ass clown; nar’s and EUM’s) get hit with their own pain or loss they are not going to have any empathy for your feelings. I think I now since that from my own ass clown narcissicist ex who I cut contact with for 4 months to be exact. I never broke NC(neither did he until June) when he just started calling me out of the blue. I don’t understand how you can go 4 months after you degraded someone with your demeaning words to never apologizing or phoning them and after the 3 month mark hits you decide you can just pop back up like nothing ever happened. He’s been calling me since July 29th and I haven’t answered his call not once. He’ll call on and off again every other week and its usually the same day. I don’t even answer my phone but something in me tells me this is my dam phone; I pay the bill and I should be able to answer even when he does call and tell him to F… off and stop dialing my dam number but another part of me says why bother. Just don’t answer. The things he said and how he treated me; he doesn’t even deserve to hear my voice. NC and this site was a life saver for me. I know that I could never go back wards; but only forward from hear. Stay the course and keep NC ladies if you’re dealing with any of these type of men and trust me you’ll see the difference. Why would you wanna look back when your future of finally meeting the right man is never behind you anyway. Keep pushing forward; never looking back.

    • Enlightened says:

      Great points you’ve made too JJ!

      Stick with the No Contact. It is so tempting to pick up the phone and tell your ex to ‘F— Off and never call my home again you dysfunctional, messed up idiot!’ However, in those few seconds he will grab that opportunity with all his might to missile you and say something that will have nothing but a complete negative effect on you and it will be back to square one!

      No contact is better for your well being. It has the by product of taking away their power over you and that is what frustrates them and is a MAJOR motivation to why they call, to see if they can REGAIN that control. If they find that they can in some way, it is a massive EGO stroke for them. Just you answering sends out a message to their screwed up minds that you want them, even if you have very much moved on.

      It is not about you. Don’t make the fatal mistake of thinking it is because they miss YOU. It is never about YOU. It is and will always be about their inner needs at that specific moment.

      That is the reason why some can pop up out of the blue months later as if nothing happened when it suits them.

  34. JJ says:

    And the thing is I know that it takes longer than 3 to 4 months for a man particularly a narcissists to change his ways and deal with his issues and in most cases they never do change. His issues were already there before we met. He basically phoned me simply because he had ran out of his supply and he wanted to see if he could get whatever he could get out of me if I allowed it. I never even opened the door. When you don’t open the door back up from the beginning you have nothing to worry about. Leave it closed.

  35. Cherry Kook says:

    I need help.

    I posted on here a while ago on another thread, and still didnt learn my lesson. I had been with my ex boyfriend for 2 years until last wednesday, and he has hurt me beyond belief. I am a complete wreck. I am 25, fun, beautiful, intelligent, creative and so much more, but my self esteem, confidence and self worth are now at an all time low.

    Like all these guys he was very full on at the beginning and then started playing games and messing with my head. He has broke up with me about 40 times in the 2 years I have known him and every time he gets back in touch after about 4 days and I go back to him every time. He promises me the world and more and then as soon as I start to challenge him about what he said a few days earlier after his mood has changed he gets angry, aggressive and walks out the room. He has said the most hurtful things to me and I cant see a way out of how I feel. I have become obsessed with him and the relationship. He accuses me of being needy and too intense, but cannot see that I am like that because he plays me like a puppet on a string.

    He talks about the future on his terms and his selfishness has no bounds. I read the No Contact Rule and MR U and the Fallback Girl and I STILL went back to him. I know there must be a reason I stay with someone who treats me this way, and after some soul searching I can only put it down to the relationship I have with my father, who is an alcoholic and who has put me down and made me feel inferior all my life. My mum has stayed with him for 36 years even though he has behaved like a Jekyll and Hyde, insulted her, is selfish and always the victim. I have always searched for acceptance and aimed to please, always given more in relationships, both platonic and romantic and am a very loving, kind person. He tells me that im the best thing to ever happen to him, that he loves me more than anything, that he knows he will never meet anyone like me, then a week, or days down the line changes his mind and says he doesnt want anything to do with me. I am left confused, broken and a mess.

    The latest situation is that he wanted to go on a break, so that i could figure MY ISSUES out and become a stronger person!! I embraced the break and didnt contact him, went to the doctors who diagnosed me with extreme depression and referred me for psychotherapy. Only 2 days in and he called me at daft o clock in the morning saying how much he loved me and how much he wanted it to work, he then called me the next day for an hour and a half and said the same and gave me the indication we would get back together. I went round the following night and things were fine, this was last saturday. On the wednesday he said that he hadnt missed me, was only using me for sex and didnt want to be with me and that it was over. He said he didnt want to talk about it and that he had nothing more to say on the matter, and again when I challenged him about what he had said, he got up and went to walk out. I was doing well with N/C and had a moment of weakness on saturday night when drunk and called him. Needless to say he didnt answer, which looking back was a good thing. Im trying to move on and then yesterday my good friend contacts me saying that he added her as a friend and messaged her on facebook, he has only met her twice! I was so hurt and angry at this, I couldnt believe he could be so insensitive and stoop so low. I rang him and asked why he did this, and he said he could do what he wants! Why when I am hurting so much does he want to dig the knife in even further. He text me saying he was sorry and that he shouldnt have done it, to which i replied ‘f*** you, you cruel heartless ba*****d’. A mutual friend told me he was genuinely sorry and remorseful, but I have to wonder if this is only because he got found out.

    He has a bad past and the relationship with the women in his life were strained, his mother, his sister and his first gf who hurt him. His parents had a very dysfunctional relationship and there was no emotional awareness with him growing up. He hadnt had a relationship for 9 years until he met me. He is now 30 and I think is a narcassist and commitment phobic. He displays every trait of a typical EUM. He is possibly the most selfish person I have ever met in my life. He was seeing a therapist for 5 months but then stopped suddenly, saying that there was nothing wrong with him when he met me and nothing wrong with him now. That I am the one with the issues and that im not the one for him, and he will settle down when he meets ‘the one’.

    I cannot describe the pain, hurt and humiliation I feel. I feel like a part of me is dying and I cannot see outside how I feel. Everything in my world has come crashing down around me, all because of him. All I want to do is talk about it. I have read more information on the internet and books on this than anything and I am driving myself insane. Why cant i see him for what he is and move on with my life? I understand what he is yet I still love him and waiting for him to realise that he does love me. How stupid am I?!?! I know he will get in touch because he is so predictable in being unpredictable. Why do I wait around for someone that doesnt give a shit about anyone other than himself, that doesnt want to be with me and treats me like dirt.

    I dont know who to turn to or what to do anymore.

    • Grace says:

      He CAN do what he wants. And so can you. IE get out, get out, run! And for what it’s worth he doesn’t love you.

    • Eve says:

      “On the wednesday he said that he hadnt missed me, was only using me for sex and didnt want to be with me and that it was over. He said he didnt want to talk about it and that he had nothing more to say on the matter, and again when I challenged him about what he had said, he got up and went to walk out.”

      He sounds horrible.

      Tell your friend you don’t want to know what he is doing, you do not want updates on his profile. Tell your friend he has gone too far. It is over. If they run back and tell him then so what? You really REALLY need to stand firm with NC. He is most likely feeling a bit guilty because he got found out but y’know what, saying sorry means nothing, feeling guilty means nothing. You know why? Feeling guilty never STOPPED anyone from doing anything.

      “Why do I wait around for someone that doesnt give a shit about anyone other than himself, that doesnt want to be with me and treats me like dirt. ”

      Only you can answer that. Are you waiting for him to see what a wonderful catch you are?

      Post here if you feel like venting some more.

    • Nicole says:

      Dear Cherry Kook,

      What you are describing in your relationship sounds like it is very damaging to you. I understand how it can make you crazy. And it will. And it will only get worse the longer you let it go on. I know the pain of separation from him is probably unbearable, and so every time he calls, you want relief from that pain, and it seems like he is the answer. In fact, you probably do feel relief for a little bit, until he does it again.

      Contrary to what you feel may bring relief, the answer is not him. You do see him clearly already, so I don’t think that is the answer either. It sounds more like he is heroin to you. You know he isn’t good for you, but cannot quit him.

      It will hurt like hell to stay away, but then it WILL get better. You have a choice between the roller coaster pain and slow erosion of your mental health, or the one-time pain of grieving, and recovering your mental health.

      Because you are the one suffering such mental anguish, it’s easy to buy into his accusations that you are the problem. You may both have issues (we ALL do), but do not let him for one second make you doubt your sanity. You were sane enough to seek professional help. He thinks he does not need it.

      I hope that you will continue therapy, as it will provide you a great source of support to get over him.

    • judy says:

      My dear, I am 50 and spent 35 years self destructing with men. I am well now and need to spend an enormous amount of time forgiving myself for losing my beautiful youth. Life lessons. I think the realization and the reaching out is a very, very good step. You have life lessons to learn, do not panic. All will be well.

      Think of yourself like a bank account – with psychic and emotional deposits and withdrawals. Too many withdrawals cause depression. Brain chemistry gone awry and very real. It sounds like you know this already.

      We all want to help you on this site and we are all pulling for you. There is no magic bullet but there is a fork in the road. One road is what you know and have done and the other is the unknown and the new. The other road which does not repeat the past with this man is your dream life, your dream self and health. But remember it comes from work and nothing is perfect so don’t panic. Breathe. Pray.

      How to get help and change your past, your patterns and this unhealthy dependency is up to you. Learn from what works and what does not work. Whatever it takes find independence. You are an adult now and there is no need to repeat the patterns of your parents.

      You may think the man you are involved with has the answer to yourself and your life. Its the dependency that causes this, you are lost and will find yourself. When you find yourself and you will, you will realize you are the most important person on this universe and no one can bring you down. Discipline yourself, be kind to yourself. Believe, you can do it Cherry! Very best of luck.

    • judy says:

      cherry, this is for you again.

      attempt to solve a problem by getting into something else like dance, dog training, ornithology, yoga teacher training.

      an immersion to enrich your life and expand your mind and skills. these are the things you will be grateful for in 10, 20 years. these are the keepers.

      i wrote a line for myself that is my motto this week “How I survived a difficult past and am creating a dream life to live for myself”.

      I am still alone, no guy and all is well. take care

      • Elle says:

        Here, here!

      • aphrogirl says:

        Wow, two great comments, doubly great advice Judy. What is needed in any crazy situation is to find our wise, calm and stable center. Make no mistake, that has to come from within. You can ask for help from any higher power but you need to find the calm within yourself.

        If you are romantically involved with a crazymaker, finding your own calm is nothing short of essential and lifesaving. I agree that yoga or meditation are two fairly accessible tools to help you get to stability.Stability then lets you take a hard look at the reality of what the relationship is doing to you.

    • billy says:

      Cherry Kook,

      You poor thing. I know exactly how you feel, and I think I know why you feel it, at least this is what it was for me: You’re making it all about him. You’re relying on him for your own emotional well being. When he’s nice, you’re happy. When he’s not, you’re miserable. I was in a very similar situation for a long time, and it sucks. For me, it was very easy to fix with the guidance of a good therapist.

      Stop making it about him! Live your own life. Take care of yourself, just like Natalie’s always saying. You and he are separate entities. You will never be one.

      What you need to do, in my opinion, is pretend he does not exist. Open yourself to love. Drain this poison from your soul and your life. This guy is a dick. You don’t need him to validate you. I will bet that the instant you can come to grips with the fact that you are your own person and do not need him for anything, your life will improve. I will bet that the instant you kick his pathetic ass out of your life and decide to go after the kind of caring, trusting, healthy love that we all visualize and deserve, you will find it… or it will find you.

      Even if you live without a romantic partner for a while, it will be better than what you have now. Shut this bastard out of your life and BE YOUR OWN WOMAN!

      It’s not even that hard to do. It’s your mind. Focus it on something good for you, not this jerk. Good luck to you.

  36. Elle says:

    CK, I am sure a lot of people on this site feel for you. It SUCKS. I, for one, can relate to that feeling of wanting a man to make right a wrong relationship I had with my father growing up, and it was a real wake-up call that after a few relationships with very lovely men, it was my first AC that seemed, in my mind, THE ONE. That is mental. I am so glad that I have had some space from him and can see that I was putting myself in a situation that could have replayed a sh*t situation when, in fact, what I want in my life is a man who is emotionally stable, kind and who likes himself. Life’s far too challenging and short to be with these energy-sappers, to have your relationship be a game, and one you can NEVER win. I suspect you’re trying to heal stuff through this no-win situation. As with all of us (female and male), we need to sort this stuff on our own – it would be nice to do this with the loving support in the form of a (good-hearted) partner, but it is not necessary, and, in some cases, can be counter-productive.

    You need a clear circuit breaker from all of this. As a short-term measure, is there any way you could go away for a week or two? And somehow make it impossible for you to take his calls? I am sure this guy has some positive qualities, but, overall, he sounds like a nutter. Nutters sabotage relationships. It doesn’t matter that you can understand why he is like this – that’s for him or his therapist. Pity is not love! RUN AWAY!

    One phrase I really like is ‘punch your own ticket’ – meaning you may desire approval, but never make it a necessity, because you know you’re OK and you are the biggest expert on you. Never allow anyone else’s opinion to be more important than your own. Once you punch your own ticket, you start to attract people who see you on that higher level of awareness and acceptance.

    All the best

  37. Elle says:

    Oh, another thing that has helped me when I start to feel angry or fester is: ‘Is this guy really responsible for my happiness?’ The answer, of course, is NO. The humiliation and pain are buggers, and you’re allowed to feel bad about that for some time, but I think, at some point, feeling sad about it is a way of not taking responsibility for your own well-being. He is not your way out of this, I assure you…

    You probably should keep seeing a therapist and try, if you can, to take yourself to a new level of loving yourself, of feeling good, of relating to others. Look after yourself like you have never before. You’re a gem.

  38. Elle says:

    But, CK, right now – while in that hideous depressed state (and I was in that for 10 days….at one point had this confused kind of ‘am I going to die?’ primal panic), best to see it as the other women have suggested: as a kind of addiction you need to get off/ detox from. So set small tasks, like getting through the rest of the week, then two weeks, then a month, then another. After a couple of months of NC (and lots of self-love and some therapy) you should see things rather differently and will be able to set bigger chunks of NC and, most importantly, make goals that have NOTHING to do with him…I hope so…

    • Grace says:

      Also, CK, can you go away for a couple of weeks? Maybe visit friends or go camping. A complete change of scene where he is not around will help you get through the first week or two of NC (the worst bit).

  39. Fearless says:

    Hey Cherry,
    you poor wee sausage…you are caught up in a cycle of self destruction. Take your finger OFF the button. Nothing bad will happen!
    You are constantly trying to alleviate your feelings of rejection. That is why you keep ‘going back’ – to stop the hurt you feel that comes from his refusal to love you or to, at least in your mind, his depriving you of his love .
    The way through is to realise that he is not rejecting you; you are!! He is not capable of loving you, he does not love you, he cannot love you, ergo, he is not capable of rejecting you; he is not rejecting you; he is not depriving you of love – you are! He does not give you love, so he cannot take it away! Love yourself!Seriously, this is the answer – learn to feel love and care and concern for YOURSELF! Lokk at all the wonderful things you said in your post to descibe yourself. Believe it! It is true. His opinion is worthless. He doesn’t even have one that has anything in the world to do with you.
    You cannot control the actions of others; you can though control your own. Get in control of your actions and your feelings about YOU -not about him.
    You are responsible for what goes on in your own head, no-one else.Shut down the negative thoughts. Allow only positive thought into your head.
    Read Susan Jeffer’s “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway”. And anything else that will help you to fix and mend your own view of yourself and your fears – don’t read anything else about his problems! And nothing else that tells you what a ‘victim’ you are making of yourself – start to find out NOW how to feel less afraid, more powerful and confident in you and in what a wonderful human being you are.
    ‘The best way out is always through’ – Helen Keller.


    OMG this has been so insightful as am going through the exact same plight as with most of you guys…having recently ended a physically abusive marraige and feeling rather vulnerable,by some form of serendipity came across this guy..said the right things..I feel for him quite fast ..cant say I blame him entirely for my misery bcos he warned me from the on set that he had never been in love..I ve been seeing him for about five months..five months of hell..he never calls unless he wants something..Iam having such a hard hard time ending it….partly bcos he is an incredible lover (never experienced such level of intimacy with anyone before)…several times I ve resolved to end it but I find myself calling him after a few days and literally begging for sex..I feel self loath at how low I ve condescended…I need encouragement as to how to tackle this situation that has belabored me…I need to stop wanting him so much..loving him so much..needing so much…

    • Allison says:

      How can there be intimacy if you have been reduced to a booty call??? This only sex! This guy is totally using you, I would hope you would want a reciprocal relationship?

      You remove yourself from this hell by going NC. Delete all his contact info, and block all forms of communication. If you don’t, you will continue to erode what little self worth you have left. Please seek some counseling!

  41. Fearless says:


    final thoughts:

    This guy who thinks it’s okay to fire insults at you does not love you and does not reject you. He is doing neither of those things. The “rejection” is all in your own head. The reality, if you like is even worse (but much better!)… your are pining for something that doesn’t exist. You are hurting because someone who doesn’t have a pepperoni pizza will not give it to you and everytime they give you plain cheese pizza with double shit and then tke it away you feel they have refused you the pepperoni cos ‘you’re not worth it’! HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY PEPPERONI PIZZA!! Try another restaurant or eat at home!
    Love to you. Love is out there (just not where you think it is, but it is also IN there (i.e. you have love tooo!! Take it!)

    • Elle says:

      Love this pizza extended metaphor! You’re a legend, Fearless. I have been thinking about that a lot too lately – that idea of someone who has never really loved or accepted you actually being incapable of rejecting you, and the leap is in realising and internalising that their choice not to love and accept you wasn’t about you, it was about them being so well-versed in criticising, withdrawing, self-defending (because of their own weird self-relationship, role models and childhood rubbish) that they literally don’t even get to a point where they are offering you love. I have to work harder on knowing this. It makes sense – I have had a boyfriend who loved me, but we were not compatible in what we wanted practically out of life. That feels very different to my most recent ex who actually said that his impulse was to drag me down. I was definitely in love with the fantasy, the pepperoni extravaganza, the hint of potential he showed me at the start with his chase, his promises, his vows of love and commitment, but love wasn’t ever, truly, on the plate…and it’s taken me a couple of months to work that out. (although, of course, he says, it was a mere personality clash!)

      As for Hurt and Confused – I really do think that ACs and EUMs tend to be good in bed (I say this from my sample size of one, but it seems to be a trend in these comments). It’s tempting to romanticise this as their one way of communicating, but it’s actually just our one way of getting anything from them. And it’s so limited. It’s just not enough. I have had good sex in a loving relationship and that’s just supremely better…None of the emptiness, self-doubt and addiction feelings (or fewer addiction feelings). You need some time, HAC, to reblance and process your marriage properly so that you meet someone when you’re more stable and have a keener sense of your worth, your independence and what’s acceptable to you. Good luck!

  42. Fearless says:

    Dear Hurt and Confused (and no bloody wonder!)

    You want to order a shit (jobbie) sandwich don’t be shocked when the waiter brings you one!
    You need to decide what means more to you – sex or self worth. Your choice.
    xx Love.

  43. Allison says:


    You said it had been years since you had spoken to him, I don’t understand why you’re still focusing on this???? This stuff should not be a concern.

    Are you getting counseling???

  44. Elle says:

    Blahblah – It’s awful being in that state of worrying about details. These details don’t matter in a relationship when the bigger things are there. I assure you, whether you fulfilled his request or not, whether the request was in the context reasonable or absolutely shit, the outcome would be no different, as there was, from what you’ve said, no real listening and care going on.

    I said this in a recent comment – that when there’s no overarching respect, everything becomes so scrappy. When you’re worrying about these very low-order details, you’re choosing not to look at and accept the big picture, that things just weren’t working and they probably were never going to work because there was something unhealthy from both of you – if only that it was him being an AC and you accepting AC behaviour. If you can, you somehow need to back your judgment on the big picture, and then let the small stuff drip away.

    I wrote this down a month ago (sourced from bits n bobs on the web) and it helped me:

    1) Accept that I have been hurt, but that it’s OVER
    2) Accept what is REAL – ie my actions, his actions, warning signs I missed or overlooked, that I idealized my ex, that continued suffering is a choice to avoid life, that rejection is merely the absence of approval, but you can’t be rejected if you’ve never been accepted.
    3) Lessons for the future – What are my deep relationship needs? How do I define love? Is there anything I fear about a long-term relationship? How is my self-esteem doing? Do I accept myself? How can I practise being rejected and rejecting honestly and without such attachment? How do I give and receive love?
    4) Take myself to a new level of self-love – find new ways of taking care of myself, feeling good, paying attention to me, dancing, moving, bringing in newness.

    I find I can’t tackle all of them at once, that certain questions are more or less helpful at different times, and I still need to look at a few, especially number 3, but it’s been a way forward for me. Obsessing about the details of an argument or what was said just takes you back to pain, but, in a sneaky way, actually away from the real pain (or self-development and growth) required to get through this. The past really is an illusion, so try, if you can, to really think about what’s going on in your present. Sounds trite, but it really is the test of things – the sum of our past and the likelihood of the future are found in the present.

    • shattered says:

      Reading everyone’s experiences of EUMs and ACs has helped me. After his push/pull/hot/cold behaviour yet again I did send him an angry text then received a bland text back saying he was busy. last night I felt so used as he’d effectively dumped me that I sent a text saying we weren’t right for each other and should move on with other people and wished him well for the future and hoped that he wished the same for me – but that we wouldn’t see each other again. Of course he hasn’t replied. I know he’s seeing somone much younger and I know I’ve done the right thing. I just feel so rejected, sad and lost, especially knowing he’d moved on to someone while seeing me. I think its knowing that he really doesn’t give a damn about me (after saying he wanted to marry me two weeks ago) and is probably laughing to himself and having a great time with his new gf. I don’t want him back, but I feel like there’s a big hole in my life now. Did I really mean nothing at all to him? I know I’m obsessing and must stop but at the moment I can’t see how I’m going to move on and life seems bleak.

      • judy says:


        You are at a very sensitive time. These next few days and weeks leading to the first month are crucial. Finding your way.

        I am also a believer of “signs and symbols” on the road. He did not contact you – that is no beacon of light in the darkness, if he is willing to walk Ciao bello! and Next!

        You did the right thing, even if you may have break up texted to get a reaction, you weren’t happy. Bottom Line. You were not happy and You did the right thing.

        I recommend HIGHLY that you buy the NC ebook and read it, keep it on your desktop so that if you have a weak moment you read it and not text or pine. It was a huge help to me and I never broke NC – as well I am very much alone, working at home on a book and alone all day and I made it. No Contact is brilliant and cleansing. A new start, guaranteed!!!

        I will tell you from experience. When you get older you relish your time, and you relish your achievements. So please don’t burn up your precious, beautiful life dwelling on this for too long. You just broke up, so allow yourself some break up sadness a day or two. Then get down to the business of letting go. Get focused on yourself and take care. Read and nurture yourself, look ahead, don’t look back.

  45. Elle says:

    My man told me about a ring he’d bought for me three weeks before giving me the flick, and I suspect he’d already lined up someone else before me, and probably tells people that I was a marriage-hungry nutcase…even if he co-wrote that one! It sucks! But you have to try to realise that these people don’t get new relationship skills over night. They’re still giving, what Fearless calls, a double shit cheese pizza. My ex boyfriend, the one before my recent ex-AC, who knew and loved me well was pretty helpful to me. He said two simple things (that meant a lot because they were said from someone who knows me): why place a lot of stock on the opinion of a creep when you have on the other side of the scales, your opinion of yourself plus the opinions of dozens and dozens of loved ones? Second, YOU’RE NOT MISSING OUT! That’s a big one. There’s no scarcity principle at work here because the goods aren’t even goods! He sounds like he was wasting your time, and probably didn’t give a damn about you (although would not want to put it in those terms…more that he is careless with everyone in his life) – not because you’re not worthy (and this young girl somehow is…she may be a good person, but who cares if she has to deal with his rubbish), but because he’s a shit, plain and simple. He didn’t handle the relationship (and even getting out of it, if that’s what he really needed) like a guy who is even near capable of love would…hence the blank, cold texts etc. He should have helped you deal with the let-down, if it had to happen. You might have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time, a kind of innocent victim to this guy’s self-absorbed, thrash-about of a life.

    …But as Natalie says, we should only be victims once…and need to find ways of getting real, taking lessons, and moving on. I think the text you sent him was a big part of it!

  46. judy says:

    I have been reading your posts Blah and I think you are depressed. I think you are depressed and stuck.

    I am not criticizing you. Depression is brain chemistry it is not behavior. You have to build the serotonin in the brain. When it and dopamine are depleted, look out! Its a bad scene.

    I have been there, I avoided the psychiatrist, med scene. There are other routes – but this is not the site to be prescribing things. Seek help.

    When you continue to dwell over these details thinking this or that would have made things right “your inner child” refuses the fight, you are stuck in childhood patterns.

    The Pathwork of Transformation by Eva Pierrakos talks about this in the chapter – Repeating Childhood hurts in order to get them right.

    We can tell you to take control of your life and let go, Blah. But your mind will not budge – obsession – from the depression. Go to the root of the problem (not the guy) and Heal. Men only give a temporary fix and then its back to the obsession. I learned you can’t have a relationship unless this depression, obsession business is corrected. Please look into this with care.

    • NML says:

      Hi Judy, I respect that you’re replying to the comment and what your intention was, but I think that this discussion needs to end as there are some pretty difficult words to read in this comment that can easily be misconstrued, which I know, as someone who makes a very valuable contribution to the comments is not what you intended. While this may well be true, this is a level of advice that is difficult to digest plus it’s a level of advice that is beyond the scope of this comments box and clearly it has not gone down too well.

      • Used says:

        Always remember that, outside of any doubts you may have had (and/or still have) about what you did or didn’t do, there were probably many many many more red flags, from the beginning of your relationship, that you CHOSE to ignore, red flags that were to have shown you that this was never meant to be.

        Also, with someone who loves you, they will never throw in your face your upset, no matter how it comes across.

        Cheer up! And just let it go.

        So you know, I once wondered about how things would have turned out “only if” with a former EUM with whom I had a LOT of things in common, all around.

        Then I think about the rest of him, and what HE did or didn’t do! And I’m fine. Totally his loss. He makes it very obvious, too, that he KNOWS he lost out.

  47. judy says:

    I am sorry if my reply added to your dismay. I truly am very sorry, that was not the point and I made a mistake.

    Best of luck, I do not have the experience to help you and I will refrain from doing so.

    Please ignore my previous post if it does not help because I do not wish to create any further problems.

  48. NML says:

    Please stop and read the guidelines before you make any further comments. I have repeatedly told readers not to demand personal advice in the comments box especially if it’s going to degenerate into this tone. I would also be careful of how the written word comes across as it can be taken in a different way. Please don’t place any further hostile comments on here as they will be deleted. This discussion period, is not appropriate for this post and any subsequent comments will be deleted as it is off topic.

    BlahBlahBlahDarkSide please do not ask for any further advice from readers. While I respect that you are looking for advice, putting stuff like “I need you to sort things out for me.” and ” I’m VERY disappointed with you all. There are plenty of people on this board that don’t offer any info other than what they post. All I did was answer a question and now I can’t get any support?

    Just be kind enough to answer the question I asked and leave it at that. And contrary, this is criticism… and it isn’t support to tell someone you THINK they should go to counseling…” This is beyond the scope of my blog, the readers, or my comments thread.

    • BlahBlahBlahDarkSide says:


      I understand. I’m also thinking maybe you want to delete the comments I’ve already made. I don’t mind and would actually prefer that because they became useless… So, feel free to delete them.

      • NML says:

        Hi BlahBlah, I have to say, bearing in mind that I know that you have actually been commenting here since late 2009 & about the same guy, I’m really taken aback by the aggression in the comments, not least because you actually know the rules regarding commenting, but also because you do actually know that this is an extremely unhealthy situation that you are involved in and are holding on to, not least because I’ve directly said it to you before as well as many others. Now, after this string of comments where people have replied to you, you expect me to delete. When I have time to work out what’s what with this thread, I will delete ALL comments regarding this In the meantime, please get in touch with me via the contact page and I will see if there is anything else I can do to support, but don’t lash out at my readers again please and don’t post any further comments unless they are on topic and addressing the post in question and not requests for readers to play armchair psychologist. Take care.

        • BlahBlahBlahDarkSide says:


          I contacted you via contact form as per your request. I understand you’re standing by your boundaries but please don’t post details about the relationship I had into the public. Perhaps we can continue on the private form I just sent. Thank you.

  49. NML says:

    This is not a message board, this is my blog, the comments should be in response to the post and I don’t want this to continue. Any further comments about this will be deleted.


    Thanks for your input, i forgot to mention that i have been seperated for nearly four years and my divorce came through a couple of months it took me a while to venture into the dating scene but Ithink you are right, maybe I do need more time to process my new marital status..interacting on this sight has been most insightful as it’s BEEN a constant struggle to keep from contacting my EUM. Am also thinking I should delete his numbers from all my contacts..that, I think , will be most effective cos he never calls, I do all the calling except when he needs a favor or two. It never ceases to amaze me how one can be so sweet , tender, loving and yet so emotionaly detached ..these conflicting traits kept me going..hoping that some day some how..he would get to commit but then again I forget that he told me from the onset that he had never been in love! Now , shouldnt that have been a red can a middle aged man claim he’s never been in love? ..but what do I do..I dive nose deep Iguess I have no one to blame but my self

  51. Sonia says:

    Hi ladies, I am new to this site and I have been reading the comments on the different blogs for a couple of days now, looking for advice/information to get me through the unbearable pain I am enduring after one final breakup (we’d broken up three times already, and gotten back together) with my selfish, egotistical, narcissistic, EU/AC boyfriend.

    I have been in this toxic so-called relationship with this guy for 2 and a half years. We were both students at university, attending the same course and this is how we began. In my 1st year of uni, we were just acquaintances, you know, I’d say hi to him in class, chat to him occasionally on msn. He didn’t seem that interested in me and I saw him as just this cute guy in school, I had a little crush on him but didn’t act on it. Come 2nd year, he starts laying on the charm quite heavy. He’s one of these “I am God’s gift to women” types. And I, stupidly thinking he liked me, fell for his charms. It wasn’t long before we started sleeping together, and him, a few weeks later, blowing cold-not calling and ignoring me in class only to blow hot again when he was in need of some loving. He had the common excuses, you know, busy with school work, family etc, etc. To some extent, I think I knew we were just ‘friends with benefits’ but I was hoping a serious relationship would slowly develop.

    He kept cruising in and out of my life and this ‘FWB’ business continued for about six months and we slowly became somewhat official (the relationship graduated a bit further to more than just physical) after I suffered a loss in my life and had to re-take the year……maybe he just felt sorry for me but didn’t really want a proper relationship. For a whole year, he displayed some EU qualities, not calling much, going out only occasionally, only coming over when it suited him and only spending a few hours. I tried to break up with him four months after this started happening but he wouldn’t let me. Said he was busy but he’d put in more effort, try and be better. He did, but this didn’t last long. I somehow learned to be ok with this behaviour. I knew this wasn’t ideal but I didn’t wanna be alone, so I let it carry on, I did my thing, and he did his but it still bothered me.

    Before the beginning of the academic year 09/10, he decided he wanted to come live closer to me, saying I was ‘b****ing and moaning’ about us not spending enough time together. He moved into the flat next to mine. Things were good for a while and then I begun to get treated like a housemaid. I cooked, cleaned, did his laundry etc, all with no appreciation. He even started withholding sex, saying he was so used to seeing me each day, that we’d become too comfortable and there was no need to do it as often. He’d always go back to his flat at the end of the night. He’d never sleep over at my place nor would he let me spend the night at his.We were fighting all the time. If I asked him for any kind of favour, he’d always say no and when I complained, he’d say,”if you don’t like it, leave”-classic AC. I broke up with him three times when we were living close together, but then I’d ask him to take me back after a few days. He moved out after six months saying I was always ‘b****ing and moaning’, putting all blame on me as if he’d played no part in the fights we had.

    He said after six months when the contract at his new place was done, we’d find a flat and move in together. But all this never happened due to a disagreement we had, where I was angry that he was back to his old ways again, putting his friends before me and coming to me when it suited him. He changed all the plans and got another place on his own. I was furious at him for putting my hopes up, thinking we were gonna live together and then suddenly dashing them because of the argument we had. This guy has got some nerve…….he expected me to be fine with this. I told him I was tired of this “get to me whenever” thing he was doing and that I couldn’t do this anymore (breakup # 4). I was crying my eyes out but this guy wasn’t even moved by the tears. He just looked indifferent, showed no remorse (did I mention that whenever I cried, he’d say I was trying to manipulate him and he’d never try to comfort me). He also said that he wasn’t that bad and that I was gonna need alot of luck finding a guy that was gonna stay with me for as long as he stayed. I was done and said to myself I wasn’t ever gonna talk to him again. I even refused his suggestion of remaining friends.

    This happened in june, I went to visit my mum in another city and as I usually did, I began missing him and contacted him after four days asking him to take me back. “Mr high and mighty’s” ego had been bruised and he accused me of treating him like a doormat. Huh??? But I was the doormat for taking all his crap for such a loooong time. Anyway, he said there was no chance of that happening but I still continued to call him once a week for about three weeks to talk to him. What is wrong with me? He went on holiday for 10 days, he emailed me saying hello, he was nice and polite so I was thinking maybe we were gonna get back together when he came back from holiday. We slept together when he returned but we did not really talk about the relationship and what was going on with us until three days later. He said I needed to talk to his parents on the phone (they are in another country) to see if they liked me and if I liked them and we’d take it from there. I had to go away again to see my mum and I called him but he was in a bad mood and a week later, he was ignoring all my calls and texts. When I returned, It wasn’t until I told him I was moving out of my house and that he needed to come take his stuff, that he finally came over to find out what was going on with me. I had wanted to tell him that I was moving but he’d been completely ignoring me for more than a week. Usual excuse- too busy with work and some other things.

    I told him to make a decision whether he wanted to be in or out and that this dancing game had gone on for too long and being in limbo was killing me and that I needed to move on with my life. He said he didn’t know what he wanted, he was unsure but still wanted to wait for maybe another two months before he could make a decision. I said I couldn’t wait that long and that I was emotionally drained. I was crying, he just looked at me like he was uncomfortable being there and then he left. This made me realise the amount of damage I’d done to myself tolerating this venom-injecting monster. He came back a few days later to take the rest of his stuff. I yelled at him and gave him a piece of my mind but he didn’t even wanna hear it, saying I was moaning again. My self-esteem is at an all time low because of this asshole but I am glad I am free of him. Its been four days of NC but am glad to say I haven’t cried at all since he left. But I miss him so much. I keep thinking that maybe I sabotaged the relationship by breaking up with him too many times and then going back on my word, what do you guys think? He wants to come back in two days so we can talk and say goodbye……should I see him one last time for closure or should I just leave such that when he comes, he finds me gone?

    I am extremely sorry for the long post but I had to get this off my chest. I had to start the story from the very beginning for it to make sense. I hope you understand.

    • Grace says:


      Erm, you haven’t sabatoged the “relationship” by breaking up with him. There is no relationship to sabatoge. He uses you at his convenience. Anyway, he doesn’t see them as breakups, he just sees it as “bitching and moaning” because you always change your mind.

      Fundamentally, and I know this is difficult to wrap your head round, what you do and say to him makes no difference at all to how he treats you because (i) he doesn’t care and (ii) he is incapable of treating any woman decently right now and possibly for the rest of his life. Do not waste your time trying to “fix” this issue of his. He doesn’t want to be fixed. He is happy as he is!

      You are trying to mine a diamond from a dung heap. There ain’t no diamond there, only more crap.

      Your only option is to get him out of your life so he can’t jerk you around anymore. No sex, no contact, no “staying friends”.

      • Used says:

        This guy has no respect for women. Period. Even if he were to, “in his own way” (I put quotes around this b/c guy friends would put it this way!), start to love you, you would not have an easy relationship with him. What starts off badly usually ends badly. Really, even if he were to start to love you and treat you with the according respect that comes with real love, and did change his ways, would you be able to trust him? You would be insecure ALL the time! And HE would be the one to have made you that way!

        Don’t see common friends for a while. Take a long trip. Start over. And NC from now on. You are young. You have your WHOLE LIFE ahead of you. Good that you learned this lesson (to stay away from toxics) now, rather than later!

        Use him for what he is worth: if he is perceived by the world as a “catch” and “God’s gift to women,” then YOU use HIM. At least you are on the record as having dated someone like that. The reason why it ended: he wasn’t good enough for you!


  52. Eve says:

    people! The word of the mod(s) or in this case NML is final. Like arguing with an EUM/AC there is little point & you’ll never win. 😉

    Peace out sisters.

  53. susiejay says:

    Well looks like what i felt was my ideal relationship has gone belly up!

    We were together for 3 years, loved, laughed, cried, shared trials and tribulations within our respective families, he treated me like a princess most of the time and i thought at long last i had found someone to relate to as he told me now that i was with him he would always care for me even in our old age………….

    Go forward a few years into the relationship and a few things about him started to be revealed but because by that time i was well and truly into him i allowed to pass. He works with quite a few women and he started telling me personal things about them they had revealed to him. I was not really happy about some of the subjects he was chatting about with them, especially various forms of sexual practices but when i queried it he always glossed it over and called me a prude whereas i upset him by calling him the office perv lol. He did not like that at all.

    So i asked him if he would ever be tempted to cheat on me and he said he had ‘no interest’. Hmmmm…..well this year i found out quite by chance after he started withdrawing sex with me that he has been cheating on me with one of these women for over 12 months – nice eh? There is little old me thinking i am with someone who can keep it in his pants because of his love for me and he has let me down. I had it out with him and he has finished our relationship – he got that in before i did because i could never be with a cheater, if they do it once, they will surely do it again is my belief.

    The downside is that i really miss him, the love we did share, the nice things he did for me, but i feel badly let down so there is no going back for me. I could never trust again and that is really sad. Its been over a month since we last saw each other and i have not heard from him. Friends think he will try to get me back in the future, but what do i do – anyone?

    • Elle says:

      That is awful, to say the least. If I would you I would read the sh*t out of this website, draw advice and strength from Natalie’s posts (there’s a lot on coping with break-ups, boundaries and No Contact) and the experiences of other women (and men) who have had this identity-shattering experience, and gotten through it.

      I wouldn’t feel comfortable advising you in any certain way as to whether to bank on this guy getting back into contact – he might, but he might be too ashamed/arrogant – and, more importantly, whether you should accept him back again. It would take a lot of self-awareness, remorse, therapy and self-esteem-building to rebuild that one, I imagine.

      I think the best thing for now (and probably forever) is to stick to your principles and instincts, and keep yourself in a position of dignity – that you’re choosing not to be with him because what he did was a boundary-bombing. This is an immense, sustained betrayal, probably one of the worst, at the top of the assclown traits mentioned above.

      I think this time needs to be about creating space (no contact!!!), healing (treat yourself like you’re a patient in hospital, but with nice food and the outdoors), building strength and finding peace of mind, rather than, in any way, tailoring this time towards being prepared for him to contact you (or not). I would try to avoid even thinking about a possible reunion, as it hinders the grief process (although, of course, shock and bargaining are natural). You seem to be pretty strong about it all (ie that once a cheater…), but I think you’ll feel even more resolved when you’ve healed a bit more. A month is not very long after 3 years together…

      Keep hopeful about yourself and be among people who love and respect you. I am sorry this happened to you.

  54. Sule says:

    Hi- I have read all your posts on assclowns and other labels for dysfunctional men and find them entertaining and helpful. I love this site as a whole but I guess I have one minor critique…maybe more of a comment or questions, really. You say that like attracts like and that, if we are attracted to EUM that we must really be EUW. I agree with that. I also get that the point of some of this is to help women wake up to dysfunctional or even abusive relationships in their lives, typically ones they are holding on to and so the language may be a bit harsh or inflammatory to do that. But, what I have some problem with is tone, for lack of a better word. Men who do this are “assclowns”, “Mr. Unavailable”, users, cheats and liars who are only thinking short term and taking without care or concern. Fair enough. Yet the women who love them are painted in a much nobler light – we give too much, have no boundaries and love and talk too much. You do hold us accountable for our dysfunction and I like that. But I notice the language is much softer, less condemning and overall more respectful. It seems to me that both the men and women in these relationships are trying to get their needs met, usually selfishly and with a certain amount of dysfunction. Why are the women portrayed as loving and noble, if somewhat deluded or dysfunctional, while the men are assclowns only out for a shag? What is the difference between a woman seeking validation for her feelings of low self-esteem and a guy “getting an ego stroke”? I am not asking to be difficult or contrary – I am seriously asking. Perhaps a blog on this might help clarify your stance.

    I do love what you do and will always read it. I just think that perhaps a little less hostility to the men for doing essentially the same thing as we are doing might help in the healing and forgiveness process.

    • NML says:

      Hi Sule. I suggest you read this one of several posts around the subject. Being a Mr Unavailable doesn’t make someone an assclown. Many Mr Unavailables are not assclowns but all assclowns are emotionally unavailable. I also have an entire ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl where I answer all of those questions plus there are numerous posts on validation, beliefs etc. I also don’t portray women as loving and noble – it’s just your interpretation.

      There are over 1100 posts and I use the word ‘assclown’ and a different term ‘Mr Unavailable’ because they are different.

      Thanks for the critique!

      • Fearless says:

        I thought your post was interesting, as I had the same thought for a while until I read more on this site, and beyond. If you read the other blogs as NML says, you should get a broader picture. Even so, on the whole, I do think we are less harsh with the behaviour of the EUW. However, I think there is good reason for that (which I will explain shortly)

        NML’s point about not all EUM’s being ‘Assclowns’ is also pertinent. – assclowns are characterized by their really quite abusive, willful and wanton, negligent behaviour in relationships where as the EUM essentially has a commitment phobia (there are varying degrees of severity). As NML says the assclown also has this, but he is also just a total rat, just because he is.

        The writer, Steven Carter, explains the difference between the EMU and the EUW quite well for me. Essentially the male with this EU problem generally has what is referred to as an ‘active’ fear of commitment (emotional intimacy etc.) whereas the problem in a woman is generally ‘passive’.

        The active (male) commitment phobic ‘actively’ (who would have thunk it!) seeks intimacy with a woman (that he actively pursues) but his need for space and his fear of being trapped (etc.) in the situation then has him actively withdraw. (One minute he’s all over you like a hot rash, the next minute he behaves as if you have a highly contagious terminal disease – the hot rash is never a good sign!)

        Hence, as NML describes, he blows hot and cold by turns, manages the woman’s expectations down then up then down again as he tries to control the ‘temperature’ of the relationship to his own comfortable level; he acts like a thermostat controlling the status quo..

        The woman,on the other hand, is passively avoiding commitment; often completely unaware of her fears she believes she wanting a long-term, settled relationship with this man, but her choice of partners tells a whole other story!

        So the female passive EU is at the rough end of her EUM’s double messages, his ambivalence, his hot and cold behaviour; “one big walking excuse”, he is riddled with contradictions as he both seeks and runs from intimacy in equal measure.

        So he does actually do a lot of ‘active’ damage to a woman (EU or not). It is typically the woman – or the passive partner – who suffers terribly at the hands of the active partner’s utter inability to commit to the relationship, to love, and, at the same time, his utter inability to end the relationship.
        Essentially, his unrelenting ambivalence makes it all but impossible for him to commit to anything, which is why these commitment phobic relationships can go on (and off and on again) quite literally for years and years.

        One notable thing I have read about Assclowns is that they seem to treat the woman as an ‘armchair psychologist’, as NML has decsribed… I don’t think the EUM tends to do that?? I think they are emotionally disconnected, are unlikey to talk about “their feelings” or what their “issues” are. They have a lot of trouble with the word “love”, you rarely hear it uttered, and never, ever in the same sentence as “always”!

        My experience with my EUM is that emotionally, the shutters are down and no-one is home! They do not talk about it. Ever. Full stop.

        (sorry; I think I went off the point of ‘how to spot an assclown’), but I think – or do I just hope? – that there is a distinct difference… I now know the man I’ve been involved with is an EUM – I just didn’t know unitl recently that there was a name for it!! But I don’t recognise many of typical assclownery in him other than that which is concordant with the EUM.


  55. Elizabeth Carey says:

    practicing NML’s NO CONTACT with a man who I spent the best looking years of my life pining after when he was very cruel and inconsiderate with me for the majority of our “relationship”, if you can it that; i.e. he was extremely emotionally abusive. He is someone I grew up with, and even as children he did not invite me into his social circle, which I desperately wanted to be a part of. My mother and his mother was best friends (I think)….it is complicated, lets just say we had one night together and then he stopped talking to me for 14 years……14 years! Stonewalled me! So I went back to school got my M.A. and have been working on my own development. Part of closure to me was to confront this piece of work and ask him why…do you know he still just could not be totally direct and honest? And then he tried to start some skanky affair with me. I did not get hoodwinked this time, I just stopped accepting his calls. And the last time I saw him, where he was surrounded by friends and family, he acted like he did not know me and just high tailed it out there like a dog with his tail between his legs.
    It hurts me that he is so callous, but t also affirms my decision not to engage with him anymore.

    • Fearless says:

      Good decision.

      I think we all, at some point, desperately want the answer to that question: “WHY?” (the why did/does he behave that way towards me question; all those behaviours NML advises us to look out for in this blog)

      The sooner you start to see that what he did/does or didn’t/doesn’t do has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU the more you understand the futility of the question and you stop asking it!

      (When it rains hard and you get soaked, it’s not raining ON YOU – it’s just raining! So take cover!)

      When I started reading this site, I began to see that my EUM’s assclown behaviour has NOTHING to do with me… what joy! What release!

  56. susiejay says:

    The active (male) commitment phobic ‘actively’ (who would have thunk it!) seeks intimacy with a woman (that he actively pursues) but his need for space and his fear of being trapped (etc.) in the situation then has him actively withdraw. (One minute he’s all over you like a hot rash, the next minute he behaves as if you have a highly contagious terminal disease – the hot rash is never a good sign!)

    One notable thing I have read about Assclowns is that they seem to treat the woman as an ‘armchair psychologist’, as NML has decsribed… I don’t think the EUM tends to do that?? I think they are emotionally disconnected, are unlikey to talk about “their feelings” or what their “issues” are. They have a lot of trouble with the word “love”, you rarely hear it uttered, and never, ever in the same sentence as “always”!


    Please forgive ne for copying and pasting two paragraphs of your posting, but you are so spot on with what you say about these types of men! Your comments mirror my ex exactly as he was. He did not even know what ‘love’ was and asked me to explain it to him. Then one day he decided he did love me after thinking about it, he was all over me like a rash one day, then the very next day he told me he did not want a relationship with me anymore!

    Well to say i was totally confused is an understatement, i really thought it was me who had lost the plot and not him. I could not understand how you can love someone one day and not the next. How mixed up these men must be, thank god i am not of the same mindset as he obviously is.

    Well, i have to report that i am almost 3 months of NC after 3 years together, and i am beginning to really enjoy my life. I am volunteering for a charity (i am now retired), i am knitting for premature babies, i have joined a few social gatherings, writing letters to friends i have been ignoring while with HIM and it really feels good. So i look forward to the rest of my life with expectations, and i shall certainly know what to look for in a man if i feel the need to try again.

    Thanks everyone for your help and encouragement, and special thanks to Natalie who has been a shining star in my hour of need!!

  57. Mary Jane says:

    This hits so close to home, I don’t know where to start.
    After almost 10 months of effort, I’ve just been ditched by an Emotionally Unavailable and Ambivalent man. Initially, he pursued me incessantly. Constant texts, calls and words about how “F*ing Hot” I am and how lucky he is to have found me. At first, I didn’t respond to him much, and I didn’t even agree to a date until after weeks of him asking. He seemed to almost worship me until I gradually started to express my feelings for HIM. As soon as I did this, he started blowing hot and cold. Never liked to talk about commitment, the future, or where we were going. I seemed to have been the giver, making all the dates, initiating intimacy, and talking about our relationship. He did finally ask me to be his girlfriend, but never seemed to be on time or call when he said he was going to. Lots of excuses, and blatant acts of rejection along the way. He kept me in a constant state of confusion. However, he took me to important family functions, his best friend’s wedding. (Strangely, the bride pulled me aside at the reception and hugged me saying how glad everybody was that I was “still around”. I obviously did not read into that one, did I?) Anyway, he seemed to give his parents, siblings and friends the impression he was serious about me. After we got back from a vacation, he had to take a job many miles away, but we both decided to continue to see eachother in a long distance relationship. He kept reassuring me that we could make it work, no matter how difficult. It was August when he moved, and I have flown to see him twice. He has visited here once, but only because of another reason, not just to see me. Again, I had to be the one to initiate and talk about when we could see eachother next. This last visit to see him in the first week of October went awry. Everything seemed to be alright, he introduced me to his new aquaintances as his girlfriend, talked to them about how long we’d been together, etc. But at the airport, before I was to leave, he admitted to me that he might not be mature enough for a relationship. WTF?? No kidding, now that I look back on it. The whole time I was seeing him he wasn’t affectionate, talked about how pretty other women were (movie stars, models, etc.) and vascillated enough to make my head spin. Every guy talks about how hot other women are, right? I tried to make excuses for him, dimiss it as normal guy behaviour. Listen, I’m not a supermodel, but I can hold my own in the looks department, yet he made me feel ugly and undesireable on several occasions. I knew it wasn’t right, but I kept it going, hoping he would change and get closer to me. I did call him on his shit several times, and he would do good for a while because I thought he respected me and might be afraid I’d dump him. What lead to him dumping me, I trust, is that, as we were pulling into the airport, I simply asked if he thought we were getting closer. He got angry and said, “No! We’re not getting closer, we’re 1000 miles apart!” And then proceeded to say that he felt we should go in seperate directions. Even asked if we could still be friends! WTF? I said no way, it wasn’t right. So, there I was, in tears and in emotional hell, having to board a plane with a bunch of other people. I sent him an e-mail the next day, telling him I thought it was a mistake to break up, that I didn’t think he’d given it enough thought, how good we are together, yada yada. Didn’t make it sappy, but I was doing what women are hard-wired to do, COMMUNICATE. He responded a few hours after, saying that he would call me that night. Well, that night came and went, but he sent another e-mail that night around 11:00, apologizing that he hadn’t called, that he needed to some time to get his head straight. Asked me to please give hime some time, and he would call me soon. That was going on three days ago. I have NOT attempted to call him at all, nor have I responded to his e-mail. He knows I got it, and knows I’m waiting for his call. Why am I? Well, it’s hard to go from him calling me every night ( a gesture I thought as a real imporoved effort from someone like him) to no calls at all, and I feel I’ve invested too much in this relationship to give up. Also, I foolishly have some small hope that he could change if he wanted to. What’s sad is, that it was obvious that his family was hopeful that we would last. They said alot of things to me, encouraging it. Do they know their son and brother is Ambivalent and probably won’t ever change? I don’t know, perhaps. It’s such a shame. We LOOK like such a great couple, and we DO have so many things in common as well as awesome physical and mental chemistry. The only difference is, I feel the love for him that he cannot or will not allow himself to feel for me. What was it all for??

    • Elle says:

      Hey @Mary Jane. We’re all on this site because we’ve been through similar experiences. It sucks, and you can’t really stem that for now. It just sucks. There are paths you can choose not to go down – i.e. I wouldn’t entertain the thoughts about your lack of value too much. From what you say, it seems like you know you’re a worthy, great person, who is capable of giving, trusting and communicating. As for him, he sounds like he gets a boost of confidence in the early days, feeds of this, and then freaks out when he has to deliver in ‘real life’, and it’s obvious that his friends and family know that too. Common story. It’s rife, these intimacy disabilities. Men in particular think they have a few more years and women to get through before they have to get it right, that it will suddenly come to them. This attitude doesn’t help us women who pray we might be that one for whom they change.

      As for your final question, it’s too early to judge. You’ll learn every day a little about what it is all for. At first, it will pertain to his shortcomings, patterns and possibly diagnosable disorders, then it will be about the signs you missed and the shame in not enforcing your boundaries and being loyal to your values, then there will probably be a counterbalancing stint of anger when you can’t believe someone treated you so sh*ttily – and, I have to say, his panic in the car was vintage AC/EU behaviour, as is his pisspoor avoidance now. This will all be interlaced with sadness – missing him, missing the routine, missing the hopes, missing the ‘other’ in your life. Then, slowly, he (and his problems) will fade from the picture, as loving you and cherishing this opportunity for growth become the focus (and, while this sounds unlikely, in a weird way, you’ll probably end up having affection for the experience). You won’t even care why he can’t love you properly. It will be enough to know that he didn’t. New things will come.

      But there’s no way of rushing through this. Grief is a journey you can’t really choose to be on. You simply have to trust that it’s a finite one. All you can do for now is help yourself get through: try to love the sh*t out of yourself, force yourself to do nice things (like exercise, cheesy movies, meditation, friends, planning and going on a short trip), read this site, write down what happened, write down your thoughts, write down what you’re looking for in a relationship and what this one lacked, work it out so you can hold onto reality (and hold on tightly to that). For that first week or two, I kept having to say to myself, “[Name] is not in my life anymore. This is my reality.”

      Don’t contact him. The cleaner the NC, the more strength and dignity you have in this period that you have to go through. You have all the information you need already.

      You’ll get through this, but I do know how shocked, hurt and robbed you feel.

      • Mary Jane says:

        Thank you for your heartfelt and very helpful response. You should have your own advice column, I’m serious.

        Hindsight is certainly 20/20, and I’m sure I’ll get over this man, it just hurts in the self esteem and ego department. I still haven’t heard from him, cannot believe that I won’t, not after almost 10 months of dating, but there I go again, giving this guy the benefit of a doubt. He doesn’t deserve me or any other decent woman. He’s 37 and I’m 36. You’re right Elle, it’s true that men seem to think they’ve got all the time in the world to get it right.
        …I just wonder what type of women these kinds of men end up marrying??

        • Grace says:

          Don’t imagine that their getting married turns them into a faithful partner. Mick *cough* Jagger.

        • Elle says:

          I wondered that too, propelled further by the AC saying that he wanted to find someone ‘more perfect’ than me. My ex AC is 35, I am 32 (and it was 10 months too). My mother thinks he (and by extension, these sorts of men) will end up with a 23 year old,* someone who doesn’t know her mind yet, but then be in for a world of trouble when she does. Divorce no. 1.

          Natalie really helped me in my thinking – when she wrote (not sure where) that basically when a guy like this rejects you, it’s actually him saying that you’re not fertile ground for him to piss his pathetic-ness all over. She was more witty than this, but this was the take-home for me.

          Who knows though. I might be his epiphany moment for his grand love, but, in a way, I don’t mind if I am. I’ve got other stuff to find now. (But this is because I have gone through all that icky ego stuff – yikes, that can be a challenge – and have pretty much made it through to the other side. You’ll still be sitting with yourself soon enough and feel the things that Natalie talks about in her most recent post…and, in all likelihood, he’ll still be being a panicky clown, lashing out at people who dare to love him.)

          *With respect to readers in early 20s – it’s just that women change so much in the decade from then, (and then again in the mid-late forties, says my Dad!)

    • Grace says:

      mary jane
      it is horribly confusing but you have to grasp the core truth that sexual attraction, things in common, looking good together, approval from friends and family mean nothing if he doesn’t actually want a committed relationship. And he doesn’t. He likes being admired, he likes the affection but he certainly does not want to limit himself to getting that from just one person, no matter how “hot” they are.
      Also, I KNOW how giddying it is to be hotly pursued by a man but I reckon 99 times out of 100 that equals an a$$clown. A decent person takes their time to get to know someone before laying down promises and raising expectations.
      At least you know now how these men operate. Check out the site and you’ll see how horribly predictable his behaviour is.

      • Mary Jane says:

        Yeah Grace, you hit the nail on the head as well.
        At least I know it’s not ME, it’s HIM. God, I’m so sick of hearing that cliche’, but it’s TRUE. Yes, it seems that he may have used me as a vote of confidence, an outlet for admiration, an ego boost. The things he and I have in common are supposed to count in any relationship with lasting potential, but men like him are blind to that. It doesn’t matter what you do, don’t do, how good you look, how talented, fun or funny, how good you are sexually…these types of men keep looking for something they’re never gonna find, because they don’t know their head from their ass. They can’t find their pants. They’re ASSCLOWNS, lol, thanks y’all, I love that word. I will start saying it out loud everytime I feel like crying over the numbskull…Which will be in the wee, small hours of the morning. I’ve been automatically waking from sleep, crying at 4 a.m. every morning since he broke up with me on Monday…hoping it was all a bad dream.

        • Used says:

          1. Don’t cry for the idiot. Don’t make this in any way a reflection on you. He is immature and not worth one more second of your time. He was immature at the beginning; he was immature at the end. And he showed you who he was (a baby who doesn’t know what he wants) at the beginning, too.
          2. Who they marry? Not necessarily a young girl (though the ones who are big on getting a trophy wife, and who have already shown that they date “way younger”, may do so–this is a bad reflection on them anyway–it shows their immaturity and quest to “look good” to others by carrying a nice object on their arm). But definitelty The Woman who is Right in Front of Them when They are Ready for Marriage. Whether it was an on-again, off-again Fallback girl that they tortured while they were on their continuous quest for something “better” (as my former AC, and the ACs I grew up with, did)–which, BTW, may be a marriage based on guilt, too–or the woman who literally walks in front of them when they are ready, it doesn’t matter: it will be based on timing.

          Also, Grace is right: they will still cheat. They will not be 100% devoted. Unless some sort of epiphany or life-changing event changes them. But that would mean that they would have to analyze their life in some sort of way; right?


        • Rosina says:

          @Mary Jane – you are certainly not alone. I just went through the phase of waking up at 4am and cry. My AC and I ended in late September saying that he no longer wanted to hurt me when he couldn’t deliver on what he promised. Then a week later, I saw him on a date with a new target. That was insulting and a huge blow to my self-esteem. I have been applying the No Contact rule ever since. Well, since I walked up to him in the downtown Toronto financial district the following Monday and told him I was at that same restaurant that evening. I didn’t look for his response and I just walked away. AC or EUM are all lazy, thinking that they can just walk all over women by doing whatever they please. They have to be in control at all times (he is a lawyer at a very small firm, not accomplished). I did this to make sure I close the door on him, no one dare to call him on his poor behaviour, because most of us will just be quiet and fade away, and that’s exactly what AC likes to see. But most ultimately, I did this for myself for my own closure, that I stood up for myself and gained back that self-esteem that I lost when I was with him. I did this because I wanted to make sure I no longer lingered on the idea of wanting him to come back because it would be another episode of further pain (keep in mind that he even told me he didn’t think we were over, and that we would be in touch again at the time when we broke up…. so predictable!)

          Mornings were difficult at first, but I can assure you things will only get better from now on. It’s exactly what Natalie says, if all his behaviours don’t work for you (incapable of loving, caring, being trustworthy and he is downright disrespectful), it will not work for him as well. For what I read in my earlier journal entries, I didn’t even know I made all these observations since date #1 and my system did reject him, only I didn’t follow through. It is a time for reflection and self-growth. Life is going to change in a very good way once you are committed to do it and close the door on him mentally.

          It has always been about him when you two are together… and now, you need to put all the energy back to yourself.. because, it will be all over you first.

          ps. This AC / EUM are universal. I am from Canada… and this UK website rocks!

          • Mary Jane says:

            Thank you Rosina, Used, and Grace…funny quip about Mick 😉 …..And, ladies, it’s Monday, and he still hasn’t called like he said he would. So, I thought I’d let you guys read his e-mail he sent late this past Tuesday night in response to mine, to see what you thought:
            “I’m sorry I have not called tonight. I’m making out a test for tomorrow that I did not get done over the weekend. While I want to further discuss my angle on our situation, I simply cannot do it right now–I need some time to get my head straight, and that includes catching up on some work so that they don’t fire me.

            I’m sorry that you had to deal with the whole situation unexpectedly and by yourself on the plane on the way home; that probably wasn’t too fun and I really didn’t want to leave that way, but in the interest of full disclosure, I had to let you know what I’ve had on my mind. I can no longer ignore the sense of trepidation I feel about our situation. It’s been building for the last couple of months and it’s shown itself in the way I interact with you sometimes and that’s not fair to you.

            Please let me get a couple of things ironed out here and in my head; I will call you soon.”

            -(name withheld)

          • Grace says:

            Mary Jane, forget him. He can’t even make a simple phone call. Emails are the coward’s way out.

            He’s already broken up with you, trying to make him change his mind is only going to make you look pathetic and needy to him. Let it lie. Consider the relationship over, grieve, eat ice cream, then go about your business.

          • Used says:

            I agree with Grace: Coward Coward Coward. Maybe I should capitalize all of the word, not just the “C”! I also don’t like the use of the word “angle.” Sounds weird… too collegiate or like a salesman. He is hoping you will “fade away”–as mentioned above.

            Don’t contact him. But you have my full permission to contact whoever told you about him at that wedding and tell her, “Hey, thx for the warning! I should have heeded it!” And then proceed to tell her EVERYTHING about him. HE DESERVES IT! (And don’t think that you may “lose him” with this strategy. He is already lost. He told you it’s off.)

            THEN go NC.

            I hate men who admire, bring hopes up, and then need themselves the “drug” of admiration. He projected his own need for admiration onto you. When you did admire him, he didn’t need you anymore, b/c his need for admiration was fulfilled. He thought, “I got her! Now I will always have her!” (Like a vampire. Ever wonder why those “Twilight” movies are so popular? They are great for this day and age. Especially b/c doomed love is always “in.” This guy dooms it HIMSELF.)

  58. JJ says:


    When a man tells you outright verbally that he’s not ready for a relationship; BELIEVE HIM. Most don’t and will lead you on regardless but he did what he suppose to do and that was let you know. Sometimes we are the one’s that fail to heed to the redflags ; warnings; and even proof out right verbal confessions. Its a hard pill to swallow but it saves you however many more months of wasting precious time with someone who knows he’s not ready(not necessarilly uncapable)of being in a committed relationship. You can’t put a date on when a man’s going to be ready. I say take him being honest with you as a blessing and let him walk. Over time you’ll be glad you did.

    • Elle says:

      Yeah, I agree. As much as we can be upset about how it happened – and how it happens matters as far as assessing someone’s character and whether you could actually ever be friends in the future – the fact is is that he’s telling you that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you, for whatever reason – whether he’s a jumpy crazy or not.

      It HURTS like hell, but it happens in most relationships in life. I remember someone saying to me that I was now standing with a bike with one less wheel. The bike doesn’t work, and while it SUCKS and it’s sad, there’s nothing that can be done with that rusty single-wheeled frame. You have to walk away. I kind of regret analysing the email because it’s really not that relevant what he wrote to you – it’s what most people do, on a spectrum, when they’re ending things – make themselves out to be doing something noble, limit any chance of the other person changing their mind, do it as quickly as possible and hide away in shame, write a version of the parties involved and the relationship in a way they can live with.

      I assure you, this email won’t seem that important to you in a few months’ time. The reality is the same. It’s awfully painful and the way he ended things was not courageous or especially kind, but he did it, and you have to hold tight to that reality.

      I assure you, I was there, having those same horrible mornings, and flashbacks, only a few months ago. You have to go through it – it’s a trauma – so try to focus on things that will help you on your way.

  59. Elle says:

    It looks like a classic case of a controlled person – good with words – even some legalese, good with acknowledging your situation, but only to a point, also making sure he is still seen as the good guy and that he HAD to do what he did because of his feelings (which are to be taken VERY seriously).

    I have to be honest, my stomach had a flip at the ‘trepidation’ line, as that was the sort of careful, clever language – that is somehow at the same time honest, as well as brutal and condescending – that typified the thesis of an email my AC sent to break-up with me. One should not have to read this sort of thing. They’re always (in my experience of n = 1) so good at presenting via email and never as ‘smooth’ and balanced in real life.

    But the work excuse and the fact that he hasn’t called says it all – he just doesn’t want to deal with his feelings, and with the mismatch in what he has told you, over some time, and how he has treated you. He just wants to stabilise himself after doing something that he was scared of doing. Be careful with him rebranding this as a favour to you. In the big picture, it certainly is, but I just hate how they repackage their sh*tty behaviour as noble because they finally have the courage to dump you at the airport, when you have no chance to respond or control any of the discourse.

    I would try not to look at this email again (after feedback from BR). There’s no real or new sense to be made of it, well not anything that’s going to make you feel a great deal better. He’s not the guy for you.

    • Fearless says:

      I agree with everything that’s been said, and, elle. your “Be careful with him rebranding this as a favour to you.” is exactly what I was thinking – and I love the way you express it so succinctly. Me EUM rebranded every single bit shitty, selfish behaviour he ever dished up as “a favour to me”. They are so full ot it!

      Mary Jane – everyone else is so right here. Grace speaks a lot of sense and always gets it right on the money. He doesn’t want to discuss. He has broken it off in a callous cowardly way (his breaking things off at a time when talking is impossible is not an accisent or a coincidence; it’s by design – and if you don’t walk now you will only get more of the same. As NML says, he is showing you who he is – believe him the first time.

      It annoys me the way these men always assume we will be waiting around for when they are good and ready to honour us with a phone call (it’s like, ‘I may fling you a crumb if I feel like it, and you can sit and twiddle your thumbs while waiting for my call’)

      Mary Jane, if I have been in your position – all this “I will talk to you soon” (I used to spend days trying to figure out that he meant by “soon”; and it was never the same as what I mean by “soon”!! His version of “soon” actually means “if and when I ever feel like it and I probably won’t! If mine had been saying what he actually meant, it would have gone more like this: “I have no intention of talking to you any time soon, if ever”.

      I can only say that if I could turn the clock back his return mail from me would read something like “don’t bother your shirt; I won’t be wasting any more of my time on you”

      That is not what you will say… but in time you will wish you had.

      His actions speak for themselves. Walk away with your dignity still intact.

      • Mary Jane says:

        I would just like to say that you ladies have really helped me out alot. I thank you all for your personal insight from experience and sharing your own stories with me. I keep telling my Mama, “if only I could make sense of it all…if only I had closure.”

        You see, I romanticized the entire relationship. I saw something in him that wasn’t there. I couldn’t see the hurtful and dangerous man he really was. The red flags were waving the whole time, but I just kept making excuses for why they were there. Everyone tells me “it’s not YOU, HE’s the one that’s screwed up!!” Yet I still keep looking in the mirror and wondering what he might not have liked about my looks…thinking about our conversations, wondering what it was that I might have said wrong…and I wonder if it might have been something I did. It is shameful how a good woman can let some assclown coward make her second guess herself, make her question her own self-worth. I have also thought about how everytime someone would compliment me when I was with him, he would actually squirm in his seat. On one date, at a Japanese restaurant, he accidentally knocked over his water glass when the waitress told him what a lucky man he was to be with me. That made him so nervous…but why? None of it makes sense. Y’all are gonna have to shoot me. That’s all there is to it. I’m SO angry at myself for letting this louse into my world.

        A bit of me thinks that he’s dissapointed that I didn’t bring him into my professional circle. I’m a songwriter, and maybe he thought he could make his way into the label? He’s a musician on the side from being a college professor with a doctorate in English. ( aha!, Ms. Used, you got it right when you noticed his “collegiate” use of the word ‘angle’ in the email he sent me.) You all are SO dead-on, it’s uncanny!! Anyway, perhaps it has nothing to do with the whole music deal, but that’s me grasping at straws, trying to find an “answer”. Ha. Man….

        Sooo, he STILL has not called, or communicated, and today makes a WEEK since he said in his e-mail “I will call you soon.”
        Yes, Ms. Fearless, their “soon” is a whole different “soon” from ours. Pathetic.

        • Fearless says:

          Mary Jane’s email explaining why he ‘can’t talk now – later’ could have been written by my EUM!! They always do the ‘woe is me’ statement, which is designed to make you feel sorry for them and bad about yourself for “annoying them at what is “always” such a ‘difficult time for them’.

          The minute you mention the status of the relationship or his behaviour in it he instantly conjures up some emergency that means he cannot talk to you about this right now… and not only do you jot get the dialogue you deserve, you get to feel like a bit of an inconsiderate shit for asking for it.

          In Mary Jane’s instance he can’t talk because he is swamped under a deluge of work that needs done as a matter of great urgency and if Mary Jane insists on being so selfish and inconsiderate she could be the cause of him being “fired”. So, effectively he can’t talk to Mary Jane or he will lose his job!! And of course Mary Jane would not wish to be responsible for that!

          All bollocks of course. My EUM would pull every ‘woe is me’ excuse out of the book. I’ve heard them all. He even l “lost his voice” on a couple of occasions. And these excuses invariably come with some life or death situation for him. Last time I spoke to mine on the phone he was happy to talk about nothihg in particular, but the minute I mentioned the “us” word he was too sick to talk to me and the message was that if I persisted in making him talk to me I would be a mean and selfish person who did not care about the fact that he was ill.

          They are so full of it.

          Mary Jane, if you want to know “what has happened” read all of NML’s blogs and there is some good literature out there as well on commitment-phobic relationships. It’ not you – it’s him – he is what is called an “active commitment avoidant”. Though if you think you do want a committed relationship, you also need to look at why you chose to try to get one from the likes of this man that you are describing here (it’s a bit like heading directly the bus station because you think you want to take the train! If you really want to get on a train you are wasting your time standing at the bus stop. That’s the general message in the literature and here on NML’s blogs which explain it all so well).

          Good luck


          • ramona says:

            Hi Fearless. You are so right.The ex eum…when I was in the midst of breaking up with him pulled the ultimate. He said “I tried to kill myself after my divorce” so of course – I shut up. He moved out the next day. No talking, no debrief – nothing. They will say anything to avoid any emotional conversation. Gross.

        • cc says:

          Mary Jane,

          Don’t be angry with yourself. What I tell my daughter is that you went into the relationship with a pure heart and that she should be proud of that. I also told her she has learned much from this experience. Don’t waste anymore time on him. You can never get closure from an AC. You have to give it to yourself by forgiving yourself so you will no longer be angry at yourself. I think the part that is hard about it is accepting that you made a mistake in judgement and learning to trust yourself again. I know my daughter is going through that and so am I as I felt I should of known who he was and protected her from him since she met him so young. We all make mistakes in life some that end up hurting us. Every day we wake up and make a choice when we are going to forgive ourselves and move on. I do believe that some AC’s are sociopaths and need help. Who could be happy doing what they are doing living life without any true emotion. If they are not sociopaths then they are just evil and let God handle it. I read that hatred at someone is like drinking poision and expecting the other person to die. We do more harm to ourselves then them by holding onto it. Learn to love yourself again and that not every man you meet will be like this and you now know what the warning signs are. Let it go and enjoy your life instead of trying to figure him out as you already know who he is. Like other’s have said stop giving him this power over you.

  60. Mary Jane says:

    Do any of you speculate what MAKES these AC/EUM’s the way they are? Some occurance in their childhood, how they were raised, or were they just born that way? My EUM has a great mother, father and two younger sisters and they are all highly educated. One sister is happily married and the other is in a long-term relationship. The only one who seems to have a problem with emotions and commitment in that family is him.

    • cc says:

      Hello Mary Jane,

      I have been asking myself the same question about what makes a man turn into an AC. My daughter dated one for three and half years and their was a three year age difference. Everything I read matched his treatment of her. I tried to get her to see who he really was and eventually did with poking around on facebook finding pictures. They broke up several times and it has been a little over a year of NC. I read these forums to try to get some insight on who this person was. He was like a family member but was living a double life. Promises of marriage and blowing hot then cold. The werid thing was that he was always wanting the relationship to progress very fast. I think he thought if he could get her away from her family (he already had her alienate many of her friends) he could have total control. Someone mentioned that their AC was from a different country. This AC was also. I think it is the upbringing and the male superiority that does it as some countries demean women so much including the one that he was from Albania which is heavy into human trafficking. When the movie “Taken” came out he was so distraught about us seeing it. I wanted her to see it because I think it opened her eyes to his culture. I felt as a mother I was battling the devil sometimes. Initially I felt sorry for him because he came from another country and did not have much. He rushed her into a relationship and was controlling. She gave up her plans after high school for him and now I think she resents it. I think she is still angry at times and hesitant to date but getting stronger every day. AC’s play on your emotions and fears and blow hot and cold which make it very confusing. I think they are also sociopaths that are incapable of feeling any real emotion but emulate it. They look for someone they can control or bring down.

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30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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