A few months back while creating a class for one of my courses, I decided to conduct an experiment on me and note what I used to look for in a partner and the list…. was short and very embarrassing. Good looking but not a necessity if they 1) pursued me hard and/or 2) made me laugh, as well as tall, intelligent, good job, gives me the butterflies which admittedly seemed to be generated by them needing to be something else – ambiguous in some way – which no doubt left plenty of room for my imagination to run riot. That was pretty much it.

None of these things said anything about the character of the person or even what they would share with me in the direction of a relationship, which explains why my relationships were a hot mess that left me perplexed at why I wasn’t happy with my ‘type’ while at the same time I became very good at silencing that inner voice that kept piping up with evidence of real concerns.

It never occurred to me to consider these things because I didn’t really like or love me and a lot of what I sought in others was really about the surface things that I could appreciate in me.

What we don’t value in ourselves, we don’t value in others, and sometimes, what we value in others is because we want that for ourselves and we can end up undervaluing and overvaluing the wrong things.

We can be attracted to and like people for any damn reason we like but they won’t all hold up off paper. If we’re going to make value judgments about people driven by making assumptions, if we’re not going to dig too deep and are essentially going to be led by our vaginas / penises and our Zsa Zsa Zu internal butterfly and firework machines which we expect to do the detective work and act as People Pickers with quality assurance responsibilities, we have to realise that we’re going to keep coming up against the painful outcomes that these actions and mentalities bring.

All of this stuff is powered by unhealthy/unrealistic beliefs that we use to attach meaning to the things that we’re attracted to. We see qualities, characteristics and certain values and our minds leap ahead and assume the presence of ‘everything else’ that we think that someone who has the former will be.

  • They’re a certain religion… Oh well they’ll be honest, eager to commit and want to get married.
  • They’re very important and popular… Oh they must be someone of upstanding character.
  • They’ve been married before… Oh that means that they’re capable of commitment.
  • Their favourite book is The Great Gatsby and you both like hiking and yada yada yada… Oh we’re perfect for each other.
  • They said that they’re very honest… Oh so they are very honest.

Values are about what you believe that you need in order to live your life authentically. We are at our happiest when we’re living congruently with our own values instead of busting them up in an attempt to live other people’s values.

You may be compatible with someone in terms of appearance, attraction, common interests and how they can make your body sing but, if you don’t share core values which would reflect the way that you each want to live as well as having a common / compatible direction, you’re incompatible. It means that you have the secondary values without the core primary values and the former only carry weight when the latter exist. Core value issues is a deal breaker.

However it doesn’t stop there.

Sometimes you do appear to share core values with someone – it appears that you share similar relationship / economic / social (how you see the world) / religious values etc., and yet you’re unhappy and the relationship may even be quite unhealthy. Why? Because you don’t share personal values which are the values that say who you are – your character.

And yes, sometimes you share personal values with someone but they don’t want the same things – you diverge on other core values – and this makes you incompatible. You end up thinking “But we’re so similar!” but you’re not going out with a clone of you and they’re allowed to have a different direction.

Values and character are self-evident so there’s no need for the projection of assumptions and potential. Of course… it just depends on what you’re looking for or what you’re blinded to.

Ultimately someone may possess the values that you think you need in order to have the relationship you want, but somewhere along the way, you’re incompatible and possibly blinded by the existence of other stuff that you may be using to minimise the significance of the incompatibility.

You either don’t share the core values that you think (or your core values aren’t what you’ve thought that they were), or you do share core values but on the personal values front which forms the key component in your core values, you clash and that makes you incompatible.

Personal values trump everything so you can like or love someone for whatever reasons you feel like, but if they don’t have the character to honour the things that they’ve said they’ll be and do or to match what you’re expecting from them, then yes you’re incompatible. This doesn’t mean that you cannot look for whatever it is that you look for in people but it’s time to look for and value character and value it based on consistent evidence and experience, not jumping to conclusions about what people ‘like you’ or what people who do X,Y,Z ‘should’ be or do.

Your thoughts?

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199 Responses to If you have core values issues, you have compatibility issues

  1. jojo says:

    So insightful. The core values. You put into words ideas I cant quite put so succinctly.
    That is my dilemma with my kids father. The 3 of us have the same core values and he is something quite different now. And they dont want to have contact with him, because of this. Because the end result of any contact is them being embarassed ( noticed I said being, not feeling…,) a few lies, their wishes negated for his wants, and the end result is they come home feeling invalidated, all because he thinks being their dad trumps them being them.

    The up shot? They are 20 and 17 and I have educated them to see through manipulation and selfish personalities thanks to you Miss Natalie…
    In educating and changing and valuing myself, it has educated and taught them to value themselves and act on it.
    So, many thankyous..I cant count the number.

    • Tracy says:

      Jojo, I think we were married to the same man, as our kids are the same age and the kids have the exact same relationship with their dad. My kids are kind, empathetic, supportive, mature young people. Their father is self-absorbed. Totally. He has had nothing to do with them for nearly three years, yet will try to take credit for their successes from what I hear. It’s sad that the kids and I have one set of values, but my ex’s is so different that they really want nothing to do with him, either. They’ve had to find father figures in other family members who share our values.

  2. Carolynn says:

    I have always known that when i don’t share core values with someone, then a love relationship with them is not going to work! In my 56 years on earth, i have discovered this is true for regular, old friendships, too.

    Perhaps this is why i can’t find someone decent to save my life!! I quit looking.

  3. Valley Forge Lady says:

    Great concept! How do you get to someone’s core values? How does this come up over drinks?
    How does the conversation start?

    I have been divorced twice…and dated more men than I want to think about. Obviously I am doing something wrong. I am about to go out on my fourth date with a guy who has been divorced three times.

    We are both educated, attractive, sucessful losers! I want to get this right!

    I have been picking emotionally unavailable men for decades. (I am 63) I don’t care why at this point…I just want to stop the insanity.

    Core values have to be the point I am missing. How do I did down to this?

    • simple pleasures says:

      VFW, finding out his core values might not be very difficult. Over drinks you ask, “How do you see yourself in 10 years?” and he’ll reply, “well, I’m very fond of my grandchildren from wife #2. I’d like to keep my health up to be able to go to their weddings. I
      want to keep close with my children and grandchildren. I’d also like to find a companion to spend quiet evenings with by the fire watching “Downton Abbey”. I’ll be fully retired then, but don’t see myself tooling off to Alaska in a Winnebago, just want to age quietly with a nice reliable woman.
      The harder question is for yourself, when he wants to know what you want and what are your core values. Don’t worry about finding out his, they’ll surface quickly. Find yours, and see if they match.

    • Emerldeyez says:

      I hear you valleyforge! I have had men “parrot” the core values, but in the end didn’t live them. I was told how honest they were, but they were not. I was told they believed in monagamy, they did not.( at least not the same definition I had) They said they valued truth and respect, they were neither. So I am learning that they may talk the talk but not walk the walk. And I fall for the words, first, and then have to back peddle. So moving forward, I am not jumping in two feet first, I am not stopping my life to spend all my free time with the newest flame, and I’m not going to give up me in the process. The last post of Natalie’s resonated to me about Protesting too loudly. The last one kept telling me how honest he was. Why? That he never lied. Really? That he had a reason he cheated. Really? That all his ex’s were the psychos. Boy oh boy, did I learn a hard and valuable lesson.

      • beth d says:

        All the exes are psychos is a good one. My ex said the same to me. I remember at one point saying “you probably made them psycho”

        • Foxglove says:

          Wow — this is such a coincidence! All MY ex-narc/eum/ac’s exes were “crazy” as well. I’m sure I’m in that category now as well, since I’ve had the “extreme” reaction of going NC. What bad luck he’s had. Or could there be a common factor? Hmmmm… lol :)

          • beth d says:

            Ha ha I am sure you are Fox just like I am. I can picture my ex describing me to his latest supply. For no reason she cut me off and wouldn’t ever speak to me again! LOL

          • dancingqueen says:

            Yeah the “psycho” comment is a dead give away that they are a narc…haven’t we all heard about this mysterious coincidence…

          • McKenzieM says:

            LOL! Foxglove, same here. I’m sure I’ve been lumped in with the other “psychos” now because I dared leave the narcissistic harem and go NC. :)

          • Emerldeyez says:

            Foxglove, I remember saying to him, exactly that…. you seem to be the common denominator. What did you learn about yourself from the relationship? He never had an answer for that one. I told him, that I would become a psycho at some point to him too. And you know what that’s ok. Because I have gone NC According to him, all his ex’s still love him, and thought he was a great guy. Contradiction there???

            • beth d says:

              Big contradiction for sure. Oh my ex claims his ex gf’s still want him too!! Conceited bastard makes me sick. He said I treated you better than any of them and you were the one who f**ked me over. Poor poor baby. Mean mean bethy I know damn well mine keeps pursuing because he wants to WIN! I don’t for a second believe he loves me anymore. He is just trying to shove his shit onto me without an ounce of accountability about how he sabatauged us for nothing. Guess what? You lose cuz you are a loser! Go back to your harem because you will never have access to me again!

              • Foxglove says:

                Oh, you girls — it is so good to know I’m not the only one. My ex told me that many of the women he’s had casual affairs with will be friends with him on fb (such a healthy sign to want to be “friends” with all your prior one-nighters, isn’t it?) — but that none of his previous long-term relationships will be (there were a grand total of TWO before me — he’s 40. Wooooowwww. They all hung in there for two years before they’d finally had enough — or, more accurately, his devaluing became REALLY bad — exactly like me. It would have been two years for us in March.) I can tell you what he’s going to say about me — we were best friends, had such a closeness and emotional intimacy and she dumped me because I didn’t return her romantic feelings. My friendship was just not enough for her… (No mention of how he started everything off begging me to pack up and move and marry him and have his babies…) Omg.

                Beth, I love the comment your made about how he treated you “so much better” than anyone else (which is certainly a testament to his sensitivity before, right?!) — mine said something very similar. He’d never been so “open and honest” with anyone in his life — my friendship just meant so much more to him than anyone’s ever had. Not enough to ever think about my needs at all, apparently… I’m really glad I got off the merry-go-round. Are we allowed to share email addresses on this board? I’ll post mine if anyone wants to talk more about their ex-narc.

                • beth d says:

                  Yes what a testament to his character. I knew he didn’t treat others very well but that is my punishment in thinking I could “tame or fix him” My ego got in the way and I full well recognize that now. My bad. I’m glad you got off the merry go round too. It always did make me dizzy and the tilt a whirl made me sick to my stomach. lol
                  Not sure what the rules are on sharing email addresses.

            • Tracy says:

              Ha! An AC I was with for too long wrote in his online profile (after he dumped me and he went trolling back on line…where he still is 1 1/2 years later…but I digress) that even his ex wife would give him a full endorsement! What a joke! She couldn’t stand him! But he really believes that he was the best thing she ever had.

              On another note, my ex husband says all his exes are psychos. That’s what he told me about his first wife, that’s what he said about me to his GF after we divorced, that’s what he said about THAT GF after she dumped his ass, that is what he is telling his current wife about all of us. Kind of makes you wonder why we pick guys who are psycho magnets! Lesson learned: the minute a guy refers to ANY ex as a psycho, flush ASAP.

              • Foxglove says:

                Good point, Tracy — very good point. If they’re referring to someone as a “psycho”, it’s a sure thing that they can’t see that they had ANY part in where the relationship went wrong. It shows they can’t and won’t take responsibility, for anything, nor make any effort to actually try to make YOUR relationship work. If they point to one specific behavior in an ex that they had a problem with, then fine. For example, I have one ex, another suspected narc, who believed he was a vampire. I know how to pick ’em. So, sure — you can point to specifics — but if all the exes are somehow across-the-board “psychos” — then the guy’s likely the problem.

              • Allison says:


                How do you know all of this?

    • yoghurt says:

      I’m not sure it’s a conversational thing. If they’re sneaky enough (and sadly so many of them are) then they’ll just say what they think you want to hear, which carries no guarantee of the truth.

      I have to admit that I’ve not had much experience of testing out anyone’s values but I think it comes down to looking out for consistency between a) what they say and what they do and b) how they expect to be treated by others and how they actually treat others.

      So, someone who expects to be able to ring you up whenever but isn’t available when you do the same, or expects you to fit in with his plans, or wants you looking nice all the time but doesn’t put an effort in himself, or who claims to dislike shallowness but judges other folk immediately on surface issues or claims that he ‘hates dishonesty’ (ie doesn’t like people lying to him) but then wouldn’t return the change if the shop assistant gave him too much… not a lot of consistency there, values not up to much.

      Those are rubbishy examples but they’re the best that I can come up with right now! I think, though, that it comes back to what Nat says about letting people unfold – you need time to work this stuff out and if you feel as though you’re not being given enough of it then that’s a problem in itself.

      • yoghurt says:

        …pushes constantly to move the relationship on physically but is highly offended by any attempt by you to push the relationship on emotionally… ugh, that’s a big one that I’ll be looking out for in the future.

        • Emerldeyez says:

          Mine pushed the relationship emotionally when it was to his advantage. He was running out of time on his health insurance that his ex was paying. He wanted to get married in a week, no discussion about my lease, where i would be living, how we would work out the expenses. He said we didn’t need to talk about that, and I was balking and didn’t love him. Sometimes wonder what planet these guys come from?

        • Tracy says:


      • dancingqueen says:

        I agree Yoghurt, but what is frustrating is that…while I watching them “unfold” months are passing by. By the second month, if the facade is still intact, I am starting to have sex with them…I wish there was a way to truth-serum this process because I really don’t want to sleep with any poor prospects at this stage of my life…:(

      • Allison says:

        They are excellent examples. They do show that the guy is a hypocrite and has a poor value system.

        My ex, was similar, I wish I had bailed when I had the first bit of uneasiness. Next time, there will be no excusing or ignoring questionable behavior.

  4. Bermiegirl says:

    “You may be compatible with someone in terms of appearance, attraction, common interests and how they can make your body sing but, if you don’t share core values which would reflect the way that you each want to live as well as having a common / compatible direction, you’re incompatible.”

    Nat, you have it in a nutshell!!

    It is such a shame when that realisation hits home but it’s for the best. I have someone in my life who makes my body sing like no other and we get on fabulously well but….it’s not enough. When they’re not able to follow through on what they say they will do, time after time, the writing is on the wall. Most definitely incompatible! The hardest (and ironically easiest) thing is to walk away.

    There is sincere affection between the two of us but it will go nowhere fast and I will just risk becoming bitter and resentful if I stay put when my hopes and expectations of a committed relationship do not materialise. I have learned to accept that.

    I still occasionally enjoy their company and we have a great laugh but no more booty calls.

    I want the whole deal…a real relationship where someone goes to sleep in my bed and wakes up the next morning there too! When you get fobbed off with the “busy” excuses, the excuses about having to run errands for their mother, not being able to have time away from their kids, etc, you realise something valuable: they are not available or compatible. Pure and Simple.

    No need to demonise them or make them out to be the bad guy but there is a definite need to accept the reality of the situation.

    Either you put yourself on permanent booty call to the exclusion of a proper relationship materialising or you take yourself out of the situation. I’m OUT. Wish I wasn’t but I know to do differently would only be cheating myself.

  5. NK says:

    This is usually the ‘cant put my finger on why it isn’t working’ reason me thinks. I recently dated someone who has this rash in their hair follicles for 9 years and has never seen a dermatologist. I could never go that long without treating a condition, would you see this as a ‘value’? Also they never did exercise, ate fruit and was a very picky eater. This is a personal preference, but I just didn’t like the attitude about this tbh. Are these things connected or just preference?

    • Mymble says:

      I don’t know about it being a core value, but if there are things about someone that repel you, you don’t have to date them. A person can be good, sincere and trustworthy, if you find them or their habits unattractive, well, game over. Personally I would find an untreated skin condition a problem, I would struggle to get past that.
      There are a few single men in their 40s where I work and they all are very poor on the self care front, living on junk food, no veggies, no exercise, heavy drinking, little social life etc and I find it off putting. My mother has been single since her 30s although she has had many men show interest in her. She says many of these men want/need someone to look after them and she doesn’t want to play that role. So perhaps to that extent it is an indicator of a value – someone who cannot look after themselves and is looking for a “Mum” to do it for them.
      The way I read it, this blog is about the more difficult scenario when they DO get all that stuff right. Theyre attractive, you have interests, beliefs and attitudes in common, or so it seems, but there are
      underlying incompatibilities.

    • natashya says:

      NK, to me it’s a core value… it has to do with taking care of yourself. a dermatological condition wouldn’t put me off, as long as the man sought treatment. there’s no excuse for not eating healthy and no exercise unless you’re allergic to vitamins and are a paraplegic.

      and no, i would never date a picky eater, unless again, it was because of an allergy or intolerance or something. ugh.

      • NK says:

        I did speak to him about it and he said its never bothered him – I just don’t understand how it doesn’t bother him – its a lie i think

    • Grizelda says:

      I agree with the others, NK. Physical appearance says everything about the person inside. I don’t mean the things they’re born with — the size and shape of the nose, the height, the hair type, whether they have a viable chin or not…! I mean everything else — what they literally do with themselves in terms of self-care, hygiene, grooming, and more esoteric things like clothing and personal gear. In that way, appearances are never deceiving.

      If this is someone who has let his deteriorating health issues needlessly run rampant because he doesn’t want to make the effort of going to the doctor, following a medication regime, improving health and fitness… well that says everything about his values. Anything that requires effort is out the window. Does he wear adult diapers because getting up to attend the lavatory is too much trouble? God with all the fruit he’s eating, he’s probably needs the lav 20 times a day too…

      Oh and the picky eater thing is often a carry over from childhood, when little toddler tyrants found they could rule the dinner table and bully mother by being overexacting and overdemanding. Picky eaters have no idea what it is to be actually hungry. Because genuine hunger makes people forget all about esoteric preferences like whether or not there’s a bit of pulp in their OJ.

      • NK says:

        I stopped dating him because he doesn’t think the condition is important. I hope he sorts it out in the future, sincerely, I do. We are still mates and I like hanging out with him.
        @Grizelda – your tone sounds like me when I’m being brutally honest! I can’t stand picky eaters. I have heard that there is more to it than just exercising control in childhood – some people just have very sensitive tastebuds. So I do try not to discriminate against picky eaters – it is comparable to me being fatist. I have a irrational dislike of the attitude of fat people. Not fat people. Just the attitude that they are fine the way they are, when we can all see that no, they need a life style change. Sometimes I am a lil insensitive about this, I’ll admit.

        Anyways, the guy in question has respect for people, good morals, is supportive and is a good friend. I come closer to understanding who my future husband will be with every failed date/relationship!

  6. Laurie says:

    I’ve been incredibly superficial and I didn’t even realize it! I thought because I didn’t value a person for their looks or the size of their wallet, that I wasn’t superficial. But my list of “qualities” was basically identical to Natalie’s. 1) Pursued me hard 2) Gave me butterflies. I’m embarrassed that those were really my only requirements. I guess I called those things “love” and never took the time to deconstruct these *feelings*. And then I’m surprised when I wind up with men who only value me for superficial things. I guess because I felt all of these strong emotions and because they came on so hard I felt there was something to it–that they really wanted ME.

    I’ve never felt *known* by any of my exes–except in the biblical sense *ahem*. I think because I had a three month no-sex rule I felt that I was weeding out guys who would only want me for that. In fact, my last ex kept making the comment during that period: “If I only wanted you for sex, I’d be long gone by now.” Completely unprovoked and inappropriate. Why would you say that?

    But I’m not sure if it really has anything to do with sex. I felt like I was in emotionally stunted relationships. I just want to feel loved for me, and I’ve always felt that was missing in my relationships. I never felt that guys were interested in who I was as a person, despite all of the flowers, gifts, and attention. I thought maybe I was just too needy. Maybe I was having an existentialist crisis. And perhaps that’s true. I think I was often looking for these guys to validate me when I should have been validating myself. I don’t know if I’m concocting some sort of fantasy imagining that I will be able to connect on a deeper emotional level with a guy. I’m not sure if I’m even articulating that correctly. It seems near impossible to find a half-decent guy, let alone one who shares your values, has character AND you can connect with on a deeper level? It’s like looking for Sasquatch.

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      I’ve never felt *known* by any of my exes–except in the biblical sense *ahem*.

      I completely relate to this, Laurie. One ex-AC NEVER would ask me questions about myself in order to really get to know me. I mean, how do you get t know someone if you don’t ask questions about them. It is almost as if the less they know about you, the easier it is for them to do what they want, like cheat on you, because we remain impersonal to them. Not knowing us also allows them to keep their distance and not get emotionally invested, which also allows them to do what they want. It allows the relationship to remain shallow and allows THEM to remain shallow.

    • natashya says:

      laurie, at one point in my life i only had 2 requirements:
      1. does not hit me
      2. is not a sex addict

      i found one. a guy who was so emotionally unavailable that i got more affection from my fridge.

  7. selkie says:

    My last guy I thought was very similar to me in personality it was uncanny and I thought I’d found the perfect guy for me. One day we were talking and he got this weird look on his face while I was describing myself which worried me that he thought I was a weirdo, but instead he said he was blown away because in describing myself I had just described him. We had similar values on religion, on philosophy, on honesty, on life, on what I thought were important things. I thought I had found my man. I wanted it to be true. But it wasn’t to be. He was distant sometimes and hard to read so I told myself he was complicated and misunderstood, like me. I thought with this similar trait we would actually understand each other where others found fault. Difference was that I wanted to be understood while he wanted to be alone in his misunderstood world. The likeness in us was like a taste of my own medicine for all the times I was aloof and hard to read with others. I never knew how he felt, his aloofness and flat emotion left me confused most of the time. Ultimately, we were incompatible because he just didn’t want what I did. A committed relationship felt like suffocation to him, even though we weren’t even spending huge amounts of time together. I felt like it was a warm blanket. He cited that I was too guarded, yet he was the same and more. So I expressed wanting to be closer in response to what he said and then he runs from me saying he is flawed. Come here, go away. Call me, leave me alone. You’re guarded, I need my space. I was spun in cycle of mixed messages. This compatibility stuff is a little like algebra to me and I never did ‘get’ math. Some of it is so simple but each person is like a whole new equation. Some are easy and some are more like organic chemistry. I need to reread Nat’s post a few more times I think.

    • Hope says:

      Goodness, Selkie, we were involved with the same man I think. You’ve really put into words so well my experience with my former EU/MWG (man with girlfriend). I’ve been in therapy since the beginning of December to work through my affair and this experience, and it’s sobering to realize that I mirrored and justified so many of his qualities in order to keep him pacified, around, and the scraps of attention, affection, and time he would toss my way. I was a human pretzel for him, capable of twisting myself into anything he wanted and needed while simultaneously convincing myself it was what I wanted as well.

      “Difference was that I wanted to be understood while he wanted to be alone in his misunderstood world”. Exactly, and incorrectly reading this quality in EU/MWG led me to believe that his aloofness was only shyness and that he was his own man. Wow, did this backfire on me! Every issue and problem was mine and I learned not to ask for too much. So much of our relationship was just walking on eggshells and I now realize it is because I was never honest about my core values and less than honest in recognizing his. Regardless of how intelligent, interesting, and attractive he was (and is) we aren’t and never were compatible.

  8. beth d says:

    Oh is this me. My ex was tall, nice looking, intelligent, gave me big time butterflies and even made me laugh like no other. I thought I hit the jackpot and instead I ended up on a roller coaster ride and throw the tilt a whirl in there too. Core values were very different. Materialistic, had to impress, didn’t really have close friends, displayed total lack of empathy at times, bullshitter, cocky, conceited and loved gaining control by disappearing or detaching. They were qualities that took a long time to come out as he was everything I dreamed of for awhile. He was always at his best when I mirrored his tactics by disappearing on him. What mind games were played and I am embarrassed to say that I was just as guilty of the mind games as he was. I rationalize they were in retaliation to his mind games but it set the relationship insanity situation in motion.

    • Foxglove says:

      Oh my gosh, Beth — do we have the same ex-EU?!? Seriously, mine sounds so much like this — he freely admits that he likes attending “socially prominent events” and being seen at the “right” places. Many of his friends are chosen for whatever upward-mobility they can offer him and I don’t think he’s that close to any of them. Hard to impress? Check. Free with the criticism, stingy with the kinds words? Yep. Total lack of empathy? Ding ding ding ding ding….! Anyway, don’t have much to add except == well, let me ask you this, what excused this behavior for YOU? For me it was, like, oh, he’s like my crotchety-old-man in a 40-yr-old body — he’s so old-fashioned, so stoic, such a stiff upper lip… blah blah blah…

      Now I don’t even know what I was thinking. :/

      • beth d says:

        Fox Yes these two Narcs are twins lol I can’t believe what you said about the friends. My final tell off I said to him the reason you want to keep me as a friend is because you don’t have one authentic friend!!! Your friends are all people that can do something for you and mainly business associates. I told him he has no clue how to be a real friend. He also was like an old man in alot of ways, lol Stodgy at times. Mine was a good bullshitter and what kept me in the game was when he was good he was the best but he could disconnect in a minute and you would never see it coming. We also had a crazy sexual connection and I realize more and more that played a major role. Yea the core values were not there at all!

        • Foxglove says:

          Oh, yes, they sure do sound like brother’s in their narcissism. Although, oddly, my ex does not associate with either his actual brother or his brother-in-law — they’re ‘not the same class’ and he doesn’t like to be seen out and about with them. He hasn’t actually come out and said that — but that is exactly how he feels. He’s made fun of both for being lower-middle class before (as he deems it). He also loves to post fb statuses that go something like “enjoying a G&T by my sailing club’s pool — ah, the good life…” What a DOUCHE!!! So shallow…so obvious… He also mentioned that he’d love to bring me “out and about with him” more — so he could show me off. Wow. What a compliment. Nothing like being loved for your mind, huh? The friend thing — oh, yup — same deal. We were ‘best friends’ — I realize now the reason why – he didn’t have any others. Everyone else was just acquaintances from his club, his fraternity, etc… he has no real connection to any of them. He doesn’t even know what a friend is, I don’t think. :( In a way, I’m sad for him.

          • beth d says:

            Mine barely associates with two of his brothers and most likely for the same reason. Don’t feel sorry Fox. With a Narc that is the kiss of death. That is how my ex talked me into at least offering him friendship after our relationship ended. It so prolonged the nonsense and gave him the access to me to screw with my head. Never again.

            • Foxglove says:

              Yes, this is amazing to me. I mean, how can you practically cut off contact with your FAMILY because you don’t find them to be of a high enough social status? That’s beyond terrible. Well, I was feeling sorry for him — so I sent a second email the morning after the one where I told him I wanted NC. It was a high-road email and it made me feel better to explain my reasons. My fear is that is was SO nice that it’ll seem like an invitation for him to get back in touch at some point. Which, to be brutally honest — I both hope he won’t be able to live without me and don’t want back in my life. So, very mixed. I ended up just saying something to the order of “we both could have done things differently — but I just haven’t been happy in our situation for a very long time, so it’s time to go. But, you were truly one of my best friends, and I will always wish you all the best in life.” So, it was a goodbye, but a somewhat sentimental one. Thoughts?

              • beth d says:

                I can’t say I have never done it and have even thanked him for the good times and his generosity. I realize now the gifts and spoiling came with strings attached. Accept/forgive his disrespectful/crazy behavior and I will be rewarded. Those types of letters do leave the door open for them to get back in touch with you. Mine always did and in the beginning years actually came back strong since I was truly trying to get away from the madness and he knew it. On the other hand I have sent some scathing letters and he came back anyway. Just not as quickly lol That is just who you are and I get it. I am similar and prefer the high road but unfortunately these guys will take full advantage. Bunker down. There is a good chance you will hear from him.

              • grace says:

                How many times are you going to say goodbye to this person?
                At some point you have to draw a line under it and not keep going back for a do-over. Sooner is better than later.

              • Mymble says:

                I sent a really really nasty email. There was an exchange which culminated in what I thought was a respectful final goodbye. (at his behest) But no. He was back with more inconsequential nonsense, pretended concern about something he thought might be affecting my relations- whether “the
                friend card” or trying to Hoover me back again I don’t know. All I know is that it has really upset me and all this to-ing and fro-ing just makes you miserable. Like you I believe it very likely that he’s already involved with other(s). Why wouldn’t he be, he is living the batchelor life. They don’t like to feel like the bad guy, they like to have the power of knowing that there are women hanging around waiting for their crumbs. Sending the “nice” email confirms to him that you are still “there for him” and he will likely check in on you from time time and (if you’re like me) it will mess you up. In my case I have held on to that little bit of hope that things might work out and I only really started to feel better when I letgo of it. Him getting in touch again revived it and the accompanying uncertainty and misery. My therapist says i have a pattern of having difficulty in leaving relationships which are clearly past their sell by date, (or in this case were never what you would call a proper relationship). Your desire to send the “nice” email sounds as though it might arise from similar issues. It’s a need for emotional engagement and validation – which really you know you won’t get from him. I’ve been round and round this many times, sometimes after months and months of NC, therapy, conscious self esteem building activities. I hope you move on quicker than I have.

                • Foxglove says:

                  Honestly, at this point, I don’t know which I’m more afraid of: that he won’t be back in touch, or that he will. This is the first time it’s ever been “over” for us — we’ve taken breaks before (always at my request, needed to get my head together, etc…) And I know that, deep down, if I let him back in I WILL be right back here again. So, NC it is. Today is my 5th day (I started the count after the “nice” email). I don’t know, though — he deleted me from his blog and unsubscribed from mine — seems pretty final — and he can be very vindictive (wow, I’m sure it’s really easy to see why I’m missing him!) So, maybe he won’t make contact. I know, in the end, that would probably be better. Just kind of missing him and having a hard time of it. My email is ‘[email protected]’ if anyone feels like chatting.

              • Allison says:


                People like this will not internalize the letter.

                Was he there for you as a best friend???? Im confused??

  9. nickyf says:

    I found the article about incompatibility very interesting. I had heard about “core values” some months ago and realised at the age of 50 I couldn’t actually say what mine were!!! Sure I could produce a trite sounding list with words eg honesty, loyalty etc but it seemed superficial so I spent an uncomfortable few days with paper and pen studying myself and my needs (it was hard work!!))& I eventually came up with descriptions of my personal values and my relationship values, some of which surprised the hell out of me!! I kept them in mind while dating and saw how it’s possible to see/hear things very early on that are warnings…Currently dating a lovely natured guy I wouldn’t have looked at twice a year ago but he matches so much with my values and as we’re getting more involved I’m more and more attracted to him – it was about VALUES first and seems to be working out so far…

  10. courtney says:

    Went to a social event recently and a couple of perfect examples arose of this very phenomena.

    First, spoke with a guy who appeared to be respectful, successful, funny, nice, etc. Didn’t feel that “instant physical chemistry” but did feel chemistry. It was a good conversation. I don’t know if we shared core values or anything, but it was definitely a healthy interaction.

    Then, soon after, when he had left his seat for a bit, this other guy took his place and I suddenly realized…It was a guy who was my “Type.”

    By my “Type,” I mean the dangerous, toxic narcissistic asshole who always manages to make me think with my libido and bask in the adrenaline rush of mindf*ckery.

    We began engaging in witty banter almost immediately…and slowly but surely, his assholish ways emerged and he was suggesting ludicrous things that were disrespectful and downright disgusting. I wasn’t innocent in this interacting mind you, since I was being quite flirtatious and bold and I guess he took that as an outright invitation.

    I felt terrible knowing I was still attracted to this Type, but thankfully managed to pull myself away just in time. I thought I had learned my lesson by now, but I think incidents like this remind me how far I still have to go before I truly am able to extricate myself from this Former Type, who share nothing in my common values, but are always basically the same toxic person I was always pursuing/dating, just in a different body.

    • Foxglove says:

      Oh, Courtney — I hear you. I would have totally gone for the asshole, too. I don’t know what it is about them (or, more accurately, what it is about US) that makes them so attractive. One thing about my very-recent-ex-asshole is he used to “tease” me a lot. Now, I actually loved it and thought it was hilarious — and that was sort of the nature of our relationship — to verbally spar. But he actually would say some really mean things. I found it funny at the time — but now I’m analyzing everything. He actually started a sentence once “Oh my god, how thick ARE you?” Wow. Like I said, it was somewhat the nature of our relationship — but now I have to wonder WHY it was. I think he has serious issues with people, and women especially.

  11. miskwa says:

    The parroters of core values often take time to suss out. The AC is one of these who plays the role of Mr.Environmentalist while in reality he burns up tons of gas in his vehicle so he can be with multiple women, breaks up his land for development, and travels huge distances to be in the outdoors when theres plenty of outdoors past his own back door. Probably one of the reasons he discarded me in such a humiliating way, I actually LIVE my values even though doing so is less convenient and often means staying home rather than burning gas. In my relationships, yep, I do have to feel attraction and yep, he has to be a man who takes care of himself. I have tried to develop attraction over time and it has never worked. However, if Mr. Tall and good looking proves to not share or respect my values, he’s gone. Again, if someone hates your values, they hate YOU.

    • Sm says:

      Miskwa ‘if someone hates your values they hate you’, you got that right. And it goes both ways, I’ve hated the values of some I’ve dated so I guess I hated them too. It reminds me of the time I met a new bf’s friends. It was a mixed group of adults and kids, they were saying the nastiest curse words and making sexual jokes with no thought to the kids in the room. I was appalled beyond belief and had an overwhelming need to flee. I mentioned to the bf on the way home how I couldn’t believe all this was going on with no thought to the children in the room and he looked at me like I was crazy. Then told me that’s just the way it is and ‘they’ weren’t bothered by it, and from then on he acted like he hated me. I guess by my admission that those weren’t my values he took that to mean I hated him and his friends, I didn’t hate them just their actions.

      • yoghurt says:

        Funnily enough sm, that’s the exact issue that me and my ex eventually split on. I’d been umming and arghing about the r’ship for ages, but the certainty came with a big massive row about swearing in front of children.

        At the time I couldn’t understand why I’d got so upset over what had started out as a simple discussion. Now that I have a little boy of my own I’m SO glad that I don’t see him very much – it would have been far too much of a worry and an upset.

        • Sm says:

          Yogurt it’s an issue of respect. My dad is the biggest A-hole ever and he never cursed or made sexual jokes around kids or women and he didn’t allow others to do it either. And no matter how much I realize that other people weren’t raised that way, I cannot accept it. As a matter of fact it makes me angry beyond belief to be in the middle of it.

    • Emerldeyez says:

      If someone hates your values they hate you. I can relate. My ex would say he loves me, yet he hated that I was liberal, wanted to go to church, traveled to visit my family. So those reflected my values. He would argue against my believes and then use that as an excuse to start the name calling, and blow cold. I told him, I didn’t agree with his but I respected the fact that he had different values than me. I didn’t force mine upon him. But monagamy he said he was, but it didn’t fit my definition. He had his emotional harem, and that to me is cheating. What really matters to me today, is I learned alot about myself, and what is or is not acceptable. I am in no hurry to get back into a relationship at this time. And when I do, I will take it very slowly, watching it unfold, by actions not the flowery words, that the EUM knows so well.

  12. natashya says:

    great article. with my last EUM/AC i thought i was doing something right. our core values were very similar and based on that (and superficial BS as looks and shared interest in movies and music) i assumed we were compatible.

    however, his personal values completely lacked. he lacked honesty, integrity, balls and a spine.

    • Discarded says:

      Haha Natashya, that is so true. Shame we only find that out when they ditch us like we was never there! Ran and never looked back.
      Bitter yes, but I DESERVE better, and hopefully find a man who means what they say. Just hard to find a honest person. They lie and tell you what you think you want to hear. Yet really, its all lies when you want action, not words.

      • natashya says:

        discarded… i never even thought about the concept of the need for actions to match the words. this was never an issue in my 2 previous relationships and it’s also not the way i operate myself.

        so when the EUM/AC asked me to move in with him, i thought it was his desire to move in with him. when he told me i was everything he’d been looking for in a partner, i thought he wanted a relationship with me.

        i took his words as truth. and when the actions didn’t match those words, it left me spinning and confused. ‘but he said…. but but…’

        he basically ended up running from me. where were the words then? and then when he finally talked he said that i deserved better. at least he was right about that.

        • Discarded says:

          Well I’m in shock, had drunk txts off him last night. CHEEK OR WHAT!!!
          He ended it, said his job was his other half now etc etc, told me to LET GO. Been Nc 3weeks coming upto 4 weeks. And get txts. Isn’t about me, its about him feeling guilty. Just selfish, and I didn’t reply

          • Emerldeyez says:

            Good for you! I went on a dating site two nights ago. And guess who was on there, and he started to stalk me, making phony profiles, to continue to talk to me as I kept blocking him. I reported him to the site. He was professing his love one minute, and when I didn’t respond, got mean and nasty threatening me. I put myself in the “hidden” mode. We’ll see if they block him. Funny thing, he lied about his age, by three years, he said he owned his own business, he has shut it down. Says he plays tennis, he’s gotten too fat to run. He just doesn’t give up. I’m proud of myself, and it showed me I was over him, because I didn’t care he was on there at all. Let him tell his pack of lies to the next victim. There was nothing loving about the relationship at all, in the end. He couldn’t even fake it anymore. He cycled so quickly toward the end from hot and cold it would make my head spin.

          • beth d says:

            Disgarded Good for you. I told you that you would hear from him. He can’t believe you are sticking to NC. Who knows why they do it. Guilt? Loss of control? But damn they all have moves from the same playbook. Please hold strong so you don’t go back to that carnival. I read something once that truly describes my relationship with my ex especially at the end. We go to the carnival with them and there are ferris wheels, scramblers, tiltawhirls and rollercoasters. We keep trying to get back to that serene and predictable ride on the ferris wheel. We are dizzy from the other rides even though they are exhilarating because they are exhausting and gut wrenching. Keep reading Natalie cause she understands the carnival all to well.

        • Tracy says:

          Oh, I hate that “you deserve better” bullshit. That’s the world’s biggest cop-out line to mask the fact that they are doing something incredibly bad (like disappearing or cheating). Like they are being soooo noble to “grant you” your freedom to find someone else. It’s a BS passive aggressive way to dump you but keep you in the loop in case they change their minds. After all they were so nice to let you go, but they (I think) are pretty sure that you’ll never move on because they’re so awesome. Barf.

          • natashya says:

            i hate the ‘you deserve better’ cop out line as well. however, when a clown feeds you this BS, it is always true!

          • Discarded says:

            Well the 1st txt was love rubbish, 2nd and 3rd txts, wanted me to move in with him and everything be fine? Like WTF and the 4th and last txt was him accusing me of being with someone else? Nice eh? Haven’t received anymore txts thank god. Hopefully just write it off as drunk guilty txts and I wont hear another thing. Really wasn’t expecting it either from how harsh and cold he treated me at the end. He made his bed, he can lie in it. This site is great btw, sums everything up clearly. Us women have to hold strong!!!

            • Emerldeyez says:

              Discarded, My emails on the dating site from the AC were very similar. ILU, how can you not care, you are so cold, then the name calling, and lastly 100 guys will just want me for my body and not love me like he loved me. I was being used for my body by somebody else last night. I wonder how he knows all that??? I was home last night with my two dogs, watching movies and re-reading some of Natalie’s posts, about translations, how to stick to my core values, and not let go of myself for the sake of a relationship. Lots of good reading. LOL

        • jewells says:

          Natashya, exactly what mine did too, I pushed for action to match the words and he bolted. As he was a MM, he declared ‘mistake!’ and is ‘working on his marriage’ now. Where’s the ‘we belong together’, the ‘we’ll be together for a loooong time’, soul mates crap now??? Bah, she can have him, I don’t need the crap or the headaches.

          • jewells says:

            Oh, and I got the ‘you deserve better’ bs too. Darn tootin, but then on that note…doesn’t his wife also?

            • Discarded says:

              It’s just confirmed to me that he didn’t care. Didn’t get anymore txts after that, so much for loving me eh? I’m sure he will let everyone know ‘I got someone else though’ even though I haven’t. But then in his head, I’m in the wrong, I’m he bad person, and he was right to dump me. Dream world that is and very sad. He threw my love away for a 2nd time and last time.

              • jewells says:

                Discarded, I felt the exact same way when my relationshit came to it’s natural end. I was flabergasted that after everything he did and said that I could just be thrown away without regard. It’s maddening, it’s just plain horrifying. But the only reason these clowns get away with their games is that we have low self esteem and aren’t demanding enough of them in the first place. They chance their arm and take whatever they can get away with. And we let them. NO MORE. Discarded, one day you will look back and be grateful that he ‘discarded’ you, look at it as a lucky escape. Figure out what you want and go for it. It will only get better as long as you treat you better, no one can treat you bad again, if they do, you will recognize it for what it is and not let it affect how you feel about you. Keep on keeping on babes, we rock :)

  13. Gina says:

    My counselor asked me to write this and read it aloud to him:

    My Ideal Mate

    Behaves in a manner that is conducive to me feeling loved and secure
    Communicates thoughtfully, tactfully, and directly
    Able to show empathy
    Has integrity
    Able to compromise
    Not passive-aggressive, narcissistic, bipolar, or have any personality disorders
    Possess a quiet, but gentle strength
    Has his eyes on God, but is not a religious fanatic or judgemental
    We can grow together spiritually (as Christians)
    Financially responsible
    Emotionally mature and available
    Honest, sincere, genuine, loving, patient, slow to anger, thoughtful, affectionate, kindhearted, generous (but not to a fault)
    Sensitive, but not overly sensitive
    Adventurous, but not to the extreme
    Willing to work together as part of a collaborative team/partnership
    Enjoys cooking together, sharing household chores
    Reciprocates engaging romantic behavior/activities
    Will not put me in a position where I feel that our relationship is in competition with his children  and grandchildren (if he has any), mother, father, sister
    Not co-dependant or an enabler
    Not a workaholic
    No substance abuse issues
    We will challenge each other to be better people
    We can grow together
    Has a global view/perspective (not narrow minded)
    Has moderate–not extreme political views
    Is handy around the house (a bonus)
    Has a wacky sense of humor (a bonus)
    Can be both fun loving and serious depending upon what the situation calls for
    Physically attractive (to me and vice versa)
    Pleases me sexually (and I him)
    Will not be someone who needs to be fixed

    • beth d says:

      Gina My ex was far from ideal but he did have alot of the good qualities which has made breaking away from him very difficult. Weird thing is my new man has most of those qualities and yet I still let that jerk in my head. I hung on to those good qualities ie physical attraction, pleases me sexually, financial security, generous, funny. He could actually communicate thoughtfully at times but that was usually when I was upset with him. The fact is his lack of many of the other qualities ended up being the deal breaker. Besides the major points of lack of empathy and not making me secure in the relationship, he was a workaholic, extreme political views, emotionally unavailable, narcissist, judgemental, dishonest and narrow minded. That’s alot of bad qualities when you see it on paper. Any one of those bad qualities could wreck havoc in a relationship.

      • Allison says:


        “I hung on to those good qualities ie physical attraction, pleases me sexually, financial security, generous, funny.” With the exception of generosity, these are not qualities.

    • Valley Forge Lady says:


      Thank you for the list! We must be sisters!

      If and when the next swain comes along…I will ask him if has “a list”.

      At the appropriate time I will present this and see what kind of reaction I get.

      This will be reviewed along with a with a recent STD report (I have one!) before I get in bed with a guy and get the chemistry thing messing up my judgement.

      This blog and all the wonderful women on it has saved me a lot of time and frustration. Wishing you all real love!

    • Emerldeyez says:

      Gina, I like your list, going to work on mine today. Maybe even put it on my refrigerator. I believe in the power of word, turning into action!

    • Little Star says:

      Haha Gina, I like your list BUT where to find this Dream Man? They do not exist:(

      • grace says:

        Little star
        I got one but he,s not so good around the house. And while it looks like a long list, these qualities do feed into each other so it,s not as daunting as it first appears.

  14. miskwa says:

    I agree Griz, lack if self care is directly tied to unresolved issues and lack of self esteem and lack of pride. I have learned through dealing with my dad for the past 15 years that failure to control overeating and alcohol consumption leads to numerous chronic inter related health issues that take up tons of the caretakers time and can be agonizing for the person. Its funny that in other very poor countries, folks can be super clean and keep their surroundings clean too yet I have dated fairly well off guys here that fail to do this.

  15. Tinkerbell says:

    Wow, Gina. I value all of those qualities also to a tee. My bf of 8 months has and is ALL OF THAT, every single thing you mentioned and I am able to cite examples to back them up. We have felt for awhile that it will be permanent. I am very happy and comfortable in this relationship. BUT, because of my past (not just with men), I am still looking for what’s wrong with him. I have been hypervigilant all of this time, and can’t find anything of substance. A silly thing like babbling when we are trying to watch a tv program annoys me as I like quiet, but he has several tv sets so I can just go in another room. That’s not a deal-breaker. I guess only time will tell. In the meantime, I am staying in my own comfortable, nicely decorated apartment which I love, continuing my active lifestyle with friends,
    family, church activities, etc. He is the ICING on the cake, not THE CAKE. I remember how I used to repeated place the man in my life as the top priority so much that I didn’t have a life of m own. I don’t feel a bit inclined to do that anymore, and if he and I eventually part ways, I will not die. My life will go on. But, still after all I’ve just said, I wonder WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM? There is no such thing as perfect for each other but we’re awfully close to that. I pray that I’m not missing any red flags.

    • beth d says:

      Tinkerbell You might be like I was when I first met my current bf. Not use to having no drama. Looking for the ball to drop. Old habits die hard.

  16. Tinkerbell says:

    I’m thinking I should print out your list since it corresponds so closely with what mine would be, and check in a year to see if he still matches it as well as he does now. LOL!

    • Valley Forge Lady says:


      You have the anxiety we all have after enduring dating drama caused by our overlooking red flags. If you are not seeing red flags or any violations of your core values…simply play for time.

      Time will reveal the truth!!!!

  17. Grizelda says:

    Core values is a biggie. It’s THE biggie.

    If you think about the values that so many females are inculcated with from birth, it’s no wonder the vast majority of women are primed for doormat-duty, for grin-and-bear-it acceptance of terrible behaviour by others who claim to ‘love’ them, for attempting superhuman Mrs-Fix-Its on men who are damaged beyond repair, and for use by emotionally-devoid vampires whose apparent good morals are nothing but a temporary act for shits-n-giggles.

    Hands up all you who were told from the time you were little girls that wonderful rewards would come your way and you would have a beautiful life if you spent all your years on this earth pleasing other people (ie, men)? Mm-hmm. And that you needed to be appealing to every man no matter how inappropriate by looking sexy and smiling compliantly and tossing your hair and encouraging them, even grinning at the disgusting suggestions they felt they could say to your face, and ‘being hot’ all the time, because it doesn’t do you any harm does it, and that’s what men enjoy and you wouldn’t want to disappoint them in any way would you? And were you also trained to believe that everyone’s good inside, and everyone’s lovely and kind really, even if they don’t express it very well all the time? And that you need to ‘be understanding’ of these men and try harder and give even more of yourself when things don’t work out so well? And that if they’re not inspired to do anything with their lives and they become failures, or they cheat on you or worse, or they leave you flat, that a teensy-weensy tiny bit of it must somehow be your fault? Mm-hmm.

    And how many of these little girls grew up to become women who were used and callously discarded by men? Mm-hmm.

    Same set of hands. And no points for guessing that the set of life instructions that were issued to each and every little boy included none of that self-sacrificial self-debasement ‘you need to spend your life setting aside what you want and pleasing everyone else all the time instead’ shit.

    The way I was brought up meant that many of my core values were ‘gamed’ against me — that they were inherently self-damaging because they were all entirely in other people’s favour. They were my inherited values, apparently, but I wouldn’t get to benefit from them very much. They were all about putting everyone else first (particularly men), overlooking everyone else’s faults (particularly men’s), ensuring my own needs and goals went unmet because I would be too immersed in identifying, enabling, and mobilising the needs and goals of others (particularly men’s), and that I should expect no reward or special consideration from anyone at all, ever (particularly from men). I was told, literally by my mother, that “you have a bigger heart than most other people, so you need to be nicest and step forward to give more of yourself to other people who don’t have such big hearts”. UPSHOT: On that advice, I have no idea how I didn’t end up face down in a ditch somewhere in a rural wasteland at the hands of one of those men “who doesn’t have such a big heart”.

    Once I started substituting those self-damaging inherited values, yes things changed for me. It cost me my marriage and didn’t quite save me from a horrific and damaging 5 year long episode with a psychopath as I never knew they existed in real life, but NOW I think I have a damn good serviceable toolkit. And I’m going to put it to the test! I’ve joined a dating service — more of a matchmaking service really — and will be getting out there shortly. I’ll show you my core values if you show me yours, etc.

    • yoghurt says:

      Brill point. It took a long time to realise that it was my own values that were wonky and until I did their values seemed alright and quite fair and logical.

      Just reading Middlemarch atm and came across the following sentence: “She was not in the least teaching Mr Casaubon to ask if he were good enough for her, but merely asking herself anxiousl how she could be good enough for Mr Casaubon.” I’ve never read it before, but I shall watch how that marriage progresses with interest.

      Good luck with the dating!

      • Teddie says:

        She will see him eventually for the shallow fake he is an fall for a young count with a Polish name. But just think about the times she lived in, girls were denied education far and wide, so she projected all her yearning for knowledge on this old weirdo! Ha, ha, I find myself reading novels differently now too, I use my BR knowledge on the characters, diagnose them for disorders, predict outcomes, ha, ha, this enhances my enjoyment!

      • Grizelda says:

        And my money’s on Mr Casaubon being a cad and a bounder…

        • Teddie says:

          Ha, ha! Mr Casaubon is too decrepit to be a cad, he has one foot in the grave already. Wait, I don’t recal anything being said in the novel about his younger years! A narc he most definitely is!

    • Lilia says:

      Now that I´m examining my attitudes re relationships with men, it was not my mother but my father who taught me to be pleasing, forgiving and all of the other doormat crap with men. I can even remember when he told me as a teenager that perhaps I was a bit too choosy? That instead of lamenting that all my girlfriends had bfs I should be more “womanly” in an animal sense? And follow my hormones?
      I kid you not.
      Luckily this was met by looks of horror on my mother´s face, otherwise I think I could easily have ended up displaying myself in some window in the red district.
      Yes, wonderful value-teaching. Ha.

      • Grizelda says:

        …told me as a teenager that perhaps I was a bit too choosy

        I barked audibly with recognition at that! I’d forgot how many times it had been suggested to me as well. I was told to keep my expectations low because setting a few standards and having reasonable expectations is just arrogant and uppity. And no one wants to be with anyone arrogant and uppity. Better to be with ‘just anyone’ than ‘no one’, apparently.

        • selkie says:

          My father who is a narcissist con man sociopath actually gave me good advice. He told me I could do anything I wanted in life and not to let anyone tell me I couldn’t. In the hands of a respectful stand up person it is very good advice, but in the hands of my father it meant steamroll over anyone by any means possible who gets in the way of getting what you want. He regularly steam rolled over my mom and if she spoke up then she was ‘crazy’. My mom was sane as shit but bullied into silence.

          • Sm says:

            Selkie I feel that in the U.S., your fathers ways are the name of the game. ‘You can do anything you set your mind to, if you use someone to get ahead its their own fault for letting it happen, step on as many people as you want, be completely PC in everything you say because truth speaking is only for the ignorant, don’t give a second thought to people who can’t do anything for you, even criminal acts are acceptable as long as you don’t get caught (cheat on tax returns, take other people’s tax returns, buy stolen items(you’re not the thief), these are all just victimless actions’…and on and on. It’s no wonder people think its ok to use others to get what they want romantically.

    • Sm says:

      Griz, yes it’s amazing that many of us are not dead given the ‘values’ we’ve been raised with. On a side note, watch those matchmaking services, they like to set you up with married but separated men. They truly think of these men as single and available. And sometimes even after you’ve told them this is not what you want, they still do it.

      • Grizelda says:

        Thanks for the advice Sm! Good to be guarded. As a cynical old thing, I half expect their suggested matches to range somewhere between ‘inept at life in general’ to ‘what the hell was that?’. But it’s a life experience I guess.

        • Victorious says:

          I got “matched” with the ex narc!! No lie. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!!

          • Sm says:

            Victorious my friend got back into dating after taking four years to recuperate from her husband leaving her for a girl half her age. Her very first match was her ex husband who was married to the girl he left her for, now imagine your first foray into dating gets you matched with the AC who is responsible for putting you there. She didn’t let it stop her though and now she is remarried.

          • Emerldeyez says:

            So did I!!! I think I am getting off that service.

    • jewells says:

      I can relate Griz, my father is my original EUM. He married my mother because she was pregnant, but couldn’t wait to get out and justified to himself that when I was 13 (my brother 14), that we were ‘old enough’ for him to leave, not that he was plugged in at all when he was physically present anyway, he was just cruising to d-day. Then he proceeded to date various women and being a doctor in a small town made him a ‘choice’ candidate so had many women vying for his attention. He recently married the one woman who ‘put up’ with his EUMness for something like 25+ years (not really sure how long as he never shared info freely and I never had a good relationship with him), at 65 I guess he realized he was never going to get ‘his perfect woman’ and she threatened to leave him on occasion over the years, so he finally ‘gave in’. I remember a suggestion from her as to a potential topic of conversation to improve mine and his relationship – ‘why don’t you ask him for advice on men?’ I knew intrinsically that nothing he would say about how to have a relationship with men would be of any value, however, I already had internalized alot of the messages he put out there about what to expect and take just by his actions. Thus, my EUWness, and winding up in relationships which ultimately wound up going nowhere fast. But thanks to the last, most devastating, I’m in therapy and working furiously on myself to rectify and reverse the damage so that at the very least I am happy in myself and know what I’m actually looking for in a mate and how to spot it and avoid the heart wrenching involvements in future. As time goes on and the more distance from the last EUM and constant reading of this site, I am more sure of and in myself, I’m seeing the light!

  18. Kriss says:

    ‘They’ve said they are very honest, so they are’.

    Perhaps add to that ‘they’ve said they want a committed relationship, but that doesn’t mean you mean the same thing by those words, or that they want it with you’.

  19. espresso says:

    I married my ex primarily because of a shared political view of the world and a sense of social justice. I thought this was a core personal and character value. There aren’t many people who share that so for me it was terribly important. Social justice remains a big part of my life.

    That sort of kept us going for many years and created confusion in me when I was often very unhappy. I kept thinking that I was wrong myself because I couldn’t love a person who was so decent and cared about the world as I did.

    What I didn’t understand is that a shared political view of the world is really a “shared interest” not really a core personal value. What I began slowly to realize was that I was emotionally starving and being able to talk about the misery in the world just didn’t fill my needs for emotional communication and engagement and my being able to trust his emotional insight or his emotional development. He was good at feeling sorry for the world but I could be crying in the same room(and was, for many years) and he wouldn’t even notice or hear anything that I had to say. It has taken me years to begin to see what really nourishes me and not to feel guilty or too greedy for wanting it in my life.

  20. Tinkerbell says:

    It is incredibly hard to get to know someone who you view may become your mate one day. So hard and so scary. At least it is for me. Examining core values and whether or not they correlate with you own and to what degree is a good start. But still, it takes so much time. Some times I wonder if we ever do get there. You think you know someone whom you’ve shared your life with over many years and one unusual thing happens that blows the top off the jar and your left asking what?, who?,where?, when?, and why? Suddenly, you’re saying “wtf, I thought I knew him. I thought this was it. I thought could relax and stop chasing the dream. Yeah, I am content right now, but I wonder if I should be. I have ALWAYS wanted immediate gratification, always had to have quick results, always had to have a guarantee. And, I realize that this has caused me a lot of pain and unnecessary disappointed. I would have been far better off had I been willing to be patient and look before I leap. I guess I am lucky in that I’ve only had ONE devastating relationship. But the one nearly destroyed me in so many ways. Even though it’s been over and done awhile now, I still carry the scars. I’m trying not to carry all that into this relationship now. The baggage. But, I know he has baggage, too. We all do. He just doesn’t reflect on the past as much. He is a very positive person. I fear that in time he will view me as a “wet blanket”, because I FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT MYSELF. Fortunately, he is very patient, supportive and is truly emotionally available. We can TALK about anything and everything with mutual understanding and poignant sincerity. The bottom line is *tears beginning to well up* that I don’t believe I can have happiness. So as I enjoy the fun and attention (we’re still in the discovery/honeymoon phase), I will dilligently work on myself, continuing to improve my esteem and being the kind of person that I would want to be with. I probably would not have chosen this relationship this soon, because I still have work to do on myself. But it has come and if you wait until you feel “perfect” before getting into a relationship you may never experience it at all. We never get to perfection. It is a journey, not a destination.

    • kookie says:

      hugs tinkerbell!

      i get what you mean. i have settled my whole life cos i figured the elusive happiness could not be found anyways but it is so untrue. part of that fear is really that your happiness gets to be dependent on something outside of you. thing is, something else is so out of your control, it is impossible to bank on that. and you feel anxious banking on it cos the statistics are just plain that nothing lasts forever. even in the BEST case scenario of life, you meet “the one” you get married, you have a wonderful life and then they die, leaving you all alone in the world. so ultimately your happiness HAS, MUST DIE-DIE MUST come from YOU or else even in the best case scenario it is based on something ephemeral, that WILL pass even if it is good. so enjoy this person for whatever time in your life they have alloted by the universe, even if you part later on due to death or otherwise make the time you spent together filled with kindness, consideration and it will never have been a bad thing to have done when you reflect on it . just don’t try and get happiness FROM them, have so much of your own that you can afford to give it away, share it. you are so amazing for even making the decision to take charge of your own life. some never do even that and just coast on forever cos it’s easier. stay strong.

      happy chinese new year everyone! i’m not chinese but i love holidays and eating.

      • kookie says:

        btw “happy” doesn’t mean you’re a happy clapper, everything is awesome all the time kinda person . don’t “try” to be happy in that sense. i think happy just means secure, whatever that means for you. i know nat talks about chasing a feeling with ACs and EUMs. sometimes i am afraid i am chasing a “feeling” of happiness in the work i am doing on myself. and it is a little against my own nature. everyone is on a scale of people who are very positive, happy go lucky naturally and us more “wet blanket” types, but i am starting to realize that i don’t have to change my essential nature change to be optimistic or to be happy, whatever happy is. optimism is not a feeling, it is belief that better things are in store and it is action to help get you there. pessimism is a resignation so by the work you doing right now, that’s optimistism even though you would never call yourself an optimist probably. same things with the label “feminist” i have met tons of people who hold the belief that women are equal to men ( which is basically what feminism is) but would not label themselves as feminist because of the view in their heads of what that word means. same with the word happy, reconsider what you mean by that word and i honestly think you will see that you are heading to the same destination as this “positive” guy you’re dating by a different road. wet blankets unite!

        • Teddie says:

          I subscribe to Caitlin Moran’s definition of feminism, which is basically: put your hand in your pants, do you have a vagina there? Do you want to be in charge of your vagina? If yes, you are a feminist.

        • Ms Determined says:

          Kookie, have you read ‘The Antidote’ by Oliver Burkeman? He suggests the eternal and active pursuit of ‘happiness’ actually works against us. It’s a riveting read.

          I think all this stuff around ‘positive affirmations’ (OMG so lame) and the compulsion to think nothing but positive thoughts 100% of the time is total and unmitigated bullshit. Ditto those assholes who accuse you of ‘seeing the glass as half empty’ (my ex was one of these clowns, and this was actually code for “Why do you have a problem with me claiming to be in a committed relationship with you, yet living my life like a bachelor? For chrissakes LIGHTEN UP WOMAN, YOU ARE SUCH A WET BLANKET.”)

          Realism is the only way forward and also happens to be the best defence against Assclowns there is. Realism is a by product of living in REALITY, a place that until I realised what was happening to me and my own part in it, I had actually never visited. Nat’s fantasy/dreamer book seriously opened my eyes to how trying to put a positive spin on everything just fuelled my illusions.

          In reality, there are things NOT to be happy about – deaths of loved ones, war, famine, job loss, homelessness, environmental degradation etc (but c’mon; BE HAPPY DAMMIT). This ‘happiness’ obsession stops us confronting the things that matter, and encourages us to see the ‘bright side’ (ie DENIAL) when we are confronted by, for example, the bad behaviour of ACs (and there are way worse things than this in life, at least this bad thing is avoidable, whereas say, the effects of a serious earthquake are not).

          Bad things happen in reality. This is so that we will recognise the things that we should be genuinely happy about when we come across them.

          Also, I’m extra happy to be a wet blanket when things I hear the ex has run into trouble. Oh you locked your keys in your car outside my house when you dropped off Master Determined? I’m SO UNHAPPY to hear that. No you can’t come in and wait for the mechanic to turn up, you can wait outside in the rain. Here’s a blanket. Make sure you don’t get it wet. Asshole.

          • On Leaving Sugarland says:

            “Oh you locked your keys in your car outside my house when you dropped off Master Determined? I’m SO UNHAPPY to hear that. No you can’t come in and wait for the mechanic to turn up, you can wait outside in the rain. Here’s a blanket. Make sure you don’t get it wet.” Asshole.”

            Oh, sh$t, that’s funny!–Sugarland 😉

        • Ms Determined says:

          And also YES YES a million times YES. I think women who disclaim feminist statements with “I’m not a feminist but…” either do not understand what the word means, or are suffering a severe case of idiocy.

          • Victorious says:

            I love your posts Ms D. I also have probably never really visited the land known as reality. I know I should read Nats Fantasy/Dreamer book. I keep putting it off. I am a little bit afraid of having to change. There is a big part of me that likes the comfort of living out my “relationships” in my head rather than in the flesh/reality.
            Re feminism, I continue to fight the good fight. There is a brilliantly funny blog you may like..
            Never fails to make me laugh.
            Lastly, just so I appear to stay on topic (sorry Nat) As the brilliant Professor Dumbledore said. “It is not our abilities that define us, but our choices.”

  21. pinkpanther says:

    I have had abysmal “luck” in creating a good relationship since my 20’s (when I had several wonderful relationships, most of these women I am still close with ((in a healthy friendly family way)) ).

    But now I have several friendships about 5 or 6 core people, (some of them are the ex’s) who I love and respect and consider myself a better person for knowing them.

    Looking at the common threads with these friends I find them to be:

    Kind, aware of the world around them
    Non racist, classist, nature and art lovers, curious, fun, capable of expressing love for people, life, nature, ideas. Readers rather than TVers, artists who explore the nature of creativity, people who aren’t afraid of getting dirty, people who have lived challenging lives.

    People who are interested in exchanging ideas of all sorts, affection, and something which to me is very important, People who want to share the most precious thing of all…Time. People who can be present, in the here and now. People who are grateful and who can experience joy in simple things.

    I actually don’t care about the kind of job someone has, or the money they make, or the things they have.

    I have some very beautiful friends, all who give me love, attention, respect.

    I got very “lucky” in the friend department!

    Now as far as lovers go, I was always looking for:
    A Certain Kind of Crazy/Sexy
    The turn of a Phrase

    I’ve had some beauties alright! Real super models, diva’s, snappy dressers, sex that would make a teen age boy die and go to heaven.

    But when that all settled down, I just ended up with EU’s/AC’s and I was not much better. The past years it’s just not working anymore.

    I’m figuring this all out, because I really do want a good woman in my life now. I want to make a good life with someone.

    BR’s helped me clarify, as always, thanks!

    • kookie says:

      man, ” a certain kind of crazy/sexy” has been my downfall i tell you . so much crazy comes with the sexy, lol.

  22. pinkpanther says:

    After reading through all the comments, I realized that I still don’t know exactly what my core values are after all. I’m still vague. I need to think about this more, be more exact. Here’s just a few easy ones:
    Cares about being healthy
    Within ten years of my age
    Treats others with respect
    Loves herself
    wants a committed relatonship
    has time to spend
    not addicted to anything
    smiles easily

    That’s a good start

  23. natashya says:

    natashya’s checklist (work in progress)

    – emotionally available and emotionally stable
    – legally divorced if was married (separated is a NO GO)
    – gentle and kind to others and animals
    – into social justice, environmental causes
    – take care of himself physically, eat healthy and not a picky eater (unless allergies)
    – not materialistic
    – smart and intelligent (no, they aren’t the same)
    – broad interest in world issues, arts, culture
    – must have sense of humour
    – no addictions, no mental disorders, no ‘psycho exes’
    – a gentle and considerate lover whose biggest kick isn’t ‘facials’ (sorry if TMI… eew)
    – monogamous
    – not commitment phobic
    – not right wing
    – not into guns
    – not homophobic
    – actions need to match words
    – no future faking and fast forwarding
    – generous in each and every way, but not an overspender (have had both ends of the spectrum, awful)
    – must like living in a fairly neat and organised home
    – no mummy issues
    – sweet and affectionate
    – honest
    – dependable
    – no abuse of any kind
    – has own social circle

    oh dear… by every value i list, my chances of actually meeting someone decent diminishes…

    • Emerldeyez says:

      Yes, but if you give anyone of them up you will not be true to yourself and not happy, because you are settling. There is a quiet sense of security and contentment that comes with being true to yourself. The times I have compromised, or made excuses for them, caused me great pain. And I slowly lost myself by taking care of them. I’m too old, LOL, to do that anymore. I value my own personal inner peace after this last relationship with a psychopath that I may end up moving to get away.

    • Victorious says:

      That list is great Natashya. I don’t understand “facials” though…….

  24. McKenzieM says:

    This post is making me wonder if I’m EU because I started thinking of who match up with my list of legitimate “core values” (i.e., the stuff that REALLY matters), I friendzoned because there was no spark/not enough common interests and hobbies/etc. — they were just generally not my “type.” But BR is making me realize that the problem is with my “type” and also partially with me. I really need to work on loving myself because I don’t. And that’s actually kind of a scary thought. :\

  25. miskwa says:

    Naytasha and Pinkpanther
    These are great lists of values; what we look for in friends should pretty much jibe with our requirements for livers; except for the physical aspects of course. I would add that actions, words, and FEELINGS all be consistent and in line with one another. This is what derailed me with the AC, the actions (those that I knew about) and words matched but I think at some level, this dude hates/hated me and was using me for narc supply. Looking at our lists, though they’re good ones I am really starting to think that my years back home with my ex were as good as it is ever gonna get. Darn.

    • natashya says:

      miskwa, you know.. the kicker is that my friends tick all the boxes of my list (except the sexual one. i have no clue and don’t need to know either. ha. and well, they can be separated as it has nothing to do with our friendship).

      i am picky with my friends. most of them i’ve known for at least 2 decades. but my romantic relationships are disastrous. the last AC ticked all the boxes, with the exception of being emotionally available and being legally divorced. in this case, they go hand in hand and was a deal breaker. regardless of all the other boxes that were ticked, it wasn’t happening.

      miskwa, about the years back home with your ex… if you two really had wanted to be together, you would have found a way. (i apologise if your ex passed away, in that case it’s a different situation.) i really do think that if 2 people are committed to each other, and love each other in a healthy way, they can make it work. i understand that the disappointment of dating rubbish men can glorify an earlier relationship in your head, but don’t forget to look at the facts.

      p.s. i think you’re a kick-ass woman living your sustainable life style and marching to the beat of your own drum. you can be proud of yourself.

    • Tracy says:

      Miskwa-Don’t think that! I sometimes have that feeling…like maybe my ex was ok. But then I remember some of the horrific things he did and I shake myself back to reality. When my post-divorce AC came crawling back the old me would probably have taken him back as in the interrum I had had a go-nowhere four month relationship with a totally EUM. I had been ‘alone’ for several months. But in that quiet time I learned alot about what I wanted and didn’t want.

      I’m once again reeling after having, once again, been dumped via disappearing act. I dipped my toe back into the on-line pool. Only contacts have been by guys who display their issues by what they write in their profiles (I swear I think I have finally decoded these things). I heartily agree with the notion that the type of man I want to be with will display the characteristics of my closest friends and some of the ‘better’ husbands of same friends. It is possible, I see these men are around. But, I’m finding where I live they are most definitely not online. One of my BFF’s who lives in the city where I want to move just said to me last night, “You gotta get out of there because you’ll find a lot of nicer guys around here.” She is surrounded by lots of cool people male and female and somehow I think the heavens are sending me a message.

      Long story short (sorry about the rambling!) is if you can do it, get to a place with a supply of people you can really feel comfortable with. With good solid folks around who DO share your core values, you might find the right person.

      No revisionist history about exes is allowed! LOL

  26. Gina says:

    @ Tinkerbell: imagine that you are driving along in your car along the freeway. Checking the rearview mirror periodically is perfectly okay. However, what happens if you take your eyes of where you are going and what is in front of you for too long?? You will end up crashing into something, right?? It’s okay to look back at the past, but make sure that you do not stare. Focus on enjoying this man and this relationship and please, please stop looking for things that may go wrong. If he isn’t saying or doing anyhing to give you reason to doubt him, then only let positive words about your expectations of him and the relationship leave your lips. Remember: words are very powerful. Continue doing things on your own with your friends, and having your own interests. If the relationship happened to end in the future, you will have not invested so much if yourself and will be better able to recover and move on with your life. Pray and ask God to remove whatever fears you have and give you peace surrounding this. You are a wonderful woman who deserves to be loved by a wonderful man. XO

    • Magdalena says:

      Hi Tink,
      I just wanted to add to Gina’s insightful comments, even though I don’t have any brilliant advice. I think that after our horrific EUM experiences, its natural to be on the lookout for problems. I find myself in the same boat with my current BF, always wanting to sleep with one eye open to make sure he’s not an EUM sneaking up on me. This hypervigilance ended up sucking a lot of enjoyment out of our relationship and left me emotionally exhausted. My new policy is to stay as mindful as possible and not create problems that aren’t there. I try to look at myself, him, and our relationship from a perspective of strength and look for what’s going right instead of imagining what could go wrong. I think if we expect to see problems, we’re pretty sure to find them. He’s far from perfect (as am I) and I also find that I have a tendency to want to declare “Game Over” when we argue about totally normal things, as the certainty of things NOT working out is so much more comfortable for me than the uncertainty of investing in a relationship that might or might not work out. I finally came to the conclusion that the frequent urges to bail were remnants of my former role as an EUM and attempts to control the relationship. Its taken a lot more courage than I ever imagined to hold my own feet to the fire and try to work out things in our relationship like a grownup. These days, I can at least recognize these urges and instead of creating problems with him [that might lead to me declaring things over], I run around my house yelling, “I FEEL REALLY VULNERABLE RIGHT NOW!” It ain’t a perfect technique, but it at least lets me burn off some steam and fear and recognize the times that I need to draw deeply on my courage instead of taking the easy road.
      Have you read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly? I think you’d find it insightful.

      Cheers and best wishes to you!

  27. Gina says:

    @ Beth D:

    “Gina My ex was far from ideal but he did have alot of the good qualities which has made breaking away from him very difficult. Weird thing is my new man has most of those qualities and yet I still let that jerk in my head. I hung on to those good qualities ie physical attraction, pleases me sexually, financial security, generous, funny. He could actually communicate thoughtfully at times but that was usually when I was upset with him. The fact is his lack of many of the other qualities ended up being the deal breaker. Besides the major points of lack of empathy and not making me secure in the relationship, he was a workaholic, extreme political views, emotionally unavailable, narcissist, judgemental, dishonest and narrow minded. That’s alot of bad qualities when you see it on paper. Any one of those bad qualities could wreck havoc in a relationship.”

    Hey Beth D!

    That’s why it is important to know what your deal breakers are (for me a deal breaker would be any type of behavior that shows a lack of character or integrity). A person could have everything that you are looking for, but if those qualities are missing, all bets are off. The more you know yourself, the better you will be able to make good choices when selecting a mate. A good book that I read recently is called, “Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and when to walk away.” by Dr. Bethany Marshall

  28. Gina says:

    Gina My ex was far from ideal but he did have alot of the good qualities which has made breaking away from him very difficult. Weird thing is my new man has most of those qualities and yet I still let that jerk in my head. I hung on to those good qualities ie physical attraction, pleases me sexually, financial security, generous, funny. He could actually communicate thoughtfully at times but that was usually when I was upset with him. The fact is his lack of many of the other qualities ended up being the deal breaker. Besides the major points of lack of empathy and not making me secure in the relationship, he was a workaholic, extreme political views, emotionally unavailable, narcissist, judgemental, dishonest and narrow minded. That’s alot of bad qualities when you see it on paper. Any one of those bad qualities could wreck havoc in a relationship.

    Hi Beth D!

    That’s why it is important to know what your deal breakers are. A person can have everything on my list, but if they lack character, empathy, and integrity, those would definitely be deal breakers for me. A good book that I recently read was: “Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away.” by Dr. Bethany Marshall

    • beth d says:

      Gina I wish I gave way more importance to integrity and honesty. I made excuses for shady behavior because the other qualities were there. The lack of empathy was a rough one because alot of Narcs can mirror empathy very well while they are in their “hot” phase. I will check out the book. Natalies Fallback girl helped me alot. I printed it out and read it more than once when I was struggling with NC.

  29. Gina says:

    Sorry for the duplicate post. My laptop is broken so I am answering replies using my iPhone and am having trouble copying and reposting. Also, replies to me are not posted in order after my original message, so I have to scroll through everyone’s messages in order to find them. If there is anyone that I did not reply back to, it’s because I missed your reply–not because I am ignoring you!

  30. espresso says:

    Right now – based on my own difficult experiences and recent “learnings” my core character values would be really centred on things that I might not have identified easily before. These would be :
    – a person being emotionally available and willing to risk emotions themselves and not living through others.
    — a person having done work on themselves, being interested in self growth in a meaningful way -showing evidence of personal insight
    -being independent emotionally (goes along with self insight)
    -having good boundaries – understanding what boundaries are and living by them – with me too!
    -not being a people pleaser (that goes with good boundaries)
    – being emotionally dependable (that means more than turning up on time)
    -having self esteem so that they can be in a adult relationship – they know what they want and need too and can talk about it. That would be in all realms, even sexually.
    -being affectionate and warm – noticing things…

    Wow, it’s hopeless. And it makes me feel sad to write this.

    • beth d says:

      Expresso I love this list and it is far from hopeless. My current man has all these qualities. I was actually uncomfortable initially since I was with that Narc/EU so long. I couldn’t handle the smooth sailing and no drama felt strange. To boot my ex was infiltrating my life and I actually considered dumping the great guy to go back to the pain inducing Narc. I have to say Natalie, BR posters helped so much there. I wasn’t posting much then but I was reading my ass off. It really helped me to not make what would have been a costly mistake. Hang in there girl. You got the bad juju out and now made room for good changes in your life.

      • FX says:

        This post and comment thread made me think of a conversation I recently had with a good friend… I said I really missed some things about ex AC, including sexually, but definitely recognized that my new bf is such a better man and bf in many important ways. My girlfriend has been in AA and sober for many years and this is what she said. “I love wine. Coffee is not wine and it will never be wine but coffee won’t kill me.” She often says things like this in her funny way that make me laugh in the moment and then think about often. Just because I enjoy or crave something doesn’t mean it’s good for me or that I can’t live a happy life without it. I can learn to appreciate and enjoy what is better for me.

        • beth d says:

          FX I def missed my ex sexually for a long time. There was some animal chemistry going on there but I realize a lot of it had to do with makeup/breakup sex, drama, and uncertainty about the relationship. I know Natalie has addressed this and yes it is so true. It took awhile but I no longer think about the sex with him anymore. I also realize I paid a really high price for great sex. Too high!

  31. Magnolia says:

    Miskwa isn’t being revisionist; she has always said she had a great guy and they only split up because she had to move for work.

    I have been feeling rather low. I don’t want to hang out with people from work all the time but they are the folks who are closest to my values – lately I just want to get away from all of them. This town is so small I see my students and colleagues everywhere. I have abandoned my good eating program and have been just clawing my way through work, eating junk, then otherwise hiding out in my apartment, making a joint last over 4 days, and not answering the phone.

    I don’t know about my core values anymore. I feel like I don’t like people or don’t get along with them. Another newish friend who I told about the married work colleague that flirted with me, said I was too judgmental of men and said some more things about women having become too masculine and my lack of sympathy for being driven to seek sex outside of marriage as too judgmental that make me no longer want to hang out with him.

    I can’t tell the difference between hating this place and just being a withdrawn, reclusive, irritable Magnolia who doesn’t get along with people. I also saw a female friend of the bitchy work colleague who knocked my chances at a job I’m applying for. I had noticed that he (the colleague) had started pointedly mentioning that I’m only here temporarily (when I first got here it was all about how great this town is and how much I should learn to like it). Now when I run into her, she too seems cold and distant and says, “You’ll be leaving soon, right?”

    I know I’m not super into being here, in this town, but I thought I was open to knowing good people. I keep having thoughts of my old roommate, and how I still don’t quite get why I found her so awful when she seemed to get on in the world, with a decent handful of friends, quite fine. I wonder if the problem is me: that I just have values that no one can fit into, even me?

    I try to look back and remember the AC, who was surrounded by fans and hangers-on. He was a mean person with influence, and no one said anything against him. I felt alone and wrong, somehow, not to be as okay with him as everyone else. In the end I got enough distance to know for myself I had been right (for me). Maybe it’s the same here: these folks live here permanently, its a small town with a conservative population of farmers and retirees, they won’t say anything against it because it’s what they have chosen.

    I went to the local arts bash the other night and it was maybe 300 white folks who all seemed to know each other and maybe 3 brown people including me and 10 aboriginal folks – everyone selling craft fair art while bands played uninspired folk rock and two of the minority folks listed above spit some feeble, non-provocative hiphop into a muddy microphone. After living in Toronto for years and looking up to NYC’s art scene, this place makes me want to cry for what it thinks is current work.

    Okay, whine over. Fact is I am scared shitless to discover that work as a prof is not enough to satisfy me if at the same time I feel exiled. I am really scared, because I’ve put a lot into this PhD and career and hoped that the reality of no jobs in my home town wouldn’t apply to me. But it does.

    Miskwa, I think you are one awesome lady. But you also seem very unhappy where you are and your awesomeness hasn’t much changed the fact that your values don’t fit with many of the folks around you. I can see myself headed down the same road …

    • yoghurt says:

      Hey Magnolia

      “I have been feeling rather low. I don’t want to hang out with people from work all the time but they are the folks who are closest to my values – lately I just want to get away from all of them. This town is so small I see my students and colleagues everywhere. I have abandoned my good eating program and have been just clawing my way through work, eating junk, then otherwise hiding out in my apartment and not answering the phone.”

      This could be me (I’ve also abandoned all pretence of going to bed at a decent time or preparing to give up smoking) – in addition, the last month has seen me make a serious error of professional judgement at work and accidentally backstab a colleague, upset someone else to the point where they loudly told me off in the school corridor, crash my car, spend a night in hospital with son (the last two were apparently not my fault, but still…), run out of money two weeks before payday and I keep on not washing my hair when I should. Oh yeah, and I appear to have annihilated the one and only chance of romantic interest that I’ve had in two years. So I feel your pain!

      In the first place, it’s January. It’s a poxy poxy month and it smells. In fact, I have a theory that the reason that it’s at the beginning of the Julian calendar is so that the everyone in the northern hemisphere has to prove that they’re worthy of the new year by getting through the damn month without skidding across the floor on their nose.

      In the second, I’m trying to go easy on myself by remembering that The Ability To Get On With Folk (which includes not getting dragged down too much by the numpties) is something that requires you to divert a significant amount of energy and resources into it. You have a super-mega-job AND it’s a new role AND you’re adjusting to a new city AND you’re homesick AND it’s January (see above). How much spare energy and resources can you realistically have?

      Thirdly: Awful people are often popular ime, it’s partly because being awful and manipulative and not-caring-about-other-people makes it easier. That’s why they bother – it’s a handy short-cut. Having said that, it’s not a very good or nice short-cut and you aren’t ever going to build very genuine or fulfilling relationships, and that’s why the likes of me and thee can’t stick it. Our way is harder, but then things worth doing is often hard.

      I also live in a small isolated place (farmers and retirees… yep) and the ONLY people that I know – other than the ex-AC and his family, who don’t count – are people from work. Everyone else here moreorless went to school together so it’s cliquey and difficult to break into new social circles.

      But then… before I had son I DID broaden my outlook and met lots of new interesting people doing charity work and things. There’ll be other opportunities and other chances to do widen my scope a bit, but not until I’ve a bit more time, a bit more freedom, a bit more energy and I’ve adjusted a bit more.

      The last few years have contained some serious upheaval on just about every level of my life – same for you I think – so it’s not surprising that we can’t just start off running as soon as our feet touch the floor.

      Don’t know if any of that helps, but I think you should go easy on yourself. You ARE open to meeting good people, but it takes time to find them. And perhaps at another point you’d be able to tolerate snidey bitchy people with dodgy values (and yes, they are) in the periphery of your life without worrying about it, but right now you’re finding your feet where you are and you feel vulnerable.

      This isn’t a good time. And if you’re anything like me you’re JOLLY SICK of it not-being-a-good-time (where’s my good times? Where?) but that doesn’t mean that the good times are permanently over and we’re cursed and doomed. It just means that we’ve had a lot to deal with and it’s all taking time, which is okay.

    • pinkpanther says:

      Everyone is different, for some geo place doesn’t matter so much. For me, it does. If I had to make a list of my core life needs, it would look something like this:

      1.People Friends
      2.City I find stimulating/safe/walkable
      3.Work got to make a living
      4.Culture and Sub Culture

      Some people might put Work as number one, or culture we’re all different. But we need what we need, and fitting in isn’t always the answer.

      You might have to decide if work trumps your other needs. I do understand your profession means a lot to you, and you’ve made huge time investments. I also know from my professor friends how hard it is to get these jobs, so I respect that.

      I wish you the best cause you are a nice woman, and I hope the next time we hear from you, you are feeling better.

      Make sure to take good care of yourself right now. I’ll be pulling for you.

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:


  32. Tinkerbell says:

    Kookie. I love everything you said, particularly regarding what “happy” means. I’m not a “happy go lucky person” like my bf. He is very positive, but also very grounded and has a lot of “mother-wit” (common sense) and sharp intelligence. I learn something, huge or minute, from him every day. What I mean is “content”. I feel content with him, not worried or stressed. Since I tend to be quite the worrier I’m worried that I will see something in him that I cannot deal with. Also, when I repeated, “What’s wrong with him”, I need to rephrase that differently. What I should have said is, “What are the areas of potential conflict that would/will render us incompatible.” I realize I cannot know that until they are exposed. I do try to be positive when we talk, but he knows enough about me by now to know that I tend to be more of a pessimist than he is. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all. And, I don’t want to try to be different than the real me. He feels the future is promising for him whether I’m in it or not, although he has indicated very strongly that he prefers me to be in it. And that’s the way I would want him to be. No pressure on each other.

    Thanks a lot for your keen insight and encouraging words.

  33. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Magdalena. Thanks for your input. After posting I was reflecting on what I had said on here, and on my relationship with him. One of the things I remembered which actually I am very well aware of, (we sometimes forget the wisest rules of engagement), is that if you look for trouble and conflict you will most assuredly find it or else you find a way to manufacture it. I will try to consistently be more mindful of that advice. It’s important. Thanks so much for responding.

  34. miskwa says:

    Nope, I am not being revisionist. My ex is the man I was married to for 12 years, a wonderful man. The AC is someone I had the poor judgement and misfortune to be involved with here, in the west. Unless the economy vastly improves (not likely), I am trapped here for the next 7 years. Right now my options are stick around or retire in serious poverty. Had the house assessed last weds. News wasn’t good and there’s no high end rental market here. I am too old, too educated, too fark, and waaay too left for most of this state. So yep, I feel a tad down and very lonely.
    Mags, we need to start the state of kick a$$ babes. The only men we’ll let in are the ones meeting the aforementioned criteria in this post. I agree, I too need to have acquaintances beyond colleagues. I am sitting here in the coffeehouse, the only good place in town, except for one local who has serious issues, I am the oldest unpartnered oerson in the place. Screw the BS about women being too masculine; when men don’t step up, keep promises, show up, that’s their fault, not ours. I often get crap because I am not soft, feminine enough, don’t cook have lids, etc. The fact that I work full time, run a small farm, keep in shape, means I am friggin tired at the end of the day. Yeah, it’d be great to have a decent man around to do the heavy lifting, some of the chores but the harsh reality is that the men around are too unhealthy, too addicted, and some just too lazy to have around. I have found that I am more reliable, do jobs right the first time, and often can do more heavy work than the dudes round here AND yep, I can look like a girl too if it suits me. Ironically folks ask ME, a smallish female academic to help with carpentry stuff because I am far more reliable than the local laborers. A lot of men have emasculated themselves through their poor behavior and poor lifes choices. Enough whining! Off to look at a pellet stove for my basement.

  35. Tinkerbell says:

    Hey my girl, Gina. You are so together. I’ve read your posts from way back and watched you learn and grow. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom. I know it comes from someone who’s been there. And, yes, we’ve all been there to a greater or lesser degree. Fortunately, when I think of the ACMM, it’s only briefly. I don’t ponder on what he is doing, or if he ever thinks about me. I could not care less. My bf now is 10 times the man that chump could ever be, in that he has grace, respect, integrity and honesty. I will definitely focus on the strengths of our relationship and most importantly, remember that I’m not perfect and should not be expecting perfection from him. I know that I’ve made great strides in emotional maturity and self-esteem as he has told me that I am an uncommonly patient and understanding woman. He helps to bring out the best in me and I do the same for him. I’ve revealed insecurity at times and said things that should have been kept to myself but no damage has been done. I will check what comes out of my mouth since I do tend to be a bit reckless in that respect. But, it’s warm and fuzzy and comfortable and I’m going to just enjoy it and do my part to keep it going. All the best for you, too.

  36. Amy says:

    I am currently practicing this partner “vetting” with a gentleman who I met at a recent “meetup” event.
    He was obviously a bit older than me (which set off my instant “oh no WAY!” alarm) – but trying to integrate all I’ve learned from reading BR (and Nat’s books) I decided to just spend some time talking with him.
    This fellow was charming, polite, and very sweet.
    To make a very long story short, last night (the second time we’ve seen each other) we spent a fair amount of time talking. He seems to say a lot of the “right things” such as, how he values friendship and affection in a relationship above all else.
    Hmmmm.. (she thinks, with a twinge of hope)

    I talked a bit (briefly) about some of my flaws and asked him to share one of his flaws.
    He mentioned that he can feel insecure at times in a relationship.
    The fact that he was able to admit this to me, after knowing me for a short time, seemed laudable (and honest!).
    It’s not all about them saying they’re “honest” but being able to admit to a flaw was nice.
    He does future talk, but not about sex, marriage, or anything that sets off red flags.
    Instead he says things like “it would be nice to enjoy a glass of wine with you on a summer evening, sitting on my patio” or “you seem like someone that would be fun to travel with”.
    He says that he would like to go to see a movie with me, or go see live theater.
    I’ve yet to agree to a set “date” yet, but I’m taking things very slowly right now because this man is NOT my usual “type”, and I’m not used to dating older men, but there is something about him that is so polite and warm that it almost scares me.
    Of the 2 times I’ve seen him, he’s been dressed nicely and behaved in a chivalrous manner.
    How could I possibly consider dating someone 12 years older than me who isn’t my usual “physical” type (my usual type being the long-haired scruffy starving musician/ artist).
    I’ve stated clearly to this man that I want to take time to get to know him, and he has stated that he’s okay with this – as he is not looking for a casual sexual relationship.
    (wow… really? how nice is that?!)
    I have to admit that when he kissed me goodbye last night, I did feel some “butterflies” but I did NOT leap to hand out my phone number, invite him back to my place, or declare my undying affection for him.
    It was more like the way (I think) grownups are supposed to deal with such things.
    I must take my time to get to know this man, whether his honesty is genuine, and take time to get to really understand any potential flaws (one I noticed already was that he seems to love to “people watch” and likes to make snappy judgements of others who attend the meetup group outings)
    While this is not a deal-breaker on it’s own (as I tend to do the same darn thing) only time will tell as to whether he had judgemental tendencies that rub me the wrong way.

    I swear that I would be one hot mess if it were not for BR and Nat’s books. Reading these daily “sanity checks” have really helped reign in my illusory tendencies and get a real grip on how to navigate the big scary world of dating.

    The LAST thing I want in this world right now is to jump into a complicated sexual relationship with someone that I barely know, only to find out some fatal flaw (like a bad temper!! instant deal-breaker!) somewhere down the road.

    Slow and steady wins the race, even when our hormones are trying to beat our heads.

  37. Skyscraper says:


    I love your posts.

    My Ph.D. didn’t make me love myself either. Nor did it fix my attraction to flashy, withholding, assclowns. The work continues.

    Get the hell out of that town; there are academic jobs in kinder places.

  38. espressor says:

    Thank you Beth d for the vote of confidence! It helps a lot!

  39. Rosie says:

    When I was creating list of core values, I was thinking of values I want the ever-elusive *him*to have. Hmm..where am I in all this? Am I invisible in my own head? So…here’s my (partial) list of core values that I live out or am trying to improve in my own character:

    -Sense of humor (laughing with others, not at them)
    -Citizenship, community-oriented
    -Cultural diversity
    -Authentic humility: comfortable in my own skin, self-aware, confident, accepting of my strengths and weaknesses, successes & failures, giving God the credit for how He created me, using talents to benefit others as well as myself, apologizes when necessary, even to those who don’t like me or who I don’t like
    -Yes is yes, no is no
    -Willingness to sacrifice my time for someone
    -Intellectually honest (logic, reason, developed critical thinking skills)
    -like opposite sex (no underlying anger issues)
    -like my own sex (no self-abuse for being a woman)
    -like myself (working on loving myself)
    -Emotionally available and willingness to be in a committed relationship
    -Aurhentic spiriruality (no spiritualizing dysfunction, no using spirituality as a fantasy go-to place when under stress, no tossing aside conviction when under temptation)

    This isn’t a complete list & it’s not in order, not sure I have an order.

  40. Magnolia says:

    Yogurt, pinkpanther, miskwa, Skyscraper: thanks for replying. It’s really important for me to know I’m not alone right now. One of the things I had in my last city of residence was a 12-step group for adult children of dysfuctional homes that helped a lot. I remember feeling almost this desperate when I first joined that group, but made friends in it and the regular sharing with people, not from work, who “got it” made a big difference.

    Here I don’t have that resource. From conversations I’ve heard from my students / colleagues, there’s little way I could join a local faith-based recovery group without my whole community knowing.

    I’ve tried to avoid communicating with my parents as when I’m down is the worst time to talk to them, because they get uncomfortable. Wouldn’t you know, I returned my mother’s calls today and didn’t hide how I’m doing, and, as usual, at one point she said “I wish you could just think more positively!” Of course thinking positively is what usually helps me manage the grief and isolation I deal with day-to-day, but she doesn’t want to think about that, and absolutely can’t take it when what I do just isn’t enough and I crash.

    So we went through the usual round of me feeling abandoned and her changing the subject until I could put on a happy face. I put on my happy face, waited for her to stop talking, then went back to my bed and cried.

    I miss the 12-step group a lot right now and am leaning heavily on reading BR these days. I’m confident that you ladies have seen my better days and know I am actually quite a strong person. I appreciate having somewhere to turn where I can be sad without triggering denial in those around me.

    I’m also reading Buddha of Suburbia, which is strangely comforting!

  41. Tinkerbell says:

    Beth d. You hit the nail on the head. I’m not used to having “no drama”. Over the last 6 years I’ve experienced the death of my husband- a good, kind, loving man and shortly after that 3 years of a relentless, life-threatening R knee infection in which I could have very well undergone amputation and even, consequently, my own death. I fought hard with everything in me to normalize my life. The stress and turmoil had totally uprooted me and I had serious doubts that it would ever end. Sheer will, courage, tenacity and God have brought me back from the brink of despair and I am thankful. This is all to say that, imo, the word “happy” is elusive and to be compared to what, exactly? Compared to that time, I’m content and satisfied with my progress and the fact that I am still here with all limbs present, and as mobile as anyone else. I am on the journey to being “happy”. I’m relying totally on myself to get there. It is very difficult for those in my intimate circle to understand “how I roll”, so someone ( the bf whom I’ve met only within the last year has no clue). So “happy” is a stretch for me. But I am certainly thankful, satisfied, and content. The bf contributes, in some way, to my positive state of mind each and every day. It’s strange, new and scary for me. It was easier to deal with the drama, unpleasant as it was. Now, there is no drama and I don’t know how to react, having fallen into a pervasive, functional, state of desperation and panic. But now I’m on the right path to self-fulfillment and, come hell or high water, I will not be side-tracked as long as it is within my power and control.

    • beth d says:

      Tinker I am so happy that you have rebounded from some unbelievable challenges. God is good. :) I had gone through challenges myself with one of my children when I was with my ex and I know it influenced me at times into going back to the turmoil not only as a distraction but because he could actually mirror being a good friend when he had to. When I met my new man a few years ago it was rough in the beginning because I still had the asshole in my life as a “friend” at that point all because he would wear my down from NC. My guy was patient and kind and I pushed him away for so long because I was afraid I would hurt him and go back to the jo. I was in a weird limbo. Thank God I didn’t blow it because he is truly a gem. Funny story. I picked on him once for something stupid and he said to me “are you bored with our relationship?” I said nooo why do you say that. He said cause you are trying to start a fight and if you want to fight I will try. We both cracked up. But it opened my eyes to how uncomfortable I was with no drama. We are all on the journey to being happy. Things and people don’t necessarily make you happy so you have to find it within you. Thankful, satisfied and content is a really good start. I’m with you. I will NOT be side tracked by that asshole and will not allow him or anyone to derail my peace.

  42. Jennifer Tifffany says:

    Oh man, I really effed up on this one with the ex. When we met I was looking for someone who was a musician, had a shady past and perhaps present (so that they couldn’t/wouldn’t judge me for mine), had interesting facial hair, had a sharp, witty tongue, was a stylish, liked indie films, music and cats, was tall, lean and decently attractive (but not too much because that would make me insecure.)

  43. Robin says:

    I think having core values can be the same as having boundaries. What kind of behavior are you ok with? It’s not that a person should do x for a relationship, or that there’s a “right” type of relationship, it’s what two people are capable of giving, what they’re ok with, and what they need to be happy in the relationship.

  44. Revolution says:

    This was a great post, Natalie. You are SO right about thinking that if they have the same religious beliefs (or any other ideology that you share), then they are automatically going to live up to those beliefs. But, of course, that’s not true. I have encountered this, and it’s disheartening.

    Having a really rough day today. I have to admit to reading some of the lists on here about what we look for in a good man, and feeling a sense of weightiness in my belly. Hopelessness, because, though I’m not a negative person by nature, I don’t think I’ve yet to see many (any?) men who fit the bill. Women, sure. But not men. I’d really love to hear on here, amidst the stories of ACs done wrong, any stories of good guys that DID fit in with anyone’s values? Anyone? I need a glimmer of hope here. Throw me a frickin’ bone, people.

    • Skadia says:

      I totally agree Revolution! Some days reading through these postings give me hope but others I start to get that sinking feeling in my stomach. I always seem to have a mismatch between men I find sexually attractive and men I find value attractive. It’s like my deeper core values are just not congruent with men that grew up attractive… does that make sense? I think it’s particularly bad in the US where attractive men are programmed to believe a truly successful attractive man is actually a player. By the media and popular advertising they are taught that playing games, tricking women, sleeping with women to make them fall in love for sport is “success”. SMH I keep hoping that I will find the intersection of the two but more and more people in my life are advising me to “settle” on someone that meets the values criteria but whom I have no desire for sexually… I mean is that right? Am I supposed to marry someone that I don’t want to have sex with simply because they arrive at the train station to pick me up at the time they said they would? Confused… :/

      • Revolution says:


        Thanks for responding to my pleas from way out in the ether. :)As for your friends’ advice, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that what they meant is to give a guy a CHANCE, even one who doesn’t immediately give you butterflies. But if an attraction doesn’t form after you’ve gotten to know him (as FRIENDS! We don’t want to turn into an assclown OURSELVES and lead any men on!), then it’s game over. Make sense?

        • Skadia says:

          Rev, haha! Yes, in the ether – that about sums it up 😉 I will follow your lead and give them the benefit of the doubt as well… though sometimes I feel it is more of a “you’re not a spring chicken anymore, why are you competing in an arena where you won’t place?”

    • selkie says:


      My ex husband was a great man. He was honest, faithful, committed, dedicated, sweet, encouraging, loving, respectful, successful, fit, educated, supportive, intelligent and healthy physically and emotionally. I came first in is his life and I trusted him completely. He loved me more than I loved me so I blew it. I left him. These days I am much healthier emotionally and would probably be able to love a man like him now but I wasn’t able to then. Now he is remarried and happy. I am still reaping my karma for breaking his heart. I believe good men ARE out there. So then, where the hell are they hiding? Still working that one out but I’m hopeful ( but no longer desperate, yay!) they will cross my path and most important that I WILL RECOGNIZE them and not send them packing because they chew funny and like peas.

      • Revolution says:

        Hi Selkie,

        Thank you, your shared experience was really helpful. It’s always nice to reflect also on men who are good guys and not just these poor excuses of the male gender that we so appropriately label “assclowns.” (Though, of course, I know that this is one of the main topics of this blog, so I’m not negating anyone’s experiences or the right to share them here.) Sounds like you learned a lot about yourself in your relationship with your ex-husband, and I wish you the best on your next (and healthy!) relationship.

  45. Tinkerbell says:

    Beth d. Thank you so much for the reaffirmation ( is that the correct word?). It really feels good to have a total stranger acknowledge that I’ve done well under very adverse circumstances. But, I know I’m nowhere near finished.

    Valley Forge Lady. Yes, time will reveal truths. It is the ONE THING I can surely count on. So why am I being so anxious, now? I need to save it for when it’s justified. And, I fear it eventually will be justified. LOL! I feel like my own worst enemy. Jeez!

  46. Gina says:

    @ Valley Forge Lady: thsnks! You are most welcome!

  47. Gina says:

    @ Emeraldeyzes: Putting the list on your refrigerator is a great idea! I, too, believe in the power of words :-)

  48. Gina says:

    @ Revolution:

    “Having a really rough day today. I have to admit to reading some of the lists on here about what we look for in a good man, and feeling a sense of weightiness in my belly. Hopelessness, because, though I’m not a negative person by nature, I don’t think I’ve yet to see many (any?) men who fit the bill. Women, sure. But not men. I’d really love to hear on here, amidst the stories of ACs done wrong, any stories of good guys that DID fit in with anyone’s values? Anyone? I need a glimmer of hope here. Throw me a frickin’ bone, people.”

    Hey Revs!!

    Believe-it-or-not, these men DO exist!! I work with them, go to church with them, they are my neighbors…The problem for me is that most of them are already married….in relationships….OR they are simply not interested in me!! So I made the list and posted it as a way of putting it out there to the universe to God. I am also doing the work on myself to make sure that I have the qualities that I seek in a partner.

    Don’t give up hope!! ((HUGS)))

    • Revolution says:

      Gina, my dear. I *hope hope hope* that I didn’t bring you down with my last comment, as yours was probably the first “list of traits for men” posted on here. I just get these spells where I feel particularly vulnerable to that bottomless pit of despair, especially when I read all of our EU/AC stories on here, and then meet assclowns in real life. A change of perspective is what I need, perhaps. And that is why I called out into the ether for some hope, some tales of good, noble men, a small semblance of light out there in the assclown darkness. Thank you, Gina, for always being the first to respond to me with such love and encouragement when I’m having my bouts. I have the same experiences as you listed with men so far (married, not interested, et. al.) but the key words here for both of us are SO FAR. I tend to get a little Victorian in my drama (“smelling salts! stat!”) when I’m giving up on love “forever!” You’d think I’d have a fainting couch, but I don’t. Onward and upward, right? We have to have hope, because the alternative is not to. And, well. That’s just not a thought that makes any sense to entertain.

      ((HUGS)), Gina. Sweetheart.

      • Gina says:

        Hey Revs darling,

        Nope, you did not bring me down at all! I totally understand how you were feeling, as I have a tendency to feel the same way at times as well. Whatever you do, DO NOT ever give up hope because you don’t know what’s coming for you.

        It’s too bad that technology isn’t at the point where scientists can create a humanlike cyborg that could be programmed to be the type of men that we are looking for! We could look at different models online and request the personality traits and physical characteristics of the men that we want. Heck, with my luck I would not be able to afford one anyway.

        Sending big bear (((((HUGS)))))) right bac atcha!

  49. Rosie says:

    Revolution, I haven’t met an available man yet who has fit all my values but I have had two ex-boyfriends get back in touch with me to apologize for their nonsense. They wanted nothing from me (seriously!), just a clear conscience. There are men mwn out there who self-reflect! I had another man apologize too for being a jerk even though we weren’t dating, just a friendship that he was hoping to turn into more. We lost touch but stayed on good terms. He stayed nice even though I still chose not to date him.

    • Revolution says:

      Those are all GREAT experiences for me to hear today, Rosie. Thanks so much for sharing them. I CAN’T BELIEVE that you had some dudes call you to assauge their conscience. Wow. How awesome is THAT?!!

    • Gina says:

      Wow Rosie! That is SO wonderful!!I cannot even imagine that one of my ex-EUM/FFs would dare to call/email/text an apology. They do not possess the ability to self-reflect at all! In their twisted minds, they do not think that they did anything wrong. Ha! Ha!

  50. simple pleasures says:

    rev, I met my husband when I was 30. It was a year and a half after I ended my relationship with the
    math professor who took up my 20’s. That will be part I, III, and IV of my story (well, I ended up on Baggagereclaim for a reason). I’d had a rollercoaster romance and finally went NC. Dated a few really nice men, 2 very interested in long term committed relationships with me, but after math professor I just wasn’t ready yet.
    Then I was giving up on men and met my husband. I
    wasn’t looking for a husband. I saw him as a nice man, and after a few dates thought, this is my long lost best friend. When he walked in the room I didn’t want to rip his clothes off,like I had with math professor, but I felt comfortable, could talk with him about anything. He wasn’t looking for a model, but for someone who had a brain, was well read, who thought about things. We had tons of common interests, but our core values-we wanted someone we could talk to, who let us be ourselves, that we could be natural with. I recently asked him why he married me, made that leap to commitment til death we do part and he said, “you were the nicest person I had ever met…and it still holds true to this day”. And he is the nicest, truest man and best man I ever met, a perfect match. However, that said, I have learned we do not chose who we fall in love with, but we do choose who we love. I would die for him, I love him, our son, our daughter in law, my grandson my family. But we
    humans are animals with deep psychological, emotional needs, coloured by our childhood experiences. We are influenced by hormones, the media, our parents, our life experiences, and greater things like religious and ethical values.
    I have been content, happy. and full of gratitude for this man for 31 years. I was NC for 32 years and never expected to see the math professor again, then one day, I ran into him again and all hell broke loose. I am happy to say after over a year of BR and true NC again, and a husband who really loves me through thick and thin I’ve been processing the math professor attraction (Part I. III and IV). And as we all come to find out from NML, it wasn’t about us for them or them for us. It’s about ourselves, our life’s journey of self discovery.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Simple Pleasures. Enjoyed your post and looking forward to Part I, III & IV :).. My 19 mths NC have been full of sadness,anger,heartache,tears & alot of me time. I realised I have had a broken choser my entire life when it comes to who I fall in love with. My priorites were all screwed up. Currently I have NO desire to date or even put myself out there to meet anyone. I just dont care about meeting anyone. Right now my life is full with work, kids, grandkids & my furry friends.THat is good enough for me now. My last relationship really took a toll on my mental attitude towards men & relationships. Sometimes alone time is just what we need to get our life back on the right track.

    • Revolution says:

      Oh Simple Pleasures.

      he said, “you were the nicest person I had ever met…and it still holds true to this day”.

      That was such a sweet sentiment. Thanks for telling me this! You march right into wherever your husband is right now and you give him a BIG HUG and tell him that he’s a solid dude. Thanks for responding to my comment, SP. It was very soothing to read your experience. It’s always darkest before the dawn, they say. Well right now, romance-wise, I can’t even see my own hand in front of my face. But I’m facing East. :)

      • Revolution says:

        Also, Simple Pleasures:

        Unfortunately, my response to your very complete comment is only about 20% of the appreciation I have for all you shared (re: life, past relationships, etc.) but unfortunately, time doesn’t permit me to blather on today. Maybe for another day…. 😉

  51. Jennifer Tifffany says:

    To be the exception to the rule, you’d inherently have to put up with a lot of shit first. No need to have that need.

  52. espresso says:

    A friend was telling me recently about what her husband’s therapist once said to her – my friend had split up with her husband and he was doing some desperate last ditch therapy to try to save the marriage. The therapist didn’t know if the changes would “stick” and he said that if a person got 80% or more of their relationship needs met in a relationship that this was acceptable….around 60% was becoming something to look at and 30-40% was probably really really time to get out. Simplistic yes, but it made sense to me. I think I tried to make my 30% seem like it was enough and it wasn’t.
    But I also think this applies to the environments we live and work in too. We can construct our lives to a degree to compensate for a lack of interest, excitement, support for our values and lack of potential in our environment but if our environment (work, where we live, family) only is giving 20% then this is really serious. I don’t think that with all the effort in the world we can overcome some of this.

    A member of my family had a terrible job experience a few years back with toxic people who really were damaging to him. The story is complicated but he was completely blameless and a character attack was mounted on him by a few people in efforts to destroy him. All his energy and that of his partner went to try to deal with it and keep up their sense of good self esteem. But at a certain point it was just too damaging. So despite losing a LOT of money, pulling up stakes, uprooting children etc. they made the decision to get out and “start over” They had a lot of other problems at the time too including dealing with a serious illness in their family. They risked a HUGE amount economically and with two young children. But they ended up in a MUCH better place with people who are really appreciative and who are supportive and welcoming. It can happen.

    It reminded me of times (like now!) when I take bad things about ME from my (in this case work environment) even though they are not warranted but if I changed my environment things would likely be different.

  53. geekgirl says:

    I’ve been reading and re-reading this. I’ve been having a bad week.

    I talked about my ex a few days ago, and how a) went to a sex worker because he was feeling angry that I had gone out without him, and b) had different ideas about safe sex. These two issues came to a head at the same time, and we broke up on NYE.

    At some point a few weeks ago, he contacted me to say he wanted to get back together. At that stage he said he loved me, and was ok with keeping having safe sex.

    I really wanted to get back together with him, but I was worried about what the relationship would be like if I did. I was really really upset about the sex worker. I was scared that, the next time we had a disagreement, he would do something like that again.

    I tried to explain this to him, and that I wanted to go slowly with the relationship, just meeting for dinner, and conversation, for a while. So that we could rebuild a feeling of trust, and connection Because he had been diagnosed bipolar , I also said that I wanted him to keep taking his medication, and seeing his therapist regulary. Because, I couldn’t handle the mood swings, and how hurtful he could be whenever something angered him.

    Basically, he thought I was being unreasonable , and walked off. THat was pretty much the end of him trying with me, and I have not heard from him since, for a couple of weeks. I sent him a text once, but he hasn’t replied.

    I wasn’t asking him to do any of this as a way of making him jump through hoops. I was so torn up by the breakup, and just didnt want to risk going through the paine again. Part of me feels, if he cared about me, he would understand why I asked for the things I did, . But , the other part of me feels I blew my chance. It doesn’t help that I’ve talked to various friends, and some have said I was blowing the sex work thing out of proportion. But, to me, sexual fidelity is one of my really really core values, in a relationship. I wasn’t PRETENDING to feel betrayed, I really did feel that way.

    I guess I’m posting here asking for reassurance, that the way I acted was what I needed to do. I’ve been second guessing myself all week, and whether I expect too much from relationships, and so will be alone forever.

    • Emerldeyez says:

      I too would EXPECT sexual and emotional fidelity. It is one of my core values. And you were betrayed. He just showed you his colors, and you are better off without him. I think what you suggested, would be totally acceptable to a man, who felt guilty about what he did to the relationship, and if he wanted to regain your trust, he would do whatever was necessary. You honored yourself. I applaud you for it. For me, when I put some new boundaries in place, what will make me feel safe, and ok, again, others look at it differently. I am not responsible for them and their reactions to my boundaries. If they don’t respect them, then they don’t respect me.

    • Robin says:

      The hardest thing about sticking to your principles is that, well, not everyone else will agree with you. It seems like he wanted to go back to how things were, but you wanted to take it slower, and that is certainly your right. It also sounds like he went to a sex worker just to spite you, which I think is a huge red flag. Either way, you’re not being unreasonable.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      geekgirl. U are NOT over reacting & your request of him are spot on. For me infidelity is a one time your out clause. There are no second chances. My thoughts are if they did it once they will do it again, someday,sometime. And I cant waste my life worrying about where he is at or who he is with and what is he doing. Its a trust thing & once thats is gone its very hard if even possible to get back. I would say thank your lucky stars he is MIA from you life. Believe me I know how hard it is to walk away from someone. Been there done that but it was the best decision I ever made for ME.. It was not easy & there were some really tough days but I had to sit thru them. I prayed alot for peace, contentment & serenity. Be good to you …

    • Mymble says:

      Who are these so called friends who think it is okay to use a sex worker under any circumstances, never mind when you are supposed to be in a relationship? What sort of people are they?
      To me sex is supposed to be an act of love or at least affection and if you feel that it’s okay to use a woman’s body without either and knowing she feels nothing for you that says something very very telling about you, that you can dehumanise and be dehumanised.
      Not to mention all the really nasty stuff associated with the sex industry such as people trafficking, child abuse, drugs and violence.
      Anyway, as far as the guy goes, he has shown you twice that he does not care, first with what he did and second with his refusal to take it slow in getting back together.
      I would also add that as a child of an unmedicated bipolar parent, I would be very wary of signing up for more of that if you are already finding it difficult. That’s a whole other subject but let’s just say it’s not a good way to live.

      Being with this man would be WORSE than being alone – even if that was the stark choice, which it isn’t.

    • Mymble says:

      Your words about the rages reminded me of a discussion I had with my therapist on that subject. It is traumatising being around someone who blows up like that. She says I have some sort of PTSD from it and wants to try EMDR. i dont dont want to dwell on the past but nevertheless it has had an lingering effect on me. Don’t even consider any kind of future with
      someone who does this.

    • Magnolia says:


      What everyone else said. Plus, one thing I think I’ve figured out is that if you have to explain your values to someone, you don’t share the same values. Also, explaining your values to someone never changed theirs. For example, people could tell me why I should go to church and claim Jesus as my saviour til they’re blue in the face, and I can respect that doing so is very important to them, but none of that would ever turn me towards those behaviours. If I ever wanted to do those things, the choices would come from internal motivation, not from some outside argument.

      Same with frequenting sex workers. For some people it’s like smoking. Yeah, you know it’s not the nicest thing, and some people will look down on you, but you are going to smoke if you darn well feel like it (or maybe, if you have a person you want to keep close, promise you’ll stop smoking, but sneak out for one when they’re not around every now and then – what she doesn’t know won’t hurt, right?). Substitute a lunch-hour of paid sex for that cigarette and you’ve got the value system of many (not all, by any means) people.

    • Allison says:


      Cheating – especially with a hooker – is a deal breaker! How could you ever respect this guy, again! Also, are you willing to lose your life (AIDS) for someone who does not value you?

      Please rethink your own worth, and why you would consider a return to a very dangerous situation.

    • Ms Determined says:

      Geek girl. C’mon. Geeks are smart! Everyone knows that. Why don’t you? Here you have this elegant yet sexy gut with an IQ of eleventy million telling you that this guy is all kinds of wrong, and you are second guessing it? MORAL; listen to the gut. Not only is it devastatingly gorgeous, it has a Phd in freak spotting.

      OK, so if you aren’t listening to your gut, maybe you’ll listen to my cranky ass. Flap those ears girlfriend, you’re about to catch some sense.

      Let’s think about it like this. You’re making a cake, and you need a carton of eggs. You go to the store, and mosey into the egg section (note the produce guy who’s squeezing some melons suggestively whilst looking in your direction. Wait; what are we doing here again? Oh yeah. Ignore that guy. EGGS). Now because you’re a choosy kind of gal who who wants to get value for money (not to mention, make yourself one tasty ass caaaaake), you peek under the lid of a sweet looking six pack and to your dismay ZOMG YOU ALMOST VOMIT ONTO THE ADJACENT CHEESE DISPLAY. Those eggs are fucked UP. There are yolks where the whites should be and busted up shells everywhere. The rancid stench of sulphur assaults your nostrils. Melon guy turns away disgusted, as you retch into the dairy case. So you hastily put em back, and pick up another carton and gingerly lift the lid. You smile, as inside you find six gleaming, intact eggs. (OK so one or two of them may have a little chicken shit still clinging to them…but that’s OK. You know they’re fresh, they came from a bona fide chicken and it’s what’s inside the shells that’s going to make your cake the tastiest thing since, well, sliced cake.)

      OK, this shitty analogy is getting tired and so Ima going just say it. Girl, you’ve looked under that lid. And not just a peek, you have stared into it. I wish I could say you just had a mild case of chicken shit going on in that carton but no. It’s the full, messed up rancid deal in there. YOU AIN’T MAKING NO CAKE WITH THIS GUY. Moreover? How in hell is it your fault the eggs were broken? They were like that when you got there!

      AND, you expect to get what it says on the box! The only way you shouldn’t have been surprised by his inability to understand your sense of betrayal is if the box said ‘stinking pile of useless shit’ on it instead of simply ‘eggs’ (sorry I think I just made a metaphor omlette).

      Also. Asshole had to PAY someone to have sex with him. Do we need to say more? Hmmn? Hmmmmmmnnnnnn?

      Tl;dr When faced with the choice, DO NOT CHOOSE THE BROKEN ONES. If you do, do not be surprised if you end up unable to make a cake at all, or with a shitty cake that falls apart or a cake that fails to rise or a cake that is just crumbs or a cake that promises to be tasty but HELLO SOMETHING MAJOR IS MISSING or whatever other lame cooking metaphor speaks to your soul. You put those shitty eggs back, and you step away from the shelf, sister.

      • geekgirl says:

        Thanks so much everyone, for your comments. Most of the time I KNOW I did the right thing. But sometimes the missing him gets painful enough to make me start questioning myself. So , that’s when reading this site really helps.
        On a bright note, today is the first day in two weeks I haven’t cried. I’m about one year into a PhD, which I something I’ve wanted to do for age (I’m 35 now). But because of all the issues we had, I’ve been struggling for the last couple of months. This week, I actually got a bunch of stuff done. So, I’m feeling pretty ok, atm .

      • Red*ribbons says:

        Ms Determined
        You are one of the wonders of the web. Can you start your own agony aunt blog? You are truly fabulous at advice.
        Utterly splendid stuff

      • beth d says:

        Hysterical Determined but spot on!

      • Jule says:

        Ms Determined, your post was amazingly witty funny and wise. Love your style girl. You should write!

        • Ms Determined says:

          Wait, what? Ladies! I do write! In fact I’m writing this from the palatial private yacht I bought with the proceeds of my NUMBER ONE international JK-Rowling-jealous-rage-inducing bestseller; Relationships. How to Have Them and Shit..

          Of course having had so many husbands who turned out to be gay successful and healthy relationships I am happy to share my sack of cranky flavoured bullshit pearls of wisdom with you poor, less fortunate souls. But first, a caution. Following my advice may lead to becoming TOO successful in relationships. For example, you wouldn’t believe how difficult it was having to remove the last assclown’s balls with a pair of nail clippers the 47 emotionally healthy hunks who camped out on my front lawn last week, each one more desperate than the last to win my affections (the infighting was atrocious).

          I am totally spoilt for choice. In fact, that weird guy from IT who probably secretly also self pleasures whilst thinking of Daniel Craig Daniel Craig popped by not five minutes ago. Healthy, desirable dudes just won’t leave me alone! Hooray for me!

          Lucky for all you ladies my life-changing book that will like, literally change your life is available in soft copy. You can download it FREE here (first to download gets a pair of used nail clippers! ZOMFG ACT NOW!)

          http://www.areyouhighbecauseyoumust betotallyoutofyourfuckingmind.com

          Mmmn. This stuff is probably best left to Nat.

          • Victorious says:

            Laughing out loud! My friends use me as a gaydar, if I fancy someone they say he must be gay as I have had THREE exes turn out to be gay!!!!
            Your life sounds fabulous Ms D and I would certainly buy your book.

            • simple pleasures says:

              My first boyfriend was gay.
              (I was 15-16). He was wonderful, played classical piano, took painting at the big city art museum,and we shared a love of drama club.He
              went on to be a theater professional. But we had so much fun together, worked on political campaigns and he took me to the prom. He didn’t
              pressure me for sexual experiences (ofcourse at the time I wondered why), but we really liked each other for ourselves. After a year it was clear to him that he was gay so he went in another direction with his friends, but to this day I have the utmost respect for him. He set the
              standard of how people should treat each other in a relationship, he treated me with trust, respect, dignity, and love. As a result I am a strong supporter of gay rights. I’m all in favor of good people who have the ability to love.

    • McKenzieM says:

      Geekgirl —

      You definitely made the right decision. Not only was what he did totally inappropriate (cheating – and with a sex worker at that), it also potentially put YOUR health and safety at risk. That is not a sign of someone who loves you or cares for you deeply. If he feels you “blew your chance,” consider that blown chance a God-sent gift.

  54. Gina says:

    @ Tinkerbell:

    “Hey my girl, Gina. You are so together. I’ve read your posts from way back and watched you learn and grow. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.”

    Tink, you are welcome, but girl, I am still a hot mess!! Experience has been a wonderful teacher, but my journey is ongoing.

    I am so glad to read that you have found a wonderful man! Cherish every moment that you have together. Remember: the best form of revenge from the ex AC/EUM is a life well lived.

    Girl, when I meet Mr. Right, you will hear about it on the news because I will be the woman who was found dead lying in bed next to my beloved with a big smile on my face (due to my heart exploding from too much joy and happiness) the next morning.


  55. Aussie says:

    Thank you for another excellent post. It makes so much sense. It’s so easy to get caught up in the superficial stuff and forget what really matters – a person’s character. Thank you

  56. jewells says:

    I just want to mention a book that has been mentioned in posts before; “Attached” by Levine and Heller. It is about attachment theory and has been indespensible in outlining why we wind up in these pairings. My therapist loaned it to me, I’m buying my own copy as everytime I read it, I get more out of it. And for those of you wondering where all the ‘good’ ones are – these assclowns only make up 25 percent of the population, but, they spend more time in the dating pool for obvious reasons, so we will run into them more often, but the good ones make up 50 percent of the population, so they are out there, just keep up the work on ourselves and we’re bound to spot them when they do turn up in our lives! There is hope, just keep going it WILL happen.

  57. Robin says:

    Had a weird day yesterday that completely exemplified what it means to have differences in core values. There was a person I considered a close friend. We worked in the same field, had the same interests, had similar career goals, etc. A year ago, she had suddenly ragequit on our friendship without much explanation, or even a fight, and even if I could guess what happened, to this day I am still not sure. We briefly reconnected yesterday, but it made me realize that our values were so much different. Of course, I don’t know her side of the story, if there is one, but she seemed to prefer pretending like she’d never cut off contact in the first place and brushed it off as us “being busy.” I guess some people are ok with doing that, but now I realize that I just don’t like it. I’d rather fight it out first or find some closure to what happened in the past before I resume any close friendship that just ended like this. This is a person who used to be my friend, but because of the differences in how we resolve conflict, I think it’s just time for me to move on from this.

  58. Jazzy says:

    I want a man with the following values: love, trust, monogamy, balance, spirituality. I WON’T settle for anything else/less.

    My ex showed he had the following values: hate, dishonesty, promiscuity, extremes, atheism (no hate toward atheists. I have friends who are and I completely respect their beliefs).

    obviously on a romantic scale this would never work for us. I got out very, very hurt. It’s taken me a year to recover an I’m still not completely there.

    Right now I’m just living every moment, trying to practice gratitude for each and every moment no matter how bad it hurts sometimes. I’m not focused on men right now. Too much focus on them is what got me into trouble in the first place. I see them as human beings capable of faults and greatness just like us women. (Though I don’t think men and women are the same on all fronts. That thinking got me into trouble too). But I don’t see them as a superior sex deserving of excuses and an easy way out of dealing with emotions, nor do I see them as the sole holders to the key of my happiness. That’s bullshit. And some are eager to make sure us women believe the eronious idea that a man could/should make us happy because after all, if we believe a man holds the power to our happiness, then we’d (and too often do) put up with anything and everything as to not lose that illusion of happiness. It’s an illusion. Never give your power up to anyone by deeming yourself inferior.

  59. Jazzy says:

    Victory: after near a year I feeling like I couldn’t live without the AC, I’m reaching a tipping point from all the work I’ve done. You see we’ll never reach a tipping point with the assclown where their love matches ours. With ourselves, how hard you work, even when you feel like it isn’t working, will be matched. It’s a culminating thing. Now I pretty much just want to eat good, learn about art and eat chocolate.

    Here’s another interesting occurrence: I was always made to believe I was fat by my family, bullies, and basically the outside world. I’m not. I thought I was real fat when I met the ex. I wasn’t. I was just a bit above average wieght for my height. I lost 20 pounds in a month (for him). I vowed I’d never go back to being ‘fat’ again if we ever broke up. Well, you know what, I did break it off (he was a total alcoholic AC) and I gained every inch of it back, and that is FINE by me because there is nothing wrong with my weight or the way my body looks. I’m as I’m supposed to be and it’s pretty beautiful. But because I couldn’t see it at the time I was a prime candidate for a narc.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.