A few months ago Mel got in touch with me. She’s beautiful, fun, outgoing, creative, runs a successful business as an attorney etc etc. Guess who she’s pining for? A guy from the wrong side of the tracks who deals drugs, has spent time in prison and has gone back to his child’s mother. She’s known him since she was child and had worked hard to get out and achieve more than counterparts in her neighbourhood and yet her entire life has derailed in a matter of months because this loser doesn’t want to be with her.

Even she doesn’t understand why she wants to be with him as all he has going for him is being great in bed and very good looking. But the reason why she wants him isn’t because she actually wants and loves him but because she is seeking validation of her worthiness and self-worth because she doesn’t understand how and why he has come not to want her.

Katie is practically stalking a guy who has cheated on her, slapped her about, and told her he’s done with her.

Even though Val’s guy took off with thirty grand of her money and left her struggling with debts, her biggest concern is not how to get the money back or how to recover, but why he chose to be with the other, seemingly less attractive, less successful woman instead of her.

Countless women have shared stories with me of being involved with a guy who blew hot and cold, used them for sex, still had a wife or girlfriend, cheated on them, disappeared regularly, took their money, used them for a job, used them to gain access to their friends or to enhance their career, was disliked by all and sundry, or whatever the story is, and you know what?

Every, single, last woman was still expressing disbelief that somebody who had behaved without love, care, trust, and respect and had shown themselves to be a poor relationship partner, didn’t want them.

It’s almost like it doesn’t matter what shitty qualities these guys have – we want the validation.

I too remember not being that into an ex and yet I stuck out the relationship on and off for two years. Why? Because aside from my ego not being able to take it and wanting to ‘prove’ myself to him and not having enough self-respect, I also suffered with I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome also known more crudely as Why The Eff Doesn’t This Loser Want Me!

This is the behaviours and mindset centred around the bewildered disbelief you experience when someone that you secretly or even openly acknowledge as being a poor choice for a relationship or ‘beneath you’, doesn’t want you. You’ll struggle to accept that the relationship is over and/or that they’ve moved on with someone else and at it’s worst, the rejection will cause you to feel trapped in your feelings and have you reacting to it and doing things that at their best are embarrassing and at their worst, humiliating.

The confusion kicks in because in knowing that they’re not good enough for you and that you actually can and should do better, you wonder what is wrong with you that someone ‘like them’ doesn’t want you. You will also fall prey to I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome if like a lot of people with dodgy love habits, you have a habit of being involved with people who you know don’t quite stack up because you think it will be easier for them to love you and that you are less likely to lose them or be rejected by them. If I had a pound for every woman who has ever emailed or commented expressing abject horror at the fact that her habitually emotionally unavailable guy or assclown doesn’t want her, I’d be a very rich woman.

Why doesn’t this asshole want me? I think the fact that he’s regarded as an asshole is enough of an indicator that it’s time for you to stop wanting him.

Who does he think he is rejecting me? You can’t assume a position of always being the one to reject or choosing people on the basis of them being less likely to reject you because you think you bring more to the table.

How did it go from him chasing a disinterested me to me pounding down his door trying to win him back? This in itself indicates that you’ve become more interested because they’re less interested which is a very unhealthy situation because your hook is rejection.

I know he’s no good for me but I can’t understand why he doesn’t love/want me? If you know he’s no good for you, why are you concerning yourself with why they don’t want you when you should be concerning yourself with getting the hell away from them? This is your ego getting out of whack as you’ve decided that you need to get ‘love’ from a ‘broken’ source and can’t cope with the fact that someone who has blatantly demonstrated their inability won’t revolutionise the wheel for you.

I’m a smart, educated, attractive, successful woman – why doesn’t he want to be with me? How could he choose her over me? Even if you do genuinely believe you have something more to offer, they don’t have to take it and what you think they want and need, is not the same as what they think they want and need – it’s not up to you.

Seeking validation is about getting confirmation that something is true and many people are caught in the trap of basing their lives around the cumbersome task of seeking validation instead of working on their own self-esteem and validating themselves within healthier partnerings.

Not interested in the person that wants them, they want the person, no matter how lacking in character they are, to confirm their worthiness by wanting them.

We really need to wise up, toughen up, smell the proverbial coffee and grow some backbone and self-respect.

If you are experiencing I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome, it’s time to have a little conversation with your ego because the fact that you want someone because you think it’s outrageous that they don’t want you and your ego can’t cope with it, is, aside from being outrageous, a signal that the relationship was doomed.

People who have I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome are reliant on feeling like they’re on a pedestal and in fact, have a bit of a superiority complex which in itself is disrespectful to anyone who they’re involved with.

For the person on the receiving end of I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome, they’re often wondering what the hell you see in them and it’s their own ego that had them chasing you or wanting to be with you in the first place. They might have thought they didn’t stand a cats hope in hell of being with you but from the moment you gave them the time of day, it became a black mark against you and they recognised that in you wanting to be with them, there was very likely something wrong with you.

As I said to Mel, don’t you think your drug dealing ex was wondering what why a woman who’d busted her proverbial nuts to overcome her upbringing and become an attorney, was doing with him? I actually said to her: What the hell are you doing with this guy?

If any doubt, write down everything about this guy on a piece of paper, and then ask yourself why the hell your ego is struggling to process why they don’t want you and why you’re not racing to distance yourself from them.

If these people have any sense, they shouldn’t want you and while you may not thank me or them now, they’re actually doing you a massive favour and setting you free, hopefully to do better by yourself.

For some of you, part of the whole I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome is about being used to getting what you want and being caught short when someone doesn’t dance to your beat. The danger is that when you’re used to getting what you want, not only will your ego struggle with the rejection, but you may also find that you coast into relationships because you don’t really ever have to try. What you may see if you look back over your relationships is that some of them were half-hearted.

For me, I got over myself and realised that soothing my ego at the expense of my self-esteem was not something that was worth throwing my life away on. I had to cut my losses because it was pretty galling when I realised that I had stayed in a relationship with someone who I hadn’t actually been attracted to, who I hadn’t really actually liked, and who even after all that time I still couldn’t really come up with any overriding reasons to stay, and all this because my ego couldn’t cope with the fact that they didn’t want me.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Because we don’t want to get love from someone with the capabilities to treat us with love, care, trust, and respect – we want to get it from someone who feeds into our beliefs and mirrors our pattern and so when someone doesn’t want us, it confirms the negative stuff that we openly and quietly think about ourselves. And I should stress – by capability, it’s not about you thinking they can love you because you think they loved someone else or you experienced it briefly. It’s consistently having the ability to love you over a sustained period of time.

Never demand that someone love you because you have a sense of entitlement to their love.

You are not entitled to their love and you’re certainly not more entitled to it because they’re a ‘loser’ and you’re not, so surely they should want you.

If you continue to pursue them instead of working your way through the loss and processing the ‘rejection’, you will alienate them because you’ll be like a disgruntled customer who just won’t take no for an answer and that is wholly unattractive and will cause you to lose your dignity and self-respect even if you don’t realise it initially.

Make no mistake – if you become obsessed with the questions that your ego raises, you will watch everything in your life take a battering. I’ve seen people lose their family, friends, health, career, money and more because they’re too busy struggling with their ego.

From the moment someone doesn’t want you, it’s time for you to start working on not wanting them and accepting that it’s over, whether it’s the relationship or the dream. If you habitually want people that don’t want you, you need to examine your own genuine capacity for a relationship, as you are hiding behind the illusions of being hijacked by your imagination and you’re only getting interested when you know they can’t/won’t reciprocate which is of course, a sign of your own emotional unavailability.

The fact that someone doesn’t want you, is a red flag and makes you fundamentally incompatible which means it’s time to opt out, process the loss, and accept. If you focus on doing this, your ego will catch up with the rest of you. If you focus on obsessing about them not wanting you, the sense of rejection will just increase. You have to decide where you want to put your energies.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebook on emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl as well as the No Contact Rule and more in my bookshop.


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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100 Responses to I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome

  1. SaraK says:

    This strikes me as the inability to accept rejection. I’m not sure what is the basis for the motivation, but rejection is the common denominator.
    The AC’s themselves don’t have that much going for them; it’s the perceived rejection that makes the outcome unacceptable, and starts the obsessive desire to prolong the relationship, perhaps until one is ready to become the triumphant rejecter: by instituting NC.

    • Brad K. says:

      I think maybe this is a normal part of grief, the denial that the parting had to happen, the “bargaining” stage where we strive with the universe to make the loss “not happen”.

      The part that isn’t working normally, is choosing some to gift with your affection, time, and attention, that is unworthy of the gift.

  2. Findingmyself says:

    Well, I must admit Nat, that at one time I wondered why he didn’t want me. He SAID he did but all his actions said other wise, I had major blinders on.

    Now, I am free! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You helped me finally get over him and the false relationship I had built up and thought I desired “with him” in my head. I am on my way to a happier, healthier me! I feel like I all of sudden I snapped out of it, snapped out of the thinking of him, wanting to fix him, wanting to “try” again with him, ALL GONE! Your articles after reading and re-reading helped me so much! I had been holding on to false hope, a fantasy, lies, and being treated way below my standard before Ass Clown! I deserve more, I deserve an equal, I deserve to be happy, and I deserve a future that meets all my expectations and the only way to achieve that is MINUS him!

    • MJ says:

      It was similar for me. He said all the right things, but his actions were far from it. We work together and sometimes it is very hard to deal with the situation. I know who he is dating now and I have to talk to her on occasion. He was dating her and I at the same time and I didn’t know it for sure until after our pseudo relationship ended. I don’t know if his current g/f know about me, but I feel like she must have the same blinders on as I did in the beginning.

      I feel good that I did not allow him to break me down and I didn’t let him use me the way he wanted to. He gathers his self esteem from sex and if you are not willing to give it to him when and how he wants it…you are no use to him. I feel bad for his current g/f ,because she seems so proud to be with him and I can only imagine what poor self esteem she has. I, on the other hand, am gaining mine back.

      I do wish that I didn’t have to see and talk to him on a regular basis.

  3. Sue says:

    This is a wonderful post and just what I needed to hear! Not two weeks after I left my marriage my husband told me he’d “come to peace with the fact that I’m not coming back.” I’m glad for him however it led me to wonder if he even cared why I left or wanted to talk about a possible reconciliation. We’re 1500 miles apart – I’m in the northeast, he’s south and west of there – and I told him without him asking that there were too many stressors in the relationship (his adult daughter lived with us as did someone for whom he provided adult care). When I tried to talk with him about them, he didn’t want to talk about them (factors) nor did he support my suggestions. I’ll never know how we would be if it was just the two of us.

    • very sure says:

      Does it matter if you did know how you two would be or if you had that chance? The fact that you left means you saw and/or felt things in the relationship that were not good for you, and you took a positive step. You rejected him by leaving; don’t go back looking for what might not be there.

  4. Aimee says:

    Another great article!! I hate that I vacillate between blaming him, then myself. I really do want to problem solve, continue to grow and love myself – so I am finally downloading “Get Out of Stuck” because that is where I keep ending up – STUCK!

    I have always had a hard time with rejection – but especially this last one as he rejected me when I was 15 – I even left the HS we attended due to the rejection back then – so imagine my “INVESTMENT” this time when he looked me up 28 years later – this time it was going to work if it killed me, him or both of us!! Hahaha – actually not too funny is it?!

    Do any of you ever do this? I break up with a guy, and then end up believing he broke up with me? What the heck is that Natalie? Is that validation again? I set my boundries, they don’t like, I break up with them, then am upset cause they moved on and didn’t change for me – I rejected first then feel rejected – YUCK! I don’t want to be victim anymore!!

    I have to remember that he and the exFBG are back because they drink and use drugs together, she tolerates the lies, his flirting with other women, etc etc. All the things I do NOT want in a relationship.

    I do want to be a postive force on this blog – for myself and others – I just hate this rollercoaster of feelings – I want the grief process to be less messy – doesn’t sound like I have any control issues there does it? Hahaha.

    “People who have I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me Syndrome are reliant on feeling like they’re on a pedestal and in fact, have a bit of a superiority complex which in itself is disrespectful to anyone who they’re involved with.” Wow – this really hit home – inside I have never felt better than – but boy have I conveyed this to many people with the superiority complex – I did this to my last AC, that makes me feel sad. One thing I have learned over the years:

    Big Ego = Small Self-Esteem Big Self-Esteem = Small Ego

    Thanks gals, guys and Natalie!!

    • Ashley L. says:

      “Do any of you ever do this? I break up with a guy, and then end up believing he broke up with me? What the heck is that Natalie? Is that validation again? I set my boundries, they don’t like, I break up with them, then am upset cause they moved on and didn’t change for me – I rejected first then feel rejected – YUCK! ”

      I can totally relate! I just did this with an AC who kept showing up ridiculously late for things (like 1-2 hours) with no warning! I set out my boundaries about how I expected to be treated and he responded by standing me up the next time. So when he contacted me again (the nerve!) I told him to take a hike.

      Of course he didn’t take me seriously and still tried to get me to go out with him that night (boundary testing) but I can firmly say I’m in NC now. Anyway, despite this success I still find myself wondering what it was about me that made him think he could treat me that way and why he wouldn’t act right after I asked him to make a reasonable change.

      It feels like a rejection because you think that if you were what they really wanted, they would treat you differently. But my emerging view is “eff them” if they choose to be alone or with somebody else rather than to respect your reasonable boundaries, consider it a load off your shoulders.

      • To a 'T' says:

        I can identify with this too. It burns to see him, hear him, you simultaneously hate his guts and hate yourself for still giving a damn. Understandably, you want him to show that you matter; but I’ve been there, twice with the same guy – I say I can’t take it anymore and his response is that he’s the one who’s hurt and he ‘accepts’ it. When someone doesn’t fight to keep you in their lives, just lets you go, it’s time for you to go. My last straw was an important event I had. He disappointed me, again. When I said that the whole relationship wasn’t working for us, he was just okay, I agree, I see your point. The thing to remember is that your hurt, feelings, disappointment don’t matter, and they never will. Remember that, it’ll keep you safe;)

        • Minky says:

          I had the same experience. I told the ex EUM that i hated being ignored and demanded respect from him. He deliberately pushed the boundaries and ingored me even more! (Brat!!). So i dumped him. I felt so relieved at first, because he was so unreliable and flaky that it drove me absolutely mental! I am quite a feisty person and always put my foot down with him, which would make him behave better temporarily and then it was back to the maddening flakiness again! He couldn’t even commit to coming to visit me more than 24 hours in advance, because he ‘didn’t want to let me down’.

          I felt great at first, but then i started to wonder why he couldn’t be better for me and change for me. I felt the need for validation even though i rejected him – that’s why i got back together with him only to have him dump me by email two weeks later (after making a huge play for me to get back with him – his own validation seeking i guess). I still wonder why he doesn’t want me sometimes, but i have to remind myself that this is what he is like, it’s how he’s always been and always will be. He told me about his ex, the love of his life, (who he’s VERY hung up on still) – she lived in another country when they met, they went out for a year and it was the perfect relationship according to him, then she moved to england for him and wanted to be in a proper relationship with all the responsibilities that come with it. They lasted a month before splitting up because she ‘seriously inconvenienced his lifestyle’ (WTF!!!??). It’s two years on and he STILL can’t stop banging on about her. He still loves her and wants to be with her but has never contacted her in 2 yrs because he ‘has nothing to offer’ (i.e. he knows she’ll want a relationship and he can’t give her one). Just goes to show you never know what they’re thinking or why they’re thinking it – ACs and EUMs are what they are. They only thing we should concern ourselves with is keeping as far away from them as possible!

          • Aimee says:


            My last AC is still pining for his dead wife – dead for 17 years!!! They were even divorced before she died. Had another girl pregant. He still called her his wife on many occasions (I had to remind him a couple times that they were divorced – ex wife) and still has their wedding china and crystal in his garage. Funny thing is I know that I would have really liked her – who can live up to a saint. I even told him that I would bring her back for him if I could.

  5. Movedup says:

    “because they’re a ‘loser’ and you’re not, so surely they should want you.” These words stuck out like a sore thumb. Talk about managing down your OWN expectations. The really nice guy won’t like me but this loser will think I am his queen! OUCH ! The kicker is – deep down inside – you just know. I had my friends looking at me when they first met the ExEUM/AC like I had three noses. WTF! Not at all what they were expecting. They all had that “you cold do better look” in their eyes. Yeah aim lower and you might hit the target. But when that target starts moving away from you – going off script – yes the ego jumps in big time! You can’t leave me I am the best thing that ever happened to you – you blind idiot! You’ ll be sorry one day and regret losing me for the rest of your life and whether you are around or not I am going to punish you in my mind. Now who pays the price. You are absolutely right Nat – where do you want to spend your energy. I hold your words close to my heart – my mantra – when you have to make a choice – always choose you. I choose me – let the loser go – who wants him anyway – certainly not me – not anymore.

  6. Ashley L. says:

    This post hits the nail on the head, again! I’m a big time offender when it comes to this and I think it’s a double-whammy for me because:

    1.) I hate the feeling of rejection, even when I know the guy is wrong for me
    2.) I’m used to getting what I want through determination and hard work, but you can’t will somebody to want you (and believe me, I’ve tried!).

    You just end up resenting the person more because you feel like you’ve put in so much effort and they still aren’t buying what you’re selling (even in reality you know that they have shitty credit and couldn’t even afford to buy what you’re selling in the first place!). When a guy rejects me, especially an AC, I long for the day that they try to contact me again so that I can go *AHA!* Now I am rejecting YOU! I WIN! Instead I need to work on moving forward, not worrying about what it was about me that THEY didn’t like and remember all the reasons they were wrong for ME.

    It’d be like wondering why a lion chose to eat the other person in the room instead of you. “What, am I not tasty enough for you or something? Look at this thigh, I bet it would satisfy you better than her gamy ass!”

    • To a 'T' says:

      LOLOLOL @ lion analogy, that is FUNNY. But this is so sad and true…I waited for my ex to contact me and he did, but it ended as it had before. It’s funny, but what you said about ‘credit’ is so true. If you see a pair of $200 shoes and save up to buy them, you tend to treat them alot better than if they’d been given to you; I take that to heart, the fact that you need to see if the person you’re dating has what it takes (‘credit’) to get what they want, and will be patient enough (sacrifice) to get it.

  7. Susan says:

    Eureka moment! When you said that if I was interested in the guy then that must mean there’s something wrong with me! So my relationship was doomed from the start and I didn’t even realise it. Now that my ex feels successful and has made it (off my hard work I might add – equity in my home enabling him to start his business) he feels justified in kicking me to the kurb because he perceives me to have something wrong with me. He feels better about himself and can go and find someone who will not have a bad opinion of him because he can say that he’s all fixed now that he’s made it. Assclown!!

  8. MH says:

    I have been staying away from my EUM for four months now and our mutual friends. I have now been invited out by a mutual friend who is comtemplating inviting MY EX FWB EUM’s new girlfriend. My friend doesn’t know him and I were friends with benefits (I am sure she suspected but she doesn’t want any details and if she does I don’t want to share so I am keeping that information to myself). Regardless, I was really looking forward to the invite until there was a possible chance of his new gf coming. I don’t want to meet her yet and I may never.

    I am trying to deal with exactly what this post is about. I hate the fact that I would have to give up my first in along time girls night out. I am not going to fill my friend in with the situation because it would just be participating in drama and nor her or I would want that.

    NML’s quote:
    “From the moment someone doesn’t want you, it’s time for you to start working on not wanting them and accepting that it’s over, whether it’s the relationship or the dream.”

    A part of me thinks that if she is there on friday, maybe meeting her might be the reality I need to accept that he doesn’t want me. (EUM’s new gf)

    I want to just be happy for him that he is in a situation that seems to suit him and this new girl. Even though I think they are the two commiment resistant birds like him and I were. I want to come to the conclusion like this above quote that it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t want to be free like he was so we could have continued being friends with benefits. The clincher, I left the situation before she came into the picture so I ended it. I am like the girl who posted about the husband who accepted her absence of less than two weeks. I wanted my EUM to chase me like he always did and convince me to stay.


    My friend mentioned that it isn’t going to last between them and I ended up defending them. I don’t know why I defended them but I thought it is none of our business whether their relationship is going to work or not. Even though I thought I would want to hear people saying things like this but it bugged me and I don’t know why. Another friend said because this new gf is your saviour he leaves you alone more with her in the picture otherwise he would be hounding you and so she brings you relief.

    Him and I were friends for five years before we got intimate and things were better than. Even though he is EUM he always helped me with things and gave me emotional support and sometimes he still does. Out of all the jerks I have ever been involved with he has my back better at times than anyone else, so a part of me would like to just hold onto the friendship but a casual one not the intense one it became. We developed along with a fwb relationship a very close friendship and the latter is the relationship I had to grieve over the last 4 months.

    If you habitually want people that don’t want you, you need to examine your own genuine capacity for a relationship, as you are hiding behind the illusions of being hijacked by your imagination and you’re only getting interested when you know they can’t/won’t reciprocate which is of course, a sign of your own emotional unavailability.

    Because he is a Eum, I know even a close friendship causes him to go hot and cold and I cannot handle it. Before NML gave that a name I use to ask him why do you push me away we are friends and I have never asked for more from you. Now I know the answer.

    I was hiding behind him my own commitment issues. Now I am trying to get him out my system by forgetting about him but I am still having a tough time and I realized it is because I am focussed on the hook of rejection. Why her and not me even though I don’t want him and I never did. I wanted him to want nobody. I wanted him to be one of those guys who couldn’t get any other girls and relied on me for his soul entertainment. The truth is if I received what I wanted I would have been settling in life and therefore continuing to hide out behind his commitment issues that I had of my own. Now that he forced the issue by not making me happy, I have had to face myself and I resented him for it.

    The fact that someone doesn’t want you, is a red flag and makes you fundamentally incompatible which means it’s time to opt out, process the loss, and accept. If you focus on doing this, your ego will catch up with the rest of you. If you focus on obsessing about them not wanting you, the sense of rejection will just increase. You have to decide where you want to put your energies.

    I don’t know how to process the loss that is what I am struggling with. I lived daily for the chase, he made me feel alive, and gave me drama. Now I left all that and I do feel less alive but it is nice to feel less pain and that in itself is a reward but not enough.
    I want out of stuck so the decent guy will come into my life otherwise i fear more ac’s and I don’t want that.

    I don’t know how to process the

    • Grace says:

      You have been broken up for four months, which I understand isn’t a long time, but you are excessively focused on him. Sounds like you haven’t been out much in four months. You need to spend more time out and about with friends and family, or pursue some interests and not hiding away.
      I would skip the girl’s night out. This is all too raw for you.
      And call me old-fashioned but very few women can do this FWB thing, and you are certainly not one of them. Me neither.
      At least you can take that from this experience.
      And he doesn’t sound like such a terrific friend, from where I’m standing. Friends don’t use you for sex, they just don’t.

      • Used says:

        No girls night out for you!

        You write very well, btw, and are very in touch with your feelings. I am impressed.

        You are on your way. Just stay away from him, and forever. He is not your friend. Grace is right. Don’t talk about him, or her, or the situation, with your friends, ever again. And move on, with hobbies, work, etc.: YOU.

        • MH says:

          I didn’t go to the girls night out but my friend cancelled it because she said I and some of her other friends cancelled so she is reschedulling so we all can come over.
          Apparently my friend didn’t invite the girlfriend but she is wanting me to meet her one day and I said I don’t want to meet her. She said I should for him if she does decide to invite her one day and then it is under neutral ground. I can’t fill her in on how I feel about him and why. So I guess I will deal with that issue if it arises.

  9. mE says:

    i have done this a few times and it’s so true that it’s a combo of both ego and low self esteem. it’s like you suddenly tell yourself the truth about who they are only upon rejection. all of a sudden it’s ‘this loser who would barely call, was totally uninteresting and vague, who was a selfish prick doesn’t want ME?’ and then you can’t let go. it’s such a backwards way of thinking! and in doing so i was again putting all of the problems on him when in reality we should have ended or never started things loooong before that point should have come up, because he was definitely not the man for me. my rejection has always come from these types of men, i have never been rejected by a wonderful man who simply didn’t see us going anywhere. i don’t know how i would react to that situation, haha! but i refuse to boo-hoo over or chase down someone who isn’t worth keeping around in the first place.

  10. Grace says:

    low. self. esteem. We’re already demonstrating low self esteem by chasing after someone unworthy. Added to that, we seem to want them EVEN MORE when they reject us. If we knew ourselves that we are worthwhile, why would we have to hear it from someone else? Especially him. If we were sure of ourselves we would be able to process the rejection (it would take time yes). We wouldn’t be plunged into the cesspit of despair for months or even years.
    And being beautiful, successful, rich etc etc is no guarantee that a person will have a sense of self-worth. Look at Marilyn Monroe for the classic example of a universally admired woman who threw herself at unavailable men.
    It’s a very sad way to live your life and if any of this rings true, it really is time to put the brakes on it.

  11. CB says:

    wow. spot on nat. and it doesnt have to be with someone who is an assclown aka treating you badly. it can also be with a good person that says theyre bad at relationships and while youve seen/been with a lot worse, if they are still claiming they dont know why but theyre just not falling in love with you – even tho the sex, hang time and laughs are A+… i think it’s still time to do the Big Brother and leave the building too.

    this comes at a great moment. tho im not quite there now with the guy im seeing, i have been there but i know i need to make changes in the relationship im in or it needs to end coz above all (and in front of it and to the side and back and round again too!) i wanna face the music if its playing and i totally dont wanna be the I Can’t Believe They Don’t Want Me gal ever again!

    thanks x CB

    • Grace says:

      He’s not that good. He’s already told you he doesn’t want a relationship yet keeps you hanging on. I guess he does a wee bit of future faking, some sweet talk and blowing hot, which is what makes you think he is good? I could be wrong about that, but I’m quite sure about one thing – get out pronto. Don’t waste any more time and energy chasing after someone who doesn’t 100% want to be with you.

      • Minky says:

        Too true – i agree with Grace, at the moment he’s a ‘good guy’ who doesn’t want a relationship. Don’t wait until he turns into ‘the guy who’s now ignoring you, who doesn’t want a relationship’. Quit while you’re ahead. It’s not meant to be. There is better out there for you :).

  12. mistechal says:

    Sometimes,we pick these people,because we ourselves are unavailable. If you keep ending up with inappropriate fellows, you must ask yourself , if you fell in lust with someone, who on an unconscious level, that you knew that it wouldn’t work out with.

    I am the epitome of ‘why would he leave someone who is so much better than he?’
    One reason is because of the ‘strokes’ that I received from all of my friends and family. “oh how talented you are” Oh, how you deal with such an (a) hole” Oh how sweet and devoted, patient, giving…. it stroked my ego, being the beleaguered wife , strong, stoic, faithful, competent, superwoman, and that’s the reward. The accolades from everyone else.

    • MaryC says:

      mistechal….I too am the epitome of ‘why would he leave someone who is so much better than he?’ and may I add “for someone who is so much less than me?”.

      Those 2 questions haunted me for ages and as @Grace said ….being beautiful, successful, rich etc etc is no guarantee that a person will have a sense of self-worth. It does come down to self esteem.

      At that time I had none and I said and did things too embarrassing and too humiliating to even speak of now all in what I thought was in the name of love. It wasn’t love it was self-destruction driven out of pain/anger/jealousy/rage.

      Fast forward a year of NC….I truely believe the only way to survive is to get real about our relationships, grow a back bone and demand yes demand to be treated with respect or get the hell out.

  13. Linda says:

    WOW! This article could not have come at a better time – a better day. Another drama today and he wants out again (was all lovey dovey fine last week), and evidence now of cheating. Is this really me? Low self esteem. Chasing after someone for sooooo long who does not value or truly want me. I was in such pain up until reading this post. Now I’m sitting up – shocked at the fact that the truth be told, you have described me. I’m going to try. I’m really going to try this time to end things and cut off the contact as best as possible. We have a mutual business and so, this is very difficult. I live across the street from his mother and he just down the street too. We had so many upcoming things planned. And my life – has been derailed for 8 friggen years. I can’t believe I have allowed this to go on for 8 long and painful years. Thank you for your postings. You are a life-savior and you force serious introspection. It’s so hard. When he is sweet and loving , he is very sweet and affectionate and loving. He never seems as miserable as he later claims. When I let my guard down and ask for any little thing, like an hour to hit some tennis balls, he balks, yells, won’t do it. If I ask that he eat dinner here, at this house we both own, instead of his mother’s every night, he won’t do it. I often ask myself, “where did that intersting Linda go? How did it get to this.” I did not even like him for the first 2 years. He lost his wife in the 9/11 attack. I felt there was much he needed to still work out. He was much more emotionally open then for about three years, until I finally commited to him, and then, but only after we bought our first place together, did he seem to just drastically change. By then I was really ‘in it.’ I’ve never had a problem of detaching with ANYONE in my life until this man. I am going to read and re-read and re-read this particular article again and also get Getting Out of Stuck. I am so stuck right now. And the loss in other ways? My family and friends don’t want to hear his name anymore. The funny thing is, everyone loved him in the beginning. Maybe it is me. Maybe my ego is just stuck in the gall of it. Maybe I AM the commitment phobic here too. I feel sick to my stomach right now at the reality of what you have written. This can’t be me. This can’t be how I’ve constructed my life. I swear to all I am going to try very hard to break this. Thank you. Linda in Brooklyn

  14. Miss Lem says:

    I met my husband online March 2001. I lived in America. He is from England. We met each other in person 2 weeks after meeting online . He had a trip planned to come to America to see a woman who had spent Christmas with him in England, just three months earlier. He said that things had gone sour and she already had a new man, but since he had already booked the trip, he wanted to come anyway and was just looking for someone to hang out with while he was on his holiday. I was a bit hesitant at first, but thought it might be fun to meet someone from England.
    So, we met.
    I had been a single mom for ten years, and thought it might be fun to go out with someone since my children were older and not needing me quite so much. (I had not allowed dating in my life)
    My childrens father had abandoned them, as my father had abandoned me, So I felt that it was my first priority to devote my all to them.
    I thought it might be harmless to meet an Englishman on holiday and might be a fun time. Oh but then I had to go and be completely smitten.
    He told me straight away, that he was not looking for any relationship as the one he was in had just crumbled. He was just looking for someone to have as a companion on his visit. Sounded harmless enough.
    I accompanied him on the rest of his tourist destination on his holiday, and we had a good time together and I drove him to the airport on his last day in America. We did not have sex.
    He went home, but continued to stay in touch with me, calling me every day or writing me via email. He invited me to come and see him, and I gave myself permission to have a little adventure. So In July I came to England for the first time.
    This visit, we did begin a sexual relationship. I was only visiting for 2 weeks, and he was NOT bothered about having sex every day of the 2 weeks. I had brought three thousand American dollars to be exchanged, and paid for most everything on my visit because I did not want him to think I was just trying to use him for a trip or anything, but he readily accepted anything I offered to pay for.
    When I went home, we continued to talk every day, write everyday,and he seemed so emotionally interested in every aspect of my life. I fell for that big time!!
    The September after, He wanted to come see me again, and he proposed to me on that visit, with no ring.
    It would be the following august before we could see each other again, and before I got my engagement ring. We got married the next month in Sept.
    It was all very much like a fairy tale, Friends and family all happy for me, after waiting such a long time to get involved with anybody again.

    One his first visit to see me specifically, He threw a pouty fit on one of the journeys. Got mad about something I said or did, and was just being disrescpectful. Since I was paying for the petrol, chipping in on the rooms and buying meals, I refused to take him out because I thought he was being so rude. He sat with his arms folded pouting, then when he saw that I was not going to change my mind being guilted into taking him where he wanted to go, he started making comments that I was ruining his holiday. When I pointed out that he was ruining his own holiday, he then started apologising and saying that he was sorry and could we please still go out . I eventually gave in and took him to the club he wanted to visit.

    On part of the road trip itself, I had bought a lollipop in one of the petrol stations, and he said Omg, couldnt you find anything better than that to eat? SO I tossed it out the window, and he nearly wrecked the car outraged and stopping on a 4 lane motor way to try to make me pick up my litter.
    Oh a final visit to see me prior to our wedding,
    I wanted him to help me finalise some decorations for the reception tables. I was really excited, and I called to him in the store and said “come here”! I want to show you these!!!
    He came up to me and said, Dont you ever say come here to me again, i am not a dog.
    And he was completely disinterested in buying the flowers. When i asked why, he said, This just isnt something men are into.
    It hurt my feelings, and I said to him at that time, that it didnt seem right that he would be so hateful when I was doing every bit of the work for the wedding all he had to do was show up.
    He just muttered it was girl stuff.
    Why did I ignore that?????
    This is by no means a complete list of all the warnings but I Would never finish the story if I wrote them all.
    Then came the wedding, and his friend from childhood attended along with some other English friends.
    The one friend said, wow, you are not nearly as big as he said you were, . Then he asked me if i was sure about the wedding, was I sure this wasnt just another one of his WHIMS.
    I was so taken back that he had asked me that, I didnt question it any further. But it does still stick out in my mind.
    The way I justified it then, was that This guy was still not married and living at home with his mummy and daddy at nearly sixty years of age and he was jealous.
    My husband to be had never co habitated with any of his girlfriends, never married and no children.
    We married.
    Some fun times, some really difficult adjusting.
    I tried to make things as normal for him as possible.
    He was not allowed to work for nearly 2 years while waiting on a work permit and green card. So, I helped him get a drivers lisense, I made phone calls and got him a keep fit class to teach locally, got him a car to get around in, set him up with a lady who had a private charity helping feed needy people, brought him to my job to introduce him to people, included him in as much as I could.
    He had some very sulky moments similar to the one on our first trip together, and i chalked it up to being homesick . He called his mother several times a week.
    He cried sometimes with worry about her being all alone.
    At some point, he was so homesick , that we decided to take a trip and I wanted to take my kids this time. I asked him before we left to please check with immigration to make sure all of his documents were in order.He failed to do this, and traveled on an expired travel document, and it voided out the 2 years of work done on his behalf to get his green card. Money , and time and life down the drains.
    I had to start the process all over again, while he sat at his moms, expecting that I would have it sorted in a few months, he did nothing.
    I was jumping through all the hoops. after a year, being seperated (which never seemed to truluy bother him) his appointment at the embassy came up. they said he had to produce a police certificate, and when he did, it had a class a drugs arrest from 1982 (at the time it was 25 year old record, 30 or so now) and was denied re entry to the USA.
    So, i had to either kiss the marriage goodbye, or move to England.
    I was very very concerned about selling my house and all my belongings as it was the only place I ever felt was MY PLACE (Abandonment issues) and wanted some sort of assurance that by doing so, I Would have some sort of security in England. He had 2 properties at the time, and so I asked if he would add my name to one of the mortgaes just to make me feel ok about what all i was having to do in the usa to join him and explained why It would make me feel more confidant about the move, He said he sure would.
    I moved over 2005.
    The first time I brought up getting my name on the mortgage, we had a fight. That threw up every insecurity I ever could have had.
    So, Then I would not rest until it was done. after being here 6 months, and it wasnt done, I got angry. I said he had tricked me and he started yelling that I cared more about the house than I did him.
    I could not believe my ears.
    We argued, and he wanted me to shut up, he shoved me onto the sofa and i tried to get up and he hovered over me and I started feeling crazy weird that this was happening.
    I could not get him off me, so i swung at him or so he says. i honestly do not remember but somewhere in teh process i wound up with a broken wrist.
    I was too disturbed to tell anyone, i told the doctors and everyone else that i fell down the stairs.
    the following christmas, He still had not added me to the deed, and i brought it up again, this time to shut me up he tossed me on the bed, and ended up spitting on me.
    I told him i was leaving because he lied and was abusive, and started collecting boxes to pack.
    he would unpack me every time he found packed boxes. Tossing my stuff everywhere.
    I had no friends , no family, nobody to turn to. I suffered it alone , too ashamed to tell family or friends at that time.
    he finally agreed to put me on the deed of one house because he thought i was leaving, but he did it grudgingly and bitterly and I never felt the security that act was supposed to have brought me.
    during the next year, he became most miserable. hating his job, co workers, his life. He would not help me with any DIY projects to fix up the house.
    His drinking increased, to the point that it all he would do, eat,, drink fall asleep. All increasing in severity , during which time I was struggelign to get my citizenship test passed, and worrying about if my daughter was alive or not each and every day she was serving in Iraq.
    by Christmas, he was more miserable than I have ever known.
    Christmas lunch was at a pub wth his mother. I had been sick and did not even know if I would make it to the lunch or not. He made no comment on my effort to make it, never said i looked nice, nothing.
    He looked straight down the waitresses blouse as she served us, and pretty much ignorened me during the meal.
    He gave me no gifts at all, no card. Neither did his mother. I do not know what the hell that was about . On retrospect, it seemed almost preplanned but could have been coincidence.
    Granted, i did tell him not to worry about presents for me as he had been so stressed, but I REALLY still thought, being he has no kiids, no other family, that I WOULD have been special enough to have warranted a little present at the least.
    all of it hurt my feelings so much.
    On boxing day, he sat around all day watching tv and drinking. And finally I coudlnt take it anymore and started telling him how much he hurt my feelings and all he was doing was sitting watching tv and playing games on his computer. I tried to have his computer away from him, and ended up getting it shoved into my face, cut my chin, and my face bled, and i got clawed down my neck, and had my gown ripped off my body.
    He yelled that he hated me and so did his mom, and she had always hated me.

    I phoned the police, he was arrested and kept from the property for 3 weeks, and I sat alone…. stunned . Literally in shock. for 3days.. did not move from the sofa, did not sleep, did not eat.
    while he was away, he cut me off the bank account, and did not make sure i had anything i needed.

    I packed my stuff while he was gone knowing that i would not be able to when he returned. I packed a lot, even some of his stuff because i thought that was all in the world i was going to walk away from this marriage with.
    after my stuff was sent, oNE OF HIS FRIENDS came by to see me, and said that I shouldnt dare walk away and let him sit like he had done no wrong.
    I called attorneys in the states, and was advised to get my divorce done here because it would be so expensive and the wait would be long.
    So, I started divorce proceedings in England.Jan 2009.
    Started personal counciling in april 2009..still going.
    we had to share the same house living seperately until this past july.
    Because i have no family and few friends, I have still been dependant on his for things,.
    I have become so screwed up in my head during this process, I cant figure out if i am coming or going.
    He has been going to counciling too.
    At no point has giving up the divorce been an option.
    But my brain, for the past 2 years, has been waiting for him to make retrobution. to tell me he was sorry and he wants me more than anything in this world.
    He is an arrogant assclown, and tells me things like, IF HE JUST HAS TO bow down and be a yes man to everyting i ask of him, he dosnt want any relationship with me at all, but 2 years later, he is still coming around wtf is that about???
    we do not have sex anymore. He is cheap and misearble.
    He is short and not the most brilliant man and he hates to admit when he dosnt know something.
    he sucked all the enthusiam i had for a very simple life right out of me.
    He makes me furious,and i want to talk and talk and analyze and i want him to say what a jerk he has been and what he would do to prove to me that I am the most important thing in his world like he was to me.
    why am I being so ridiculas? he had a cyber affair last summer and lied about it, and i busted him withhis lie, and he said he had to have someone to talk to because I was such a bitch.

    I FEEL like I have rattled all over the place here, but deep down, I know he is horrible to me and for me, but i seem to hang onto any act he performs that i can find as generosity, evern if its something lame like bringing me a markdown chicken from the co op.

    My world is very small, few friends, and I trust no one anymore.
    I dont have a home to go back to in America, so starting over is starting over for me. Period. I do have family back home , so they are spread, no way for me to be around both kids regularly.
    I will close now because I DO NOT know where i am trying to go, except after reading your blog tonight, I sat there and thougth, 2 years after that arrest and his dispicable behavior and he still shows no true genuine signs of being sincerely regretful, and im hanging onto something. VALIDATE ME PLEASEEE!!!!!!
    I have been reading your blog archives heavily this week , and I feel a change coming.

    • MH says:

      I am sorry that you had to endure such a bad experience.

      This is why NML’s articles are so important because she teaches us not to put ourselves in situations like you mentioned above. When she mentions getting to know a man who has consistant, good standard, behaviour before we get too involved with him is key.

      You can look at your situation and see all the mistakes you made as life lessons not shortcomings to beat yourself up over.

      It is goal of mine now to figure out how to not want validation from someone who we shouldn’t care to receive it from. I flip back and forth. One time my EUM mentioned another female friend of his doesn’t care about getting validation from him and I thought yeah because she isn’t intimate with you so she doesn’t care, but I am, so of course I would. However, since I have stayed away from him for several months now it dawned on me, he is right why do I need validation from someone as screwed up as him. Even he has told me several times to forgive him because he is so screwed up.

      What I am getting at here is if they are so screwed up and your guy sounds really screwed up. Why are we giving them any validation to give us validation. We need to validate ourselves like NML says all the time.

      That is what I am working on. I think I have to work on that “get out of stuck” worksheet and see if that works to help process it.

      good luck

    • lynette says:

      miss lem, i can so identify with so many of the things you talk about — the abuse, the crazymaking, the isolation. i am into my third month of separation from my husband of over 16 years after years of counseling and many more years of verbal, emotional, and occasional physical abuse. the kicker was when i discovered he had systematically sought out sex on craigslist under a fake email using his dad’s name (ewwwwwww!!!!!), and left self-porn photos on his phone and his computer (which i gave him a couple of years ago for Christmas). all the time he had been saying he wanted to keep our marriage together, and i had been working on laying down boundaries for the abuse and asking him for more help in partnering in the marriage and our family. he would say that he was trying but his actions did not match his words.

      anyway, when i found those pictures, i HAD to ask him to leave — i have two teenage kids, i could not have those activities around them. i was so very angry for the first several weeks, and now i find myself grieving and i want him back.

      i did file for divorce and that is moving along, but only because he was threatening me with withholding money for our expenses, and i was worried about taking care of our kids. he rarely sees the kids, i am positive that he is still seeing someone through craigslist, and still, i am so distraught at the loss of my marriage that i want him back.

      i too want him to want to fix things, to make it better. he always would promise me that he was my champion and that he would never leave me. but he was never my champion when i really needed him, and he left me in so many ways that he might as well have been gone.

      i know i am probably better off without him, but he was my husband and we have a family, and stupidly, irrationally, i want him back.

      denial. not a pedestal. low self-esteem, that i could want a man that has treated me this way.

      i am working on it in therapy. and this blog is amazing.

      best wishes to you, to all of us!

      • Aimee says:


        I wanted to address your blog. I was involved with an abusive man 25 yrs ago – together (off and on) for 3 years, and lived together – thank God no children. Please dear – let this one go – you deserve so much better. Your self-esteem is in the sh**ter – I know – I was there BUT when I left my life took off – it was wonderful – I know I was only 23 – but you can do this – I promise you – YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!

        I have never allowed another man to touch me since, although I have encountered mental and emotional abuse – you become more aware and it is easier to walk away. I remember the grief when I left him – crying in my sleep, waking in my mom’s arms cause she heard me – you see my father hit my mother and I learned that if someone loves you, you have the power to piss them off and they hit you – NOT TRUE!!!!! That is not love.

        LET HIM GO – for you and the children. I just heard from my jerk two weeks ago (we have been apart for 22 yrs) – I ignored the first email, the second said “no love for an old friend?” I wanted to email him and say what ever made you think we were friends – cause you slept with me, screwed 42 women behind my back (in only 3 yrs) and beat me? But I didn’t – I ignored and blocked him on FB. He has not changed – he still beats women, cheats on them – see his mother loved me and still wrote after 21 yrs – she died last year – her validation is the only one I need – I am an amazing woman – and so are you. I count my blessings everyday, thanking God that he did not give me HIV.

        • lynette says:

          @aimee, thank you so much for your support and kindness. your words came at a good time, right now — it was a rough week with stuff to do related to divorce proceedings. it is all so painful i just want to pull back and not keep moving forward.

          my best friend tells me the next ten years can be so much better than the past ten if i can let myself move forward. i am grateful for your perspective — i need SO much support to get through this that it is a huge sign to me that i have been really messed up by this relationship.

          i used to be such a strong and confident person. i know i am strong, but my confidence is definitely way, way down.

          thank you :)

      • Fearless says:

        That’s a terrible story – I don’t think this man is worth any more of your investment, do you? You should give it time and distance – the longer you stay away from him the less you’ll want him back. Don’t act on impulse, that’s my advice – and my worst failing, so I know the pitfalls!

        Some stories on here make me think my EUM wasn’t at all bad!!! He was never abusive in any way verbally or physically…he never said one insult or horrid thing to me, ever… he never brought me down verbally – only ever told me I was really good at stuff etc….. but he was cruel though with his silent treatment and Harry Houdini routines and he could be so hurtfully dismissive when he was giving me the cold ‘chilly around here’ act. – it was the terrible dichotomy of it all – one minute I was “princess” next minute I was made to feel like nobody from nowhere (eventually I told him to stop calling me ‘princess’, as I plainly wasn’t one to him (he stopped).

        Anyway… what I want to know is what on earth is this ‘craiglist’?? (pardon my ignorance)…and I am wondering too what on earth would ‘self-porn’ look like? (again, pardon my ignorance – may be best no-one answers that one – leave it to my imagination! eeewwww!!!).

        • lynette says:

          craigslist.com is an online advertizing site — you can list things for free — apartments, stuff for sale. there is also a personals section, and soliciting sex on craigslist is actually illegal. so that is what my stupid husband was doing for months and months, was contacting women (mind you, only hispanic or black women as if they are okay to have this kind of connection with, but not white like himself which makes it even more disgusting) for sex on craigslist under his dad’s name. the self-porn was photos he took of himself getting blowjobs by some woman on his WORK cell phone during his WORK day, which he downloaded onto his computer desktop, as well as photos she sent to him of herself in provocative naked positions. ewwwwwwwwwww.

          it will take me years to erase those photos from my mind. but whereas the psychological and emotional abuse was something vague and hard to pin down, those photos are tangible evidence. it made it ultimately possible to get up the nerve to kick him out, although it definitely doesn’t make the letting go any easier, because now there is this creepy aspect to him that i was never aware existed.

          as it turns out, he is the kind of guy i warn my daughter about. that is a tough thing to take in.

  15. annabelle says:

    Again i find myself reading your post and again it hits home. Reading this article makes me realize that i do have issues to work on. I have been involved with an AC for the past 5 years, a on again off again relationship. He promises me a future, he says he loves me and yet his actions are quite the opposite.

    Each time that he doesnt show up for our date, i loose part of myself. I hate myself for believing in him again.

    My husband passed away 6 years ago and i was suddenly left to pick up the pieces and make a life for myself and my children. i somehow survived this shock. I met th AC and thought wow i have a second chance to happiness again. Only tto discover that i had been played, used , manipulated, stolen from, abused and totally raped my self esteem. i end up hating myself at times.

    I believe i am living proof of your most recent article natalie and i welcome each day to read in the hope that i will overcome this as well. I cry as i write this because of the damage i have allowed to happen to me. i cry because i didnt protect myself, because i couldnt see the signs and when i did i didnt acknowlege them.

    i am trying yet one more time to pick up the pieces in my life. Natalie you have been an inspiration, you are my hope that perhaps i can overcome this. perhpas one day i will choose me.
    I thank you for this post and all your posts. God bless you.
    Thank you.

    • Aimee says:


      I read your post and you touched me. I know it is painful and I wish all the best blessings for you to be able to move on. The death of a loved one is SOO hard, but you can do this girl. You deserve someone who is loving, compassionate, kind, available and giving – go do your grief work and love your self!! Let this guy go (I know easier said then done) Your in my thoughts and prayers!

    • mary says:

      I too am a widow my husband dies, I met the A–clown 5 months later and was in such a state I fell for and believed everything he said. He sucked my soul out of me. But you will get over this don’t let him pull you down. He is not worth one tear drop. You are mourning and grieving so many other things. feel free to write to meif you would like to talk I totally understand .

    • Fearless says:

      you said, “…perhaps one day I will choose me”

      What are you waiting for? One day is now! Choose you, today, now. Go for it! What have you got to lose? (except for yourself – that’s a high price for faulty goods).

  16. Kim says:

    Talk about low self esteem. Even after finding out EVERYTHING he told me about his life was a lie, I still am grieving the “loss of him.” I mean what type of person lies about their wife dying of cancer when in reality she divorced him!! He lied about the death of his mother and father until I actually MET them. They warned me to stay away from him… that he would hurt me and that he had mental issues (abused prescription drugs), is a pathological liar and manipulates people. His own family had to have a restraining order put in place to keep him away. Yet, the final straw was when he went out one morning to “look for a job” and did not come back until the next day. That’s when I told him to get out of MY home… a place I had opened up to him many times since he claimed he had nothing. Even after the finding the text messages between him and another girl; how he ALWAYS he had an answer for everything. The disappearing for days…. Not to mention the NASTY names he would call me, claiming if I wasn’t ACTING like that then he wouldn’t HAVE to call me those names in the first place. Now, he has told everyone that I threw him out and that he’s done with me. And I’m the one upset!! I’ve got to wonder what the hell is wrong with me…. my self esteem is pretty much non-existent!! It’s crazy how after finding out all of these things, it still hurts that he is not trying to contact me. Major issues to work through on my part. The worst part is that I’m more upset at this moment that he will find someone else and not even think twice about me. It’s CRAZY what we allow ourselved to put up with when we have no boundaries in place or go into a relationship with BLIND TRUST. LESSON LEARNED THE HARDEST WAY!! Thanks

    • MH says:


      Grieving is necessary whether they are good, bad, EUM’s, or AC’s, etc!

      It is a process that you have to endure to get to the other side, I believe. I would try to stay away from feeling guilty about it. At the same time, you do need to put things in perspective so you don’t hold onto unecessary grief which is easy to do and I think I am guilty of it at times.

      The guy before my EUM was AC and I had to worked through my abandonment issues with him. Rather than beating yourself up for caring about an AC look at it as a grieving process over a relationship you thought was going to grow into something, which is what is hurting you now.

      Reading your post made me think back to my AC, and I said to myself why do we ladies besides the above title of this post put up with all this why is our self esteem so low. Now besides the ground work we have to invest in to overcome our challenges what came up for me when I was reading your post was our lack of self love of course. As well as self blame lighted up for me. I kept thinking why do we feel so low that we would let them get away with even one of the things you listed above. I just discovered lately that I deep down believed I deserve their mistreatment and now I realize no way do I and why did I, that is so sad.
      I use to try and blame myself with my EUM, however, he was not like my AC and he would never allow me too.
      We have a fear that they will turn into great guys and treat the next one great. However, when they are so screwed up it would take years and therapy to do that. Either way they didn’t treat us right so if they treat the next one great it doesn’t matter because wasn’t the case with us and we got out because we did care enough about ourselves. I haven’t experienced once that any of my ex ac’s or Eum’s turn great for the next ones. They have told me over the years what they did to the next one and I was sad for the next girls for what the jerks did. My latest Eum told me he hasn’t had to change one bit and doesn’t haven’t to compromise for his new girlfriend. I am like wow how unlucky for her. Because I know I wouldn’t want what he is offering his new girlfiend so I am lucky to be set free to find what I am looking for.That’s my positive spin but I dwell too but that’s what I resort to when I want to look at the bright side of things.

  17. Jenni says:

    Great article, I too have heard of many women that do and feel the same way. And I have been one of them. I think a lot of times women have low self confidence or have a particular background that makes them feel worth less than they are. Because they dont appreciate themselves and understand their worth they often find men that are like how they really feel inside whether they admit it or not. Its like if someone feels they are a bad person on the inside then they may chose a bad guy because they may feel with him they are better and thats a better feeling than being with a good guy and not feeling good enough. Also i think women are naturally “fixers” they want to believe they can change things or make someone or something all better. When choosing one of these guys that isnt even worth a second look it may be like a project for them or they may feel like they are the only ones that can help them. Sometimes us women can be so confusing but i think a lot of the answers are right inside and it takes a lot of courage to face those demons

  18. jennynic says:

    My ex ac always said he wanted to be with me. He said he loved me. He always came back after I threw him out. He said he wanted to grow old with me. He was also verbally abusive and did and said things that hurt me so bad, sometimes I couldn’t breathe. He acted like I was never good enough and always put me last. I watched him stumble all over himself to be good to others, especially other women. This guy was a classic example for words not matching actions. It was extremely confusing for a while, topped with the insults insinuating that he treated me bad because of the way I acted. I tried asserting my boundaries, early on when I first realized he was being unfair to me. He told me I was unreasonable. When I would attempt to end it because he was walking all over me, then the promises came. After awhile when I stopped believing the promises and the lies, stopped having any faith at all in him, then he became a bully. I went NC (and moved) because he was bullying me and becoming very aggressive. I left him. So why do I feel rejected? He rejected me as a person. He rejected me as a human being. He rejected me as a woman. He told me nobody liked me. He injured my soul. So, the feelings of rejection I feel do come in part to my seeking validation but I also realize that part of my feeling of rejection came from being treated like I was sub human. To have been degraded purposely to keep me from stepping out of line. To have cried until my eyes were swollen shut and simply say to him, “you are killing me, let me go”. Pleading with him to just get out of my life and leave me alone just got me, “Look at you, you’re pathetic”. I knew this man didn’t love me. I no longer loved him. I no longer wanted him. When my ego switched off, and I wanted out, he was so used to me being around no matter what he did, his super ego switched on and he couldn’t believe a “pathetic, crazy girl” like me didn’t want him anymore. I never talked to him again. The “pathetic” part of me expected him to fight for me but I also dreaded it, the real me said he will destroy you if you let him. So I blocked every possble way of him contacting or finding me. I now take part of the responsibility for getting to where I was with him. I ignored early red flags and gave in to him to many times. I gave away my power. He manipulated me into doing it. Life is so much better now without him around me. My feelings of rejection have turned to anger at how inhumanely he treated me. Slowly the anger is getting less sharp, but I am not the same. This was my epiphany relationship without a doubt, and some things about me needed to be brought to light and changed. The one thing I still have a hard time with is just how he could be so brutally cruel.

  19. Jeanne says:

    I don’t believe it’s always that way. I was in a short romantic relationship with someone who was a long time friend.He stopped talking to me on Christmas day. ..and wouldn’t answer any of my phone calls. It turned into my entire world to find out what the problem was..what I did wrong that he didn’ want to ever want to talk to me when on Christmas eve he gave me a bracelet from Tiffany’s. I couldn’t understand it and became a “woman on a mission” to find out why. I have to say looking back on it I was so out of sorts that I didn’t recognize myself.I had to put my dog to sleep and I had a serious illness in my family all at the same time..how could he do this to me was all I could think.Then I found out about the drugs and alcohol. Now he wants to be friends..turns out I don’t want him as a friend..take my advise..if a man likes alcohol and drugs…run ..fast.. in the opposite direction. Deception is all they know!

  20. RM says:

    This is Exactly what im going through right now!!! My ex is with a lesser attractive less goal oriented person now..and it blows my mind how he could reject me!!! what hurts the most is that towards the end it turned into a competition between me and her vying for his affection we (the other woman and i) have exchanged words texts and catty fb messages . and after all that he still chose her!!!! i couldnt believe it still cant …I find myself hoping they would fall apart..its not just that hes with someone else hes with Her and its killing me that she won! is this normal?

    • MH says:

      You need to read NML’s articles on “Trading on your looks & sex appeal.” If you haven’t already or reread if you have. It is not normal to fight the girls or fight for a guys attention. Like Nat says, the guy should want to be with us by choice, not demand.

      She puts things in such perspective about how we attract partners who are caught up in the same currency issues as we are. There is more to life than our looks is what she is trying to illustrate. If we focus on looks, and how we didn’t win even though we have the looks, we are missing the bigger picture.
      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How many times have people’s looks grown on you? Maybe these girls that we deemed less attractive are seen more attractive in these guys eyes then we see these girls as.

      These girls are just victims like us, and really the prize is getting as far away from the guy as possible, so who is really the winner, them or us.


      • RM says:

        I see what your saying looks do not mean anything..when she popped back into the picture after AC and i got involved she proposed a friends with benefits situation. something i would never do and he knew it. and she would even indulge in drugs with him. from time to time anything to keep him around. now from the outside looking in she doesnt really have much respect for herself but what really confuses me is when he makes these statements reffering to her .”shes not doing anything with herself,shes just there.”, “when i finally get back on my feet and want a healthy relationship,im not gonna be with her.” she knows im going to leave her,shes just taking what she can get.” “im with her for the benefits of it.” ..then he would turn around and say that he cares and doesnt want to hurt her. He claimed to not want to be tied down to anyone since he was newly divorced. but turn around and supposedly committed to her (thats what she says anyway).The last time i talked to him he would not refer to her as his girlfriend and when i mentioned what she said he said that was just catty female behavior..he said he hasnt felt in a long time and has been through plenty of women in the last 2 years but its only really been me and her hes contradicted everything he said …..SO IS THIS A STORY HES JUST SELLING ME OR IS SHE GETTING PLAYED AS WELL???? I KNOW I SHOULDNT CARE but will that last?

        • Fearless says:

          You are both “getting played” – like fiddles. Why are you listening to this man, trying to decipher some meaning from his drivel – what is he, the oracle? he talks gibberish! – he’s got gibberish for her, and more gibberish for you, all spilling out of his gibberish head, and you’re both hanging on his every senseless word? What for?

          Here’s the worst thing that can happen here for you – it doesn’t last with her and you get to “win” him back!

          In the name of all sense and reason – let her have him. She loses! Big time. She just doesn’t realise it yet, but you should… and she will.

          • Minky says:

            Haha! I always look forward to your posts Fearless!

            Absolutely spot on as usual – these guys are all full of gibberish, they say whatever they think will get them off the hook or get them what they want at the time. I’ve heard so much drivel from my ex EUM that i often thought ‘do you actually think i’m an idiot – you’re talking absolute balls mate!!’.

            Let someone else put up with their nonsense. The reason they’re with ‘her’ and not you: because she meets his selfish, idiot, senseless, toddler, brainless needs better. They’re brats, they go for the soft option. The fact that he thinks i’m ‘too much’, that i make things ‘too complicated’ (his exact words), is the biggest compliment he could ever have paid me! He’s not man enough for me and he knows it. They all do.

          • Aimee says:


            “You are both “getting played” – like fiddles. Why are you listening to this man, trying to decipher some meaning from his drivel – what is he, the oracle? he talks gibberish! – he’s got gibberish for her, and more gibberish for you, all spilling out of his gibberish head, and you’re both hanging on his every senseless word? What for? ”

            I love your posts – fiddles and drivel – love it!

            @RM – REMEMBER – their words and actions contradict – listen to the actions not the words – and they are liars too!!!

          • Fearless says:

            @Aimee and Minky –
            right on. They say whatever suits them at the time. They live in and for the moment – if the cap fits they’re wearin’ it, and they have one for every occasion. We look to their “superior knowledge” in the hope we’ll maybe get as clever as they are one day (!!!) and finally be able to understand what they mean… but they don’t even know what they mean! They don’t care what they mean! They are making it up as they go along – and we are the diddies trying to make sense out of the chaotic claptrap that comes out of their mouths. Fiddle-de-dee.

            I have felt much more peaceful and calm since I decided the only opinion that counts for anything (in respect of me and my EUM) from now on is MINE! I’ll decide what I make of it all – and I’ll not be asking him anything about anything (cos he has shown consistently that he is a clueless twit, who says just whatever will get him past the next two minutes!)

        • MH says:

          Hi RM
          The problem is these guys are always telling stories and they are always playing everyone. So I have no clue which one they are doing at any time. I have concluded that it is best to think they are doing both and to realize either way it doesn’t matter because they have already proved their treatment of us is a waste of our time.

          As far as lasting what I have learned about that is it lasts with each person based on each other’s needs. What I am meaning is I believe we lasted with them for the length we did because that is what relationship we needed at the time to learn a certain life lesson. I want my guy to last a long time with the girl he is with only because I don’t want him to be free to bother me more.

          Unfortunately spending time trying to figure out what he is doing with her only serves the purpose if we are trying to figure it out as a way to bring closure. If we are trying to figure it out to see if they are going to change and come back to us then I believe it is a waste of time.

          I did another post down below because somebody asked me about my eum and his new gf and they concluded that he is getting serious with his new girl when I mentioned he moved her in or they asked. (He was my friend for over six years so people still asked about him because I don’t fill everyone in about our relationship.) Anyways the point of me asking similar questions like you are asking is because I have concluded that he is EUM and a waste of time. However, at times when someone comes along and makes his behaviour out to be someone who was just scared I have to reality check to make sure I had the original story right. The original story being that he is a waste of time and i didn’t let a good guy go that was just scared and needed some encouragement. He use to begged me not to leave and the more I ignored him he chased but I pushed him away.

        • allie says:

          @ RM

          it soo much remind me of my ex husband, when I asked him why did she left me for that older and ugly and a cheater woman, he said, it’s not you it is that “she is as bad as I am” and with her I can just live a wild life and with you I can’t, “you are a perfect lady” and that doesn’t fit in the life I want to live.
          I am sure he doesn’t tell this to her, only god knows all the lies he tells her.
          I don’t care anymore, just know that he is not worthed.

  21. Columbia says:

    “How did it go from him chasing a disinterested me to me pounding down his door trying to win him back? ”
    LOL! this literally happened in less than a WEEK.
    Luckily the whole fling had been active for only a couple of months, and I hadn’t lost anything, anyone, or much of my self esteem. I didn’t make much of a fuss about getting him back, but I DID try to attempt to elicit an apology or explanation (ie. validation) for a while.
    Eventually I just went totally NC.
    Looking back…from my present state of mind (and the one I’d had BEFORE him, by the way)…I would cut and run at the first sign of rejection. But somehow it hooked into my abandonment/rejection thing I guess I have going on (that i didn’t even know about until this AC)
    WEIRD< WEIRD< WEIRD. Hopefully will remember all this if I meet another AC

  22. learningtomoveon says:

    I had and probably have this syndrome. Right now it is playing up in my job scenario. Most of my life it was playing on my
    mind and I have been trying to bend over backwards pleasing people who wouldn’t be pleased. Be it my parents, people at school. But the last five years or so I guess I was only doing this and more so the last one year. The whole thing came to a crescendo with the eum and his mad pack of friends I think. And suddenly I realise I had been paying attention to the wrong stuff and it has derailed me a bit in other areas, something like my job. I have a lot more to do to build my own life. The rest of the world can wait.

  23. Trinity says:

    Hi Nat,
    This was a huge learning experience for me. Especially since, well not that I new it at the time, I was struggling with abdonment issues. This meant when he left me all that came screaming back and I wanted him to justify my existence or validate me as worthy. Luckily for me it didn’t take long before I realised what I was doing. So I hit NC hard, validated myself, realised my own self worth by myself and with counselling started to heal and go through the grief process. Now I realise my biggest issue was also that on some level I new he wasn’t worth it, he was way to hard to be around, filled with drama over everything and with sooooo many issues, yet I stuck in and tried to help him only to be dumped. This can be infuriating; especially since deep down you know you should have walked.
    But I just had to let it go, can’t change it, it is what it is and all I could do now was heal myself and learn. Most importantly was to keep away from him so he could not hurt be again.

    Now looking back yes he did me a huge favour, he exhausted me and my self esteem went down the toilet and I was on eggshells and now im not :)
    Now I also no I picked men with so much baggage that they could not love me even if they wanted to and so the self fulfilling prophecy was they would abandon me and id try to heal the past.
    Now ive healed myself :) and have taken back all the power.

  24. Sarah says:

    “Why doesn’t this asshole want me? I think the fact that he’s regarded as an asshole is enough of an indicator that it’s time for you to stop wanting him.”

    I laughed out loud at that. The validation thing has been the killer for me. Truly dealing with rejection, head-on. I realize how much I have managed to avoid it in the past. Even demonizing the AC after we broke up was a way of avoiding it – it wasn’t really rejection because he was EU and couldn’t love. It wasn’t that I was unlovable, he just couldn’t do it. What a crock! Once I bit the bullet and actually acknowledged the thought that I had cared for him and he had not cared for me, I cried, mourned and let it go.

    I have finally, painfully come to see that it doesn’t matter WHY he couldn’t love me – he just didn’t. Didn’t want to, couldn’t, wouldn’t. What difference did it make? The most important question, as you say, is why did I not then just run in the other direction? Why did I invest this particular person (who I have come to see clearly, once I stopped picturing and removed the rose coloured glasses) with the power to decide my worth? Why was extracting some sign of love or care from this individual worth the grief I put myself through (and I now see I put myself through it – he really didn’t). I had ignored people who genuinely liked and cared for me, chasing after someone who made it clear early on that he didn’t care about me. All because, for a few shining minutes, it looked like he did.

    As my self-esteem grows, I continually challenge my own thinking about this. I am learning to trust myself and my opinions on things. I have stopped accepting his versions of things (including his version of me as unworthy) and have begun trusting my own.

    It’s funny that we put so much into these nothing guys, in the belief that their love will somehow heal and validate us. It is a pathetic commentary on how little we must think of ourselves.

    Great post, Natalie!

  25. kitty kat says:


    your site is a source of support, hope, clarity and perception to the struggle that is loving someone who means us no good. ive been on your site almost everyday and it’s helping me profoundly. thank you so much for your words and your time.

    i married a man who continuously cheated on me but kept promising to stop, because id been with him all my life and couldn’t imagine me without him. we even had a baby and after 12 years last october i had enough n asked him to leave. the support to make that bold move was another man (a future faker )who had pursued me for months, telling me how he loved me and how my daughter and i derserved a better life than what i’d known and how he was willing to spend the rest of his life with us and to be a father to her. its almost like i forced myself to have feelings for him to be able to walk out of my marriage, which i did and barely a month later after id visit him in his country where he wanted us to start our new life together, the future faker announced that he is sorry but can no longer provide the life he thought we could have and he is not ready, of course by then i had already slept with him, fallen madly in love with him, moved on from my husband who didnt seem to care much whatever it was i chose to do. so in the space of two months, i lost the two men i ever loved, the rejection is so raw even 10 months later and im struggling to handle my life alone. i feel so cheated, so betrayed and lost. i know i should be grateful that the future faker was the catalyst i needed to walk out of a bad marriage, but the messed up part is i actually miss the comfort zone that was my husband for so long, and feel like i made a huge mistake for leaving. as for the future faker he turned out to be the worst kind of assclowns, i recently found out he also hit on my sister, slept with one of my friends, and preys on women to get what he wants then moves on. how can a man be so cruel to uproot someone’s whole life, give them hope only to break them apart, did i mention that to be with him, he talked me into leaving my husband, giving up my apartment, and my job to move to his country. i did all those things except moving there.so ive been trying to put my life back now together, and he now has the odacity to text me and offer a “hand of friendship” and to say he “never meant to hurt me”.

    i am so messed up i dont even know which one i miss the most, just scared of being alone, and not knowing whats gonna happen to me. but u r my inspiration and i’m praying that in good time, something better will happen, and i will be able to recognize the red flags this time. God bless you for the amazing strength that you’ve become to us xxx

  26. Free says:

    Hi Natalie
    I am beginning to think that you’re somehow attuned to some collective consciousness of women going through a similar experience. A long-winded way of saying it is uncanny how you send out exactly the emails we seem to need when we need them! Something of a cosmic nature is going on… You are very gifted – and on many levels I suspect…

    You’re so right. It is all about ego. The ex regularly told me that I was too good for him; I stayed despite his drink problems, dysfunctional family life and complete lack of emotional intelligence because he said he wanted to change and be more like me… A very clever ego-stroke, yes? Oh how weak and egotistical I seem to myself now.

    He did have an amazing and caring side and I did deeply love him, but I also thought he was damned lucky I stayed with him when so much of his behaviour was unacceptable, bordering on mad. So when he decided not to get back with me (after I finally did the deed and broke up with him, but then got hooked back in by his devastation) I couldn’t believe he didn’t want me.

    What had happened to my pedestal?

    It was MY pedestal and now he was going to put someone else on it?

    I left because I couldn’t handle his crazy life and his increasingly worsening behaviour towards me. But when he wasn’t in a mood, I was always put back high up on the pedestal. Heck, that was part of the draw wasn’t it? I put up with the mad bits and then he would come round and sit down and look up at me and say ‘you’re too good for me.’ I would feel very world-weary and stoic at this point. But I realise now my ego was probably boosting itself – ‘how patient and forebearing you are and how immature he is.’ Oh dear.

    Well ego, I’ve got you sussed now and from now on I’m doing things that are good for me rather than feeding you. The rest of me moved on months ago, but old ego has been a-looking back and saying ‘I can’t believe he doesn’t want me’ despite the fact that I don’t want to go back there and am with a wonderful man and surrounded by love, care and respect
    But the ego wants to prove itself I think. Somehow getting love, care and respect from someone who sometimes withdraws it dramatically, from you and family members, makes the ego rate it more. Getting love, care and respect from someone who deals with everyone in the same kind, considerate way – well it doesn’t make the ego feel quite so special now does it? It must be worth more if it’s not always available mustn’t it? Ah, the lure of exclusivity and specialness.

    When ego is in control I think ‘I can’t believe he didn’t want me back.’ When self-esteem is in control , I feel so at ease and happy in myself that it just doesn’t signify.

    Thank you Natalie. I wish you had a book in the bookshops and I’d found it when I first made the split. It took me a while to find your website and you are in a different league from the other people writing on the subject. You deserve to be in every book shop. What you write is life changing. I think you’re at the forefront of what’s going to be a big change in the way women view certain kinds of men and what they will accept.

    When I was splitting up with the ex, I read a magazine article by a psychic and he said we were in a new era where people were moving out of victim consciousness and this meant more were walking away from bad relationship situations that previous generations would have stayed in. I rather liked that. I hope it’s true.

  27. ph2072 says:

    Wow. This is real talk. Great food for thought.

  28. Elle says:

    Such an insightful and useful post, Natalie, and really incisive comments too.

    I can spot so many common trends and traits: the narcissist-AC who idealizes, we fall in love with the way they have idealized us (ourselves as they see us), and, their superficially wonderful attributes, alongside some of their functional (but, little do we know, less stable) qualities (they’ve usually got enough of these to manage in life!).

    For me – I was dazzled by the AC’s looks, intellect, achievements and humour, all of which he has in huge quantities. This is what brought out the crazy in me later (fortunately, in private) – because I can’t actually say that this guy’s qualities won’t allow him to “cash in” with other, probably very decent and attractive women in the future, or that he has any of them in less quantity than me. I definitely pedestalled his ass.

    His negative qualities are, of course, almost/equally (?) as destructive as an illegal lifestyle – i.e. his temper and capacity for casual cruelty are just as dysfunctional as far as building a safe relationship goes. But somehow the other qualities trumped, with the brain drugged up in the idealization stage. Lesson learnt.

    I suspect he felt like I fell in love with superficial qualities too – and then wanted to prove to me that he was really an AC, and test whether I could love that, while engaging in the steady course of devaluing me and withdrawing. Of course, if I loved that part of him, I was pathetic (and, as you’re chipped away by these ACs, you’re more likely to put up with the AC in them), and if I didn’t (and ultimately I didn’t), I was confirming his self-narrative that he is so special that he is destined to be alone and/or misunderstood. It’s a no-win situation with these people!

    (I honestly think there was some genuine relief that I did not pine after him when he dumped me, and that I said that his behaviour was poor and that I couldn’t engage with him anymore – it was like he was thrilled that a parent had finally enforced a rule. He’s spoilt.)

    But, of course, in small ways, I have twitchy moments where I want him to say he was wrong or give me a chance to prove myself as worthy. With space and time, I see that that’s pretty much all I want. I don’t want to build a shared life with someone who is emotionally stunted and capable of serious unkindness – I really don’t and I am grateful that I have the self-esteem and life experience to really know that. So what is it then?

    It really is that a part of me can’t accept that someone didn’t like me – and he said that directly – and for that, I am implicitly willing to beg someone to put a coin up my bum and let me dance for them. It’s ridiculous. @Free’s comments resonated: about a judgment from a harsh critic – sitting back in the audience with their notes (and that’s what these people do – sit back and judge, while you trip over your juggling balls and pins) – being somehow more valuable than feedback (or love and support) from someone who is on stage next to you, who actually sees life in a positive, stable way, who is with you, and wants to be part of a team. The AC’s exact (written) words were “I am not with you.”

    I am mostly able to handle it – it’s quite a nice thing when you realize, being a bit older, that you’re self-esteem can take a big hit – but my yappy little ego needs a smack down every now and then, especially when I am tired or bored. This is getting less frequent though, with time and by focusing on the few things I can control and that make me happy in the present. There really is a lot to be optimistic about and grateful for!

    (Thanks again, Natalie, for this site. It has helped me enormously.)

    • debra says:

      Elle – You express things so thoughtfully and beautifully and I am right there with you. I love what you wrote:

      “I don’t want to build a shared life with someone who is emotionally stunted and capable of serious unkindness – I really don’t and I am grateful that I have the self-esteem and life experience to really know that.”

      I couldn’t agree more. But I also share your thoughts on still having that last little nagging thing inside that occassionally asks what he thought he could get that was better than me. Ego, arrogance, validation, scared little kid – call it what you will, there is always that part of us that wants validation from outside ourselves. I think its like compulsive gamblers. It was the intermittent reinforcement in the early days that gets us hooked. If our narcissistic ACs had been cruel and cold from the beginning, it wouldn’t work. It was the (at first) constant chase and pursuit, followed by the hot and cold (slow devaluing of the supply source), followed by absolute indifference. If they had never “paid off” on any level, we’d have walked away. Because there was at least something in the beginning, we hang around in hope of it making at least a brief reappearance.

      I feel lucky that the fever has broken, that I see him for what he is and want no part of it. Any need for validation in me is very brief and I instantly recognize it for what it is and know in my soul I will never get what I want or need from him (so will never again consider asking for it). I am choosing to spend my time with healthy, caring people.

      Avoid those without empathy. They can fake emotion for a while, but when you really need it, there will literally be nothing there. That is one of the best lessons I have learned from all this. If, at any point during the relationship, he hurts your feelings, you express your hurt and his reaction is to either hurt you again or not care – run!!!! It only goes downhill from there. Take care Elle, it sounds like you are doing very well and I am very glad to hear it.

  29. Annie says:

    “many people are caught in the trap of basing their lives around the cumbersome task of seeking validation instead of working on their own self-esteem ”

    Still applies to me to this very day. Your post is very true and real, Nat. I slip back into the habits that hurt me, and it takes a real conscious effort to stay present and see things clealry and work on my own lack of swlf-worth and unavailability issues. Healthily taking care of ME is the hardest work I’ve ever done.

  30. SN says:

    Great post. I read this and remembered that while we were seeing each other, Mr. Legally Separated with kids (“I’ll never divorce!”) told me that the kind of women he is interested in wouldn’t be interested in dating someone in *his* particular situation. How I missed the not-so-hidden message there makes me want to hang my head in shame. He must’ve realized there was something wrong/going on with me for being attracted to someone in the situation he was in, and not running in the other direction. What I thought was a demonstration of loyalty (we had known each other for years) has probably left this person with the impression that I didn’t think well enough of myself to move on to something better and therefore wasn’t even worthy of his best. Great.

    I know that NML is absolutely right. I just feel ashamed that I essentially agreed with someone else that I was only worthy of the crumbs, and no healthier than they were. Guess I can’t control what they might (still) think of me, just my future actions


    • Pirouette says:

      I totally understand. The guy I liked tried to convince me he was no good, and he was perplexed as to why I liked him. He knew I didn’t think much of myself and treated me accordingly. It still hurts to think I should have just cut and run and saved my dignity. He was right. He wasn’t good enough for me and he would only use me. But I wanted him anyway. Doesn’t make any sense. Looking back, my perspective is so much better. I don’t ever want to go back to that place and way of thinking ever again.

      • SN says:

        Thanks, P. I realize that the past is past, that person is gone, and continuing to suffer about it is totally optional.

        Let’s go forward and live our lives in more beneficial, self-nurturing ways in future. Faced with continuing to blame myself or grabbing the lesson and chance to grow…I’m grabbing the growth!!

        We are worth it!

        Best to you…

  31. MH says:

    This is strange

    My EUM was bugged for two years by his fall back girl who he finally moved in, no longer uses condoms with her because she said you are committed to me now. She wanted him to commit to her three months prior along with many other times throughout the two years but he refused so they broke up. When she wanted to talk again he ended up with her but he was comtemplating moving her in three months and thought their break up was temporary.

    I am confused a little bit after reading this post and all the other posts because many of the people on here have incidents after incidents of what these guys do, why doesn’t she?

    I am not one to hold back on questions, and I called him on all of his crap and I was right all along about him. However, I didn’t demand a relationship from him, or love from guys. I just walked away and I chose to answer back to him. I was the one who asked him questions when he was demanding that I don’t walk away.

    He says he hasn’t had to change his lifestyle one bit or himself. He takes care of himself, she herself and he barely has to be affectionate, or give her a kiss, or sleep with her much. He never tells her he loves her. She tells him she is so in love with him that it scares her, and that she loves him all the time and he tells her that is gay to tell him she loves him.

    When I read all of your posts I can’t see even one of you wanting this in a guy so why is this acceptable to her? I wouldn’t accept it, he knows it.

    When I was wanting validation from him when he was telling me I need him back in my life because he believes my life is falling apart without him, he said no one else is bothered by his ways but me. He said you are probably smarter than everyone else to analyze it that way though.

    I just said it is not because I am busy that I never see you it is because I don’t want to. I am not going to bring you back in my life and you play games and I haven’t forgiven you.

    This girl perplexes me because so many posts mentioned how affectionate or how the guys smooth talk but a guy that barely gives anything how does he keep her, I have never heard of it before. She is an attractive girl in my eyes, and seems to have a lot going for her but I guess her self esteem is low like mine but getting nothing but a title and a place to live just seems like nothing to me to hold onto.

    He just told me a girl came over to his house that he knows and kissed him all over his face with lipstick and he can’t believe she did this when his girlfriend was home. He said she was mad and I started raising my voice at him saying I defend your girlfriend. He said he agrees and as I was asking him what he told the disrespectful girl that kissed him, his gf was coming home and he couldn’t answer. I don’t usually call him so I didn’t follow up on the story to get his answer. I thought its his drama to deal with anyways.

    I guess what I am perplexed about is I keep hearing about these guys that go back and forth but he moved her in and is going along with it all. Is it a fall back girl and mr unavailable situation or is he going to come around with her eventually and slowly fall in love. Should I have been more forthcoming with him when I was involved and could I have gotten out him what I wanted or is she just settling and I was smart to get away?

    It confuses me if he is just scared and takes his time or he is really is an EUM all the way through and this is just another phase of it and I was on the right track to get away?
    Any ideas are appreciated.

    • Aimee says:


      I know that this is hard, especially looking for validation from these ACs, but like my brother said he has to play a different game with her than with you as you are two different people, therefore the game has to be different. (her living with him) – time will show you it will not be different – it already is.

      He is stilll EUM, and like Natalie said sometimes they do change – but do you really think he’s changed? I gather from your post you don’t think so – we as women put up with different things. I don’t know how old everyone is in this scenerio, but it sounds like jr high – OMG who would want to live with a man who keeps talking to his exs (narcissitic harem – and you are one of those, not to be harsh), have a disrespectful girl come into another womans house and put lipstick all over his face – he’s eatting it up, “they” are fighting over what – I don’t know – an immature a**hole?!!

      I had regretted not moving in with my AC when he asked, but now I don’t. I can’t imagine coming home (a space that is suppose to sacred and secure) and deal with the crap you described. They are immature – is that what you want? Pity this girl – she is giving up most, if not all, of herself to be with him. God bless her!

      I have this fear (and I have to remember what my mother said “feelings are not always facts – especially fear), that my exAC and his old FBG that is seeing him again after 6 1/2 yrs (after just breaking an engagement to another man) that they will live happily ever after. But truth be told – only time will tell – and the odds are it won’t, but better her than me giving herself up to be loved less than decently – don;t you think? Pray for this girl – I pray for my ACs current.

      Hope that helps!

    • Fearless says:

      He’s mucking you about; he’s mucking her about…he’s a user. Moving her in is proof of nothing. Best case scenario for you is you get to be her one day!! And she’s got a pig in a poke. You were smart to get away – only question is why you still sitting in the front row?

      • Allison says:


        I agree with Fearless! Why are you still talking to this guy? This guy’s behavior is appalling! You don’t know what he is telling you is true, and even if it is, it doesn’t matter how she responds. What is important is that you move on from this unhealthy attachment and forget about him. You should ask yourself why you allow him in your life after the way he disrespected you and other women?

      • MH says:

        Why I appear to have front row is not really the case.

        I decided not to do the full NC with my EUM.

        Whether this guy was using me for sex, or wasn’t really my friend. I took the 4 months that I have not seen him physically and only answered some of his phone calls or texts while at the same time worked on myself.
        In this time my friends have mentioned to me how much of a difference they have noticed about my self esteem. I went on a shopping spree and bought myself 1200 dollars worth of clothes and I have already paid it off so no debt is sitting there for me. I also changed my hairstyle and color and I have had so many compliments from men and women.

        During this time like Nat mentioned I had difficulties with friendships because when you are trying to get healthy and developed boundaries you never forced before you end up in confrontations with friends. Man I was ready to walk away from everyone because I no longer wanted anyone to cross my boundaries after I realize I was the one who let everyone especially my EUM. All my friendships seem so much stronger now it is great. I worked on the inside and I am working on the outside now simultaneously.

        Back to why I feel I am not really in the front row. My point to this post was to reality check because someone asked about my EUM who doensn’t know our true involvement and they said it sounds like he is serious with the new girl and that he was just scared and needed some encouragement.

        I needed to know that I didn’t walk away from a good guy that was scared and needed me to asked for what I wanted and maybe I would have received it. This post is part of my journey of closure because I know that I am getting over him even though I am still quite focused on him.

        I am focused on him because we talked to each other everyday and he helped me through challenges, and had my back so many times and did many things for me. Other people in my life that didn’t know about the intimate side remind me of this and they saw what he did for me and they don’t understand why I pushed him away.I don’t want to help them understand because it is my business.

        It is hard to be a part of someone’s life for several years and be so close to them that I knew practically everything about them and then they are no longer in your life and you are just supose to forget well I haven’t and it is going to take time and I am okay with that.

        In many ways I think he was a good friend but he is screwed up and that is where he fails as a friend. He only used me as much as I allowed him to. He got put in his place by me and he knows that he can’t really fool me and I think he respects me for it. One thing I do know is he likes who I am and he has always made me feel that way.

        • MH says:

          I didn’t asked because I wanted to be with him one day. I wanted to confirm what I had in my head because some people in my life don’t just share their opinions they try to ram it down my throat. They tell me that they are right about him and that he is just scared because he is such a nice guy. They see the beginning AC or EUM that we all once saw.

          I use to tell my friends that he is the nicest guy I have ever known. Just like Nat says we keep wanting them to go back to the beginning. She is so intune with us like someone else posted that she wrote a post on this and I had in the past asked hiim where is 2008 guy that I liked so much. He phoned me one day and said hi it is 2008 guy again after I had said that to him.

          I can’t always be right so from time to time I have to reality check my own theories to see if I seem like I am on the right track. It is hard when others liked him and think what is the deal with me. I don’t blame them because they only know mr 2008 and I liked him too.

          Mr 2008 didn’t blow hot and cold. Always up for plans and followed through on them all. Liked making me dinners and didn’t have other girls in the picture.

          It didn’t last all of 2008 mind you and there was red flags! My mind was in a different place then and I idealized it because it wasn’t perfect and I had complaints and problems back then and I was facing a codependency issue with him. But I know all this now because I have always been intutiive and Natalie’s posts have helped me fill in the missing pieces.

    • grace says:

      You shouldn’t be so into this guy’s business, you shouldn’t know all this stuff about his girlfriend, you’re not his therapist. He’s just using and abusing you for sympathy and a possible future shag. Staying around trying to figure out why is pointless and damaging, and telling him loud and clear “I’m okay with how you behave to me and to others.”. If you’re not okay with it, why else are you still there? And don’t think he will change. He doesn’t have to. Exactly as he is, he’s got women dancing around him. What’s in it for him to change?

      • MH says:

        I agree that he is not going to change and that he has women dancing all around him.

        I don’t consider myself one of them anymore because I don’t really talk to him. There has been times where I take his calls and there has been reasons for that and at times I have no reasons. I don’t asked him questions about his life everything he tells me is volunteer. I am gathering you are saying I have no business knowing that information and if I didn’t take his calls I wouldn’t know it, not that I am asking him questions?

        He knows I am not okay with how he treats me or women because that is what I have told him and I haven’t been willing to get together. He said I am the only woman that has a problem with his behaviour. He knows that I no longer accept his invites so everything is not like it use to be. I am the one who disappeared. I am not really there and he knows it. He told me that I am the one that doesn’t want to hang out anymore and he is has been willing to hang out with me.

        I stayed away so I could sort myself out, and wouldn’t be at his mercy for a shag or whatever.

        I am not the shoulder to cry on because I point out his disrespectful behaviour and I can tell he doesn’t enjoy telling the story that much because I bite his head off so to speak and he changes the subject.

        • Astelle says:

          Everytime you take his call, you are validating him!
          He will keep calling as long as you answer…
          You keep saying that he knows this and that – what you can’t see is, he doesn’t care what you think or say.
          You didn’t disappear, you still are taking his calls.

        • Grace says:

          That’s good. But in my experience of this (and believe me I have had TOO MUCH) it’s the FINAL cutting off that will liberate you. Even from thinking about him. I understand that you may feel you can’t or don’t have to, but what exactly is continued contact doing for you? In what way does it benefit you?
          And any attention is still attention. Even telling them to get lost is interaction. In my view, cutting them off dead is the most powerful message that this shop is no longer open for business. This ship has sailed. Goodbye!
          I know that we resist cutting contact, I have maintained contact with deadbeats for YEARS. I was way more stubborn about this than you can imagine but all I was doing was WASTING MY TIME. And believe me, even 1 second a day on them is a waste.
          I hope I don’t offend you. You are free to do what you feel is best for you.

          • MH says:

            No you don’t offend me Grace because I understand you are sharing your experience and how it has helped you.

            I have another ex friend who was AC that some of my friends are still friends with him and I have seen him from time to time. He doesn’t affect me anymore because I got over him way back when. We were never involved but I had a crush on him and was crazy about him but I got over it. It took me along time.

            Since me and my EUM have mutual friends as well I don’t believe absolute no contact is going to work either for the same reason. I might change my mind. I don’t think it is going to screw up my progress because I got over the other one even though he was popping up here and there and I was crazy over him unlike my EUM. I was never crazy over him or had feelings for him like that.

            I have found there have been times where my EUM contacted me and it actually got me over the next stumbling block I was stuck on. My experience has been that sometimes the contact was what I needed to understand that he really is emotionally unavailable. I have discovered that when I don’t talk to him for awhile I idealize him and think he wasn’t that bad or he wasn’t doing what this blog says. Then he contacts me and he tells me something or I say this is how I feel and he shows me yes he is what the website is saying.

            I also have personal reasons for why I have taken his calls at times. I am not going to justify them but this is what is working for me and I am not making excuses for him because I really don’t have much of an interaction with him.

            Things are lessoning between us so maybe my method isn’t cold turkey but it has to be working somehow because he leaves me alone more. He is listening to me somehow because he is giving me more space.

            Thanks for caring and I hope I can keep sharing without offending anyone, even though I don’ t want to do the cold turkey method at this point.

            I should have choices I didn’t join a no contact support group,

          • MH says:

            I don’t feel like I am wasting time on him anymore because i don’t waste time. My life goes on with or without contact from him and actually sometimes I have seen bigger stalls without it because like I said I idealize him when I don’t hear from him.

            I have already started in the last few days to focus on other things. I was grieving a friendship and that is not wasting time I was in mourning so to speak.

            I call him my ephiphany relationship as well. I have been spending time with understanding my life’s lessons which has helped me tremendously with my perspective on life.

            I had some serious unfinished business with my ex boyfriend of six years many years ago who is a serious assclown and I have actually faced a lot of my issues I had with him through my grieving process of my current EUM.

            I cut complete contact with my ex assclown, cold turkey no problem walking away, after I tried to be friends with him. When I decided no that was enough I was ready and I stuck to it. My ex was an abusive man and actually a very horrible person. My EUM is screwed up but I wouldn’t say a horrible person. He does treat women disrespectfully and I have told him and I am not around anymore for him to do it to me so I feel better about myself.

            People have described commitment phobic people and EUM’s as slowly disappearing. People have said that when they deduced the relationship down to text messages, or the odd phone call as disappearing.Therefore I don’t understand why I can’t fall in the same category that I am disappearing. Or that I have disappeared when I would not take any contact from him and he would go crazy and try all kinds of methods and was incessant about trying to get a hold of me.

            My mind is not where you guys are at I guess. I am sorry to all that are appaulled by this but I have to do things when I am ready and at the stages I am comfortable with.

  32. susiejay says:

    Do these AC/EUM guys always do the following:-
    1) Cheat on you with someone, possibly more than one person
    2) Build you up to knock you down esteem wise
    3) Disappear on you on occasion without saying anything
    4) Do things to ‘punish’ you for whatever they think you deserve punishment for
    5) Be loving and kind at the beginning of the relationship, then go cold on you and want you gone!

    I can think of a lot more to add to the list but i am on my way to getting over Mr. AC/EUM and it feels great!

    One of the things i did not do in this relationship was look for the red flags, i must have been too interested in enjoying places we went to, and whatever we did together, blind sighted in fact. He did say to me one day, but i thought he was joking of course, that he was mean, nasty, selfish and cruel! Some other female must have been dumped and told him that, but i laughed because he did not appear to be any of those things initially, but at the end, he was a lot worse. I could add, sadistic, callous, calculating, devious, deceitful etc to the mix and it still would not be enough to describe him.

    When he disappeared on me at Christmas 2009 without explanation and left me totally confused thinking he was ill, he txt messaged me when i wanted to know were he was to say he could never be the man i wanted to change him into. wtf was that all about. I can only think he was trying to tell me he was an EUM, but as i had never heard of men like that before i joined this site, how was i to know?

    Anyway, now 4 months of NC, i am enjoying being single, and looking to the future whatever that holds. There is a nice guy (well i don’t know if he is yet lol) wanting a date, but i am holding back a little. still feeling raw.

    I know i do suffer from a slight loss of self-esteem because of happenings in my childhood but are nothing i cannot get over. The problem of ‘rejection’ though tends to cut me like a knife, but im working on that too.

    • FiguringItOut says:

      From my one and only EUM experience, I can say that mine did some of the things you list. Build me up to knock me down? Yup that one is true. Blow hot and cold? Yup! Suck me in with kindness and future faking in the beginning? Oh ya! The only problem was my self esteem was so low that I allowed it all. Yes, I have never heard of these types of men before, but it didn’t matter if I had a definition before hand or not. My self respect and self esteem had taken some hard hits over the years, so even if I was schooled on these men, I Still would have fallen for him.

      He gave me some fair warnings from the first few dates, but I was so thrilled someone was paying me attention and caring about me that I didn’t care to look into what he was really saying. He flat out said “I can be an a-hole when I’m mad” and “I’m bad in bed” (way to lower my expectations) also repeatedly told me “you’re out of my league” (which my ego had never heard such a thing and loved it so I just took it all in as a complement not as him telling the truth).

      It wasn’t until I ended things (somehow I found some self respect on this particular day) that I started to get some clarity. I totally gave him permission to treat me this way. I never asked or demanded respect so why should he give it to me? Elenor Roosevelt said something along the lines of “no one makes you feel inferior unless you give them permission” I gave him not only permission but an all access pass to make me feel this way.

      It certainly didn’t take me long to gain respect for myself although I have my moments of “why not me”, but seriously I would love to thank him for not chosing me. He could have come crawling back and asking for another chance, but he didn’t, he stayed away from me and for that I am grateful!

      Thank you NML for this site for which I wouldn’t have found myself respect and probably would be pining over him still.

  33. MH says:

    “These guys play with as much rope as you’ll give them and they don’t stay with women who don’t afford them the room to treat them like sh*t.”

    I found this quote when reading NML’s post about defining A$$clowns.

    I thought this statement alone should just clear up being stuck on the fact that these guys don’t want us but because things are not that cut and dried other issues sprung up during my obsession on the matter.

    My EX FWB EUM always blew hot and cold and because I didn’t understand that because I was never trying to get a relationship from him or ask for a commitment I don’t understand why he had to blow hot and cold. All I ever asked from was not to blow hot and cold and why he was? When he wasn’t blowing hot and cold everything just flowed along and I wasn’t demanding anything just going along with things.

    • Fearless says:

      Ooops… let me finish that..


      That’s a great one of NML’s quotations – it’s so true. I think we instinctively know that the only reason they are “with us” is because we let them call all the shots and set the whole agenda…I never liked to rock the boat with my EUM as I knew he would just piss off. This is why NC has been little problem for me, so long as I can stick to it. He can stick to it fine! It never matters how long I could stop contacting him – he could always go better and longer…
      …these guys don’t attempt to have relationships with women who would not allow them all the rope they want – it wouldn’t get past a second date – and they know it… I used to say to mine that no other woman would put up with this situation (he’d just say ‘I know’); I now wonder what I thought was so different about me that I had to put up with it!!

      I think your comment about him still blowing cold etc. even when you were happy enough just trundling along is simply that they get nervous when things seem to be going “swimmingly” – they worry that you may be about to expect more, or that you are getting too ‘comfy’ and all that… so they just do a cold routine to make sure no-one is getting any “ideas”, including themselves – they seek and run from intimacy in equal measure, so it may have nothing to do with you really, or what you are doing or not doing but is likely more about his own ambivalence; his own struggle to get close then pull away then get lose then pull away…it’s hopeless and very hurtful and confusing if you are on the receiving end. We tend to think it is about us, but it’s not – it’s about him.

      • MH says:


        I was thinking the opposite for me with my EUM. The reason he doesn’t want me as his girlfriend is because I wouldn’t let him call all the shots. However, my ex AC called all the shots and that is why he was my boyfriend, lol.

        I thought I was quoting the quote because most of us on here don’t let them call the shots and that is why these guys ended up with other girls. My EUM told me way back when that him and I wouldn’t work out because I won’t put up with his asshole ways. I told him that I wasn’t in the running and thinking that we would be a couple so why would he even bring it up and that he hurt my feelings because I took it as a slap in the face not because I want him but the simple fact that it was rejection. I just realized in the post up above that it was the chase that I needed due to my ego not because I am in love with him.

        I think I was hoping him and I would fall in love one day but it never happened. I thought all this because at the time I believed we had a bond. I never fell for him because of who he is. I now know a lot of different views because of this website.

        • Fearless says:


          yes, I know what you mean… I guess it’s a no win situation with these guys no matter what, i.e. if you don’t tolerate their poor relationship behaviour they move on, as they are not getting the rope to suit themselves and if you do tolerate their bad relationship behaviour, they will have little or no respect for you, you become nothing more than a friend with benefits, fallback girl or just another member of his ‘harem’ – so either way: give him what he wants or don’t give him what he wants – a decent, committed mutually respectful relationship cannot be had from these men.

          I guess it just goes to show that the real problem is “HIM” – his emotional unavailablitiy – the only relationships he wants are those that fulfill his immediate needs (whatever those may be at any given time) without him having to take any responsibility for anything or giving anything of himself to the other person. It’s all cake and eat it with these people – they are not givers, they are takers – that’s my view at least.

          • MH says:


            That is well put, that is an awesome view. That is exactly what conclusion I came to from reading Nat’s posts. I think this is the main message she is trying to get across to all of us. We can only go up from here. The only prospect can be a man who loves, cares, is trusting and respectful towards us. If we choose to go downwards were only gonna find what we had, cake eaters.

            I remember when I first came to this conclusion it was depressing because I dated a real AC many years back. I wanted my friend the EUM to prove to me that there is decent men in this world. If it weren’t for finding this blog I would have given up on men altogether and relaitionships, resigned my dating licence if there was such a thing

            Thanks for the supportive comment this is what I am looking for on this site is people who understand the journey and that it is a process to work through. I have come so far in such little time and I say this because I am finally cleaning up old unfinished business. from past relationship as well.

            Up until a few weeks ago i blamed myself for why men treated me badly all those years. Even when I was reading Nat’s posts I thought that is for other girls to be blame free but In my case I am to blame. If only I was this or that he wouldn’t mistreat me.

            My AC did blame me for everything and he was cruel. My EUM never blamed me for anything he tried to take blame away. I just thought my EUM was trying to be nice but the truth is I wasn’t to blame. Their behaviour is theirs to own not ours, we own ours.

            thanks fearless you rock

            • Fearless says:

              MH – and you rock too!!

              My EUM never blamed me for anything either… he always insisted “it” (whatever that was?!) was his problem, not mine, but it sure didn’t feel like that – it felt like I was the one with the problem!! And I was – I had him, afterall, running circles round me! (I would say so to him – that I was the one living the consequences of whatever his problem was and that he didn’t appear to have a problem with his problem!! Yes, it is that crazy!) He seemed to trundle along just fine, so long as I played by the rules (his rules).

              MH – find a decent man who loves you and is FOR you, not working against you… and run far far away from those who don’t respect your needs or care for your welfare. If you find yourself in a “spot”, always choose you… better off looking after yourself by yourself than selling yourself down the river to pander to the whimsical needs of some selfish assclown.

              All the best


              • MH says:


                That is exactly what my journey is now, finding a good guy. Right now I am choosing me.

                I hear of people saying they have thrown nice guys away or when Nat writes blogs on the topic. I think to myself I haven’t even sniffed a nice guy they have never existed in my world.

                I am on new territory and I hope that I break my pattern. I usually date jerks for 2 years. It is weird I have gone longer and shorter but this 2 year mark is the majority.

                My goal after finding this website is to break the pattern and do more than sniff a nice a guy.

                I really want to get married and have a family so I hope it is in the cards for me.

                It is strange to think about it but Nats one strike your out is a policy I want to incorporate into my life. The only thing I wonder about is will I recognice another jerk.. In all my experiences they come in disguised wrapping and when it all unfolds by two years it is the different guy same package senerio. I use to tell my friends about my patterns and it wasn’t until i found Nat’s website and whereby she illustrated it perfectly. I use to tell my friends that you might as well just change the names of each guy I date because they alll end up being quite similar.

                She has given me new hope because we have to build our self esteem and developed better self love and boundaries and that is what I am working on now

                I hope I recognize a jerk if one comes my way and I opt out quicker and learn to choose me. I am doing that now so I hope it sticks. Of course I ideally hope that I stay single long enough to get things together and I meet the good one, time will tell.

                Best of luck for you too


                • MH says:

                  Another light just went off.

                  Thats why we are the fall back girls (the friends with benefits, the friend, or casual lover, or whatever we all are).

                  We become the friends wth benefits not because of the reason I originally thought of like we were just wanting to have fun and keep things casual but because they can keep it casual with us so they have no respect for us and we don’t have respect for ourselves.

                  A respectful guy will not allow you to be a friends with benefits or whatever fallback girl flavour.

                  We think too low of ourselves. I am seeing so many of friends lately being fall back girls and I have to let them go through their journeys because they are where I was and they don’t see themselves as fall back girls.

                  We can’t be in this role if we have higher respect for ourselves.

                  So many girls are settling. My friends everywhere I saying i am just having fun right now. Even though I tell them about this website. I was them at one point but I regret that I allowed myself to be a fallback girl.

    • grace says:

      I’m guessing that despite your lack of demands he detected that you were emotionally involved (I have detected it from your posts so I guess him being up close and personal, he detected it too). Now there is nothing wrong with being emotionally involved with someone you are having sex with. I think it’s normal for human beings and epecially normal for women. However, he DOESN’T want you to get emotionally involved cos he doesn’t want a relationship with you (for whatever reason, pointless to speculate) so when he feels that you are getting too attached, he will disappear. Thus sending you the message “Don’t rely on me, don’t have any expectations”. However, he doesn’t want to disappear for too long cos he likes having sex with you, likes your company, whatever, so he pops up again.
      Please understand that it has nothing to do with “He loves me but he’s scared of commitment, his dog has died, his phone is flat, his mum is ill etc etc etc.” The little consideration that he has for you is more like, “MH, she’s great, we have a laugh and sex and don’t have to bother with all that relationship shit. Yeah, she’s all right but she’s not THE ONE. We are just having a bit of fun. I know she’s okay with it, cos she’s so easygoing and never demands anything. But just to make sure, I’ll go cold on her every now and then, maybe check out other women while I’m at it. Yeah, it’s time to do that, she was a bit too lovey-dovey last night. The last thing I want is some big scene where she accuses me of stringing her along. I can’t stand it when women get all emotional. I’m hungry, I’m gonna order a pizza”.

      • MH says:


        I was stuck on him because I liked the drama and when he chased me. Now that I have found this website I was able to put it altogether. This is the first time I am posting so this is why it is all so fresh sounding and raw. I have done a lot of work on myself and I have come far by using this website.

        Now I am looking to you guys for support to finish my journey. They say that if you were in a relationship for 2 years or whatever then it takes a year to get over it. So I have 6 months to go if that is the case.

        He didn’t disappear on me. When I was referring to when he blew hot and cold I meant he just made me feel second best when he would take forever to make up his mind about plans with me, at times. He said he did that to everyone and I know he did because we have mutual friends that complained to me about it, but not to him. I told him I don’t care that doesn’t work for me. That is why I walked away from the friendship because I couldn’t deal with how he handled plans. I even told him what were my choices. I had a choice to go along with all the other people that are in your life that accept this about you, or I had a choice to walk away. Which one did I pick, I walked away.

        He even mentioned that I need him back in my life during one call so he knows I am not really in his life anymore.

        I was never lovey dovey with him, we didn’t have that kind of relationship. I treated him like a friend. He told me recently that he didn’t know I felt that he played games or anything because I never said anything, he thought everything was always cool between us and that we always had fun, and I never annoyed him. He says you know we always had fun.

        So pushing me away because he thought I was getting too attached makes sense the way Fearless put it when she said he didn’t want me to get too comfy and when you said “Don’t rely on me, don’t have any expectations”.

        People please understand I just found this website a few months back so I am doing all my soul searching right now. It was suggested to put the relationship in perspective in order to move on and that is the stage I am at and what I am doing. It is hard to hear people kinda tell me to move on already when I am just starting to make sense of things. The reason I didn’t say to him before he was playing games because I didn’t know until I found this website. Thanks though I do appreciate your feedback because it is helping with the closure majorly I am feeling different then just a few days ago ever since I started posted. Like I can see a light at the end of the tunnel where as before I thought I would never get over him.

  34. CE says:

    Maybe it was reading this post after reading the one about titles, but it strikes me as odd that we seek to label, name or classify things that defy description or understanding. Whether you call it avoiding rejection, seeking validation, being a fallback girl or whatever, it all comes down to the same thing:

    He mattered to me. I didn’t matter to him.

    Accept it, mourn it, release it. Spend a reasonable amount of time figuring out why that happened, then move on. Trying to label him or myself doesn’t serve any purpose. Whether he couldn’t love or didn’t want to – how does that matter in the long run? We all want to be cared for and matter to the people we care about. When it doesn’t happen, it is devasting. The trick is to recognize and accept when it happens and walk away. If you choose to stay, you are creating your own pain and heartache.

    We can’t make anyone love us or care about us. The only way to stop the pain is to stop the expectation that they should. The rest is just self-generated drama.

  35. sule says:

    I have been no contact and had enough distance now that I am able to look at the relationship objectively. I did have a certain amount of “I can’t believe he didn’t want me” going on at one point (even he pointed out he thought I was “out of his league”, although NML translated that in a great post). What is of greater interest to me now is why I keep having the feeling of sadness and regret that the friendship never worked out. One of the reasons I had risked trying to move forward in the relationship was that I thought we had a very solid core friendship that would survive. I was very very wrong. I had read all kinds of meaning into things he had said and done and had projected my feelings and emotions onto him. OK. I get now that I had confused his rush at me (and the ego stroke it provided) as “emotion” or feeling. So why does the loss of the friend and the real emotion still hurt? I get this guy is a user and a loser who is not capable of empathy, feeling or any relationship of any depth. I thought he was and that he had felt deeply for me but again, I know I am wrong. I am certain I am not mourning the relationship, which is so dead and over it doesn’t bear mentioning. But I have to work with him and had held on to real hopes that the friendship could be resurrected. It cannot. There is hate, hurt and venom where there used to be caring and flirting and fun.

    I could handle the rejection that came with the failed relationship but somehow the notion that I am not worth keeping or fighting for as a friend really hurts. That I can be dismissed or forgotten so completely and so callously really wounds me. I am not sure why. I have found lately that when some idea sticks in my head, its something in my subconcious working its way to the surface but this feeling has been around for a while now. I have always thought that true friends are forever. You have your ups and downs and fights but you always value each other and find your way back to one another. Discovering I was so replacable and unimportant was a real slap in the face.

    I know looking for real emotion or connection with an AC is pointless but it is hard to escape the feeling that the friendship had been real, even if the “relationship” had not. I have been mourning the loss of the friendship (and I actually do feel it was a loss – I had valued that aspect of having him in my life and miss the friend I thought I had) longer than the relationship. I just no longer know what was real and what wasn’t. The idea of thinking none of it was real is killing me. I have been working on learning to trust myself and my gut again and my instinctive reaction is that I didn’t imagine the friendship – that was real. So why has evidence of it disappeared?

    • MH says:


      I think all of this stuff can be taken too serious and out of context.

      We need to learn from our past to the point that we don’t repeat the same mistakes.

      Like NML says we need to find love, trust, respect, and care and not settle for less.

      You can analyze your situation to death and drive yourself nuts focusing on the fact that he didn’t care, or it was real, or wasn’t.

      What I choose to believe is a combination of things. The friendship was as real as it felt for you. Not everything is an illusion. When people break up with healthy people does that mean that the relationship at the time didn’t exist because now it is done?
      So why does everyone want to focus on that being the case with an AC and an EUM being a complete illusion? I don’t believe it, it was the relationship we needed at the time.

      Now we are ready for that healthy one hopefully. Maybe because the AC is screwed up in life they gave what they are capable of but we are too healthy for them. They had to move on to someone that they don’t feel guilty screwing around.

      Some friendships are true for a season or a reason and a lifetime doesn’t mean that the reason and the season friendships were not as real as a lifetime one.

      My EUM tells me his new girlfriend puts up with him. I don’t asked him any questions or contact him but that is what he has said when he has contacted me.

      My ex AC use to tell me that “I remind him of what he really is” when that Nickle Back song came on the radio while we were driving. He told me he pushes me away because I remind him of what a horrible person he is since I am so good,

      I like the support on here and it is nice to receive advice, however, I have to do what is best for me and take from here what works for me. With that I believe it is better to work towards forgiveness of the AC’s not for them but for us. I don’t want to spend my life feeling venom for them, it only holds us back.

      Why aren’t we allowed to cherished what we had with these guys and accept it wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes I think people think it is easier to hate in order to move on from these guys. I think that is the illusion because hate makes you hold onto these guys.

      If I was to analyze every relationship in my life and other’s. My EUM has been better to me then I have seen some people’s friends, who people tell me that their friend would give the shirt off their back for them. I have seen worst traits and behaviours from people that call each other best friends. I think we put these relationships with our AC’s under the microscope and label everything they do to the point that we build up the hatred for them. By doing this we make things worse for ourselves.

      We don’t need to hate them to move on or think that everything was a waste. We need to realize it was a learning experience and we took too long to learn the lesson. We need to catch on faster the next time. It is hard because even I was not positive if I was correct, that is why Nat says to build up our self esteem so we recognize it faster if it happens again to us.

      My situation was just as real as anyone’s why can’t yours have been too. It didn’t work, so what, life goes on no matter who we date. My time with him was not fake and I had a bond. People move on, so these guys move on doesn’t mean when they were with us that, that time was not real.

      We have to put the focus back on us I know tough i struggle with it everyday. It has to be done in order to get on with our lives. I slip back and have to push myself forward. I am starting to think less about my EUM because I am learning to forgive him and myself. it is a back and forth battle but I refocus with what I am saying in this post and then I move on.

      If our situation wasn’t real I guess every single person who hasn’t last was not real either.

      • Aimee says:

        I agree with Minky – I think the “hatred” is just my process of anger – part of the grieving process. I too believe in forgiveness and am getting there and pray everyday. In the end, for me, is it was real for me. I loved him and will always love him – good/bad. I also believe he did the best he could, which was not enough for me or the relationship. I also believe he loved me too as I am pretty awesome and very lovable – we’re all just capable of what were capable of for whatever reasons. I just want to keep growing and becoming more capable than I was yesterday – I am not the same person I was a year ago let alone 22 years ago. All humans have positive/negatives – that’s why I like Nats article about postitives outweighing negatives. But one thing is for sure – I want to protect myself and find healthier relationships – so I will keep the focus on loving myself and whatever I have to do to continue doing that!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi sule,

      Just reading your post and I can totally relate to everything you say.

      My ex eum remained good friends after our relationship amicably split (we were together 3 years). We cared muchly for each other and it was so refreshing to be able to maintain what we’d always had: a good friendship. I considered him one of my best friends, my confidante, my giggle partner, my dining companion, and my occassional fall-in-bed moment guy. Basically I guess it was the same but without the actual relationship ‘title’. I dated others, he didn’t (or if he did he didn’t let on). My dating was good but short & sweet, and we still had our usual weekly meet-ups/every other day chats. Suited me and suited him.

      He’s suffered a very depressing down-time the past 6 months and has been very distant from me, cold ‘chilly round here’, kept saying he doesn’t want a relationship but that I do and he’s not the right person for me, has no interest in anything, no sex drive, his confidence gone. To me, this was like a slap round the face with a wet fish kinda moment and I think where I’ve cocked up – I’ve tried my hardest to maintain the friendship and rallied. All I feel is useless and like I’m losing a battle I was never gonna win, and that hurt so bloody much.

      I’ve hand-on-my-heart questioned how I truly feel about him and I think its a case of ‘why don’t you want me?’ syndrome. I couldn’t put my finger on whether it’s because he doesn’t really require or need me anymore, not as a friend or anything else. I felt lost and sad, a lot of times I still do.

      I’ve spent some time working on myself during these past six months. Progress is in motion I hope. I’ve gone through the bewilderment of ‘how can I fix this?’ and ‘what can I do or how can I be to make this better’ to realising that this is for him to resolve and that actually I’ve got to accept him and this for what it is. A very hard thing for me to do if I care about someone and I still struggle every day. I don’t understand how people can just switch it on/off one day to the next, really doesn’t make any sense to me.

      We do speak often but its not like what we used to and sometimes strained. I guess I’m just one of those women who has confused her feelings again. Someone slap me.

      I’ve focused on my family & friends, also my work and I try to keep myself busy. At times I feel like a perpetulant child who wants to throw her toys out of her pram and I want to sulk, pout and stamp my foot! (something you really can’t get away with it at 35!!). Maybe this is through pure frustration that I can’t ‘fix’ this or the realisation that maybe I am just that unimportant to him, a real killer blow for me too.

      Please rest assured I’m there with you.

      Hugs xx

  36. Minky says:

    I’ve never been into titles, so this isn’t an issue for me.

    I’ve always been of the opionion that how a guy acts and makes you feel is the most important thing. A guy can call you his girlfriend and say the nicest things, but if you still feel insecure, if you doubt his feelings for you and it’s not just down to paranoia and is based on how he treats you, then there is definitely something wrong.

    On the other hand, if a guy isn’t that verbally communicative (my ex who i was in a healthy relationship wasn’t all that expressive) but you know by the way they act towards you, by the care they show, by their consideration and respect and the fact that they don’t bust your boundaries that they are ‘with you’ that you are a unit and that they have your best interests at heart, then that’s all that really counts to me. It’s nice to be flattered and complimented, to hear the words etc. but the actions are the main thing.

  37. Findingmyself says:

    Just wanted to share something I had read, hopefully it will help someone. Much of the same things we all hear from Natalie are intertwined in this article.

    Being constantly criticized, rejected, neglected, or abused eventually pays its toll. The low self-worth you see is not always the CAUSE of their being unable to leave, but the RESULT of having been treated this way. Once they feel low about themselves, they lose the strength to get out.

    But there is more to it. They have become traumatically bonded.

    A traumatic bond is created when pain is inflicted into the attachment. This bond is stronger (just like epoxy glue is stronger than rubber cement) than a non-traumatic bond. The more traumatic the bond, the harder to get out.

    But there is still another factor which really cements people to the abuser. They get hooked by the “intermittent reinforcement.” The abuser, every once in a while, will give them what they need, i.e. “a pat on the arm” or saying “love you” or “bringing home a paycheck.” It’s intermittent.

    I was happy to receive this message because it confirms the bind so many people are in. The more infrequently the “crumbs of love” are offered, the more hooked you are. You become conditioned, like a rat in the cage.

    For the full article:
    Read more: http://www.thirdage.com/today/dating/cant-let-go-of-a-bad-relationship#ixzz13VsBG3h3

  38. Done says:

    I have my own story, tho it started 20 yrs ago and he devastated me and i didn’t really know why it hurt so bad, now i know about these commitmentphobes and EUM’s and he’s one of our poster boys. Not getting into it now but want to at some point and need to for my sake and to pay back the rest of you for sharing, because all of your insight has made it possible for me to see I’m not alone, and that I am able to put an end to it even tho he won’t (despite staying with this latest girflriend “for now” and refusing to tell me we shall never beee!). Now I call the shots. Anyway, wouldn’t have had the self-awareness and strength had it not been for this site. But what makes me worry is that there seem to be so many of these guys out there judging my our stories, that I need some reassurance of the existance of some good guys out there for us to allow into our lives and treat us the way we deserve. They’re out there, right, and available? i am like you all — tons of friends, popular, funny, fun, laid-back, low-maintenance, pretty, sexy, etc. but sold my soul for someone not worthy. At all. (But soo darn handsome, of course.) Tho i NEED what I read here, I feel like I’m getting jaded… btw congrats to all of you for saving yourselves. I still think about him, still find the urge to call him to tell him I’m not call call him (haha, but you know what I’m talking about don’t you!?). I’m so close to 100% done and am so open to the one I’m truly compatible with to come along. Can’t wait. No settlin’, no ignoring the thousands of signs of an AC or emotional abuser or EUM. No mo.

    • Done says:

      FYI I forgot to add that tho it started 20 yrs ago, there were 20 yrs in between where we were married to others, so this latest incarnation is really only about 2 years, on/off, you know the drill. But that’s too long. Finally put it together, the deja vu from 20 years ago, same thing started happening. Now i have an explanation and know it’s not me. Finally.

  39. Alibi says:

    I have been a fool. This sums up so well what has happened to me over the last six months, and I am truly at the end of my tether with it. I met someone online – it was wonderful, blah blah – and I totally ignored a hundred red flags. His temper, his ego, his constantly changing his mind, his meanness with money. He even told me he was reeling me in, then when I got too close convinced me I was insecure. So I became all the things he said I was. I tried to please him, that didn’t work. Inside, I can see what his game was – and he WAS playing games, but accused me of playing games. It’s like all the things he was saying and doing he was accusing me of. I was very close to a breakdown, my friends and family were very worried about me. He then suggested we should just be friends. I stayed NC for a while, but thought I could handle the friendship thing. I know now that I can’t. He still wants to know everything about my life, and yet is very evasive about his own. I can’t stand it any more. Every single thing that NLM writes is true, and now this just puts it all in perspective. I wrote pages and pages of things he had said and done that hurt me – but it’s the fact that he doesn’t want me that reduces me to someone I don’t like. I feel like there is no way out :o(

  40. Naomi says:

    I have been obsessed with a man who stopped wanting me and every day without him is like a nightmare. My life has been a nightmare last 3 years. I constantly think about him and i have no energy for anything in my life. Whenever I tried to move on he started pursuing me “to stay friends”. Last 3 years I’ve been in contact with him almost every day. I have copied some sentencies from this article and I will read them every morning. Thank you, I think that everything you wrote here is so true.
    The only thing is I am consciusly doing this, I feel so out of control to be honest. If this is all about my ego being hurt because of rejection then from tomorrow i’ll try to observe it and when i get the urge to contact him i’ll stop. I’m starting NC from tomorrow I hope I can do it. Thank you for inspiration. Love, Naomi.

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.

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.